معادلة القرن ترامب والسيد: مَن يمنع الوهم ومَن يردع الحقيقة؟

معادلة القرن ترامب والسيد: مَن يمنع الوهم ومَن يردع الحقيقة؟

ناصر قنديل

– في الفوارق بين مدرستين في الحرب النفسية ظهرتا في حرب تموز عام 2006 جهد الباحثون والعلماء المختصون بعلوم الحرب، خصوصاً الحرب النفسية لتمييز الفوارق بين المدرستين، واحدة هي المدرسة «الإسرائيلية» التي ذاع صيتها خلال خمسين عاماً سبقت الحرب بصفتها من أقوى المدارس العالمية، حتى بدأت تدرّس في كليات الحرب الغربية بصفتها المدرسة النموذجية، التي حلّت مكان المدرسة الألمانية النازية ونجمها غوبلز الذي ذاع صيته في الحرب العالمية الثانية وكيف كانت خططه الإعلامية تنجح بإسقاط عواصم ودول بإطلاق إشاعة أو خبر، حتى صار غوبلز مدعاة سخرية بفعل الدعاية «الإسرائيلية» التي استهدفته كمنافس في علوم الحرب النفسية، ولم يبقَ من مدرسته إلا نظرية «اكذب حتى يصدقك الآخرون»، ونجح «الإسرائيليون» بتسخيف مدرسة غوبلز وتبوأوا الصدارة مكانها ما بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية. حتى جاءت المدرسة الثانية، مدرسة المقاومة في الحرب النفسية التي يمثل الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله بطلها الأول، ومؤسسها وصانع إنجازاتها، وجاء انتصارها في حرب تموز ليمنحها صفة المدرسة المتفوّقة على المدرسة «الإسرائيلية». وبدأت البحوث تسعى لتبيان الفوارق ومصادر القوة الجديدة التي نجحت بالتفوق على المدرسة التي نظر إليها العالم بإعجاب كأولى مدارس العالم المتفوقة في خوض الحرب النفسية وتحقيق النصر فيها.

– كان التفوّق الذي تختزنه المدرسة «الإسرائيلية» يقوم على فلسفة كيّ الوعي التي أطلقها مؤسس الكيان المحتلّ ديفيد بن غوريون، وقوامها اللجوء للقوة المفرطة بوحشية التدمير والقتل لتعميم ثقافة الموت كثمن لكل مَن يفكّر في مقاومة الاحتلال، ولاحقاً في استعمال كل مصادر القدرة الحربية والنارية في مناطق الألم لكل دولة تفكر باللجوء للحرب على «إسرائيل»، ومواكبة هذا السلوك الميداني بالرسائل الإعلامية والنفسية التي ترسخ فكرة العجز عن المواجهة والقدر المحتوم بالهلاك والفناء لمن يفكّر فيها أو ينوي سلوك طريقها، فيصير تصريح «إسرائيلي» صحافي كافياً لتراجع دولة عن بناء منشأة مدنية، مثل مشروع جر مياه الوزاني في لبنان عام 1964، ويصير اللجوء لإحراق طائرات شركة طيران الشرق الأوسط اللبنانيّة فوق مدرجات مطار بيروت، رسالة كيّ وعي كافية عام 1968 للقول إن كلفة الوجود الفلسطيني المقاوم لـ«إسرائيل» أكبر بكثير من كلفة مواجهته. وتنطلق حضانة لبنانية لحرب على الوجود الفلسطيني المقاوم من وحي هذه الرسالة.

– بعد ظهور المقاومة وتناميها في جنوب لبنان وصولاً للتحرير العام 2000 دخل اللاعب الجديد المنتصر في الحرب الواقعية التي حدثت فعلاً، ليصير شريكاً على ساحة خوض الحرب النفسية، بينما «إسرائيل» تواصل ما كانت عليه من دون أن تقوم بتقييم مدى صلاحية مدرستها على مواصلة الطريقة التقليدية ذاتها التي نجحت في الماضي من دون التحقق وفحص مدى صلاحيتها للحاضر والمستقبل. وقد ظهر من نتاج الحرب «الإسرائيلية» مع المقاومة أن كيَّ الوعي قد أخفق في ردع مئات من اللبنانيين صاروا ألوفاً عن تشكيل حركة مقاومة والسير بها حتى نهاية التضحيات وأعلاها كلفة، وصولاً لجعل المسار معكوساً بإيصال رسالة قوامها، «لا جدوى من مواصلة احتلالكم أرضنا»، بدلاً من لا جدوى من تفكيركم في المقاومة». وفي الواقع تلقت «إسرائيل» رسالة المقاومة وسارت في النهاية بموجبها عبر انسحابها عام 2000، فيما تعطلت الرسالة «الإسرائيلية» عن الوصول والفعل، ولم تنفع المكابرة «الإسرائيلية» والمضي قدماً في المدرسة نفسها في منع نمو المدرسة الجديدة للمقاومة، التي رسمت معادلتها الذهبية في ساحة بنت جبيل بالكلمة الشهيرة لسيد المقاومة التي لا زال صداها يتردّد «إسرائيل أوهن من بيت العنكبوت». وجاء كل شيء بعد هذا التاريخ لحرب إرادات يجب أن تحسم النتيجة لصالح تأكيد المعادلة أو نفيها، وبالتالي تثبيت أي من المدرستين أبقى. وكانت حرب تموز عام 2006 هي اللحظة التي ستحسم، كيّ الوعي أم وعي الكيّ وكيّه بوعي جديد. بعد الحرب أمكن للمقاومة أن تخرج وتقول مجدداً بلسان سيّدها، «نعم إسرائيل أوهن من بيت العنكبوت»، بعدما أضافت إلى مخزونها في الحرب النفسية معادلات من نوع، «أردتموها حرباً مفتوحة فلتكن حرباً مفتوحة»، وانتظرونا «لقد أعددنا لكم من المفاجآت ما سيغيّر وجهة الحرب».. وهكذا كان تفجير المدمّرة ساعر وسواها من المفاجآت، وصولاً إلى الرد على معادلة تدمير صواريخ المقاومة بمعادلة «حيفا وما بعد حيفا وما بعد ما بعد حيفا».

– تميّز التفوق الجوهري في مدرسة المقاومة بكونها لم تطلق معادلات تراهن على التهويل والخوف والردع النفسي في تجنيبها الاختبار العملي، بل تجنّبت إطلاق أي معادلة تخشى اختبارها الفعلي في الميدان، وربّما حرصت على جعل معادلاتها المعلنة أدنى مستوى من قدراتها الفعلية دائماً، فصارت قوة الردع النفسي مضاعفة. فعندما تقول المقاومة ما بعد حيفا لا يصل لعقل العدو التحسّب ليافا بل للنقب وإيلات، لأن المقاومة دائماً لديها مفاجآت. بينما بقيت مدرسة «إسرائيل» تقوم على توظيف ميراثها السابق من التفوق واستحضار ذاكرة أمجاد الحروب التي خاضتها لترمي معادلات أعلى من قدرتها على خوض اختبارها العملي، كما حدث مع معادلة «ما بعد الليطاني» في حرب تموز، أو «سحق حزب الله»، أو «تدمير القدرة الصاروخية وإسكاتها»، وكلها معادلات أثبتت الحرب أنها فوق قدرة «إسرائيل». بينما بدأ سيد المقاومة الحرب بمعادلة قوامها، لسنا كحركة مقاومة معنيين بالدفاع عن خط جغرافي معيّن، فقد يصل العدو إلى الليطاني وما بعد الليطاني، لكننا نعده بحرب يحمل فيها على ظهور جنوده أشلاء قتلاه ودباباته، وفرقه العشرة التي يقول إنه أعدّها لنا ستعود أشلاء مقطّعة. وانتهت الحرب عند خط الحدود وقد مُنع «الإسرائيليون» من التقدّم شبراً داخل الأراضي اللبنانية إلا كأشلاء رجال ودبابات، والخاتمة بنصر مدوٍّ لمدرسة المقاومة في الحرب النفسية.

– تظهر خطابات الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب، أن المدرسة «الإسرائيلية» للحرب النفسية هي مولود من رحم المدرسة الأميركية، وأن ترامب يخوض حرباً نفسية، عنوانها كيّ الوعي، تهدف لتحقيق منجزات سياسية وميدانية بالرهان على الرعب والذعر من خروج أميركا للحرب، والرهان على التلويح بها لتحقيق أهدافها، من دون خوضها. ويبدو التركيز على إيران كقلعة لحركات المقاومة في المنطقة وسندٍ لها، هدفاً مباشراً للتحدي الأميركي الذي يسعى ترامب للتعامل معه، ويجهد مع شريكه بنيامين نتنياهو لوضعه تحت مجهر التصويب. ووفقاً لخطة مايكل فلين الذي رحل قبل أن يفرح باستقبال نتنياهو من موقعه كمستشار للأمن القومي، فالتصعيد الكلامي على إيران يجب أن ينتهي برسالة مضمونها أن على إيران أن تختار بين انسحاب حزب الله من سورية أو المواجهة المفتوحة. وهذا يعني تأمين متطلبات الأمن «الإسرائيلي» من الجبهة الشمالية الشرقية مقابل أمن الملف النووي الإيراني.

– تعاملت إيران بالتجاهل التام مع الرسائل الأميركية، وأرسل الإمام الخامنئي ردوداً من العيار الثقيل على التهديدات الأميركية، فعندما قال ترامب إنه سيلغي الاتفاق النووي، قال السيد الخامنئي إن كنتم ستلغون الاتفاق فنحن سنحرقه. وعندما قال الأميركيون إن الخيار العسكري على الطاولة ردّ السيد الخامنئي لماذا تبقونه على الطاولة هاتوه لنختبره في الميدان، ووصل تصاعد الاشتباك بمفهوم الحرب النفسية إلى الذروة، حيث لقاء نتنياهو ترامب يقترب، فخرج ترامب بمعادلة قوامها، سنمنع إيران من امتلاك السلاح النووي مهما كلّف الثمن، وهو يعلم أنه يقاتل وهماً، لأن الامتناع عن امتلاك السلاح النووي هو قاعدة الاتفاق الذي هدّد بإلغائه أولاً، ولأن الامتناع هو فعل طوعي معلَن من إيران ثانياً، ويصير التهديد الأميركي هنا كالتهديد للرئيس السوري ما لم يقبل بحلّ سياسي، وهو صاحب الدعوة الأصلية للحلّ السياسي، بينما كانت واشنطن صاحبة الدعوة للحل العسكري، ومنع المعارضة من قبول التفاوض، أو تهديد موسكو ما لم تقبل وقف التجارب النووية، وموسكو هي مَن يدعو لذلك. وهذا الحال هو التعبير عن هزال الحرب النفسية وتدنّي مفاعيل القوة إلى أدنى مستوياتها.

– في الذروة يسقط ترامب ومعه نتنياهو، وفي الذروة يخرج سيد المقاومة إلى حربه النفسية وهما يجتمعان ليقطعا اجتماعهما ويستمعا للمعادلة الجديدة، ليس على «إسرائيل» تفريغ مستودعات الأمونيا من حيفا فقط، بل تفكيك مفاعل ديمونا، لأن الحرب المقبلة ستتيح للمقاومة استعمال السلاح الكيميائي بتفجير مستودعات الأمونيا واستعمال السلاح النووي بتفجير ديمونا. والمعادلة هي أن إيران التي تقاتلونها وتهدّدونها لأجل خوفكم من دعمها لحزب الله، لأنه الواقف على الحدود وخطوط الاشتباك مع «إسرائيل»، وتريدون الشعور بالأمان إلى أنها لن تمتلك سلاحاً نووياً، وبالتالي لن يصير السلاح النووي جزءاً من معادلة الردع لدى المقاومة، فها نحن نبلغكم من الآن أن سلاحكم النووي الحقيقي، سيكون سلاحنا النووي لتدميركم به، من دون الحاجة لامتلاك سلاح نووي لا نحتاجه، ولن نحتاج لسماع تهديداتكم لمنع امتلاكنا له، فهو بين أيدينا ما دام مفاعلكم النووي في مرمى صواريخنا.

– في التوقيت والمضمون والدقة، رسم السيد معادلة الردع لترامب ونتنياهو معاً، معادلة حرب نفسية للقرن الحادي والعشرين.

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The US warning to Iran الإنذار الأميركي لإيران

The US warning to Iran

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It can be said after the ratification of the Congress on adopting the new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the US President Donald Trump has completed the formation of his presidential team, thus it can be said too that Trump has tested with the decision of banning the nationals of the seven countries which were included in his decision the extent of his ability to go on through the popularity of his electoral statements as an agenda for his presidential mandate, and the size of the complications which will confront him badly if he continues going on in this path. Now he is in front of internal unenviable situation in respect of media, popularity, and law, and he is in front of external protest campaign that caused the disintegration of his allies and their disavowal of his policies from Britain to France and starting from his closest neighbor Canada which always obeys the US decisions.

The international checker of Trump is full of issues, full of blocks, and traps, the search for an achievement does not seem available with a decision, and the decision needed by Trump must achieve two goals together; to preoccupy the people away from the randomness of his rash procedures and to be in conformity with the image of the strong man which he wanted, but there is no opportunity to do that under forming a safe zone in Syria according to the common previous description, as an area of aerial embargo that includes a risk of military collision with Syria, which soon may turn into collision with Russia. This was said previously by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey before the Congress, and  will affect the agenda of Trump which is based on the search for a cooperation with Russia in many issues, he considered that the US failure in them is due to the avoidance of the previous administration to cooperate with Russia, while the transfer of the US embassy to Tel Aviv will relieve his relation with the occupation government and its supporters in America who are many and do not belong neither to the Republican party nor the Democratic one, they are active in media, so they will ensure the promotion of his influence into the US borders, but the political result will complicate the act of any US administration regarding the peace issues and will embarrass all the Arabs of America in addition to the Palestinian authority, it will lead to provoke the Arab Islamist background against America, that is added to the decision of banning ,but it will not disable it, on the contrary it will be accumulated because the two decisions are an expression of racism against the Arabs and the Muslims. According to Israel the profit will be politically and in media but in the ground, it will be a trouble that outbreaks the Palestinian street which is already igniting. So what will tyrannize over the failure that affects the image of the President in his first days in the office and tenses his followers and allies, and shows that Israel is the most important for presenting the image of the strong President even in negotiation? It is only Iran.

The information that came from Yemen shows that the issue has started with the US military leadership and the bloc of the military industries with the destruction of the Saudi barge which was hit by a missile by the Yemeni army and the popular committees. It was among the US advanced destroyers which was received recently by Saudi Arabia, its status surpasses the status of the Israeli Sa’ar which was bombed by the resistance in the war of July in 2006 off the coast of Beirut. The information shows that the barge has been completely bombed, and approximately two hundreds of military, navigators and technicians were killed on its board knowing that among them there were Americans. In this regard the US tension surpasses the tension in the issue of the tests of the Iranian Ballistic missiles which the Americans know that they are the outcome of the understanding on the nuclear program. They know that the speech of the President Trump regarding this understanding which did not have too much attention of the US media according to what was quoted by a phone talk between Trump and the Saudi King has formed qualitative regression of his electoral speech where the talk about the strict application of the agreement has replaced its reconsideration.

Trump and his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn takes a first step in escalation with Iran by talking about a warning stems from an incident that they know that it is difficult to be repeated as bombing the Saudi destroyer or the Saudi Sa’ar as nominated by the Yemenis, and it is difficult to punish Iran for it legally even if the Americans said that the incident was under the leadership, the supervision, and the arming of Iran. While in the issue of the tests of the Ballistic missiles the Americans know that Iran will not stop them and that lifting the tension to the level of warning recalls the uptime to interpret this warning with first new similar test which will surely happen. So will Trump and his team resort to sanctions or the military messages in this case? This is the change which will present new image. Everything shows that the media escalation will focus on the Red Sea in the light of destroying the Saudi Sa’ar to avoid the military confrontation, and transferring the talk about the ballistic tests to the diplomatic and escalated talk and the sanctions in order to avoid a confrontation, which the administration of Trump knows that the reason for not going on in it by who preceded it was not the cowardice but the inability.

By the time the outcome of the test of the meaning of the US warning becomes clear, Trump may have ignited what is enough to prevent the outcome of his own decision of banning the nationals of the seven countries. This was the first advice of Michael Flynn; addressing a strong message then get the satisfaction of the allies in the Gulf and Israel, getting the attraction of Iran for a serious dealing, and thus overcome the crisis of the nationals through the smoke of escalation.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

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الإنذار الأميركي لإيران

ناصر قنديل

– يمكن القول مع تصديق الكونغرس على اعتماد وزير الخارجية الأميركية الجديد ريكس تيليرسون يكون الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب قد أكمل تشكيل فريقه الرئاسي، وبالتالي يمكن القول إيضاً إن ترامب قد اختبر مع قرار منع رعايا البلدان السبع التي شملها قراره مدى قدرته على السير بشعبوية بياناته الانتخابية كبرنامج عمل لولايته الرئاسية، وحجم التعقيدات التي ستواجهه وتنفجر بوجهه إذا مضى في هذا السبيل، وها هو أمام وضع أميركي داخلي لا يُحسد عليه من الزوايا الإعلامية والشعبية والقانونية، وأمام حملة احتجاج خارجية سببت انفكاك حلفائه من حوله وتبرُّئهم من سياساته، من بريطانيا إلى فرنسا وانطلاقاً من الجار الأقرب كندا الذي لم يشق عصا الطاعة يوماً على قرار أميركي.

– رقعة الشطرنج الدولية على طاولة ترامب تحفل بالملفات، لكنها تحفل بالمطبات والفِخاخ، فالبحث عن إنجاز لا يبدو متوفراً بقرار، والقرار الذي يحتاجه ترامب يجب أن يحقق له هدفين معاً، أن يُشغل الناس عن عشوائية ما ارتكب بإحراءاته المتسرّعة، وأن ينسجم مع صورة الرئيس القوي التي أرادها لنفسه، ولا فرصة لفعل ذلك تحت عنوان إنشاء المنطقة الآمنة في سورية، وفقاً للتوصيف السابق والرائج لها كمنطقة حظر جوي، تتضمّن مجازفة بصدام عسكري مع سورية، سرعان ما قد يتحوّل لصدام مع روسيا، وهو ما قاله سابقاً رئيس أركان الجيوش الأميركية مارتن ديمبسي أمام الكونغرس، وما يقلب جدول أعمال ترامب القائم أصلاً على البحث عن عمل مشترك مع روسيا في العديد من الملفات، التي اعتبر الفشل الأميركي فيها عائداً خلال الإدارة السابقة، لتجنبها التعاون مع روسيا، أما نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى تل أبيب فسيريح علاقته بحكومة الاحتلال ومناصريها في أميركا وهم كثر وعابرون للحزبين الجمهوري والديمقراطي، وفاعلون إعلامياً، وسيتكفّلون بتسويق صورته داخل الحدود الأميركية، لكن النتيجة السياسية ستعقد عمل أي إدارة أميركية على ملفات السلام، وتُحرج كل عرب أميركا، عدا عن السلطة الفلسطينية، وتتكفّل بإنتاج مناخ عربي إسلامي ملتهب بوجه أميركا يُضاف لقرار المنع ولا يحجبه، بل يتغذّى به ويفعّل الحملة عليه باعتبار القرارين تعبيراً عن عنصرية معادية للعرب والمسلمين، وبالنسبة لـ«إسرائيل» سيكون الربح إعلامياً وسياسياً، لكنه ميدانياً سيكون ورطة تفجّر الشارع الفلسطيني المشتعل أصلاً. فماذا تبقى من الملفات التي يمكن لها أن تطغى على الفشل الذي يصيب صورة الرئيس في أول أيامه، ويشدّ عصب جمهوره وحلفائه، ويُري «إسرائيل» فيما هو أهم، ومعها يشكل رأس جسر لتقديم صورة الرئيس القوي ولو تفاوضياً، ليس هناك إلا إيران.

– تفيد المعلومات الواردة من اليمن أن القضية بدأت عند القيادة العسكرية الأميركية وتكتل الصناعات الحربية مع تدمير البارجة السعودية التي أصابها الصاروخ الذي أطلقه عليها الجيش اليمني واللجان الشعبية، هي من المدمّرات الأميركية المتطورة التي حصلت عليها السعودية حديثاً، وتضاهي مكانة ساعر «الإسرائيلية» التي فجّرتها المقاومة في حرب تموز 2006 قبالة شواطئ بيروت. وتقول المعلومات إن البارجة تفجّرت بالكامل وقتل على متنها قرابة مئتي عسكري وملاح وتقني، وإن بينهم أميركيين، وإن التوتر الأميركي بهذا الصدد يفوق التوتر في قضية تجارب الصواريخ الباليستية الإيرانية، التي يعرف الأميركيون أنها خارج التفاهم على الملف النووي، ويعرفون أن كلام الرئيس ترامب الذي لم يتوقف أمامه الإعلام الأميركي ملياً عن هذا التفاهم، في ما نشر عن الحديث الهاتفي بين ترامب والملك السعودي شكل تراجعاً نوعياً عن خطابه الانتخابي، حيث حل الحديث عن التطبيق الصارم للاتفاق بدلاً من إعادة النظر فيه.

– يخطو ترامب ومستشاره لشؤون الأمن القومي مايكل فلين خطوة أولى نحو التصعيد مع إيران، بالحديث عن إنذار ينطلق من حادث يعرفون أنه صعب التكرار، كتفجير المدمّرة السعودية، أو ساعر السعودية، كما يسمّيها اليمنيون، ويصعب محاسبة إيران عليها قانونياً، ولو قال الأميركيون إن الحادث بقيادة إيران وإشرافها وتسليحها، بينما في شأن التجارب الباليستية الصاروخية فيعرف الأميركيون أن إيران لن توقفها، وأن رفع الموقف منها لمستوى الإنذار يستدعي الجهوزية لترجمة هذا الإنذار مع أول تجرية مماثلة جديدة، وهي آتية حكماً. فهل سيلجأ ترامب وفريقه للعقوبات أم للرسائل العسكرية في هذه الحالة؟ هذا هو التغيير الذي يمكن أن يقدّم صورة جديدة، وكل شيء يقول إن التصعيد الإعلامي سيركز على البحر الأحمر في ضوء تدمير ساعر السعودية لتفادي المواجهة العسكرية، ونقل الحديث عن التجارب الباليستية إلى سجل الحديث الدبلوماسي التصعيدي والعقوبات تفادياً لمواجهة تعرف إدارة ترامب أن سبب عدم سير من سبقه إليها ليس التخاذل بل العجز.

– حتى يحدث ما يستدعي اختبار معنى كلمة الإنذار الأميركي وترجمته، يكون ترامب قد أشعل ما ينتج الدخان الكافي لحجب سحب التفاعلات الناجمة عن قراره الخاص بمنع رعايا الدول السبع، تلك أولى نصائح مايك فلين، نوجّه الرسالة القوية، ونرضي الحلفاء في الخليج و»إسرائيل»، ونجذب إيران لجدية التعامل معنا، ونتخطى أزمة الرعايا بدخان التصعيد.

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US vs Iran – a war of apples vs oranges

February 07, 2017

This article was written for the Unz Review

One of the most frustrating tasks is to try to debunk the Hollywood myths imprinted on the mind of Americans about warfare in general and about special forces and technology in particular. When last week I wrote my column about the first SNAFUs of the Trump Presidency I pretty much expected that some of the points I made would fall on deaf ears and that indeed did happen. What I propose to do today is to try, yet again, to explain the vast difference between what I would call “the American way of war” as seen in propaganda movies and the reality of warfare.

Let’s begin by the issue of the use of special operation forces and immediately say what they are not: special operation forces are not SWAT or anti-terrorist forces. The US propaganda machine has imprinted on the mind of people in the West that if a force is “elite” and looks “tacti-cool” it is some kind of special force. By that criteria, even some riot cops could be considered as “special forces”. This is, by the way, not only an American sin. The Russians have gone down the exact same ridiculous road and now you have “spetsnaz” forces all over Russia – even the Russian equivalent of the US department of correction which now has “spetsnaz” forces to deal with prison riots! Likewise, the famous anti-terrorist unit “A” (mistakenly called “Alpha” as opposed to the US “Delta”) is exactly that – an anti-terrorist unit and not a military special force. So what are, stricto sensu, special forces? They are a military force which participates to the overall war effort but autonomously and not in direct support of the main/conventional fighting force. Depending on the country and service, special forces can deal with a variety to tasks ranging from providing “advisors” to what Americans call direct action operation such as the recent ill-fated attack on the al-Qaeda compound in Yemen. Just like airborne forces, special forces have often been misused, especially when conventional forces could not be counted on, but that does not mean that SWAT and anti-terrorist forces should be thought of as “special forces”. Special forces are always military forces and they operate in support of military operations.

[Sidebar: some American readers who where miffed by my assertions that US special forces have a terrible real-life record have tried to counter with a logically fallacious argument: what about Russian special forces, are they any better? Examples given where Beslan, Nord-Ost and Budennovsk. There are two problems with this argument: one, none of these events can be considered as “special operations” and, two, even if the Russian special forces have a terrible record, this hardly means that the US special forces’ record is good or, even less so, better. Besides, these three tragedies are totally different. The Budennovsk hospital hostage crisis was, indeed, a total disaster which occurred against the backdrop of another total disaster, the First Chechen war, and which resulted in 130 dead civilians out of a total of about 2000. That is a 93.5% of hostages which survived. Considering that the civilians political authorities were arguably the worst in Russian history and considering that the hostage takers were well over 100 hardened Chechen terrorists, I think that this is not the “disaster” that civilians like to think of. Next, let’s look at Beslan. Here we have well over 1000 hostages when 385 fatalities – much more of a “disaster” indeed. But let’s remember what happened that day: a bomb, apparently one of the biggest one held in the sports hall, blew up which resulted in local civilians (parents) spontaneously storming the school. At this point, the anti-terror forces simply joined in to save as many people as possible and many of them died by shielding the kids with the own bodies. There is simply no way that Beslan can be blamed on Russian anti-terrorist forces. As for Nord-Ost, this is one of the most successful hostage rescue operation in history: about 900 hostages are taken by about 45 terrorists. As a result of the operation, all of the civilians are freed, all of the terrorists are killed and all the anti-terrorist troops survived. Not a single bomb was detonated. However, the tragedy happened after the operation when the medical services simply did not have enough manpower to revive the freed hostages, some of whom even died in buses on the way to medical care. In theory, every single one of these hostages had undergone a full anesthesia (without being intubated) and every single one of them needed to be revived by a medical team. In their worst nightmares the Russian anti-terrorist forces had never expected to deal with such a huge number of civilians needing immediate specialized medical care. The civilian emergency medical response units were completely overwhelmed and did not even know what gas had been used. As a result, 130 hostages died, or about 15% of the hostages. Had the Russians not decided to use gas the most likely casualty figure would have been well over 500 if not more. That is hardly what I would call a failure of the entire operation, including the civilian support. In terms of pure anti-terrorist operation is probably the most successful hostage liberation operation in history. Let me end this sidebar with a simple question: when is the last time that any anti-terrorist force in the West had to deal with a situation involving over 1000 hostages taken by a large number of ruthless military-trained terrorists?]

If one is absolutely determined to assess the Russian record on special operations I would point to the capture of the Ruzyne International Airport in Prague in 1968, the storming of the Tajbeg Palace in Afghanistan in 1979 and, of course, the Russian operation to seize Crimea in 2014. But, again, there is no logical need to prove that Russian can do it well/better to assert that Americans can’t.

Now let’s turn to the issue of a possible war between Iran and the United States.

The dumbest possible thing to evaluate the possible outcomes of a US attack on Iran would be to do compare all the technologies available to both countries and come to some kind of conclusion. For an example of that kind of nonsense, check out this typical article. Generally, the obsession with technology is a typical American pathology which is a direct result of fighting overseas wars against vastly out-gunned enemies. I call that the engineer’s view of war, as opposed to the soldier’s view. That is not to say that technology does not matter, it does, but tactics, operations and strategy matter a whole lot more. For example, while it is true that a modern M1A2 Abrams is vastly superior to an old Soviet T-55, there are circumstances (high mountains, forests) where the T-55, properly engaged, could be a much better tank. Likewise, putatively outdated WWII anti-tank guns can be used with devastating effect on modern APC just as outdated air defense guns can by turned into absolutely terrifying assault fire support vehicles.

US vs Iran – a war of apples vs orangesIn the case of the US attack on Iran, only a total ignoramus would suppose that as soon as the Iranians detect the US attack they would scramble their mostly dated air force to try to achieve air superiority or that they would hope to stop the US attack using their air-defenses. Let me remind everybody here that Hezbollah made exactly zero use of their air defenses (only MANPADS anyway) during the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006 and that did not prevent Hezbollah from inflicting upon the IDF the most crushing defeat in their history. Why?

Because generally the American way of war doesn’t really work. What do I mean by “American way of war”? Using airstrikes and missile attacks to degrade the enemy’s capabilities to such a degree that it forces him to surrender. This was tried against the Serbian military in Kosovo and resulted in an abject failure: the Serbian forces survived the 78 days of massive NATO bombing completely unscathed (a few MBTs and APCs were lost, that’s about it). When that failure became apparent to the NATO commanders they did what the US military always does and turned against the civilian Serbian population in retaliation (same as the Israelis in Lebanon, of course) while offering Milosevic a deal: you surrender and we leave you in power. He accepted and ordered the Serbian military out of Kosovo. This was a spectacular political success for NATO, but in purely military terms, this was a disaster (well-concealed from the western public opinion courtesy of the best propaganda machine in history).

In one case only once did that American way of war really work as advertised: during the first Gulf War. And there is a good reason for that.

During the Cold War US force planners and strategist had developed a number of concepts to prepare for a war in Europe against the Soviet Union. Such concepts included the AirLand Battle doctrine or the Follow-on-Forces Attack (FOFA) which I shall not discuss in detail here, but which all placed a heavy emphasis on long-range reconnaissance-strikes systems and the use of air forces to defeat an assumed Soviet conventional superiority, especially in armor. I believe that these were fundamentally sound doctrines which could have been used effectively in the European theater. By the time Iraq invaded Kuwait, the USA had honed these concepts to quasi-perfection and the US armed forces were well trained in applying them. Saddam Hussein then committed a series of unforgivable mistakes the worst one being to give the USA many months to deploy into the KSA (this blatantly contradicts Soviet military doctrine which tells me that Saddam Hussein did not listen to this Soviet-trained generals or that these generals were afraid to speak up).

Apparently, Saddam Hussein believed that having fought the Iranians during the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988) he was ready to take on the USA. Well, he wasn’t. In fact, the way the Iraqis prepared for a US attack was a dream come true for US force planners and analysts because Saddam gave them the absolutely *perfect* target: large armored formations deployed in a desert with no air cover. The US, who for years had prepared to fight a much more sophisticated Soviet conventional military in the complex central European terrain (“Mischgelende” forests, many villages and town, rapid streams, steep hills and riverbanks, etc.) could simply not believe their luck: the Iraqis deployed in the worst possible manner making them an ideal target, much easier in fact that what was practiced for in US desert trainings. The result was predictable, the USA simply crushed the Iraqis and almost took no casualties.

Guess who observed that from right across the border with rapt attention?

The Iranians, of course.

If anybody seriously believes that the Iranians will prepare for a US attack by trying to out-American the Americans I have a few bridges to sell to them.

What Iranians, and Hezbollah, perfectly understood is that the key to prevail against the USA is to deny them the American way of war and to impose them a type of warfare they absolutely loathe. We can call that the Iranian way of war. Here are a few of its key components:

1) Assume that the American will establish air supremacy in 24 hours or less and deny them any lucrative targets. Sounds simple, but it is not. This requires a number of steps which can take years to implement including, but not limited to, concealing, hardening and deeply burying the most valuable civilian and military assets, creating an highly redundant network of communication and prepare for semi-autonomous operations when communications fail, creating a country-wide system of local civilian-military cooperation aimed at the survivability of essential government services including law and order, have procedures in place to compensate for the disruption of energy distribution and the destruction of key transportation nodes, etc. It might be my Swiss training speaking here, but I would assume that over the past 30 years the Iranians have dug thousands of miles of underground tunnels and command posts which allows the country to literally “go under” for as long as is needed.

2) Develop a number of key advanced technologies such as GPS-spoofing, computer network penetration and disruption, electronic counter-measures warfare, advanced mine warfare, small boat operations and, of course, missile strikes not to deny the US forces any portion of the Iranian territory, but to dramatically increase the risks and costs of US operations. This is were a limited number of advanced air defense systems can make a critical difference, especially if successfully concealed.

3) Engage in “horizontal escalation”: rather than wasting efforts in trying to shoot down US aircraft, use missile strikes to destroy US airfields (and ports) in the region. That is, by the way, official Iranian doctrine. Or strike at US forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. Target Israel or, even better, the Saudi regime. Force the US Navy to either engage in brown-water or, at most, green-water operations (here the Russian Kilo-class subs will excel) or force them to move back and shut down the Strait of Hormuz (the US Navy hates brown and green water operations, and for good reason, the USN is a blue-water navy par excellence) and the Americans are acutely aware of what happened to the US-built Israeli Sa’ar 5-class corvette when it got hit by Hezbollah fired Chinese-built C-802 missile.

4) Play the time card: time is always against the US military as the expectation is a short, easy war, with as little as casualties as possible and then a quick “out”. The Israelis ran out of steam in 33 days, NATO in 78 – so plan for at least a 12 month long conflict. Western forces have no staying power, let them hope for a “quickie” and then see how they react when it ain’t happening.

5) Use the traditional American sense of superiority and condescension for “sand niggers”or “hajis” and don’t bother trying to intimidate them. Instead, try to use that racist mindset to make them commit crucial strategic mistakes as Iran did when it used fake Iraqi “defectors” who spread disinformation about non-existing Iraqi WMDs to convince the US Neocons to lobby for an attack on Iraq to protect Israel. I find the notion of using US Neocons to make the US get rid of Saddam Hussein and basically hand over Iraq to Iran nothing short of pure genius. This is, of course, why it is never mentioned in western sources 🙂

6) Force the Americans to present you more targets: the more US forces are deployed near Iran, the more targets they offer for Iranian counter-attacks and the more they get politically bogged-down (as shown by the recent Iraqi threat to revoke visas for US servicemen in Iraq in response to Trump temporary visa-ban; the threat is empty, but clearly nobody in the White House or Foggy Bottom ever considered such an option). Basically, being being everywhere CENTCOM forces are hated everywhere.

The above are just a few examples from a long list of things the Iranians can do to respond to a US attack on Iran. We can expect the Iranians to come up with a much longer and far more creative list. By the way, there is nothing new or original in the list I made above, and the Americans are quite aware of it. There is a reason why even though the US has come as close as being hours away from striking at Iran they always backed down at the last second. So we have that endless tug-of-war: the US politicians (who believe their own propaganda) want to strike Iran, while US military specialists (who know better than to believe their own propaganda) constantly try to prevent such an attack. I want to mention Admiral William Fallon here, a true hero and patriot, who bluntly declared about a possible attack on Iran “not on my watch” in direct defiance of his political superiors. I hope that one day his service to his country in a very difficult situation will be finally recognized.

One more thing: Israel and the other regional powers. They are basically the equivalent of the vegetables served in a steak house: decoration. Just as NATO is a pretend force, so is the IDF and all the rest of the locals, including the Saudis, at least compared to Iran and Hezbollah. Yes, sure, they spend a lot of money, purchase expensive systems, but should a war break out, the Americans will be carrying 90%+ of the burden of real warfare, as opposed to politically correct coalition-building. Iran is a very large country with a complex geography, and the only ones who have to kind of power-projection capabilities to strike at Iran other than symbolically are the Americans. Of course, I am quite sure that should the US strike at Iran the Israelis will feel obliged to strike at some putatively nuclear target, return home and declare yet victory of the “invincible Tsahal”. But to the extend that Iran will be meaningfully hurt, it will be by the US, not Israel.

So does that mean that Iran would come unscathed from a US attack? Absolutely not. What I expect the Americans to do is what they have always done: engage in the mass murder of civilians in retaliation for their military failures. I know that this will, yet again, offend some doubleplusgoodthinking patriots, but massacring civilians is an American tradition dating from the very foundation of the United States. Anybody doubting that ought to read the superb book by John Grenier (USAF Ret.) entitled “The First Way of War 1607-1814: American War Making on the Frontier” which explains in exquisite detail how the US anti-civilian terror operations doctrine was developed over the centuries. This is, of course, what the Anglos did during WWII when they engaged in mass bombings of German cities to “break their spirit of resistance”. And this is what they did in Iraq and Serbia and what the Israelis did in Lebanon. And this is exactly what we should expect will happen in Iran. At least, this is the worst case scenario. There are really fundamentally two basic options for a US attack on Iran and I outlined them in my 2007 article about Iranian asymmetrical response options:

Broadly speaking, we see the Neocon Empire has having two options in an attack on Iran:

  1. A short, limited, attack on some Iranian nuclear and government installations. The goals of that kind of attack would be solely political: to appear to have “done something”, give the despondent Americans and Israelis some flags to wave, to “show resolve” and “send a firm message” – the kind of State Department nonsense. If lucky, they could hope to kill some Iranian leaders (although what exactly that would achieve is anyone’s guess). Lastly, it would punish the Iranians for their “bad behavior”.

  2. A more significant military attack, which could not be limited to an air campaign and one which would have to include at least some insertion of ground forces. That would be similar to the strategy outlined in my How they might do it article. The goal of this option would be radically different from the first one: “to punish the Iranian population for its support of ‘the Mullahs’ (as the expression goes in the USA) via the ballot box. This is exactly the same logic which brought the Israelis to hammer all of Lebanon with bombs, missiles and mines – the same logic by which they killed over 500 people in Gaza – the same logic by which the U.S. bombed all of Serbia and Montenegro and the same logic which explains the bizarre embargo of Cuba. The message here is: if you support the bad guys, you will pay for it.

The option I discussed today is the 2nd one, because this is the one which would get most people killed. But make no mistake, since neither one of these options would result in anything remotely resembling a victory (this is a political concept defining an achieved political objective) one would have to conclude that both of these options would result in failure and defeat. Such an attack would also seal the end of the US political role in the Middle-East unless, of course, being a despised elephant in a porcelain store is considered a “role”. But make no mistake, even if the Iranian casualty figures go in the hundred of thousands, or even over a million like in Iraq, the Iranians will not surrender and they will prevail. For one thing, terrorizing civilians has never worked. Genocide can be a much more viable option, but there are too many Iranians to do that and they are too well dug-in in their country to contemplate such an option (sorry, Israelis, even nuking Iran will not result in a “victory” of any kind). The Iranians have been at it for, what, 3000-9000 years (depending on how you count) and they will not be subdued, submitted or defeated with 200 or 70 year old states, or by an AngloZionist Empire in terminal decline.

I suspect that by now quite a few readers will be thoroughly irritated with me. So what better way is there for me to end this discussion than by adding religion to the mix? Yes, let’s do that!

Most Iranian are Shia, that is well known. But what is less well-known is one of the key motto’s of the Shia which, I believe, beautifully expresses one of the key features of the Shia ethos, is: “Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala”. You can find an explanation of this phrase here. It basically expresses the willingness to die for the truth at any time and in any place. Millions of Iranians, even those not necessarily very pious, have been raised with this determination to fight and resist, at any cost. And now think of Donald Trump or General “Mad Dog” Mattis and try to imagine how hollow and grotesque they and their threats look to their Iranian counterparts.

Should I write an analysis of Chinese response options to a US attack? Nah – let’s just say that if the US doesn’t have what it takes to prevail over Iran, an attack on China would be simply suicidal.

Next week, alas, I will probably have to turn back to the dramatic events in the Ukraine.

The Saker

TRUMP PRESIDENCY – first SNAFUs already

TRUMP PRESIDENCY – first SNAFUs already

This article was written for the Unz Review 

It is a rare privilege to be able to criticize a politician for actually fulfilling his campaign promises but Donald Trump is a unique President and this week he offered us exactly this opportunity with not one, but three different SNAFUs to report.

First, there was the botched raid against an alleged al-Qaeda compound in Yakla, Yemen. First, let me commit a crimethink here and remind everybody that for all the great Hollywood movies, Americans have a terrible record of doing special ops. The latest one was typical. First, it involved Navy SEALS, one of the most disaster-prone US special forces. Second, it involved special forces from the United Arab Emirates (don’t ask why, just don’t). I am pretty sure that using US Rangers alone would have yielded better results. Third, as always, they got detected early. And then they began taking casualties. This time from female al-Qaeda fighters. Finally, they botched the evacuation. They did kill some kids and, so they say, an al-Qaeda leader. More about this raid here and here. As I said, this is pretty much par for the course. But I am sure that some Hollywood movie will make it look very heroic and “tactical”. But the real world bottom line remains unchanged: Americans should give up on special ops, they just can do it right.

Second, there was the absolutely terrible press conference by General Flynn. See for yourself:

So not only did Flynn put Iran “on notice” like a high-school principal would do to a rowdy teenager, but FOX TV is already speaking about “lines in the sand”. Wait – were “lines in the sand” not one of the dumbest features of the Obama Presidency? And now, just one week in the White House, we see Trump doing exactly the same?

This also begs the question of whether a very intelligent man like Flynn seriously and sincerely believes that he can bully or otherwise scare Iran. If he does – then we are all in a lot of trouble.

There is also the troubling aspect of the language chosen. Instead of speaking about “international concern” or the will of the UN Security Council, Flynn decided to use the kind of language typical of a wannabe World Hegemon. Again, been there – done that. Do they really think that this kind of imperial hubris will work better for them than it did for the Neocons?

Lastly, the Ukronazis are apparently back on the warpath. For many months now they have been shelling the Novorussians, and they even have tried a few, rather pathetic, local attacks. This time around this is different: incoming artillery strikes are counted not by the tens, but by the thousands and the shelling is happening all along the line of contact. Of course, this is not directly Trump’s fault, but it does show that the Ukronazis in Kiev are taking their cues from the former power configuration – that is the Germans, the Neocons, and the East European cry-babies à la Poland and Lithuania. At the time of writing, there are no signs that Trump is taking the situation under control. The good news is that the Russians are still waiting, but with that level of violence there is only that much they can wait before having to give the Novorussians the green light for a counter-attack (the Novorussian forces are already engaging in strong counter-battery fire, but they have not yet pushed their forces forward).

I sure hope that this week is not a harbinger of what the rest of the Trump Presidency will look like.

Still, It is not too late to change course and return to reality-based politics.

First, the easy stuff. As I said, the Pentagon should give up on special ops. If, for political reasons and to feel good about “making American great again” the US must absolutely flex its muscle, I would recommend re-invading Grenada, provided only one of the Services is given that task. I recommend the Marines. For the rest, and especially in the Middle-East, the US should finally come to terms with the fact that they cannot and should not put any US boots on the ground. Ever.

A tad harder, but still quite manageable, Trump needs to reign in the Ukronazis. The way to do that is simple: to spend a special representative to Kiev and explain to the junta members that times have changed, that there is a new boss in the White House, and that from now on they better behave or else. The Ukronazis are used to that kind of language, they will get the message, and they will even meekly comply, provided they feel that the US means it. This, of course, is just a quick fix, a short-term solution to buy time and to work on a long-term solution to the Ukrainian debacle, but that will be a much more complex and costly exercise and will have to involve not only the US, but all of the EU and Russia as the sums of money needed to rebuilt the Ukraine will be astronomical.

The big problem right now is Iran. Well, not Iran itself, of course, but the stupid anti-Iranian rhetoric of the Trump campaign before the elections. My biggest fear is that while Trump and the people around him have apparently come to the (correct) conclusion that they cannot bully Russia into submission they have decided that they could do that with Iran. If that is really their plan, then they are headed for a major disaster.

For one thing, Iran has been living with the threat of a AngloZionst attack since 38 years, including 23 years of Neocon power in the USA. To think that right now they will be suddenly really frightening and will meekly comply with Uncle Shmuel’s demands is very naïve. The Iranians have been preparing for a war against the US and Israel for almost a quarter of a century – they are fine ready, both militarily and psychologically. Oh sure, the US can most definitely strike at Iran with cruise missile and air-strikes, but at what cost and what would that exactly achieve? In terms of achievement, it would have a beneficial psychotherapeutic effect on those Americans who feel insecure about their military size and who want to feel big and powerful again. It will also kills plenty of Iranians and destroy some unknown amount of Iranian targets, including possibility missile technology or nuclear technology related ones. But it will not change Iranian policies by even a tiny amount, nor will it prevent Iran from further pursuing nuclear or missile technologies.

But this has never been about nuclear or missile technology, of course. That is all nonsense, “informational prolefeed” so to speak.

In reality this was always about only one thing: Israel wanted to be THE regional superpower in the Middle-East and Iran was to be prevented from threatening this monopoly status by any means. In other words, if an Islamic country is mismanaged and run by incompetent fanatics, this is great. But when an Islamic country is run by a wise and extremely capable leadership which cannot be overthrown due to the fact that it has popular support, then this Islamic country becomes an absolutely unacceptable precedent. And Iran, with its advanced technologies, powerful military, strong economy and generally successful political and social model is an immense affront to the racist delusions of the Zionist regime in Palestine. Add to this that Iran dares to *openly* defy the United States and you immediately will see the real reasons for all the saber-rattling and constant threats. The problem for Trump is exactly the same as the problem for Obama, Dubya or Clinton:

the US cannot win a war against Iran.

Why?

Because a war has to have some political objective, a definition of what “victory” means. In the case of Iran, there is no possible victory. Even of the US launches 1000-2000 missile strikes against Iran, and all of them are successful, this will not be a “victory”.

Many years ago I wrote an article entitled “Iran’s Asymmetrical Response Options”. It is dated now, a lot as happened since 2007, but the fundamental conclusions are still valid:

the USA cannot win and Iran has plenty of asymmetrical options ranging from riding out the attack to attacking CENTCOM targets all over the Middle-East.

But the biggest change since 2007 has been the civil war in Iraq and Syria and Trump’s promises to eradicate Daesh. This is crucial.

There is simply no way, none at all, to eradicate Daesh without putting boots on the ground. I think that we can all agree that these boots won’t be American. They won’t be Russian either. Obama’s approach was to use a mix of Iraqi, Kurdish and Turkish boots, with the threat of Saudi and other Gulf State’s boots thrown in for good measure. We all know how that worked: it didn’t. And it won’t. So here is the ugly secret that everybody knows or, at least, ought to know:

the only boots on the ground to defeat Daesh have been, still are and will be, Iranian boots. That is a fact of life, sorry.

The Turks are out, after the attempted coup against Erdogan and the subsequent purges the Turkish military is only a shadow of what it used to be. The Kurds have no desire whatsoever to be used as cannon fodder in a dangerous and difficult war against Daesh. The Saudis and the rest of them are a joke, barely capable of terrorizing civilians, but they will be instantly defeated by Daesh in the first skirmish. So unless the Canadians, the Brits, the Poles, the Lithuanians and, say, the Georgians want to lead the struggle against Daesh (just kidding!), the only country which can make Trump’s campaign promise happen is Iran (and Hezbollah, of course).

Furthermore, I submit that Iran is powerful enough to prevent *any* policy of being successful in the Middle-East unless Iran at least passively okays it. In a way, Iran’s position in the Middle-East is similar to the Russian position in the “near abroad” (the former Soviet Union): while Iran/Russia cannot impose anything against everybody, Iran/Russia can veto/prevent any policy or outcome it does not want.

The main consequence of this is that even if Iran decided to completely renounce any kind of retaliatory counter-attack against the US or Israel, Iran could *painfully* retaliate against such a strike by simply telling Trump

“we will make darn sure that you fail everywhere, in Iraq, in Syria, in Pakistan, and Yemen and everywhere else in the Middle-East”. And that won’t be an empty threat: the Iranians absolutely can deliver on it.

Furthermore, a US attack on Iran is also going to send the US-Russian relationship into a tailspin. How much of a disaster this will be will depend on how bad the attack on Iran is, but while Russia will not militarily intervene in a US-Iranian conflict, Russia will not allow the US to get away with it either and the main political cost will be that an attack on Iran will further reinforce the Russian-Iranian-Chinese triangle.

Do I need to spell out here how an attack on Iran will be perceived in Beijing?

If it happens, the US attack on Iran will look very much like the 2006 Israel war on Hezbollah, and it will achieve the same results, only on a bigger scale. To put it simply – it will be a total disaster and it will mark the failure of the Trump presidency.

Right now Trump still has an immense political capital. It’s not like the world truly trusts him, it is way too early for that, but there is a lot of hope out there that Trump’s America will be a different one, a civilized one which will act as a responsible and rational international actor. Not like an Obama 2.0. But listening to Flynn’s condescending and, worse, empty (not to mention wholly illegal) threats against Iran, I am left wondering whether the US can mend its ways and be meaningfully reformed or whether it will take a cataclysmic collapse (military or economic) to finally see the end of the wannabe World Hegemon.

The Saker

PS: for whatever this is worth, the first statement by the US rep at the UNSC just reinforces my worst fears, see for yourself:

العدوّ في مواجهة المأزق: الهروب نحو الحرب!


كانت المقاومة قوة محلية فقط، فصارت قوة إقليمية تنتشر في سوريا والعراق واليمن وأماكن أخرى (هيثم الموسوي)
بصمت كامل، تدور هذه الفترة أكثر الحروب تعقيداً بين إسرائيل وحزب الله. ليست «معركة بين حروب». بل هي حالة استنفار واستعداد، خشية حصول خطأ في التقدير أو استعجال في أمر ما من جانب العدو، ما يقود حتماً الى مواجهة ليس بإمكان أحد منع تدحرجها إلى حرب شاملة. وهي احتمالات تعززت مع مرور الوقت، ومع الفشل الذي يصيب مشاريع الغرب وحلفائه بين العرب وإسرائيل… لكن، لماذا الآن؟
ابراهيم الأمين
منذ توقف العمليات العسكرية في آب 2006، كان لدى اسرائيل، ولا يزال، ما يكفيها من أسباب لشن حرب جديدة ضد المقاومة في لبنان. لكن الفشل في «الحرب الثانية»، ترافق مع تراجع في الجاهزية العسكرية وأزمة ثقة سياسية لدى العدو. وخلص التقييم الاجمالي لنتائج الحرب الى ضرورة البحث عن سبل افضل لمواجهة المقاومة.
كل ذلك أدّى الى هدوء الجبهة العسكرية. وهو هدوء استغلته المقاومة، ساعة بساعة، لاعادة بناء قدراتها بأكبر وأوسع مما كانت قيادة المقاومة تعتقد، الأمر الذي دفع بالعدو الى اعتماد استراتيجية جديدة عنوانها: اعاقة نمو قدرات المقاومة. ومن لا يؤمن بوجود مؤامرات ليس مضطرا لاكمال قراءة هذه المقالة.
الإخفاق في محاصرة المقاومة بعد اغتيال رفيق الحريري وخروج سوريا من لبنان، وفشل عدوان 2006، فرضا على العدو وحلفاءئه في الغرب، كما في العالم العربي، الى استعجال خيارات اخرى، اعتقاداً بأنها توفر الخدمة نفسها، لا بل اكثر. فجرى العمل على تعزيز التيار المعادي للمقاومة في لبنان، وتوفير ما يسمح بقيام انقسام اهلي وسياسي داخلي، يتناغم مع الفتنة المذهبية التي أشعلها الغرب واسرائيل بالتعاون مع السعودية ودول اخرى، في العراق والمنطقة. وكان يؤمل من هذه الخيارات، ليس محاصرة حزب الله فحسب، بل كل التيار الداعم للمقاومة. لكن ما حصل بين ايار 2008 واطاحة حكومة سعد الحريري في 2011، اقفل ــــ من دون اضرار هائلة ــــ باب الفتنة الكاملة في لبنان، وإن ابقى على الانقسام السياسي حاداً، ليصبح اكثر قساوة بعد إندلاع الازمة السورية.

 على الخط الاقليمي، كان الدعم غير العادي الذي قدمته السعودية، ومعها مخابرات غربية، الى أدوات الفتنة في العراق، قد قطعت شوطاً في تحويل هذا البلد الى مصدر قلق لكل دول محور المقاومة، لا سيما ايران وسوريا ومعهما حزب الله. وبالتزامن، نشطت عملية الاحتواء الاميركية لسوريا، من خلال المسار التركي – القطري، بغية تغيير سلوك النظام وفك تحالفه مع ايران. وجرت محاولات حقيقية لفتح كوة في التحالف بين ايران وسوريا في العراق، عندما حاول الاتراك والقطريون والسعوديون اقناع الرئيس بشار الاسد بدعم وصول رجل اميركا والسعودية اياد علاوي الى رئاسة الحكومة بدلا من نوري المالكي. اما في لبنان، فكانت الذروة محاولة إقناع الاسد بدعم بقاء سعد الحريري في رئاسة الحكومة اللبنانية خلافا لارادة حزب الله.
مع انتهاء هذا كله الى الفشل، لجأ خصوم ايران وسوريا وحزب الله وقوى المقاومة الى حيلة اخرى تقوم على استغلال حالة الغليان الشعبي ضد الانظمة الحاكمة في العالم العربي. فتم خطف احتجاجات اهلية في سوريا، واخذها سريعاً نحو عملية منظمة لتدمير هذا البلد، على امل توجيه ضربة لنظام الاسد بسبب رفضه الاستسلام لضغوط الغرب وجماعته في الاقليم. وسرعان ما تحولت الفتنة الداخلية في سوريا والعراق الى عنصر تعب لايران، ومصدر تهديد رئيسي للمقاومة في لبنان. سيما ان قوى المؤامرة نجحت، الى حد بعيد، في توجيه ضربة قوية لتيار المقاومة، من خلال قيام «الاخوان المسلمين» بنقل ابرز حركات المقاومة الفلسطينية، اي حماس، الى موقع المختلف مع محور ايران ــــ سوريا ــــ حزب الله.
وخلال السنوات الخمس الماضية، لم يترك تحالف الغرب ــــ اسرائيل ــــ السعودية – تركيا، شيئاً لم يفعله لتحقيق هذا الهدف. فجأة، تحوّل تنظيم «القاعدة»، بكل فروعه، الى مركز استقطاب الشباب العربي والمسلم. وجرى اعتماد خيار التطرف والجنون لتدمير دول عربية كثيرة، من مصر وليبيا الى اليمن. لكن الشعار المركزي الذي رفعه هؤلاء في بلاد الشام ظل، على الدوام، تسعير الفتنة مع الشيعة والفرس، بقصد انهاك ايران والعراق وسوريا وحزب الله. ثم جاءت نسخة «داعش» لتتويج الصورة. وهو أمر لم يكن ليكون لولا دعم، ستظهر ادلته اكثر في المرحلة المقبلة، ومن قلب الولايات المتحدة واوروبا على وجه الخصوص.
كان الاعتقاد قوياً لدى العدو، المهتم اصلا بانهاك قوى المقاومة، بأن الازمة السورية ستعني انتهاء عصر الانتصارات بين 2000 و2006. وهو راهن، بقوة، على ان إخراج سوريا من محور المقاومة أو تدميرها وجيشها سيقفل الابواب امام كل نفوذ لتيار المقاومة، وسيقطع سلسلة المقاومة من وسطها. لذلك كان العدو، بالتعاون مع اوروبا والسعودية واميركا وتركيا، في قلب الحرب على الدولة السورية. وتم توفير كل ما تحتاجه المجموعات الارهابية لمنع قيام دولة مستقرة في العراق، وتدمير النظام والدولة في سوريا، ومحاصرة المقاومة في لبنان. وهي مهمة لا تزال مفعّلة منذ نحو ست سنوات. وما استجدّ عليها، رفع مستوى نفوذ السعودية، وذهابها الى حرب مجنونة في اليمن، بغية الامساك ببحر العرب وباب المندب، ووقوف كل ارهابيي العالم الى جانب آل سعود في معركة مستمرة لتدمير هذا البلد وسحق اهله.

 

النتائج المعاكسة
 الدمار الكبير الذي لحق ببنية الدولة والمجتمع في كل من العراق وسوريا واليمن ليس بالامر السهل. لكن نقل هذه الدول الى ضفة المحور الأميركي ــــ الاسرائيلي ــــ السعودي لم يحصل. بل على العكس، ثمة تطورات غير عادية جرت في العامين الماضيين، ادت الى محاصرة هذا المشروع ومنعه من التوسع. وانتقل محور المقاومة، بعد انضمام روسيا الى معركة منع سقوط الشرق بيد الغرب، الى مرحلة الهجوم. وانتهى ذلك الى نتائج مخالفة تماما للتوجه الآخر، منها:
ــــ في لبنان، أدت النتائج السياسية وغير السياسية، خلال العامين الماضيين، الى محاصرة المجموعات الارهابية، ومنعت قيام قاعدة شعبية وسياسية لها في اكثر من منطقة لبنانية. وتوسّع التعاون بين الجيش والمقاومة من ساحة المواجهة مع العدو، الى تعاون مكثف في مواجهة الحالة التكفيرية، ما اضطر قوى سياسية واجهزة امنية لبنانية، على صلة بالغرب والسعودية، الى التراجع والانضمام، ولو مضطرة، الى هذه المعركة.
ــــ في لبنان أيضاً، فشلت محاولة فرض المشروع السياسي لفريق 14 اذار. ومُنعت القوى البارزة فيه من التحكم بالدولة ومرافقها ومؤسساتها. ورغم استقطاب هذا الفريق لرئيس كان يفترض ان يكون على مسافة منها، انتهى الامر الى منع الفريق الاميركي – السعودي من فرض شروطه كافة، وصولا الى انتخاب العماد ميشال عون رئيسا للجمهورية، بدعم غير مسبوق من جانب حزب الله، ليدخل لبنان مرحلة انهيار قوى 14 اذار، وتعديل سلوك ابرز قواه، من تيار «المستقبل» الى «القوات اللبنانية» والنائب وليد جنبلاط.

ــــ في العراق، لم يؤد اخراج المالكي من الحكم، بحجة موالاته لايران، الى تغييرات كبيرة. بل اضطر العالم كله الى مواكبة «القرار الشعبي»، المدعوم من ايران وسوريا وحزب الله، بفتح المعركة الحاسمة ضد «داعش». ولمن لا يتذكر، فان سلاح الجو السوري، في عز انشغاله بملاحقة الارهابيين في سوريا، وجّه ضربات قاسية لمجموعات هذا التنظيم الارهابي خلال مرحلة توسعه في الموصل ومحافظات اخرى. اما حزب الله الذي وجه جزءاً من قدراته لمساعدة الجيش السوري، فقد ارسل خبراء وكوادر الى العراق. بينما تولت ايران توفير كل مستلزمات بناء الحشد الشعبي ودعم عملياته.

ــــ في العراق ايضا، اضطر الغرب الى تغيير سياساته. الخشية من خسارة سوريا وتركها لروسيا دفعت بالولايات المتحدة، قبل غيرها، الى ادخال تعديلات جوهرية على سياستها. فكان لا بد من الدخول في معركة التخلص من «داعش» في العراق. وهي معركة لم تنجح واشنطن في جعلها تسير وفق مخططاتها، بل يمكن الحديث، اليوم، عن مرحلة جديدة ستشهدها الساحة العراقية في القريب العاجل، وستتوّج بمحاصرة «داعش» في اكثر الاماكن ضيقا، وطرد التنظيم من غالبية مناطق غرب العراق، وتحديداً من مناطق الحدود مع سوريا.
ــــ في ايران، لم تكن اسرائيل، ومعها السعودية وعواصم كثيرة، تعتقد ان في الامكان التوصل الى تفاهم سمي «الاتفاق النووي»، فرض على الغرب التعامل بطريقة جديدة مع طهران، والقبول بها لاعبا مركزيا في اكثر من ساحة اقليمية. وهو امر تم من دون فرض اي تعديلات على سياسات ايران الخارجية، خصوصا لجهة دعمها المستمر والمفتوح لحركات المقاومة، ولنظام الاسد في سوريا، والحشد الشعبي في العراق، وانصار الله في اليمن، وحزب الله في لبنان.
ــــ في اليمن، اصيب الغرب بصدمة كبيرة جراء فشل الحرب السعودية على انصار الله. وبعد مرور نحو عامين، تبدو الرياض في نفق مظلم، وهي ــــ على تعنّتها ــــ تنشد حلا يخفف من خسائرها، بينما جرى اغراق جنوب اليمن بحروب اهلية، وانتشار كثيف لمجموعات «القاعدة». ولم يمنع ذلك كله توسع النفوذ العسكري لانصار الله داخل الاراضي السعودية نفسها، كما لم يحل دون توفير كل اشكال الدعم لهذه القوة من جانب قوى المقاومة في المنطقة. ومع كل التعتيم الاعلامي المغيّب لمشهد الجريمة البشعة المستمرة في اليمن، فان العالم يقترب من لحظة «ضبط» ايقاع الجنون السعودي.
ــــ في سوريا، حيث كان الجميع يتوقع انهياراً سريعاً للدولة وسقوط النظام، تراجعت الطموحات من إسقاط النظام الى محاولة إجباره على تنازلات سياسية. فخلال عامين فقط، سيطرت فروع «القاعدة» على كل المجموعات المقاتلة ضد النظام. ورغم الدعم العالمي، بالبشر والمال والعتاد والتدريب والمعلومات الامنية، وبمشاركة دول العالم كافة، عدّل صمود الاسد وجيشه، والدور الكبير الذي لعبته روسيا وايران وحزب الله، المشهد الميداني والسياسي بقوة. وتكفي مراجعة الخريطة العسكرية التي ينشرها داعمو الارهابيين لإدراك حجم استعادة الدولة لنقاط سيطرتها، وحجم الانهيار الذي يصيب خصومها، من الجنوب الى العاصمة فالساحل والشمال. وما الاستدارة الاضطرارية التركية الحالية، سوى اولى الاشارات على تغييرات ستقود الى نتيجة واحدة، وهي فشل مشروع الفتنة بواسطة التكفيريين.
اكثر من ذلك، فان عالم الدبلوماسية الصامتة، يعكس مؤشرات على تحولات كبيرة في الموقف الغربي، من الولايات المتحدة الى فرنسا ودول اوروبية وعربية. وهو امر سينعكس، ليس ثباتا للدولة السورية وحكومتها فحسب، بل تعزيزا لوجهة، لا تزال قاعدتها، مواجهة الاستعمار ولا سيما اسرائيل.
في مواجهة حزب الله
اما اذا عدنا الى ساحة المواجهة المباشرة مع حزب الله، فسنلاحظ ما هو اهم، وما يشكل مصدر القلق الابرز لقيادة العدو:
ــ لقد فشلت محاولات حثيثة من جانب العدو لتعديل قواعد الاشتباك مع المقاومة على طول الجبهة الحدودية. وجاءت عمليات الاغتيال لقادة وكوادر من المقاومة، لتفرض على قيادة حزب الله اعتماد مسار تصاعدي في الرد، وصولا الى الاستعداد للدخول في مواجهة شاملة. وهو ما أجبر على العدو عدم القيام بأي عمل عسكري مباشر على الاراضي اللبنانية، بما في ذلك العمليات الموضعية.
ــــ قرر العدو الانتقال الى الساحة السورية، واستغلال الازمة هناك، لتوجيه ضربات الى قدرات المقاومة، بعدما لمس سريعاً ان دخول حزب الله على خط الأزمة السورية، فتح الحدود اللبنانية ــــ السورية، ومعها مخازن الجيش السوري، على مصاريعها أمامه، ما وفر تغذية هائلة لمستودعات حزب الله من مختلف انواع الاسلحة المتطورة والحديثة بما في ذلك الاسلحة المنقولة من ايران.
ــــ قرر العدو شن غارات ضد قوافل عسكرية، او مخازن مفترضة للمقاومة داخل سوريا. ومع ان ما حصل، وما اعلن عنه او لم يعلن، لا يتجاوز معدل الخمس ضربات سنوياً منذ 2011. الا ان العدو يعرف ان عشرات، ان لم يكن المئات، من القوافل قد نجحت في ايصال المطلوب الى قواعد المقاومة في لبنان. اكثر من ذلك، فان رفع مستوى التهديد من جانب المقاومة ضد اي عمل يؤدي الى سقوط مجاهدين على يد العدو، حتى في سوريا، دفعه الى مراجعة حساباته، حتى وصل الامر في أحد الاعتداءات الى إطلاق صواريح تحذيرية لدفع المقاومين الى مغادرة شاحنات، ثم قصفها بعد ضمان عدم اسالة دماء.
ــــ عمليا، تنظر اسرائيل اليوم الى المشهد، فتجد ان ترسانة حزب الله باتت اكبر، من حيث الكم، بمئات المرات عما كانت عليه في 2006، كما أنها باتت تتوفر، من حيث النوع، على كل ما سعى العدو ويسعى إلى منع المقاومة من الحصول عليه ، وهو ذاك النوع من الأسلحة الذي تطلق عليه إسرائيل «الأسلحة الكاسرة للتوازن». اكثر من ذلك، يراقب العدو كيف ان حزب الله الذي كان نشاطه محصوراً في جبهة قائمة على طول الحدود مع لبنان، بات موجوداً على طول الجبهة الشمالية لفلسطين المحتلة، ويملك مساحات مناورة لم تكن متوافرة قبلا، اضافة الى الخبرات الاستثنائية التي وفرتها الحرب في سوريا، ولو لم يكن هذا الأمر مقصوداً.
ــــ ولمزيد من البحث، لمس الغرب، ومعه السعودية واسرائيل، ان حزب الله خرج من دائرة القلق لبنانياً. بل صار في موقع الطرف ــــ المحور، لجميع الاحداث اللبنانية. وجاءت الحرب الامنية مع التيارات التكفيرية، لتوفر لأجهزة المقاومة خبرات هائلة في العمل الاستخباري، اضافة الى قدرات لم تكن متوافرة قبل عشر سنوات. وهو امر ترافق مع تطور استخبارات المقاومة العسكرية بما يؤدي الى خشية اكبر لدى العدو.
ــــ يلمس العدو، اليوم، تعاظم دور حزب الله الاقليمي بعدما بات لاعباً أساسياً في سوريا والعراق واليمن، وصاحب نفوذ كبير في أماكن اخرى من العالمين العربي والاسلامي. وبات في مقدور الحزب التأثير على ساحات تشكل حساسية اكبر للمحور الآخر، بأطرافه العربية والاسرائيلية والغربية. عدا، عن أن كل اشكال الفتن المذهبية، لم تعطل قدرات حزب الله في التعاون مع قوى المقاومة في فلسطين، بما في ذلك كتائب عز الدين القسام، الجناح العسكري لحركة حماس.

 

الآن، ماذا نفعل؟
هذا هو السؤال المركزي المطروح لدى كل القيادات العسكرية والامنية والسياسية في اسرائيل. والاجوبة عليه باتت تحتاج الى قرار يتجاوز حكومة العدو لوحدها، والى مبادرات عملانية محصورة بخيارات ضيقة للغاية، بل يمكن القول انها بين خيارين، اول لا ضرورة لذكره، وآخر، يتمثل في القيام بمغامرة، أساسها عسكري، لكنها تقود حتماً الى الحرب الثالثة التي بات العدو يعتبر نفسه جاهزا لخوضها… فهل يكون الهروب مرة جديدة نحو الحرب الشاملة؟ في هذا السياق، من الافضل لفت انتباه العدو والصديق، الى ان اسرائيل تواظب على تقديم تقديرات حول حجم القوة الصاروخية للمقاومة. وبعد كل مواجهة تأتي النتائج معاكسة.
في حرب تموز 2006، أطلقت المقاومة، خلال 33 يوماً، نحو 4300 صاروخ على كيان العدو. اليوم، يتحدث الاسرائيليون عن أن حزب الله سيطلق نحو 1500 صاروخ يومياً… هذه تقديرات العدو، وهي، حتماً، خاطئة!

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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The best armed forces on the planet?

The best armed forces on the planet?

In my recent article “Risks and Opportunities for 2017” I made a statement which shocked many readers. I wrote:

Russia is now the most powerful country on the planet. (…) the Russian armed forces are probably the most powerful and capable ones on earth (albeit not the largest ones) (…) Russia is the most powerful country on earth because of two things: Russia openly rejects and denounces the worldwide political, economic and ideological system the USA has imposed upon our planet since WWII and because Vladimir Putin enjoys the rock-solid support of about 80%+ of the Russian population. The biggest strength of Russia in 2017 is a moral and a political one, it is the strength of a civilization which refuses to play by the rules which the West has successfully imposed on the rest of mankind. And now that Russia has successfully “pushed back” others will inevitably follow (again, especially in Asia).

While some dismissed this as rather ridiculous hyperbole, others have asked me to explain who I can to that conclusion. I have to admit that this paragraph is somewhat ambiguous: first I make a specific claim about the capabilities of the Russian military, and then the “evidence” that I present are of a moral and political nature! No wonder that some expressed reservations about this.

Actually, the above is a good example of one of my worst weaknesses: I tend to assume that I write for people who will make the same assumptions I do, look at issues the way I look at them, and understand what is implied. My bad. So today I will try to spell out what I mean and clarify my point of view on this issue. To do this, however, there are a number of premises which I think need to be explicitly spelled out.

First, how does one measure the quality of an armed force and how can armed forces from different countries be compared?

The first thing which need to immediately get out of the way is the absolutely useless practice known as “bean counting”: counting the numbers of tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry combat vehicles, artillery pieces, aircraft, helicopters and ships for country A and country B and come to some conclusion about which of the two is “stronger”. This is utterly meaningless. Next, two more myths need to be debunked: high tech wins wars and big money wins wars. Since I discussed these two myths in some detail elsewhere (here) I won’t repeat it all here.

Next, I submit that the purpose of a military force is to achieve a specific political objective. Nobody goes to war just for the sake of war and “victory” is not a military, but a political concept. So yes, war is the continuation of politics by other means. For example, the successful deterrence of a potential aggressor should be counted as a “victory” or, at least, as a successful performance of your armed forces if their goal was to deter. The definition of “victory” can include destroying the other guy’s armed forces, of course, but it does not have to. The British did win the war in the Malvinas/Falkands even though the Argentinian forces were far from destroyed. Sometimes the purpose of war is genocide, in which case just defeating a military forces is not enough. Let’s take a recent example: according to an official statement by Vladimir Putin, the official objectives of the Russian military intervention in Syria were to

1) stabilize the legitimate authority and

2) create conditions for a political compromise.

It is undeniable that the Russian armed forces fully reached this two objectives, but they did so without the need for the kind of “victory” which implies a total destruction of your enemies forces. In fact, Russia could have used nuclear weapons and carpet bombing to wipe Daesh, but that would have resulted in a political catastrophe for Russia. Would that have been a “military victory”? You tell me!

So, if the purpose of a country’s armed forces is to achieve specific and political objectives, this directly implies that saying that some country’s armed forces can do anything, anywhere and at any time is nonsense. You cannot access a military outside a very specific set of circumstances:

1) Where: Space/geographical

2) When: Time/duration

3) What: political objective

Yet, what we see, especially in the USA, is a diametrically opposite approach. It goes something like this:

we have the best trained, best equipped and best armed military on earth; no country can compete with our advanced stealth bombers, nuclear submarines, our pilots are the best trained on the planet, we have advanced network-centric warfare capabilities, global strike, space based reconnaissance and intelligence, we have aircraft carriers, our Delta Force can defeat any terrorist force, we spend more money training our special forces than any other country, we have more ships than any other nation, etc. etc. etc.

This means absolutely nothing. The reality is that the US military played a secondary role in WWII in the European theater and that after that the only “kinda victory” it achieved is outright embarrassing: Grenada (barely), Panama (almost unopposed). I would agree that the US military was successful in deterring a Soviet attack, but I would also immediately point out that the Soviets then also successfully deterred a US attack. Is that a victory? The truth is that China also did not suffer from a Soviet or US attack, does that mean that the Chinese successfully deterred the Soviets or the Americans? If you reply ‘yes’ then you would have to accept that they did that at a fraction of the US costs, so whose military was more effective – the US or the Chinese one? Then look at all the other US military interventions, there is a decent list here, what did those military operations really achieve. If I had to pick a “least bad one” I would reluctantly pick the Desert Storm which did liberate Kuwait from the Iraqis, but at what cost and with what consequences?!

In the vast majority of cases, when the quality of the Russian armed forces is assessed, it is always in comparison to the US armed forces. But does that make sense to compare the Russian armed forces to a military which has a long record of not achieving the specific political objectives it was given? Yes, the US armed forces are huge, bloated, they are the most expensive on the planet, the most technology-intensive and their rather mediocre actual performance is systematically obfuscated by the most powerful propaganda machine on the planet. But does any of that make them effective? I submit that far from being effective, they are fantastically wasteful and amazingly ineffective, at least from a military point of view.

Still dubious?

Okay. Let’s take the “best of the best”: the US special forces. Please name me three successful operations executed by US special forces. No, small size skirmishes against poorly trained and poorly equipped 3rd world insurgents killed in a surprise attack don’t qualify. What would be the US equivalent of, say, Operation Storm-333 or the liberation of the entire Crimean Peninsula without a single person killed? In fact, there is a reason why most Hollywood blockbusters about US special forces are based on abject defeats such as Black Hawk Down or 13 hours.

As for US high-teach, I don’t think that I need to dwell too deeply on the nightmares of the F-35 or the Zumwalt-class destroyer or explain how sloppy tactics made it possible for the Serbian Air Defenses to shoot down a super-secret and putatively “invisible” F-117A in 1999 using an ancient Soviet-era S-125 missile first deployed in 1961!

There is no Schadenfreude for me in reminding everybody of these facts. My point is to try to break the mental reflex which conditions so many people to consider the US military as some kind of measuring stick of how all the other armed forces on the planet do perform. This reflex is the result of propaganda and ignorance, not any rational reason.

The same goes, by the way, for the other hyper-propagandized military – the Israeli IDF whose armored forces, pilots and infantrymen are always presented as amazingly well-trained and competent. The reality is, of course, that in 2006 the IDF could not even secure the small town of Bint Jbeil located just 2 miles from the Israeli border. For 28 days the IDF tried to wrestle the control of Bint Jbeil from second rate Hezbollah forces (Hezbollah kept its first rate forces north of the Litani river to protect Beirut) and totally failed in spite of having a huge numerical and technological superiority.

I have personally spoken to US officers who trained with the IDF and I can tell you that they were totally unimpressed. Just as Afghan guerrillas are absolutely unanimous when they say that the Soviet solider is a much better soldier than the US one.

Speaking of Afghanistan.

Do you remember that the Soviet 40th Army who was tasked with fighting the Afghan “freedom fighters” was mostly under-equipped, under-trained, and poorly supported in terms of logistics? Please read this appalling report about the sanitary conditions of the 40th Army and compare that with the 20 billion dollar per year the US spends on air-conditioning in Afghanistan and Iraq! And then compare the US and Soviet occupations in terms of performance: not only did the Soviets control the entire country during the day (at night the Afghan controlled most of the country side and the roads), they also controlled all the major cities 24/7. In contrast, the US barely holds on to Kabul and entire provinces are in the hands of the insurgents. The Soviets built hospitals, damns, airports, roads, bridges, etc. whereas the Americans built exactly nothing. And, as I already mentioned, in every interview I have seen the Afghans are unanimous: the Soviets were much tougher enemies than the Americans.

I could go on for pages and pages, but let’s stop here and simply accept that the PR image of the US (and Israeli) military has nothing to do with their actual capabilities and performance. There are things which the US military does very well (long distance deployment, submarine warfare in temperate waters, carrier operations, etc.) but their overall effectiveness and efficiency is pretty low.

So what makes the Russian armed forces so good?

For one thing, their mission, to defend Russia, is commensurate with the resources of the Russian Federation. Even if Putin wanted it, Russia does not have the capabilities to built 10 aircraft carriers, deploy hundreds of overseas bases or spend more on “defense” than the rest of mankind combined. The specific political objective given to the Russian military is quite simple: to deter or repel any attack against Russia.

Second, to accomplish this mission the Russian armed forces need to be able to strike and prevail at a maxial distance of 1000km or less from the Russian border. Official Russian military doctrine places the limits of a strategic offensive operation a bit further and include the complete defeat of enemy forces and occupation of his territory to a depth of 1200km-1500km (Война и Мир в Терминах и Определениях, Дмитрий Рогозин, Москва, Вече, 2011, p.155) but in reality this distance would be much shorter, especially in the case of a defensive counter-attack. Make no mistake, this remains a formidable task due to the immense length of the Russian border (over 20’000km of border) running over almost every imaginable type of geography, from dry deserts and mountains to the North pole region. And here is the amazing thing: the Russian armed forces are currently capable of defeating any conceivable enemy all along this perimeter. Putin himself said so recently when he declared thatWe can say with certainty: We are stronger now than any potential aggressor, any!” I realize that for a mostly American audience this will sound like the typical garden variety claptrap every US officer or politician has to say at every public occasion, but in the Russian context this is something quite new: Putin had never said anything like that before. If anything, the Russian prefer to whine about numerically superior their adversaries seem to be (well, they are, numerically – which every Russian military analyst knows means nothing).

Numerically, the Russian forces are, indeed, much smaller than NATO’s or China’s. In fact, one could argue for the size of the Russian Federation, the Russian armed forces are rather small. True. But they are formidable, well-balanced in terms of capabilities and they make maximal use of the unique geographical features of Russia.

[Sidebar: Russia is a far more “northern” country than, say, Canada or Norway. Look at where the vast majority of the cities and towns in Canada or Scandinavia are located. Then look at a map of Russia and the latitudes at which the Russian cities are located. The difference is quite striking. Take the example of Novosibirsk, which in Russia is considered a southern Siberian town. It is almost at the same latitude as Edinburgh, Scotland, Grande Prairie, Alberta or Malmö in Sweden]

This is why all the equipment used by the Russian Armed Forces has to be certified operational from temperatures ranging from -50C to +50C (-58F to 122F). Most western gear can’t even operate in such extremes. Of course, the same also goes for the Russian solider who is also trained to operate in this range of temperatures.

I don’t think that there is another military out there who can claim to have such capabilities, and most definitely not the American armed forces.

Another myth which must be debunked is the one of western technological superiority. While it is true that in some specific fields the Soviets were never able to catch up with the West, microchips for example, that did not prevent them from being the first ones to deploy a large list of military technologies such as phased-array radars on interceptors, helmet-mounted sights for pilots, supercavitating underwater missiles, autoloaders on tanks, parachute deployable armored vehicles, double-hulled attack submarines, road-mobile ICBMs, etc. As a rule, western weapon systems tend to be more tech-heavy, that is true, but that is not due to a lack of Russian capabilities, but to a fundamental difference in design. In the West, weapon systems are designed by engineers who cobble together the latest technologies and then design a mission around them. In Russia, the military defines a mission and then seeks the simplest and cheapest technologies which can be used to accomplish it. This is why the Russian MiG-29 (1982) was not a “fly-by-wire” like the US F-16 (1978) but operated by “old” mechanical flight controls. I would add here that a more advanced airframe and two engines instead of one for the F-16, gave the MiG-29 a superior flight envelope. When needed, however, the Russians did use fly-by-wire, for example, on the Su-27 (1985).

Last but not least, the Russian nuclear forces are currently more modern and much more capable than the comparatively aging US nuclear triad.  Even the Americans admit that.

So what does that all mean?

This means that in spite of being tasked with an immensely difficult mission, to prevail against any possible enemy along the 20’000+km of the Russian border and to a depth of 1000km, the Russian armed forces have consistently shown that they are capable of fulfilling the specific political objective of either deterring or defeating their potential enemy, be it a Wahabi insurgency (which the western pundits described as “unbeatable”), a western trained and equipped Georgian military (in spite of being numerically inferior during the crucial hours of the war and in spite of major problems and weaknesses in command and control), the disarmament of 25’000+ Ukrainian (supposedly “crack”) troops in Crimea without a single shot fired in anger and, of course, the Russian military intervention in the war in Syria were a tiny Russian force turned the tide of the war.

In conclusion, I want to come back to my statement about Russia being the only country which now openly dares to reject the western civilizational model and whose leader, Vladimir Putin, enjoys the support of 80%+ of the population. These two factors are crucial in the assessment of the capabilities of the Russian armed forces. Why? Because they illustrate the fact that the Russian soldiers knows exactly what he fights for (or against) and that when he is deployed somewhere, he is not deployed as a tool for Gazprom, Norilsk Nickel, Sberbank or any other Russian corporation: he knows that he is fighting for his country, his people, his culture, for their freedom and safety. Furthermore, the Russian soldier also knows that the use of military force is not the first and preferred option of his government, but the last one which is used only when all other options have been exhausted. He knows that the Russian High Command, the Kremlin and the General Staff are not hell-bent on finding some small country to beat up just to make an example and scare the others. Last but not least, the Russian solider is willing to die for his country and while executing any order.  The Russians are quite aware of that and this is why the following circulated on the Runet recently:

Translation: under both photos it says “private of the US/Russian Army, under contract, deployed in a combat zone”. The bottom central text says “One of them needs to be fed, clothed, armed, paid, etc. The other one just needs to be ordered “this way” and he will execute his mission. At any cost”

At the end of the day, the outcome of any war is decided by willpower, I firmly believe that and I also believe that it is the “simple” infantry private who is the most important factor in a war, not the super-trained superman.  In Russia they are sometimes called “makhra” – the young kids from the infantry, not good looking, not particularly macho, with no special gear or training. They are the ones who defeated the Wahabis in Chechnia, at a huge cost, but they did. They are the one which produce an amazing number of heroes who amaze their comrades and enemies with their tenacity and courage. They don’t look to good in parades and they are often forgotten. But they are the ones which defeated more empires than any other and who made Russia the biggest country on earth.

So yes, Russia currently does have the most capable armed forces on the planet.  There are plenty of countries out there who also have excellent armed forces.  But what makes the Russian ones unique is the scope of their capabilities which range from anti-terrorist operations to international nuclear war combined with the amazing resilience and willpower of the Russian solider.  There are plenty of things the Russian military cannot do, but unlike the US armed forces, the Russian military was never designed to do anything, anywhere, anytime (aka “win two and a half wars” anywhere on the planet).

For the time being, the Russians are watching how the US cannot even take a small city like Mosul, even though it had to supplement the local forces with plenty of US and NATO “support” and they are unimpressed, to say the least.  But Hollywood will surely make a great blockbuster from this embarrassing failure and there will be more medals handed out than personnel involved (this is what happened after the Grenada disaster).  And the TV watching crowd will be reassured that “while the Russians did make some progress, their forces are still a far cry from their western counterparts”.  Who cares?

The Saker

Millions of Israelis will be displaced in next war with Hezbollah

The fire that broke out in the oil refineries in the Gulf city of Haifa, and neutralized a number of oil storage tanks was renewed.

Zionist police closed all roads leading to the place, while enemy media reported citing officials stating that the fire is difficult to be controlled, amid growing fears of its expansion to other tanks full of oil.

Occupation mayor in Haifa said the incident can be considered as a rehearsal of what might happen in case those oil containers would be hit in any future war.

In future war, Hezbollah will fire 1,000 rockets a day, IDF predicts

Outgoing Home Front Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg said that a future war between Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah group will include hundreds or even thousands of rockets raining down on the country every day.

Eisenberg spoke during an event Tuesday marking his stepping down from the post and handing it over to Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick.

The citizens of Israel, he said, should be prepared for significant challenges. According to estimates by the Home Front Command conducted during Eisenberg’s tenure, Israel must be prepared for a “blitz of attacks,” including 1,000-1,500 rockets falling on Israel’s home front every day.

But despite the grim scenario, Eisenberg remained upbeat as to Israel’s ability to weather a possible assault from Hezbollah. “Will it be hard? Can we stand up to them? Definitely; we have no choice,” he said.

Outgoing head of the Home Front Command, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg (Photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90)

Outgoing head of the Home Front Command, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg (Photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90)

The outgoing commander’s warning echoed information in leaflets distributed recently by the IDF’s Home Front Command to local authorities in which the army warned of the serious threat that Hezbollah poses to the country’s civilian population, and predicted that hundreds could be killed in a future conflict with Lebanon.

The army said that correct defensive procedures by civilians, such as retreating into stairwells during an attack, can significantly improve protection. The IDF has also been looking at plans that would see the evacuation of border communities and provide temporary housing for thousands of people at army bases and other sites.

The estimIsraeli explosives experts inspect a Hezbollah rocket after it landed in the northern Israeli city of Haifa August 9, 2006. (photo credit: Max Yelinson /Flash90) ates of what the Shiite-aligned Hezbollah can do with its arsenal of rockets, which could number as many as 100,000, were not new; however, in light of regional tensions and recent clashes on the northern border there is concern of an increased possibility of war. Hezbollah’s arsenal of rockets is said to cover the entirety of Israel.

Security pundits cited in Hebrew-language media suggested that a key aspect of the awareness campaign by the IDF is to keep civilian expectations of Israel’s anti-missile capabilities realistic. During the 2014 summer conflict between the IDF and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fired over 4,000 rockets at Israeli towns and cities. The Iron Dome anti-rocket system knocked out of the sky many of the projectiles, preventing them from hitting population centers, but Hezbollah’s far greater ability to rain down massive barrages of larger, more accurate rockets, could overwhelm it.

Earlier this month the UN Security Council warned that recent violence along Lebanon’s border with Israel and the presence of unauthorized weapons in a UN buffer zone pose a risk of a new conflict.

An Israeli woman walks in front of a building destroyed by a Katyusha rocket in the town of Haifa on August Monday 07.2006. (photo credit: Max Yelinson /Flash90)

In January, two IDF soldiers were killed when an Israeli army patrol came under anti-tank fire from Hezbollah operatives in the northern Mount Dov region near the border with Lebanon.

Regarding that attack, Hezbollah said in a statement that a squad from the “fallen martyrs of the Quneitra brigade” had attacked the Israeli convoy in retaliation for an alleged Israeli airstrike near Quneitra, just over the border in Syria, a week earlier that had killed at least seven, including an Iranian general and a senior commander in the organization. The statement said it was a “first announcement,” alluding to the possibility of further attacks.

In October 2014, Hezbollah claimed a bomb attack against Israeli troops along the border that wounded two soldiers. Hours later, a second bomb went off along the border in the area, but did not result in any casualties. The clash came two days after a Lebanese soldier was lightly wounded by Israeli forces in the same area.

The last major conflict between Israel and Hebollah was in 2006 and began after the group killed five IDF soldiers and snatched the bodies of two — Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev — sparking a bloody, month-long war. The fighting resulted in the deaths of 43 Israeli civilians and 119 IDF soldiers, and over 1,700 dead on the Lebanese side, including 600 to 800 Hezbollah combatants, according to IDF figures.

During the 34 days of fighting, Hezbollah launched over 4,000 rockets at Israel, an average of over 100 a day.

The bodies of Regev and Goldwasser were returned to Israel in 2008 in exchange for Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, four Hezbollah members and the remains of some 200 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.

Times of Israel staff and AP contributed to this report.

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