Category Archives: Vadim Volovoj

Insights on military lessons of Syrian conflict – on the basis of Russian experience

Big states’ (Great Powers’) competition is back. And like in times of the Cold War it is indirect, taking a form of so called “proxy wars”, in which many state and non-state actors take part. To call the things their names – we again witness geopolitical rivalry of Russia and the United States. Two obvious battlefields – Ukraine and Syria. Still, the main purpose of this essay is not to reveal the essence of global politics – after short presentation of its background several military lessons of the Syrian conflict, which proved some traditional military laws, broke some myths and presented some new war approaches, are going to be discussed.

In each confrontation there is one or several keys to the solution of the main problem. In case of Syria there are two fundamental problems. First, this country has many – also unfriendly (Turkey, Jordan) – neighbours, and borders are not under control. Therefore different fighters go through and strengthen the camp, opposed to Assad regime. Second, any war is impossible without money, and Syrian opposition is financed from abroad too. And there are no signs that in the near future Syria and its allies will be able to overcome those two challenges.

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On Russian military activity

Today Russia is seen as a serious military threat in the West, especially in Eastern Europe, which is close to Russian borders. Therefore any Moscow actions, related to military affairs, get special attention in Baltic states.

Now top question are coming joint military exercises of Russia and Belarus “Zapad 2017”. They will take place in autumn. What is interesting, before that in June one of the most powerful warships in Russian Navy – atomic cruiser “Peter the Great” – will go to Kronstadt (sea port close to Sankt-Petersburg), what means that it will be very close to the territory of Baltic states.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said, that such actions as “Zapad 2017” exercises have negative effect on the European security and raise the risk of unexpected incidents. Lithuanian intelligence on its turn said that Russia can start the war against Baltic countries in 24-48 hours and warned about possible provocations on the border of Baltic states and Poland during these exercises.

To be short, political-informational discourse in Lithuania, related to Russian military activity, remains very negative. The main unofficial idea is that Russia can start the war against Baltic countries any time, and during its military exercises (especially such as “Zapad”, which take place in Baltic region) Moscow supposedly trains its ability to do that (maybe, will start an attack at once after them).

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