Monday, December 31, 2018

You Can Read Me Now In US Naval Institute Blog.

Russian Navy, Mission Found?

You may read my new piece on some doctrine-technology issues in today's USNI Blog post. Link is below. 

Let's Try Q & A And Whatever Else Sticky Post

Here is the post which I will try to keep sticky for people to ask questions and share their thoughts which are not on topic. This, I think is known as Open Thread. Fire away.

You May Read Me on Unz Review Too.

1. I got my first piece published on Unz Review today, so you may check it out there

2. You can read my piece on some peculiarities of Russo-Chinese "alliance" at Unz Review. Here:

The Russo-Chinese "Alliance" Explained 

3. Here is the latest One. 

Russia's Stand-Off Capability: The 800 Pound Gorilla in Syria

4. On INF Treaty.   

 The Sand Castle INF Treaty

5. New piece on geopolitics and navalism.

The Russo-Chinese "Alliance" Revisited  

6. My new piece on Putin's speech came out today at Unz Review. 

The Implications of Russia's New Weapon Systems

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

On A Lighter Note.

I couldn't miss that. 

 Judge appears likely to toss Stormy Daniels' defamation suit.

I am not going to lie, I honestly told my wife of almost 35 years that I need to "research" Stormy Daniels' "art".  So, after "researching" it, the question is--defame what? I understand that democrats are desperate to completely destroy what's left of American Republic and impeach Trump while cowardly GOP, as always, is looking for a better deal for themselves and 1 percenters. But it takes an enormous imagination to view the claims of a porn "actress" (yes, they "act", alright) about defamation as valid. Poor Stormy, I guess her reputation suffered and now she is being viewed as... a porn star? Didn't she learn what comes with the territory when one becomes a porn "star"? 

That doesn't stop here, in another first in an increasingly filthy American political circus, Vogue Magazine gave a photo-shoot to this fine representative of "acting profession" (not that Hollywood royalty is much better, they are simply more elite prostitutes). And while on its own terms this whole thing is hilarious, in a black comedy sort of way, one is forced, after all laughter subsides, to ask question--do they even understand what they are doing to the country. I said not for once, nowadays terms democracy and the United States are simply not compatible anymore and shouldn't be used in the same sentence, but for goodness sake, can one at least produce adequate, forget competent, forget patriotic or at least believably decent, oligarchy? Can we get, goddammit, at least competent shysters, who at the very least get what is good for them?  Both Democrats and Republicans are directly responsible for the mayhem they produced. Democrats, because these are their "operatives" who completely corrupted and paralyzed every single power institution in the US. Republicans? Well, as I stated, because they are cowards with no principles. Both parties (in reality it is a single party now) are power hungry and care only about themselves and their donors. 

While primarily, "progressive" media are ready to promote any filth as a valid "argument" in them trying to destroy last vestiges of law and order in the US, I, being ethnically and culturally Russian, can totally understand pure-bred Americans whose fists are already clenched and glances increasingly become cold. Here is another dumb bimbo who earns money by pretending to be somebody else and who is into "remaking things" while her limousine waits for her to deliver her to gated community to maybe continue with her "self-education", which she, obviously, lacks greatly. As, in general, it is applicable to most of Hollywood. So, in this case I see very little difference between Stormy Daniels as an "actress" and  American progressive artsy strata as valid political activists--both fuck people for the money. 

P.S. Didn't come out "light", didn't it? 

So It Is S-300PMU2 Favorit.

If to believe Izvestya's (in Russian) sources in MoD, Syria is getting full regiment (two divizions--not to be mistaken with division) of S-300 with all bells and whistles, including with the latest missiles, capable of working against aerial target on the ranges of up to 250 kilometers.  Each divizion is 12 launchers with 4 missiles in each. The mathematics is simple: 2 divizions x 12 launchers x 4 missiles = 96 missiles. The latest most capable EW means are already delivered to Syria--that explains a furious activity of military-transport aviation around Khmeimim couple of days ago. If S-300 is delivered, as it was stated, from storage--that means it is not an export version. 

Hasbara trolls and all kinds of Israel's military "experts" are out in force and bravado continues, but it is very characteristic of the area with its, be that Arab or Jewish, culture of showing off and pretending to be what they are not. Will Israel try to prevent deployment of the S-300? Possible. In a bizarre statement today Israel's government vowed to continue fighting Iran in Syria, while maintaining close coordination with Russian forces (in Russian). Sure, but all coastal Syria is now off the limits plus some part of S-300 will be deployed somewhere around Damascus. That has some (limited) implications for Lebanon, with its complex terrain, but in general it is absolutely clear that heavy "artillery" has arrived and there will be now a very real full integration of all AD means in Syria into cooperative engagement network. 

Israel could have avoided this by merely sticking to gentlemanly agreement with Russia, but Israeli arrogance, recklessness and, I may add, stupidity in some higher military-political echelons brought about the imposition of no-fly zone and I can only imagine what AIPAC and Israel's operatives are doing now in D.C. They are hysterical and draft dodger in chief John Bolton already expressed his "opinion" yesterday, not that anybody in Moscow gives a damn what this bureaucrat has to say. One has to reap what is sown. Or, as they say in Russia--you sow the wind, you reap the hurricane.  

Monday, September 24, 2018

Fast Thoughts On The Issue Of Projection (and Learning). A Bit of a Rant.

I would have loved to write articles on geoeconomics and some geopolitics, discuss some industries and write about culture, in the end--writing sophomoric prose on jazz fusion and progressive rock would have been wonderful. I was forced, literally, by circumstances to recall (yes, like in Total Recall) my past life and start writing... well, see the very beginning of this blog. Each time I want to concentrate on some large, important matter, I find myself explaining pretty basic things, such as this tragedy with Russian IL-20. 

Here is one thing which people should understand about me--I don't know everything. What I do have, however, is the ability (this comes with the territory for most former military professionals) to single out immediately a real professional. Not just with the military rank (after all, Colonel of Medical Service doesn't know how weapon systems integrate or how to calculate probability of a leaker) but with actual technological, tactical and operational background. I can single (recognize) these people out most of the time. So, my advantage here is that I am "jamming resistant" (that is to say BS-resistant) to a certain degree. But even I have my limits intellectually and emotionally in my attempts to bridge the gap between Western (and American) and Russian understanding of things. That is why I have to state this:

American political reality and decision making processes DO NOT correlate with the same in Russia. As this latest event with IL-20 has shown, projecting American, or generally Western, experiences onto Russian geopolitical and military reality is useless. It only confuses people, many of them honest and decent people, others simply deranged, who must keep in mind Sir Bernard Pares' almost 90 years old truism about Russia, if those people want to understand:

"And knowledge alone is not enough without understanding, which is much more hardly won. To no country does this apply more than to Russia....This gap has to be filled, or will it cost us dear."

And that is why sometimes I get frustrated when totality of facts still fails to create a reliable whole picture for so many. No greater gap exists between American patriots who, understanding the baneful effect of pro-Israeli NGOs on the formulation of the US domestic and, especially, foreign policies fail to recognize that:

1. Same doesn't apply to Russia (never did);
2. Modern Russian history (20th century on) was not formed by Jewish influences--they were merely few among a myriad of other complex geopolitical, cultural and economic factors which brought Russia to a catastrophic "reset" in 1917--first through open palace coup by Russian liberals (February) and then Civil War when in October, Bolsheviks literally picked the power from the ground--nobody wanted it anymore by then. Many people still do not know that first Sovnarkom was overwhelmingly Slavic, many with nobility ranks and the only Jew who was present there was Leon Trotsky.

Only knowing, as in having the ability to see not just facts but reliable causality behind them, will one be able to see Russia in a proper light and understand her. Granted one also learns Russian language, reads massive Russian literature, especially 19th Century classics, travels to Russia often, talks to real people (not urbanite hipsters), and then, discarding pretty much anything (almost) what is taught about Russia in the Western universities, will one be able to start gaining this Pares' understanding. I write about this non-stop for almost five years now. Russians do not play for media-appearances when it comes to national security and war, they play for result--such is Russia's history. And no, there is no such "animal" in Russia as Christian Zionism, a purely Anglo thing, which in US provides a good breeding ground for American neoconservatism ideas and loyalty to Israel, as US Vice President Mike Pence so enthusiastically supported Israel at CUFI gathering in 2017. Particular military breed of American Old Testament Christianity doesn't help either. These things are completely alien to Russians, their country and their history and bar some unhinged Russian "patriots" (and ignoramuses), Russians do not blame Jews for GULAG, nor do they blame them for October 1917 Revolution. 

This fact that some arrangement between Jews and other people, other than it is set up in the United States, can exist is simply beyond the grasp of many in the US. And the nauseating tune continues to play non-stop. Jews control everything in Russia--no they don't, Putin bows to Jews--no he doesn't, Jews are responsible for millions (tens of millions, hundreds...) Russians killed in GULAG--no, they are not. There is no New York, and with it Brooklyn and Brighton Beach, in Russia, there is a 850 years old young Russian city of Moscow, there is a newbie (merely 315 years old) St. Petersburg, there is massive Russian culture which has some Jewish influences, but it is Russian culture, which also has Tatar, Caucasus (Rasul Gamzatov, anyone?), yes, Jewish--incomparable Yan Frenkel, Armenian--Arno Babajanyan, Azeri-Muslim Magomaev influences, and I can continue this list--all that was completely integrated in a larger Russia culture and remains there as an everyday given for most Russians. 

Russian culture, especially Russian culture of the 20th and 21st centuries is UNKNOWN in the West, bar some Hollywood caricatures and fairy tales (well, Bullshit) by Western court "dissidents" such as Solzhenitsyn or, today, whoever passes as Russian "expert" in whatever media sewage outlets they work for. And here is a thought: no, I am not going to rub into faces of many, who unleashed hysteria after IL-20's tragedy, the fact that what happened today (yesterday) with Russia delivering S-300 and more to Syria was predicted by me within first three-four hours of tragedy. No, I just want to say--stop projecting, Russia is NOT the United Sates and the way the process of the decision making is set up in Moscow is something US political system has no experiences with. No, Putin is not a hostage of Russian military--decision on Syria's air defense was made, most likely, within first minutes of reports on IL-20s loss. And no, calling for thorough investigation, for a bullet proof case, is evidently not in American media tradition anymore. But here is the main strategic trick:

Russia needs Israel, healthy, prosperous and reasonably well-protected but also reasonably well-behaved. Why it is so--is a long story but I totally agree with this Russian position. How all those complex ME issues will be resolved, well--the proof is in the pudding: many Arabs know that Kremlin doesn't hold AIPAC conferences in Moscow, nor there are Christian Zionists in Russia, unless, of course, they travel to Russia from the West. That in itself makes Russia a prefect arbiter in the ME and... but I will simply stop here for now. A scale of global realignment today is such, that many simply fail to comprehend that their, often justified, scores with Israel are but a small fish in the ocean of a great turbulence and it takes this Putin's wisdom and cool to guide Russia where she and the world needs to be. In the end, Russia consistently continues to be a cat.   

Well, Duh!

For anyone who expected anything less than that--it is time to get out of a bubble of fluffy rhetoric and pompous statements and get down to reality.  I hate to say "I told you so", but from the get go it was clear no matter what Israel does now, Russia had several options how to react. Well, she did by going through with her contractual 2013 obligations to Syria and she will supply S-300, modern EW means and, as one might have expected, those systems are fully capable for real integration into the network thus providing CEC (Cooperative Engagement Capability). A no-fly zone is already established along the coast to some depth of Syria's territory and it is just the start of measures. 

Meanwhile hysteria that Putin sold Russia out to Israel and that Russia bowed to mighty Jerusalem (or Tel Aviv, what have you) will continue, as well as Israel's huffing and puffing. Israel was given for three years, on a gentleman's agreement with Russia, almost free hand when it was coming down to primarily Hezbollah and Iran's military activity in Syria. By entering the off limits safe zone of Russian forces Israel violated this agreement. It all resulted in IL-20 tragedy. This is not the way to conduct business with Russia and so the way has changed. 

Here is another thing which fort sure now will be transferred to Syrian Forces (wink, wink) and it will ensure that Russian and Syrian AD systems will be fully integrated. But, obviously, business as usual cannot continue and it will not. The rest is the matter for pundits and internet "experts" to interpret. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Some Fast Thoughts On IL-20.

And so it starts. Russia must attack Israel, no—she must obliterate it, Putin is "soft", the world is coming to an end, Zionists are in control of Kremlin, Russia turns another cheek. And on, and on, and on. The chorus of noble warriors with the evils of Zionism is getting louder with each day. Behind this hysteria surrounding the tragedy of Russian VKS' IL-20 somehow crucial and widely publicized news have been ignored completely. It is no surprise they were ignored by all kinds of "specialists" in strategy, politics, and armchair strategists (I am one myself). The news are pretty simple. Lt. General Alexander Ionov, former Deputy Chief of Main Staff of Russian Air Force from 1991 through 2001, stated to popular Russian media Zvezda that it is guaranteed that Syrian Air Defense forces were not provided with compatible IFF equipment and codes

For those who don't know what IFF (Interrogator Friend-Foe) is—it is electronic system which provides both a defense against friendly fire and easy radar identification of friendly forces. On older radar friendly forces would usually be marked with arches (below or above) radar marks of the targets and that is how one knows how not to shoot at them. The IFF technology is extremely sensitive as are the "codes" on which it runs. It wasn't provided, and for a good reason, to Syrian Forces. So, the question, in this case which will be asked by laymen is: but what about "full integration" of Russian and Syrian Air Defenses. It is a legitimate question. Without going into much detail how a key aspect of this integration is provided—in Western parlance it is called CEC (Cooperative Engagement Capability)—there are reasons to assume that in case of older S-200s the targeting data could have been provided by radio-voice commands. But here comes this most important fact—Syrian S-200 and its radar did have a track and, possibly, a lock on the Israeli F-16s. The certainty of this fact, as in old proverb about the proof being in the pudding, is in all advanced aircraft being equipped with Emission Detectors which are a warning system and Israeli aircraft using available "screen" in a form of Russian IL-20 on its approach to Khmeimim Air Base. 

In other words, Israeli aircraft were forced to seek a cover and one can only imagine how warnings were screaming in their cockpits. They saw IL-20 with its huge Radar Cross Section (RCS). For those with a short attention span it is worth reminding them that Syrian Air Defense does have a track record of shooting down or damaging IAF's aircraft.  In fact, apart from actually admitting their losses, IAF is still mum on the fate of "damaged by birds" F-35. In other words, Syrian AD does track and locks on Israeli combat aircraft. S-200 missiles are what is known SARH—Semi-Active Radar Homing, meaning that missile needs the illumination of the target by the air defense complex radar and that is where the professionalism, especially at the significant engagement ranges (tens and even hundreds of kilometers), becomes absolutely crucial. But so does a protocol, or ROE (Rules of Engagement), for people in control of any particular AD complex which is not "inside" the loop of highly sensitive IFF. At this stage, I do have reasons to believe that under a huge pressure of the situation unfolding in what used to be a calm sector of approaches to Khmeimim Air Base, which was agreed between Israel and Russia, and where IAF's aircraft were not supposed to be, the Syrian crew simply went for the target which was clearly visible and shaded smaller RCS Israeli planes. 

Israel violated in this case not just an ethical norm by hiding behind IL-20, it violated much more—it flew it planes into the area which was specifically designated as "out of reach" for IAF. As former Israel's Service Nativ' Yakov Kedmi stated after the events, all this tragedy became a result of Israeli recklessness and unprofessionalism, he called this mistake by Israeli generals a doom-spelling one. Reaction of Israel following the events is telling—she went into the full damage control mode with Netanyahu urgently calling Vladimir Putin. He offered the Commander of Israeli Air Force to be immediately on his way to Moscow, all diplomatic, informational, government channels between Israel and Russia got immediately engaged. This was a very telling sign of a real panic and confusion on the Israeli side which also immediately offered condolences. This is not an act of war, as many would love it to be, some out of often justified hatred of Israel hoping for Russia to dispose of this "evil", others purely out of adrenalin rush in anticipation of TV picture of people killing each other. 

But the issue of interaction between Russia and Syrian forces is real and it is not easily addressed for a number of purely military and cultural reasons. But some conclusions can already be made:

1. There will be no "annihilation" of Israel, nor will there be any shooting war between Russia and Jewish State as many would love and lust it to be;

2. There will, however, be some form of no-fly zone and as Vladimir Putin stated Russia will take “the steps that everyone will notice.” Obviously this important statement by the head of Russian State got drowned in the ocean of rage and speculations, and confusion I may add, but this has become a familiar pattern by now.

3. Issue of ROE and interaction—the most important one. Specialists must review protocols and tactical procedures. Engagement caveats must be strictly enforced. 

4. Training of Syrian personnel and, obvious now, necessity, once advanced S-300s (PMU) are additionally delivered to Syria, to have Russian advisers full time in any Syrian Air Defense crew dealing with much more advanced technology than old S-200s. 

In the end, this tragedy, should serve as a real serious lesson and, in a military sense a warning that one better stick to the agreements or things may spiral out of control very fast. Israel decided that it is allowed to break agreements. Israel should ask Turkey what happens when one does Russia wrong—Turkish Air Force knows it too well after shooting down Russian SU-24. It got grounded. Now Turkey is a situational ally of Iran and Russia in the region. As per larger geopolitical sense—just wait and see. But I made myself explicit on that matter not for once. I might as well repeat myself—dogs bark, but caravan passes on.  

UPDATE(S): Superb updates from actual Russian very real officers (Google, Google Translate, dive, dive) through famous military observer Viktor Barantez (former senior officer) in response to Viktor Alxnis emotional piece in Vzglyad. Response of serving (active) senior officer of  Main Staff of VKS, Colonel Sergei Paramonov in an interview:

         Why We Couldn't Defend IL-20 

A superb professional response to all those trolls and internet "experts" who, as was expected, are already painting new "rich" picture of massive Israeli-French-Russia military-geopolitical conspiracy. We ain't seen nothing yet from them. But Paramonov literally sinks all arguments in favor of all kinds of conspiracy theories. 

Moreover, Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Haustov, Deputy Commander of the Air Defense Regiment fresh from Syria gives explanation on tactics and technical means involved. 

   Why IFF Didn't Prevent The Tragedy of IL-20 In Syria.  

Victor Baranetz and Komsomolka (Komsomolskaya Pravda) deserve only the highest praise for them for releasing these interviews with real professionals and solid reviews (within allowed for open press framework) of the whole situation. I will translate only one phrase from Haustov's interview:
К тому же, не забывайте, что С-200 - оружие старенькое. А подготовка сирийских спецов ПВО, мягко говоря, часто оставляет желать много лучшего...
Translation: Moreover, do not forget that S-200 is an old weapon, while training of Syrian Air Defense specialists leaves a lot to be desired.   
UPDATE: Russian Ministry of Defense today put to rest all those speculations and confirmed what Ionov stated from the get go, hours after IL-20 was shot down. As Konashenkov stated:
There was NO any IFF involved, because Russia DOES NOT supply it to foreign customers (in Russian). 
I can hear already desperate moans and screams of utter suffering from the vast armies of couch warriors and conspiracy theorists, because once IFF issue is removed, the picture becomes very clear. As I stated in first couple of hours of this tragedy:
INTERMITTENT SUMMARY:  So it is clear mow that IAF used the oldest trick in the book by shielding her aircraft by IL-20 which was descending for landing--so very Israeli--and then, of course, lied that it warned Russian side. minute prior. I will return to Israel later, for now it is known that Bibi wants to speak with Putin and that Israel is engaged with Russia across a whole spectrum of diplomatic, military, what have you, activity trying to prevent what might be coming.
Let investigation now proceed with normal pace and decision be made on facts, not some fancy technophiles' incompetent theories. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Russia Loses Recce IL-20 In Syria...

Launches of the missiles from French Frigate Auvergne (FREMM-class) are detected while four IAF F-16 attacked Syria. These are red line news in Russia now (in Russian) and French better pray that it is just a coincidence. It is a fog of war now but if Auvergne launched her Asters we may be facing some major escalation. For now it is not clear what kind of missiles (TLAM--Scalp, or AD--Aster) were launched from French frigate. I'll keep updating the more info pours in. 

UPDATE: Israel refused to comment on IL-20s and its 14 crew members' disappearance. 

NOT UPDATEJust a thought--at this stage there is still NO info on WHICH kind of missiles Auvergne launched. If those were Asters, it becomes pretty much clear what is going on. It has been now more than two hours and still no clarity on this crucial issue. 

GOT TO GO NOW:  Got to go, so "in-progress" thought. If Israel is culprit--No Fly Zone. If, however, France is involved--that could be tricky but, depending on what Auvergne's maneuvers are right now (such as exiting launch zone full steam, as an example) and if her Asters were involved in shooting down IL-20, let's put it this way--Elysee Palace better find some really damn convincing explanations and actions to follow to make Putin's decision not to sink French naval assets more or less bearable. I am sure Russian military knows exactly what distance French frigate was from IL-20's loss of contact and what the ranges of Aster missiles are. It is not that difficult to figure it out and I am sure Putin by now has a good grasp of what has happened. 

INTERMITTENT SUMMARY:  So it is clear mow that IAF used the oldest trick in the book by shielding her aircraft by IL-20 which was descending for landing--so very Israeli--and then, of course, lied that it warned Russian side. minute prior. I will return to Israel later, for now it is known that Bibi wants to speak with Putin and that Israel is engaged with Russia across a whole spectrum of diplomatic, military, what have you, activity trying to prevent what might be coming. 

Having said all that. The part of the blame rests with Syrian AD and specifically with those operators who launched S-200. There is very little doubt that IL-20s IFF (Interrogation Friend-Foe) system was on and that would have necessitate a much more stringent ROE. It didn't work. So, Russian AD specialists may want to introduce additional rules (or caveats) for the whole complex in Syria. After this event it will be easier to control Syrian part. Russian side also bears responsibility. Now back to Israel. 

The most important part in all that is that unlike previous statements from General Rudskoi, Defense Minister Shoigu's statement today carries much more weight and Shoigu directly made Israel responsible for the situation. So, what's in store now? For starters, I think, a lot depends on what Bibi will be willing to give Russia. If not much, the game changes and, indeed, all kinds of scenarios, from No-fly Zone to Syria getting S-300, or simply additional Russian-operated S-300 and S-400 appearing in Syria, to who knows what else. Israel is not in a very good situation right now and the only thing they may do is to place the blame on someone else (i.e. Syria). It is a sad day for Russia and, of course, I can only imagine what kind of agony relatives of IL-20 crew are going through right now but highly sensitive personal aspect of this unnecessary tragedy should not obscure a very obvious fact of Israel's treachery (what's new?) and the price it will pay one way or another. What price is it going to be? We'll see in time.

UPDATE: Putin's quote:
Russia will investigate the incident, Putin said, adding that Moscow will boost security of Russian troops in Syria following the incident. He said that these will be “the steps that everyone will notice.”
UPDATE: Some very important info. Really important which clarifies a lot (in Russian):
Syrian AD didn't have IFF codes, which Russia (understandably) didn't want to provide. So, that means the integration with SAA's AD is done by simpler protocols.