Monday, October 5

The Daily Beast, your trustworthy guide to the Syrian War

October 2, The Daily Beast, Russia is using Old, Dumb Bombs, Making Syria Air War Even More Brutal
Instead of dropping precision-guided munitions like the U.S.-led coalition does, the Russians are joining the Syrian air force in deploying unguided “dumb” bombs, apparently including deadly cluster munitions, which are much more likely to kill bystanders.
October 5, RT,  RT EXCLUSIVE: First-hand look at Russian 'smart bombs' used in Syria against ISIS See website for photos and video.
Russia has been taking out Islamic State facilities across Syria with high precision weapons, making it possible to avoid civilian casualties. RT's Murad Gazdiev, embedded at the Russian military airbase in Latakia, takes a look at the modern guided missiles used by Russian pilots. 
On the advice of Moscow, Damascus focused anew on the consolidation of hold over the western parts of Syria. The Syrian military would advance from these safe zones eastwards in order to contain the jihadist and Turkey-sponsored forces in north-western Syria and beyond.
To enable the Syrian offensives, the Russians expanded their sealift (mainly by Black Sea Fleet assets) and airlift (mainly by Ministry of Emergencies transport aircraft) of both military supplies and humanitarian aid continues unabated. Russian transports used the airports in Damascus, Latakia, and Aleppo (fighting permitting), while the Fleet used the ports of Tartous and Latakia.
The Russians provided through this “lifeline” large quantities of ammunition, and spare parts for T-72 tanks, BMP, and BTR armored vehicles, Mi-24 attack helicopters and other weapon systems.
In February 2014, the Syrians received and started to use long-range Smerch and Uragan rockets.
In early March 2014, the Syrian Air Force increased the use of MiG-29 fighters converted to ground-attack modes with a new generation of guided munitions.
Between early March and late May 2014, there was a marked improvement in the performance and effectiveness of the Syrian Air Force as a whole. This was attributed to greater serviceability of aircraft and helicopters, improved accuracy of bombing, and larger number of sorties.
By mid-2014, the Russians supplied and started to operate for the Syrian military Yakovlev Pchela-1T tactical UAVs. These Russian UAVs have since markedly improved the tactical intelligence and targeting of the Syrian Armed Forces. All of these developments were the result of on-site Russian training, as well as on-site technical and maintenance support.
Got all that, Daily Beast?  Want more?
In mid-June 2014, the Kremlin consented to requests from Iraq and Iran, as well as the Obama White House, to provide major military support for Iraq in order to prevent the fall of Baghdad to the rapidly advancing forces of ISIL. The Russians were asked to help address Iraq’s endemic shortages of trained manpower, as well as help training of a new generation. The Russians established forward facilities, mainly in the Iraqi Air Force base al-Muthanna where there was a large U.S. military and contractor presence.
In late-June 2014, the Russians delivered by heavy transport aircraft the first five Su-25 attack aircraft (out of a squadron of 12, the delivery of which would be completed within three to four months) and large quantities of sophisticated guided munitions. With the Su-25s also came a group of Russian technicians who worked around the clock to get all the aircraft operational within three to four days.
Officially, Russia sent “trainers” to help the Iraqi pilots learn to use the new aircraft and munitions. “Their objective is to, first of all, assemble the supplied equipment and, secondly, to ensure that the aircraft flies properly. Our pilots will not be flying and taking part in military operations. This is forbidden,” Ilya Morgunov, the Russian Ambassador to Iraq, explained.
In reality, Russian combat pilots flew the majority of the combat sorties which stopped the jihadist advance. The rest of the sorties were flown by Iranian Pasdaran pilots who deployed five Su-25s of Pasdaran Combat Aviation. No Iraqi pilots took part for lack of proper training.
In the first week of July 2014, the Russians started the delivery by air of eight Mi-35M and the first six (out of a total of 32) Mi-28 attack helicopters, as well as large quantities of munitions. Again, the Russians deployed technicians and experts who assembled the helicopters and made them operational within days.
Again, Russian “trainers” — both pilots and system operators — who were in Iraq only to check the operability of the helicopters before their handover and to train Iraqi pilots ended up flying combat sorties in support of both the Iraqi military (including U.S.-trained and -mentored units) and Iran-controlled Shi’ite militias.
As fighting evolved in late Summer and into Autumn 2014, the U.S. military advisers developed a system of indirect communications via the Iraqi High Command so that they could in effect call upon Russian and Iranian pilots to provide close air support to Iraqi units in duress.
If you'd like to learn a little more about the Syrian War -- the real war, the one that's actually been happening -- just have your editors start at the beginning of Yossef Bodansky's report and read through to the end. They should be sure not to skip over this part:
The appearance of U.S.-made weapons — especially TOW ATGMs — in the hands of jihadist forces, including those formally affiliated with Al Qaida, was used by Moscow as a proof of Washington’s commitment to escalating jihadist violence. Indeed, these weapons, including the TOWs, were provided to the jihadists by Saudi Arabian Intelligence with U.S. foreknowledge and tacit approval.
You remember the TOWs, right? The American public was told Islamic State stole them from the Iraqi military. IS liked them so much they gave them an Arabic nickname -- al-towi.

Now why would the Obama Administration encourage the transfer of TOWs to Islamic State in Iraq and ask the Russians for help in fighting IS in Iraq? That's what the Russians wanted to know, too.     

I know the answer. American defense policy came to be overseen by a small group of women at the White House whose knowledge of war strategy and tactics was derived solely from their time playing Bingo at a large Bingo parlor in Maryland.  

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