« The Fall of Tabqa Air Base | Main | Ukraine To Join NATO? By Walrus. »

29 August 2014


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Two remarkable pieces by the U.S. sponsored Kiev Post


Ukraine has lost the war. With some support the rebels could now march up to Kiev without meeting much resistance.

Sending those battalions and brigades without protected logistic support deep into enemy land resulted in several defeats and now the already low moral is completely gone. Those people just want to go home. "Make peace already".

The next chapter may be a march of the Neo-nazi groups on Kiev. "From the spirits that I called ..."

 Ishmael Zechariah


Thanks for the update. I had logged in hoping to find an analysis from you given the very rapid developments. Do you think the Clausewitzian tipping point has been reached?

Ishmael Zechariah

BTW: Russia was represented at a very junior level at tayyip's inauguration in Ankara, TR. Ditto by the USA, China, etc. Interesting datum.



I appreciate the overview.

From the beginning it was clear to me that Russia could not allow a hostile enemy to seize its borderland. In fact, as soon as the American Civil War was concluded, the French were encouraged to leave Mexico. The Kiev Putsch was the start of a new Cold War. Still, I was shocked that Russia wasn’t more aggressive in its defense; allowing the conflict to spread right to its borders. Then things changed suddenly overnight. If Russia had actually invaded it would be with an army of tanks and air cover. Instead, the Junta shot its wad.

Tonight ABC News drew the red arrow of the “Russian Invasion” down the coast to Crimea; showed Ukrainian civilian war casualties for the first time and cut to the President saying “This is not a homegrown, indigenous uprising in eastern Ukraine….It is not in the cards for us to see a military confrontation between Russia and the United States in this region." Just, maybe, a no fly zone won’t be imposed over Ukraine, Poland won’t sent in the troops, Anders “Fogh of War” Rasmussen will depart NATO as scheduled on October 1st, and I will wake up for a few more tomorrows. But, I will never forget the contempt the White House has for us, the lies they told, and risks they took so a few rich psychopaths could frack gas in Ukraine.


On of the marvels in contemporary hypochrisy is the US selective outrage over the Russians arming the separatists when 'arming the moderate rebels' in Syria and beyond is precisely the same thing?

So Russia is offering Novorussian rebels sanctuary, support and training?

So does Turkey to Al Nusra and ISIS. So does the US to the Free Syrian Army. First it was repurposed Libyan stocks of weapons, and of late it became - if not directly from the US then from Turkey or Saudi Arabia with tacit US approval - TOW missiles? Ah, that's ok. FSA good. Assad, shelling his own people (!!!), very bad.

Russia discreetly supplied arms and munitions to Novorussian rebels? Totally not ok. Ukraine good, even when they are "legitmately shelling cities hiding terrorists". Novorussian separatists, Putin very bad.

So: The outrage! The outrage! Invasion! By Russia! Indeed, the Russians are coming! Rette sich wer kann!

My late Grandmother told me that in the first World War, in East Prussia they had to flee the village because the Russians were coming, about two hundred thousand in fact. That was the Russians coming for real. She told me that they could see the Russians moving at the rim of the forrest, but then along came Hindenburg and crushed them at Tannenberg!

Inaccuracies may be forgiven due to her young age at the time, and her advanced age when telling the story. She lost an elder brother in that battle.

Tannenberg, just like my grandmother's place of birth, Regitten, now Rogity, is today part of Poland. Borders shift, an injustice for those on the losing side of the shaping process for sure, but history isn't just or fair and never asked her if she wanted to stay when the Russians came around a second time in 1945.

In this case, Novorussia came on the losing side, when after the desintegration of the Soviet Union an arbitray administrative act by Chruschev cast a national border between Noviorussia and Russia.

What was that about the rigth of self-determination of the people?

Apparently, it was necessary that Kosovio had to become an independent state so that the poor Kosovars could be free from Serbian persecution, and the US could build Cam Bondsteel. Near the AMBO pipeline carrying caspian oil to Europe. Anyway. Indeed, and independent they became.

Just, it is somewhat curious that we have something like this today:


Maybe the Serbs had some reason for cracking down on the Free Syrian Amry of the Clinton days, the thoroughly moderate KLA?

IMO Kosovo was one of the first post-modern wars, the case for which is being made with a generous dose of baloney.

Sigmund Elgarøy

Ah, the clear, cool air of SST! "The shit" was on, indeed.

As a Norwegian, it will be interesting to follow Stoltenberg when he succeeds Fogh Rasmussen.


Thank you for your clear thinking TTG. Let's hope someone in Washington agrees with you.

Patrick Bahzad

The one thing that the NeoCon group in the US administration and the ultranationalists in Kiev are going to hear a lot, probably already are is "told you so" ... Don't start a fight, you can't win isn't something that they seem to have learnt, what a shame, needless bloodshed just to forcefully push one's interests under the disguise of peace and democracy for Ukraine.
Diagnosis is: extreme hubris, generated by sense of total victory, resulting in distorted view of reality and balance of power in the region.
So rather than seeing things as they are, they're inventing a reality that suits their "weltanschauung" ... I'm afraid Putin is much more settled in reality than they are ! Now he just has to be careful his proxies in the DPR don't get carried away themselves (i know there's an ongoing debate about how much control Putin has over them, but I think as an organisation the "Novarossija" forces are Russia's proxies in this war).
Lots of head scratching as well, as to what the Separatists next move will be. Push for Mariupol ? Or send their "SRG" groups behind government lines elsewhere ? I suspect more of a combined push of smaller groups in various directions, rather than a assault type operation on Mariupol, which might come at a later stage. But spreading the government forces thin, forcing them to operate in several areas at the same time might be a good option, as the ability of Kiev to lead combined and synchronized military engagements is close to zero. But no doubt, new gear and equipment is being flown into Kiev as we speak ... Not sure it's gonna make a difference.
TTG, you mention the battle of Gazala as a tactical comparison. To me, this reminds me even more of the policy of Pakistan's ISI in relation to the Afghan Taleben while NATO was operating there. Saying this because of analogy of Russian involvement in DPR militas.
I remember that the US at first suspected rogue elements in ISI of taking part in Taleban action against US and NATO troops, while in fact it was a sort of ISI within the ISI that was dictating the pace.
Only difference here is that in Russia there is real government oversight over what's happening on the ground, even though Putin looks the other way and certainly is not in the picture as to exact details of the involvement of Russian forces or soldiers having taken a leave of absence to go and help out their "borthers" in Donbass.

William Herschel

It is growing increasingly difficult to ignore the possibility that the CIA is an entirely independent cadre of war profiteers and narcotics dealers (cf. Afghanistan).

Just exactly in whose interest are the events in Ukraine? The United States'? How can that possibly be? The United States, publicly, is playing the victim. So, publicly, these events are not in the interest of the United States. Clandestinely? There I leave the floor to TTG.



The developing Ukraine combat situation brings to mind numerous conversation I had with Michael Handel on the subject of the "culminating point" of a battle or campaign when I was his student at the War College. There is also an article I wrote for "Parameters" on the same subject. the inspiration for both things was Clausewitz' well developed observation that an offensive pressed past the point at which the negatives in the operation outweigh the positives (the "culminating point") is an almighty big gamble. In this case the Ukie government seems to have driven its fragile forces forward seeking an early total defeat of the rebels without regard for the lack of depth it possessed in strategic reserves and the unprotected state of the logistical tails that sustained the spearheads. As is often the case in such an effort the situation is fraught with the danger of a sudden reversal of fortune and that has occurred. It takes an inspirational commander of genius like Rommel supported by something like the General Staff cell in his headquarters to "pull off" something like the Gazala victory. The Ukies don't have Rommel. They gambled and lost. pl

Charles Dekle

RE "But, I will never forget the contempt the White House has for us, the lies they told, and risks they took so a few rich psychopaths could frack gas in Ukraine."

It would seem that that after buying the bulk of US political leadership on both sides that the Koch brothers and their cohorts decided to start a war when they could not buy Putin. Their mistake was not realizing that Putin speaks softly but has a deadly bite.

Hopefully, the bumbling interference in foreign policy will not lead to something more serious like WW III. Maybe they think that their billions will save them in the aftermath of a nuclear exchange with Russia.


Charles Dekle


The Serbian bombing campaign is why I could never support Hilary Clinton for President. Once she takes hold of the reins of power, we can look forward to a storm of bombs dropped on any and all who dare to act in their own interest without her permission. She is a Neocon in rhetoric and actions, in my opinion.


Charles Dekle

Thank you for the insight and especially for the chessboard strutting pigeon metaphor. It is too true, sadly.
Kind regards,

Patrick Bahzad

Agree with that analysis Colonel. Ukie government troops had absolutely no strategic reserves, and had concentrated al their combat troops in a small area to try and annihilate the Seperatist groups. That way a huge vacuum formed in their 'hinterland', almost empty of any troops with an ability for rapid manouevering and fire power projection.
What amazes me the most, is that the writing was on the walls for days already, yet this strategic shortcoming was never corrected ... Really tells you a lot about the conditions under which the Kiev troops are operating.
On another scale, also comparable with the campaign of France in 1940 ... Once the Germans had broken through the French lines, the non existence of any strategic reserve on the French side meant the war was lost. It can be that quick ... just a matter of days.
In the current conflict, the government forces would be well advised to try and regroup behind new lines (what the german strategists call "Frontbegradigung") before they're put in a really desperate position.
The only good news for them is that even though the momentum is now with the DPR, the separatists have neither the means nor the will to follow up on their recent tactical gains. They're playing a political card in this war, while Kiev only had a military "strategy", with no plan B.
What Kiev will do now is to call even louder for NATO's involvement ahead of the NATO summit, and for full membership, which they won't get.

Babak Makkinejad


I must say that I am pity all these people who were evidently so easily could be manipulated by foreigners to advance their geopolitical games.

A Lithuanian colleague told me last week that Western people do not understand Russians; their capacity to endure hardship.

Now, he could take a holiday with his family all the way to Munich - driving his car - visiting cities in Poland etc.

All of that would be gone in the blink of an eye; Lithuania would be the first casualty of a generalized war between the Russian Federation and the West.

The Western policy makers in US, UK, Canada, France will go home to their lives at the end of the day - these people will be collecting the broken pieces - in Ukraine, in Syria, in Libya and now in Iraq.

Babak Makkinejad

This like what in calculus is called an inflection point where the second derivative is zero?

And the curve could go up or down?


Patrick Bahzad,

First of all, thanks for your overview of Ukrainian oligarchs, under the comments in Walrus's most recent article.

Regarding next moves: I really have no business making guesses like this, but I can't help but think Akhmetov will work something out with the NR forces to keep the fighting out of Maruipol itself, as he has previously done.

Actually I think his presence is really interesting. For business reasons, he has to maintain connections to both Russia and Ukraine, and I think he personally has the resources and clout to make it so. So for one thing, any kind of "siege of Maruipol" would be meaningless.

I wish I knew what he is up to. I recently read PR from the Akhmetov Foundation about sending aid and his electric company DTEK fixing up infrastructure in Donetsk that was destroyed during Ukraine's offensive. Do you (or anyone) have an opinion about that?

Also, do you know which of the oligarchs was supposed to take over what used to be Yanukovich's turf? And is there a place to get more information about geographic boundaries of the various oligarch's control?



Col. does the US is provide the Ukraine with live satellite feeds and targeting information? And if not isn't it time to start?

Mariupol seems vital to the Ukraine and Russia's plan to link through to the Crimea.

All sides have flanks and culmination points.


To me bombing Kosovo was a 'Sündenfall' also, in which sadly the German government was complicit.

I recall Germanys then Secretary Defence Scharping lying on TV when he presented old recon footage from Kosovo (the images hat - old - date stamps on them, which a reporter was able to read) as proof of current Serbian crimes at the time, and he even had a name for it, Operation Horseshoe.

At the time I wrote a letter to the editor of a military aligned journal which I kept reading after I left the army when I my conscription ended. It was published on a full page, and in it I criticised the editor for stating in an editorial that 'obviously the war was legal'.

I lined out why I doubted that and that, by a conservative legal standard, there was no case to intervene, since the established legal criteria for intervention (Kosovo wasn't even an *inter*national conflict, but an *intra*national one) were not met, and that that was the probably reason why the UN security council didn't utter a mandate.

I added that by that conservative look the intervention would constitute the crime of aggression and would violate Serbian sovereignty, so that speaking of 'obvious legality' was something of a stretch.

And as for Hillary, she just scares me. All the nuts who concocted Obamas's foreign policy blunders are her creatures.


Col., there are lots of culmination points. Here is one for consideration.

"... Tensions with Russia and the new cold war along with sanctions and embargoes are likely to have significant effects on the Russian economy, but the low price of oil is likely to have a larger effect. Russia has an oil problem. The country is heavily dependent on oil tax revenue to fill its coffers, and trouble is brewing given today’s low price for Russian crude. According to Reuters, Russia’s budget is based on the assumption of an average oil price of $114 per barrel. It is nowhere near that high right now, however. Sitting below $100 for the first time in over a year, the price of Ural crude has fallen $15 in less than one month. Keep in mind that 50% of Russia’s budget revenue comes from oil. If the price bounces back, there is no story here. If, however, there is a sustained period of low oil prices it would be a major blow to the country’s economy."



Typo: "old recon footage from Kosovo" should read: "old recon footage from Bosnia as being from Kosovo"


Two years ago I would have said NATO was finished, America was packing it in and the Europeans were on there own. Then Putin revives NATO and begins to help it expand. Interesting take in Finland and Sweden. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-27/finland-upgrades-nato-agreement-after-condemning-russian-tactics.html

Patrick Bahzad

@ pbj:

Regarding your questions, I guess anybody who could give you a reliable answer should be guaranteed a senior job in any high level think tank or private intelligence group ... And I'm afraid giving you something with even a 50 % chance of reliability is way out of my reach.
All I can do, is give you my opinion, sort of gut feeling, based on what has happened so far and what's in the pipes:
Akhmetov certainly is one of the people who could contribute bridging the gap with the East. However, his interests in fixing Donetsk are related to his will to secure a durable power base there and make sure his companies can resume production without too much delay once the situation deescalates. Wether his regional and personal interests (and his money) can override the interests of the conflicting parties remains to be seen. I don't know exactly what the Separatists next move is gonna be. Globally it looks like they want to secure as much of the border area to Russia (for obvious reasons), disrupt Ukrainian supply lines by moving SRG groups into the Kharkov, Zaporojie and Dniepropetrovsk area from where the Ukrainian equipment comes from, and "reduce" the pockets of ukrainian government resistance in the Donbass. A push for the lost city of Slaviansk would also be a high value symbolic victory, as well as reestablishing territorial continuity with Lugansk. So you see the options and possibilities are manyfold and the talk about Mariupol has been so hyped up in recent days that i doubt it is their intention to actually take the city. More likely they wanted Kiev to station more troops in that area, so that Ukie lines would be spread even thinner elsewhere. So Akhmetov probably doesn't even need to cut a deal at this point. Besides, he canno't appear as a traitor to the ultranationalists in Kiev or he's done ... so he has to walk a thin line too, despite all his wealth.
Yanukovitch was mostly controlling the government apparatus. So those in charge of the various ministries and administrations have probably taken over his schemes, even though the economy is so bad at the moment, they can't sqeeze a lot of money out of it. More likely, they will try to get their hands on some of the financial help that is being promised by the West and the IMF.
As for boundaries, they are very blurred. Most of these people operate from a local power base, but have interests and alliances with partners and corporations elsewhere too, both nationally and internationally.


Dear Colonel, could you link the article, or perhaps provide the citation so SST-ers can find it? The Cauldrons seem to be a classic case of taking advantage of the overextending you mentioned.

Most interestingly, Strelkov, and others in the Novorussian command (via Saker), actually discuss their strategy in a manner that assumes the audience is intelligent and interested.



What I gather from this long piece is that the Russians have indeed invaded, and their denials bear no relationship with reality.

Finally, some agreement between "Russophiles" and the "mainstream"!

More seriously, Putin has apparently decided that Western threats of massive economic retaliation were just bluff, so he called their bluff and went for a full land-grab a la Georgian.

Was he right? We'll see.




It was embedded in the text. pl

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad