The last fight - no rules
Today, the main attention is paid to positive political and partly military-strategic results. The main result is rightly called the preservation of legitimate power in Syria - the friendly Russian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Our country has demonstrated its determination to defend its interests with military force and its effective use even with a limited number of troops. The authority of Russia in the world, especially in the zone of the Near and Middle East, has grown significantly. One of the main strategic military results - Russia received a base in Syria.
Middle Eastern polygon
Of the military-technical results, first of all, it should be noted the development of the use in combat conditions of the latest cruise missiles X-101, X-55, "Caliber-NK" and "Caliber-PL". Shooting was carried out both from distances close to the limit - more than 1600-1700 kilometers, and from a distance of several hundred kilometers. The cost of hitting one target was two or three missiles, which is significantly less than the typical Tomahawks, allocated by the Americans to solve similar problems. The flight paths were chosen to bypass the air defense zones and areas of the dense location of the Islamist armed groups. Objects of strikes - control points of the operational and strategic level, weapons warehouses of central subordination or repair nodes for military equipment of the IS prohibited in Russia. Our rockets have shown high reliability.
The system of high-precision bombing SVP-24 was developed. It is characterized by the 20 – 25 indicator of the standard deviation of free-fall bombs from the target. This is quite enough to reliably hit the designated objects with minimal damage to civilian buildings around.
High efficiency was shown by the X-29 and X-25 missiles used in Syria with both laser and television guidance systems, and the KAB-500L and KAB-500Kr air bombs. Their main carriers in Syria are Su-34 and Su-24. The accuracy of hitting the target is exceptional: the standard deviation is two to three meters, which gives a guaranteed direct hit on a small target. Moreover, the destruction zone of adjacent buildings does not exceed 15 meters. In the SAR, such weapons destroyed heavily protected IS facilities in areas of dense urban development.
High effectiveness was demonstrated by Russian ground forces weapons. It is also important to note that our military science was successful in solving the specific tasks of the fight against terrorist organizations. The Americans could not solve a similar problem neither in Iraq, nor in Afghanistan, nor in Syria.
Now - about the problems.
For all military experts, including foreign ones, it became clear: Russia does not have enough trained military personnel capable of solving combat missions on modern aircraft. The composition of the group was clearly insufficient. Senior officers were killed in battles, which means well-trained lieutenants, senior lieutenants and captains in Russia aviation too little or not at all. The fact that the Admiral Kuznetsov TAKR is only now going to the region, and before that, had not participated in the operation for a year, indicates that we do not have trained deck-based pilots (more).
The Syrian campaign has demonstrated: in the Russian Navy there are few fully combat-ready ships of the far sea and ocean zones. Grouping fleetoperating in the area - two or three ships of the main classes: cruiser, large anti-submarine and patrol. That is, the level of readiness of the Russian fleet to conduct large-scale hostilities is low. Foreign military experts draw appropriate conclusions.
The launches of the CD were sporadic, they were used at long intervals, which indicates: there are no sufficient reserves in the arsenals, rockets were used from the wheels.
Next: the joint large-scale offensive operation, which began with the opening of hostilities of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria, actually choked. After seven days of bombardment - from September 30 to October 6, inclusive, the most ambitious offensive operation of the ground forces of Syria against the IS forces was launched in the last three years. The first day marked an unprecedented pace of attack. A group operating in the direction of the city of El-Lataman, near which the fortifications of militants of the Dzhebhat al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham, banned in Russia, are located, covered 70 kilometers. The large settlements of Maarkaba and Atshan were liberated, several key heights were taken, including Sakik and Al-Havir. About 50 kilometers passed on the first day of the operation a group operating east of the Qalaat al-Madik fortress, where government forces liberated the city of Kfar Nabuda and occupied the strategically important heights of Tell el Sakhr and Tell Osman.
The coalition's actions were conducted in full compliance with the provisions of military science, which decisively predetermined their success in the first stage. The enemy’s defense was opened with a “fire shaft”, which made it possible to reliably suppress resistance and reduce the losses of the advancing units to a minimum.
However, after four days the advance slowed sharply, its front shrank. The enemy, recovering from the shock, partially restored operational control and conducted counterattacks in other directions, diverting government troops and Russian aviation from the main attack line, which they succeeded. The business was not helped even by a sharp activation of the VKS, which operated with the limiting voltage.
In the future, the parties fought with varying success. The Syrian Arab army with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces for a long time achieved only tactical successes. In fact, by the end of 2015, the front was basically stabilized, the CAA advancing on separate directions. This situation persists to the present.
Do not flatter yourself and outlined truce. In chaos, local leaders attempted to “lay off” from the central government, and today they agreed to cease hostilities. However, the main terrorist forces - the IG, "Dzhebhat al-Nusra", the Syrian Free Army with the smaller organizations that joined, continue the fighting.
Candidates for losers
We must realize that this war is not an internal affair of Syria, it has geopolitical roots. After the “Arab Spring”, failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, the authority of the United States in the region has been undermined. Reliable and tightly controlled mode they have left here. Therefore, Washington’s plan to set up a puppet government in Syria, precisely in the coastal provinces of the country, is quite understandable. In this case, the Americans are able to control the flow of Qatari gas to Europe and the most important strategic military base in the Eastern Mediterranean. After the counter-revolution in Egypt with the strengthening of the Russian vector in the policy of Cairo, the United States has nothing else to do in this zone.
For Turkey, the situation in Syria at the time of the cessation of hostilities means a complete failure of the course of the ruling elite led by Erdogan: the Ottoman Empire-2 project is falling apart and at the same time hostile Kurdish autonomy is created on the southern borders of the country.
For Qatar, there is no hope of creating a strategically important gas pipeline to the Syrian ports or through its territory to Turkey for further transit to Europe with the displacement of Russia from this market.
Saudi Arabia is also losing a lot, above all, hopes to defeat Iran’s main ally in the Arab world and thus leave the Islamic Republic in isolation, weaken its influence in the BSV zone. The project of a new caliphate, with the idea of building which the royal dynasty has been worn for more than one decade, will have to be forgotten forever. The preservation of the current status quo in Syria for the Saudis is already a serious defeat: the role of Iran in the BSV region is increasing, threats to the stability of the ruling dynasty are growing.
Coalition of winners
In clear win Russia and Syria. For the Russian Federation, the conclusion of peace with the current status quo means a military victory, albeit limited. This leads to a significant increase in influence in the region. In the CAP - the growing popularity of the current president as a symbol of opposition to aggression. Keeping his government in power even with the prospect of re-electing Bashar Assad as president of the country means the emergence of a Russian strategic bridgehead in the Eastern Mediterranean, a breakdown in the construction of a gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe and the emergence of autonomy on the southern border of Turkey, which is close in ideology to the Kurdish Workers Party.
Iran preserving the existing status quo (with the prospect of defeating the IS and other organizations recognized as terrorist, with which all external players of the Syrian drama agree) also gives the status of a winner as a member of the coalition led by Russia. This greatly strengthens its position in the Islamic world, especially in the Shiite Ummah. Next may be followed by mass demonstrations of the oppressed Shiite population in the monarchies of the Persian Gulf.
Naturally, great opportunities are opening up for the active introduction of China into the region as an ally of Russia and Iran with the economic replacement of American influence.
Thus, even the preservation of the status quo in Syria means the victory of a coalition led by Russia, and the defeat of the United States, Turkey, KSA and Qatar with dire consequences for them. A new round of armed confrontation is inevitable - the Americans and their allies will seek revenge.
The war went into a protracted phase. Since this theater is for Russia at a fair distance, we need to either achieve victory as soon as possible, or achieve peace under the existing scenario. Tightening exhaustively exhausts the army of Bashar Assad, in which there is already a lack of personnel.
Probably, it should be recognized that we will not succeed in achieving complete victory and crushing terrorist groups. The United States and its allies will not allow this to happen, they will be transferred to the category of “moderate opposition”, will be supplied with weapons and ammunition, they will be equipped with militants. ATS and RF do not have comparable capabilities. Therefore, their goal should be to achieve peace on acceptable terms. In any war, it is possible to bring him closer only by inflicting defeat on the enemy, which will force him to negotiate. With regard to Syria, it is about Aleppo. The defeat of the militant group surrounded in the eastern part of this city will not only significantly weaken the terrorists, undermine their moral and psychological potential, which will be a significant operational success, but will also help to achieve the territorial integrity of the government controlled by Syria and will be a significant military and political result.
But for the defeat of the encircled grouping, additional forces and means are needed. The pace of advancement of the CAA, despite the intensive support from the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force, is extremely low. Terrorists are constantly counterattacking. Delaying the liberation of Aleppo gives the United States and its allies time to create a powerful terrorist attack force that can unlock surrounded bandits. Therefore, the Russian Federation needs to take emergency measures to raise the combat capabilities of the Syrian troops in this area, to strengthen their aviation support to a level at which they can completely liberate Aleppo in the next two to three weeks. A contribution to this is to be made to the “Admiral of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov” marching to the combat area of the TAKR, which the air group within 26 machines is capable of effectively promoting the Syrian forces during 7 – 10 days.
At the same time, efforts should be made to increase diplomatic support for Syria by other countries interested in maintaining its independence.
With a favorable development of the situation and the capture of Aleppo in the near future, the Russian Federation and Syria, with the help of friendly states, primarily the PRC, could achieve peace on acceptable terms. Otherwise, there are not so many chances for a favorable end to the war. The transition of the American coalition to the open support of terrorists is very likely. The attack on the Syrian troops, clearly coordinated with the subsequent attack of the militants, calls for the US military leadership to create a no-fly zone over Syria indicate that the Americans are ready to start fighting against the Syrian armed forces, even despite the high risk of a collision with the Russian Aerospace Forces. The United States may fall for such a tough scenario even earlier if the Syrians demonstrate obvious success in defeating the terrorists in Aleppo.
Today, the situation is such that the risk of a Russian-American conflict becomes quite real and significant. Experts predicted the inevitability of such a development of events for a long time, at the very beginning of our direct speech on the side of Damascus. Forces of one regiment change the course of the war is very difficult, if not impossible. And even more so to solve the problem of defeating the IG, as it was supposed, before the new, 2016 year.
Our intervention was forced, "fire". Early measures would allow Russia to support the legitimate government of Syria more effectively and, possibly, without direct participation in the conflict. All this indicates that we do not have adequate analytical support for serious military and political decisions at the highest levels of government. This confirms the whole story of the Ukrainian crisis - Russia did not act in the best way. Therefore, we need to urgently create a highly efficient system of scientific and methodological support of military-political decisions.
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