A Message to Garcia
If you haven’t ever read it, you should. Some of it may be apocryphal but be that as it may, there is something delightful about finding people who are willing to do difficult things without complaint.
Now for the rest of the messages.
North Korea Sent a Message
On May 4, North Korea tested long-range rockets and a short-range ballistic missile. The extensive coverage of the events was calculated to ensure they caught the attention of the US, South Korea, Japan and the Allies. The missile launch was timed to be detected by a commercial imaging satellite.
CNN published satellite imagery that showed the smoke trail of the missile launch. The Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute described the imagery as, “a one in a million shot.” The missile was fired at almost the exact time a commercial imaging satellite was focused on North Korea. The Norks track such things.
These events were systems and unit tests harnessed to a political purpose. The systems are relatively new and require testing. Kim last provided guidance to a test of the “new tactical guided weapon” on 17 April. Prior to that, he “guided” a test in November 2018. The tests were conducted from the Hodo Peninsula Training Area north of Wonsan.
The missile was the KN-02, which is North Korea’s variant of the Soviet SS-21. The imagery of it was clear enough for positive identification. The North Koreans improved the rocket motor to extend its range to 240 kms/149 miles. This is a highly accurate, solid-fueled short-range ballistic missile. The TV coverage showed images of the missile just as it hit the target.
The TV images also showed that a firing unit of at least five 8-round, multiple round rocket launcher vehicles each fired one 300-mm rocket. This is the KN-09 system, possibly a knock off and upgrade of another Soviet system.
In June 2018 the US completed the relocation of the headquarters of US Forces Korea from Seoul to rural Pyeongtaek to put it out of range of North Korean artillery, among many other reasons. The North Koreans have demonstrated that their new weapons can still hold the US headquarters and other forces at risk from positions north of Seoul.
Israel – Gaza Strip
If you’ve followed the news, there’s been a dust-up on the border between Israel and Gaza (again). The Israeli response is part of the policy of blocking Iranian inroads along Israel’s borders. The IDF sent a strong message to Iran that the Netanyahu government will not tolerate Iranian meddling in the Gaza Strip. Its agents will be eliminated, and the resources Iran commits in the Gaza Strip will be destroyed and wasted.
A few details:
Tension between the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the Israelis escalated into two days of violent exchanges on 4 and 5 May, but quiet returned around daybreak this morning, 6 May.
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched almost 700 rockets into southern Israel. Israel counter attacked with air strikes and naval shelling; one targeted killing of a Palestinian leader and ground force reinforcements along the border of the Gaza Strip.
On the 5th, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he ordered the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to keep up massive strikes in response to rocket fire. A Hamas delegation said it agreed to a ceasefire if the Israelis fulfilled their obligations, i.e., lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip and lift sanctions.
Israeli fighter jets and naval gunboats attacked 350 targets inside the Gaza Strip. The gunboats fired at shore targets. The Israel Defense Force (IDF) spokesman said the IDF struck rocket launchers, tunnel shafts and weapons manufacturing factories belonging to both Hamas and the Iranian-funded group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. To punctuate the Iranian-connection, at 06:11 on the 5th, the IDF tweeted “We just targeted Hamed Ahmed Khudari, a Gazan terrorist responsible for transferring Iranian funds to Hamas & PIJ in Gaza, helping fund their rocket fire at Israelis.”
Box scores. The IDF tweeted box scores at 21:37 on the 5th.
“In the past 48 hours:
690 rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians
240 Iron Dome Aerial Defense System interceptions
210,000 children had school cancelled
4 Israeli civilians killed”
“In the past 24 hours:
We targeted 350 Islamic Jihad & Hamas targets including:
• rocket launch sites
• terror squads & operatives
• command and training centers
• weapon facilities
• observation posts
• military compounds”
Most of the Palestinian rockets landed in empty fields. The IDF said only 35 hit any towns. Nothing has changed politically.
It’s part of what is considered a ‘normal’ Muslim opener to Ramadan, which began yesterday. The Palestinian rockets were mostly junk. The Israelis were careful in their targeting.
Tactically, the Palestinians tested their ability to saturate the Israeli Iron Dome in the south again. Iron Dome defeated 34% of the rockets, but the poor quality of the rockets undermined the entire effort.
The Israelis seemed surprised by the rocket attacks, but that might have been part of a deception plan. Once the rockets started flying, the IDF knew where and what to attack with precision. That suggests the Israelis knew of the buildup of rocket stocks but did not know the timing of the attack. The inference is compelling that the Israelis entrapped the Palestinians.
The Iranian connection also was mentioned in connection with the targeted killing of Khudari. Most coverage commented on the rarity of targeted killings, not the target’s Iranian connection. Not so the IDF. The IDF tweeted, “Transferring Iranian money to Hamas & the PIJ doesn’t make you a businessman. It makes you a terrorist.”
Did the Mullahs in Teheran and Qom get the message? I think so, but they are on a mission from Allah to wipe out whoever they can. Barack didn’t understand that but The Donald does.
I haven't read the book but will check it out. Unlike Gaza, which is off the "visit list" for now.
Best blog of the day. Thanks for the updates.
Wonder if the surge in activity by our enemies is related to the current Mueller circus; they hope we are too distracted to smack them?
Nicely done analysis, L.L. The issues sadly beg the question will the rockets fired, ur "tested" by NK, and those fired by the Palestinians will get worse before it gets better, or will all hell erupt. Have both reached the tipping point, or is there hope? Just asking the questions, I sure as heck don't have the answers.
This is less of a "ceasefire" and more of a "we ran out of crappy rockets to fire". Hamas et.al have stepped back for one reason….to rearm. With the help of Iran etc. they will restock and rearm. It's not an if…. it's a when. They WILL fire more ordnance at Israel.
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