Fifty Shades of Black

Israel is peering intently past its borders but its world has changed so much it doesn't know quite what it is looking for.  "The [Israeli] Air Force’s reconnaissance aircraft have been flying more intelligence missions in light of rising threats along Israel’s borders and the continuing wave of Palestinian violence in the West Bank."  The reason is explained by the Jerusalem Post.

“We are living a historic decade, where everything in the Middle East is changing; the superpowers, the local powers, and religious powers are all changing,” a senior IAF officer told The Jerusalem Post this week. “What happened in 2010 across the Middle East, you can call it the ‘Arab Spring’ or now the ‘Arab Winter,’ but I call it ‘50 Shades of Black,’” he said, referring to the jihadist groups across the region.

That shift is happening all over the world.   It is not just the Middle East that is changing.  From Europe to the Far East history is on the move again.  If the bombing in Manchester shows the Wahabi threat is more active than ever,  the Iranian missile threat (which prompted the establishment of "Site K" in Turkey) and a possible confrontation with Tehran in Syria show a challenge from that quarter too.

The grand strategic equivalent of Israel's reconnaissance flights are eyes in space in space the US is upgrading. America is also beyond peering beyond its borders at indistinct shapes. "The Missile Defense Agency is aiming to create a more robust network of space-based sensors and communications technologies to help protect the United States from ballistic missile attacks. ... North Korea’s fervent efforts to advance its long-range missile and nuclear weapons capabilities have created a sense of urgency in Washington, D.C."

“In the not too distant future … North Korea is going to be able to test and have the capability to fire an intercontinental ballistic nuclear missile that can hit the lower 48 of the United States,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, a member of the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, which oversees the Missile Defense Agency.

“The classified estimates might be a little scarier than some of you imagine,” he said at a recent missile defense conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We need to develop an integrated layer of space-based missile defense sensors, and we need to start now.”

In what future historians may regard as a below the fold epitaph for nonproliferation "the Pentagon will try to shoot down an intercontinental-range missile for the first time in a test next week. The goal is to more closely simulate a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile aimed at the U.S. homeland, officials said Friday. ... The basic defensive idea is to fire a rocket into space upon warning of a hostile missile launch. The rocket releases a 5-foot-long device called a "kill vehicle" that uses internal guidance systems to steer into the path of the oncoming missile's warhead, destroying it by force of impact. Officially known as the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, the Pentagon likens it to hitting a bullet with a bullet. "