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War Against ISIS

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by spikehades, Jun 1, 2013.

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  1. STURM

    STURM Active Member

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    It reminds me of a naval game I use to play, Harpoon. The vast majority of missiles launched against you [including Tomahawk] inevitably got shot down by your defences.

    At the moment there is little chance of the S-400 being tested; given where they're deployed and where the targets are but it would be disastrous for the Russians if the West launched a strike, was faced with S-400s and found a way to deal with it; either by a hard or soft kill option.

    The million dollar question is what will the West do again if another chemical strike is conducted? Also, what will the response be if hard irrefutable evidence is found by the OPCW or from somewhere else that proves beyond doubt that Assad was not responsible?

    The latest airstrikes in Syria were a gesture of disapproval rather than a dent in Assad's military machine

    ''Big noise on the stairs, but nobody comes into the room,” runs an old Chinese saying. This is an apt description of the very limited airstrikes on Syria launched by the US, Britain and France overnight, which came after apocalyptic tweets from President Trump and threats of military retaliation by Russian diplomats.

    In the event, the fears of a “Russian-American clash” and runaway confrontation leading to a “third world war” have turned out to be overblown. They did not look quite so exaggerated earlier in the week when Trump tweeted about US missiles: “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart'
    .”

    How can we know that a chemical weapons attack took place in Syria?

    ''Every atrocity in the Syrian civil war provokes a furious row about whether it happened and, if so, who was responsible for carrying it out. The merciless brutality of all sides combines with partisan reporting and lack of access for independent investigators to make it possible for doubts to be generated about even the most blatant war crime. One good rule is that participants in the war are often accurate about the crimes of their opponents while they invariably lie or are silent about their own.

    The allegations of fabrication are generalised and non-specific and amount to a conspiracy theory for which no evidence is ever produced, other than to throw doubt on the partiality of those who say that chlorine was used. It is true that many of the sources cited by the Western media as if they were bipartisan eye-witness accounts are committed supporters of the opposition. But the Russian and Syrian governments have never produced any counter-evidence to give credence to the elaborate plot that would be necessary to fake the use of poison gas or to really use it, but put the blame on Syrian government air power
    .''

    The Syrian War Is Actually Many Wars

    If you look at the literature on civil wars, it tends to suggest that the more foreign powers involved, the more difficult it is for a civil war to end—because most of those powers aren’t willing to quit until either they are exhausted or their claims and desires have been met,” said Christopher Phillips, author of the book The Battle for Syria: International Rivalry in the New Middle East. “And because a lot of them are backing proxies, the cost isn't necessarily that high.”

    These are only the international powers in Syria; this analysis doesn’t even account for the various factions among the opposition and within the regime. But it’s the outside powers who will determine the next phase. And regardless, the Syrian people will pay most of the cost.''

    Syria strikes an 'important signal' to Iran and Hezbollah: Israeli...

    ''An Israeli official said Israel was notified of the strikes ahead of time. Asked how much advanced warning Israel had received, the official told Reuters: “Between 12 and 24 hours, I believe.”

    Asked whether Israel helped choose targets, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Not to my knowledge
    .”

    Pentagon Denies Any Missiles Were Intercepted By Syrian Forces, Provides Own Version Of Events

    • 76 missiles – “Barzah Research and Development Center”
    • 22 missiles – “Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Site”
    • 7 missiles – “Him Shinshar CW Bunker”



     

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    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  2. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    76 missiles for that research center seems odd. That's a very large quantity of explosives, against a target that was reportedly abandoned some time back. On the one hand it sure is convenient for Russia to claim 100% effectiveness ratings of targets that were never attacked in the first place. On the other hand it's awfully convenient to simply write off any missiles that the Syrians shot down as having been used against a target that was destroyed anyways.

    Here's some video of the aftermath of the strike. It appears to be a fairly large facility, and it certainly has been destroyed beyond repair. Is this what damage after 76 cruise missiles look like? I'm not an expert, maybe someone who knows better can jump in. Though I suspect the real answer is that there isn't enough in the video to say.

     
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  3. Boagrius

    Boagrius Member

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    How well positioned were Russian IADS assets to effectively intervene anyway?

    Granted, a system like S400 may have a quoted range of ~400km when using the 40N6 missile, but I imagine the radar horizon would reduce this stat considerably when relying on ground based radar(s) to target low flying, LO shaped cruise missiles (AGM158A/B, Storm Shadow & SCALP). Even the "older" but much longer ranged Tomahawks could have been routed to take advantage of terrain masking provided by topographical features..?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  4. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    You bring up a point which I have raised ages ago regarding some of the GBAD limitations when they are a significant part of an IADS. Given the mountainous terrain west of Homs and Damascus, between there and the Mediterranean, there would be a number of approaches where terrain would screen low altitude ALCM's and LACM's that are flying at 50 m or less AGL. Given the broken nature of the terrain, it would likely be difficult for Syria (or Russia for that matter) to manage having radar arrays atop all the high points to prevent gaps in coverage. At a guestimate, not taking the LO features of some of the missiles into account, the cruise missiles likely would have been able to get within ~50 km of Syrian territory before they could possibly start getting detected. If the mission planners and ISR resources paid attention to recent Israeli actions, their methods and results, then the strike packages may well have gotten much closer before they were detected.
     
  5. Boagrius

    Boagrius Member

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    Right. I mean unless they had S400, Buk M2, Pantsir et al sitting in close proximity to each target providing point defence, or an AEW asset overhead to provide missile cueing (do they even have that capability?), effectively engaging the incoming LACMs would have been extremely difficult...
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  6. STURM

    STURM Active Member

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    True but the Syrian and Russians weren't caught by surprise. Syrian AD would have been placed on high alert, some AD units might have placed been to intercept missiles and the Russians may have detected the launch of the Tomahawks; as well as the presence of foreign aircraft.

    There is also the possibility that to compensate for the state of Syria's radar network; the Syrians and Russians may have passive alerting devices that can detect data links, etc. I'm assuming that EW was used against the Syrian radar network to shield the U.S, Brit and French aircraft that went in.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  7. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    AND

    Even if there were defences sitting near each target, there would most likely be problems since the engaging GBAD systems would likely only have a three minute window to detect and engage an inbound missile before the missile was either past the GBAD position, or on the target. And that is assuming that there was little or no impact from EW systems or LO features.

    Given the mountain range along western Syria and into Lebanon, GBAD systems around either Homs or Damascus would have no way of detecting inbound missiles until they came within ~40 km. What that would then mean is that the Syrian IADS would need to have sensors (and possibly shooters as well) on either the western slopes of the mountains and/or on the coast, which could also cue GBAD systems to shoot at the missiles. Another alternative would be if there were any Russian A-50 AEW's in the area which could detect the incoming missiles, and cue responses.

    An issue with that though is that cuing assets AND providing those cued assets with target quality data, especially if done in response to a saturation attack, might be beyond what Russian data links are currently capable of handling. I am not up on the current state of development for Russian data links, but I do recall that within the last decade Russia upgraded some of the avionics aboard the A-50U's and that one of the issues was that in order for the A-50 to relay data to different Russian fighter types, the A-50 had to have a dedicated data link module for each type. That is quite a bit different from Western/NATO systems where disparate assets can use a common data link to 'talk' to each other.
     
  8. the concerned

    the concerned Member

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    The tomahawks maybe but have the Syrians got the ability to track the other missiles as all are low observability.
     
  9. Milne Bay

    Milne Bay Member

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    Yes 76 cruise missiles for this result seems disproportionately expensive for the effects that are shown.
    But, then again, it was a symbolic gesture surely.
    The Syrians have known for days that there would be a strike coming and it doesn't take a genius to predict possible targets.
    Everybody wins here - Trump looks tough, Syria and Assad survive, not much damage is done relatively, no Russians were targeted.
    What real difference did it make?
    Precious little I would think
    MB
     
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  10. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Not well at all. Russian ground-based air defense is well positioned to protect Russian bases, Tartus and Khmeimeem. And it's not just SAMs, but also EW assets. Basically Russian air defense was not in a position to intervene effectively. What they could have done is put 6-12 fighters in the sky and helped out by shooting down some missiles from the air, using the A-50U (they have two of them and it was reported that the two were taking turns maintaining presence in the sky in the days leading up to the strike) to help locate the missiles.

    There's a big mystery there. Can the A-50U be used together with the S-400 to effectively extend its sensor range? Logically it should be possible, but practically I'll believe it when they showcase the capability in line units. Also Russia doesn't have any Buk-M2 in Syria, to the best of my knowledge. Just S-400, S-300V4, and Pantsyr-S1. And they are sitting in close proximity to the targets that they are actually there to protect. Damascus is another story.
     
  11. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    To be honest, only their Pantsyr-S1 and to a lesser extent the Buk-M2 are capable of dealing with modern cruise missiles. Almost everything else they have was outdated by the first Gulf War. And those assets are only deployed in a few areas.

    Russia has no Link 16 or Link 22 equivalent. They have similar capabilities but it's not universal across all platforms. I'm really curious if an A-50U was in the sky at the time of the attack.

    Apparently two Russian frigates were sitting off the coast, possibly providing early warning. And of course not all the strikes came from the west, I believe the B-1B strikes came from the south, though of course inherent limitations of GBAD apply.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  12. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    There are photos of an alleged Storm Shadow shoot down floating around.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Daux37XWAAEPqMd.jpg
     
  13. old faithful

    old faithful Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    I would imagine a fair bit of effort would have gone into Monitoring the radar profiles of the inbound missiles.
    A good opportunity for Russia to have a good look at storm shadow and another good look at tomahawk and what ever other munitions were used.
     
  14. Ranger25

    Ranger25 Member

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    Some additional information on the strike including a decent info graphic.


    the B1s flew not only with a fighter escort but EA18 support.


    Will be interesting to clear away the clutter and find the facts regarding Russian/Syrian claims of shooting down 71 targets. US DOD started over 40 SAMs were Fired after the strikes were completed ina vain effort.


    VIDEO: U.S., French Warships Launch Strikes on Chemical Weapons Targets in Syria
     
  15. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm starting to suspect the US claim may be correct and nothing was shot down. It appears that the strike may have been pre-negotiated between Russia and the US, and the list of targets was pre-approved. The Syrians and Iranians were apparently warned in advance and the SAA took no casualties. It's looking more and more like the airstrike on Shayrat all over again. Even less real damage has been dealt by an even bigger strike, with the Syrians putting on a show in the sky for domestic consumption. Granted this is my opinion, but it fits with all the facts and makes sense in the context. The sheep are whole and the wolves are fed.
     
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  16. STURM

    STURM Active Member

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    In short; it was a PR exercise. The U.S, Britain and France were seen to be doing something and they went out of their way to avoid a clash with the Russians. Assad's military infrastructure and his chemical warfare didn't suffer much and he gets to carry on with winning his war. The U.S. has warned that it is ''locked and loaded'' to respond again should there be another strike but what else would it say? The U.S. has also said that its troops will remain in Syria and that a reason for this is to keep an eye on what Iran is doing. It had previously said that the main reason troops were still there was to combat IS.





    Trump's 'mission accomplished' quip over Syria may come back to haunt him

    ''As Syrian troops move to another confrontation around the Syrian capital, what will the US president –and the British and French – do if more images of gassed civilians dying in agony appear?''

    ''But if talks drag on – and Syrian and Russian leaders lose patience – then the prospect of another Douma in al-Qadam becomes more likely. At which point, Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ could turn out to be as ironic as George W Bush’s identical and fatuous claim after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.''

    The weekend’s Syria air strikes are a show of weakness, not strength from US, UK and France

    ''Theresa May is behaving in keeping with this stereotype since ordering four British planes to join the very limited air attack on three Syrian facilities on Saturday morning. Her performances are low-key but resolute, occasionally aping Elizabeth I at Tilbury defying the Spanish Armada, but more usually recalling a stern-faced Judi Dench as M, sending 007 on some dangerous but necessary mission to thwart the plots of the enemy. The trick is to appear weighed down by a terrible sense of responsibility, but not afraid to take decisive action in defence of our nation.''

    ''The point is that even far more extensive air strikes would not have changed the outcome of the Syrian war, though they would certainly have escalated it and killed a lot more people. There is a myth, lately adopted by President Trump, that Obama lost a real opportunity to weaken or get rid of Assad in 2013, but the factors that restrained Obama then apply today with equal force to Trump: it is not possible to get rid of Assad without a wider war and, even if he went, the outcome would be a collapse of the state, as in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq, producing chaos in which Isis and al-Qaeda will flourish''
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  17. gazzzwp

    gazzzwp Member

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    That would explain why there was no Russian military response. That is to say if the Russians 'signed off' the strike and opened all the doors ready they would have no reason to make one.

    Edit to add:

    Putin will still have lost a few degrees of Kudos over this imho. After all Russia was heard stating that they would retaliate and regard an attack on their allies as an attack on them during his recent presentation when he disclosed detailed of his hypersonic missiles etc.

    Yet at the same time the UK, France and US appear (if what Feanor is conjecturing is correct) to have put some respect Russia's way which is what they seem to be badly craving right now. If only they would go about it the right and proper way they could have all the respect they want.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  18. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Some updates, though they're of dubious value. Russia released a breakdown of air defense assets allegedly used against the US strike.

    Apparently a total of 112 SAMs were fired, with 25 from the Pantsyr striking 23 targets, Buk firing 29, hitting 24, OSA firing 11 hitting 5, S-125 firing 12 hitting 5, Strela-10 firing 5 hitting 3, Kvadrat firing 21 hitting 11, S-200 firing 8 hitting 0.

    "При отражении удара всего было израсходовано 112 зенитных управляемых ракет", - сказал в понедельник официальный представитель Минобороны РФ генерал-майор Игорь Конашенков.
    "Панцирь" - выпущено 25, поразили 23 цели. "Бук" - выпущено 29, поразили 24 цели. "Оса" - выпущено 11, поразили пять целей. С-125 - выпущено 13, поразили пять целей. "Стрела-10" - выпущено пять, поразили три цели. "Квадрат" - выпущено 21, поразили 11 целей. С-200 - выпущено восемь ракет, целей не поразили", - сказал генерал.
    "Никого не должны вводить в заблуждение низкие показатели зенитного ракетного комплекса С-200. Данный комплекс предназначен для поражения, прежде всего аэродинамических носителей ракет - то есть самолетов", - заявил он.


    Эффективность ПВО Сирии при отражении удара коалиции
     
  19. gazzzwp

    gazzzwp Member

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    As you say highly likely they would have been that successful, even less likely having such a comprehensive breakdown.
     
  20. STURM

    STURM Active Member

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    On the contrary; he has a lot to be satisfied with. Despite all the tough talk on the part of the West; the strike was ''limited'' and didn't cased Assad any major damage. If anything, the strikes further underlines the fact that there's little the West can do and that its options are limited. On top of that, it wants to avoid any trouble with the Russians.

    Had the strike however caused any Russian casualties; the Russians probably would have responded.

    What is the ''right and proper way'' in your opinion?

    If anything; it is the West that needs a realistic long term strategy on Syria which they don't.

    Iran and Saudi Arabia 'unlikely' to pivot back to diplomacy

    An interesting article on Saudi/Iran relations and relations actually improved some years back. Given what's happening at the moment; it's unlikely there will be a Saudi/Iran rapprochement anytime soon; despite all the benefits this would bring to regional stability. It goes without saying that the last thing countries like the U.S and Israel want is a Saudi/Iran rapprochement.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018 at 7:28 AM