* French President François Hollande announced his country would send weapons to Iraq’s Kurds “within hours”. The question is whether they will be the arms the Kurds need: protected patrol vehicles and anti-tank missiles. More small arms won’t make a difference. Official statement [in French] | France 24.
* Shi’ite Grand Ayatollah Sistani of Najaf’s theories diverge widely [Boston Review] from the Qom school’s Khomeniism, as he promotes not bringing religion down to the stupidity level of politics. When he does feel pushed to intervene, his actions tend to be defined, discrete, and effective. Former Prime Minister Maliki just had that lesson delivered [WaPo].
* Third World Caliphate, First World Problems: Despite endless free publicity from its massacres, The Islamic State isn’t getting [WaPo] wide adoption of its chosen brand term. On the dark side, its chosen brand core and logo are showing signs of spreading far beyond the Middle East.
* First World City, Third World Problems: with armored vehicles in the streets and tear gas fired at journalists, you’d almost think this USA Today video had been shot during the Arab Spring. No, this is Ferguson, Missouri, one of many American cities where local law enforcement now sports used military equipment.
* As fighting continues in Donetsk the death toll is quickly rising [SF Gate].
Applying New Tech
* The US Navy’s Office of Naval Research awarded an $11M contract to Raytheon to develop the Ground Based Air Defense (GBAD), a laser weapon to be mounted on land vehicles to shoot down low-flying aerial vehicles. So why is the ONR funding this? For the US Marines.
* To fix an AV-8B Harrier that recently had to land without its nose gear on USS Bataan, staff at the Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC, used additive manufacturing to build sheet metal reinforcements within a couple of days instead of a couple of weeks using traditional methods.
* China’s new Z-18 ASW helicopter seems to be based on the Z-8F, a local version of France’s old SA321 Super Frelon. At 13 tons, it would be too big for the PLAAN’s destroyers and frigates. But it could fit on China’s new carrier, and a Z-18J early-warning variant is reportedly in the works.
* Today’s video from the conservative Heritage Foundation discusses Taiwan’s maritime security with Bernard Cole from the National War College and Cortez Cooper from RAND: