Eric Draitser: Well, it’s certainly a complication, but I wouldn’t call it a setback, because naturally the Russian military planners and strategic analysts understood that this is precisely what would happen after the Russian bombing campaign began. They understood that the Islamic State terrorists would move their heavy weapons, would move some of their material into these populated areas, using human shields. This was well understood. But I think there is another angle to this that needs to be examined. Namely, this is the vindication of what President Putin said at the United Nations and what he said repeatedly in his public statements, namely, that no air campaign is going to be successful unless it is done in collaboration with the Syrian government. Namely, that there is a ground force that is going to be able to take on these terrorists who are going to do precisely what we’ve seen this footage showing them do. And this is really the only way to achieve any kind of success on the ground in Syria. Airstrikes are all well and good. They can do a tremendous amount of damage. They can disrupt and destroy a lot of the terrorists’ infrastructure, but when it comes to pinpoint targeting, precisely in these populated areas, this is going to require ground troops. And that’s where the Syrian Arab Army, perhaps also the Hezbollah forces, the others that are on the ground in Syria, where will use their partnership with Russia in order to actually achieve these objectives. And I think that in many ways, it needs to be understood as a major turning point here because the combination of airpower and ground forces is really what it’s going to take to wipe out Islamic State in Syria, as well as in Iraq. (RT)
I don’t know who this kid is, but he certainly has his head on straight in this RT interview. His simple acknowledgement that a successful military action against IS requires a coordinated land, air and now sea campaign with clear goals is refreshing as is Russia’s and Syria’s deliberate execution of this plan. Cruise missiles from the Moskva and a, so far, successful SAA offensive north of Homs are the latest elements of this campaign. I’m also of the opinion that Russia’s introduction of a robust radio-electronic combat capability has added more to this fight than our intelligence services will ever admit. This has to be embarrassing to many professionals in our military… at least it should be.
As an aside, I just returned from a near total week long news blackout. I spent that time reinstalling a kitchen that I bought in Munich back in 1990. It sat unused in my basement in Stafford, Virginia since 1996. I managed to move it to Half Moon, New York piece by piece, straighten the warped butcher block counters and create a functional and damned nice looking kitchen in a cozy 60’s era ranch house. The physical exertion was invigorating as was the act of creating something with my hands. I listened to a local AM oldies radio station which only had a few minutes of news headlines every hour. No TV and only an occasional dose of internet to check email added to the monastic experience. I am refreshed, although I do feel a little like Rip Van Winkle. Spending time in a town named after Henrik hudson’s ship, I find this most appropriate. I highly recommend such an experience to all who can do so.