The U.S. was attacked by Saudi-funded and trained terrorists on September 11, 2001. The American government declared “War against Terrorism” and promised justice for the innocent victims of that attack. More than 14 years have passed since that horrible day.
Meanwhile, the kick-off date for Russia’s own “War against Terrorism” was September 30, 2015. A mere hundred days have passed since then.
As this piece by correspondent Viktor Baranets, in Komsomolskaya Pravda, points out, it has been 100 days since Russia began her air war against ISIS terrorist targets in Syria.
This makes for a good milestone to take stock. How is the war going? What metrics do we use to measure success or failure? And how does Russia’s “War on Terror” compare to America’s?
And, by the way, Inquiring Minds also want to know: Is the USA
(a) really THAT underachieving when it comes to fighting terrorism, or
(b) are they basically just faking it?
[Hint hint: The correct answer is (b).]
Metric #1: Physical Territory Controlled By Terrorists
Since August of 2014 Americans claimed to put together a coalition of over 60 countries (in reality, only 5-6 countries supplied bomber jets) to bomb ISIS targets in Syria. [Without persmission of the Syrian government, one might add.]
During that period of time, ISIS expanded their control over physical Syrian territory from 30% to 70%.
Due to this poor and in fact counter-productive outcome, Russian Major-General Viktor Bondarev concluded that Americans were only pretending to fight against the terrorists.
Compare and contrast: In the last 30 days, the Russian air force, along with assistance from cruise-missile carrying ships in the Caspian and Mediterranean Seas, have unleashed upon the terrorists one and half times more rocket and bomb strikes than the American coalition did in a full year. In this short period of time, Russian air strikes have destroyed over 1100 objects in the terrorist inventory: supply caches, arsenals, factories, command and control points, training camps, etc. In this way, the Syrian army, with Russian air support, has managed to win back almost 30% of the territory previously lost to the terrorist side. [See the accompanying map in KP.]
Metric #2: Economic Assets Of Terrorists
In the past 100 days the ISIS terrorists have lost more than 30% of their profits from the sale of stolen Syrian oil to Turkey. Russian air strikes have destroyed giant cisterns full of contraband oil – enough to compare with a week’s output of three major oil-refining facilities.
Suffering from this sudden economic hardship, ISIS commanders have had to cut the salaries of their soldiers – from around $500-1000 per month, down to only $200 a month.
On the other side of the ledger: According to American experts themselves, the Russian operation in Syria, while not cheap, is running about 2-4 times cheaper than [the ineffectual one] of the U.S.
Metric #3: Political Successes
One of the main outcomes of Russian air strikes has been to force ISIS to roll back their grandiose political ambitions. Many of the rank-and-file boneheads fighting on the ISIS side are Salafist takfiri who take all too seriously their goal of a Sharia “Caliphate” across the Middle East. Their religious goals dovetailed with American political goals to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad via “colour revolution“. And yeah, they probably would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling Russians. But now it is clear: Assad’s fate will be decided by the Syrian people, not on the battlefield, but at the ballot box, through free and fair elections. Already, this is a huge political success for Russia.
Not only that, but many people around the world watch this Russian operation, not just with sympathy, but also with hope. Hope that peace can finally come to the Middle East, and the conflict resolved with a reasonable, not horrible, outcome, as happened in Libya.
Prognosis: Nobody Promised Us A Rose Garden
In conclusion, Baranets writes, nobody is under any illusion that the victory will be quick, or easy. The bottom line: As in any war, the ultimate resolution happens on the ground, not in the air. And Russia has zero intention of fielding ground troops. That part is up to the Syrian army itself. Hence, the air war will continue, probably for months, if not years. But already one can say that the plot to murder Assad has been thwarted. Syria will NOT be partitioned into competing ethnic/religious-based fiefdoms led by blood-soaked warlords. Syria will remain a unitary, secular state. The Al-Nusrats and Headchopper gangs will eventually be driven out. Russia is busy saving the world from the “black [jihadi] plague” of the 21st century, just as she saved the world from the “brown [fascist] plague”, back in 1945.