Christopher Lawrence: “We are seeing very successful action and serious mistakes of Russian troops”
Christopher Lawrence (Christopher Lawrence), President of the Institute of military history Dupuy Institute, author of many books.
Question: How do you assess the results of combat use of Russian troops?
Christopher Lawrence: the strike group worked very successfully. People are sent to Syria is a very experienced and skillful. The Russians have focused on several directions. For example, they have created new tanks, but produced a very small number of these tanks. They appointed highly capable people to manage operations in Syria and other areas. However, the basis of the Russian army are conscripts, who serve for a limited time.
We see as a very successful action and serious mistakes of Russian troops. For example, in 2014, in the East of Ukraine they concentrated fire of the artillery group of the Ukrainian battalion, almost destroying it. This demonstrates that the Russian military is able to effectively monitor the operational situation, to quickly concentrate forces in the right place and unleash the power of artillery fire to where it is needed. This episode attracted the attention of the us military and forced to talk about a possible revision of the role of the artillery.On the other hand, a few months ago in Syria, they allowed a large group of people to attack the American position, which led to large losses. Perhaps it was bravado – Russian tested the limits of what will agree to take US, not knowing where the “red line”.
Russian armed forces – not the armed forces of the USSR. They did not have the capacity and the size of the Soviet army.For a start, Russia’s GDP is less canadian, and it is difficult to be a global player. Russia’s capabilities are not limitless, so it concentrates on some areas and directions. It reinforces its armed forces in some areas, but serious problems remain in others.
Question: In your opinion, why Russia came to Syria to help Assad?
Christopher Lawrence: I’ll be honest – I can’t understand it. The only reason it can be advantageous to Russia to try to manipulate events in Ukraine to influence the US position regarding the support of Ukraine and sanctions. Intervention in the American elections, intervention in Syria – all this may be caused by problems with Ukraine in 2014.
Question: In Syria, Russia got military bases. Could this be an attempt to exert pressure on the southern flank of NATO?
Christopher Lawrence: Russia was a naval base in Syria – before the war.But Russia has not modernized its military fleet of the Navy of Russia not imautomator to act on a global scale and have very limited possibilities of conducting operations in “hot spots” of the world.
GDP six or seven member States of NATO exceeds the GDP of Russia. Russia is not able to compete with NATO.
Russia is a regional power. It has demonstrated its ability to influence events in Georgia and Ukraine – and in this there is no doubt. But the reasons for its intervention in Syrian Affairs to me absolutely mysterious. I don’t see any geopolitical benefits from this decision.
I can only assume that Russia could not afford to lose another ally and only ally in the middle East. Perhaps that is why they consider it their duty to remain in Syria. This means that Russia bases its foreign policy on some moral assumptions, not on sober calculation.
Perhaps this is an attempt to use Syria as a counterbalance to lift the sanctions, to maintain some influence in Ukraine, and so on. But if to speak about the situation in General, in 2014 Russia lost its influence in Ukraine. She seized the Crimea, but only after it had lost influence. What were they to do after this political defeat?
Question: How do you assess the use of chemical weapons in Syria? What was the military target?
Christopher Lawrence: the Military goal was. The aim was the suggestion of horror. The alawites comprise no more than 15% of Syria’s population. They often act in Alliance with Christians, who make up about 10% of the population. The majority of Syria’s population is Sunni. And the Sunnis are not represented in the structures that govern the country. That is, in Syria a minority government ruling the majority of the population. It is obvious that using the chemical weapons, it sends a signal: if you even try to rise against us, the consequences will be dire. The regime is using chemical terror to ensure its control over the territory and to ensure the obedience of the majority.
Question: the War in Syria has lasted longer than world war II. Is this normal?
Christopher Lawrence: basically, there was a war with insurgents. Such conflicts are in different time frames than conventional war, they can last 10-15 years or longer. At the moment it is obvious that the Assad regime has won. He will not be able to completely destroy the opposition and ensure peace for a long time, but is able to control the main population centers and to provide their power.
Bashar al-Assad retained power by force and is likely to be able to stay in power for decades. But one day, he or his heirs will lose power. It is inevitable.
Alex Grigoriev specializiruetsya on the coverage of issues of international relations, defense and security, intelligence, terrorism, and nuclear topics. https://www.facebook.com/grigusa