- Russian military experts, in a series of recent speeches
and papers presented at a closed conference, outlined what Russia can learn
from the successes and failures of the US military in Iraq. Naturally,
translations of these presentations quickly made their way into the US
military schools and academies, as was intended. This is not to say that
the presentations were simply disinformation. The Russian analysis is chillingly
accurate when cataloging US mistakes, changes in tactics and overall strategy.
What the Russians are hiding, however, are their real intentions about
how they are using this information to prepare for the inevitable Russian/US
conflict in WWIII.
- The portion of the presentations that alludes to their
motivation is full of disinformation about their desire for "cooperation"
rather than "confrontation." What was clear, however, though
it was couched in careful language, was the Russians' sense of damaged
pride at US arrogance in projecting a unipolar image of world conflict,
where the US acts and thinks as if it is the only superpower. The Russians
commented liberally on how the US uses its bully position to coerce the
world into its own version of a New World Order, playing token attention
to the UN only when convenient to do so. There was a discernable allusion
in several presentations to the attitude that "We'll show them, someday,
who is boss."
- As part of their ongoing preparation for regaining world
hegemony, the Russians were eagerly taking notes in Iraq on every aspect
of the strength and capability of US military forces, and testing some
new equipment of their own against the US adversary - just as the US was
testing its new equipment (electromagnetic pulse weapons, microwave weapons,
jumbo concussion bombs, etc) on the Iraqis during the war as well. The
Russians cataloged and recorded all our communications and undoubtedly
had some success in decoding secret messages, an ongoing project. They
tested GPS and communications satellite jamming equipment. The Russians
successfully knocked out a US tank with a tiny experimental shaped charge/penetrating
rod warhead that made a hole no bigger than a fat pencil. They cataloged
carefully all mechanical failures of US armor vehicles in the desert environment.
They knew about our supply problems, and military organization experiments.
Throughout the following quotations from these Russian presentations, my
comments will be in [brackets].
- Here is General M. L. Gareyev, President of the Russian
Federation Academy of Military Sciences, describing the following US weaknesses:
First, "Practically all of the branches of the US Armed Services depend
to an enormous degree on satellite communication for targeting and orientation.
It is this very thing that predetermines its vulnerability, since at any
given moment it can be neutralized by taking appropriate jamming measures."
- Naturally, the Russians are already planning to interdict
America's satellite advantage. Major-General (ret.) V. A.
- Menshikov, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Space Systems,
predicted the following: "Foreign specialists believe that the shift
toward controlling outer space and conducting strikes from space will be
unavoidable, since their role is steadily growing. In the future it is
entirely likely that not only will the enemy's satellites be destroyed
in space, but also strikes will be conducted from there against ships,
airplanes, ground targets and warheads in flight. That is why some space
powers [Russia, for one] are in the process of developing directed energy
and kinetic weapon systems for the destruction of targets. Ground complexes
as well as aircraft are supposed to be used for their employment in combat.
An indicator of the growing importance of space forces is their inclusion
along with nuclear weapons in the combat air force." The Russians
have already demonstrated significant anti-satellite weapons technology
and clearly intend to use it to thwart the US advantage in satellite-relayed
command and control.
- Back to Gen. Gareyev's analysis: "Second, from the
perspective of the development of the art of war, the experience of the
war in Iraq does not allow us to draw any far-reaching conclusions, since
there was no serious war with a strong enemy. It was a politically acute
and technologically powerful state's harsh treatment of a country that
was obviously weak in all regards, which was betrayed by its very own rulers.
What kind of war is it when a grouping of [US] troops, aviation at airfields,
and the headquarters of the attacking side are outside the range of influence
of the enemy? [Gareyev is referring to the US "arm's length"
policy of keeping its support forces outside the range of Iraq attacks.]
- "The Iraqi air defenses and aviation were paralyzed.
After 9 April, when Baghdad was surrendered without a fight, the military
operations for all intents and purposes came to an end. Under such conditions
it is difficult to say to what extent the American command and control
system, weapons or strategy and tactics stood up to the test of combat.
[He has a good point, and most US military leaders are also aware that
our claims of success are hollow until our forces are tested against a
- "But even in such a simplified situation, which
looked more like a one-sided exercise than a war, there were plenty of
problems in the coalition grouping with the command and control of forces
and weapons with their dispersed operations along wide fronts,
- with recognizing their own troops, with the accuracy
of guiding the artillery, tactical aviation and helicopters to the targets,
and interactions between the various branches of arms. The armored equipment
turned out to be insufficiently equipped for operations in the desert.
Even in such a comparatively limited war they had to expend a larger amount
of ammunition and GSM [fuel and lubricants] than they planned."
- Colonel A. D. Tsyganok, Head of the Center of Military
Forecasting, adds the following: "Coalition's Weak Points: First.
The overestimation of their air mobility forces' capabilities. The massive
use of helicopters as a separate branch of arms did not work out. All attempts
by the American chain of command to organize the air and ground operation
forces using air mobility
- units ended in failure. That is why just four days into
the war the air mobility units were distributed throughout the grouping
and included in the make-up of the offensive groups as reconnaissance and
fire support subunits. The greatest load was on the 'heavy' mechanized
and tank units. [Tsyganok is referring here to organizational problems
where the US took a step back into pre-WWII days and tried to centralize
all helicopter lift operations. They quickly had to return to what has
worked best for the Marine Corps for years: allow local commanders to control
their own helicopters and close air support aircraft.]
- "Second. The extremely weak logistical support.
Despite the presence of a new logistical support system, there were still
serious interruptions in fuel deliveries. At times the tank units sat with
empty fuel tanks for up to 6 hours, essentially making them targets for
the Iraqis. The delivery of food, water, ammunition, fuel and lubricants
became a headache for the American commanders. Also noted was massive dissatisfaction
among the soldiers with the quality of the new army MRE's." This kind
of detail indicates that Russian spies have access to a wide variety of
Pentagon classified information. This kind of information could not have
come directly from the Iraq battlefield unless the Russians had broken
US codes, which are the best in the world.
- The Russians have a good handle on overall US strategy.
They know all about US covert contacts with Iraqi military leaders prior
to the invasion, attempting to bribe them into giving up early in the fight.
These attempts explain why the US expended so many millions in cruise missiles
and other expensive precision guided bombs to target Iraq's top leaders,
rather than troop concentrations at first: As long as Saddam was alive
and in charge, lower echelon leaders were unwilling to defect - so they
had to kill or isolate Saddam first. The Russians also know all about the
Bush administration's attempt to design a "war at arm's length"
so as to avoid the political consequences of US casualties, something the
US can only attempt when confronting a weak and powerless enemy without
first rate equipment. Certainly, the long reach of Russian ICBMs will nullify
any US attempts to use distance as a safe haven in the next world war.
Lastly, the Russians know exactly why the recent switch to guerilla tactics
by Iraqis is succeeding when everything else has failed.
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