Small Wars Journal

The Strategy of Hybrid Warfare

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 8:33pm

The Strategy of Hybrid Warfare

Octavian Manea

Alexander Lanoszka is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College. Previously, he was a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Security Studies Program. He completed his PhD in 2014 at the Department of Politics at Princeton University, focusing his research on international security and international relations theory. He has published “Russian Hybrid Warfare and Extended Deterrence in Central-Eastern Europe” in the January 2016 issue of International Affairs, the Chatham House journal.

For Frank Hoffman strategy is “to artfully design and coherently link achievable ends, allocated means, effective ways, with acceptable risks to generate, exploit and sustain a competitive advantage against an enemy to secure desired political effects and outcomes.” Do you see hybrid warfare more of a strategy or an effective way to secure political ends?

I would add to that robust definition that strategy must take into account the goals, capabilities, and anticipated behaviors of the adversary. This addition is important because I argue that we can best conceive of hybrid warfare as a strategy that brings together insurgent tactics and conventional military deterrence. Embedded in this conceptualization is the idea that one goal behind the use of so-called hybrid war is to forestall an unfavorable response by the target and/or friends of the target.

Insurgent tactics are useful insofar as they give the belligerent plausible deniability – something the belligerent might desire if it fears that its activities could provoke international backlash. The belligerent can claim that insurgent activities have indigenous roots, thereby confounding international audiences who might otherwise contemplate supporting the target against the belligerent.

Yet having a powerful conventional military deterrent is also important because the very target knows that it cannot win in an escalation game with the belligerent. It keeps the conflict localized and under control of the belligerent.

A core dimension of hybrid warfare as we have seen it in Crimea is the insidious subversion that is used against the target. What are the elements that overlap with what we’ve seen in the past in the practice of insurgencies?

We have certainly seen elements of what we have seen in Crimea in the past. My friend and colleague Dan Altman has shown that faits accomplis like Russia’s annexation of Crimea are more normal than exception when we think of how states grab territory. And insurgencies have relied on foreign support in the past. The French supported American revolutionaries to undermine the British, for example.

The real question is whether something like the hybrid warfare we saw used against Crimea represents something unprecedented. A good portion of the literature on hybrid warfare seems to take extreme positions on hybrid warfare: that it is a very new phenomenon made possible due to advances in telecommunications technology; or, that it is a very old phenomenon that has existed for millennia.

If we are to use the concept of hybrid warfare, what is distinct about it, in my view, is that the belligerent manipulates or exploits local ethnic and nationalist grievances among members of some target state. Nationalism and ethnic identities are more modern phenomenon. In this vein, hybrid warfare is a product of modernity. One historical example where we saw a belligerent try to pull a Crimea was in the 1930s. Nazi Germany supported and armed German co-ethnics in Czechoslovakia so that they could rise up and provoke the Czechoslovak government into some angry response. This response would have been the basis of some Nazi German intervention launched in order to save those ethnic populations from persecution.

In other words, we have seen the use of this kind of strategy in the past when the telecommunications technologies were much more primitive. I think it is wrong to look at such technologies as a core feature of hybrid warfare. It has more to do with irredentism and identity politics, with all the things that we usually associate with national grievances that could be seen as material to be exploited.

Writing in the early 1970s, Frank Kitson was convinced that the Soviet Union “is ready and able to foster and exploit the potentialities of armed insurrection whenever they consider that their interests would be served by doing so.” Including against Western Europe. For him the conflicts of the future will be fought at the “subversion end of the operational spectrum”. This use of irregular elements seems to remain a constant. What is different today?

I am not sure whether the use of irregular elements is a constant. Take the Cold War. It is interesting that Frank Kitson wrote that in the late 1970s about the Soviets. In the late 1940s and the early 1950s, American decision-makers thought along very similar lines about what they could do to reduce Soviet domination in Eastern Europe. Notwithstanding Radio Free Europe broadcasts, such efforts to foment insurgency within the Eastern bloc were sporadic and often ineffective. The 1980s might have been exceptional if we count American support of certain social movements like Solidarity in Poland. From the Soviet perspective, I think the attachment to covert tactics ebbed and flowed as a function of both Soviet priorities and capabilities.

With respect to Russia, what might seem different today is that Russia has not been this capable in the military and strategic domain for a while. I do not think Putin is the strategic genius that many claim, but the Russian armed forces are powerful and have been going through a major military modernization effort. Moreover, it seems like Russia has become relatively more sophisticated in its military campaigns. Russia has learned from the clumsiness it had showed in its war against Georgia. As such, Russia might become more confident in undertaking more nuanced and more difficult operations. This is why many countries along its frontiers are fearful in ways that were not present even ten years ago.

It could be argued that Ukraine signaled a significant shifting in the Russian way of warfare compared with what we’ve seen in the past in Georgia, for example. Why this dramatic change?

In planning for the next war, militaries often look to the past war to learn what worked and what did not. The war against Georgia ended favorably for Russia: it established military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and expelled ethnic Georgians from these regions. Yet it was a clumsy operation because the Russian armed forces suffered from several logistical challenges and poor tactical performance. For example, Russian forces did not know the location of key Georgian artillery positions and deployments. They also underestimated Georgian air defenses.

I would add that, in the last decade, Russia stepped up its activities in the cyber domain. In 2007 it appears that individuals with Russian-backing orchestrated attacks against the websites of Estonian organizations. During the Georgian war itself Russia launched a series of cyber attacks to disable key websites. And so one can think of how Russian conventional military power has improved in lock step with improvements in other domains.

What role does conventional power play in hybrid warfare?

I think it plays a very important role. Recall that I see hybrid warfare as a marriage of insurgent tactics and conventional military deterrence. Insurgent tactics are useful because the belligerent can claim that certain actions that happen within the target state’s borders are the result of indigenous forces acting on their own volition. Conventional military deterrence enters into the equation because the target might suspect the involvement of the belligerent, anyway. However, it does not want to escalate the situation further because it knows it would lose a direct military confrontation.

Herein lies the paradox: insurgent tactics offer a means for the belligerent to avoid a direct military conflict with its target, yet conventional military deterrence works only when the target believes that the belligerent will use its military power. I argue that, more likely than not, the target will not take the risk that the belligerent is bluffing. Another possibility is that the belligerent is trying to confound international audiences so as to deter an external intervention on behalf of the target state.

What are the raw materials and the ideal societal setting/vulnerabilities that could be exploited through a (Russian) hybrid warfare strategy?

Drawing from the Central Eastern European context we can inductively outline several conditions that would make a target state particularly vulnerable to a belligerent that wishes to practice hybrid warfare. An ideal target against which a belligerent might be tempted to pursue hybrid warfare would be one with the following characteristics: it is militarily inferior, it features ethnic groups that have grievances with the political center, and it has some sort of ethnic or linguistic ties with the belligerent in a way that gives it opportunities to insert itself in the population of the target.

These circumstances are seldom obtained in international politics: China’s relationships with some states in Southeast Asia might have these characteristics. However, I would be very carefully not to overstate the vulnerability of NATO countries to hybrid warfare.  I think we see these vulnerabilities most in the former Soviet Union where much ethnic heterogeneity exists, where local civil societies are weak, and where local militaries are weak relative to Russia’s.

For years NATO has adopted a defense-in-depth posture, leaving its Eastern Flank exposed.  Consequently, NATO promised to secure its Eastern allies through power projection solutions that involve expeditionary forces. Yet in the last few years Russia has invested massively in access-denial capabilities that have the potential to keep at bay expeditionary reinforcements. At the same time Russia has regional escalation dominance in certain points of the Eastern Flank. Russia can cut land access into the Baltics in the so-called Suwalki Gap. Is this added incentive for a revisionist power that has the intent, and now increasingly the capabilities and the ability, to wage low cost irregular warfare campaigns under an A2/AD umbrella, psychologically deterring a NATO response?

Exploiting the so-called Suwałki gap would be a very risky military move for Russia because it would automatically involve Poland. There is some doubt that the United States and other Western members would fight for the Baltics, even though as NATO members they also receive an Article 5 commitment. I think there is far less doubt about whether the violation of Polish territorial sovereignty would trigger a severe alliance response, partly because of Poland’s location as well as its contiguity with Germany. Russia likely knows this, and so I would imagine that any movement against the three Baltic countries would have to be restricted to those three. That is, Russia would be better off moving quickly into the Baltic countries and using their local military presence to gain a local advantage.

Still, I think NATO does face a very severe anti-access and anti-area threat even if Russia does not exploit the Suwałki gap. Russia could perhaps transport by air about 60,000 troops within several days. Its snap exercises are evidence that Russia might deploy its forces rapidly and without warning. If true, then Russia could succeed in keeping NATO forces out of the Baltic theater of operations. This is not psychological warfare as it is a very practical military consideration on how NATO can defend those countries when it only has limited rotational forces, pre-positioned military hardware, and small air deployments.

How do you find the option of Eastern most exposed allies investing in sub-conventional deterrence and preparing for protracted warfare? In this sense by developing a deterrence-by-denial posture, NATO Eastern allies can exploit the impatience of Russia by massively raising the costs beyond what they expected.

I think that is correct. If we are to make deterrence of Russia a central military goal with regards to NATO’s Eastern flank, then the alliance and its members must contemplate likely scenarios for how Russia might behave aggressively towards them. Unfortunately, this requires thinking not only about conventional war and sub-conventional war, but also about the unthinkable: limited nuclear war. I believe NATO already grasps this issue and so it is already starting to adapt. Still, in some circles the focus has predominately been on particular military solutions that envision a more traditional crisis. They include shifting some of NATO’s military assets from Western Europe – where they are heavily concentrated, as you know – to Eastern Europe. These proposals have much to recommend them, but to go back to what I said earlier, strategy must take into account how the adversary would respond.

If we are going to focus disproportionately on implementing these sorts of measures related to deterring conflict at high levels of violence, then we risk doing so at the expense of deterrence at lower levels of violence. Deterrence needs to be comprehensive. This observation brings to mind the stability-instability paradigm. The adversary may be so confident that because you are not willing to escalate to a higher level of violence it might be confident that it can subvert or provoke you at lower levels. Unfortunately, the Baltic countries have a long way to go to develop deterrence-by-denial capabilities on their own. Their militaries are so inferior to Russia’s that the more pressing problem facing NATO concerns how to reinforce them should Russia ever attack.

I would add that we should not overstate the vulnerability of NATO countries to hybrid warfare, at least when we consider how I define hybrid warfare. Poland is too ethnically homogenous and cohesive for it to be a good target. Lithuania is less homogenous but it does not have stateless peoples living in its borders. Unfortunately, Latvia and Estonia do and so their situation is relatively more delicate. Nevertheless, it would be dangerous and morally egregious if the Latvian and Estonian governments presume that someone is a Russian agent just because they speak Russian. That has not happened yet, but they do face incentives to bolster their surveillance and counterintelligence abilities.

Though not a NATO ally, Moldova could be at an especially strong risk of being victim to a strategy of hybrid warfare if Russia is so inclined. Many Russian co-ethnics live in the east near Transnistria. Its government has been mired in scandal. The question is - does Russia have the willingness to pursue such actions when it still needs to consolidate, and pay for, its gains in parts of Ukraine like Crimea?

Do you see any role for counterinsurgency theory/mindset/framework in dealing with the economic, political and identity dimensions that are exploited through hybrid warfare in vulnerable societies? In the end most of the tasks required to succeed in a counterinsurgency campaign are not military. As Galula used to say, counterinsurgency is only 20 percent military and 80 percent everything else (politics, economics, development, information operations).

Yes, ethnic grievances are an exploitable resource for the belligerent if local society is too feeble to manage them. Countries have an interest in inoculating their populations from subversion. Accordingly, counterinsurgency theorists are right to take an integrative approach in reducing insurgent influence while protecting target populations.

But to recapitulate: I think the prospects of further insurgency in East Central Europe are dim unlike what some people might think. Counterinsurgency is hard to do. It is better to deter an insurgency and to remove the taproots for one. After all, counterinsurgency is reactive and thus hard to mount.

On this issue, I will note that Ukraine was supposed to be the easy case for Russia, largely because many factors propitious to hybrid warfare seem to be there. Yet even with respect to Ukraine Russian leaders have found Crimea to be a much more expensive steal than what they originally anticipated. There was no massive surge of pro-Russian fervor in eastern Ukraine and the fighting in that region seems to have reached an impasse. Perhaps the purpose is to weaken and to sap Kiev of its resources, but the economic situation in Russia today is far from stable.

About the Author(s)

Octavian Manea was a Fulbright Junior Scholar at Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs (Syracuse University) where he received an MA in International Relations and a Certificate of Advanced  Studies in Security Studies.



Sat, 02/06/2016 - 2:24pm

Excerpt from an upcoming article entitled:

Repaying the Republic:
Understanding Georgia’s Contributions to Security through History, Military Reform and Partnerships

Independence, Civil War, “Color Revolutions”, and New Generation War: 1988-2008

This section provides a historical twenty year review of the evolution of 21st century new generation 4, also called non-linear or hybrid warfare in the Caucasus region involving: exploitation of political and ethnic vulnerabilities and social strife (prepare/shape), subversion, state supported irregular and hybrid separatist formations (attack), and conflict ceasefire initiatives and justification for peacekeeping operations (strategic stabilization) 5.

Irregular and regular maneuver forces, non-military means, protest potential of the population, ethnic and economic manipulation and constant external influence as deliberate foreign policy can also be examined as precursors for new generation war and supra-means combination refinement6 in Chechnya (First and Second Chechen Wars), Estonia, and Ukraine.

As outlined in a Small Wars Journal article entitled Grading Gerasimov: Evaluating Russian Non-linear War through Modern Chinese Doctrine (unofficial), lessons learned from the Russo-Georgian War were applied to the War in Donbass primarily involving non-military and irregular means. The underestimation of population centric core grievances, separatist support and Ukrainian regular and paramilitary forces fighting ability can be assessed as a gross miscalculations and lessons learned in the Donbas region of Ukraine (Projekt Novorossiya).

The current application of devastating conventional military means in Syria, demonstrates the complete advancement of hybrid capabilities and potential for more successful applications in all domains through calculated direct and indirect effects based combinations.

Additional commentary:

As of January 13, 2016, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, more than 2,000 soldiers participated in military exercises at the Dzartsemi Firing Range in northern Tskhinvali. These exercises coincide with the 2015 reception of military hardware and modern weapons systems 15 in South Ossetia.


Sat, 02/06/2016 - 9:26am

The article fails to sufficiently stress the importance of «revolutionary warfare» in hybrid operations.
Russia didn't manage one of the main objectives in the Donbass (50% of two Oblast instead of 12) campaign, among other things because it could not trigger a political insurrection against Kiev that would propagate from Dniepropetrovsk to Odesssa, from Mikolayev to Kherson, from Kharkiv to Poltava and Sumy and others.

Also the transformation of the badly organized Uk forces, better use of their four SOF units (Kiev, Kirovograd, Klemenstky and Ochakov) and injection of new hardware into frontlines (in particular SP artillery and modern armor) made Kiev maintain a frontline from collapsing that no one would bet on at the early stages of the conflict, when Slaviansk, Kramatorsk and Mariupol were taken.

A new thing was the massive use of Russian reserve forces and FSB-directed «volunteers» in Donetsk and Luhansk, something we probably didn't see since the days of the USSR.

But the resilience of Ukranians and the way their common soldiers and militiamen made up with pure guts and skill for the incompetence of much of the top brass was not expected entirely in Moscow.

Finally, Ukr had on paper an important edge around the Air Force. But this existed much more in paper than reality, and effective Russian SAM targetting made caused huge losses in transport, ground attack, recon and rotating wing aircraft. The only units virtually untouched were the Su-27 and the Su-24 squadrons. Kiev meanwhile dad time to repair and upgrade a significant amount of airplanes and helicopters,but will it suffice in a next round of clashes?

Last, hybrid warfare also feeds itself with myths: the «liberation» warfare against «Kiev nazis» (sometimes it would be «Chechen Jihadists», others «Israeli and US operatives», etc.), the «Russophilia of East Ukraine», and for the Ukrainian sides things like the heroic resistance of the Cyborgs in Sergei Prokofiev airport. But at least this had an element of truth: besides managing to secure tarmac for months, Ukr still basically controls the NW approaches to the airport, from Pisky and elsewhere.

Nuno Rogeiro
Lisbon, Portugal

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 6:33am

Reference the Russian second front of their non linear war...Syria.

There have been countless social media photos, videos and reports of Iraqi Shia militia fighting in Syria against the FSA AND not against IS either in Iraq and or Syria carrying US provided weapons, driving US tanks and HUMVEEs and YET not a single comment out of Congress and or this WH....about the Iraqi government's lack of control over US weapons being provided them to defend against IS inside Iraq....

Why is that?????

Meet the Iraqi army-trained, #US/#Russian-equipped professional Iraqi shia troops N of #Aleppo.

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 7:00am

Referencing the Russian second non linear front which is being shared with Iranian non linear warfare.....

From today.......

When the #KSA offered to join the fight against #ISIS in #Syria, the #Islamic State-sorry:#Republic had to jump in:

IRGC Commander stated in Iran that the Saudi troops "would not be brave enough to fight in Syrian" and "they would be defeated if they fought in Syria".....

BUT he conveniently "forgot" to mention the IRGC is losing Commanders left and right and literally hundreds of Shia mercenaries have been killed in the last 100 days.

Acc to CNN: many countries will be sending in troops to Saudis coalition, including Brunei, Malaysia, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan, Jordan..etc

Interesting is it not that the Obama WH is now seeing the formation and possible deployment of a "Global Sunni Army" vs the Shia recruited and IRGC led Shia mercenary army fighting in basically what is a Sunni Arab nation state.

Obama had a number of chances over the last four years to reign this in and did absolutely nothing....

WHAT is extremely comical about this WH is that several weeks ago AFTER the WH stated their "Syrian strategy was a success"...."but it needed just a little more messaging for you and me to fully understand it was working".....Sec Def Carter critiqued the KSA openly for not supporting the IS fight.....unusual for a high profile political visit BTW.

NOW the Saudi's make this statement and can back it up with combat deployment in under four weeks and just where is the Obama WH......silent, has not made a single comment and running for the hills AS the KSA has stated to them you lead and we will follow BUT show us the color of your money.

Since nothing came from either Obama, Kerry or the SecDef you are now hearing the not so subtle warnings...we will march alone if necessary to protect Sunnis' and defeat IS with or without you...that threat is being levelled at both Iran and Putin....

We are rapidly approaching the brink of a 100 years war....and this time over religion again as well as regional hegemony.

Many it appears in the WH have forgotten the early comments coming out of the Russian Orthodox Church when Putin flew his AF into Syria...

His own ROC openly and publicly called for a "Holy War"...and those comments were not refuted by Putin....second lesson learned about Russian non linear warfare when Putin does not refute statements made in Moscow BY out.

Well we are almost there......for there is an old Arabic saying "Aleppo is the red line for the Sunni nation states"...and it has been crossed.

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 6:05am

Referencing the first Russian non linear war front...eastern Ukraine....

NOTICE...the UAF is under full scale Russian attacks across the entire front line AND what comes from the West...yawn, yawn, yawn...what is the noise all about as we have a solid "ceasefire" as that is what Putin "said" and did not Kerry state after his visit with Putin "with effort and some good faith" sanctions can be lifted.

So did Kerry actually lie OR does he not fully recognize Russia's non linear war that is in full gear........AGAIN....what a heck of a great example of Russian "good faith"....84 attacks up from 81 the previous day.

84 (pro-)#Russian attacks on the Ukrainian line of defence yesterday.
2nd "record" in as many days since August 2015.

Rule of thumb...WHEN Russian media makes these non linear warfare "speak" they do the exact opposite...

"DNR will not take heavy arms back to the contact line and will continue to obey Minsk plan."
- RIA news agency
Get ready for war!

BTW...both Lavrov and Putin engage in the same tactic of doing the exact opposite of what they say....

REALITY. .....The OSCE has seen countless Russian heavy weapons and troop violations all along the front line in the last two weeks of fighting and Russia continues to deny OSCE free movement as agreed to in Minsk 2....ALL in direct violation of Minsk 2.

So when they are attacking they "claim" it is the other side attacking...all along it is their own mercenary army.....

SO again exactly where is this "efforts and good faith" that Kerry claims he is seeing with Putin and company??????

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 5:50am

The West is asking Syrian civilians to dodge Assad, Putin and now US air strikes......WHILE Obama and Kerry sleep gently is the daily reality of the killing fields of Syria.....just from early this morning....

While Putin is carrying out his two front non linear war...the Obama WH seems to think all you need to do is "talk" and "talk" and "talk".......BY "openly acknowledging" that there is an ongoing genocide, war crimes and starvation WHICH Kerry stated this week.... is in fact this WH "complicit" as is the UNSC in Assad's and Putin's war crimes/crimes against humanity...?

If so then why is there a need for the UNSC at all other than to "talk" and make each other "feel like they have done something....."?

3 martyrs and dozens wounded victims of #US_Coalition airstrikes on #alHoshrah village nearby #Manbij
#Aleppo cs #Syria FEB 6

US_Coalition warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting outskirts of #Omar Oil fields
#DeirEzzor #Syria FEB 6

RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #alZakat village
#RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #alLataminah
#Hama #Syria FEB 6

#RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #alSayak town
#Idlib #Syria FEB 6

Reports of big explosions in #ASSad Regime area of #Damascus
#Syria FEB 6 via @el_sarkis

#RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #alHobait village
#Idlib #Syria FEB 6

Rebels targeted #SAA terrorists positions at #Khirbet_alGhazal village
#Daraa #Syria FEB 6

#SAA terrorists shelling with heavy artillery targeting #Sayeda village
#Daraa #Syria FEB 6

#RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #Kessen village

#RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #Hirbnafsah town

#SAA terrorists shelling Grad Rockets from their positions at #Azzan_Mount targeting #alRashideen
#Aleppo #Syria FEB 6

#SAA terrorists shelling Grad Rockets from their positions at #Azzan_Mount targeting #Khan_Touman
#Aleppo #Syria FEB 6

#RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #Kurds_Mount & #Turkmen_Mount
#Latakia #Syria FEB 6

#RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #alMansoura village
#Hama cs #Syria FEB 6

#RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #Tel_Wasset village
#Hama cs #Syria FEB 6

#RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #alQarqur village
#Hama cs #Syria FEB 6

RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #alZayrat village
#Hama cs #Syria FEB 6

Rebels destroyed #SAA Tank exterminating 3 mercenaries belonging to #Tazzf_3rdDiv shiia militia at #Ratyan fronts
#Aleppo cs #Syria FEB 6

#Iran media announces the extermination of 3 #IRGC officers & dozens of it's terrorists in #Syria FEB 6

#Jaysh_alFateh Repel #SAA terrorists infiltration backed by #Russia occupation in #Sirmaniyah village, between #Idlib & #Hama #Syria FEB 6

SAA boy Mohamed Ahmed Shaaer, nephew of Interior Minister from #Latakia, killed in #Hama cs FEB 5 #Syria

Heavy clashes between Rebels & #SAA foreigners terrorists at #Bayanoun & #Hayan fronts
#Aleppo cs #Syria FEB 6

1000s civilians leaving their homes in #Meng village,escaping #Russia & #ASSad allies terrorists bombardment
#Aleppo #Syria FEB 6

#RUSSIA warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting #alTeh village
#Idlib cs #Syria FEB 6

Yesterday FEB 5; #SAA helicopters dropped not less than 30 barrel bombs over the besieged #Moadamiyah_alSham & #Darayya
#Damascus #Syria


8929 inhabitants in 2004
0 inhabitants after the "liberation by #Assad" in 2016

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 5:00am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

The people in #Madaya are eating the grass again. The UN aid packages, have almost been consumed. What is left...

AND Assad is again blocking UN aid EVEN though his government stated it could be delivered....his tactics are the same for the last five years and one would think the Obama WH would "get it".

It is as if this President cannot jump over his own shadow....BUT WAIT he has no shadow.....thus he sees no need to act on anything.

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 4:55am

Two years into the Russian use of non linear warfare to support their political warfare this WH is still "lost in the woods".......

The stupidity of this Obama WH, NSC and Kerry never fails to amaze me...."ask permission to drop humanitarian aid"...come on since when does one of the five main members of the UNSC have to "ask permission" when even Putin is on record for providing aid via THREE UNSC resolutions......ALL supported by Putin.

AT the same time you clearly and concisely state at the UNSC Russia and Assad are in full and total violation of international humanitarian treaties in their use of starvation....and the use of barrel bombs and deliberate Russian air strikes targeting civilians is a war crime.

Will Russia really allow the US to airdrop food to Syrian towns besieged by the Russian-backed government?

You state to the UNSC you are providing aid under their own resolutions, and that Russia is blocking that aid, you announce the flight times and indicate full air cover will be provided and then drop....

If one is never willing to backup diplomacy with "a show of force"..... diplomacy with Putin is designed to is that simple....

We have seen what even Obama himself stated to the world "we will judge Putin by his actions not his words"...well we have the actions WHERE are Obama's actions.

Even the third grader knows when to defend himself on the playground...this President evidently was never on a playground.....

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 4:40am

America's backwards Syria policy: "Simply nefarious."…

It is not only me complaining about the total failure of US FP......and I am a simple American sitting in Berlin watching a disaster unfold in both eastern Ukraine and Syria due to the lack of coherent, clear and concise US leadership other than "talk"...just "talk".

Any thirdgrader can "talk" takes an adult to carry out FP and the adults are definitely missing in action in this WH......

Can the Obama WH make it even worse...yes they can as the radicalization of the anti Assad forces especially FSA, al Sham and JaI will be in fact a move towards JaN and with one swift stupid move by Obama he will be adding an additional 70K fighters to JaN and IS.

While Obama and Kerry both "talk" a great game" is the Assad and Putin driving the sheer destruction ie Grozny style into the heart of the anti Assad opposition it will drive them to JaN and IS.....THEN Putin and Assad can sit back and say to the Sunni's it is either me or "them" take your choice......I seriously do not think both Obama and Putin fully understand what the outcomes are on this move for Syria and the wider ME......

Taken from the article:


Ever since 2011, the United States has hidden behind the hope of a Russian shift and closed its eyes to Putin’s mischief to avoid the hard choices on Syria. When the Russian onslaught started, U.S. officials like Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken predicted a quagmire to justify Washington’s passivity. If Russia’s intervention was doomed to failure, after all, the United States was not on the hook to act.

Russia, however, has been not only been able to increase the tempo of its military operations, but also to justify the mounting cost. And contrary to some pundits, who hailed the Russian intervention as the best chance to check the expansion of IS, Washington knows all too well that the result of the Russian campaign is the strengthening of the jihadist group in central Syria in the short term. This is a price Washington seems willing to pay for the sake of keeping the Geneva process alive.

The bankruptcy of U.S. policy goes deeper. The United States has already conceded key points about Assad’s future — concessions that Russia and the regime have been quick to pocket, while giving nothing in return. In the lead-up to and during the first days of the Geneva talks, it became clear that the United States is putting a lot more pressure on the opposition than it does on Russia, let alone Assad. Just as Russia escalates politically and militarily, the Obama administration is cynically de-escalating, and asking its allies to do so as well. This is weakening rebel groups that rely on supply networks that the U.S. oversees: In the south, the United States has demanded a decrease in weapons deliveries to the Southern Front, while in the north, the Turkey-based operations room is reportedly dormant.

The result is a widespread and understandable feeling of betrayal in the rebellion, whose U.S.-friendly elements are increasingly losing face within opposition circles. This could have the ironic effect of fragmenting the rebellion — after years of Western governments bemoaning the divisions between these very same groups.

Actually what is interesting is that this WH has made the same exact mistakes in Ukraine causing me to ask over and over "just where is the difference between the Obama FP and the Putin FP"...there is none....

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 12:55am

Russian, Iranian and Chinese non linear warfare requires from this US administration a clear and concisely stated strategic CUW strategy....there is simply none and none will be forth coming as this is the weakest FP President in 70 years abd he is racing to save his legacy ending in 12 months.

Kerry is a when he basically dictates to the HNC they are to simply surrender to end the killing of Syrians who are actually being killed by Assad genocide, starvation and Russian bombs.......BUT when they point to the UNSC resolutions they are told "no preconditions".

Remember the Syrian opposition in 2011 stood up against a 50 year rule of a dictator family and demanded the rule of law, transparency and good governance.....AND for Obama and Kerry since when are these "pre conditions"???? In return they got genocide and starvation and what did they get from Obama ...absolutely nothing so what civil society in any nation state living under the same conditions is ever going to expect the US to do anything...other than "preach a façade" as that is what we are seeing out of this WH.....

BUT when the Russian FM Lavrov states the following THEN Kerry and Obama caves to the "pre conditions" NOTICE they say nothing.

SINCE when has US FP become the exact copy of the Russian FP???

Sad is not exactly the right word for this total failure of US global leadership.......having a 80 plus year old traveling to talk to Putin is a farce.

Kerry: "We're discussing new ideas to make ceasefire work"
Lavrov: "Close Turkish-Syrian border is a key condition to make ceasefire work"

Outlaw 09

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 2:13pm

Russian Iranian non linear warfare are intertwined........

In Obama's world this is what one expects.

Khamenei adviser #Velayati after meeting #Putin: Only #Iran & #Russia are able to create New #World #Order of stability, peace and security

In the first Russian non linear war front.....

High number of social media reports coming in tonight from eastern Ukraine indicating high number of Russian tanks and other armored vehicles on the move towards and in some cases racing towards the front line of contract.......

POTENTIALLY large scale Russian offensive tonight in eastern Ukraine....starting potentially at the Donetsk airport area.

Massive Russian troop movements in #Donetsk.
People call on the @OSCE's @OSCE_SMM to act!

Outlaw 09

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 4:06am

Bill it not strange that outsiders ..meaning outside DC and this WH can detect the first moves of Russian non linear warfare BEFORE the Obama WH......??

Russian-sponsored anti-#refugee rhetoric in Germany bears the hallmarks of hybrid intervention writes @GresselGustav

Outlaw 09

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 3:41am

Bill C...keep your eyes glued to the ground reality not theory....right now Putin is indeed fighting a two front non linear set of wars that are actually intertwined.

With 1200 Russian shellings and ground attacks just in January 2016 and now this...we are fully at war again in eastern Ukraine...and the West missed it as they were watching Putin's moves in Syria....actually an elegant distraction in order to restart the Ukrainian war without much being said by the West......

Anything over 50 attacks a day is considered in eastern Ukraine to be full scale warfare...

Militants attack ATO forces over 80 times in last day, use banned weapons

Ukraine/Russo war is now formally back on again......AND did not Kerry state the sanctions "could be lifted with some effort and good faith"????

Kerry is just as good at lying as is his Russian FM counterpart Lavrov.....

THEN think about this comment......
Truth is destruction of Aleppo rebels likely simplifies White House calculus: If there's no insurgency there's no regime issue, only ISIS and there our successful Syrian strategy is working...we just need some more messaging that is all..

Actually does explain the total inaction of Obama on the bombings and use of starvation AND the simple fact that Putin air strikes are chiefly against the FSA NOT IS....ever wonder why??

We know that, in the Old Cold War of yesterday, America did hybrid warfare also, for example, in Central America.

This, so as to:

a. Prevent/contain/reverse unfavorable revolutions on our door-step. (To wit: revolutions which were designed to transform our neighboring states and societies more along communist political, economic and social lines.) And to:

b. Inform our opponents, thus, that "the value of protecting our sphere of interest (especially in our own backyard) was greater than any opponent’s interest in upsetting it."

In this effort, the U.S. looked to its "natural allies" in such matters, to wit: the more-conservative elements of these neighboring populations; i.e., those who were more-likely to be alienated, or otherwise harmed, by such radical state and societal changes (political, economic, social, etc.) as our enemies sought to immediately bring about.

In the New/Reverse Cold War of today, are not these exact same forces that are in play?

Thus to suggest that, today, Russia, China and Iran's use of hybrid warfare can, likewise, be traced to a desire to:

a. Prevent/contain/reverse unfavorable revolutions on THEIR respective door-steps. (To wit: Revolutions designed to transform THEIR neighboring states and societies more along, in our case today, modern western political, economic and social lines.) And to

b. Inform THEIR (Russia, China and Iran's) opponents that the value of protecting THEIR (Russia, China and Iran's ) respective spheres of influence (especially those in their own backyards) is greater than any opponent's interest in upsetting same.

In this effort, Russia, China and Iran, in today's New/Reverse Cold War (and much like the U.S. before them in the Old Cold War), looking to their "natural allies" in such matters, to wit: the more-conservative elements of these neighboring populations; i.e., those who are most likely to be alienated, and/or otherwise harmed, by such radical state and societal changes (political, economic, social, etc.) as the U.S./the West seeks to immediately bring about.

Bottom Line Question:

In the Old Cold War of yesterday, and indeed the New/Reverse Cold War of today, should we say that it was/is "ethnic and/or nationalist grievances" that were/are primarily in play?

Or something else?

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 2:27pm

So again just what did Kerry state in Geneva concerning Assad/Russian bombing and starvation....seems no one listened to him.

Aftermath of Assad bombing in Teir Maalah, #Homs, #Syria

Aftermath of 50 #Russia|n airstrikes in Anadan, #Aleppo, #Syria

Complete & utter destruction in al-Mash’had district in #Aleppo following #Russia|n airstrikes

A mother finds the remains of her son following #Russia|n airstrikes in Hraytan, #Aleppo, #Syria

Searching for survivors following #Russia|n airstrikes in al-Sha’ar district in #Aleppo

Aleppo: Syrian Rebels still holding out in Rityan & repelled pro Assad offensives

Rebels kill over 20 regime soldiers and capture weapons in Akrad Mountain #Latakia countryside.

Boy victim of #SAA shelling targeting the IDP Camp of #alTofahah village in #Jisr_alShghour
#Idlib #Syria FEB 4

House of little boy Baha, bombed by #Russia in #Kafr_Takharim, killed him & wounded parents #Idlib #Syria FEB 4

15 martyrs victims of #Russia airstrikes on #Kallaseh & #alMashad neighborhoods
#Aleppo #Syria FEB 4

Russia airstrikes targeting the valley of #alHoula
#Homs #Syria FEB 4

SAA airstrikes on #Erbeen
#Damascus cs #Syria FEB 4 … …

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 2:08pm

The US under the Obama WH has now formally lost against the Russian non linear warfare both in eastern Ukraine and now Syria.....pity the next President as he or she will have to dig themselves out of a very deep hole...

This is literally the worst President, NSC and DoS in 70 years...this failure of Kerry's and a lack of any so called Obama strategy represents this failure...

Obama/Kerry…….…….. Well done - #Syria now depopulated….the results of absolutely no ME strategy or for that matter no strategy for anything…………

Syria ~200.000 people flee from #Assad-forces assault backed #Russia'n airstrikes in northern & southern #Aleppo

Syria Mass Exodus now in N-#Aleppo -70.000 flee from #Russia'n airstrikes & regime assault

URGENT: countless Syrians r fleeing N #Aleppo to #Turkey, hoping to escape the regime

Russia, #Iran & their puppets finish their etnic cleansing in northern #Syria now.
Sunni arab population wipped out

The border is still closed!!!
Up to tens of thousands are approaching it now!
Situation like #KOBANE but no one cares!

Ukraine and the UAF had better pay close attention to this development as it does not bode well for them as the US is pressuring the Ukraine to unilaterally cave to Putin's demand as well......

War crimes against humanity and genocide now rate below a President's legacy and now Obama has basically abandoned the rule of law, transparency and good governance and to preach that to others should be refrained from...why global civil societies ie the ME will now see that it is just a US façade........

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 10:19am

NOTICE not a single attempt by Kerry or Obama to call Putin out in the UNSC for his non recognition and non implementation of the Russian supported UNSC resolution which Russia claimed was the basis for Geneva talks....

Kerry is nothing more than talk...empty talk at that....

U.S. Embassy Syria ‏@USEmbassySyria · 21h21 hours ago
.@JohnKerry: Starvation as a tactic of war is against the laws of war & it is being used every single day as a tactic by the Asad regime.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 8:43am

Non linear warfare at it's finest.........

A longish report, although lacking details; it starts with:


Police have smashed a cell of Hizbollah agents accused of trafficking cocaine for one of the world's most ruthless drug cartels to fund the militant group's war in Syria. The agents, arrested in France, allegedly masterminded a massive global drug ring which raised millions of dollars to arm Hizbollah gunmen fighting for Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, in Syria.

According to America's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), they worked directly with Colombian cocaine cartels....

It is the intertwining of UW and conventional force that is the key and the two key cornerstones are;

1. informational warfare or the weaponization of information
2.cyber warfare/cyber crime

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 4:20am

Bill C...check your local MSM to see if the HNC statements from yesterday were carried at all.....AND then check the last two comments....

UN/Obama creditability damaged beyond repair I would say...and actually Kerry has no more creditability in the ME after this as well......

AND this is the US response to Russian two front non linear warfare??

We came to Geneva to prove to the world the regime doesn't believe in a political solution." Riyadh Hijab

Riyadh Hijab press conference is also a disaster for US credibility, it doesn't make the US look like a fair and reliable ally.

Obama's "students & farmers" aptly turn the tables making a strong case about international law. Apply 2254!

Riyadh Hijab aptly showing that it's Assad & Russia that are sabotaging any possible peaceful resolution

Russia must now really regretting having signed onto resolution 2254. Riyadh Hijab is driving that point home.

The non-application of art 12, 13 of resolution 2254.

We will not return to Geneva until art 12 and 13 of resolution 2254 are applied. The other side refuses to implement" Riyadh Hijab

"We don't have Su-34, Su-35 jets. We don't have cluster bombs, chemical weapons and barrel bombs" Riyadh

De Misttura provided a written commitment that the UNSC resolution will be applied"

Diplomacy does NOT work without leverage

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 4:34am

#Iran'ian IRGC Brigadier General "Mohsen Qajarian" killed in battle of northern #Aleppo #Syria

SAA Brigadier Gen. & President of SC; Mazhar Badr Zaher exterminated in #alRashdeen fronts
#Aleppo cs #Syria FEB 3

Syrian Arab Army has been renamed yesterday to the Syrian Afghan Army

25 #Hezbollah mercenaries terrorists captured in #Aleppo cs #Syria FEB 3

Photo of 27 of Assad “Syrian Arab Army” killed around #Aleppo:
13 Iranians
8 Hezbollah
5 Shia Iraqis
1 from #Syria

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 3:48am

Bill C.......the creditability of now both the UN and US is totally damaged in the ME.......the Obama/Kerry plan foresaw elections in 2017 and that is what they publicly stated......and that was the core of the UN time table as well........

Al Hayat cites a confidential doc., de Mistura says elections in Syria won't be possible in 2018 & the timetable for solution is unrealistic

So now a serious question....does Obama/Kerry actually FP wise work for Putin/Lavrov?? As both foresee Assad remaining in power for good.

If you are the Sunni Front States and the HNC would you believe after the 600 plus Russian air strikes and major ground offensive.....would you believe anyone in the West.....?

If you are the Ukraine would you as well????

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 3:37am

Bill is the problem that you often side step...reality on the ground vs. "theory".

So many inexperienced expendable dead afghani Shias today who charged forward in Aleppo on the lies that they're defending "Shia shrines" it doesn't upset me when such ppl die, what would upset me though is that there are ppl who are that stupid to die over a bunch of lies

Herein lies a serious issue that by only talking Obama and company are creating a potential sectarian world war...

Right now there is no real Syrian Army is basically all backfilled Shia...IRGC troops/commanders, Lebanon and Iraq Hezbollah, over 30 Iraqi Shia militia, and Shia mercenaries recruited from over 12 different countries ALL being CAS supported by the RuAF and funded by both Putin and Iran.

ALL while Syria is a 70% plus Sunni nation state........

NOW here is the core Obama failure that is not being spoken about...funding and weapons have largely flowed via the Sunni Front States of KSA, UAE and Qatar and supported along the way Jordan even the CIA side has been receiving funding from the SFS.

The KSA and Turkey have both declared themselves the "defenders of the faith" KSA due to the religious center of Sunnism and Turkey due to the Ottoman Empire.

The US has been putting since the Russians arrived extreme pressure on both to not get engaged and to restrict the flow of weapons to FSA WHILE the US "feels a military solution is not possible"....

BUT at what point does US even play a role now that Geneva has failed and Aleppo has fallen...A MAJOR red line has been crossed for both Turkey and KSA.

IF KSA and Turkey and the Sunni Front States do not get engaged in protecting Syrian Sunni's how can they avoid the total "loss of face" in the ME acceding then regional control of the entire ME to Iran a Shia nation state.

AT what point is that reached??.....I think we will be seeing it in the next 72 hours and there is nothing more the US can do in the meantime....except close their eyes and seriously pray....hope has been the main Obama theme and hope has run out......

Why do I say that....Alloush the chief negotiator and a member of JaI fully supported by KSA declared yesterday...referencing the Russian ground attacks and air strikes..."just wait the two days".....he is one that does not make idle threats....then FSA launched their first TBM against Assad yesterday.

The Sunni Shia sectarian war is about to explode.....and it will be caused by the total lack of Obama action when one reads the history books.....

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 3:08am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Remember the SWJ article here about the successful Obama WH Syrian strategy...hate to say it..a total disaster.
Kerry and Obama cut weapon supplies to the opposition and Kerry basically dictated to them to order to see if Russia/Assad were "serious".

What kind of FP is that?????

Yesterday the opposition was clear and concise.....they were awaiting instructions out of KSA...then they came and the US has a really weak response actually not much of a response.

There is a serious conspiracy theory in both KSA and the FAS...the US was only allowing the supply of weapons to occur in order to have control over the FSA and as a weakened FSA force them to Geneva.

NOW that that has not apparently worked due to Putin...question will KSA break from the US and deliver MANPADs to at least give the FSA a fighting chance against over 600 air strikes....?????

Syria’s opposition team will leave #Geneva tomorrow morning. They will not return until convinced of better conditions on the ground.

KSA speak for never returning as they no longer trust the US and or any western country for that matter as nothing was done by the UNSc on humanitarian aid and or stopping the bombing.....the basis for three UNSC resolutions.

Even this supports the conspiracy theory in the eyes of the opposition/KSA......

In the eyes of the anti Assad opposition the UN has always been proAssad..this just continues to prove it....all the while the UN talked about aid to the besieged areas and starving Syrians...NEVER really planned to delivery it....was just a tactic to get the opposition to Geneva....

Yesterday 12 UN aid trucks headed for Moadamiya. They never arrived, UN agreed to distribute aid to regime area nearby. @ScottLucas_EA

OUTSIDE of Kerry's press comments on starvation designed to appease the HNC...nothing was done and nothing will be done as there is absolutely no US ME FP worth the name FP.

Again when you fail to understand no linear are distained to fail......

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 2:46am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Russia launches over 600 air strikes and unleashes a major ground offensive at the start of the Geneva talks and then hypocrisy....AND not even called out for it by Obama....

MFA Russia ✔ @mfa_russia
Deputy FM #Gatilov: #Russia regrets the decision of Staffan de Mistura to postpone intra-#Syria talks in Geneva

But hey "it ain't us" that walked.... it was those evil terrorists that our FM stated had to be crushed in his interview.

Where is the Obama at least "feinted" outrage especially as the genocide and starvation continues...the very same starvation Kerry condemned earlier this week.

APPEARS the WaPo Editorial was correct...all you can expect out of Kerry and Obama is basically just talk.....

That editorial was posted here.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 2:32am

Bill C....further evidence just how out of touch this Obama WH is....Obama and Kerry never tire of saying there is no military solution in eastern Ukraine nor in Syria...when all military analysts say give the Ukrainians/Syrians the necessary defense weapons and let them take care of the problem.....THEN this WH literally finds virtually every excuse under the sun to say no.

BUT has Putin on the other side every dropped the military option....NEVER even now in eastern Ukraine there is a full blown Russian slow stepping ground offense in eastern Ukraine just as he unleashed in Aleppo.

So he definitely believes in the military solution....and the WH??????

Obama wants to go out of office with the following legacy, got the US out of all wars, and did not start any wars......simple as that.

Seriously go back and reread the eight phases of the Russian non linear warfare and you will immediately see the blending between UW and conventional use of forces.

Kerry: #Syria govt wants military - not political solution to conflict

Outlaw 09

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 2:21am

Bill C...let's get back to the actual tenor of the article...the blending of UW and conventional tactic in order to remain one step below actual open warfare..

Right now after we at SWJ have discussed and commented non linear warfare literally to "death" the Obama WH, Kerry, the entire 700 plus NSC and just about every Western leader appears to still not "understand" the blending and the existential threat that derives from it.

Kerry and Obama and especially Hollande HAVE the perfect negotiations model of the Russian playbook from the Minsk 2 dictates pushed by Putin.

WHAT they should have learned is exactly the following...Putin always cranks up an offensive in and during talks exactly as he did in Debaltseve Ukraine which was conceded to the Ukraine in the talks BUT Putin demanded in those same talks that it go to the mercenaries JUST as Russian media announced the taking of Aleppo TWO full days before the Geneva talks collapsed.

WHAT is so hard for this WH to comprehend about non linear warfare?

We had here in SWJ the article on the so called Obama highly successful Syrian strategy ..tenor was it is just you and me that did not fully understand it so there needed to be more "messaging" meaning really just more talking points from the WH.....

Example...the US announces more money for the defense of eastern Europe NATO members and lo and behold the NSC Rice comes up for air and posted two twitter comments...the first from her in over two years, nothing at all for eastern Ukraine and definitely nothing concerning the genocide in Syria and or the starvation tactics of Assad and Putin.....

US, France accuse Assad of scuppering Syria peace talks. You asked for it.…

NOW explain to me just why they assumed Assad...actually in this case it was Putin had the intent to actually find a solution other than through the use of force.

Response from the interviewee, Alexander Lanoszka:


The real question is whether something like the hybrid warfare we saw used against Crimea represents something unprecedented. A good portion of the literature on hybrid warfare seems to take extreme positions on hybrid warfare: that it is a very new phenomenon made possible due to advances in telecommunications technology; or, that it is a very old phenomenon that has existed for millennia.

If we are to use the concept of hybrid warfare, what is distinct about it, in my view, is that the belligerent manipulates or exploits local ethnic and nationalist grievances among members of some target state. Nationalism and ethnic identities are more modern phenomenon. In this vein, hybrid warfare is a product of modernity.


If we look at hybrid warfare from the perspective of the Old Cold War (which certainly fits into the modern period), and if we look specifically at what an entity then (say the United States) manipulated and exploited there (say in Central America), what is that we find?

Do we find, as the interviewee suggests, the U.S., then and there, manipulating and exploiting "ethnic and nationalist grievances?"

Or do we find, instead and more-correctly, the the U.S., then and there, manipulating and exploiting:

a. The desire of the population for their more-time-honored and familiar way of life,

b. The desire of the population for their more-time-honored and familiar way of governance and

c. The desire of the population for their more-time-honored and familiar values, attitudes and beliefs -- associated with same?

All of these ("a" - "c" immediately above) being:

a. Threatened by ultra-modern communism and communists and being

b. Championed, protected and preserved, as one would expect, by the traditional guardians of these civilizational attributes (and, thus, our "natural allies" in the Old Cold War), to wit: the more-conservative elements of these populations.

If the above depiction is correct then, in the New/Reverse Cold War of today -- one which finds the U.S./the West now threatening, with market-democracy, various civilizations and their time-honored attributes -- is this not the direction that we should be looking also?

Thus, not only at ethnic and nationalist grievances but at, shall we say, "civilizational grievances" also?"

Herein to find that in the New/Reverse Cold War of today, and much as with the Soviets/the communists in the Old Cold War, the "conservative" -- and/or "backward's-yearning" -- elements of various populations can become one's "natural enemy;" enemies which can, easily and effectively, be manipulated by one's opponents in a "cold war?"

Outlaw 09

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 12:45pm

How is it that social media has been pointing this out over 100 plus days ago when Putin entered Syria..........

Top US military official: Russia has made it 'very clear' that it's not really in Syria to fight ISIS

Outlaw 09

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 8:38am

I do not know why we here at SWJ continue to debate non linear warfare as the Obama WH, the entire 700 person NSC and Kerry have absolutely no strategy, ideas, concepts on how to deal at all with it.....especially in Ukraine and Syria....other than talk, talk and more if talking will make non linear warfare simply disappear.....??

By Editorial Board February 2 at 9:09 PM

Mr. Kerry continues to lecture as Syrians continue to starve to death


THE PEOPLE of Madaya, a Syrian town besieged by the government, are still starving. According to Doctors Without Borders, 16 more people have died of hunger despite a single delivery of aid last month, bringing to 51 the number who have perished from lack of food since December. Moreover, the town of 20,000 people, says the United Nations chief humanitarian coordinator, is “the tip of the iceberg.” Close to 500,000 Syrians are cut off from food assistance, Stephen O’Brien told the U.N. Security Council, and the government has denied about 100 of the U.N.’s 113 requests to deliver aid in the past year.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry has been denouncing this atrocity in recent days. “People are dying; children are suffering not as an accident of war, but as the consequence of an intentional tactic — surrender or starve,” he said Sunday. “And that tactic is directly contrary to the law of war.” Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s handling of the Syrian crisis appears to be enabling those very war crimes.

In December, the United States joined with Russia to pass Security Council Resolution 2254, which required the delivery of humanitarian aid and an end to the bombing of civilian areas as part of a plan to launch peace talks. Yet even though the sieges have not been lifted and the bombing has not stopped, Mr. Kerry and U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura have insisted on going ahead with the peace talks, pressuring an opposition coalition to participate. While issuing strong statements of disapproval, neither the United States nor the United Nations has taken, proposed or even hinted at any action to force compliance by the regime of Bashar al-Assad or by Russia, which is doing much of the bombing.

While Mr. de Mistura was declaring the Geneva talks open on Monday, the regime and Russia were stepping up an offensive against rebel-held areas near the city of Aleppo. Opposition forces reported bombing attacks on hospitals and other critical civilian infrastructure. Meanwhile in Madaya, near Damascus, a shell fell in a schoolyard, injuring several children, according to the New York Times. The Russians and Syrians are using military action as leverage in the peace talks — or perhaps as a way of wrecking them. They show no interest in bargaining: The Syrian government delegation arrived in Geneva still insisting it would not negotiate with “terrorists” — which it defines as anyone bearing arms against the regime.

Mr. Kerry and the Obama administration, meanwhile, are responding with nothing but rhetoric. “We haven’t seen a catastrophe like this since World War II, and it’s unfolding before our eyes,” Mr. Kerry said Tuesday. “People in Madaya [are] eating leaves and grass or animals of one kind or another that they manage to capture.” He declared: “The Syrian regime has a responsibility — in fact, all parties to the conflict have a duty to facilitate humanitarian access to Syrians in desperate need. And this has to happen not a week from now. . . . It ought to happen in the first days.”

Or else what? On that, Mr. Kerry has had exactly nothing to say. Expect the sieges, the bombing, the starvation — and the statements — to continue.

ALL this WH wants to do is go out of office with the legacy of not having started, or gotten the US into a war...come hell or high is all about legacy and that alone is a disaster for US foreign policy...

Shades of 1920 and Wilson........the so called concepts of rule of law, transparency and good governance are nothing but slogans under this WH and the concept of US interests in preventing genocide...nothing but a farce.....

Outlaw 09

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 8:12am

First phases of Russian non linear warfare now being seen in Germany......

Germany: Alliance btw Nazis & #Russia'n emigrants against #refugees
- pushed by #Putin TV

Outlaw 09

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 6:50am

If one is really willing to look at the intertwining of the Ukrainian and Syrian civil society "rebellions"....there is a surprising similarity...both were rising up against what they viewed as dictators and corruption and both demanded rule of law, transparency and good governance......

If you have Netflix watch video on Ukraine uprising "Winter on Fire"

AND both being suppressed by Russian non linear warfare........

Outlaw 09

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 5:29am

This article explains just how badly the Obama WH does not understand non linear warfare and why they are "losing the Russian two front non linear war"....and losing badly.....…

The War in Ukraine Is Back—So Why Won’t Anyone Say So?

Violence in East Ukraine is spiking but Western pols are silent.

Russia’s dirty war in Ukraine is far from frozen, and despite the deteriorating situation, the West appears keen to turn a blind eye.

While the fighting in southeast Ukraine has rumbled on incessantly throughout the winter, inducing conflict fatigue and a drop in media coverage, the last weeks have seen a marked spike in the number of attacks.

Ukrainian officials are reporting up to 71 attacks a day, with most of the fighting concentrated around the separatist-held cities of Donetsk and Gorlovka, as well as the countryside east of the Azov port city of Mariupol.

Both sides accuse each other of daily using heavy mortars, which were supposed to have been withdrawn in accordance over a year ago in accordance with the first Minsk agreement.

According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors the ceasefire, this month saw the return of the use of Grad multiple-launch rocket systems and 152 mm artillery. Both were reportedly used on two consecutive days in separatist-held Gorlovka.
January 26 and 27 saw a multitude of reports from Donetsk residents on social media of intense fighting in the north of the city, where the front line runs alongside the ruins of the airport and the suburbs of Peski and Avdeyevka. Dozens of Twitter and VKontakte (Russia’s Facebook equivalent) users across the city reported a powerful explosion and shockwave on the 27th, for which there is still no credible explanation. Some users claimed that the shelling was the heaviest heard since the final assault on Donetsk Airport at this time last year.

Furthermore, over the last few days, we have seen the targeting of frontier checkpoints, which allow civilians to enter and leave separatist-held territory, by Russian-backed fighters, raising the possibility that the government may be forced to close these vital passages to avoid casualties.

The January 13 call, put forth by the new Russian representative at the Minsk peace talks, Boris Gryzlov, for an immediate, total ceasefire has clearly amounted to nothing.

The Ukrainian and separatist leaderships are pursuing diametrically opposed plans regarding the holding of local elections in the occupied regions of the Donbass—a key element of the Minsk cease-fire agreements.
While Kiev, and the text of the Minsk deal itself, says the elections must be held in accordance with Ukrainian law, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), last week restated his commitment to barring all major Ukrainian political parties and conducting the votes under DNR ‘law.’

The prospects for another element of the Minsk process—the exchange of prisoners of war, are looking gloomy too. On January 28 the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation to Ukraine, Alain Aeschlimann, told reporters that his organization had been allowed access to only four of the 133 Ukrainian prisoners the separatists claim to hold.

On January 25 former President Leonid Kuchma, the lead Ukrainian negotiator in direct talks with the Russian-backed separatists, said that he now thinks that many of those prisoners are already dead. The separatists are, he suggested, using the negotiations over the number of prisoners to stall and buy time.

All this comes amidst a grim backdrop. The ICRC says that over a thousand people are still missing as a result of the conflict in the Donbass, and disease, fostered by a breakdown in infrastructure and thousands of casualties caused by the fighting, is spreading rapidly.

Ukraine (as well as southern Russia) is now in the grips of an epidemic of H1N1 variant flu, which has infected 18 regions of the country and killed at least 171 people. Schools have been closed indefinitely in Kharkiv. In separatist-held Donetsk, well over 2,000 people have turned to doctors with complaints of viral respiratory infections so far this year. The sister Lugansk “People’s Republic” reports an even worse situation, with more than 10,000 people infected and dozens of quarantine zones introduced. Both Eduard Basurin, a DNR military spokesman, and Vadim Solovyov, an MP in the Russian State Duma, have claimed that the flu outbreak in Ukraine originated from an American biological warfare facility in government-controlled Kharkiv.

This of course, combined with a (most likely Russian) cyber attack that caused a blackout late last year and the stand-off at the frontier with occupied Crimea over imports, only adds to the deep-seated mistrust between Kiev and the Russian side.

Yet on January 22, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that sanctions on Russia could be lifted within “these next months” if the Minsk agreements were implemented in full.Leaving aside the fact that sanctions were first introduced in response to Russia’s occupation and annexation of Crimea—a completely separate issue on which there is not even a hint of progress, Kerry’s suggestion that Minsk could be fully realized in the space of a few months is absurd.

Poroshenko has said that there must be a ceasefire before the “special status” law, that would establish semi-autonomy for the occupied areas of the Donbass and establish the legal framework for local elections, comes into effect. And even if those highly contested electoral plans come to fruition, the Minsk agreements stipulate the withdrawal of all foreign (i.e. Russian) forces from Ukraine and the return of government control of all of the border with Russia before full implementation looks near.
Kerry’s hint at rapprochement is part of a wider trend.

The German and Finnish governments continue to pursue the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with the Russian state gas monopoly Gazprom, a policy that flies in the face of moves to achieve European energy independence and is opposed by Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states.

In the UK, despite a devastating conclusion from the public inquiry into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, which found that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) had organized the radiological assassination, and that then FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev and even President Vladimir Putin himself had “probably” ordered it, the government has refrained from rocking the boat.

During the House of Commons debate that followed the publication of the Litvinenko Inquiry report, the home secretary, Theresa May, opposed calls from across the house for the introduction of a British equivalent to the US Magnitsky Act — a broad sanctions bill aimed at corrupt and human rights-abusing Russian officials — and announced little more than the lukewarm punitive measure of freezing any UK assets belonging to the two assassins, who have been living under Kremlin protection (one as an MP) for almost a decade since the murder.

The reason for both Kerry and May’s soft approach to Russia derives from Western hopes that Putin will be of assistance in Syria. “We will continue to call on President Putin for Russia, as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, to engage responsibly and make a positive contribution to global security and stability,” May said. “They can, for example, play an important role in defeating [ISIS] and, together with the wider international community, help Syria work towards a stable future.”

But this means turning a blind eye not only to the killing of Litvinenko, but Russia's annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbass for the sake of a hope that Putin may be turned to work with the West on Syria. If Russia can, with impunity, use radioactive polonium to murder a British citizen in London or shoot down a passenger airliner over Ukraine, then how can we collaborate on “serious crime” or “aviation security?”
The hope here is profoundly misplaced.

While Russia “could” play an important role in fighting ISIS, they are not and have used the cover story of doing so to further aims that run directly contrary to the (publicly stated, at least) aims of the UK, US and France. The vast majority of Russian air strikes in Syria are aimed not at ISIS-held territory, but areas controlled by opposition groups. This includes US-supplied Free Syrian Army units. When they do carry out strikes in ISIS-held land, they bomb water treatment plants and grain silos, which the Russian Ministry of Defense attempts to pass off as oil refineries. Meanwhile, there are reports that Russia actually spent the years prior to the direct military intervention last September dispatching domestic jihadists to wage war in Syria with groups including ISIS itself.

The worst effect of this is that by devastating the opposition, which includes both nationalists and Islamists of shades varying from moderate to the fundamentalist, while leaving ISIS relatively unscathed, Putin and Bashar al-Assad are ensuring that the moderates are squeezed out and the jihadists' appeal to bombed and abused Sunnis is strengthened.

Furthermore, if the Assad regime succeeds, with the help of Russian air and ground forces, in retaking rebel-held areas like Idlib and Aleppo, then the refugee crisis that is already causing a breakdown in the EU Schengen system of free movement will worsen dramatically. It is by no means a stretch to say that the breakup of the European Union is a foreign policy goal for the Kremlin. Russia has fostered relationships with far-right Eurosceptic parties across the EU, with the virulent, neo-Vichyist Front National even receiving millions of euros from a Kremlin-linked Russian bank. This month has even seen Russian state TV spreading a fabricated story of a German teenager being gang-raped by immigrants and the Russian embassy in London posting starkly racist tweets about Germany being trampled beneath the feet of migrants.

Western governments now appear set to ignore Russian malfeasance, not only in Ukraine and Syria, but at home in the EU, for the sake of fantasy and financial gain.

Russian Militants Continue Using Heavy Weapons. Opened fire 55 times in last 24 hours.…

Outlaw 09

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 4:41am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Non linear proxies are hard at work in Syria.....under the Russian guidance and supported by Russian troops, tanks, artillery and the RuAF.....

Tomorrow :
An interview with the prisoners from #Hezbollah in #Aleppo
Interview will be released in English as well.........[/B]

Unconfirmed reports #Hizbullah is pressing @mtvlebanon not to air @carolmalouf's interview with Hizb POWs tomorrow

Carol Malouf ‏@carolmalouf Lebanon
Carol Malouf

WHAT is it that Hezbollah does not want the West especially the US see and hear........????

Maybe the non linear warfare being conducted by Iran.....?

Outlaw 09

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 4:28am

It has been over 18 months since Russian non linear warfare hit Ukraine full force and the US was left standing bascually in the dust as this WH attempted initially to respond via their legacy concept of soft power/do not get involved in a war/it is not in our interests approach to negotiations with Putin......NOW with Syria we seen a full court press on the removal of western ie US influence (political and military) in Europe and ME.

I have stated here many times Putin's use of non linear warfare or what some call a step below for war is geo politically three fold.

1. damage and discredit NATO
2. damage and discredit the EU
3. disconnect the US full from Europe and ME replacing the US sphere of influence with a Russian sphere

We are well on our way of seeing Putin achieve this...his main concern is no longer the US response which has been mainly a disaster.....BUT can he hang on long enough to save his own core economy which is crashing as we speak...because to "win politically and militarily" but have no economy to sustain "that win" is failure in Putin's eyes.

This is an interesting para out of the article.

What role does conventional power play in hybrid warfare?

I think it plays a very important role. Recall that I see hybrid warfare as a marriage of insurgent tactics and conventional military deterrence. Insurgent tactics are useful because the belligerent can claim that certain actions that happen within the target state’s borders are the result of indigenous forces acting on their own volition. Conventional military deterrence enters into the equation because the target might suspect the involvement of the belligerent, anyway. However, it does not want to escalate the situation further because it knows it would lose a direct military confrontation.

Herein lies the paradox: insurgent tactics offer a means for the belligerent to avoid a direct military conflict with its target, yet conventional military deterrence works only when the target believes that the belligerent will use its military power. I argue that, more likely than not, the target will not take the risk that the belligerent is bluffing. Another possibility is that the belligerent is trying to confound international audiences so as to deter an external intervention on behalf of the target state.

This WH has from the beginning of the Russian annexation of Syria not fully realized it is part and parcel of the same two front non linear war Putin is fighting against the US/West.

Why do I use the term "annexation of Syria" thoroughly the Russian SOFA signed on August 2015 BEFORE he sent in his AF. Regardless of the so called "peace talks in Geneva"...Putin is not planning anytime soon to leave Syria.

This is the connection the WH has not been able to see ALL the WHILE claiming they have a "successful Syrian strategy" but "you and I just do not get it".

BREAKING: #Russia to continue bombing #Syria until it defeats 'terrorist organizations': Lavrov – AFP
That´s what happens when you´re sponsor of "Peace Talks" and active war party simultaneously.

The exact same tactic was used in Minsk 2 agreement talks....Russia kept right on attacking the UAF and continued their Russian army advance on and capture of Debaltseve which was Ukrainian as determined by Minsk 2 BUT Putin demanded it handed to him.

There is an inherent linkage between Ukraine and Syria...this WH just does not want to believe it......

The Lavrov statement this morning is telling....YESTERDAY Russia openly stated JaI and Sham can attend the Geneva talks but the language of the Russian military was in excess of 400 air strikes and a major offensive unleashed on FSA ........just as in Debaltseve.

AND what was the Obama/Kerry response....silence.....

Madhu (not verified)

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 10:36pm

Hybrid warfare is proxy conflict and if NATO couldn't figure it out in Afghanistan, it's unlikely to do so in Eastern Europe, except there is a nuclear umbrella both ways. Dangerous. Border forces and border control coupled with better governance might be interesting but no big contracts in that. I rarely hear about cross border trade or budgets of the smaller states. Anyway, the Borg always wins so I'm a fool to continue caring about any of it.