putin-and-asapov

This via Newsweek:

The Russian Defense Ministry said late Sunday that Lt. Gen. Valery Asapov “was at a command post of Syrian troops, assisting the Syrian commanders in the operation for the liberation of the city of Deir Ez-Zor.” Russian state news agency Tass reported that Asapov was killed “as a result of a mortar shelling by ISIS.” Russia and Syrian government forces are waging an offensive against ISIS in Deir Ez-Zor province.

And of course they are blaming the United States.

Russian officials blamed Washington’s policies in Syria for Asapov’s death. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said “the death of the Russian commander is the price paid with blood for the hypocrisy of American policy in Syria,” according to Kremlin news agency RIA.

The Russians have a case of the ass because we are opposing their efforts to put Assad back in control of all of Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are our Sunni Arab/Kurdish proxies, are beginning to show competence in the fight against ISIS and that is not good for Assad’s SAA forces, which aren’t showing competence at much beyond the commission of atrocities. The Russians have interjected themselves into this, flying airstrikes against SDF positions in support of SAA units.

And it isn’t just our policy they are blaming:

This particular Ivan was led the Russian intervention in Ukraine’s Donbass region…now that he’s dead they’ve suddenly forgotten that they denied there were serving Russian officers in Ukaine:

I don’t think you can be a serious observer of the world’s militaries and not hold the Russians in a fairly high degree of contempt. If you watch them in actual action, either during the Cold War or since, you know that cronyism and corruption are not merely baked in, they are the two main ingredients. All with a thick coating of incompetence and brutality. Contrary to the title of this video, this is not training, this is the routine hazing of new recruits by more senior soldiers:

This practice was encouraged under the Soviet regime, it has survived and taken steroids under Putin and it make recruiting nearly impossible and draft dodging a way of life for young men. (See this, for instance.)

This kind of bullsh** doesn’t produce an army with unit cohesion and esprit de corps. It produces fear and brutality. (If you are squeamish, you might not want to watch this video)

(Some great commentary on this video)

The Russian Army has never quite moved beyond the mass army of cannon fodder that has been the standard Russian/Soviet model since the days of the tsars and shows no signs of becoming what any Western nation would consider to be a professional force. So when a Russian general and two colonels got themselves killed by ISIS mortar fire while moping around on the frontlines in Syria it should hardly be a shock. It wouldn’t be much of a shock if they all spontaneously combusted when the flash from the mortar round ignited the alcohol vapors.

As a former mortar platoon leader and a graduate of the Infantry Mortar Platoon Leader’s Course (now the IMLC) I can tell you that mortars are not a precision fire weapon and mortars as used by ISIS are a rather blunt instrument. From what we know, Asapov was either very, very unlucky and happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Or he was waltzing about near the frontlines with an entourage that drew the attention of ISIS and some gunner got lucky.

Either way, a war criminal is dead and some lucky Russian two-star woke up to find he’d been promoted.

Tags: Russia Syria