America’s ruling elite is divided into two camps when it comes to foreign policy. One side, the neocons, sees the world as a collection of American provinces. Maybe administrative districts is a better term. They really thought they could turn Iraq into a fully functioning representative democracy. Not only that, they thought it could be a model for the rest of the Arab
The other camp is composed of people who think the other camp is dangerously wrong, but have no earthly idea why and they have no sensible alternative to offer. It is why Obama pulled the plug on the Bush deal in Iraq and went tromping off to Afghanistan. He and his flunkies had no idea what they were trying to accomplish. They just knew the old Bush hands hated it so that was enough.
The rest of the world is not willing to wait around for America’s elites to figure out what their doing. Russia, in particular, is taking advantage of the Obama administration’s petrified paralysis. Last year they made Obama look foolish by outflanking him in Syria. Putin followed that up with a stunning success in Ukraine. Now they are taking advantage of Washington’s bungling to return Iraq as an ally in the Persian Gulf.
The first delivery of Russian Sukhoi fighter jets arrived in Iraq on Saturday, the country’s Defense Ministry said. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is hoping the jets will make a key difference in the fight against ISIS.
The Iraqi Ministry of Defense on Sunday confirmed receiving five Su-25 fighter jets in accordance with the deal with Moscow. The jets were delivered by a Russian An-124 transport plane in a dismantled state, and are expected to be set up and become operational within 3-4 days.
Until Bush the Lesser dethroned Saddam, Iraq was a Russian client state. Their military was equipped by the Russians and trained in Russian tactics. It is why they were good at running a secret police, but clownishly awful at large set piece combat. The Russians were never good at this type of warfare, which is why the Germans drove them to the gates of Moscow. They are much better at operating a police state.
Now, the Russians have Syria, Iran and Iraq on board and that means they can build their pipelines without too much interference from the West. Running gas from the Persian Gulf through Iran to the Caspian Sea was never ideal and would allow the GCC-Saudi deal to compete on economic grounds. Running a pipeline over Iraq into Syria puts them in the Mediterranean. The only thing they must now do is get rid of ISIL, which is probably backed by Israel and the CIA.
The other bonus for Russia is they get to work on their modernization efforts. The Russians have been revamping their military and their tactics to face the threats of this century. They know they will not be fighting a tank war in Europe. Instead they will be fighting insurgents from their southeast. They saw how the Americans adapted and they are doing the same. Iraq is good practice.
“The Sukhoi Su-25 is an air-ground support and anti-terrorism mission aircraft. In these difficult times, we are in great need of such aircraft. With God’s help, we will be able to deploy them to support our ground forces on a mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant militants within the next 3-4 days,” Iraqi Army Lieutenant General Anwar Hamad Amen Ahmed told RT’s Ruptly news agency at an airport receiving the jets.
The modern battlefield is four dimensional. Air assets attack ground elements with the help of specialized ground forces. That means choppers and jet aircraft that can be coordinated with those ground forces to bring timely and potent firepower on small targets. It takes practice to hone these skills and this provides the Russians with a chance to gets some saddle time.
There’s also the fact the Russians will increasingly rely on mercenaries. Demographics are reducing the number of Russian males available for military service. The Russian military is close to being majority Muslim at this point. The solution to this is to create a military with a Russian elite and a Muslim militia. I doubt that works, but Iraq provides a training ground for how they intend to adjust to the demographic realities they face.