Archive for the ‘Russian military power’ category

Russia builds four new air bases in Syria, deploys another 6,000 troops

February 1, 2018

Debka File February 1, 2018

Source: Russia builds four new air bases in Syria, deploys another 6,000 troops

{“As of February 2016, Turkey hosts 2,688,686 registered refugees. About 30% live in 22 government-run camps near the Syrian border. Turkey is home to the highest number of Syrian refugees and has provided over $8,000,000,000 in aid.” A Russian investment of this scale could have gone a long way to helping these people return to Syria and rebuild their communities. But it’s not about the people…obviously. – LS}

Contrary to Moscow’s promises, the Russian military is not pulling out of Syria, but adding four more air bases (one shared with Iran) and 6,000 more troops.

On Dec. 11, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin, followed by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, announced that the Russian military was to withdraw from Syria to home bases. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that the reverse happened. A small number of units were indeed sent home, but they were sooner replaced, and instead of two bases – the air facility at Hmeimim and the naval installation at Tartus – four more Syrian air bases are being reconstructed and adapted for the use of the Russian air force.
The attached map illustrates their locations: {See Above – LS}

1.) The Tiyas Military Airbase (also known as T-4) in the Homs Governorate west of Palmyra, is the largest in Syria. The Russians are massively converting it into their main center of aerial operations in central Syria. Tyas will also provide backup as needed for Khmeimim, if drone, missile and mortar attacks recur.

2). Palmyra (or Tadmor) Airport provides air support for operations in eastern Syria including the Deir ez-Zour province. Moscow has agreed to share it with Iran. The Revolutionary Guards Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani is planning to make Palmyra the main assembly center for the transfer of pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite militias from southern Iraq to Syria.

3). From Hama Military Airport west of Hama, the Russians will exercise control from the air of central Syria and the northern and central highways to Damascus. Still more importantly, this airport’s location places it just 125km as the crow flies (173km by road) from Russia’s Tartus naval base on the Mediterranean coast.

4). Shayrat, at Homs (which became notorious as the target of a massive US Tomahawk attack last year) is the main landing site for air transports which bring the Russian and Iranian forces troop reinforcements, weapons and spare parts.

More than 6,000 additional Russian military personnel are assigned to the four renovated bases in Syria – most of them air force and special operations personnel. Some have arrived.

The attached map shows how the new layer of Russian bases Moscow in western, central and eastern Syria faces the chain of military locations the Americans have decided to keep in northern Syria. The two powers are evidently in a race for bases in Syria. In strategic terms, the two powers are dividing a large swath of Syria between them as regions of influence, leaving any future ruler in Damascus with just about half of Syrian territory under government control.

Trump Calls Putin’s Bluff, In Syria and Beyond

April 14, 2017

Trump Calls Putin’s Bluff, In Syria and Beyond, PJ MediaMichael Ledeen, April 14, 2017

(“Putin’s puppy” does not wag his tail; he bites. — DM)

(Sergey Guneev/Sputnik via AP)

[A]ll those pundits who belittled the Tomahawk attack have missed a very important point. Over the past eight years, Russia’s effective power in the world had grown far beyond its real power. That has now changed, and you can expect our actual and would-be allies, and our global enemies, to change their recent tunes.

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You may have noticed that Vladimir Putin is distinctly annoyed with us, and he is right to be. For we have deprived him of his great dream to join, and perhaps even lead, the ranks of the world’s most important leaders. Today, following the attack on the Syrian air base, Putin is just one more dictator.

During the Obama years, the Russian tyrant had grown accustomed to getting his way most everywhere. Invade Crimea? Fine. Grab slices of eastern Ukraine? No problem. Open military bases in Syria and Libya? You bet. We wouldn’t challenge him.

Along with these actions was a kind of implied Brezhnev Doctrine (according to which, once a country joined the Soviet bloc, it would never leave it): If you allied with Putin, he’d protect you. Nobody would invade, and Russian antiaircraft missiles would defend against air attack.

As Richard Perle has said, Putin’s Russia is not a major military power.

“The appearance that Vladimir Putin is strong is largely the result of weakness displayed by the United States in the [Barack] Obama years. Russia is not a very strong country.

“Its military is relatively weak and ineffective, even though they spend a lot of money. It’s true they have nuclear weapons, but no one can quite imagine those being brought to play.”

So Putin’s posture as the leader of a major power was blown up in Syria, along with the airplanes and jet fuel storage tanks, and you can be sure that the Russian antiaircraft systems do not seem to have functioned at all.

Thus, all those pundits who belittled the Tomahawk attack have missed a very important point. Over the past eight years, Russia’s effective power in the world had grown far beyond its real power. That has now changed, and you can expect our actual and would-be allies, and our global enemies, to change their recent tunes.

When America moves decisively, the whole world changes. It is now likely that countries like Egypt, which had taken out insurance against American weakness by buying Russian weapons and permitting Russian special forces to operate on Cairo’s side of the Egyptian/Libyan border, will find it easier to support the United States. And you can see the same effect in recent declarations from NATO, bragging about the increases in defense spending throughout the alliance.

On the other side of the global war, the Iranians have of course enlisted in Putin’s disinformation campaign, accusing Trump of falsifying the evidence of Syrian chemical weapons, and thumping their chests, warning of dire consequences if the United States dares to move against Tehran.

But if you think Russia’s not a credible military threat to us, Iran is much more toothless, and Khamenei faces a far greater internal threat than Putin does. All Iranians understand that if Trump is willing to strike Syria, he is likely willing to strike Iran, without whose fighters and weapons the Syrian dictatorship would be doomed. They are also impressed with the deployment of the Mother Of All Bombs in Afghanistan. That sort of thing resonates with the Persians. If they had such power, they’d certainly use that sort of language. Thankfully, they don’t have the power, and so they resort to fantasies.

Exciting times, and not nearly so bad as the old Chinese curse would have you believe. As I’ve said for years, we’re in the midst of a paradigm shift. Nobody knows how it will turn out, but the news is certainly not all bad.