• isis-gaza

    Vocativ’s ridiculous I.S.I.S. story fails to mention the company’s deep links to Israeli intelligence

    I’m sure you’ve heard the latest scare headline: “I.S.I.S. Has Now Infiltrated the Gaza Strip”! Yes indeed, this is a huge breakthrough. You know why? Because it’s the stupidest, most fake headline involving I.S.I.S. in all the years that I.S.I.S. has been featuring in fake scare headlines. I’m about ready to suggest that everybody who doesn’t have a clue about the Middle East just STFU for the duration — but then, I do take a mean-hearted pleasure in working…
  • isis-and-western-media

    I.S.I.S. and the Western media: Groping each other in public like a Kardashian Thanksgiving

    The war in Iraq is going pretty much like I predicted it would. The three factions—Kurds, Sunni Arabs, and Shia Arabs—are holding their own, consolidating their turf, not trying very hard to occupy the other groups’ territories. The Sunni militias, led by I.S.I.S., the Caliphate of Loud-Talking, has been making ridiculous noises about “liberating” not just all of Iraq but Rome and Spain. Both those claims are laughable, but at least Spain makes sense in a lame way. Spain…
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    Lessons from Gaza: The power of any high-tech military is way less than it seems on paper

    Editor’s note: The UN has called for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The following article was written by Gary Brecher, and first published in 2012 by NSFWCORP (now part of Pando). It remains remarkably relevant today. What’s going on in Gaza is war, but not the kind any commander from the past would understand. On paper, Israel should be winning easily, because they’ve got the weapons, the numbers, the organization. The weapons Hamas is…
  • mangaf-kuwait

    The War Nerd: World Cup vs. Jihad

    KUWAIT CITY—One of the weirdest mashups in recent history is going on right now, as World Cup 2014 plays out in the middle of the Sunni/I.S.I.S. blitz across the plains of Central Iraq. If you were bouncing around online, you were sure to go from stories from Brazil—with pounding music, women in fabric-saving costumes, and booze flowing in the streets—cross-cut with grimmer images from Iraq, as I.S.I.S., which considers everything about the World Cup sinful, zoomed south and east…
  • hills-of-kurdistan

    The War Nerd: Like it or not, what’s happening in Iraq right now is part of a rational process

    There’s been a lot of hysterical reaction to I.S.I.S.’s big land-grab in Central Iraq over the last two weeks. But there’s some wonderful bad news—“bad” from I.S.I.S’s perspective — in the fact that all their gains have been on the very flat, dry plains of Central Iraq. The Northern pincer of their big advance, which was supposed to swing north through Tal Afar, has stalled badly. And for that small mercy, I give wholehearted thanks to whatever god may be.…
  • hype

    The War Nerd: Here’s everything you need to know about “too extreme for Al Qaeda” I.S.I.S.

    As the Scriptures remind us, “Do not believe the hype.” The hype of the moment is ISIS, the Sunni militia that just drove the so-called Iraqi Army out of Mosul, Tikrit, and other Iraqi cities. This is one of those dramatic military reverses that mean a lot less than meets the eye. The “Iraqi Army” routed by ISIS wasn’t really a national army, and ISIS isn’t really a dominant military force. It was able to occupy those cities because they…
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    From Najran to Bangkok to Las Vegas: My Time with NSFWCORP

    When I heard that NSFWCORP was going to issue a collection of War Nerd columns, I went back and looked at what I’d written since I started writing for NSFWCORP in September 2012. Back then, my wife and I were planning to go back to Najran, in southwestern Saudi Arabia, to earn some money teaching ESL to “The Empty Quarter,” as a colleague of ours used to call our male students. We’d planned to return to Najran in August 2012,…
  • straw-dog

    War Nerd: What’s happening in Eastern Ukraine is very simple, rational, and straightforward

    “Heaven and earth are not merciful. To them, men are as straw dogs, destined for sacrifice.”Lao Tzu What’s happening in Eastern Ukraine is very simple, rational, and straightforward. Russia has what it wanted—Crimea, a Russian-majority peninsula with better beaches than the rest of Russia put together, a Russian majority, and a geography so eminently defensible that all you have to do is look at it on a map and it screams “Secede! What’s going on in Eastern Ukraine,…
  • 5963118515_df446c99b6_b

    The War Nerd: Iran is building a “fake” aircraft carrier? How can you tell?

    There’s a strange construction project underway in the Persian Gulf. Iran is building a two-third size replica of a US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in a shipyard near Bandar Abbas. The carrier will have no planes, no crew, no weapons. Nobody knows why the Iranians are building it. It seems to have no sane military purpose, but that’s the only feature it shares with “real” aircraft carriers. (A little anti-carrier humor there, folks.) The Iranians have been less than frank…
  • chineseattacksub

    The War Nerd: China, Vietnam, and Naval Nerf Wars

    A classic nationalist frenzy is in progress in Southeast Asia. Chinese-owned factories are burning in Vietnam, and Chinese and Vietnamese warships are playing chicken with each other near island chains nobody ever wanted to inhabit. China and Vietnam both claim the Paracel and Spratly island groups, two obscure, generally worthless archipelagos in the South China Sea. Both countries are also in the perfect mood for some rage nationalism, with millions of city dwellers who never even heard of…

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