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  1. 8 points
    Since nobody got it, I'll finish this one off. It's the Martel "Mechanical Coffin". Page 47, David Fletcher's book "Mechanized Force: British Tanks Between the Wars". Martel had created some of the early tankettes in the late 1920's, but after a while, he decided those were too big. So he created this silly thing. A soldier was supposed to lay down in it and drive forward. Once he got close to the enemy, it had a lift up panel he would use as armor and fire his rifle through.
  2. 5 points
    Since Xlucine suggested it in the general AFV thread, here is a new version of the old Tank ID thread that used to exist at the WoT forums, back before the great exodus to SH. The rules are simple. Post a picture of some sort of AFV and everyone has to try to name what it is. Try to avoid posting a new picture until the previous picture is identified. Generally, the person who was first to correctly ID the picture in question gets to post the next picture, unless they want to pass. If a picture is not ID'd in a day or two, the person that posted it should say what it is and bask in their own sense of superiority. They should then post a new picture for the sake of keeping the thread moving. Please, no fictional tanks, paper napkin drawings that never made it to prototype or pictures where the vehicle in question is obscured or particularly hard to see. Also, if posting a picture of an unusual variant of a relatively common vehicle, be sure to note that you are looking for the specific variant name, not just the general family of vehicles it belongs to (for example, if I post a picture of a Panzer IV with the hydrostat drive, I would say in the post something like "What makes this Panzer IV unusual?" since everyone can ID a Panzer IV) It is perfectly ok to shame those that make spectacularly wrong guesses. That's just how we roll around here. I'll start
  3. 5 points
    I agree that the majority of the US population won't rise up in anger against this latest outrage, and that in a surprisingly short span it will be only vaguely remembered. I disagree that this is due to American politics being filled with latter-day Julio-Claudians, although if you are correct I eagerly anticipate full political representation for horses. Here's the deal; the US/Mexico border is fucked up. It's not just fucked up, it's completely fucked up. Trump is offering a solution, albeit a... somewhat harsh one. His opponents are offering... nothing. The Democrats haven't even cynically put forward an alternative bill that they don't really plan to pass. They learned their lesson when Trump ended DACA. Trump likes to highlight issues that are divisive for the Democrats. If they say anything substantive they will be beaten black and bloody by their own base. If they say nothing at all, they will be beaten by their own base, but less severely. The emptiness, the lack of long-term memory that you identify is part and parcel of being an anti-Trump politician today. Those poor bastards sure do talk a lot, but they don't really do anything. Trump has successfully traumatized all politicians who are not part of his agenda into metaphorically assuming the fetal position and drinking the pain away. Or perhaps they do that literally. They do complain a lot, but nobody cares about the complaints of politicians because politicians aren't people and when their feelings get hurt it's funny. Seriously, supposed anti-Trump leaders are really that feckless. Their latest master plan is to harass Trump Administration employees in restaurants. That'll teach 'em! Trump is surely finished this time! On the order of tens of millions of migrants cross the US/Mexico border every year. I say "on the order of" because the thing about undocumented immigration is that it's undocumented, so the error bars here are pretty big and nobody has a crystal-clear view of what's going on. Remember when your country was having all those refugees from Zimbabwe, who largely ended up stuck in camps because there wasn't much else to do with them? Now, imagine that half of the population of Zimbabwe crosses your border every year. Some of them stay, some of them go back. Some come in seasonally. The situation is largely driven by economics. As you might imagine, a completely unregulated, mass-scale enterprise like this leads to a free-market, Libertarian paradise. It includes all the traditional paradisaical elements of gangsters who prey on immigrants, mysterious mass graves, child prostitution, and weapons smuggling networks that somehow extend to Islamist groups in Europe. I'm not usually one to say that a situation is so morally outrageous that something must be done, but holy shit, they should probably do something about all this. Note that the article on the mysterious graves also notes that children were put in detention camps. Trump is sorta-kinda telling the truth when he says that putting children in cages was the previous administration's policy. It's just that whenever there was a large pulse of migrants, previous administrations would blink because they feared the bad optics of putting children in cages. Trump doesn't give a fuck, and ordered full steam ahead. Or, more likely, immigration hardliner Stephen Miller told them to go full steam ahead. You may wish to imagine that he swirled a twelve year old Grand Vin de Chateau Latour around a gilt human skull while he did this, but like I said before, I think the Trump Administration folks largely see themselves as men of the people, so it was more likely a mid-grade California prosecco. Trump's gamble has largely paid off. Americans are angry about children being separated from their families at the border, but more of them blame the parents than blame the Federal government. Again, we see that Trump's divide and conquer strategy succeeding generally.
  4. 5 points
    Mighty_Zuk

    Israeli AFVs

    That was a bad angle so here's a better one: M270 with 122mm guided rockets called Romach. Puma CEV (oddly they didn't show the Namer CEV which is already in service). Eitan APC. Merkava 4M MBT. Namer IFV w/30mm. Ofek APC. D9 bulldozer. The Namer is definitely taller than the Merkava, and the Eitan seems to be only slightly lower.
  5. 5 points
    Good question! This gets into something that I call "the problem with Jane's." Jane's source books tell you a lot of information about military hardware, and most of that information is correct (I have seen them make mistakes). But Jane's guide books are usually limited to easily quantifiable statistics. A lot of what makes or breaks a combat rifle isn't obviously quantifiable. The axis of the bore on the M14 is much higher, relative to the shooter's shoulder, than it is on the FAL. Both rifles jump quite a bit, but the M14 is somewhat worse in this regard. This is something that you could reasonably determine from a picture, but it's not something that usually gets written up in a stats block. The control layout of the FAL is significantly better. The safety/selector can easily be manipulated with the right thumb, and the rifle taken from safe to semi to full auto without having to look down and take the sights off target or otherwise do anything unsafe. The M14's safety is inside the trigger guard, which increases the chances of mistakes. The M14's selector is this weird can-opener thing on the side. The FAL has a non-reciprocating charging handle on the left side of the rifle, which allows for very quick manipulation of the rifle, at least if you're right-handed. If you had an eye for this sort of thing, you could probably pick it out from images. But even then, images can be misleading. The safety and fire selector on a G3 looks very easy to use, but actually holding a G3 will thoroughly disabuse anyone of that idea. The designers of the G3 had some very strange ideas about how human hands are proportioned. The FAL has a few features that make it very suitable for the rough and tumble life of a service rifle. A number of evaluations of the FAL, including the US evaluation from the early 1950s, sing the praises of how easy it is to perform basic disassembly of the FAL. The M14 is not particularly difficult to disassemble, but it's not as easy as the FAL. FN also thoughtfully included an adjustable gas system on the FAL. In theory, all 7.62x51mm ammunition ought to be interchangeable, so all NATO weapons could draw from a common stockpile. In practice, there are significant differences in propellant composition between different countries' ammunition, and the adjustable gas system allows the FAL to be tuned to whatever is being used to feed it and get optimal function. The M14 has no similar provision. The moving parts of the FAL are much better enclosed than the moving parts of the M14. The raceways in which the bolt travels are very exposed in the M14, but they are entirely enclosed in the FAL. The M14's bolt carrier to bolt mass ratio is quite low. The FAL's isn't great either, but it's still better. The M14's moving mass is quite far off center, hanging off the right side of the rifle. The axis of the bore and the axis of the center of mass of the moving parts are quite far apart. The FAL isn't great in this regard either, but it's better, and its moving mass is at least centerline. The more enclosed moving parts raceways mean that the FAL has less chance of having shit gum up the works, and the higher bolt carrier mass ratio means that its primary moving mass has more energy reserve to push through any shit that does get in the gun. The adjustable gas system is also a factor here; if the rifle starts to get dirty inside, a few clicks of extra adjustment will send more power to the moving parts and help the rifle power through sludge (there is some expense to rifle fatigue life if this is done, however). By modern standards neither rifle is that reliable, but the FAL is better. M14s can probably be made more accurate than FALs, but actually keeping M14s accurate is a chore. I know someone who shot M14s in High Power competition. In practice this meant keeping three rifles in rotation, as they rapidly un-tune themselves and need to be sent back to the gunsmith. A specialized sniper or DMR variant of the M14 I would concede is probably a better weapon than an equivalent FAL variant. However, for line infantry the accuracy advantage of the M14 will be small, if it exists at all. By modern standards neither rifle is that accurate. On top of that, the history of the FAL took some twists and turns, but the history of the M14 is almost unmitigated disaster. The development of the M14 took years longer than it should have, and the final design proved difficult to mass-produce. Early M14s had serious quality control problems as well. The modern mythology of the M14 as this trusty, old-fashioned type of weapon that got replaced by a fancy, unproven high-tech M16 pushed by out-of-touch technocrats is made completely the fuck up. The M14 program was an embarrassing disaster nearly from start to finish. I say "almost" and "nearly" because, by the end, TRW had figured out how to make pretty good M14s, but the rug got pulled out from under them when the M14 was replaced wholesale with the M16. The FAL wasn't production optimized, but plenty of countries with modest industrial bases, like Venezuela, managed to produce them under license without undue difficulty. None of this is stuff that you could easily tell from reading a blurb in Jane's.
  6. 4 points
    Stimpy75

    General AFV Thread

    Altay thx combatmaster @PDF
  7. 4 points
    Abraham Maslow's later work was really weird. We briefly discussed this interview on the Discord server before, and I think I did a poor job1 of explaining why this interview reveals so much. So I will try again. What makes this piece interesting is not the interviewer. In fact, the interviewer is so bad at their job that I want to reach through time and space and (attempt to) beat the stupid out of them. I mean, look at some of this shit: What possible point is there to asking these questions? Either Brad Parscale was part of a massive criminal conspiracy with the Russians to undermine the American electoral system, in which case he would say exactly what he said above, or he wasn't, in which case he would say exactly what he said above. What possible purpose could this serve? I want to know what is wrong with this person. Brian Blessed wants to know too. Ignore all the parts of the interview that are about this shit. It's obviously pointless. Fortunately, the fact that the interviewer was too unprofessional to avoid wasting everyone's time with idiocy did not prevent Brad Parscale from stating what he came to the interview to say: OK, you got that? Facebook was the centerpiece of Trump's campaign and eventual victory. It's all about Facebook. That's what the Brad-man is here to say. You understand that message? OK, now ignore that part too. This is obviously misdirection by the Trump campaign. Social media services come and go. By their nature, they tend towards natural monopoly, so only one is really dominant in a given region of the world at any particular time. But Facebook sits atop a throne made of the bones of Myspace, Friendster, and a bunch of other dead services. In time, some new upstart will add Facebook's place and add its bones to their regal seat. There is nothing particularly magical about Facebook. They have risen and they will eventually fall. Furthermore, there are signs that their inevitable decline will occur sooner rather than later. The fact that their founder got dragged before the US congress and forced to explain technology to a bunch of senile muppets is one such sign. Getting the Democrats to commit hard to a theater of war that is already losing relevance would be a very Trump move. Alternatively, the interview reveals just how incompetent Hillary Clinton's Facebook team was: It's entirely possible that the Trump campaign is baiting the Democrats into committing more resources to a theater of war where his side is so effortlessly superior that they would just be wasting their money. But honestly telling people what his strategy was is so obviously bait that it can't be wise to take the idea that Trump won mainly as a result of Facebook literally. No, what's really interesting about this interview is that it shows how technology will change politics: The Trump campaign used, and is using (Trump never stopped campaigning) the power of the eldritch outer god of Evolution. If you know anything about Evolution and all its manifold horrors, this should scare you. But it did not scare the interviewer, as they possess that singular trait that keeps mind-shattering cosmic horror at bay: fucking ignorance. This interviewer thinks that Brad Parscale might have used black magic mind control, and this prospect is clearly disturbing to her because she is worried that evil men might connive to mind-rape people into voting for Trump. This is about the worst possible crime that this interviewer can imagine anyone committing. In fact, what Brad Parscale admitted to is far worse and the interviewer is too fucking inbred to notice. If psychographics, theoretically speaking, weren't a pile of horseshit and it were possible to mind-rape Facebook users into doing the bidding of an evil overlord, then at least the depravity Facebook users would be subjected to would be limited by the imagination of the evil overlord. Evolution is, by definition, not teleological. There is no design behind it. It just oozes by trial and error into every nook and cranny of the possible. The possible is a much larger set of unspeakable cosmic horror than the merely imaginable. The human mind came up with the works of the Marquis de Sade. Evolution came up with parasitoid wasps. Unchained, self-modifying optimization routines will do awful things that their human minders would never think of. Read this account of a coder who accidentally created a racist AI that affirmed local bigotry in a language the coder wasn't even fully literate in. That is the horror of adaptation. Evolution isn't malicious. It's much, much worse. This is just the start. In the long term, the human race is doomed to being manipulated by smart ad-bots into doing nonsensical, debasing things. Not even cynicism will protect us, no more than the potent insecticide nicotine protects the tobacco plant against tobacco hornworms. Evolution is going to torture us all for no reason forever and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it. I don't blame Brad Parscale, just so we're clear, but I would like the record to state that Trump was one of the first to enlist the aid of the outer gods in order to secure a political victory. Self-refining ads will be much, much worse than psychographics, because eventually trial and error will evolve something like psychographics that actually works. Human attention is up for grabs, and inevitably it will be captured by self-refining artificial intelligence. AI will figure out how to make ads that are more attention-grabbing and more addictive than gambling and pornography. If you want a vision of the future, imagine a small orange robot hand grabbing a human pussy - forever. Of course, everyone knew that robots would kill humanity, or worse, eventually. But a direct revelation on the exact methods they will use is a rare treat. But I realize that not everyone is a connoisseur of robo-eschatology. So I have saved my explanation of the most exciting disclosure from this interview for last: The part bolded above is why it doesn't matter if Facebook explodes tomorrow. Facebook, Google, the Kroger family of supermarkets; all of them work the same way. If a service is free, the user is the product. Services that have created mass databases of personal information have been around for years. A combination of social networking services and automation are making it possible for political campaigns to take advantage of these databases in ways that they could not previously. It is now possible for a political campaign to efficiently attack weaknesses in an opponent's coalition that were too obscure and diffuse to attack before. The traditional political coalitions will not survive this development. The ability to make targeted campaigns to small, dispersed swing demographics puts long-tail candidates on a much more even playing field with more traditional candidates. It has already been pointed out several times here that Trump's campaign in 2016-present wasn't so different from Ross Perot's in 1992. But Trump had, among other advantages, the technologically-assisted ability to get his small hands into crevices that others could not take advantage of. He has enjoyed several other advantages, like the ability to just shrug off manufactured outrage, to electrify crowds with postmodern Charlie Sheen mantras, and twenty four years for Bill Clinton to lose his edge. However, this technologically-enabled micro-targeting should be more interesting than these other advantages because it's an advantage that someone who isn't Trump could use. In short, it's a fulfillment of the prophecy laid out in this surprisingly good Newsweek article from ten years ago. I have no idea what happened to that author, by the way. They seem to have been able to write coherent articles, and yet they still worked for Newsweek. Presumably the management had them executed. 1. i.e. everyone else made a subpar effort at comprehending my brilliance
  8. 4 points
    The age of these simulations doesn't change a number of facts: when seen from an angle, the surface area behind which the crew compartment is located is greater on the Leclerc the turret bulge, gun mantlet and gunner's sight are weakspots in the armor layout that remain existent even in the more modern Leclerc variants the Leclerc's armor is physicially thinner Yes, the current models of the Leclerc (and also the Leopard 2) use much newer armor inserts than tested in Sweden; however that doesn't guarantee that the Leclerc will reach or exceed the protection level of a modern Leopard 2. Given above points, the Leclerc could even be considered inferior protected, if its armor offered a higher protection level per weight and thickness (which I doubt given that the Leopard 2A7 features new armor inserts). That's frankly a lie. Just like the stupid lie from Froggy on the SteelBeasts forum about the Greek military using the AMX-30B2's armor to simulate the Leclerc's protection level. It is stupid to lie just to pretend your favorite tank/toy is perfect, that is not true. Nobody buys a tank without knowing how well its armor will perform. Sweden was supplied with performance data (or protection level estimations) of the tanks and tested armor modules to verify that the data was correct. These tests were not necessarily done in Sweden, for example the M1A2 Abrams' armor was tested in the United States in order to ensure that the exact composition and layout of the armor array remained secret. The Swedes supervised the armor tests in the US and brought their own reference threats (i.e. two types of APFSDS, two large calibre shaped charge warheads to represent ATGMs and one smaller shaped charge to simulate the HEAT rounds fired by the Carl Gustaf recoiless rifle). We know from Swedish sources, that the M1 Abrams with Swedish armor package provides a much higher level of protection than the one seen in the comparison chart: Note that the M1A2 turret is shown with the original armor package! We also know that the Swedish armor was designed to meet the requirements (best possible protection against APFSDS with 700 mm penetration and 165 mm shaped charge warhead along the frontal arc of the turret). The Leclerc shown in the comparison chart clearly fails to meet this requirement, therefore it is not the one with enhanced armor protection. Last but not least we know that the Swedish armor was designed as add-on armor and that the base armor of the tank was kept. Therefore your claim that the comparison chart showed the Leclerc with Swedish armor package would mean that the basic Leclerc's armor would be a lot weaker. The add-on armor would replace the storage boxes at the side of the turret while adding a wedge-shaped module (like used on the Leopard 2A5) to the turret front. The Leclerc at 54.5 metric tons was designed to reach a similar level of frontal protection than the Leopard 2A4 (pre-1991: 55.15 metric tons) and the M1A1 (57 metric tons). It did so, while being lighter, having a bigger gun and having more side armor. To expect that a 54.5 tonnes tank would reach a protection level even broadly similar to MBTs with a weight of 62.5 tonnes (M1A2 and Leopard 2A5 prototype) is silly. You are misinterpreting the news. The contract between France and Germany only decided that the MGCS, the CIFS, EuroMALE and the SCAF will be developed. For the first three programs, German companies will be primary contractors, while the development of the SCAF will be headed by a French company. Which company will be chosen has yet to be decided. Germany's anti-corruption laws mean there has to be a bidding process, rather than the government dictating that KDNS will get the contract. The official press statements from the French and the German ministries of defence do not say that KDNS will be responsible for the MGCS, because they cannot make the decision yet. The press releases from KMW and Nexter pretty much say "we are cooperating, please choose us". As a matter of fact, Rheinmetall is also bidding to become the primary contractor for the MGCS. The rumor mill suggest that they are in a better position and might be prefered over KMW. Back when Krauss-Maffei was chosen for the Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 programs, it was the largest defence contractor with the capacity to manufacture MBTs in (West-)Germany. MaK, the second-largest, was chosen as a secondary contractor (making 45% of all tanks, while Krauss-Maffei made 55%). However in the past decades Rheinmetall has become a gigantic company that has swallowed roughly a dozen of smaller German & European defence vehicles and arms manufacturers (among them MaK, Thyssen-Henschel, Oerlikon, KuKa, Chempro, MAN military, etc.),: currently Rheinmetall has more than 23,000 employes, while KMW has just 2,700. The larger company also invests more into research and development (even without an official government requirement), while KMW over the past years has been satisfied with only becoming active once a requirement has been published. Finally there is a difference in structure: Rheinmetall is easier to work with, as it is not a family-owned company (like KMW). Only the future will show wether KMW's move to join sides with Nexter to form KDNS was a way to win the MGCS contract or not. Rheinmetall has announced that they will show "something" in regards to the MGCS in December of this year. Probably just some 3D models or testbed, because the exact concept of the MGCS has yet to be revealed by the governments. Rheinmetall is already working on its own idea of a next-generation tank (might become independent of the the MGCS) in their own secret facilities. Interesting note is that Ben Hudson from Rheinmetall asked "How do you defeat a tank that has four active defense systems on it?"... General Dynamics will apparently not bid for the MGCS, as they think their ASCOD 2 might be enough for the tank market of the future. https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/eurosatory/2018/06/25/tank-makers-steel-themselves-for-europes-next-big-land-weapon-contest/ https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/eurosatory/2018/06/14/when-does-industry-expect-france-and-germany-to-set-its-future-tank-requirements/
  9. 4 points
    Reading the previous 24 hours of comments, the clear answer is for God Emperor Trump to train these refugee kids as the cadre of his new Space Marine force. Win-Win.
  10. 4 points
    SH_MM

    The Leopard 2 Thread

    This is how the ammo storage looked in the Leopard 2AV or early T14 mod. (before the turret was used to test an autoloader). Drawings from 1975.
  11. 3 points
    Anybody want to throw up odds that if the Democrats win in 2020 they'll try to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court?
  12. 3 points
    Can i jump in? Just so if they actually start to fight they all can blame Russian hackers.
  13. 3 points
  14. 3 points
    According to a request for information (RFI) issued on 21 June, Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) is seeking a new external weapons pylon that will take the B-52’s current 10,000 lb (4,536 kg) maximum external load (across two underwing pylons) to 40,000 lb (18,144 kg).
  15. 3 points
  16. 3 points
    EMBT moving around and shooting a bit in this video
  17. 3 points
    Donward

    Bele's Wolf Thread.

  18. 3 points
    Mogensthegreat

    The Bee Thread

    Lately I've been reading a book on beekeeping, and the first thing it goes into is the physiology of bees, their developmental cycle, as well as the "castes" of bees and what each does, which might be the most interesting thing about them. The queen bee is born from a grotesque, alien cell that juts out from the bottom of the normal brood cells: Once a queen is born, if she isn't killed at once by a resident queen, she takes a nuptial flight and goes to one of several DCA's (drone congregating areas - areas where drones from all the hives in the area go) and mates with about 20 drones. After that, she is mated for life and does nothing else for the rest of her life except lay eggs and kill rival queens. The drones are the only male bees, and they do nothing else but mate once with a queen and then die (the drone's package is actually basically the same as a worker's stinger, and it is ripped out of their bodies after one use) The drones in the hive just break open honey cells when they need to eat, as they are incapable of foraging from plants. The workers do literally everything else, and they are by far the most interesting caste. The workers are actually the smallest bees. When they are born, the first thing they do is clean out their cell to prepare it for another egg. Then they become nurse bees, feeding larvae and sometimes the queen as well. Some nurse bees serve the function of incubators, generating heat for brood cells when the temperature is not hot enough. In certain bee races, the nurse bees also clear out dead or diseased larvae, a very highly sought-after, but unfortunately recessive trait. Next, after a week or so, they become guard bees, defending the hive from raider bees or other animals. After another week or so, they become foragers. The first thing foragers do is take an orientation flight to familiarize themselves with local landmarks. The foraging bees bring back pollen to become bee bread and nectar to become honey, as well as water. They also communicate the location of good sources of resources to other foragers via dances. Strangely, the dances are different for each bee race. Some races have 3 distinct dances and others just have 2. The different dances communicate that the food lies within various distance ranges. For long-distance sources, the bees "waggle" different number of times during the "figure-eight" or "waggle" dance for more specific communication. all bee dances are done in the same spot in the hive, called the "dance floor" Observing bees pick up on the visual dance as well as the scent of whatever the dancer is trying to communicate and then a few bees join together and exploit that resource for all they can. The foraging stage is hard on a bee, and this life stage degrades them physically. Very old bees become scout bees, and if they take part in a swarm (basically bee colonialism), they look for good new hive locations and then argue with other scouts about the best location (no joke, they do their dances repeatedly until all but one shuts up, and that's the hive location they choose.)
  19. 3 points
    VPZ

    Israeli AFVs

    https://www.facebook.com/mazidf/
  20. 2 points
    I wonder why I even bothered replying^^
  21. 2 points
  22. 2 points
    These reports say Falcon Heavy; http://spacenews.com/spacex-wins-130-million-military-launch-contract-for-falcon-heavy/ https://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2018/06/21/spacexs-falcon-heavy-rocket-wins-air-force-launch-contract/723478002/
  23. 2 points
    It's like Nexter and KMW looked at when General Dynamics slapped an Abrams turret on an M60 hull and said "we can do something even dumber!"
  24. 2 points
    The same one staffed with leaders from Shithole countries from around the world where human rights are not really a thing? I hope dropping out of NATO and the fucking UN is next.
  25. 2 points
    Donward

    Syrian conflict.

    An article from 1991 detailing Syria's alliance with the United States and its Coalition partners during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1991-03-12/news/9101220963_1_syria-president-hafez-assad-peacekeeping-force Couple of interesting quotes. As one Western diplomat observed, superpower relations with Syria were a zero-sum game: Any gain for Syria was a Soviet gain, and any gain for Israel was an American gain. But Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev`s refusal to supply Syria with sophisticated weaponry, and his decision to allow a mass migration of Soviet Jews to Israel, caused Assad to rethink his position and to begin cultivating the West-especially the U.S. ... The U.S.-Syrian rapprochment is controversial in the U.S. Many Americans remember Assad as the ``butcher of Hama,`` the leader who laid siege to the city of Hama in 1982 and killed at least 10,000 residents in his bid to wipe out the Muslim Brotherhood that opposed him.
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