I usually try to stay away from Syrian war for a reasons that I do not have enough time and resources to look at the maps and study operational situation there--for that there are many bloggers who do just that and I gladly use their information. But the more important reason is that I know for sure that nothing what is stated by Arab sources on the ground usually corresponds to the reality. Not for once I wrote that Arab militaries and modern combined arms warfare simply do not mix well. I wrote about it here and here, with Colonel Murahovsky's interview. Now, it is very reputable Russian military analyst Colonel Khodarenok who speaks out:
It is an excellent piece which does address reasons of why Arabs can not fight modern war. Here are some good quotes:
Further Syrian army success does not look good. The quality of army management is the most important question today. Since 2004 Syrian army fired a lot of officers and generals who got their education in USSR and Russia. There are almost no Russian-speaking officers in Syrian army today. Officers who got their education in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the West were preferred. They were the main core of Syrian army.
Syrian army has no centralized supplies. Everything is decided by the army commanders. They get the money and decide what supplies they are going to buy. These commanders are the richest people in Syrian army. Central staff has no influence over their decisions regarding supplies. This is the reason why Assad army is so poorly supplied. Syrian young people leave the country from the conscription. There is a minimum help for the family members of dead or wounded solders. Such families are extremely poor.
Well, it never changes with Arabs. Now that the Russian military advisers left Syria (and rightly so) the Syrian Army (SAA) is left to its own devices in doing what they never could--serious strategic and operational planning, and effective command and control. So, nothing really new here but, in the same time, Khodarenok is a bit on a grim side here. While he is correct in this assessment:
A huge amount if intelligence forces (mukhābarāt) make the situation even worse. There are four kinds of it: national, military, air and political. There is also the National bureau of security. The corruption in Syrian intelligence forces is awful. They force the whole population and army to pay an enormous amounts of bribes.
The truth is--it can not be any other way and it is true across the board in Arab world. And, I think, there is still military solution in Syria and there are signs of the so called "rebels" (terrorists supported by West) being at the end of the rope. But then again--all of this is a typical Arab affair and it never changes and to understand its military logic is usually beyond the grasp of "western" mind. But in the end, I have to disagree with Khodarenok in most dramatic fashion--the title of his article is plain wrong. I am just not in the mood to list all strategic benefits Russia already got in her mostly air campaign in Syria and by any metric, the circumstances favor Assad and SAA, thus providing for the main political objective of Russia's interference in Syria--survival of secular and friendly to Russia regime. In the end, it is the opinion of one man, there are many others which differ drastically (in Russian).
In related, that is military, news: Russia continues to slowly abandon Brigade structure and now resurrects yet another division, this time 42nd Motor Rifle Division, stationed in Chechnya. Another proof of a complete military bankruptcy of Serdyukov's "reforms", as well as people who promoted and supported them--namely people from SVOP such as late Vitaly Shlykov. Incidentally, these were this new 42nd MRD's units which gave Georgian Army, trained and updated by NATO and Israel, an abject lesson in combined arms warfare on 08/08/08 in a brief Russian-Georgian War.