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You know creating a forum thread is free,  right? 

Unlike freedom, which costs around 1.05.  

As far as being on topic, I'd like to see some more run down in the supported unit-rotary wing relationship, and the air-ground coordination piece.   

As far as off topic though:

Sgt Joch:

I couldn't have written a less informed, less intelligent post if I was being paid to.  While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, I am equally entitled to state just how silly I find it to be.

As to  your first point, that's all well and good (and disputable), however could you show me how the Syrian government forces have behaved better than those two groups?

As to the second one....oh good god I don't even know where to start.  Syria is top to bottom someone else's problem and largely on the periphery of US interest outside of ISIS and whatever commitment we have to human rights.  And frankly neither of those are even close to being sufficient to spin up the 150,000+ soldiers required for such a mission (number is based on the ground forces present in Iraq, which was still not really enough...and still a much easier problemset than Syria is). 

Expecting the US to ride in, sacrifice a few thousand more US servicepeople, and trillions of dollars to fight a multi-polar counter-insurgency conflict, and likely a short high intensity conflict simply because we are America and this is now somehow our problem is frankly moronic, and I will not stoop low enough to leave any semblance of doubt that it might be anything but quite possibly one of the dumbest ideas for resolving the Syrian crisis that I have heard.

As to your third point, French neo-colonialism is not a good model for long lasting internal security and strength.  The US has little interest, or desire to become the defacto military and security force for the middle east (and I imagine the Arab world is rather disinterested in that arrangement too), and frankly French operations in Mali are a terrible analogy for anything except for French operations in Mali.  The degrees of complexity in Iraq, and Afghanistan, let alone Syria dwarf the fighting in Mali to the degree is is simply not even a reasonable comparison and only someone lacking a passing understanding of all four conflicts would deem fit to make it.  

All and all I do now have to wonder about the state of the Canadian education system however.  

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The original topic is basically dead ended.  I'd rather keep the morphed discussion here and if there is anything to add about helicopter tactics have a new thread started with that information being presented as the first post.

sorry JK, but a few more points:

1. it does not make much sense to keep talking about the "Free Syrian Army". According to most observers, after 4 years of civil war and internal strife, it is no longer a player. The two main non-ISIL rebel groups are Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham. A good summary here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/who-is-russia-bombing-in-syria-the-groups-set-for-fight-to-the-death-isis-al-nusra-a6675751.html

It exists, it holds key territory, therefore it is a player.  Why do you think Assad and Russia are targeting it?  Now, is it capable of defeating the other groups?  No.  But the other groups aren't showing any more signs of defeating each other than the FSA is.

Now if you drill down and take a hard look at both groups, you will see there is not much of a difference between them and ISIL. Do you really want to give them advanced SAM/AT systems? If you do, don't be surprised if 6 months from now those same weapons are being used against U.S. assets.

You are aware that whomever weapons are given to, they wind up somewhere else.  Right?  Russian forces on the ground have complained that Assad's forces are selling their Russian stuff to people they are fighting against.

2. It really is time for the U.S. to step up and send in ground troops as part of an international force to restore order and set up a transitional government. Yes, Iraq was a mistake, blah, blah, blah, but if ever there was a case for international intervention, Syria 2015 is it. The U.S. has to realise that since the end of the Cold War, it "owns" the Middle East. If the U.S. is not going to step in and restore order as required, then don't be surprised if Russia or China are more than willing to fill the void.

I think Panzersaurkrautwerfer was being a little kind in his remarks :)  The US can not fix this problem by invading, even if it could muster the political will to do it (which it absolutely can not).  Even if it did invade it would require not making all the same mistakes it made in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The list is extremely long and some of the fixes would no doubt have you complaining quite loudly (i.e. full US military occupation with absolutely no local civilian government for 5 years and no sovereignty for at least 20+ years).

As for Russia and China filling the gaps... good luck to them if they try.  Which they won't.  Even Russia's actions as of late are token only.  They will have no strategic impact.  Russia certainly isn't going to put 150,000 troops into Syria.  It would struggle to put even 10,000 in place for any more than a few months, which isn't going to do anything.

China is not an interventionist state nor are they capable of being one.

 

3. The U.S. has to take a page from French foreign policy. France has taken responsibility for North/Central Africa for over 50 years and has no problem sending in gound troops as required to kick butt and restore order, like they did in Mali in 2013. French foreign policy is consistent, no matter what party is in power and it is not driven by domestic political considerations as is so often the case in the U.S.A.

I agree with Panzersaurkrautwerfer that the French neo-colonial system is not a particularly good model.  I also think you're being quite naive to think that domestic political considerations have no role in French actions outside of its borders.  Quite the opposite as you'd quickly see if there was a call for 150,000 French soldiers to be deployed for active combat operations lasting several years.

4. how you deal with Islamic militants:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Serval#French_Army

 

I fail to see anything in that link that pertains to Syria in any way, shape, or form.

Steve

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Panzerkrautwoofer,

your post has once more convinced me that you are one of the less intelligent and more obtuse member on this forum, but then you are a product of the U.S. education system.

In Mali, France:

1. got a unanimous resolution adopted by the Security Council, including with the support of Russia and China;

2. convinced the military junta in power to hand power back to a democratic government;

3. with a maximum of 5,000 French ground personnel, and other allied ground and support personnel, reconquered all of Mali in 1 month.

Meanwhile the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIL has been going on for 16 months with not much to show for it.

Mali is 6 times the size of Syria and has 80% of the population, are you really telling me that the U.S. military is so inefficient and so bad at coalition building that they would need 30 times as many troops.

The aim is not to create a western liberal democracy in Syria, but merely to come up with something better and more stable than simply handing power to a bunch of Islamic radicals.

Current U.S. policy in Syria is a failure and thinking that if it works, it will actually lead to a good result is just another form of insanity. The problem in Washington is not a lack of resources, but a lack of imagination.

p.s. - I can sling insults with the best of them, so if that is where you want to go, take your shot rookie.

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It exists, it holds key territory, therefore it is a player.  Why do you think Assad and Russia are targeting it?  Now, is it capable of defeating the other groups?  No.  But the other groups aren't showing any more signs of defeating each other than the FSA is.

 

Steve,

again it is not that clear:

The existence of the Free Syrian Army as an actual operational armed group has been called into question: British journalist Robert Fisk of The Independent, in an interview from March 2015 on Lateline, said he believed that the army did not actually exist,[21] an assertion he repeated in October 2015.[22]Rami Jarrah claimed, 'There is no such thing as the Free Syrian Army, people still use the term in Syria to make it seem like the rebels have some sort of structure. But there really isn’t.'[23] In October 2015, Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn stated that "The Free Syrian Army was always a mosaic of fractions and is now largely ineffectual."[221]

In 2013 U.S. "senior military officials" speaking on condition of anonymity indicated that the Pentagon estimates that "extreme Islamist groups" constitute “more than 50 percent” of the Free Syrian Army with the percentage "growing by the day" and NBC added that the FSA "is an army in name only. It is made up of hundreds of small units, some secular, some religious – whether mainstream or radical. Others are family gangs, or simply criminals."[222] Commentators have suggested that "few media outlets are willing to say that out loud, but..there is no Free Syrian Army. It's an umbrella for providing Western aid to a front group run by the Muslim Brotherhood."[223]

In October 2015, Dan Glazebrook, an author and columnist for The Guardian[224] and the Independent[225] in the UK, told RT "The whole business about funding moderate rebels has always been a bit of a fantasy. There is nothing moderate about what they are being trained to do. There is nothing moderate about forming a militia and then going and killing as many police and soldiers of a sovereign state as you can. The Free Syrian Army – the so-called moderate rebels – celebrated their arrival in Aleppo for example by planting 2,000-kilo bombs in the city center and looting the city’s schools. This whole idea of moderate rebels was always a myth."[226]

The number of US backed fighters in the Free Syrian Army has been criticized after it was admitted by a top U.S. general that they only numbered four or five troops.[227]

In October 2015, shortly after Russia′s intervention, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov referred to the Free Syrian Army as being "an already phantom structure", adding that he was waiting to receive any specific information about it from his U.S. counterpart John Kerry

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Syrian_Army#Criticism_and_questions_about_actual_existence

 

it is wiki, but backed up by a lot of interesting articles.

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Mali is 6 times the size of Syria and has 80% of the population, are you really telling me that the U.S. military is so inefficient and so bad at coalition building that they would need 30 times as many troops.

Current U.S. policy in Syria is a failure and thinking that if it works, it will actually lead to a good result is just another form of insanity. The problem in Washington is not a lack of resources, but a lack of imagination.

ugh so here goes the flamewar.

Anyways Joch didnt you say it was the US mandate to have to do something in Syria that America was obligated to? Id say that most Americans see the US picking up old colonial obligations or the idea of the 'white mans burden' as distasteful and unamerican, and nearly all of our efforts that largely have been more or less US imperial like policies such as Vietnam or the second Iraq war were pretty unpopular especially at the last word.

I also dont understand how you could say the US was obliged to go into Syria then go onto deride US ability to do anything of the sort. One would think if you thought the US was poor at such things you wouldnt qant the US anywhere near Syria.

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Nah politics wont ruin it. Open conversation is good until it denegrates into a flamewar. But politics have been discussed endlessly on these forums as far back as I remember which is September 1999 and Ive yet to see them or anything ruin the forum.

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Well, this is a disappointing death spiral to what could have been an interesting and branching topic. 

I don't know, Steve, allowing this kind of blatant, relentless hijacking of the thread isn't particularly fair to the OP or any interested readers of the original topic. 

Nothing is being gained or learned with letting this blinkered tit-for-tat accelerate in nastiness and insult count. 

Where's the incentive to start a new tactics discussion if overwrought political and personalized bitching is going to be allowed bring it to a burning, flame war halt? This thread has long passed the point of reasonable digression.

Threads are free. Go start a new one. 

Please Stop being selfish, rude and inconsiderate. 

 

Edited by kinophile

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Nah politics wont ruin it. Open conversation is good until it denegrates into a flamewar. But politics have been discussed endlessly on these forums as far back as I remember which is September 1999 and Ive yet to see them or anything ruin the forum.

Damn, Sublime, you are certainly a divisive character. The minute you show up in a thread people start throwing the P word around, and talking about abusive, nasy comments. Perhaps an anger management program would suit you? :P

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Well, this is a disappointing death spiral to what could have been an interesting and branching topic. 

Could have been, but...

I don't know, Steve, allowing this kind of blatant, relentless hijacking of the thread isn't particularly fair to the OP or any interested readers of the original topic. 

I've been managing this Forum for more than 15 years now.  I can tell you that this thread's original topic died several pages ago due to a lack of input, not because there was a change in what was being posted.  If I booted everybody out of this thread who wasn't talking about helicopters I bet there's be no meaningful continuation of the discussion.  Therefore, I see no reason to stop a discussion simply because it's not the original topic.

Nothing is being gained or learned with letting this blinkered tit-for-tat accelerate in nastiness and insult count. 

Where's the incentive to start a new tactics discussion if overwrought political and personalized bitching is going to be allowed bring it to a burning, flame war halt? This thread has long passed the point of reasonable digression.

Threads are free. Go start a new one. 

Please Stop being selfish, rude and inconsiderate. 

 

Actually, I find your posts more aggressive than the ones you are complaining about ;)  I also think your definition of "nastiness" and "insult" is far too low.  So far the discussion has been very civil and not personal.  That might be changing, and nobody would be too surprised if it did, but until then I don't mind it continuing.

Steve

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I got to say that I understand where Kino is coming from. Talking about politics always has the potential to get nasty, mainly because no matter how objective we try to be in our critical discussion it does always end up boiling down to where a person stands really. Many people prefrr tonleave politics put of as mich as they can because of this. Having said tha,t I don't see a problem with letting people talk about it so long as it remains civil. After all warfare is essentially a continuation of politics and it would be difficult to talk about modern cases without divierging into talks about international politics every now and then. I don't get involved in these talks, sometimes they get a bit too close to home but I can't deny that reading them I often learn of new insights and perspectives on things as well as gaining new sources of information which is invaluable.

 

Speaking of Intel sources. Does anyone know of reliable info on how many missions US and Allies are making  against ISIS? Daily or since the start of operation or anything?

Ive always been getting the feeling that not as much seems to be being done as in other air operations in the not too distant past, which in turn may imply that dismantling ISIS asap is not really that much the main goal/motive.  If this is true it may come down to the very different situations on the ground and the difficulty of picking targets?

 

Edit: sorry if this is way too off topic

Edited by Luka

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It really is time for the U.S. to step up and send in ground troops as part of an international force to restore order and set up a transitional government. Yes, Iraq was a mistake, blah, blah, blah, but if ever there was a case for international intervention, Syria 2015 is it.

"blah, blah, blah"? Spoken like someone who was never there. There is no way, no how an American peacekeeping force is going to be deployed to Syria in an attempt to restore order.

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First, in order to keep this post up to the standards of being trolling, you're all total nazis of whatever sexual orientation you find most offensive, and should bow down and give physical pleasure to my wookie.

Now that's out of the way, I will endeavor to remain somewhat civil.

 

1. got a unanimous resolution adopted by the Security Council, including with the support of Russia and China;

Now why did that happen?  Do you think it might have less to do with France and more to do with Mali's position within Russian and Chinese interests?  Do you think reasonably given the divisive nature of Syria that you will get Russia and Iran (both totally behind the Shia minority), Turkey, virtually every Sunni Arab state (totally opposed to Shia rule) and the West (totally opposed to both the Assad Regime, and a Sunni theocracy) that a similar vote is possible?

I would contend it is not.  Mali was unanimous because the Russian-Chinese interests in the region are not in conflict with French intentions rather than some majestic ninja French skills.  This does not at all carry over to Syria because there's massively conflicting interests that are frankly mutually exclusive.  The French tried very hard to present a unified anti-Assad front after the chemical strikes, and they failed mightily.


 

2. convinced the military junta in power to hand power back to a democratic government;

Again is this because France is amazing, or because the French-Mali relationship is something that is a direct result of French neo-colonialism?  I will contend with no small amount of justification that the sort of soft power the French have with the military junta is directly because of the degree Mali depends on the French for support in all things.  The US has no such soft power with any of the parties in the Syrian conflict (not at all with the Assad family, none with ISIS, and the FSA training thing shows a very limited amount of actual control over those guys) and it would be foolish to extend that model outside of its French-Mali context.

 

3. with a maximum of 5,000 French ground personnel, and other allied ground and support personnel, reconquered all of Mali in 1 month.

With complete support of the Mali government, with significant US logistical support, against an enemy many times weaker than parts of the FSA, let alone ISIS and the Syrian government.  They're not at all alike, there'd certainly be a minor conventional force on force fight against the Syrian loyalists, there'd be a fairly massive COIN type fight against the FSA, and ISIS would be a whole bag of suck in its own right.  Mali was a much simpler fight, against a much less capable enemy.  
 


Meanwhile the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIL has been going on for 16 months with not much to show for it.

This is true to an extent, however the US goal isn't to totally defeat ISIS by itself, inherit another long lasting nation building conflict at the cost of trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.  It's to make ISIS less effective and allow it to be destroyed eventually by regional forces because it just is not worth the bones of one Minnesota Grenadier to paraphrase a dead German.  US air power has allowed the Kurds to keep in the fight, turn back ISIS in places, and has allowed what little success the Iraqis to have against ISIS to occur.  

It's a low-risk, low-reward strategy.  However that's what the American government, and American people will support.

 

Mali is 6 times the size of Syria and has 80% of the population, are you really telling me that the U.S. military is so inefficient and so bad at coalition building that they would need 30 times as many troops.

Here's why I have some concern about your understanding of warfare.

Population density is what matters in terms of maintaining control over a population.  In a wider more open country it is easier to contain population centers.  Mali is easier to either protect loyal populations, or contain spots of resistance.  It's why in the larger sense the problems in Iraqi weren't in the hinterlands, they were in the cities, because in built up demographically diverse areas, denying the enemy "key terrain" is much more difficult.  You need a lot more forces because you'll have to go full Baghdad and T-Wall up major population centers.  COIN is very expensive in terms of manpower, and what the French did is not the same.


The question isn't needing 30 times as many people to achieve the same, distinctly because it is not the same conflict or terrain.

 

The aim is not to create a western liberal democracy in Syria, but merely to come up with something better and more stable than simply handing power to a bunch of Islamic radicals.

That is fine.  However simply reinstating the Assad regime is not practical for a variety of tactical, strategic, or geopolitical reasons.  Simply handing power back to Assad will not answer the mail in terms of stopping ISIS, nor will the various players in Syria that are anti-Assad stop trying to off him simply because we've now put ourselves in the line of fire.

The solution needs to be something inclusive of all parties.  We're not there yet because Assad still thinks he'll one day return as king of all Syrians.  FSA still believes it's going to do like five different things depending on the various groups you talk to.  ISIS will never be ready to talk.

There needs to be an outcome, but it won't be an outcome delivered at an outside power's bayonets.  


 

Current U.S. policy in Syria is a failure and thinking that if it works, it will actually lead to a good result is just another form of insanity. The problem in Washington is not a lack of resources, but a lack of imagination.

There's a saying I'm fond of along the lines of "never petting a burning dog."  The US policy is largely based around avoiding commitment beyond what we're comfortable with, and with knocking ISIS around.  ISIS is our primary focus.  We largely sat out most of the Syrian conflict because it really is Someone Else's Problem, beyond again, low-risk low-reward attempts to shape the outcome in our favor, why should we commit to more?  What possible reason beyond "owning" the middle east (which many, myself included would contend is not at all the case, or a desirable outcome)  should the US commit to years more of war?

 

p.s. - I can sling insults with the best of them, so if that is where you want to go, take your shot rookie.

 

I will not deny you can sling insults, but I would be very interested to see you sling something relevant or well reasoned for a change.  

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Steve,

again it is not that clear:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Syrian_Army#Criticism_and_questions_about_actual_existence

 

it is wiki, but backed up by a lot of interesting articles.

And not relevant to the point.  Whether you consider FSA as a tangible organization or as a moniker for a collection of groups that are not fighting for Assaid, are not Kurds, nor ISIS, or nor Al Nusra is not important.  What is important is that forces that are collectively referred to as FSA do exist and they do pose a major threat to the Assad regime because they occupy key terrain near the heart of Assad's regime.  FSA, however, does not pose as much of a problem for Al Nusra, and not very much at all to ISIS.  It is why Russia spent most of it's initial bombing campaign on the FSA members and not ISIS or Al Nusra.

Steve

 

Current U.S. policy in Syria is a failure and thinking that if it works, it will actually lead to a good result is just another form of insanity. The problem in Washington is not a lack of resources, but a lack of imagination.

I agree they lack imagination, but what you're suggesting is fantasizing.  First, the American people will not support a war in Syria because it is perceived as "not our problem".  Considering the present and past admins have, and continue, to screw up both Afghanistan and Iraq (both perceived as "our problem" I think the skepticism is warranted.  Especially since Syria is far worse than either of those two conflicts in terms of the conditions a US led force would face.  Er, that's even suggesting that Russia and China would agree to it, which I strongly suggest they would vehemently oppose.  Unless, of course, that the US explicitly fights on the side of a mass murdering dictator.  Refer back to comments about how the US population will never accept that.  And frankly, neither would Canada, UK, France, and pretty much any other country that the US is allied with and would need help from.

p.s. - I can sling insults with the best of them, so if that is where you want to go, take your shot rookie.

Comments like this are not going to keep this thread open, that's for sure.

As for your way-off-the-mark Mali example goes, I think it's been sufficiently had the stuffings knocked out of it so I won't pile on.  Mali is more of example of what can not be achieved with Syria rather than some sort of blueprint for success.

Steve

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I got to say that I understand where Kino is coming from...Having said tha,t I don't see a problem with letting people talk about it so long as it remains civil. After all warfare is essentially a continuation of politics and it would be difficult to talk about modern cases without divierging into talks about international politics every now and then. I don't get involved in these talks, sometimes they get a bit too close to home but I can't deny that reading them I often learn of new insights and perspectives on things as well as gaining new sources of information which is invaluable.

I also understand where Kino is coming from and that is why I do shut down most politics threads most of the time.  However, my "having said that" points are the same as yours.

Threads that are just about politics pretty much get a lock right away.  Threads which are about policies which determine or influence military matters... those are theoretically OK.  If it dips into personal attacks instead of substance then it is closed.  We're not there yet with this one, but it's getting close.  If I didn't know the people involved have thick skins I'd have closed it already.

 

Speaking of Intel sources. Does anyone know of reliable info on how many missions US and Allies are making  against ISIS? Daily or since the start of operation or anything?

No idea.  The mission count isn't very important IMHO.  What is more important is what sorts of results they are achieving.  That's difficult to assess and when assessed it must be in context of the intended outcome.  In this case, the non-Russian airstrikes are more-or-less designed to prevent ISIS from advancing, the Russian airstrikes are more-or-less designed to prevent Assad from falling.  Neither is pursuing a strategy for rolling back ISIS.  To do that would require a much larger ground force than what is available at present.

To bring this into CM context (at least a little), it's like assessing a defender's airstrike within a Black Sea scenario where the defender is trying to hold onto a key bridge or piece of high ground.  The strike, at best, can have a strategic impact only to the extent that bridge or chunk of hill has strategic significance.  It should be judged based on that, not if the attacker's ability to wage war in total is damaged.

Ive always been getting the feeling that not as much seems to be being done as in other air operations in the not too distant past, which in turn may imply that dismantling ISIS asap is not really that much the main goal/motive.  If this is true it may come down to the very different situations on the ground and the difficulty of picking targets?

You are correct that nobody is pursuing a strategy to dismantle ISIS in the short term.  The only way to do that is to mount a massive offensive involving tens of thousands of ground forces with a follow up occupation force that is probably three times larger.  Anything short of that will fail.  Since no such force exists, nor is there any will by any major player to commit that sort of force (that includes even Iran), ISIS can not be quickly defeated.  What it can do is burn itself out under pressure of others.  There are indications that it is already beginning to go down that road.  Unfortunately, it is not a short road nor one without a lot of horrible twists, turns, bumps, etc.

Steve

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Threads which are about policies which determine or influence military matters... those are theoretically OK.  If it dips into personal attacks instead of substance then it is closed.  We're not there yet with this one, but it's getting close.  If I didn't know the people involved have thick skins I'd have closed it already.

Fair enough.

 

 

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ok, now that that is over, let's get back to the discussion.

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I don't believe the U.S. will ever send any combat troops into Syria, not under this President any way.

Second, the Syrian civil war has been going on for 4 years and is no closer to being resolved. The current policy is not working IMHO, so nothing wrong with doing some "what ifs" CMSF was a "what if" about the invasion of Syria after it was taken over by Islamic terrorists. Prescience?

Third, U.S. forces would have to be involved for the simple reason that if the U.S. does not go in, no other NATO ally will. However, if the U.S. did commit ground forces, there is a good chance other NATO countries (i.e. UK, France, maybe Germany) would as well.

more to follow...

 

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now I am not the only one saying Mali 2013 is relevant:

As with ISIS in Iraq, this syndicate of non-state armed groups in Mali succeeded in overwhelming Malian government forces. Similar to what ISIS has thus far achieved in Iraq, MNLA and Ansar Dine seized major cities in northern Mali, including Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu. In response, the UN Security Council passed a number of resolutions that provided international legal authority for an armed intervention. This led, ultimately, to Operation Serval – a French-led multinational engagement in Mali that included regional components and has been largely viewed as successful. This multinational effort was coupled with capacity-building efforts by numerous international partners.

While there are certainly differences between Iraq and Mali, there is reason to believe that a similar multinational effort in Iraq will yield similar results.

» Dan Stigall is an attorney with the US Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs. He previously served in Iraq with the US Army JAG Corps. He is the author of Counterterrorism and the Comparative Law of Investigative Detention.

http://globalbrief.ca/blog/2014/11/07/%E2%80%9Cthe-islamic-state-of-iraq-and-syria-isis-is%E2%80%A6%C2%A0/

While newscasts of the conflict were dominated by the exploits of the French Foreign Legion and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) aircraft, the 1er Régiment d’Infanterie de Marine and the Régiment d’Infanterie Chars de Marine provided much of the muscle necessary to liberate northern Mali from extremist control. Each of the regiments, part of mechanized brigades designed to deploy on short notice, deployed a squadron of AMX-10 RCs (a wheeled, amphibious light reconnaissance vehicle) in support of Operation Serval. These vehicles, mounting 105mm cannon, gave French commanders the ability to strike with a high level of firepower, survivability and tactical mobility. These capabilities proved critical as they provided French forces with an asymmetric advantage over their opponents and allowed them to rapidly shift overwhelming combat power across Mali’s vast plains. The successful conclusion of Operation Serval in five months of combat validates the concept that rapidly deployable armored and mechanized forces can play a key role in limited contingency operations.

An elite armor/cavalry regiment, trained to partner with other “first responders” – such as the units of Special Operations Command or the global response force – and given priority for strategic lift assets would provide American policy-makers with a broader menu of landpower options when faced with the need to mount a contingency operation. Infantry-centric formations from units such as 82nd Airborne could be supplemented by detachments from an elite armor/cavalry regiment and provide an intervention force with a much higher level of lethality and survivability.

Such an enhancement to the nation’s rapid-intervention capabilities is warranted by recent developments. As the conflicts in Libya and Syria illustrate, contingency operations against state actors or non-state actors with access to advanced weaponry is becoming a distinct possibility. In such an operation, the unique capabilities of armored and mechanized forces would provide a twofold advantage. The superior speed and firepower associated with these formations enables combatant commanders to achieve decisive results in shorter timeframes while maintaining a level of contact on the human plane not provided by precision airpower. The enhanced protection offered by armored platforms within these formations would lead to lower casualty rates than would be expected in purely light formations.

In short, an elite armor/cavalry regiment would provide the ideal landpower option for contingencies in which minimizing casualties and the duration of combat operations were leading concerns.

1LT Kier Elmonairy is serving as the assistant S-3, training/plans, 1-91 Cavalry, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (A), Garrison Bavaria, Grafenwoehr, Germany. He also served as officer-in-charge of the company intelligence-support team, A Troop, 1-91 Cav, in Afghanistan, Schweinfurt, Germany, and Grafenwoehr; and platoon leader, 1st Platoon, A Troop, 1-91 Cav, in Afghanistan and Schweinfurt. 1LT Elmonairy’s military schooling includes Airborne School, Level I Combatives, Small Weapons Expert Course, Army Reconnaissance Course, Armor Basic Officer Leader’s Course, Company Intelligence Support Team Course and Air Assault School. He holds two bachelor’s of science degrees from the U.S. Military Academy – one in international relations and the other in defense and strategic studies.

 

 http://www.benning.army.mil/armor/earmor/content/issues/2014/MAR_JUN/Elmonairy.html

more to follow...

Edited by Sgt Joch

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Well, let's continue with the 5,000 man French victory in Mali, for just a moment.

If my history is correct, the Sykes-Picot accord granted France all of Syria. Call it a "protectorate" or whatever you'd like. France owned it. In that regard, since France owned it, France should be responsible for it.

I say we call for a UN Security Council resolution which makes France clean it up. They have to have a spare 5,000 men somewhere...

Okay, that's out of my system.

What US national interest is at stake in Syria? Once that is answered, the next question is, "can that national interest be saved/restored/protected?". If so, with what resources? How will that objective be known to have been attained? After gaining it, what will be needed to preserve it? Etc.

I think a negative response to any of that chain of reasoning would mean no US involvement.

 

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Damn, Sublime, you are certainly a divisive character. The minute you show up in a thread people start throwing the P word around, and talking about abusive, nasy comments. Perhaps an anger management program would suit you? :P

LMAO Fred.  Anger managements actually been tried, problem is when Im mad Im already mad. Anger management tells you to like... count to ten. Which would be great if I didnt go from fine to punching a wall in less than a second =D

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1LT Kier Elmonairy is serving as the assistant S-3, training/plans, 1-91 Cavalry, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (A), Garrison Bavaria, Grafenwoehr, Germany. He also served as officer-in-charge of the company intelligence-support team, A Troop, 1-91 Cav, in Afghanistan, Schweinfurt, Germany, and Grafenwoehr; and platoon leader, 1st Platoon, A Troop, 1-91 Cav, in Afghanistan and Schweinfurt. 1LT Elmonairy’s military schooling includes Airborne School, Level I Combatives, Small Weapons Expert Course, Army Reconnaissance Course, Armor Basic Officer Leader’s Course, Company Intelligence Support Team Course and Air Assault School. He holds two bachelor’s of science degrees from the U.S. Military Academy – one in international relations and the other in defense and strategic studies.

CPT Panzersaurkrautwerfer is serving on the Brigade Staff in a National Guard Brigade Combat team.  He also served as Company Commander for a forward stationed tank Company, X Company 2-9 IN 1 ABCT 2 ID, Battalion Plans Officer 2-9 IN 1 ABCT 2 ID, Squadron Assistant Operations officer 5-4 Cavalry 2 ABCT 1 ID, Troop Executive Officer X Troop 5-4 Cavalry 2 ABCT 1 ID, Platoon Leader X Troop 5-4 Cavalry 2 ABCT 1 ID, Staff Officer 5-4 Cavalry 2 HBCT 1 ID, Liaison Officer to Joint Operations Center with Iraqi Security Forces, and Platoon Leader X Troop 5-4 Cavalry 2 HBCT 1 ID.  He served on two separate deployments to Iraq in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, in addition to two years spent forward stationed at Camp Casey Korea.  His military education includes the Maneuver Captain's Career Course, Cavalry Leader's Course, Armor Officer's Basic Leader's Course, Basic Officer Leader's Course Phase II, the Commander's and First Sergeant's Course and he never mentions being Combatives Level One certified because only tools count that as a legitimate school.  If we're counting stupid schools he's also the owner of a USFK driver's license, and has the expired certification to run ranges from small arms to Bradley main gun systems on Fort Riley KS.   He has two Bachelors of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis on international relations, and one in history and has no idea why West Point counts International Relations as a Bachelors of Science.

He also has a dim view on just how much national level policy 1LT Elmonairy might have at his lofty peach as a First Lieutenant (although his heart is in the right place, as the ACR was something we need to bring back), or how much practical tactical understanding an Army lawyer might have.  He also thinks Sgt Joch would do really well to listen and accept input rather than digging himself a deeper hole.



 

Second, the Syrian civil war has been going on for 4 years and is no closer to being resolved. The current policy is not working IMHO, so nothing wrong with doing some "what ifs" CMSF was a "what if" about the invasion of Syria after it was taken over by Islamic terrorists. Prescience?
 

The US interest in region is keeping ISIS contained, which is sort of working (it hasn't been able to make significant advances) and keep a lid on the Syrian civil war (this failed, but I would argue because we did not follow up with even fairly modest measures back during the whole "line in the sand" fracas).  The current strategy still reflects this.  While I disagree with the rose tinted assessments our government issues, this is something where going boots on the ground will not lead to a better resolution.  It's like a runaway machine gun.  The best tactic isn't to try to stop the bullets, or open the cover and deal with the rounds cooking off, you try to stop the ammo being fed (by breaking the belt), and keep the whole mess pointed in a safe direction and wait for it to stop being dangerous.

The US interest in a peaceful Syria just frankly is not worth the sort of efforts it would take in terms of troops on the ground.  And the US, and most of its citizens do not recognize the sort of ownership of Syria you are ascribing to it (if anything Syria is "owned" by Russia and Iran, and has been for some years).  

 

Third, U.S. forces would have to be involved for the simple reason that if the U.S. does not go in, no other NATO ally will. However, if the U.S. did commit ground forces, there is a good chance other NATO countries (i.e. UK, France, maybe Germany) would as well.

This is sort of true.  However the actual input has varied, and looking at the balance of fighting in the last major NATO mission with ground troops, the bulk of the fighting, dying, and expenses fell on the American forces, and looking at our NATO allies, it's not a bill I feel (and apparently the American government at large feel) inclined to pay.

 

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Speaking of Intel sources. Does anyone know of reliable info on how many missions US and Allies are making  against ISIS? Daily or since the start of operation or anything?

Ive always been getting the feeling that not as much seems to be being done as in other air operations in the not too distant past, which in turn may imply that dismantling ISIS asap is not really that much the main goal/motive.  If this is true it may come down to the very different situations on the ground and the difficulty of picking targets?

~25% of strike sorties actually result in strikes.  Strike sorties do not count support, C4ISR, tankers, etc.  Wikipedia put the number of sorties in the 40,000+ mark back in July, so add on another 10k for good measure.  Pentagon reports and interviews with government officials that I have seen tend to agree with this general baseline.  Note that this is diluted by time.  I remember in the first month or so, there was an interview with the CAG on the Carl Vinson saying that they would take on hundreds of bombs per week to replenish stocks, and plenty of photos of Hornets coming back with empty pylons that didn't start that way.  Nowadays that's the exception to your average strike mission.  Back then ISIS operated a lot more in the open and enjoyed parading their tanks around.  A lot of coalition strikes then were more CAS oriented defending Kurds/Iraqis/whomever.

Since then, we've destroyed plenty of tanks/humvees/"hard assets" enough to the point where they are a lot smarter about hiding them and/or using them.  Most strikes these days are strikes of command centers, leaders, training hubs, and things of that nature.  Because of the nature of those targets, it takes a lot longer to pinpoint those coordinates to the point where we are comfortable putting a JDAM through the roof.  Obviously there are exceptions (True story: an ISIS fighter tweeted a geotagged selfie from a command center.  Guess what happened to that command center 6 hours later?). The problem is reliable targeting data from folks on the ground is hard to come by.  We can't exactly trust 100% of the people down there, obviously, unless they are coalition personnel.  And that requires a whole lot of risk and political workings to get right.

So yeah, air strikes aren't super effective in terms of dismantling ISIS in their current form, but they are the best low-risk, low-reward option and the only realistic US one that the American People (and military) would like.


A source:
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/may/28/john-mccain/john-mccain-says-75-airstrike-missions-against-isi/

We double-checked with the Pentagon, and two officials said that McCain got his numbers right.

As of May 27, 2015, the United States had flown approximately 15,600 strike-sorties resulting in approximately 4,198 strikes, said Cmdr. Elissa Smith, a spokeswoman with the Office of the Secretary of Defense. That works out to 27 percent -- slightly higher than the data McCain had, but close enough for our purposes.

Pentagon officials told PolitiFact that there was nothing unusual or surprising about that ratio.

"The fact that aircraft go on missions and don't strike anything is not out of the norm," said Air Force Capt. Andrew "Ender" Caulk of Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs. Despite U.S. strikes being "the most precise in the history of warfare," Caulk said, "conducting strike operations in the heavily populated areas where DAESH hides presents challenges. We are fighting an enemy who goes out of their way to put civilians at risk. However, the vast majority of pilots understand the need for the tactical patience in this environment. This fight against DAESH is not the kind of fight from previous decades.

Edited by Codename Duchess

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part 3, "Operation Syria".

first let's look at the forces:

1. ISIS: controls eastern Syria/western Iraq, mostly desert, low population density, similar to Northern Mali. According to the CIA, there are a total of 20,000-30,000 ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq. In Mali, there were an estimated 5-10,000 Islamic militants, so to maintain a similar force ratios, you would need a minimum 10-15,000 regular troops.

French forces in Mali were basically equivalent to a Stryker brigade on a budget, so U.S. forces at a minimum could be a Stryker Brigade (4500 men, 300 vehicles), which was designed for this type of operation and was the lead invasion force in CMSF. Again, prescience? The other 5-10,000 could come from other NATO members. Several EU members would have their own reasons to join, as well as perhaps Turkey, Iraq and Jordan.

2. Rebels: if the FSA/"moderate Rebels" want U.S. aid and have apparently the same aim, they should not have an issue with getting help from NATO troops. ;)

In Mali, the French used several Rebel militias as additional troops and to provide policing in liberated areas. These Rebel militias had been fighting against the Malian army and/or each other, but they had a common enemy in the Islamic militants. The French did not trust them and knew they had incompatible long term goals, but they freed French combat troops from policing duties and more importantly gave the French a "buy in" in securing the neutrality of the locals. It was not a perfect solution to our western sensibilities, since the militia did commit abuses in the towns they "policed", but it was better than wath the Islamists had done.

So with that force, it should be possible to clear ISIS out of Syria/Iraq in 2-3 months? The French liberated all the cities in northern Mali in 1 month all the way up to the Algerian border. The remaining militants holed up in mountains on the Algeria-Mali border.

3. Syrian Army: the last group, manned mostly by Alawites at this point. After 4 years of war, the Alawites are the Assad's only remaining domestic power base. Now is that because they love the Assad family or because the only other alternative is to hope the "moderate Rebels" won't kill them all if they take over? Maybe if they had a third alternative, they might be more open to a compromise solution. If not, it is certainly easier to negotiate a compromise if you have troops on the ground that can go into action to support the Rebels.

If anyone is interested in the French operation in Mali, RAND did an excellent study:

http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR770.html

Now does the U.S. have a national interest in Syria? probably not. Does the U.S. have a national interest in South Korea? The U.S. still has 38,000 troops there 62 years after the end of the Korean War even though the South Korean army has 500,000 men.

The U.S. does not have to send troops to Syria, but then it has to accept that other troops will decide the future of Syria. The Iranians are already reshaping Syria into a satellite.

Edited by Sgt Joch

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  He also thinks Sgt Joch would do really well to listen and accept input rather than digging himself a deeper hole.

you know "Captain" this is a public war gaming discussion forum. Just repeating the same arguments over and over gets boring, it is much more interesting to think out of the box.

why don't you lay out what you would do if you were President.

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