Aaron Stein Profile picture
Chief content officer @metamorphicmdia & @warontherocks; @acwpodcast host; Author: US war against ISIS @bloomsburybooks. Views are all my own
Birger Leth Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
Sep 11 17 tweets 5 min read
.@KofmanMichael and @AnyaFink do explain what Ru docs say about how nuclear weapons could be used to end regional conflicts on favorable terms. I'll paraphrase: Ru views long range pgms as strat weapons, & therefore uses nukes to deter mil contingencies that have no good answers @KofmanMichael @AnyaFink They continue that Ru strategists view "warfighting is discussed as distinct from deterrence" .. & "forces are then divided into categories of 'general purpose' and 'strategic deterrence'." These strat forces are then divided again into "Offensive and defensive forces" ..
Aug 2 9 tweets 2 min read
Akkuyu is not lucrative for Rosatom. It is a boondoggle they are trying to get out of by selling 49% to operate it. Problem: No buyers

The electricity is expensive, as well, meaning it will probably end up being subsidized by the state in some form.

yetkinreport.com/en/2022/08/01/… Go back to the beginning: Why did Rosatom "win" the tender? Noone else bid other than China. Financing was dependent on project company paying a fixed price $20 billion construction contract through a "local" project company, that would then sub-contract labor.
Jun 29 4 tweets 1 min read
So what happens now? 1)Ascension protocols will need to be signed. This can be done by ambassadors b/c authority has been delegated. I expect this today, or very soon. 2) After this, Sweden + Finland can sit in sessions as invited members; 3) Will be ratified by member states The 3rd step will take time — Some EU countries dont have seated govts — & where there can still be some friction w/ Ankara (perhaps if this extradition issue festers). Nevertheless, this is a win for Biden + NATO. Nothing was actually conceded. Language massaged. Moving forward
Jun 29 5 tweets 2 min read
Biden didnt directly threaten Reis on this issue, but it was implied throughout. If Tr dragged this past Madrid, ability to get the sales over the line diminished. However, as of now, Congress does not yet support — & this expansion saga doesnt give anyone the warm and fuzzies Tr has no actual alternative. Pro-govt folks can float Eurofighter, but that is a major acquisition at the requisite numbers that will upend timing on TF/X and have serious costs on logistics and sustainment (which also eats into other budgetary priorities).
Apr 29 4 tweets 2 min read
As a thought exercise, try and come up with a viable target for a Russian nuclear weapon in Ukraine. What target would need to be nuked that cannot be attacked with conventional munitions. I have yet to come up with anything. I can make a more compelling case for chemical weapons, but it is a stretch and incongruent with what I think is Moscow’s current war strategy …. This is something @ArmsControlWonk discussed on the podcast

Mar 3 13 tweets 4 min read
The focus has been on the lack of SEAD + relatively sparse use of OCA/DCA by fighters. Id also add the slow targeting cycle. We can use @planet images to assess BDA on Ukrainian air fields and know that Russians have a very slow targeting cycle. @planet It also appears — again hesitant to make any definitive claims — that the western part of Ukraine has been left comparatively lightly touched, allowing for UkrAF to disperse and generate sorties. This allows for two things: 1) Slash attacks; 2) Creation of "SAMBUSH opportunities"
Mar 2 4 tweets 1 min read
Nuance matters: Turkey used article 19. They separately asked countries not to introduce war ships into the Black Sea. Russia complied. This was consensual. Understanding what is happening is important before tweeting. There is ample evidence the closure could hurt Ru naval operations in the East Med. That will take about 6-8 weeks to judge. The step was important politically, but also legally prudent under the strict interpretation of the convention Ankara so preciously guards and implements.
Dec 10, 2020 13 tweets 3 min read
Ive read the interview with Amb. Jeffrey. The inherent tension is that tethering US presence in Syria to Max Pressure means that the US will also remain tethered to the SDF. The SDF and Turkey are hostile & such a policy will be resisted by Ankara as against its own interests You — quite simply — cannot have a policy of open-ended presence & find a modus vivendi w/ Ankara. The efforts to do just that — the Manbij Roadmap and the Security Mechanism didnt deter TR action. To the contrary, it was a concession that Ankara pocketed and then upped pressure
Apr 22, 2020 8 tweets 2 min read
Turkey has belatedly signed up for the Graham-Trump “keep them boxed and let’s talk to avoid sanctions” option on S-400 deployment. That option is built around the nebulous idea how to codify and make permanent the “keep it boxed” option. This remains a poor place to be in. Per work with @DaveSchmerler , it appears that S400 has been stored at Murted since late November. Recent sat photos from April don’t suggest they’ve been removed from storage
Feb 9, 2020 17 tweets 3 min read
Turkey has given an end of Feb deadline to Assad (Ankara has been very precise in its language to exclude Russia in its rhetoric). My #1 rule is take RTE seriously. RTE’s demands of Assad, to withdraw to the Sochi line, wont happen. Knowing this: What will TR action look like? 1st: The regime offensive risks collapsing the entirety of the Turkish zone in Syria. Why? Idlib has operated as a de-facto IDP zone since Sept. 17, which in tandem with OES, OOB, & the ’15 border closing allowed for TR to reverse the flow of people.
Nov 12, 2019 6 tweets 2 min read
The “curtain raiser” for the RTE trip is that, quietly, Congressional Rs have worked to wrestle power away from POTUS for 3 years. They are genuinely frightened of his decision making despite the fealty shown on TV. And, oddly, those in Congress that have favored the “stick” On sanctions over S-400 are the one’s (and a small group, BTW) holding back even more aggressive action to punish Turkey for S-400, Syria, etc, than was proposed 1.5 years ago. The visit could not have come at a worse time for US-TR relations. If TR is not prepared to compromise
Oct 14, 2019 4 tweets 1 min read
The B-61 nuclear weapons in Turkey need maintenance and to be upgraded. In short, the weapons in Turkey will get a new tail kit to make the “dumb” bombs “smart” and more precise. These weapons will receive this upgrade in the US. Not Turkey. So they were coming out As part of this, there were talks with Turkey about ancillary issues for the basing arrangement. I believe about liability in the event of an accident. This is standard. But after a coup in July 2016 and, now, with relations in a tail spin, there are broader questions
Oct 7, 2019 14 tweets 3 min read
Trump issued the 1209 waiver, creating the mechanism to expand support for YPG (direct arming and more weapons). He did so b/c the assault on Raqqa required it. US and TR did the dance on alternative forces for Raqqa. History: Team Obama knew — and wrote in a lengthy briefing book on TR — that the waiver would be a fecal material show. They offered to issue the 1209 waiver. The intent was to finish Raqqa and have Trump revoke it. Allowing TR to blame Obama and give Trump a pathway to fix relations
Sep 18, 2019 11 tweets 3 min read
I am going to add this: The challenge for LACM defense is the sensor range to detect low flying targets using terrain masking for inbound flight. The radar is 120-180 degrees (detection) and then one has to factor in the cueing speed, gyroscopes warming, etc etc. So even if the LACM is detected, it is a question of at what range, factoring again that its moving, uhh, lets say at 500 mph (800 km/h). So with a detection range, at low altitude, close in to your defense, your speed to shoot is compressed. And with a salvo, increase difficulty
Jun 13, 2019 6 tweets 1 min read
One could argue that Iran has adopted an effective policy of maximum pressure. When an adversary (Iran)correctly gambles that the superior power will not risk direct military confrontation for a regional ally, it has asymmetric escalation dominance and can succeed in eroding trust in the primacy of American power as a guarantor for regional security
Apr 3, 2019 38 tweets 6 min read
This is going to be a long one. <thread>

A primer on Turkish air and missile defense, given the S-400 kerfuffle and the constant noise about a lack of American interest in selling Patriot Depending on how/when you look back, Turkish interest in missile defense came after War of Cities in Middle East in 1980s and, more prominently, after Gulf War I (mixture of threat assessment and technology maturing that allowed for BMD)
Mar 5, 2019 4 tweets 1 min read
Norway is a very useful case study. Were at Tanf, commiserate to D-IS mandate. Once the D-IS mandate ended and the mission morphed to blocking an Iranian land bridge, Norway withdrew b/c there was no longer a legal mandate. As US ask Euros for troops, the D-IS mandate matters So as the US celebrates the Turmp letter to Congress that emphasizes Iran, it actually makes the demarche to European states harder for them to fulfill because the mandate is so nebulous. Would be wise to focus only on IS and never, ever mention Iran. The Norway precedent matters
Feb 22, 2019 8 tweets 2 min read
200 troops is too small to advise, assist, accompany SDF units, so US forces won’t be “touching” their Kurdish/Arab partners in this current iteration of the plan. The idea, of course, is for British and French troops to monitor and report on a proposed safe zone This appears to have come from bottom up Congressional pressure, so it will to be left to DoD to come up with the manning requirements for a 100+100 (NE and Tanf) force in Syria. Presumably, and per what is being discussed with Ankara, the idea is for the USAF to remain
Feb 19, 2019 4 tweets 1 min read
Of course the US-Turkey Patriot talks haven’t reached the stage of discussion about coproduction. This is a totally disingenuous argument. In both the pre-2015 letter of agreement and the current, post-2018 LOA the call is for the first 2 units to be off the self The follow-on units, per Turkish timeline requests (which are sped up for the post-2018 LOA), co-production/development will begin with the third Patriot unit. It is w/in this context that industry-led co-prod/dev talks would take place.
Feb 14, 2019 5 tweets 1 min read
US safe zone proposal would not have a heavy Turkish presence; instead Euro forces would “monitor and report” and, depending on who you ask, USAF to deny regime/Russia

RU’s proposed safe zone appears in line with the Adana Agreement, meaning not more than 5km for TR, if anything The SDF proposal for a safe zone is a disarmed sliver (perhaps 5km or so) that would be filled by Jarba mercs and/or Roj Posh, international observers, and US guarantees.

TR’s proposal for safe zone is 30km deep, carve out for regime area, heavy TSO and light TSK w/ USAF cover
Feb 14, 2019 6 tweets 2 min read
My latest for @FPRI :: Planning for Failure: The U.S. Withdrawal from Syria - Foreign Policy Research Institute fpri.org/article/2019/0… @FPRI In this @FPRI I argue that the US withdrawal will begin to outpace the on-going talks with the Turks. Simply put, it is hard to hide convoys moving east, and that the withdrawal will start independent of any agreement with Ankara.