Skip to comments.Russia Confronts NATO and the US
Posted on 08/27/2007 4:13:07 AM PDT by Renfield
Last Friday, another act of war took place in the skies over the Caucasus, when a Russian aircraft violated the Republic of Georgia's airspace and was fired on by the country's air defense forces. Prior to this latest incident, Russia violated Georgian airspace no fewer than three times within as many weeks, including one instance of a deliberate missile attack against a Georgian-NATO radar site.
We can no longer whitewash the obvious: Russia is now conducting a low-intensity conflict in the Caucasus in its bid to turn back NATO expansion and to maintain connections to terror-supporting states.
Rather than become full partners with the Coalition in the War on Terror, Putin's decrepit and corrupt regime is dedicated to maintaining profitable Cold War financial arrangements, while desperately seeking to reestablish some semblance of the old Soviet order by vigorously opposing the US missile defense shield. Russian generals who bully our new European partners over hosting a key Eastern European radar site get the most attention. Less obvious, and completely overlooked by the drive-by media, is Putin's focus on Georgia, since it holds the Eurasian geo-political ace-in-the-hole.
The Russian official reaction to the claims that SU-24M Fencer fighter-bombers deliberately fired an anti-radar missile at a Georgian radar site in early August has been a classic revival of Cold War, Soviet-era denial. Unfortunately for Putin and his wayward air force, the findings of an independent panel looking into the attack expose the Russian deception.
The Second Independent Inter-governmental Expert Group (IIEG-2) was composed of military and weapons systems professionals from Estonia, Poland and the UK. It was important to have people well-versed in Soviet/Russian aircraft to debunk any attempts by Russia to cover up its role in the attack. The group included Brigadier General Vello Loemaa, a former Su-24 (24M) pilot, Major Andrzej Witak, an Su-22 pilot from the Polish Air Force Command, and Mr Kim Baker, a missile systems expert from the UK Ministry of Defense.
Among the key findings of the panel:
Georgian airspace was violated three times [emphasis added] of 6 Aug 07 from by aircraft flying to from Russian airspace.
The missile was launched towards the Gori radar site at a range of approximately 10 km from the radar site. If the target was the radar site, the missile was launched at near minimum range.
Immediately after missile launch the radar crew acted defensively and using combat procedures turned the radar transmitter off.
The missile impacted on Georgian territory about 5 km short of the radar site without exploding.
The missile was a Russian built Kh-58U anti-radiation, air to surface missile [known by NATO code name AS-11 Kilter].
The report renders moot the three main Russian arguments that attempted to shift the blame for its deliberate acts of aggression.
First, the experts on the panel checked all 10 of the Su-25 aircraft in the Georgian Air Force inventory at the Maranuli AFB and found that they are not capable of carrying the Kilter. Even the most modern version of the plane upgraded by Elbit from Israel cannot carry or fire the missile.
Second, the radar tracks and interviews with the crew of the 36D6-M radar (NATO name TIN SHIELD) positioned near Gori were equally damning. The panel found from the recordings,
...that the [Russian] aircraft did not have its on-board transponder activated, as there were no responses to the interrogations from secondary radars in range. This means that the secondary radars were unable to detect and therefore track the aircraft. [emphasis added] The last statement is critical in that under the guise of cooperating with the investigation, Russia provided its own air picture to refute the charges. However, the data was only from its own secondary radar of civilian type which would not display tracks of military fighters that had shut off their transponders. The Georgian military radar, which is up to NATO standards, had no problem tracking the Russian fighter-bomber. The Russians' habit of pointing the finger back at the victim of the attack was therefore revealed as a public relations gimmick.
Third, an examination of the remnants of the missile revealed that this was not an accident. The rocket motor was fully burnt, which meant that the missile was actually fired and not jettisoned during an emergency. The markings of the warhead also, ...indicated a manufacturing date of October 1992. Thus the missile was built for the Russian Federation rather then the Soviet forces [emphasis added].
Since the missile attack, Georgia's integration into NATO and its command and control structure has been accelerated. One day after the findings of the investigation were released, the Georgian Ministry of Defense reported that its forces are joining the NATO Air Situation Data Exchange (ASDE) system through the Republic of Turkey. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is in the final review process, and once signed, equipment and systems will be installed and tested. The ASDE "manages the controlled exchange of air picture data by filtering the NATO picture in such manner that it is releasable to partner nations."
Georgia's pending NATO membership and its role in the NATO air defense system puts Russia at a further disadvantage geo-politically, and places Putin in a risky position in relation to satisfying the military and economic needs of his client states. As he sees it, his only recourse is to up the ante by playing a potentially deadly game of cat and mouse in the hopes that NATO will reverse course in the Caucasus. Additionally, he is trying to pump up nationalistic feelings of the Russian people prior to Presidential elections next March with an aggressive stance against the West. But there is another overlooked factor in all of this.
Come this fall, Georgia's commitment to the Coalition in Iraq will increase dramatically. Instead of one infantry battalion helping to secure the Green Zone, an entire combined arms brigade of over 2,000 Soldiers will deploy on the Iraq-Iran border to stop the infiltration of Iranian forces into the country. Georgia versus Russia in the north and Persia in the south is a centuries old conflict that usually resulted in the small kingdom coming out on the short end of the stick. Once again, Georgia is the key to derailing the schemes of its two powerful neighbors. The country's national pride is at stake, so this mission is personal. And so is Putin's goal of stopping them.
And there you have it.
The big question is what do we, the US, do about it?
The Russian military is a shell of its former self. No amount of bluster will change that.
As to what do we do? We move forward with our plans to add Georgia to NATO and any other country that is eligible and can meet the standards. Screw Russia.
Three years ago, Mr. Saakashvili famously fired 15,000 traffic policemen and dissolved the pervasive bribery ethos in one stroke. The country is booming: Everywhere new hotels, factories and well-lit roads proclaim the changes. Even the old Soviet tower blocks look festive and newly painted. Foreign investment flows in from every quarter: Kazakhstan to the east, Turkey to the south, Europe and the U.S., the Gulf States, even from Russia, despite all of Mr. Putin's embargoes -- and despite the shadow of two secessionist "black holes" inside Georgia backed by Russian arms and money: Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Mr. Saakashvili points out a little town in the distance, Tskhinvali, the disputed heart of South Ossetia, nothing more than a sprinkling of houses on a rise of farmland deep inside Georgian territory. "We've offered them everything they want . . . language rights, their own political structures, cross-border rights to their fellow Ossetians. They probably would agree if they were free to do so."
He also speaks about Russia's domestic anti-Georgian campaign. "It wasn't working very effectively until they actually went to all the schools and asked for a list of all the children with Georgian names. Suddenly, the parents realized this was serious. That and the endless corruption of the Russian system became unbearable for them -- so now we have tens of thousands of qualified Georgians . . . coming back and repatriating their money to Georgia." There is a general sense in Georgia that the U.S. could be more supportive but badly needs Russian help over such critical areas as Iran, North Korea and the fight against terror. Does Mr. Saakashvili think that the U.S. could do more? "All we ask for is moral support," he answers. "It's all about shared values. You can see that the U.S. has a lot of moral authority here. We have a historic sympathy for the U.S. and the West. America should know how strong it still is and keep up the pressure at the highest levels. It should help enhance stability and serve as a deterrent to Russian adventurism."
"In return," he continues, "we are doing our utmost to stay engaged in the international community and to fulfill our obligations. Georgia has 2,000 troops in Iraq now deploying to the Iran border . . . to interdict arms smuggling across the border and we have told them not to be passive -- [instead] to be active and get results. Before now they were in the Green Zone but now they will be acting as part of the surge, going wherever US troops can go. . . . failure in Iraq will be a disaster for everyone. "For us it's also a matter of national pride. Georgian soldiers have always been famous for their courage but they've never fought as Georgians -- they've always fought in others' armies. We've had generals in Mameluke, Russian and Soviet armies -- even top U.S. generals. Now they will be serving in our name and for our country. In the 1920s Georgian officers fought for Polish independence to keep out the Bolsheviks (Retired U.S. Gen. John Shalikashvili's father was one.) Poland has just put up a monument to those officers (to the chagrin of Mr. Putin)." - LINK
Did they learn that one from the Clintons, or Vice-Versa?
Clinton and Clark Bar also screwed the pooch over Belgrade. How stupid we were. Messing up our relationship with Nuclear Armed Russia for some KLA Terrorist Thugs. Hard to imagine what other future bonehead moves the Socio-Globalists have planned.
The only Georgians I remember was Rett Butler and Stalin.
If we hadn’t moved NATO forward by accepting the membership of nations fearing a revival of Russian aggression, those states would now be getting the full force of Russian bullying to fall back into the sphere of Russian dominance.
Ask the Poles and Hungarians if they desire to face the Russians alone.
Oooops, make that NATO.
. . . and ask the Serbs if they want to face America alone.
Georgia has the same issue: an ethnic minority in a country that is an ethnic majority in a region of that country that wants to be independent.
The US and the Bush administration have maintained the Clintonista policy towards Kosovo, to the utter and complete shame of our country.
Russia is quite rightly asking why ethnic *Russians* should be less important to Russia than ethnic Albanians to America.
Let’s go ahead and look for a *real* reason to be upset with Russia. Russia is applying the same standard to its own people in Georgia that the US is applying to a group of Albanians in Kosovo. I just don’t see how that can possibly be a surprise to anyone.
Russia is not supporting ethnic Russians in Georgia. They extended Russian citizenship to non-Russian ethnic separatists. The Butcher of Beslan, Shamil Basayev and his Chechen jihadists helped Russia exterminate thousands of Christian Georgians in Abkhazia and ethnically cleansed the territory of hundreds of thousands more. Then Russia was surprised when the animal they created turned on them. Russia acts against its own interest in Georgia, and in the interests of the mohammedan terrorists. Even the Turks support the Abkhaz.
Sorry, the Russians support these guys against their own interests and we support jihadists and butchers like Agim Ceku, responsible for killing Serb Christians in Krajina.
If the US is mad at Russia for Georgia, it still sounds like the pot calling the kettle black. After all, we bombed the snot out of Vojvodina, full of ethnic Slovaks, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Ruthenians, etc.
"Ethnic" anyone who lives in a different country is a citizen of that country, not the one their forefathers were born in.
Would you have Spain protecting Mexicans that have come to the United States? Sounds very tribal to me.
. . . and ask the Serbs if they want to face America alone.
The Serbs sure don't want Russian troops quartered in there country. If they wanted a defensive alliance with Russia, they would have one.
But you would have everyone believe that the Russians are planting flags under the ice, helping Iran, and arming China because we are in Kosovo? Not buying it.
The same thing we always do: nothing. Until the monster is actively consuming us, we will pay it no attention.
The USA shouldn’t support separatists in the Balkans and Russia shouldn’t support them in the Caucasus. What is so hard to understand about that? If you condemn the US but defend Russia when they do the same thing, then you are nothing but a hypocrite.
Fourth. The missile was fired with the warhead un-armed.....but it had the desired reaction.
I read about the russian airshow recently that they grounded their su-24s after a recent crash due to a technical problem. Maybe that technical problem was a SAM in the ass of that aircraft.
When the USSR put missiles in Cuba, we got a bit upset. Likewise, Russia is a bit nervous having use surround them with bases.
We haven’t been very kind to some of the interests lately (which is fine, they haven’t been kind to ours), so it is inevitable that they would react this way.
There's the small difference that we weren't an empire bent on world domination with a proven history of tyranny and repression, and a creed that our system would only work when the whole world was under it.
I'm not into equivalence when the parties involved aren't of equal character. The old woman next door has every logical reason to be worried about the thugs next door carrying knives and baseball bats, the thugs have zero logical reason to justify their actions by claiming to be scared of the old woman's rolling pin.
The Russians are on their own program, that has very little if anything to do with reacting to us. Their claims that it does is pure subterfuge.
We havent been very kind to some of the interests lately (which is fine, they havent been kind to ours), so it is inevitable that they would react this way.
They could publically announce deals. However, Putin seems to be more of a Revanchist than a sane nationalist. He is tacitly supporting Iran's nuclear weapons program to spite the US, keep oil prices high, and divide Caspian natural gas. The fact that Russia's muslim population will look to an islamist Iran escapes the Stalinist.
Maybe you ought to read more Russian history. Russians have VERY good reasons for "feeling surrounded" considering the number of times their nation has been invaded.
You're drinking the koolaide. How many times have Poland, France, Spain, England, and Belgium been attacked (just to name a few)? Russia was attacked by Germany in WWI and WWII (just like Western Europe) and by Napoleon before that (just like Western Europe). In fact, Russia was the first to attack in WWI.
Imperial Russia was mainly attacked by countries wrestling over control of non-Russian lands and received no more than it gave.
Russia's xenophobic paranoia has always been a tool of its autocratic leaders. But there is no reason to excuse such actions. The fact that Russians are Caucasian belies their penchant for traditionally oriental foreign policy.
The problem is that right now, the Russian population is still fearful of us. They grew up hearing about how the “capitalists” wanted to gobble up Russia, and some view the US building bases in the former republics as just that. Heck, many in the Russian leadership view it as that.