Sunday, October 11, 2015

There is an exhaustive explanation for the disgrace of the American allies in Syria

by Evgenii Krutikov
Translated by Carpatho-Russian
The scandal around the “Thirtieth Division”, prepared by American instructors for war with Assad, but who immediately surrendered to the Islamic “al-Nusra Front” right after crossing the Turkish border, is resounding around the entire world now. There will be many such scandals. They are predetermined by the very methodology of the American instruction of “allies” in Syria, a well as in Georgia or in Ukraine.

We recall that in the end the “al-Nusra Front” (a branch of “Al-Qaeda”) received weapons, equipment, and several pickups from the USA. The commander of the “Thirtieth Division” assured representatives of the “Front” that he deceived the American military in order to receive the weapons. The problems from which what happened, happened, can be divided into three unequal categories.
Military intelligence – psychological issues
At the training ground in Yavorov, there have been frequent cases of refusal of the Ukrainian military personnel who had passed through the meat grinder in Novorossiya to submit to instructors from the USA who, from the point of view of these veterans, are “complete punks”
The image of the CIA employee deciding whom to choose as allies in the Middle East is exaggerated by Hollywood. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the operations staff sticks to those who at least formally show signs of loyalty. And if someone is promising but insufficiently manifests such signs, then they prefer to buy him, though such “partners” have always been considered unreliable. It is approximately by such principles that the anti-Assad coalition was knocked together.
In this, the behavior of the CIA staff was extremely regimented. On almost every vital episode, there are written instructions, which they are required to know and practically memorize. Disagreement with the operational instructions leads to sanctions. The free will of the operational staff is limited, and they sometimes are simply compelled to “execute” the instructions instead of operating on the situation. Many large intelligence associations suffer from this, but the American one, in addition to everything else, is still constructed on ideological , as well as – to a lesser extent – ethnic stereotypes. Theoretically speaking, any basmach [member of anti-Soviet movement in Central Asia] who is capable of distinctly pronouncing the word “democracy”, has a chance to receive financing and weapons. And where he then leaves with this weapon, nobody can check any longer. By the way, Soviet intelligence of the Brezhnev times also suffered from this, sticking with any tribal leader able to pronounce the words “Marx” and “Lenin”.
All this has a direct bearing on the situation described. The “ Thirtieth Division ” and Abd al-Tunisi personally demonstrated loyalty, gained the confidence of Americans, received arms, and slipped away with them. The stereotypical and over-simplified perception of the world is a surprising feature of the CIA. Certainly, this is the result of “losing the main opponent”, and the perception of oneself as the winner in the ideological, instead of the practical, understanding of this word. Hammered together by kicks and promises , the anti-Assad coalition collapsed as a result of the incorrect goals setting and the CIA mistakes. It is possible to correctly process information only in the presence of experts without an ideological perception of the world, and Langley has a problem with this. The career system created there pushes out to the side the people with a non-standard form of thinking, and the mass hiring in management of the former marines has predetermined a complete failure of analytical system of investigation.
The scandal around the “Thirtieth Division” is far from being the only one, and there will be many more. The Golden Age of analysts has been left on the hills of Hollywood [movies].
The American training for the armies of doubtful allies is usually a reason for pride in those whom they train. In particular, Peter Poroshenko and his government verged on euphoria when told about the American and British instructors who were on the training ground in Yavorov preparing the Ukrainian military personnel according to an accelerated scheme. In the absence of deliveries of serious weapons, these trainings become almost the unique factor of military support from the West.
Паны с пиндостанаAmericans use the system “watch and repeat” in the preparation of Ukrainians (and earlier, the Georgians, Croats, Albanians, and now in Syria such “Assad opponents” as the “Thirtieth Division”). In reality, this is something like “basic training”: an obstacle course, weapons handling, and physical preparation. Also, instructors train them in communications with handheld transceivers and ciphering devices which simply do not exists in the Ukrainian army. They also learn to move away the wounded to minimize losses, but the Ukrainians who passed through the front in Novorossiya can teach the Americans themselves. They learn how to open a house door using a sledge hammer, but what sledge hammer does a soldier have on a thousand-kilometer front in the steppe? They learn how to check, using a special hook on a string, whether barbed wire is mined, but not everyone gets this. In total, during the so-called “correction” program on the training ground in Yavorov there were 63 exercises broken into three courses, each two months long. As a result – there is a lot of swearing and cases of disobedience.
This is not military preparation. At best, it is police training, but even that is the beginning stage. Representatives of the American army initially relate to the “trainees” as they would to representatives of the third world who need to be told from which end the machine gun shoots. For example, instructors in Yavorov are very distressed on occasion when Ukrainian military personnel arrive from near Donetsk carrying machine guns without having put on the safety lock. According to the instructors, this is nonprofessional. But, after all, many survived precisely as the result of such “unprofessionalism”.
This would appear to be anecdotal if it didn’t show the essence of the preparation occurring in army of the USA and transferred to its allies. Emphasis is placed on physical capabilities, denial of personal motivation, reduction to automatic action of worked-through technical skills, and “collective participation”. As a result, a fighter who ends up in a non-standard situation is lost and cannot adapt the acquired skills to the real situation. He is “refined” only for something uniform, and what is more, built on an artificial training ground.
Neither in Ukraine, nor in Syria does this work. The American instructors do not know what face-to-face war is, how to conduct oneself in close combat, and how to hide from Grad fire. They are not even able to set up defensive positions at all. The Iraq experience, of which the Pentagon is so proud, accustomed them to patrolling, supporting columns, and standing by the strengthened garrisons in the middle of the desert. In three decades of mocking weak opponents, the American army had gotten used to relying specifically on technological superiority, and almost completely lost the skills for contact combat. Now even on the training ground in Yavorov, there have been frequent cases of refusal of the Ukrainian military personnel who had passed through the meat grinder in Novorossiya to submit to instructors from the USA who, from the point of view of these veterans, are “complete punks”.

In a word, the moment has been missed in the Pentagon, now when shooting cruise missiles at the demoralized opponent has ceased to be the only way of conducting combat operations. And now it is extremely difficult to estimate the real fighting capacity of the huge lunking object of the land forces of the USA and the Marines Corps if they suddenly have to face a fight with an opponent approximately equal on technical terms. But allies and “fellow travelers” of the USA wage such wars, and they have no, or nearly no, aircraft, cruise missiles, and aircraft carriers. In the deserts of Syria and steppes of Novorossiya it is not necessary to open doors with a sledge hammer during meditative mopping up of a settlement, from which everyone had already ran off and hidden. What is necessary there is to keep kilometers of the front under rocket artillery fire in the open locale.
As a result, individual preparation of armies of “allies” and bands of “fellow travelers” turns into a clown show. Someone, as in the case with the anti-Assad forces in Syria, perceives all this “preparation” as an inevitable evil, which the Allah has sent as a test. Some, like the Ukrainians, grumble slightly more loudly than quietly. Another thing is that such additional preparation “not spoil” the “veterans”. And here the Ukrainian marines gathered from reservists who have passed through Yavorov (on this basis declared to be an “elite division” and thrown into a difficult sector of the front), collapsed in the first military clash with the rebels.

The mass “test run” of allied detachments (for example, the same Ukrainians and Georgians) through Iraq and Afghanistan provided exactly the same effect. The detachments appeared “elite” with regard to similar experience, but turned out to be of little use in modern wars without – which is especially important – American technological cover: aircraft, drones, and artillery. But initiative and sharpness absolutely erode from the fighters, and independent thinking from the commanders, beginning from the company level.
All tactical preparation is also conducted on the basis of the Iraq experience, which for some reason is considered the most advanced, and is reduced to patrolling the district with minimum fire contact with the opponent. Nobody teaches about contact with an equal opponent in direct fighting with forces larger than a company, since this is considered something improbably obsolete in a century of cyberattacks, satellite groups, and the high-precision weapons. The American military were condescending even to the very idea of conducting an active contact fight, and when this occasionally happened through an oversight of artillery, they either tried to leave it and called in aircrafts, or sustained senseless losses. If the experience of the last three decades did not provide for contact fighting, there was also no need to develop modern combat schemes. This would be a problem only for the Americans if they did not transfer all these troubles to their “ward” armies of the trusting countries. In the armies of the former republics of the USSR, there is a characteristic difference between those detachments trained by Americans, and those in which officers with the older training continue to serve. For example, the Georgian army has provided many occasions for this kind of analysis.

Here is a characteristic episode of the tactical preparation of Georgian units trained by Americans in the “Iraq style”, during the 2008 war in South Ossetia. (Here what is most important is the character of the decisions adopted by the commanders). From 23:00 on August 7, the 43rd Battalion of the 4th Brigade of the Georgian army, located to the west of Tskhinval, proceeded with “mopping up” the villages on the right side of the river Pron. A battalion, having tramped all night long, was expanded by companies, and approximately at 11:00-12:00 on August 8 happened upon an ambush two kilometers from the district center of Znaur. The Ossetian barrier opened fire on the Georgian group. Five servicemen of the 43rd Battalion were wounded straight off. After that (according to the order of the commander of a battalion), all companies were concentrated together in a narrow position “for destruction of the opponent’s base position”.
As a result, on the approach to Shindisi, the staff company mistook the Russian tanks for Georgian and were completely annihilated.
Even prior to the beginning of the attack, the battalion commander requested fire support from the artillery and received it, and was additionally strengthened by three tanks. The Georgian group proceeded to soften up the positions of the Ossetian militia, after which approximately by 16:00, an infantry storm “took” this “height” (!), where it did not see the opponent face to face. It is clear that there were also no victims. By 18.00 the battalion in full strength approached the entrance bridge to Znaur, but did not enter the settlement, as it had lost artillery support. The tired battalion needed rest. The commander decided to return to the former base position of the opponent, to settle down there and spend the night. That is, for an entire day a battalion wandered in the mountains and the woods, found a “large defensive position of the opponent” (subsequently it became clear that there were no more than ten Ossetian rebels who, having executed an ambush, quietly departed), battered it for an hour and a half with artillery, approached its goal, but then returned to its initial positions because it was tired.

We will emphasize once again: this was the division that had been specially prepared for service in Iraq. They did not understand that it means to march unceasing, day and night, fast tempo, to carry out attacks, maneuver, and organize a break-through. They acted not even “by their charter”, but according to slow Iraq tactics of patrolling absolutely unsuitable for open fighting collisions.

These were its actions in the attack mode. In defense, it was even worse. Proceeding from an imprecise military task, the 43rd Battalion spent its firepower on one small position and spent its physical force on senseless circulation through the villages. On the morning of August 8, they did not have any information about what was happening in Tskhinval and Gori. They mistook the planes turning overhead for Georgian aircraft since, in their ideological euphoria, they did not expect any others. But by noon the soldiers of the 43rd Battalion started to receive, by phone, information on losses in other detachments of the 4th Brigade. The brigade panicked. By 19.00 on August 8, the command of the “Iraq” brigade, withdrew the 43rd Battalion, in which revolt had almost broken out, from Znaur, and left totally unprepared reservists to cover the positions.

The 43rd Battalion received an order to preparer defensive positions at the village Pkhvenisi. However, nobody knew how to do this. Only individuals independently undertook to dig entrenchments. The remainder spent the night in irrigation canals, and that is considering that engineering equipment to arrange a defensive line was brought in advance to the area of the apple orchards. The military personnel of the “Iraq brigade”, lying in the gardens, observed the burning headlights of the Russian columns going down the slope from the direction of Tskhinval. At approximately 23:00 on August 10, a Russian helicopter overflying the area discovered with great interest the “defensive positions” of the “Iraq” brigade, and with the first volley blew up the last tank of the 4th Brigade and its “technical” with a large-caliber machine gun, left in the field without cover or masking. No one decided to open the return fire, and panic began. Two “Arrows” (“Strela” (Arrow) – Russian hand-held rocket launcher – translator) available in the battalion simply did not work, since nobody was looking after their technical condition. By dawn on August 11, the Georgian command continued its appeals to strengthen the defensive position at Pkhvenisi, which already had ceased to exist, but in each battalion there were no more than 30 people on the average ready to execute this order. The staff company of the 2nd Brigade, which had been bogged down under Tskhinval, decided to execute this order, even though the “Iraq” brigade had already fled long before that. As a result, at the approach to Shindisi the staff company mistook the Russian tanks for Georgian (since they could not imagine that the detachments, overpraised because of their American preparation, had simply fled) and was completely destroyed.
From all points of view, according to the results of the August 2008 hostilities, it was specifically the 2nd Brigade, which had been earlier stationed in western Georgia, which was the deep rear even in relation to the Abkhazia region, and had not passed any American preparation, that was recognized as the most battle-ready.
Hence, the scandal around the “Thirtieth Division” in Syria is only the tip of the iceberg. Now it is already possible to conclude that such problems have a complex nature and are not explainable solely by psychological mistakes of the CIA. Very soon we should learn many interesting things about the quality of preparation that the American side foists on its allies. And after all, someone will have to answer for it.

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