Showing posts with label China. Show all posts
Showing posts with label China. Show all posts

April 17, 2022

Is this what World War between nuclear powers looks like?

    Sunday, April 17, 2022   No comments

On this platform, the 2011 war in Syria was characterized as a proxy war before it became obvious that it was so. Here, too, the war in Ukraine was characterized as a war between nuclear powers who cannot have direct military confrontation because of the danger of nuclear weapons that can be deployed.

Now, with the British head of government visiting Kyiv and promising Ukraine more military aid, and with US and most NATO members supplying Ukraine with weapons that are beyond the defensive ones, it is clear that this war is the closest to a war between nuclear powered actors. It is another proxy war but one of a higher level with much more dangerous consequences. It is so because Russia is directly involved in a confrontation with a country that sees itself more like a member of the EU and NATO even if it is not so. Perhaps this is the calculus of Ukrainian leaders: if, with the help of NATA and the EU, Ukraine fights Russia to a standstill or even defeats Russian forces on the ground, Ukraine would have earned its place in the alliance and in the union at the same time. Perhaps this is the only option left for Ukraine now, short of agreeing to the terms of peace proposed by Russia.

The sinking of the Russian warship in the Black Sea, the Russian losses near Kiyv, and the flow of more weapons to Ukraine could force Russia to adopt a new strategy; one that is still in line with its strategic goals but less risky in terms of human and hardware losses. This means that Russia may opt to control the Donbas region and all of the southern border and sit back and use its air force and long-range missiles to strike in the rest of the country. Such strategy will render the defensive posture adopted by the Ukrainian forces useless because their will be no close contact combat to use such weapons.

Should Russia adopts this war from distance strategy, first, it will rely on the help of the Chechen Muslim fighters to hold new ground and support the armed forces of the autonomous republics in the Donbas region. Second, and most importantly, it will have to rely heavily on its military planes and long-distance missile systems for monitoring, locating, and striking targets in Ukraine using assets in Russian land or taking off from Russian territories. So how able and ready is the Russia military air force for carrying out such plan?

Russian military aircraft

According to what Russian President Vladimir Putin announced, controlling all of the Ukrainian geography is not one of the objectives of the operation, and that is why we see the greater emphasis on the use of the air force. Here are the highlights of the Russian Air Force:

The Russian army owns more than 4,000 warplanes, including fighters, bombers and helicopters, including 8 of the most dangerous fighters in the world.

The Tu-160: the queen of strategic bombers

This is the first aircraft in the world equipped with reversible launch missiles, which can intercept targets behind them, especially missiles launched to target them.

This aircraft has a tail-mounted radar, which makes it capable of rear sighting, which is the most appropriate because it is a low-maneuvering aircraft.

  • The Tu-160 can change its direction of flight by 180 degrees very quickly.
  • It can cover 14,000 km without refueling.
  • It can carry 12 missiles equipped with nuclear warheads and hypersonic missiles, with a payload of up to 40 tons of ammunition.
  • It is more than 54 meters long, equipped with 4 motors and a special coating against the heat generated by the explosions.
  • It is a supersonic missile launcher and is considered one of the most dangerous strategic bombers in the world and has been called the "Queen of Strategic Bombers".

In 2015, the Russian Defense Minister announced that Moscow was about to launch 50 new aircraft of the same type, and was working on completing the Tu-160M ​​series.

MiG-31 interceptor aircraft

It is an interceptor fighter dating back to the Cold War era, as it was designed to be in the category of heavy interceptor fighters that have a high speed that can intercept American supersonic bombers.

Its first test flight was in 1975, of which Moscow produced more than 500 aircraft.

At a low altitude, its speed reaches 1,500 km per hour, which is equivalent to Mach 1.23, while it reaches Mach 2.83 at an altitude of 17.5 km.

Its length is 21.5 meters, and the distance between the two wings is 14 meters.

It is 6.6 meters high and has a suite area of ​​61.41 square metres.

It has an empty weight of 22 tons, and after arming it reaches 36.7 tons.

The MiG-31 operates with two engines, has the ability to refuel in the air and can change its altitude at a rate of 208 meters per second.

This aircraft can carry 4 long-range R33E air-to-air missiles, in addition to 2 medium-range and 4 short-range missiles.

This plane is equipped with a radar that enables it to follow more than one target at high altitudes and can track winged missiles.

Several versions of this aircraft were developed, including the MiG-31BM fighter, which can destroy 24 air targets simultaneously. It is also an ideal alternative to ground air defense means, as its radar can detect any target from a distance of 1,000 km.

This aircraft has the ability to destroy a number of American bombers and aircraft, including the SR-71 Blackbird.

It also put into service the Air Force: 806 fighter planes, 1124 military transport planes, 1438 attack planes, 387 training planes, and the number of military helicopters is 1389.


December 7, 2016

Is Qatar training Egyptian fighters in Idlib, Syria?

    Wednesday, December 07, 2016   No comments
Qatar’s global media outlet, Aljazeera, reported that 200 Egyptian military officers and experts are now in Syria. The report, is based on a Lebanese source, came days after the Egyptian president, Abdulfattah al-Sisi, in an interview to Portuguese media, said that he supported the Syrian national army in its war on terrorists. This seemingly new position has angered the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who back the Syrian opposition fighters and have been pushing for the removal of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Some sources, however, have also revealed that Qatar is training Egyptian Islamists in Idlib, Syria. This revelation could explain the increased collaboration between the Syrian and Egyptian governments. Egypt, like Syria, has been battling Salafi and other Islamist militants. If these elements are being trained in Syria and supported by Qatar, Egypt will be forced to collaborate with the Syrian and Libyan governments who are facing the same threats. 

Fath al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra front, which is backed by Qatar, controls Idlib, and has released multiple videos showing individuals engaged in war games, with indication that some of these fighters are not training for the war in Syria, which could support the assertion that Idlib is turning into training grounds for fighters from other countries, including Egypt, China, Tunisia, France, and Algeria.

It should be noted also that when al-Julani, the leader of al-Nusra, announced the name change of his group's name into Jabhat Fath al-Sham, sitting next to him was a known Egyptian Salafist, another reason for Egypt to be concerned about the role of Qatar in supporting groups that might pose a security threat to Egypt.

 al-Julani, announcing the name change of al-Nusra Front
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May 9, 2013

To compete globally, BRICS nations need reputation, not imitation

    Thursday, May 09, 2013   No comments


by Ahmed E. Souaiaia* 

BRICS nations
The economic, political, and social rise of the Western block of nations was founded on the single most enduring currency: reputation. Reputation, the source of credibility and trust, is the real asset that allows the U.S. to project its stature around the world. BRICS nations cannot rise to prominence by mimicking developed countries. They must build their reputation first. Wealth is only a byproduct of this more precious commodity, and countries who have it can squander it just as emerging economies can acquire it. For either of those results to happen in any country, circumstantial conditions and principled actions must converge.

May 3, 2013

Delimiting a New World Order: Religion, Globalism, and the Syrian Crisis

    Friday, May 03, 2013   No comments

Sovereignty, Legitimacy and the Responsibility to Protect: 
Who is responsible and who is legitimate in Syria?

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

Syria and the New Middle East
Western leaders’ conflicting statements underscore the unease about change in the Arab world. Unless one believes that diplomats speak unscripted, an earlier statement by U.S. secretary of State, John Kerry becomes extremely significant. He contended that the ultimate goal is to “see Assad and the Syrian opposition sitting at the same table to establish a transitional government as laid out in the Geneva Accords.” Perhaps, partly because of such conflicted statements that leaders from UAE, Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey have scheduled one-on-one meetings with President Obama. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is talking about Syria to key world leaders, including the presidents of France, Egypt, Iran, and BRICS countries. Most observers are predicting that the expected Obama-Putin meetings over summer will culminate in a unified stance on Syria. If that is the expectation, it might be too late for world leaders to predetermine the outcome of the Syrian crisis by September. The dynamics on the ground and the entrenched disparate interests of regional and global powers will make it extremely difficult to press the reset button. A simple review of the events of the last 60 days will show the complexity and centrality of the Syrian crisis. Simply put, the management of the war in Syria is no longer in the hands of the Syrians. It is now a global affair.
 

January 27, 2013

Another international conference on Syria and the crisis goes on

    Sunday, January 27, 2013   No comments
Nearly 300 opposition leaders from inside and outside Syria will be attending the Syrian Conference for Democratic and Civilian State to be held Monday and Tuesday, 28th and 29th January, 2013 in the Starling Hotel Geneva. Organizers of the conference complained that many activists and opposition leaders from inside Syria were denied visas. They accused France of working to undermine the efforts of many opposition groups who are not represented in the so-called Syrian Coalition, which France recognized as the “sole and legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”

According to organizers, the “Conference aims to promote and encourage a real dialogue between the Syrian democratic opposition structures in an open dialogue about the violence consequences, the sectarian risks and the future of the democratic project. It will encourage cooperation, coordination and synergies between political parties, civil society and social movement inside Syria, and advance work towards a realistic transitional program, for a civil and democratic State in Syria.”

October 31, 2012

Who is the Syrian Opposition?

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012   No comments

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

Since the start of the uprising in Syria, countries supporting the opposition groups wanted to unify them. They organized a series of the so-called “Friends of Syria” conferences one after another only to adjourn without realizing their objective. In most cases, the meetings created more discord than opportunities for unity.


The unrealized Eid Ceasefire (hudna; quiet) proposed by the new UN envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, exposed the level of disunion among the armed groups as well. Although the government, the Syrian National Council (SNC), and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) all agreed to the four-day quiet, violence during the religious holiday continued unabated and it may have gotten worse. The FSA attacks on Kurdish neighborhoods in Aleppo during the same period, for example, added another dimension to the conflict and offered a preview of what may happen in the future.

The failure to honor the ceasefire and the attacks on Kurdish neighborhoods add credibility to Brahimi’s pessimistic assessment of the crisis in Syria. He has been reminding leaders of every country he’s visited of the gravity of the situation and warning them that it will get worse unless the world community act in a constructive way. That is not lowering expectations; it is statement of facts. While defections of high ranking officers stopped, signaling the purging of the Syrian military from unreliable elements, the opposition forces are outgrowing there leadership frame. Instead of coalescing into a single block with a single agenda, the political and military oppositions continued to splinter into disparate organizations each of which claims that it represents the Syrian people.


April 5, 2012

The crisis in Syria is driving a wedge between Turkey and Iran

    Thursday, April 05, 2012   No comments
Despite Turkish politicians’ efforts to downplay the diplomatic rift with Iran, more evidence has emerged suggesting otherwise. The main reason is Turkey’s increased role in supporting the groups that want to topple the regime in Syria. Iran considers that to be a red line and they seem to have communicated that to the Turkish prime minister who visited Tehran last week.

Signs of the cooling off of the Turkish-Iranian relations can also be seen in the lukewarm reception Recep Tayyip Erdogan received. Unlike  previous visits, he was greeted at the airport by the Iranian VP instead of the president. His meeting with the leader of the revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was not conformed until the last minute. When the two finally met, according to Persian media, Khamenei had only one thing to tell the prime minister: Iran will not support the overthrow of Assad.

Nine days before the nuclear talk with the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany), top Iranian officials announced that they are interested in changing the venue of the meeting from Istanbul to Iraq or China. Some of the Iranian officials were explicit about the reason behind the change in venue.

On Wednesday, influential lawmaker Seyed Mohammad Javad Abtahi called on Ahmadinejad's government to choose another place, other than Istanbul, for the upcoming talks with the world power. Abtahi went on to argue that the “Friends of Syria” conference held in Istanbul last week is evidence that Turkey is implementing the West’s policies in the region.

Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezayee, too, called on Tehran's nuclear and foreign policy officials to change the venue of the upcoming talks.

Reacting to these developments, Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief and coordinator of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group told the Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, during a phone conversation late April 3, that Baghdad was out of question.

Even if the meeting eventually takes place in Turkey, the diplomatic rift between the two countries would have happened and Syria was the cause of it. Iran, as expected, supported Assad because he was its only reliable Arab ally. Turkey on the other hand, seems to struggle in its reactions to the Arab Spring. Although it took a muted stand toward the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, Turkey first opposed NATO’s involvement in Libya and wanted a political solution, not a military one, to the crisis there. When Qaddafi’s regime fell however, Turkey tried to repair its image by supporting the rebels. Apparently, they did not want to make the same mistake in Syria. As soon as demonstrations started, Turkish leaders gave Assad one ultimatum after another leading to the full break of diplomatic relations. Perhaps they thought that the regime will fall fast, too. That did not happen so far and they have many reasons to worry should Assad’s regime survive.

It seems that Turkey picked the wrong time and the wrong side to make a stand against authoritarianism in the Middle East. By supporting armed rebels against the Syrian regime, The Turkish leaders found themselves in the company of only Saudi Arabia and Qatar--even the U.S. is opposed to arming the opposition. These two countries claim that they are interested in democracy in Syria while denying it to their own peoples. In the case of Saudi Arabia, the contradiction cannot be more pronounced: the Saudi rulers mistreat women and minorities. They even sent the military to suppress a peaceful uprising in Bahrain. In Qatar,  14% of the population deny political and civil rights to the 86%. It is the right decision to support genuine political reform in Syria, but Saudi and Qatari rulers are not the company Turkey wants to keep if they want credibility in the Arab street. 

-MA

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