Small Wars Journal

Despite Early Signs of Russian Buildup in Syria, U.S. Seemed to be Caught Flat-footed

Despite Early Signs of Russian Buildup in Syria, U.S. Seemed to be Caught Flat-footed by Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post

Among the first clues that Russia was mobilizing for a military offensive in Syria were requests Moscow began making in ­mid-August for permission to cross other countries’ territory with more and larger aircraft.

“We were getting the word the Russians were asking for inordinate overflights,” a senior Obama administration official said, referring to reports from U.S. allies receiving the requests. Russia was seeking clearance for not only cargo planes but also “fighter aircraft and bombers” that Syrian pilots had never been trained to fly, the official said. “It was clear that something pretty big was up.”

But despite that early suspicion — which only intensified as Russia then deployed fighter jets and teams of military advisers — the United States seemed to be caught flat-footed by the barrage of airstrikes that Moscow launched last week…

Read on.


Bill M.

Sun, 10/11/2015 - 3:36pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Those billions of dollars were spent on preventing the next 9/11 attack. Many in the security community were convinced that state actors no longer posed a significant threat. You can go back to numerous posts on the counsel by die hard coindistas that basically labelled anyone who warned of state based threats as dinasours who didn't understand the new world. Our intelligence community drank from this same cup. By the way that cup is on clearance sale at Wal-Mart.

Outlaw 09

Sun, 10/11/2015 - 1:48pm

Let's see--we were caught flat footed in the Crimea annexation, flat footed in the eastern Ukraine Russian invasion and again flat footed in Syria.

Can anyone at SWJ explain after billions literally billions spent on the IC and ISR--how exactly is this happening again, again, again, and again????

Even social media is quicker and faster it seems and actually is far more accurate.

Madhu (not verified)

Sat, 10/10/2015 - 1:52pm

The Washington Post is a company paper for a company town, not an American national paper.

A proxy war with Russia in Syria advances American interests how, exactly? Afghanistan in the 80s has proved a bust for us in the long term--and a festering sore for the people in the region. Plus a proliferation bust too. Tt never was the success claimed but I can understand why Robert Gates or Condoleeza Rice (thinking of a another WaPo article) or any other company town type might want to keep pretending that in the Post.

We are close allies of the Saudis which in the eyes of the world seems a lot like the Russians and their Assad-Iranian alliance. Hard to preach anything when you tie yourself to dark regimes and view power through how many of your old allies you can buy--or how many of our allies buy our officials.