Sniper Basics For The SHTF Survivalist

Editor’s Note: The following primer for Survivalist Snipers is a must-read (and implement) for anyone who is serious about preserving their life and liberty in the event of a worst-case scenario. Brandon Smith of Alt-Market.com has generously contributed his time and energy to developing this guide and sharing it with our community.

sniper image2(Pictured: Alt-Market.com founder Brandon Smith)

God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best - Voltaire

For a long time sniper tactics have been consider by many, even in the military, to be akin to a kind of state designated “murder” rather than a legitimate combat strategy. Only in recent years has sniping achieved a certain level of recognition. Centuries of warfare have passed in which snipers were happily recruited for their skills, and then quickly swept under the rug and forgotten once conflict was over. Daniel Morgan and his crack-shot riflemen were instrumental in America’s revolutionary victory over the British. U.S. sharpshooters rained hell down on German troops from over 900 yards during WWI. Snipers have dominated the battlefield in every modern conflagration. Yet, regimented sniping schools were not standardized in the U.S. Army until 1987. All previous schools were abandoned within a few years of their establishment.

Why did it take so long for the sniper to be recognized as essential to victory? Perhaps because snipers are TOO effective, to the point that they become frightening to the establishment.

During the Finnish “Winter War” against the Soviet Union in which they were vastly outnumbered and outgunned, guerrilla tactics, which they called “Motti tactics”, were used to excellent effect. The Finnish devastated the Soviets using hit and run attacks, homemade and improvised weapons, and snipers. The most famous of these snipers was Simo Hayha.

Simo was a common farmer with a diminutive stature of only 5 feet 3 inches tall. His shooting prowess was honed as a hunter in the wilderness of Finland. Simo is credited with over 505 (official) kills, including several teams of Soviet counter-snipers sent specifically to eliminate him. These kills were made during less than 100 days of combat, meaning Hayha engaged and destroyed 5 targets per day by himself. Known as the “White Death”, Simo would finally be removed from the battlefield by a lucky shot from an explosive tipped rifle round to the face while holding off a Soviet advance; he would wake up later in a Finnish hospital at the very end of the war and die of old age in the year 2002.

Simo Hayha proved once and for all the effectiveness of a single shooter in the face of a more powerful opponent. This kind of attrition warfare stopped the more technologically advanced Russians in their tracks, and ended their pursuit of total invasion. The poorly armed Finish prevailed despite all odds.

Sniper training turns a simple rifleman into a weapon of long range mass destruction, which is probably the reason why most governments around the globe have been reluctant until recently to educate more than a handful of soldiers on sniping methods. Hypothetically, a team of snipers could be dangerous enough to topple the political leadership (or oligarchy) of any given nation with nothing more than a few finely tuned rifles and a couple boxes of high caliber rounds.

Governments, fearful of being outdone by such low-tech adversaries, have gone to great lengths in an attempt to negate the sniper as a threat. Night vision, thermal vision, sound detection equipment, gas attacks, white phosphorous attacks, even large scale artillery barrages and laser guided missiles have not been able to stop snipers from remaining as a primary combat tool. Snipers always find a way around existing defenses, no matter how high tech. This is why sniper techniques are one of the ultimate strategies for self defense of the common citizenry usually disarmed of military grade weaponry.

I often hear skepticism when discussing the concept of long range combat techniques for survivalists. People ask why survivalists should even bother with sniper methods? How would they identify legitimate targets that present a tangible threat from such a distance? And, don’t most firefights occur within a range of 50 yards or less?

These questions come generally from inexperience with the methodology and the training. Sniper tactics are as much about reconnaissance as they are about precision shooting. Scoping and identifying targets before they pull the trigger is 90 percent of their job, and they tend to do it well. Unless they happen to work for the ATF or the FBI, usually, snipers are required to evaluate targets before engagement rather than firing on anything unlucky enough to stumble into their crosshairs. This process is just as applicable to the survival sniper as it is to an Army or Marine sniper.

In terms of common combat ranges, it is true that most military engagements occur in close quarters, but this is due more to the manner in which standard militaries conduct operations. Armies with superior numbers and technology PREFER to use shock and awe and CQC in order to quickly overwhelm and subdue the enemy. The modern method of warfare (or local police swat raids for that matter) is merely a refined form of blitzkrieg. The guerrilla fighter, on the other hand, has to remain adaptable, and in many cases, controlling the timing and distance of the fight is his only advantage. Sniper tactics are better suited to the underdog, not mechanized military operations. It behooves the survivalist to have long distance capabilities because there is little chance he will ever be anything but the underdog.

I am a relative newcomer to the world of long distance shooting and sniping with only a couple years of training, and I know how difficult the discipline appears to people who have just become curious about it. The modern “mystic” surrounding the sniper is deserved in certain respects, however, once the fundamentals are learned, it is surprising how easy your shots actually become, even at 1000 yards-plus, if you have the correct mindset.

Before you can practice such accuracy, though, there are many steps you need to take, and they should be taken in this order…

Choose A Caliber

If you want to become a precision shooter it is absolutely vital that you carefully research the caliber of round you will eventually use. The caliber will determine the kind of rifle platform you purchase, not to mention the scope and reloading equipment (if you decide to load your own rounds). Most of us do not have the kind of cash necessary to apply the trial and error method. You have to choose right the first time, otherwise, thousands of dollars may go down the drain.

Your typical AK-47, AR-15, or run-of-the-mill hunting rifle is not going to be effective in a sniper scenario. Such weapons are generally not designed for engaging targets at more than 500 yards, and the average hunting rifle is not designed to take the kind of abuse faced during combat conditions. The .223 round is sometimes used for sniping in urban settings (usually between 100 to 300 yards) where limited penetration is needed in order to avoid collateral damage, but is not practical for long range.

The most common caliber used for long distance sniper platforms is the .308. The .308 has an effective range of around 800-1000 yards (sometimes more depending on the type of the bullet). I would consider it the bare minimum caliber required to achieve sniper accuracy and penetration at longer distances. Similar calibers, like the .30-06 or the 7.62 by 54, have equal capabilities, however, combat ready rifles which easily mount tactical scopes are difficult to find for them.

The 300 win mag and the 7mm are the next step up entering into the “magnum” rifle caliber category, with excellent range and accuracy. The 300 win mag can be fired effectively at over a mile (1760 yards), and is my personal favorite.

The next stage in long range is far more expensive. The .338 Lapua and the .50 BMG are range capable at 2700 yards or more, are so heavy that they penetrate most armor, and can be employed to take down vehicles as well as human beings. Expect to pay around $ 3 to $ 4 per round for .338 and $ 5-plus per round when training with .50 cal. Reloading can diminish the expenses slightly.

Choose A Rifle

Once you’ve researched and decided upon a caliber you can afford, the next step is purchasing a rifle platform that fits the stringent requirements of long distance shooting. Here are some guidelines for getting started:

Rifle Accuracy Of 1 MOA (Minute Of Angle) Or Less - The rifle must be able to fire shot groups of less than 1 inch apart at 100 yards. A 1 MOA rifle will fire a shot group of around 10 inches at 1000 yards, and any deviation of a couple inches on a human target could mean a miss. There are some out-of-the-box rifles that easily fire within 1 MOA. Some platforms will need to be re-barreled.

Semi-Auto Or Bolt Action - A few semi-auto rifles do have the accuracy you would need for long distance. The Springfield M1A, the FNAR, certain retooled versions of the AR-10, etc, can all become excellent sniper platforms. Semi-automatics have the advantage of sending more rounds downrange faster, and allow you to acquire new targets without worrying about cycling the bolt. They are, though, designed with looser tolerances than the common bolt action, which means ranges surpassing 800 yards are more difficult. Bolt action rifles tend to have very low capacity mags, and are slower to cycle, but many models do have tighter chambers and heavier barrels which result in more consistently accurate shots at 1000 yards or more. Your choice of rifle depends on the kinds of situations you expect to run into.

Rifle Make And Model - How common are replacement parts and mags for your rifle? How common is the the caliber? Will you be able to procure ammo and parts easily? Will you be able to share supplies with other shooters in your survival community, or is nothing interchangeable? These are some important factors to consider before laying down cash on a rifle system.

Smooth Bolt And Trigger - Your bolt should cycle smoothly without resistance. Your semi-auto should not suffer from any jamming. Your trigger should be light and intuitive.

Floated Barrel - A floated barrel is a barrel that does not come into contact with any part of the rifle stock. A narrow space between the stock and the barrel prevents interference by the stock with the “harmonics” of the barrel. Shots become more consistent, and damage to the stock does not effect accuracy.

Heavy Barrel Or Factory Barrel - Military snipers are often supplied with heavy barrel rifles because the weight of the barrel allows for more consistent shots, less overheating, and better harmonics. However, a heavy barrel is NOT necessary to achieve sniper accuracy. Many factory made barrels can get the job done just as well and for less money.

This particular rifle is a Tikka 695 manufactured by Sako in Finland.  The 695 features a floated barrel and removable magazine, which is rare for a bolt action, and allows for fast reloading if you have spares.  The scope is a fixed 10 power SWFA SS, and the muzzle break is temporary. The trigger and bolt are incredibly smooth for an off-the-shelf rifle and Sako ensures that every rifle they produce shoots at 1MOA or less before it leaves the factory, making the Tikka one of the best low cost firearms for the beginning sniper.  This rifle has been tested out to 1000 yards and is consistently accurate. The entire package costs less than $ 1000.

Choose A Scope

The standard for long range shooting is a mil-dot scope, either fixed power or variable, with 1/4 MOA adjustment knobs. It must also be rated to handle the recoil of the caliber you are shooting. Illuminated reticles, night vision options, in-scope reference and ranging dots, and numerous other bells and whistles should depend upon your defense needs. I prefer an uncluttered scope with a simple mildot reticle like the one below…

Those seeking to learn long range shooting can be easily overwhelmed by the scope selection on the market today. One could spend up to $ 2000 – $ 3000; more than he would spend on a prospective rifle. If you have that kind of green, then by all means, pick up a high end Leupold, Vortex, Nightforce, or Schmidt and Bender. If you don’t (and I’m assuming most of you, like me, don’t), there are still a few excellent scopes out there for minimal cash.

Companies like Burris, Millett, and SWFA all have sniper grade scopes designed to handle heavy abuse for around $ 300 to $ 400. The optics used by these companies are excellent, and only slightly less proficient at light collection than scopes several times more costly. The primary issue is that the scope holds its zero, and is not easily broken.

Choose Your Ammo And Reloading Press

Reloading is a vast and sometimes daunting skill set that takes a lot of time and patience to master. The process is indeed tedious, and the fun only really happens when you get to take your precision reloads out to the range and witness the extreme accuracy they afford. A year ago, I would have said that reloading was an excellent way to save money on ammunition, but in light of the recent ammo purchasing bonanza just before the latest attack on the 2ndAmendment by the White House, finding the exact materials you need today can be expensive or in some cases impossible.

There are plenty of factory-made match grade rounds on the market right now that will do pretty much whatever you need them to do. I would only recommend venturing into the world of reloading if you have a good source of components (powder, primers, brass, and bullets), and if you plan to hone your expertise past 1000 yards. For such distances you need extra heavy bullets which can maintain momentum and trajectory, and it is difficult to find factory rounds with heavier projectiles. Also, if you are shooting a magnum-grade caliber, there can be some noticeable savings in reloading.

These reloaded .300 Win Mag rounds utilize a 210 grain boat tail hollow point bullet.  It took a lot of trial and error to find the best combination of powder, primer, and projectile for my particular rifle, but the sub-MOA groups created by these rounds make the effort worth it.

If you decide to reload, very simple equipment is available that will fill your requirements for relatively low cost. Lee’s single stage press or classic press kit, for instance, works perfectly for the long range shooter, and can be purchased for around $ 100. You’ll then need press “dies” designed specifically for the caliber you have chosen to shoot, along with shell holders, powder measure, scale, etc. etc. There is nowhere near enough space to cover reloading thoroughly here. The important thing is that you research every aspect of the round you plan to build, create your test-fire groups, pick what gives you the best accuracy and speed, then stock up on as much powder and other components as possible while you still can.

Remember, if you change any components in the rounds you use, the flight path of the bullet will change, the point of impact will change, and how you adjust your scope will change, so try to stick with the same components for every round you make.

Learn How To Make The Shot

One of the biggest obstacles for many seeking to learn sniper tactics is simply finding a shooting range that offers long distance targets. Most private and state run ranges across the country are no more than 300 – 500 yards. This is not adequate. Once you have found a range of 700 yards or more, you must then learn these vital fundamentals…

Calculate Distance To Target - Perhaps THE most important of all skills required for sniping is the ability to effectively calculate distance. This is the area in which most people give up on long distance shooting, when it is, in reality, very simple, and you don’t need an expensive laser rangefinder to do it.

Using the mil-dots in your scope and the equation below, you can easily estimate rage:

Known size of target (in yards) x 1000 divided by size of target in Mil Dots =Range in yards

The average adult human being is between 5-6 feet tall (or around 2 yards), as long as you remember this the rest is self explanatory. An even faster method for estimating rage is to use an item called a Mildot Master, which is a sliding analog calculator made of plastic. If you know the general size of your target in inches or feet, all you have to do is measure the number of mildots the target covers in your scope, then slide the calculator until the two measurements meet; the Mildot Master gives you a close to exact distance of the the target.

Once you know the distance to target, you can adjust your scope to compensate for bullet drop.

Know Your Bullet Drop And Dope Chart - Bullets do not fly in a straight line. Rather, they fly in an arc, like an artillery shell or a football. The amount of drop in your bullet at any given distance will determine how much you need to adjust the crosshairs of your scope upwards in order to compensate. To calculate bullet drop you must first know how fast your particular bullet travels as it leaves the barrel of your particular rifle. To do this, you need to either purchase or borrow a piece of gear called a “chronograph”.

Chronographs are very easy to use. Just fire your test bullets over top of the device and it will relay the speed in feet per second. All reloaders should have a chronograph on hand. Once you know the speed of the bullet, you can go online to any number of shooter websites, enter the data on the bullet, and the website will print out a “Dope Chart” for you. This chart will tell you exactly how many clicks to adjust your scope at any given range.

Laminate your dope chart and keep it on or near your rifle at all times.

Adjust For Wind And Temperature - Adjusting for wind and temperature is an intuitive process. Some snipers use mini weather stations that give exact wind and temperature readings in the field. The most reliable of these devices cost in the range of $ 300 to $ 500. Any adjustments due to wind and temp will usually be small, only a couple of MOA left or right, up or down. Temperature can have a noticeable effect on the speed of a bullet, thus changing point of impact. Higher temperature means a faster burn rate on powder, creating more speed. Cold weather means reduced speed. Be sure to test your rounds at differing temperatures and wind speeds and keep notes on how this effects your zero.

Pulling The Trigger - You have fine tuned your rifle, you have perfected range estimation, you know everything there is to know about the bullet you are shooting, you have memorized your dope chart, and now, you are ready to pull the trigger. When you place your crosshairs on a target, you should be 99.999% certain that the bullet will hit, but there is still the matter of “human error” to deal with.

This is where the greatness or “artistry” of the trained sniper is measured. To be blunt, not just anyone can make a 1000-plus yard shot. In fact, many people don’t have the patience or the mindset to achieve such a goal. The average shooter has a tendency to defeat himself before he ever fires a round. No one can teach you to focus your mind, that is an attribute that must be learned on your own. That said, once you are able to focus, pulling the trigger becomes a mere matter of proper body alignment.

When shooting from the prone position, the butt of the rifle should be firmly planted in your shoulder, your non-shooting hand should be under the stock providing steady balance, and your body should be completely relaxed. Your muscles do NOT provide the support for the rifle, your skeleton is the support. The only muscle that should be moving at all is your trigger finger.

Before pulling the trigger, you must measure the tempo of your breathing. There is a moment in every breath in which your body is the most still; it is different for every person, and this is when you fire. Pull the trigger straight back using the tip of your finger. Continue holding for a moment, and then release. Try not to blink during the shot. In fact, challenge yourself to keep your eyes open preceding the recoil. This will condition your body to resist the impulse to flinch before or during the shot.

Adjusting The Shot

After the shot is released, you can often see the spiraling trail of the bullet in your scope as it cuts through the air. A friend can aid you as your spotter as well. Your first shot, also known as the “cold bore shot”, is the most important. In a combat situation, the cold bore shot is usually the only shot a sniper takes before exfiltration. Sometimes, adjustment for a second shot on target is possible, but you will only have a matter of seconds to make it happen. At long distances, the bullet impact occurs long before the crack of the gun reaches the ears of the target, giving you a moment to reacquire and shoot again before he realizes what is happening.

Watch for bullet splash in the terrain surrounding the target, including rising dust and flying shrapnel. Shift your reticle accordingly.

Stealth And Concealment

Once you have mastered accuracy, it is time to focus on concealment. This requires an understanding of color, shadow, shape, and micro-terrain. The use of micro-terrain allows a sniper to move across areas most people would consider “wide open”. Grasses, bushes, rock formations, and small impressions in the earth give the sniper just enough concealment to make him invisible. The Ghillie Suit is the most common form of camouflage for the professional sniper, but I prefer lighter materials that can be quickly thrown over top of the BDU’s you are already wearing. Speed and maneuverability are sacrificed while wearing the extremely thick and heavy ghillie. Thermal reflective materials are also important when covering heat signature. Natural barriers can be used to obscure movement. A sniper must have considerable patience. A single sniper stalk could take hours, or even days. One’s movement must be so slow and methodical that it never registers as abnormal in the eyes of security or video surveillance.

The author and his spotter for the day, Maggie, somewhere in the wilds of Montana.

Sniper methods are invaluable to the survivalist for numerous reasons. They create a standoff distance that is highly intimidating to aggressors. They give the survivalist the ability to remain unseen if he wishes. They give him the ability to engage and destroy opponents with more advanced arms and greater numbers. They train the average person to think asymmetrically; to prevail using less resources and with less risk. They make him a truly viable threat, with nothing more on hand than a rifle and a few precision rounds of ammunition. A single sniper can change the balance of a conflict and snatch momentum away from the most powerful of enemies. The more liberty minded people who have this skill, the better.

Special thanks to the Kalispell long distance shooting group (you guys know who you are) for helping me fine tune my 1000 yard shot.

You can contact Brandon Smith at:  brandon@alt-market.com

Alt-Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense.  Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better.

To contribute to the growth of the Safe Haven Project, and to help us help others in relocating, or to support the creation of barter networks across the country, visit our donate page.


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

REALITY TV: Watch as small company employees find out what Obamacare is doing to their coverage

“They call it the affordable health plan. There’s nothing affordable about it. I can’t afford it.

A local news station brings viewers inside one Pennsylvania company as the employees there learn about their new health care plans under Obamacare…

“Look at the numbers,” says the reporter of two employees. “Jeff and Dave used to have a $ 1,250 deductible. Since Obamacare went into effect, it’s now jumped 60 percent to $ 2,000. That’s nothing compared to Brian, Kristi, and Judy who have kids. they are going to pay twice that, four grand.” The reporter adds that co-pays are being increased, too.

“I don’t know how President Obama thinks he’s helping us because we can’t afford this, we can’t afford to pay these co-pays, to pay these deductibles on what we’re making,” says one of the workers.

Now pretend you’re in the GOP Establishment.

What would you do to exploit the tidal wave of rage washing over the countryside as Americans discover what socialized medicine really means?

If you answered “Pass Amnesty for Illegal Aliens“, you have a future working for Karl Rove and the Chamber of Crony Capitalism.

Hat tip: BadBlue Real-Time News

Doug Ross @ Journal

The White House is trying to impose a Mideast peace deal. Here’s what you need to know.

Is the Obama administration trying to divide Jerusalem?

Is the Obama administration trying to divide Jerusalem?

(Washington, D.C.) — A fascinating but dicey and possibly dangerous moment is rapidly approaching in the epicenter.

The Obama administration is about to tell the Israelis and Palestinians how to solve their problems. The White House is about to pressure both sides to agree “in principle” to an interim agreement, and then work on a final peace treaty. How the two sides will react is anyone’s bet. Could the dynamic actually lead to a peaceful resolution of an ancient conflict? Seems unlikely. Could it lead to a calm and quiet at least for a while? Sure, theoretically. But to be candid, it could also lead to political chaos, or even to renewed violence.

Let me explain as concisely as I can.

Within days, or at most a few weeks, Secretary of State John Kerry will present both sides with what he calls a “framework agreement.” Essentially, this is an American-crafted peace plan. Yes, it will be based on month after month of discussions with both sides, and with the Jordanians. But make no mistake: it’s the plan President Obama wants to impose on the two parties. It is supposed to create the context for the final peace treaty, which the White House wants negotiated, completed, and signed by the end of 2014.

There will be much in the “framework agreement” both sides don’t like. For example, the plan reportedly calls for dividing Jerusalem and turning into East Jerusalem into the Palestinian capital, something the Netanyahu team adamantly rejects. The plan also keeps Israeli troops helping patrol and secure the Jordan Valley for a period of years, something the Abbas team adamantly rejects. Nevertheless, the two sides are supposed to say “yes” to this interim deal, and then use it to craft a final and supposedly ”better” deal.

But this where the problems lie. There are many. Let’s consider just two.

First, the Obama team could inadvertently make the situation worse. It could accidentally set into motion events that lead to renewed Palestinian terrorism (i.e., a “Third Intifada”) which would force the Israeli Defense Forces into a combat mode. Casualties could escalate, and things could get out of control. It’s happened before. In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton tried to pressure the Israelis and Palestinians to make a final deal at Camp David. Then-Israeli PM Ehud Barak finally agreed to make sweeping concessions to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. Barak offered the Palestinians all of Gaza, 93% of the West Bank, and half of Jerusalem for their capital, in return for a final peace treaty and the end to all claims. But wanting much more, Arafat said no. He quit the talks, left Camp David and then supported the Second Intifada, which unleashed a wave of suicide bombers who kept killing Israeli civilians, and caused the IDF to invade cities and towns in the West Bank to find and crush these terror cells.

Let’s pray this doesn’t happen. We all want peace. We certain don’t want violence to break out again, especially on such a wide scale.

Second, trying to force both sides to accept an American peace plan could blow up either or both governments.

If the Netanyahu government says “yes” to this interim Obama peace plan, his coalition may revolt. Already the right-wing parties fear that Netanyahu will make dangerous concessions in the final negotiations. He has made major concessions before, giving the ancient city of Hebron to the Palestinians, for example. If Netanyahu looks like he’s agreeing to more painful and arguably unwise concessions, certain Israeli political parties may quit the coalition, or Netanyahu might fire them. Political tensions in Jerusalem have been spiking all week for these very reasons. Saying “yes” might mean the Netanyahu government has be significantly reshuffled (i.e., replacing defecting right-wing parties with one or more left-wing parties). But it also could collapse all together. If so, then new elections would have to be called, which would further delay if not derail the “peace process.”

But if Netanyahu’s government says “no” to the Obama plan, there could also be repercussions.

  • Israel’s Finance Minister Yair Lapid warns European countries could impose a boycott on Israeli goods to punish Israel for saying “no” to the American plan. Lapid says this could cost Israel billions of dollars in lost exports and  “hit every Israeli citizen directly in his pocket.”
  • Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz says Lapid’s concerns are overblown, and Israel could weather the storm.

Given that no one knows which side of that debate is right, there is a great deal of pressure on the Netanyahu team not to inadvertently create an economic nightmare for the Israeli people.

Yet there is also great pressure on Netanyahu not to make concessions that threaten the long-term security of the Jewish state.

  • What if Hamas Islamists seize control of the West Bank government from the more secular Fatah faction, like it did in Gaza? Then what?
  • If the IDF stops operating in the West Bank — arresting terrorists and shutting down rocket factories — then the security situation in the West Bank could devolve into the nightmare that we see in Gaza, with rockets being fired at Israeli towns and cities, and even at Israel’s airport. Then what?
  • If the IDF stops overseeing security in the West Bank, what if al Qaeda and Hamas and other jihadist groups (such as the 30,000 jihadists that are operating in Syria right now) turn the territory into yet another base camp for suicide bombers and other forms of terrorism?
  • What if Christian holy sites in Jerusalem are turned over the Palestinian Authority, but Hamas eventually comes to power? Will Christian tourists feel safe visiting those sites under Hamas supervision? Would the Hamas government even allow Christian tourists to visit?
  • The “framework agreement” reportedly would put 75% to 80% of Israeli Jewish settlements in the West Bank under Palestinian control. Would the Jews living in the rest of the settlements be safe in such a scenario?

That said, you and I have not actually seen the Obama/Kerry plan yet. There is no need to rush to judgment. We’ll see all the details soon enough. I just want you to be aware of the dynamic, and the tensions that are building.

Like many of you, I am praying for peace. I want Israelis and Palestinians to live in freedom, security, prosperity and with full religious freedom. 

I don’t want to be a cynic. But I must be honest — I am skeptical.

The interim agreement this administration just struck with Iran — on the way to a full, comprehensive agreement — is a terrible deal. Dangerous for the U.S. Dangerous for Israel. Dangerous for all our allies in the Middle East.

Will this interim deal be similarly flawed, or even dangerous? Time will tell. But there are real reasons to be concerned. Let that drive us to prayer all the more.

What’s the latest with the “framework agreement”? Here are excerpts from useful story published by the Times of Israel:

  • “The Obama administration will soon present a framework for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that the sides may accept with reservations as a basis for a final deal by year’s end, the top US negotiator told Jewish leaders.
  • Martin Indyk, the State Department’s lead envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, told the Jewish leaders on Thursday that under the framework agreement about 75-80 percent of settlers would remain in what would become Israeli sovereign territory through land swaps; he added that it was his impression that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was not averse to allowing settlers who want to remain as citizens of the Palestinian state.
  • This was because Indyk and Secretary of State John Kerry consulted closely with the leaders of both governments as Indyk’s team drafted the agreement.
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas would be expected to accept the agreement, with reservations, as the basis of continued negotiations, Indyk apparently said.
  • Making it a US-drafted framework permitted the leaders to distance themselves from politically sensitive issues, Indyk said. “There may be things we need to say because they can’t say them yet,” he said, according to the notes of one participant.
  • Broadly, Indyk said, the agreement will address: mutual recognition; security, land swaps and borders; Jerusalem; refugees; and the end of conflict and all claims.
  • A request for comment from the State Department was not returned.
  • On some sensitive issues — particularly the status of Jerusalem — the framework would be vague, but Indyk went into detail on other issues that participants said was surprising.
  • Among these was the security arrangement for the border between Jordan and the West Bank: Indyk said a new security zone would be created, with new fences, sensors and unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • Indyk also said that the framework would address compensation for Jews from Arab lands as well as compensation for Palestinian refugees — another longstanding demand by some pro-Israel groups but one that has yet to be included in any formal document.
  • He said that the framework would describe “Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the nation state of the Palestinian people,” a nod to a key demand by the Netanyahu government that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state.
  • He said the framework would address the issue of incitement and Palestinian education for peace.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

While Obama Disarms America’s Military, Red China is Quietly Building Game-Changing Hypersonic Missiles

Guest post by Investor’s Business Daily

National Security: While the administration guts the U.S. military, Pentagon experts warn that as soon as five years from now our missile defenses might pose little problem for China’s new hypersonic strike vehicle.

Behaving as the world power they are becoming, the Chinese are building state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles that Pentagon officials warn could overpower U.S. defenses in five years.

As we recently mentioned, China’s defense ministry has confirmed the Jan. 9 test of a hypersonic glide vehicle, known as the WU-14. It was designed to evade our missile and other defense systems, such as the Aegis sea-based missile defense guarding our Pacific fleet and carrier battle groups.

On Tuesday, shortly before our commander in chief addressed his higher priorities, such as income inequality, in the State of the Union address, Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, expressed concern during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. He is troubled that Chinese military advances such as the WU-14 would overtake the defense capabilities of the U.S. as soon as five years from now.

“The Chinese, as other nations are, are pursuing hypersonic technologies,” Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said last week at the Pentagon.

The admiral also noted that the WU-14 test showed that China had the ability to move more quickly than the U.S. in developing some advanced weaponry.

Speaking at the annual Surface Navy Association conference in Virginia, Locklear said he believes that “our historic dominance that most of us in this room have enjoyed is diminishing, no question.” China’s military buildup means that U.S. military dominance, particularly in the Pacific, could no longer be taken for granted.

U.S. missile defenses are designed to deal with ballistic missile warheads that follow a suborbital trajectory. A hypersonic vehicle is different. Its trajectory does not enter space and can maneuver in the atmosphere. That makes it more difficult to detect, track and intercept with a missile defense system.

The testing and development of the WU-14 follows on the heels of China’s deployment of a “carrier-killer,” the DF-21D, a road-mobile anti-ship ballistic missile. This land-based weapon is designed to target and track aircraft carrier groups with the help of satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles and over-the-horizon radar. Launched into space, the DF-21D re-enters the atmosphere and maneuvers at 10 times the speed of sound toward its target.

“The beauty of the HGV (hypersonic-glide vehicle) is that it can perform hypersonic precision strikes while maintaining a relatively low altitude and flat trajectory, making it far less vulnerable to missile defenses,” says Rick Fisher, a China military affairs expert with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Fisher says that “China’s test of a hypersonic glide vehicle proves that American reticence about China’s high-tech military developments diminishes American security by detracting from a needed political debate about real American defense requirements.” He believes “we are in effect disarming ourselves.”

President Obama’s defense policies fulfill a campaign pledge he made to the far-left Caucus for Priorities a month before the January 2008 Iowa caucuses. In a video made for the group, Obama called for a further decline in our military strength:

“I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems,” he said.

These days are eerily reminiscent of the 1920s and 1930s, when Imperial Japan built carrier fleets while we signed naval disarmament treaties. This time we will have no time to rebuild and recover.

Read more at Investor’s Business Daily

Doug Ross @ Journal