I’ve been promising a history lesson, and today I’m getting it done. I want to cover Putin’s counter to NATO’s voracious desire for war in Syria, and I’ll also explain how the strategy applied in Syria is well worn. It’s a strategy which has been deployed once too often by the USA in the 20th and 21st century.
In the past fews months we’ve seen the Syrian crisis continue to escalate. It has now escalated to the climax where NATO has just enough excuse to ask for a “no fly zone”. I’m of the personal belief that many of these atrocities can be blamed on the foreign “freedom fighters”, or the “Free Syrian Army” as they are now euphemistically called by CNN. I’m sure the Syrian military is guilty of killing their own people, but these recent atrocities seem out of place, and in this writer’s opinion, appear to be the work of foreign Sunni extremists.
Now because NATO has their justification almost fully in place, Putin has made an impressive chess move by supplying Syria with attack helicopters. Vlad has demonstrated that Russia will attempt to block further unimpeded expansion and control by NATO. The addition of attack helicopters will decisively change the tide of battle if used correctly. Thus far the rebels don’t show signs of being equipped with stingers or the Russian equivalent IGLA. The lack of these air defense weapons will give control of the skies, and close combat support to the Syrian army.
There are rumors that Putin has also ordered the activation of an infantry division, paratroop division, and Spetsnaz brigade. The Russian’s are looking out for their strategic naval port in Tartus, which allows them to maintain a military presence in the Mediterranean. Putin’s actions show he is determined to respond to a NATO attack. How he responds is the wildcard.
I would like to cover some history that ties in with the war in Libya, and the preparation for war in Syria. The United States government has an awfully bad record of supporting and supplying dictators, or funding and supplying rebels to eliminate or counter a common foe. They tend to operate with an enemy of my enemy is my friend mindset.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, military style. On Christmas Eve 1979, the Soviet 40th army rolled into Afghanistan on order from then President Leonid Brezhnev. Three days later the Soviets occupied Bagram Airbase and Kabul, and executed then Afghan President Hafizullah Amin on accusation he was working for the CIA. The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was a long standing ally of the Soviet Union. The Russian’s weren’t about to lose control of Afghanistan to Western powers, so they effectively started their own Vietnam, which ended with Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan on February 15, 1989. The war saw the loss of roughly 15,000 Russian soldiers, and close to 90,000 Mujahideen. The people of Afghanistan suffered the most, with a rough estimate of 2 million dead. The Soviet Union collapsed on December 26, 1991.
One of the facets of US strategy for defeating the Soviets, was to supply the Mujahideen with the stinger missile. The stinger was a major game changer for the Mujahideen. The weapon allowed them to destroy Soviet aircraft in great numbers, and increase the pucker factor of those pilots that survived. The ground war was one of attrition, and one the Mujahideen could win because the Soviets were ill prepared to fight an asymmetrical war. The Soviet war machine at that time was designed for mass combined arms assault. A great tactic if this was WWII, and the opponent was Nazi Germany.
Another key ingredient to the Soviet defeat was the son of billionaire construction magnate Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden. The son we know as Osama bin Laden, and the CIA knew him by his code name “Tim Osman”. After Osama graduated from college in 1979 he went to Pakistan to join Abdullah Yusuf Azzam in his fight against the Soviets, and helped support the Mujahideen with construction equipment and cold hard cash.
We can see how the US secretly allied with the Mujahideen when they could be used as a tool against the Soviets. After the Soviet defeat, Afghanistan fell into a civil war which eventually saw the Taliban victorious. Afghanistan was a very western nation in appearance when they were the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. You would be surprised if you sought out photographs, and saw exaclty how western they were. The country is drastically different today, as we well know. I’m not a supporter of Communism or the Soviet Empire, but you can clearly see how supporting the Mujahideen back fired for the United States.
It never backfires for the military industrial complex, because enemies are good for business.
The same tactic in Afghanistan was applied in Iraq with Saddam Hussein, and most recently was applied in Libya. With Libya we supported the rebels ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, through NATO’s “no fly zone”, and a persistent media campaign. Many of these rebels were affiliated with al-Qaeda, and have no love for America. We’re seeing the same tactic applied in Syria. The only difference this time is Vlad Putin.
There is a confrontation brewing in the Middle East.
Many believe we are heading for a second cold war, but I believe the signs are point to a future hot war between Russia and NATO.