The scandal around the "Thirtieth Division", prepared by American instructors for the war with Assad and immediately surrendered to the Islamist "Front al-Nusra" immediately after crossing the Turkish border, is now rattling the whole world. There will be many such scandals. They are predetermined by the very methodology of the American instruction of the “allies” in Syria, in Georgia, and in Ukraine.
Recall that in the end, the "Front al-Nusra" (branch of "Al-Qaeda") received weapon, equipment and several pickups from the USA. The commander of the "Thirtieth Division" assured representatives of the "Front" that he had deceived the US military in order to get weapons. The problems that caused what happened happened can be divided into three unequal categories.
Intelligence and psychological problems
"At the landfill in Yavorov, the cases of refusal of the Ukrainian military personnel who passed the meat grinder in Novorossia to obey the instructors from the United States, who, from the point of view of these veterans, are full of salads,"
The image of a CIA officer who determines whom to choose as an ally in the Middle East is too exaggerated by Hollywood. In the overwhelming majority of cases, operational employees cling to those who at least formally show signs of loyalty. And if someone is promising, but showing the required signs is not enough, they prefer to buy it, although such “partners” were considered unreliable at all times. Approximately by such principles the anti-Assad coalition was formed.
At the same time, the behavior of the CIA employees is extremely regulated. Almost every episode of life has a written instruction, they need to be known and almost to memorize. Disagreement with operational instructions entails sanctions. The free will of the operational officer is limited, and sometimes they are simply forced to “work out” the instruction instead of acting on the situation. Many large intelligence communities suffer from this, but the American one, among other things, is also built on ideological as well as - to a lesser extent - on ethnic stereotypes. Relatively speaking, any basmach who is able to clearly pronounce the word "democracy" has a chance to get funding and weapons. And where he then goes with these weapons, no one can control. This, by the way, suffered the Soviet intelligence of the Brezhnev era, clinging to any tribal leader who could utter the words Marx and Lenin.
All this is directly related to the case being described. The Thirtieth Division and personally Abd al-Tunisia demonstrated loyalty, gained confidence in the Americans, received weapons and escaped with him. The stereotypical and schematic perception of the world is an amazing feature of the CIA. Of course, this is the result of the “loss of the main opponent”, the perception of oneself as a winner precisely in the ideological, and not in the physical sense of the word. The anti-Assad coalition, knocked off with kicks and promises, collapsed precisely as a result of incorrect targeting and CIA mistakes. Information can be processed correctly only if there are specialists who are deprived of ideological perception of the world, and with this there is a shortage in Langley. The career system created there squeezes out to the side of people with non-standard forms of thinking, and the mass appeal to work in the management of former marines completely predetermined the failure of the analytical intelligence system.
The scandal around the "Thirtieth Division" is not the only one, there will be many more. The golden age of analysts remained on the Hollywood Hills.
American training for armies of dubious allies is usually a reason for pride of those who are trained. In particular, Petro Poroshenko and his government fall into euphoria when they talk about American and British instructors who are training Ukrainian soldiers in an accelerated pattern at the Yavorov training ground. In the absence of supplies of serious weapons, these trainings are almost the only factor in military support from the West.
The Americans are using the training of Ukrainians (and earlier - Georgians, Croats, Albanians, now in Syria - such as "opponents of Assad", like the "Thirtieth Division") system "saw - repeat". In reality, this is something like a “young fighter's course”: an obstacle course, the basics of handling weapons, and physical fitness. Also, instructors teach the treatment of radios and encryption devices, which are simply not in the Ukrainian army. They teach and drag the wounded to minimize losses, but Ukrainians who have passed the front in Novorossia can train Americans for this. They are taught to open the door of the house with the help of a sledgehammer, but what kind of a sledgehammer does the soldier have on a thousand-kilometer front in the steppe? They teach to check with a special hook on a string whether the barbed wire is mined, but not everyone succeeds. In total, the program of the so-called "correction" at the ground in Yavorov 63 exercises, divided into three courses, for two months each. The result - a lot of mat and cases of disobedience.
This is not a military training. At best, the police, but also - the initial. Representatives of the American army initially refer to the "trainees" as representatives of the third world, who need to be told from which side the machine gun shoots. For example, instructors in Yavorov are very distressed about the fact that Ukrainian servicemen arriving from Donetsk wear automatic weapons without putting them on safety. This, according to the instructors, is unprofessional. But after all, many survived precisely as a result of such “unprofessionalism.”
It would be anecdotal if it didn’t reflect the essence of the training being in the US Army and transferred to its allies. Emphasis is placed on physical capabilities, the rejection of personal motivation, bringing to the automaticity of the developed technical skills and "collective participation". As a result, a fighter who finds himself in a non-standard situation is lost and cannot adapt the acquired skills to a real situation. He is "sharpened" only for something monotonous, moreover, built on an artificial training ground.
Neither in Ukraine nor in Syria it does not work. American instructors do not know what a frontal war is, how to behave in the melee, how to hide from the fire of a rocket war. They do not even know how to equip defensive positions. The Iraqi experience, which the Pentagon is so proud of, taught to patrol, escort columns and to standing with fortified garrisons in the middle of the desert. For three decades of bullying low-power opponents, the American army has become accustomed to relying on technological superiority and contact-fighting skills to a large extent lost. Now, even at the landfill in Yavorov, the cases of refusal of Ukrainian servicemen and guardsmen, who passed the meat grinder in Novorossia, to obey instructors, who, from the point of view of these veterans, are “complete salads”, have become more frequent.
In a word, the Pentagon missed the moment when the shooting by cruise missiles of a demoralized enemy ceased to be the only way to conduct hostilities. And now it is extremely difficult to assess the real combat effectiveness of the huge colossus of the US ground forces and the marine corps, if they suddenly have to face an enemy that is approximately equal in technical support in battle. But the allies and "fellow travelers" of the United States are waging such wars, they have almost none aviation, cruise missiles and aircraft carriers. In the deserts of Syria and the steppes of New Russia, you do not need to open the doors with a sledgehammer during a meditative cleansing of a settlement from which everyone has already fled and hid. There you need to keep the front kilometers under the fire of rocket artillery in the open.
As a result, the individual training of the troops of the "allies" and gangs of "fellow travelers" turns into a clownery. Someone, as is the case with the anti-Assad forces in Syria, perceives all this “preparation” as the inevitable evil that Allah sent as a test. Someone, like the Ukrainians, grumble a little louder than quietly. Another thing is that the "veterans" will not spoil such additional training. But the Ukrainian marines recruited from the reservists, passing through Yavorov (on this basis, declared an “elite unit” and thrown onto a difficult sector of the front), collapsed in the very first clash with the militias.
The mass “running in” of allied units (for example, the same Ukrainians and Georgians) through Iraq and Afghanistan gave exactly the same effect. The units were declared “elite” in fact, but they proved unsuitable in modern wars without — most importantly — the American technological cover — aviation, drones, and artillery. But from the fighters the initiative and ingenuity disappears completely, and from the commanders, starting from the company level, independent thinking.
All tactical training is also conducted on the basis of the Iraqi experience, which for some reason is considered the most advanced, and boils down to practicing patrolling the area with minimal fire contact with the enemy. Nobody teaches the collision with an equal opponent in direct combat by forces of a company more, it is considered in the age of cyber attacks, satellite constellations and precision weapons something incredibly outdated. The American military indulgently treated even the very idea of conducting an active contact battle, and when such inadvertent artillery happened sometimes, they either tried to get out of it and call the aircraft, or suffered awkward casualties. If the experience of the last three decades did not include contact combat, there was no need to develop modern combat schemes. This would be a problem only for the Americans, if they could not transfer all these evils to the "wards" of the army of trusted countries. Particularly characteristic is the difference in the armies of the former USSR republics between the units trained by the Americans and those in which officers with old training continue to serve. For example, the Georgian army gave many reasons for this kind of analysis.
Here is a typical episode of tactical training of the Georgian units trained by the Americans in the "Iraqi style" during the 2008 war of the South Ossetia year (here the nature of the decisions made by the commanders are most important). From 23.00 7 in August, the 43 th battalion of the 4th brigade of the Georgian army, located west of Tskhinval, set to “clean up” villages on the right side of the Prone river. The battalion, having trodden all night, was turned around by its mouths, and by about August 11.00-12.00, 8 had stumbled upon an ambush two kilometers from the district center Znaur. The Ossetian barrier opened fire on the Georgian group. 5 troops of the 43 Battalion were wounded on the move. After that (according to the order of the battalion commander) all the companies were concentrated together on a narrow position “for the destruction of the enemy’s supporting position”.
Even before the attack began, the battalion commander asked for artillery fire support and received it, and, in addition, was strengthened by three tanks. The Georgian group set about firing the positions of the Ossetian militia, after which, at about 16.00 p.m., the infantry stormed this "height" (!), Where they did not see the enemy in the eye. It is clear that there were no victims. By 18.00 p.m., the full battalion approached the entrance bridge to Znaur, but did not enter the village, as it lost artillery support. A tired battalion needed rest. The commander decided to return to the former stronghold of the enemy, to settle down and spend the night there. That is, the whole day the battalion wandered through the mountains and forests, found itself “a large defensive position of the enemy” (later it turned out that there were no more than a dozen Ossetian militiamen who, having fulfilled the ambush, quietly retreated), ironed it for an hour and a half, went to goals, but returned to starting position because he was tired.
Let us emphasize once again: it was a unit specially prepared for service in Iraq. They did not understand what it was all the time, day and night, to go at a fast pace, strike, maneuver and organize a breakthrough. They did not even act “according to the regulations”, but according to the unhurried Iraqi patrol tactics, which were completely unsuitable for open military clashes.
These are actions in attack. The defense was even worse. Proceeding from a fuzzy combat mission, the 43 Battalion spent its firepower on one small position and squandered physical force on meaningless walking around the villages. Before noon, 8 August, they had no information about what was happening in Tskhinval and Gori. Circling aircraft they took for Georgian aircraft, because, being in the ideological euphoria, they did not expect any other. And by noon, the soldiers of the 43 Battalion began to receive information by telephone about victims in other parts of the IV Brigade. The brigade goes into a panic. By 19.00 8 in August, the 43 th battalion, in which a riot was almost overdue, the command of the "Iraqi" brigade was being withdrawn from Znaura, and reservists left nothing to cover their positions.
The 43 Battalion received an order to consolidate near the village of Pkhvenisi. However, no one knew how to do this. Digging trenches themselves began to unit. The rest spent the night in irrigation canals, despite the fact that in the area of apple orchards were brought beforehand engineering equipment for the arrangement of the defensive line. For the burning headlights of Russian columns, descending from Tskhinval, the soldiers of the "Iraqi brigade" watched at night, lying in the gardens. Around 23.00 on August 10, a Russian helicopter flying around the area discovered with interest the “defensive positions” of the “Iraqi” brigade and with the first volley blew up the last tank of the fourth brigade and “technical equipment” with a large-caliber machine gun. No one dared to open fire, panic began. The two "Strela" in the battalion simply did not work, nobody was watching their technical condition. By dawn 11 August, the Georgian command continued to call for the strengthening of the defunct defensive position at Pkhvenisi, but on average each battalion found no more than 30 people ready to execute this order. A staff company of the II brigade, stuck under Tskhinval, decided to carry out this order, although the "Iraqi" brigade had long since fled. As a result, when approaching Shindisi, the staff company took the Russian tanks for the Georgian ones (they could not imagine that the units that had been taken over by the American training simply fled) and were completely destroyed.
According to the results of the August military actions of 2008, the 2nd brigade was recognized as the most efficient from all points of view. It was located in Western Georgia in the rear area even in relation to Abkhazia and was not undergoing any American training.
Thus, the scandal around the “Thirtieth Division” in Syria is just the tip of the iceberg. Now we can say that such problems are complex and cannot be explained by the CIA’s psychological mistakes alone. In the near future we will have to learn a lot of interesting things about the quality of the training that the American side imposes on its allies. And because someone must answer for this.