On the eve of the General Staff of the Russian Federation, within one week, warned about the preparation of the United States to attack Syria.
"We note the presence of signs of preparation for possible strikes," - said the Head of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff, Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy. According to him, in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, the United States created strike groups of sea cruise missile carriers.
This position of the Russian military leadership, previously voiced by the Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, is certainly based on the totality of operational information received by this military command and can be considered as a reliable basis for any analysis of the situation around Syria.
However, it should be understood that the conclusions from the same set of facts can be quite adequate in a fairly wide range of possibilities. Including quite far from each other.
It is from these positions that we will try to examine the current military-political situation. In order to evaluate the measure of the real military threat emanating from it.
First of all, it should be noted that such harsh statements can be made for preventive reasons, in order to forestall possible wrong and too dangerous actions on the part of a potential adversary. Given the extreme lack of communication and understanding between the political leadership of the Russian Federation and the United States, this can be explained by the uncertainty of both sides in each other’s real military-political plans and more than understandable fears about the threat of an uncontrolled escalation of military confrontation.
And now let's look at what the military-strategic situation in the region of the Middle East crisis actually is. If you believe some Internet sources, then the situation is very bad and the situation is almost completely out of control.
“The situation around Syria continues to deteriorate rapidly. Not all information related to the confrontation between Russia and the United States officially gets into the media. While all the attention is focused on the scandal between Russia and the UK, the Americans, apparently, do not give up an attack on Syria. Washington is not even stopped by the warnings of the Russian General Staff that the Russian military will respond with a blow to the strike, which will also hit the American "carriers" of missiles. Based on open data, the US and its allies are throwing Aviation on the border with Syria, in particular, we are talking about air bases in Jordan, Turkey, Cyprus and Iraq, and the US Navy is located in the Mediterranean Sea. A number of Western publications claim that in the last day additional S-400 complexes were deployed to Syria, the media reported the transfer of dozens of Su-30SM and Su-35 fighters, the frigates Admiral Essen and Admiral Grigorovich entered the Mediterranean Sea, BDK "Orsk" and "Minsk", the patrol ship "Inquisitive", reports newsli.ru. In general, the Russian group of ships in the Mediterranean Sea has increased to two dozen, including up to six submarines - this is an unprecedented cluster for Russia fleet in a limited area. "
Russia and the United States urgently throw large military forces to Syria
Russia and the United States urgently throw large military forces to Syria
Let's try, without prejudice, to evaluate such an extremely alarmist interpretation of events. Firstly, it is worth noting that the information on massive transfers of various military forces in the direction of Syria has not been confirmed for four days by any other sources. In particular, Western publications that track Russian military aviation flights and regularly report on them (such as the recent arrival of the Su-57 fighter jets in Syria) keep a deadly silence about dozens of Su-30CM and Su-35 fighters allegedly sent there . It is also not clear, on the basis of what “open data” a massive transfer of US aircraft and their allies to the borders of Syria has been established? Given that the operational information about the movements of American troops, including the US Air Force, in principle is closed and not available to open publications, including in the West. In general, the aforementioned “information” seems to be an obvious exaggeration.
Of course, this does not mean that the parties do not take measures to strengthen their armed forces in the conflict region. For example, Russia recently sent two missile frigates and a patrol ship to the Mediterranean. It is not excluded the deployment of a certain number of additional air defense systems. However, no data on the emergency transfer to the region of really large forces of the Russian Federation is recorded anywhere. In particular, the Turkish “spotters”, who carefully monitor the movement of the Russian Navy ships in the Black Sea straits, do not report anything extraordinary about this. Although, if necessary, the massive movement of troops and equipment, no transport "Ruslans" of the Air Force will not replace the maritime traffic on this strategically important waterway.
As for Western counterparts, then, again, according to open sources, there are no signs of extreme military activity indicating large-scale military preparations, I stress once again that large-scale, within certain "final and irrevocable" strategic decisions, are also not visible. . Meanwhile, we are talking about such a scale of concentration of military forces, which is basically impossible to hide. In this case, the level of their "flare" in the media is zero.
It is noteworthy that at present there is not a single carrier-based strike group (AUG) of the US Navy either in the Mediterranean Sea or on the approaches to it. Moreover, at present, or more precisely as of 14 in March 2018, in the world ocean, in the operational areas, according to the American edition of the Stratfor, there are only two AUGs, led by the aircraft carriers "Carl Vinson" and Theodore Roosevelt. Of these, only one - "Roosevelt" deployed in the Gulf region, where his planes, in principle, can get to Damascus. Unless, of course, they are allowed by the Russian C-400.
In addition, according to US naval doctrine, one aircraft carrier generally cannot be considered as a force sufficient to carry out an effective air offensive from the sea.
True, the so-called "American coalition" has quite enough combat aviation forces on land airfields located around Syria. But even taking this circumstance into account, the obvious fact of the absence of a buildup of a group of US aircraft carriers in a given area may indicate, at a minimum, the fundamental unwillingness of the US military command to make the main stake in striking Syria against aviation as such.
The reason for such restraint is quite obvious. The deployment of a powerful and sufficiently effective air defense system on the territory of Syria has actually turned the territory of this country into a “no-fly zone” for Western military aviation, which, in the case of an attempt to deliver a massive strike, is guaranteed to suffer heavy losses.
And this is completely unacceptable for the political leadership of the United States. First of all, because it is currently extremely concerned about the American military prestige, seriously shaken by Russian military-strategic innovations. Which the West, judging by many signs, safely overslept. Otherwise, why would US President Trump suddenly, immediately after the announcement of the Message of Vladimir Putin, begin to promise his military emergency financial investments in the program for creating a hypersonic weapons? In fact, this is the recognition of American backwardness in this area and the need to urgently fix the matter.
In other words, it is highly undesirable for Washington under these conditions to receive another knockout blow in the military field, this time right on the battlefield from the Russian C-400 complexes. Or even to win there a “Pyrrhic victory” at the cost of huge losses. That is why the US military aviation, in the course of planning a strike on Syria, will either be completely out of the game, or it will be assigned a secondary role.
And this means that the Americans have only one, traditional for them trump card - a missile strike of sea-based cruise missiles "Tomahawk" from surface and submarines of the US Navy. What, in fact, refers to the repeated warnings of the Russian General Staff.
The possibility of such a blow is impossible to completely eliminate. If only because he will not be the first in this war. The previous salvo 59 "Tomahawks" from two destroyers, as we know, took place last year. However, its military significance turned out to be very doubtful, since the Syrian air base that had been hit had resumed its flights the very next day.
In this case, the alleged bombardment of Damascus’s government quarters by the Americans might have zero consequences. Similar to the Yugoslav ones, when American cruise missiles exploded in empty boxes of administrative buildings in Belgrade and army barracks, from where all of the personnel were evacuated and even the equipment was removed. Moreover, the effect will be even more insignificant, the more limited such a blow will be.
Meanwhile, no signs of large-scale US missile combat ships in position to deliver a truly massive strike with hundreds of missiles have been observed. In any case, according to official data from the command of the US 6 fleet, operating in the Mediterranean, cross-confirmed by other open sources, there is currently a very limited number of American warships - about 2-3 URO destroyers (USS Laboon DDG 58, USS Ross (DDG 71, USS Carney DDG-64). Several other attack units of the same rank are deployed as part of the American Navy 5 operating in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, and can also be involved in a missile attack. Even this is enough to deliver a limited missile strike on the model of Shiratsky, which is not only military but demonstrative.
However, even with such limited objectives, the likelihood of such a strike seems far from absolute. First of all, it will be very strange if this relatively small ship grouping proceeds to active hostilities with very weak air cover from the sea. Which in the Mediterranean Sea is completely absent. In any case, it will be, if at all, almost the first time in storieswhen the US fleet will attack another country without the full support of its aircraft carriers. And this is in the context of a direct warning of the Russian side about the readiness to destroy not only the missiles, but also their carriers - that is, the very same destroyers of URO!
Thus, when analyzing the overall military-strategic situation around Syria, based only on available information in open sources (and they now know, if not all, very much), we can state the following.
Signs indicating an extraordinary scale and speed of the massive buildup of the military potential of the great powers in the region of the Middle East, corresponding to the preparation of a large-scale military conflict between them, is not currently observed. The overall picture of the military activity of the USA and Russia in this region as a whole fits into the framework of routine military activities.
Given this circumstance, the American military preparations observed by the Russian General Staff, which undoubtedly take place in reality, are either preparations for the next demonstrative “retaliation strike” modeled on the attack on Shairat air base, or the whole demonstrative play with military muscles to provide psychological, deterrent influence on their opponents in Syria.
Given the new dimension of the situation associated with Russia's clearly stated readiness to strike back, the probability of the above two scenarios should, in my opinion, be evaluated in the ratio of 30 to 70 in favor of a second, purely demonstrative option.
As for the current surge in extreme confrontational rhetoric between the West and the Russian Federation, it should be understood as timed mainly for the attempts of certain Western circles to organize massive psychological pressure on Russia and the population of this country on the eve of the election of the Russian President.
If this assessment of the background of current events is correct, then in the perspective of the next days and weeks we can expect some reduction in the intensity of verbal confrontation due to a certain loss of its relevance and practical relevance. What, in particular, is indicated by the already begun partial decline in activity in another component of the West’s comprehensive plan for increasing pre-election pressure on Russia, in the part of the so-called “Skryl poisoning”. Already today, there is a certain reversal of the British organizers of this provocation to positions close to the original, with a minimum level of real disengagement from the Russian Federation.
Which, of course, does not in any way mean the abolition of the historically conditioned confrontation between Russia and the West. But at the same time, it may indicate a systematic winding up of a regular special operation, timed for the presidential elections in Russia, by the western side that has reached its logical end.