Archive for February 20, 2020

Iran’s Khamenei says ‘Zionist-controlled’ US government will sink like Titanic 

February 20, 2020

Source: Iran’s Khamenei says ‘Zionist-controlled’ US government will sink like Titanic | The Times of Israel

Supreme leader appears to quote progressive Democratic talking points, says most of US riches going to a few billionaires while ordinary Americans suffer

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani walks past a portrait of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as he arrives for a news conference in the capital Tehran, on February 16, 2020.(Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said the United States will sink like the “Titanic,” blaming it on “wealthy Zionist individuals and corporate owners” who he said controlled the US economy.

In a long series of tweets, Khamenei said the strength of the US economy was a “facade” and appeared to quote  progressive Democrats saying that US President Donald Trump was overseeing the transfer of US wealth to a few billionaires.

“Today, the epitome of rebellion, arrogance and tyranny is the US government, which is controlled by the wealthy Zionist individuals and corporate owners,” Khamenei tweeted.

“In the same way that the glory and splendor of the famous #Titanic ship did not prevent her from sinking, the apparent glory & splendor of the US won’t prevent it from sinking. And, the US will sink,” he said.

Khamenei took aim at Trump’s economic policies, which the president often touts as one of his greatest accomplishments, noting that markets are at record highs and and the unemployment rate is at its lowest  in decades.

“The current US President claims he has improved the economic situation there. Others say yes, it’s become better, but only for the billionaires, not for the people of the US,” Khamenei said.

Without mentioning names, Khamenei appeared to cite Democratic candidates like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

“These aren’t my words, but the words of a member of the U.S. ruling body. He says over $100B has been added to the wealth of the 5 richest people in the US in the 3 years of Trump’s presidency. 3 of them own wealth equal to half the US population. Look at this social gap!

Khamenei.ir@khamenei_ir

Khamenei’s comments come as Iran gears up for a crucial parliamentary election in two days, with many people in the country feeling that their lives have been crippled by an economic slump exacerbated by harsh US sanctions since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic in 2018.

Conservatives are expected to make an overwhelming resurgence in Friday’s vote, which comes after months of steeply escalating tensions between Iran and its decades-old arch foe the United States.

Their gains would be made at the expense of those who back President Hassan Rouhani, a relatively moderate conservative who was re-elected in 2017 promising people more freedoms and the benefits of engagement with the West.

Rouhani urged people to go and vote, saying that taking part would give Iran the “strength and unity” needed in its stand against the United States.

“We are going to the polls to choose the best people for parliament, which is a very important institution,” he said in televised remarks after a meeting of his cabinet.

“We are under severe sanctions and pressure by the global arrogance, and we have to break these sanctions and improve people’s lives,” he added, referring to the United States.

People withraw money from an automated teller machine in the Iranian capital Tehran’s grand bazaar on November 3, 2018. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

“Sanctions are a terrorist and tyrannical act against Iran.

“One cannot say sanctions have no effect and the government should be doing more… It’s lies, it’s supporting America.”

Iran’s electoral watchdog on Wednesday defended its decision to disqualify thousands of candidates from the vote.

The Interior Ministry said around half of the 16,033 hopefuls would contest the election after the Guardian Council barred thousands, most of them relative moderates and reformists.

But the Council said it was “neutral” in its dealings with all political camps and acted in accordance with the law when it blocked their candidacy.

“The Guardian Council follows the laws and regulations parliament has passed at different times,” said its spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaee.

 

Israel’s Merkava Tank: The Toughest Tank on the Planet?

February 20, 2020

 

Israel’s Merkava Tank: The Toughest Tank on the Planet?

The Merkava tank is sometimes called the most survivable tank in the world. The reasons given usually include its active protection system, forward engine design, urban warfare specific modifications, and thick armor. But do these claims hold up to scrutiny?

The Merkava was designed in the 1970s following the failure to purchase Chieftain tanks from the United Kingdom. Originally designed to duke it out with Soviet tanks in the deserts surrounding Israel, the tank was laid out in a rather unorthodox manner compared to contemporary Western and Soviet tanks, featuring a design more akin to some infantry fighting vehicles. Instead of having the engine at the rear, the engine was moved in front of the crew compartment, with the turret placed further back on the chassis.

The result was that the front armor could be more gradually sloped, and the crew could enter and exit the tank quickly from the rear.

However, this comes with the drawback of having the engine more easily disabled, as any penetrating front hit will disable it. Israeli doctrine prioritizes the survivability of the crew in an engagement, so in the event of a disabling hit the crew will bail out rapidly through the rear hatch if the situation allows. On the other hand, a penetrating frontal hit on a western tank will likely leave the tank still mobile.

While the question of whether a tank crew would stay in a tank or not after a penetrating hit is up for a lot of debate, there are instances where mobility will increase the survivability of the crew, primarily in a fighting disengagement where the tank might be surrounded. In an engagement where an attack is succeeding (which to be fair to the Israeli Defense Forces, is likely in most of their post-1970s conflicts), the Merkava’s design makes sense, but for a European army expecting to hold against a Soviet or later a Russian advance, a mobility kill might be a far bigger deal.