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Russia’s S-300 vs. Israel’s new F-35 in Syria: Who wins in a shootout?

Even without the full Block 3F capability immediately available, Tel Aviv’s F-35 fleet would offer the Israel Defense Force a potent capability to strike against Syria’s newly acquired S-300s, certainly a better capability than offered by any conventional fighter. However, there is little prospect that Israel would attack those batteries while the Russians still more or less have those weapons under their direct control.

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Russia has delivered the formidable S-300 air and missile defense system to Syria.

However, it will still take several months for Syrian crews to learn how to operate the sophisticated air defense system under Russian tutelage. In the meantime, the weapons are almost certainly going to be operated by Russian military advisors.

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The presence of Russian forces means that Tel Aviv might be temporarily constrained against striking at those S-300 missile batteries, if it were so inclined. But in strictly military terms, the presence of those weapons does not necessarily limit Israel’s ability to do so. Israel’s new fleet of stealthy Lockheed Martin F-35I Adir versions of the Joint Strike Fighter afford Tel Aviv the ability to defeat the S-300 with relative ease.

“The operational abilities of the air force are such that those (S-300) batteries really do not constrain the air force’s abilities to act,” Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s regional cooperation minister, told Israel’s Army Radio reports the Reuters news agency . “You know that we have stealth fighters, the best planes in the world. These batteries are not even able to detect them.”

One of the F-35’s primary missions from its very inception has been the suppression (SEAD) and destruction (DEAD) of advanced enemy air defenses such as the S-300. Indeed, the F-35 will only become more formidable in the SEAD/DEAD role as time goes on and the aircraft is upgraded with the full operational capability Block 3F and subsequent Block 4 software and hardware configurations. Tel Aviv declared its F-35soperational in December 2017  and recently signed an agreement in February with Lockheed Martin to incorporate Israeli specific modifications to bring its planned 50-aircraft fleet to a Block 3F+ configuration by December 2021.

Even without the full Block 3F capability immediately available, Tel Aviv’s F-35 fleet would offer the Israel Defense Force a potent capability to strike against Syria’s newly acquired S-300s, certainly a better capability than offered by any conventional fighter. However, there is little prospect that Israel would attack those batteries while the Russian still more or less have those weapons under their direct control.

According to the Russians, it will take roughly three months for them to train Syrian S-300 air defense crews. “We have finished personnel recruitment and have begun to train them,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday according to the TASS news agency.

Shoigu also officially confirmed that the Russians have delivered the S-300 to Syria. “In conformity with the presidential decision, we have begun to carry out a number of measures to reinforce Syria’s air defense systems in order to ensure better protection for our servicemen,” Shoigu said. “We have completed the delivery of S-300 systems. It included 49 pieces of equipment, including radars, control vehicles and four launchers.”

While the Syrian forces are being trained, Russian forces are likely to retain control of the S-300s and operate those weapons under their direct supervision. Such an arrangement should prevent any rash actions by Syrian forces and also put a brake on any Israeli plans to strike at the missile batteries.

However, the Israelis might consider eliminating those S-300 batteries if the Russian do in fact hand them over to Syrian control. That is not a foregone conclusion given that it was Assad’s poorly trained and motivated air defense crews who shot down the Russian Il-20M Coot intelligence-gathering aircraft on September 18 , sparking the current tensions in the first place.

The presence of additional Russian-made S-300 batteries in Syria complicates matters for both the United States and Israel. Washington decried the Russian move as escalatory. “I’m certainly not going to comment on our intention on how we will address that, but my comments before were true,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on Oct. 3 .

Via The National Interest

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rucabsamsinRichard Steven HackevaldNexus789 Recent comment authors
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Bob Valdez
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Bob Valdez

Oh, please. f35’s are NOT invisible, Russian multi-band radar easily “sees” so-called “stealth” aircraft. The author over-rates the f35 as able to “kill S300’s”. If S200’s can bring down the f35, S300’s will have no problem.

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

As Major-General Konashenkov warned two years ago, “… all the illusions of amateurs about the existence of ‘invisible’ jets will face a disappointing reality”.

https://yournewswire.com/wo

Nexus789
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Nexus789

Good point. What people don’t realize is that the Jolly Stupid Fighter is an old plane. It’s so called stealth profile was based on defeating late 90’s radar technology. So while the airframe remains static radar technology has developed considerably.

JNDillard
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JNDillard

Ha ha ha ha! This reads like it was written by the sales promotion team for a combination of the F-35 and “Buy Israeli Bonds!” Ha ha ha ha ha! This article is for dolts who know nothing. For a review of the capabilities of each side worth reading, Go here, and also read some of the accompanying posts, a few of which are quite good and detailed: http://thesaker.is/s-300s-and-other-military-hardware-for-syria/

bsamsin
Guest
bsamsin

It’s no wonder, since majumdar pimps for the National Interest, which was co-founded by Ashkenazi/American “godfather of the NeoCon movement” Irving Kristol, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, Irving was also the daddy of Bill Kristol, who co-founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which enable USreal to begin their non-stop “war against terror” fraud.

Donna
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Donna

The world needs to remember that it is Israel, not Syria, who is starting this illegal and inhumane war. And, true to form, the Israelis are kicking Syria while it’s down — while it is attempting to recover from a devastating war against terrorists. What Israel is doing is a naked act of aggression, and if the hypocritical US wasn’t blocking every measure in the Security Council, perhaps the UN could put a stop to this violation of international law. And no one is fooled by Israel’s claim that it’s bombing Syria to stop Iran. Israel is bombing Syria because… Read more »

Dr. George W. Oprisko
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The F-22 & F-35 are optimized for X band radar, which is commonly used in aircraft and missile targeting systems. The S-300 family use longer wavelengths which detect such aircraft at long ranges, ditto for the supporting AAA systems which accompany and protect the S-300 batteries, such as the Pantsyr. This piece is propagandistic fluff. Also, were the Israelis bold enough to mount the attack, counter fire from SAA, IRGC, RuAF, or Hezbollah, could target the base from which the attack was mounted and/or to which the aircraft intended to return, at any level from simply cratering the runway, to… Read more »

Normski
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Normski

Just like their US friends, I don’t think the Israeli’s have the capacity to think things through properly!.

pogohere
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pogohere

See: Comment #43: (very detailed, links to open source US mil docs)

“The idea of ‘stealth’ aircraft is in fact mostly a gimmick designed to enrich the military contractors…it doesn’t actually work very well at all, as proved in 1999 when the Serb air defense, using ancient Soviet surface to air missiles of 1950s vintage, shot down the USAF F117 aircraft…and damaged another that was then written off, and therefore counts as a kill…”

http://www.unz.com/tsaker/s-300s-and-other-military-hardware-for-syria/#comment-2558132

Normski
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Normski

All the Syrian military require to see these “stealth” F-35 “wonder aircraft” are a decent pair of binoculars!. There’s no substitute for the “mark 1” eyeball!.

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

British troops also recently held their biggest military exercise in 10 years, which included six navy ships and more than 5,000 troops in the Omani desert, to prepare for a confrontation with unconventional Russian forces like those used in Crimea. Cyber weapons are seen as a potential deterrent and a way to avoid a direct military confrontation… Russia held an exercise with 300,000 Forces (the UK has only around 125,000 serving military personnel). 36,000 land vehicles, including tanks and air defence systems. 1,000 military aircrafts, plus, 80 ships and submarines. 15 October 2018 there is an OPCW meeting, where those… Read more »

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Sorry, this reply, relates to:

LATEST RUSSIAFEED NEWSBritain prepares for WAR with Russia in cyber attack drills
Sabre-rattling by Great Britain continues to vilify and demonize Russia without proof or cause while evading any attempts at resolution…

bsamsin
Guest
bsamsin

drool, Brittania, the mighty Empire is growing senile 🙂

bsamsin
Guest
bsamsin

now, that’s all well and good, but the more important question in this modern era, is “what will their dress code be?”
I’m just curious, since your British institutions have greatly confused me during the course of this year, what with some curious mandates 🙂

1) a British school made shorts illegal, but skirts mandatory for boys?
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-04/uk-secondary-school-forces-boys-soccer-team-wear-skirts-instead-shorts

2) and then, some British schools, made skirts illegal for girls !!!
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-03/uk-secondary-schools-ban-skirts-accommodate-trans-students

Pray tell … what the heck is going on in the land of the stiff upper lip?

Mike
Guest
Mike

Common on Israel, test the skies.

Klink
Guest
Klink

If the Jews were to attack the S300’s the targets for the Russians are unlimited.
The jews submarines for example, the US took one out after the Jews attacked the USS Liberty any killed scores of Americans…

Thraxite
Guest
Thraxite

This Author does not seem to have done much homework on the actual characteristics of the aircraft vs the S-300. The F-35 is no better than other legacy craft when attempting to penetrate the actively phased array radar which is equivalent to the Aegis system that has to fit on a destroyer for the West. This technical report on the abilities of the S-300 is well worth the read.

http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Grumble-Gargoyle.html

ruca
Guest
ruca

You are correct sir. And yes ausairpower.net is quite a good site.

evald
Guest
evald

Dave Majumdar and “National Interest” … are you serious?

Richard Steven Hack
Guest
Richard Steven Hack

As usual, The National Interest overrates the F-35. People forget that not only does Russia has the S-300, they also have the S-400 at its base with more advanced radars as well as surveillance planes that can see all of Israel’s airfields. All of this is tied into the Syrian air defense network. As for the poorly trained and motivated Syrian operators, they had the Israeli F-16’s in their sights and only when those F-16’s hid behind the Russian surveillance prop plane did they evade the S-200 – and that only because the S-200 didn’t have the IFF “friend or… Read more »

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Kiev ‘Patriarch’ prepares to seize Moscow properties in Ukraine

Although Constantinople besought the Kiev church to stop property seizures, they were ignored and used, or perhaps, complicit.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The attack on the Eastern Orthodox Church, brought about by the US State Department and its proxies in Constantinople and Ukraine, is continuing. On October 20, 2018, the illegitimate “Kyiv (Kiev) Patriarchate”, led by Filaret Denisenko who is calling himself “Patriarch Filaret”, had a synodal meeting in which it changed the commemoration title of the leader of the church to include the Kyiv Caves and Pochaev Lavras.

This is a problem because Metropolitan Onuphry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is canonically accepted and acts as a very autonomous church under the Moscow Patriarchate has these places under his pastoral care.

This move takes place only one week after Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople unilaterally (and illegally) lifted the excommunications, depositions (removal from priestly ranks as punishment) and anathemas against Filaret and Makary that were imposed on them by the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate.

These two censures are very serious matters in the Orthodox Church. Excommunication means that the person or church so considered cannot receive Holy Communion or any of the other Mysteries (called Sacraments in the West) in a neighboring local Orthodox Church. Anathema is even more serious, for this happens when a cleric disregards his excommunication and deposition (removal from the priesthood), and acts as a priest or a bishop anyway.

Filaret Denisenko received all these censures in 1992, and Patriarch Bartholomew accepted this decision at the time, as stated in a letter he sent to Moscow shortly after the censures. However, three years later, Patriarch Bartholomew received a group of Ukrainian autocephalist bishops called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, who had been in communion with Filaret’s group. While this move may have been motivated by the factor of Bartholomew’s almost total isolation within Istanbul, Turkey, it is nonetheless non-canonical.

This year’s moves have far exceeded previous ones, though, and now the possibility for a real clash that could cost lives is raised. With Filaret’s “church” – really an agglomeration of Ukrainian ultranationalists and Neo-Nazis in the mix, plus millions of no doubt innocent Ukrainian faithful who are deluded about the problems of their church, challenging an existing arrangement regarding Ukraine and Russia’s two most holy sites, the results are not likely to be good at all.

Here is the report about today’s developments, reprinted in part from OrthoChristian.com:

Meeting today in Kiev, the Synod of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) has officially changed the title of its primate, “Patriarch” Philaret, to include the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras under his jurisdiction.

The primate’s new official title, as given on the site of the KP, is “His Holiness and Beatitude (name), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Kiev—Mother of the cities of Rus’, and Galicia, Patriarch of All Rus’-Ukraine, Svyaschenno-Archimandrite of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras.”

…Thus, the KP Synod is declaring that “Patriarch” Philaret has jurisdiction over the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras, although they are canonically under the omophorion of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Philaret and his followers and nationalistic radicals have continually proclaimed that they will take the Lavras for themselves.

This claim to the ancient and venerable monasteries comes after the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced that it had removed the anathema placed upon Philaret by the Russian Orthodox Church and had restored him to his hierarchical office. Philaret was a metropolitan of the canonical Church, becoming patriarch in his schismatic organization.

Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have clarified that they consider Philaret to be the “former Metropolitan of Kiev,” but he and his organization continue to consider him an active patriarch, with jurisdiction in Ukraine.

Constantinople’s statement also appealed to all in Ukraine to “avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties,” which the Synod of the KP ignored in today’s decision.

The KP primate’s abbreviated title will be, “His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine,” and the acceptable form for relations with other Local Churches is “His Beatitude Archbishop (name), Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine.”

The Russian Orthodox Church broke eucharistic communion and all relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate over this matter earlier this week. Of the fourteen local Orthodox Churches recognized the world over, twelve have expressed the viewpoint that Constantinople’s move was in violation of the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church. Only one local Church supported Constantinople wholeheartedly, and all jurisdictions except Constantinople have appealed for an interOrthodox Synod to address and solve the Ukrainian matter in a legitimate manner.

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Claims of Khashoggi death by fistfight expose Saudi brutality

The brutality of both state claims and unproven allegations in Khashoggi’s death raise serious questions about American alliances.

Seraphim Hanisch

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On October 2, 2018, Muslim Brotherhood member and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey, never to be seen or heard from again.

This chilling report has been answered with some horrifying and grisly stories about what happened – that he was dismembered while still alive, that his body parts were dissolved completely in acid, leaving nothing left.

Now after two weeks, the Saudi official word on what happened came out: He died in an unexpected fistfight in the embassy.

Really. That is the Saudi’s explanation. A fistfight. In an embassy. With 18 people detained as suspects in the investigation.

And apparently the Saudi government expects the world to accept this explanation and just let it go.

This situation has just exposed the true nature of this “ally” of the United States. Even Rush Limbaugh, a staunch supporter of all conservative positions in America, has spoken from time to time about the amazing disconnect in American foreign policy with regards to Saudi Arabia. He continued that on his radio programs on both October 18th and 19th, 2018, as shown in this excerpted transcript, with emphasis added:

I’m simplifying this, folks, but generally that’s what happens. So, by the same token, you could say that this militant terrorist Islam that we’ve known since 9/11 and maybe 10, 15 years prior, that has been sponsored by Saudi Arabia, by the Saudi royal family. It’s why so many people have been upset with so many American presidents being buddy-buddy with the king, whoever he happens to be. The Saudis always fund former presidents’ libraries. I mean, the Saudis had a good thing going. They had relationships with every president, former president and so forth.

And while they were selling us oil, sometimes. Cooperative or uncooperative, depending on the time, with price. But during all of that, they were the primary thrust for Wahhabi Islam. Now, here comes MbS (Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia), and he wants to just reform the hell out of the country, get rid of Wahhabism, bring in petrodollars competitors such as Hollywood and Silicon Valley and basically bring Saudi Arabia into the twenty-first century instead of the seventh. And there’s some people that don’t want that to happen.

And from the 19th:

Wahhabi Islam is where the really radical clerics and Imams are who are welcoming anybody they can into their mosques and just literally converting them into suicide bombers, terrorists, and what have you, under the auspices of Islam. And the Saudi royal family stood by and let it all happen. Whether they were instrumental in advocating it, don’t know, but Saudi-funded charities all over the world promoted Wahhabism.

And that’s when I went back to Mr. Buckley and said, “I don’t see how the Saudi royal family, the Saudi government can be separated from these 19 hijackers.”

Now in the rest of these transcripts, which are very interesting, Rush explains that Khashoggi was a Muslim Brotherhood member, and as such, stood opposed to MbS’ reform plans and actions. However the brutality of the alleged murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the official “State version” account of his death are almost equally brutal. Death by fists? How is it that the United States considers such people allies?

President Trump is on record as saying that this explanation by the Saudi government is “credible.” However, this statement alone is out of context, so we bring you the entire statement:

This is not to be misunderstood as a Trump endorsement of belief. He points out that this is a first step, and that in his view it is a good one, but that is all.

Still, these events throw the real nature of the Saudi kingdom into sharp relief. They are the number one customer for US military equipment, now considered allies against Iran. In the complicated field of Middle East relations, the president’s caution is probably very wise for the moment. However, this is a nation which produced most of the 9/11 hijackers, which is said to be the last voice in what Islam is, and so promotes a very violent interpretation of an already violent faith.

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The news and information media got a great lesson in following something like “due process” with this matter, and while the President is doing that, this situation still invites some strong speculation. Allies that simultaneously seek an allied nation’s destruction do not seem like allies much at all. And embassies are usually held to be very safe places for people, not places where they meet their death in any way at all, let alone the cruel means alleged and later claimed.

This event may actually be very damaging to the Saudi Crown Prince’s effort to bring his nation out of Wahhabism and into some more kind interpretation of Islam, and indeed the West’s assessment of Khashoggi has taken to calling him a “teddy bear” when he is a Muslim Brotherhood member. Former US President Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and these people were so violent, killing Christians and destroying homes and businesses, that the Muslim Brotherhood’s uprising was followed by a second uprising from the more reasonable people in Egypt (which Obama promptly dropped).

If reports are to be believed, Mohammed bin Salman wants to end Wahhabism. It would seem to logically make sense that his agencies were involved in what happened to Kashoggi, who is a known critic of bin Salman. But if it really is true that the Saudi royals were not involved, then whoever it was certainly succeeded in stopping bin Salman’s efforts to modernize his country, at least for now.

 

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The future of war: UAE hires U.S. mercenaries to assassinate political leaders (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 137.

Alex Christoforou

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An investigation by BuzzFeed News has revealed that Middle East Monarchy, United Arab Emirates, hired U.S. mercenaries to assassinate political leaders and religious clerical leaders in war torn Yemen.

The U.S. ex-military, elite soldiers were paid by to kill those designated as “terrorists” by the UAE.

The UAE worked with the U.S. based mercenary-for-hire Spear Operations Group, founded by Israeli-American Abraham Golan, who told BuzzFeed News…

“There was a targeted assassination program in Yemen. I was running it.”

Spear Operations Group’s first target in Yemen was Anssaf Ali Mayo, the local leader of the Islamist political party Al-Islah, a party whose members include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkul Karman.

Is this the future of war?

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda discuss the stunning Buzzfeed News article that exposes the dangerous and dark assassination strategy of the United Arab Emirates, hiring American ex-soldiers to target and kill political enemies.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Authored by Aram Roston via BuzzFeed News…


The operation against Mayo — which was reported at the time but until now was not known to have been carried out by American mercenaries — marked a pivot point in the war in Yemen, a brutal conflict that has seen children starved, villages bombed, and epidemics of cholera roll through the civilian population. The bombing was the first salvo in a string of unsolved assassinations that killed more than two dozen of the group’s leaders.

The company that hired the soldiers and carried out the attack is Spear Operations Group, incorporated in Delaware and founded by Abraham Golan, a charismatic Hungarian Israeli security contractor who lives outside of Pittsburgh. He led the team’s strike against Mayo.

“There was a targeted assassination program in Yemen,” he told BuzzFeed News. “I was running it. We did it. It was sanctioned by the UAE within the coalition.”

The UAE and Saudi Arabia lead an alliance of nine countries in Yemen, fighting what is largely a proxy war against Iran. The US is helping the Saudi-UAE side by providing weapons, intelligence, and other support.

The press office of the UAE’s US Embassy, as well as its US public affairs company, Harbour Group, did not respond to multiple phone calls and emails.

The revelations that a Middle East monarchy hired Americans to carry out assassinations comes at a moment when the world is focused on the alleged murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia, an autocratic regime that has close ties to both the US and the UAE. (The Saudi Embassy in the US did not respond to a request for comment. Riyadh has denied it killed Khashoggi, though news reports suggest it is considering blaming his death on a botched interrogation.)

Golan said that during his company’s months-long engagement in Yemen, his team was responsible for a number of the war’s high-profile assassinations, though he declined to specify which ones. He argued that the US needs an assassination program similar to the model he deployed. “I just want there to be a debate,” he said. “Maybe I’m a monster. Maybe I should be in jail. Maybe I’m a bad guy. But I’m right.”

Spear Operations Group’s private assassination mission marks the confluence of three developments transforming the way war is conducted worldwide:

  • Modern counterterrorism combat has shifted away from traditional military objectives — such as destroying airfields, gun emplacements, or barracks — to killing specific individuals, largely reshaping war into organized assassinations.
  • War has become increasingly privatized, with many nations outsourcing most military support services to private contractors, leaving frontline combat as virtually the only function that the US and many other militaries have not contracted out to for-profit ventures.
  • The long US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have relied heavily on elite special forces, producing tens of thousands of highly trained American commandos who can demand high private-sector salaries for defense contracting or outright mercenary work.

With Spear Operations Group’s mission in Yemen, these trends converged into a new and incendiary business: militarized contract killing, carried out by skilled American fighters.

Experts said it is almost inconceivable that the United States would not have known that the UAE — whose military the US has trained and armed at virtually every level — had hired an American company staffed by American veterans to conduct an assassination program in a war it closely monitors.

One of the mercenaries, according to three sources familiar with the operation, used to work with the CIA’s “ground branch,” the agency’s equivalent of the military’s special forces. Another was a special forces sergeant in the Maryland Army National Guard. And yet another, according to four people who knew him, was still in the Navy Reserve as a SEAL and had a top-secret clearance. He was a veteran of SEAL Team 6, or DEVGRU, the sources told BuzzFeed News. The New York Times once described that elite unit, famous for killing Osama bin Laden, as a “global manhunting machine with limited outside oversight.”

The CIA said it had no information about the mercenary assassination program, and the Navy’s Special Warfare Command declined to comment. A former CIA official who has worked in the UAE initially told BuzzFeed News there was no way that Americans would be allowed to participate in such a program. But after checking, he called back: “There were guys that were basically doing what you said.” He was astonished, he said, by what he learned: “What vetting procedures are there to make sure the guy you just smoked is really a bad guy?” The mercenaries, he said, were “almost like a murder squad.”

Whether Spear’s mercenary operation violates US law is surprisingly unclear. On the one hand, US law makes it illegal to “conspire to kill, kidnap, maim” someone in another country. Companies that provide military services to foreign nations are supposed to be regulated by the State Department, which says it has never granted any company the authority to supply combat troops or mercenaries to another country.

Yet, as BuzzFeed News has previously reported, the US doesn’t ban mercenaries. And with some exceptions, it is perfectly legal to serve in foreign militaries, whether one is motivated by idealism or money. With no legal consequences, Americans have served in the Israel Defense Forces, the French Foreign Legion, and even a militia fighting ISIS in Syria. Spear Operations Group, according to three sources, arranged for the UAE to give military rank to the Americans involved in the mission, which might provide them legal cover.

Despite operating in a legal and political gray zone, Golan heralds his brand of targeted assassinations as a precision counterterrorism strategy with fewer civilian casualties. But the Mayo operation shows that this new form of warfare carries many of the same old problems. The commandos’ plans went awry, and the intelligence proved flawed. And their strike was far from surgical: The explosive they attached to the door was designed to kill not one person but everyone in the office.

Aside from moral objections, for-profit targeted assassinations add new dilemmas to modern warfare. Private mercenaries operate outside the US military’s chain of command, so if they make mistakes or commit war crimes, there is no clear system for holding them accountable. If the mercenaries had killed a civilian in the street, who would have even investigated?

The Mayo mission exposes an even more central problem: the choice of targets. Golan insists that he killed only terrorists identified by the government of the UAE, an ally of the US. But who is a terrorist and who is a politician? What is a new form of warfare and what is just old-fashioned murder for hire? Who has the right to choose who lives and who dies — not only in the wars of a secretive monarchy like the UAE, but also those of a democracy such as the US?

BuzzFeed News has pieced together the inside story of the company’s attack on Al-Islah’s headquarters, revealing what mercenary warfare looks like now — and what it could become.

Full Story at BuzzFeed News…

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