Russia strives for imperial might in the context of the first World Hybrid War
2/18/2018 Political Tension Headlines captured the US media with the story about 13 Russians and 3 companies indicted for interference in US elections. Contrary to many peoples' held political bias, it appears these type of groups have been acting for close to 20 years and been working to sow distrust in both parties and the US political system. At various times it appears they may even favored one side for the other and vice versa. The tension between US and Russia is not a new or isolated phenomenon either, here is a short list of events of recent Russia/US spates.
2017 -President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that 755 U.S. diplomats will have to leave Russia by September 1, 2017 -50 diplomats will be the largest by the United States since the Reagan administration ordered 55 Soviets to leave in 1986, done partly in retaliation for the then-Soviet Union’s previous expulsion of five U.S. diplomats. -US requires Moscow to shut down sites in San Francisco, New York and Washington DC in response to Russia’s crackdown on US presence there -U.S. agrees to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine -And Russia’s curious opening of a Calexit embassy in Moscow. Was this a liberal stunt are was it a more calculated move; part of an election interference attack to decrease stability in the US?
Below is a description of the recent Calexit connections to Moscow:
""On December 18, 2016, Russia Today, a media outlet controlled by the Kremlin, reported that “a campaign calling for the independence of California from the United States has opened an ‘embassy’ in Moscow. The movement, Yes California, is hoping for a ‘Calexit’ break from the US. Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Louis Marinelli, leader of the movement, said the embassy will not deal with diplomatic issues, but will act as more of a cultural center that will educate Russians about California's history, boost trade ties and promote tourism.”How does a fledgling secession movement with little grassroots support afford a Moscow “embassy”? Snopes says a group funded by the Kremlin is letting them use the space for free. Over the weekend, Marinelli gave a television interview to MSNBC host Alex Witt. “Do you think people might grow skeptical and concerned that this movement is just part of a bigger strategy by the Kremlin to destabilize the West?” she asked.“Sure, we believe that’s certainly a reasonable skepticism for people to have,” Marinelli said, “but the truth of the matter is that the American government has for a long time tried to rally the American public against Russia no matter what the issue is.”“On paper, the leader of the California secession movement lives in an apartment complex near San Diego’s Golden Hill neighborhood. But in reality, the Calexit campaign is being run by a 30-year-old who lives and works in a city on the edge of Siberia. Louis Marinelli heads the secessionist group Yes California. Following the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, the organization has gone from an unknown fringe group to one discussed seriously in mainstream media.What has not been discussed as prominently is Marinelli’s deep ties to Russia. A former right-wing activist from Buffalo, New York, Marinelli first moved to Russia almost a decade ago. He studied at St. Petersburg State University, the alma mater of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He returned to the United States to campaign against LGBTQ rights as part of the National Organization for Marriage. Marinelli then returned to Russia. He would marry a Russian citizen, and the couple moved to San Diego, where Marinelli launched a political career based on a platform of California secession.“I immigrated to California, and I consider myself to be a Californian,” Marinelli says from his apartment in Yekaterinburg, a city of about 1.4 million just east of the Ural Mountains and about 1,000 miles from Moscow.”"
2016 -On 30 December, in his last few weeks in office, Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and locked the Russians out of diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York. 2014 In Response to Ukraine War and Annexation of Crimea -April 28, 2014 - United States Expands Export Restrictions on Russia -March 20, 2014 - Treasury Sanctions Russian Officials, Members of the Russian Leadership’s Inner Circle, And An Entity For Involvement In The Situation In Ukraine. Sanctions Target Russian Government Officials, the Inner Circle that Supports Them, and Bank Rossiya, the Personal Bank for Officials of the Russian Federation
Military Tension However the tension with Russia is becoming more then then just a bout of political spates and retaliations. When Ukraine and Syria split and had Civil Wars Russia responded quickly by giving aid to Donbass and annexing Crimea and intervening in the Syria War on behalf of the Assad regime.
Crimea and Ukraine had political and historical significance to Russia. But the world still wonders why Russia wagered so heavily on Syria. Their political interests and designs can only be truly known by them. But, it appears right before they intervened that the Assad Regime was nearly close to collapse and being overran, along with many parts of the countryside populated by Assad supporters and ethnic Shiite Alawites, by ISIS. This might have led to humanitarian atrocities and if not genocide for the Alawite people. During this time, the world was sort of shell shocked and paralyzed because it could not understand how a paramilitary group that was cast out of Al Qaeda and made up of some medieval lunatics almost built an empire across Syria and Iraq using a medieval interpretation of sharia law. To some extent Russia may have chosen a lesser evil by supporting a Shiite coalition led by Iran and Hezbollah because the ISIS group was an extension of a war with radical Islam originating from North Caucasus and Chechnya. Over 3,500 fighters in the ISIS organization originated from Russia, which may have been enough for them to honor old cold war assurances to Syria.
Originally the war in Syria was the extension of regional ambitions; Turkey, Kurds, Shite vs Sunni, Saudi Arabia vs Qatar, Saudi Arabia vs Iran, Al Qaeda and etc. Then in the short run the war became a conflict for all parties to rally against ISIS. With the removal of ISIS these old rivalries are beginning to surface and becoming apparent again. Recently, this conflict made headlines again when US allied forces killed several hundred Russian contractors, a claim Russia says was only a half dozen. But, these contractors were more or less Russia operatives, also known as the Vagner PMCs, which are more or less Russian special operation units.
"The Wagner Group (Russian: Группа Вагнера, tr. Grupa Vagnera), also known as PMC Wagner, ChVK Wagner, or CHVK Vagner (Russian: ЧВК Вагнер, tr. ChVK Vagner), is a Russianparamilitary organization. Some have described it as a private military company (or a private military contracting agency), whose contractors have reportedly taken part in various conflicts, including operations in the Syrian Civil War on the side of the Syrian government as well as, from 2014 until 2015, in the War in Donbass in Ukraine aiding the separatist forces of the self declared Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. Others are of the opinion that ChVK Wagner is really a unit of the Russian Ministry of Defence in disguise, which is used by the Russian government in conflicts where deniability is called for. Wagner is believed to have a membership of 1,000–5,000, is registered in Argentina, and has its members train at a Russian MoD facility Molkino (Russian: Молькино) near the village of Molkin (ru), Krasnodar Krai. The company also has offices in Saint Petersburg.The pay of Wagner private military contractors (PMCs), who are usually retired regular Russian servicemen aged between 35 and 55, is estimated to be between 80,000 and 250,000 Russian rubles a month. One source also stated the pay was as high as 300,000. When new PMC recruits arrive at the training camp, they are no longer allowed to use social network services and other Internet resources. Company employees are not allowed to post photos, texts, audio and video recordings or any other information on the Internet that was obtained during their training. Company employees are not allowed to tell anyone their location, whether they are in Russia or another country. Mobile phones, tablets and other means of communication are left with the company and issued at a certain time with the permission of their commander. Passports and other documents are surrendered and in return company employees receive a nameless dog tag with a personal number. The company only accepts new recruits if a 10-year confidentiality agreement is established and in case of a breach of the confidentiality the company reserves the right to terminate the employee's contract without paying a fee. During their training, the PMCs receive a 1,100 dollar monthly pay."
This attack also came after a Russian SU-25 was shot down by what Russia said was a US manmade shoulder Anti-aircraft missile launcher delivered to US insurgent proxies. These events are part of an increasing military escalation in the region by advance operators, proxies, and etc.
Recent Military encounters by parties in Syria as of 2/18/2018 -Hundreds of Raids by Israel in Syria on Hezbollah, Syrian Army, and Iran Revolutionary Army -Israel F-16 shot down, possible F-15s damaged -Iran building missiles factories and bases -Hezbollah announces it will have over 500,000 rockets and missiles by the end of the year -Over 50,000 Shiite militia groups around the world have access to Lebanon through a trans Shiite Crescent road. -Iraqi Shiite Militia say they would enter war against Israel -Iran Stealth Drone shot down over Israel -Multiple IED attacks against Israel forces from Hamas/Hezbollah forces -Drone Swarm Attack on Russia military base with close to 15 drones -Turkey Helicopter shot down -Several hundred Russian service men and Vagner Contractors have perished. An official document seen by Reuters shows that at least 131 Russian citizens died in Syria in the first nine months of this year, a number that relatives, friends and local officials say included private military contractors. -Russia publishing positions of US special forces in media - A total of 48,000 of Russian troops have taken part in Moscow's military campaign in Syria, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday. -Russia has lost over 7 helicopters and 4 planes so far in the operations -Russia losses close to 200 service personal and contractors not counting the recent US strike. With as many as 900 wounded. -Over 60 Turkish Servicemen lost fighting Kurds not including proxies, Over 1,400 Kurds killed fighting Turkey
These numbers are a small example of recent events taking shape in this region. There are many unknown events due to the nature of clandestine activities involved on all sides. Currently, Russia is estimated to be building more bases in Syria and may have as many as 6,000 service personal and contractors operating about 26 helicopters and 69 airplanes including an unknown number of drones. The building of these bases is always accompanied by promises of drawdowns and declarations of the war against ISIS are over. Currently, these recent events are beginning to fill the headlines in the news because of a event where several hundred Russian Contractors, also known as the Vagner PMCs, died from US airstrikes in Syria. It is thought to be one of the most direct encounter between the US and Russia sine the Cold War. Though Russia claims that only 5 Russian contractors were killed, this event has led to back and forth accusations of US saying they were planning to attack US positions and test US’s Resolve, and Russia saying that the US needs to leave Syria and claiming the US agreed to leave and certain ceasefire restrictions. When you first look at these events and read about recent political spates between the US and Russia we need to take all of this into context of when did this quasi-second cold war- or Hybrid War begin?
Going back in time Georgia 2008, United States responded to Russian aggression in Georgia politically when a separatist state, South Ossetia, seceded from Georgia. The tensions between Russia and NATO can best be summarized here,
“During the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008, American president George W. Bush lobbied for offering a Membership Action Plan(MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine. However, Germany and France said that offering MAP to Ukraine and Georgia would be "an unnecessary offence" to Russia. NATO stated that Ukraine and Georgia would become members of the alliance and pledged to review the applications for MAP in December 2008. Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Bucharest during the summit. At the end of the summit on 4 April, Putin said that expansion of NATO to Russia's borders "would be taken in Russia as a direct threat to the security of our country". After the Bucharest summit, Russia became more aggressive and began to actively prepare for the invasion of Georgia.Chief of the General Staffof the Russian Armed ForcesYuri Baluyevsky said on 11 April that Russia would take "steps of a different nature" in addition to military action to prevent NATO membership of former Soviet republics. General Baluyevsky admitted in 2012 that when the decision to attack Georgia was taken by President Putin before Dmitry Medvedev assumed the office of president of Russia in May 2008, a military action was planned and explicit orders were issued in advance before August 2008. Russia aimed to stop Georgia's accession to NATO and also to bring about a "regime change"”
Following the Georgia Crisis Russia announced a 10 year 600 billion dollar weapons modernization program in 2011. Many people in US leadership circles were alarmed when Russia stated that the focus of their build up was NATO expansion and NATO’s involvement in Georgia. In brief, the Russian military planned, in 2011, to get 600 new airplanes, 1000 new choppers. The Navy should receive about 100 new vessels, including 35 corvettes, 15 frigates and 20 submarines, and eight new nuclear ballistic missile boats. Of the submarines, eight should be of the nuclear Borei class, carrying Bulava multiwarhead naval intercontinental ballistic missiles that the ministry plans to commission later this year after additional tests. The ministry will fund the development of a new liquid-fuel heavy intercontinental ballistic missile, to replace aging RS-18 Stilleto (SS-19 NATO codename) and RS-20 Satan (SS-18 NATO codename). The overarching goal of the 2020 program was to rearm 70 percent of the Russian armed forces by 2020, though the nuclear forces would be completely replaced with new hardware. According to recent statements by Putin, the aerospace forces will reach 68 percent renewal by year’s end 2017. According to TASS, the ground forces are at 43 percent, and airborne troops are at 58 percent. Russia is modernizing the three legs of its strategic triad. It is procuring eight Borei-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), and is halfway through a ten-year program to build four hundred intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). It is also updating its Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, and officials have reportedly considered reopening the Blackjack production line.
2017 "As part of the assignments already fulfilled, the troops have received over 3,400 basic types of the most advanced and modernized armament," the Russian president said. The new armaments include 16 combat ships and vessels, 190 advanced aircraft and helicopters, 800 tanks and armored fighting vehicles, 170 air defense missile systems and complexes and 1,950 multipurpose vehicles, Putin said.”
"In total since 2012 and as of May 2017, the Armed Forces received more than 30,000 units of new and modernized weapons and equipment, including more than 50 warships, 1,300 aircraft, 4,700 tanks and armored combat vehicles compared to two warships, 151 aircraft and 217 tanks received in 2007-2011. The Russian army also receives 150-250 aircraft per year."
"In accordance with the assignment of the RF President, by 1 January 2017 the number of soldiers, sailors, sergeants and petty officers serving under contract in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will amount to 425 thousand people."
Formation of the Russian National Guard made up of 350,000 professional paramilitary force that can fill in for National disaster response, unconventional or conventional warfare. They also, consolidate Putin’s power:
"The recent announcement by President Putin of the creation of a Russian National Guard has triggered a flurry of wild speculations about the reasons behind this important move. Some experts saw that as a way to prepare a bloody crackdown against an insurrection, others have speculated that Putin needed a new force to deal with protests and riots, while others have even suggested that this National Guard would become “Putin’s army”. In reality, the matter is both much simpler and much more complicated. First, let’s look at the forces and units which will be brought together into this National Guard:
Troops of the Interior Ministry (about 170’000 soldiers)
Personnel from the Ministry of Emergency Situations
The OMON riot police forces (about 40’000 soldiers)
The SOBR rapid-reaction forces (about 5000+ soldiers)
The Special Designation Center of the Operational Reaction Forces and Aviation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs including the Special Forces units “Zubr”, “Rys’” and “Iastreb” (about 700+ operators)
So we are talking of a total force of about 250’000 soldiers which will probably reach the 300’000 men figure in the near future. By any measure, this is an impressive and powerful force which can deal with the full array of possible internal threats. Furthermore, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it will now include the Federal Migration Service (FMS) and the Federal Drug Service (FSKN). This consolidation is important because it ties in practically all the internal security forces of the Russian Federation with the exception of the high-threat Federal Security Service (FSB). What is even more impressive is the list of tasks given to this new National Guard. It will include:
The protection of public order and security
Operations against extremism groups
The territorial defense of the Russian Federation;
The protection of important state facilities and special cargoes
The protection on a contractual basis of the property of citizens and organizations approved by the Russian Government;
Assistance to the Border Troops of the Federal Security Service in protecting the state border of the Russian Federation;
Law enforcement in he field of arms trafficking
The command of the troops of the national guard of the Russian Federation
Providing social and legal protection of servicemen of the Russian National Guard
That is an impressive list which only confirms that the entire spectrum of internal security missions will now be entrusted to the National Guard. What is even more striking is the name of the person whom Vladimir Putin has appointed as the new Commander in Chief of the National Guard: General Viktor Zolotov, a “pure” security man who used to be the head of the Presidential Security Service and who is considered very close to Vladimir Putin. Does that mean, as some have speculated, that Putin is afraid for his security and that he is building himself a personal Praetorian guard?"
2018 "Now they are entering the second phase of their rearmament program, this bill for Russia’s state arms program for 2018-2025 comes to 19 trillion rubles ($321.2 bln), press service of head of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house) Defense and Security Committee Viktor Bondarev said Tuesday."
"Russia’s new state armament plan for 2018-2027 will focus on developing long-range supersonic and hypersonic precision weapons and furnishing the Army with modern weaponry, Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin said on Wednesday."
The Russian leader signed a decree published on the country’s state law database, which set the target for Russia’s military personnel at 1,013,628. The total target figure for staff including civilian support personnel, set to come into force by January 2018, exceeds 1.9 million.
"Over 500 drills are included in the Russian Navy’s combat training plan for 2018, Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Vladimir Korolyov said in an interview with Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper on Friday. "The plans include over 500 tactical drills of naval forces at sea," he said."
What does this all have to do with USA? For one, the United States should probably continue to expect more push back from Russia as their military power and objectives continue to grow and become more concise. The likely hood of new proxy wars emerging in new parts of the World is high. There is a realistic chance of a larger war involving Turkey, Israel, Sunni, Shiite Crescent, North Korea, China, India vs Pakistan, And etc. Our best guess is a fifty percent chance of a much broader war taking place across Eurasia within 10 years. On one hand, Russia's localized conflicts with the USA are real, but Russia is planning for anything. What should the USA do? We will leave it to the experts to say, but we seem to be blundering into something bigger then we want. A sliver lining to everything is; Russia is stepping up to address Terrorism and acting as a leader in regional events in a part of the world where most countries until now have had a difficult time intervening outside their own borders directly due to military inadequacies. However, recent exchanges between Russia and the USA/NATO in Eastern Europe and localized politics in the US are trending in a disturbing direction. There seems to be no end to instability; In any case, nuclear bombs are not the only problem, current political instability in Venezuela, Myanmar, South Sudan, Marawi/Philippines, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria has put millions of people to flight.
Dooms day Clock 2 minutes to midnight as of 2/18/2018
World Population Clock as of 2/18/2018 click on the picture to go to site
Global Debt as of 2/18/2018 click on the picture to go to site
National Debt as of 2/18/2018 click on the picture to go to site
Countries with Nuclear Weapons as of 2017. This diagram includes mostly conservative estimates, many experts think Pakistan, China, and North Korea might have more weapons then listed in the table. Some analysts suspect that some countries like Iran might have a nuclear weapon and/or Saudi Arabia might have political access to countries like Pakistan in case Iran developed or confirms existing ones. And there is no hundred percent proof insurance that a small radical group might not have their own nuclear weapon. Nor is the risk predictable and limited to Nuclear weapons; in 2017 close to a million people were displaced in the Philippines due to a localized rebellion in the city of Marawi inspired by ISIS. And it left over 10,000 building destroyed or damaged and over 4,000 people dead.