Echo Sierra

Thoughts on Conflicts, Peace and Defence policies

Jafar, I’m afraid once the Americans leave, we’ll get someone worse than Saddam…

"... and he will burn Iraq more than it burns now." These are amongst the last replicas in Battle for Haditha, the 2007 movie by Nick Broomfield. These words find a ...

Battle For Haditha

Photography Update – Afghanistan

Both The Big Picture and In Focus have released entries regarding Afghanistan. You can access these entries by clicking the following links or the images below: The Big Picture' selection ...

Supporters of Afghan vice presidential candidate, Habiba Sarabi, listen to her speech during a campaign rally for women in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, March 31, 2014. Afghan women activists held a campaign rally to support Afghan vice presidential candidate, Habiba Sarabi and Afghan presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul in the upcoming presidential election on April 5th. (Massoud Hossaini/AP)

Arma 3 – The East Wind campaign review

All three parts of the Arma 3 "The East Wind" campaign ("Survive", "Adapt" & "Win") have now been released, closing the first official campaign Bohemia Interactive made for Arma 3 (although ...

Arma III
Posted by Echo Sierra On August - 8 - 2014 0 Comment
Battle For Haditha

“… and he will burn Iraq more than it burns now.“ These are amongst the last replicas in Battle for Haditha, the 2007 movie by Nick Broomfield. These words find a particular echo today, as the Islamic State is conducting a powerful offensive in Iraq, whereas Kurds are having a hard time containing the IS push and Iraqi military capabilities are insufficient. See the latest developments of the situation in Iraq here. Battle for Haditha pictures the 2005 Haditha killings. On November 19th, 2005, a US Marine convoy was hit by a roadside IED, which killed one and injured two.  [ Read More ]

Posted by Echo Sierra On July - 27 - 2014 0 Comment
An Israeli soldier gestures on a Merkava tank, as part of the Israeli army deployment near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 20, 2014. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Hostilities between Hamas and Israel sparked anew this summer (they never really stop but, as flu or jellyfish blooms, they regularly intensify). Both In Focus and The Big Picture published entries covering the situation. You can access these pictures by clicking here, here and here. In one hand, a civilian population in one of the most densely populated places on Earth, suffering Tsahal’s methodic, but not very observant of laws of war, hammering. In an other hand, a civilian population, protected by its army but targeted by indiscriminate rocket fire. The repetitiveness of the situation has led some to think that “bombing  [ Read More ]

Posted by Echo Sierra On April - 2 - 2014 0 Comment
Supporters of Afghan vice presidential candidate, Habiba Sarabi, listen to her speech during a campaign rally for women in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, March 31, 2014. Afghan women activists held a campaign rally to support Afghan vice presidential candidate, Habiba Sarabi and Afghan presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul in the upcoming presidential election on April 5th. (Massoud Hossaini/AP)

Both The Big Picture and In Focus have released entries regarding Afghanistan. You can access these entries by clicking the following links or the images below: The Big Picture’ selection & In Focus’ selection   2014 is presented as a turning point for Afghanistan. Indeed, NATO forces are withdrawing from the country and Afghans are voting for their next president on Saturday 5th of April. Logically, the lack of clear governance and the uncertain nature and volume of remaining foreign troops after 2014 have lead to gloomy predictions for the country in post 2014 years (and I pass them on  [ Read More ]

Posted by Echo Sierra On March - 27 - 2014 0 Comment
Arma III

All three parts of the Arma 3 “The East Wind” campaign (“Survive”, “Adapt” & “Win”) have now been released, closing the first official campaign Bohemia Interactive made for Arma 3 (although the studio is releasing several addons in the upcoming months/years). The campaign is set in 2035, on the Mediterranean archipelago of Altis & Stratis (Altis being a fictional island, but topography of which is based on the actual Lemnos Greek island), which has gone through a bloody civil war. Facing a lasting economic crisis and the growing influence of the Canton-Protocol Strategic Alliance Treaty (a military alliance of eastern hemisphere countries) in the  [ Read More ]

Posted by Echo Sierra On March - 14 - 2014 0 Comment
Lockheed Martin

CleanTechnica informs us that Lockheed Martin is developing its portfolio. Indeed, the defence firm signed with the Australian company Victorian Wave Partners in February to engineer an ocean energy station off the coasts of Australia. This energy station is to rely on 28 PowerBuoys and expected to produce 65.2 MW of energy. The PowerBuoy is a buoy, movement of which produces a stroking motion that drives an electrical generator. Electricity from the generator is then transmitted to shore by underwater powercables. According to the agreement, Lockheed Martin will provide expertise in the design and production of the buoys and project management:  Lockheed Martin will  [ Read More ]

Posted by Echo Sierra On February - 11 - 2014 5 Comments
Captain Phillips

Having missed it when it reached French theatres, I seized the opportunity of its DVD release to watch Captain Phillips, by Paul Greengrass. It’s quite a movie… The film is based on an actual event: the Maersk Alabama hijacking by four Somali pirates in April 2009. When attacked by the pirates on the 8th of April 2009, the crew managed to thwart assailants (one pirate, trying to locate part of the crew who hid in the engine room was made captive) and offered them the opportunity of leaving the ship thanks to a lifeboat. Yet, on leaving on the lifeboat,  [ Read More ]

Posted by Echo Sierra On January - 7 - 2014 0 Comment
The view of eastern Afghanistan, seen out the crew chief's window of a 10th Combat Aviation Brigade UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter January 2, over Kunar province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Matthew Clark)

In Focus published a new entry about Afghanistan a few hour ago. You can access this entry by clicking the image below. As the end of the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan is closing in, 2014 is often presented as a turning point for Afghanistan. Indeed, the current 84,200 troop strong international force is expected to decrease to a force of a few thousands of men operating as military mentors for the Afghan security forces or as a backup of Afghan National Army. The bulk of such force would be fueled by the United States, although its deployment is not  [ Read More ]

Posted by Echo Sierra On October - 15 - 2013 1 Comment
People walk through the bustling Shorja open air market in Baghdad, Iraq, on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2008. AP / Hadi Mizban

Ian Livingston and Michael O’Hanlon wrote quite a fair article about the current situation in Iraq, for those of you interested, you can read it on Brookings’ website They acknowledge that the security situation in Iraq has been threatened by several factors: Three chief factors account for the reversals in Iraq. First, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki increased his autocratic ways, arresting Sunni politicians and otherwise setting back efforts at cross-sectarian peacemaking. Second, the departure of U.S. forces left Iraq less well prepared to handle the infiltration or recruitment of new al-Qaida operatives. Third, the conflict next door in Syria provided  [ Read More ]

Posted by Echo Sierra On October - 8 - 2013 0 Comment
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jason Dinkins with the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade is hugged by his daughter Olivia Chastain after a welcome home ceremony, on June 11, 2013 at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, The aviation brigade deployed 2,200 soldiers to Afghanistan in December on a 9-month mission, but came home earlier than expected. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

Alan Taylor selected pictures shot this summer in Afghanistan and posted them, as every month, on In Focus. You can access the selection by clicking the image at the end of this article. Transition in Afghanistan remains uncertain, as two recent articles by Matthew Rosenberg in the New York Times explain: Whether Karzai [with less than a year left in his final term] will be able to handpick a pliable successor is one of the chief questions hanging over the coming election. The conventional wisdom among both the Afghan elite and Western diplomats is that he can, and that whoever  [ Read More ]

Posted by Echo Sierra On October - 4 - 2013 0 Comment
The Pamirs

As mentionned here and there, I spent the month of August trekking the Pamirs, in the semi-autonomous region of Tajikistan: the Gorno Badakhshan, which is landlocked between Kyrgyzstan, China and the Wakhan corridor (the 15 to 60 km-wide part of Afghanistan locked between Pakistan and Tajikistan and that reaches China). From Dushanbe, where a really efficient border control administration (Schengen area is great!) and a warm 25°c at 3:30 am (the temperature reached 48°C a few hours later) greeted us, we quickly took 4WD vehicles to cover the 600km separating the capital and the main city Gorno Badakhshan: Khorog. This  [ Read More ]