Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mission Accomplished: Russia's Pullout From Syria Signals Political Victory

Mission Accomplished: Russia's Pullout From Syria Signals Political Victory

© Sputnik/ Ramil Sitdikov
Mission Accomplished: Russia's Pullout From Syria Signals Political Victory

Hmeimim airbase in Syria

Many foreign experts have already touted President Vladimir Putin's decision to start withdrawing Russia's Aerospace Forces unit from Syria as something that will help stimulate the process of settling the Syrian crisis politically.


US-Russia Deal 'Most Important' in Syria Settlement Efforts – Syrian Opposition Spokesman Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to begin pulling his country's Aerospace Forces group out of Syria is aimed at stimulating the process of reaching a political settlement which will overcome the gridlock preventing a lasting truce in the Syrian war, according to many foreign experts, including former US Senate staffer James Jatras.

In an interview with RT, he pointed specifically to Russia's air campaign, which had been backing the Syrian Army's anti-terror effort.

"We should bear in mind that the political settlement of the conflict would have been out of the question but for Russia's air support of Syria's government forces. This finally forced the terrorists to shift to defensive actions," Jatras said.

He was echoed by political analyst John Wight, who told RT that the Russian air strikes on terrorists added significantly to boosting the Syrian Army's morale, which he said helped change the situation in favor of Syria's government troops.

"Now, all attention will be focused on Geneva, where a new round of the Syria peace talks will take place," he pointed out.

The resumption of these talks became possible only thanks to President Putin's decision to start pulling out Russia's Aerospace Forces from Syria, according to another political analyst, Catherine Shakdam.

Speaking to RT, she said that Putin's move is aimed to de-escalate the situation in the region.

"This is an attempt to again start resolving the Syrian conflict by political means. President Putin and Russia know full well that they should not be involved in a full-fledged war, especially if this war is not the ultimate goal," she said.

Bruno Gollnisch, a MEP from France's National Front party, stated that this decision underscores Putin's willingness to be engaged in a dialogue with the international community.

"I believe that Vladimir Putin is absolutely right that he decided to begin the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria. This only proves that the global community should conduct a dialogue

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/world/20160315/1036292970/syria-russia-putin-withdrawal.html#ixzz42yWogi00

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ankara violated the UN-brokered truce in Syria with the Islamic State it is indisputable

PETER KORZUN | 14.03.2016 | WORLD

Ex-NATO Supreme Commander Wants Syria Partitioned

Ex-NATO Supreme Commander Wants Syria Partitioned
With the ceasefire generally holding, the fate of Syria comes to the fore. The UN emphasizes Syria’s unity. But no eyebrows are raised in the West when some experts and politicians openly say a partition is a way to finding a final settlement of the problem. They affirm that a dismemberment of Syria could be a form of a lasting political solution. The idea appears to have become an option on the table.
On March 9, Foreign Policy published an article written by James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Commander, Europe and head of US European Command. 
The Admiral writes that «Syria as a nation is increasingly a fiction. It is utterly riven by the civil war that has raged for three years, and large chunks of it are ruled by disparate actors with no allegiance and often bitter enmity toward what remains of the sovereign state». According to him, the odds of putting Syria back together again into a functioning entity appear very low. It is time to consider a partition, which could provide a simple chance to leave a refugee camp or avoid a long and dangerous trek to an asylum state – in effect creating the elusive «safe zones». The author emphasizes the fact that Syria’s borders, of course, were drawn in the early part of the last century. Syria is not a long-standing civilization like Iran (Persia), Turkey, or Greece. Part of the reasons it has descended into chaos is that it is already divided along religious and ethnic lines.
Mr Stavridis believes that a partition could range from a full break-up of the country (much as Yugoslavia broke up after the death of Marshal Josip Tito); to a very federated system like Bosnia after the Dayton Accords; to a weak but somewhat federated model like Iraq.
The Admiral’s article makes spring to mind what US State Secretary John Kerry told The Guardian on February 23.  
According to the US top diplomat, he will move towards a plan B that could involve a partition of Syria if a planned ceasefire due to start in the next few days does not materialize, or if a genuine shift to a transitional government does not take place in the coming months. Kerry suggested that a partition could form part of an eventual solution, saying «this can get a lot uglier and Russia has to be sitting there evaluating that too. It may be too late to keep it as a whole Syria if it is much longer». It was the first time a US official spoke of partition.
Actually the idea has wide support. For instance, the government of Israel has come out in support of Syria’s dismemberment. 
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull openly backs Syria’s partition.
John Bolton, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, who served as the US ambassador to the United Nations, suggests «the best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state».
He calls for the establishment of «Sunni-stan». De facto it would mean a mono-religious entity with Shiites and Christians assigned to a subordinate status. It looks like an «Islamic State (Daesh)-light» version, which, as Bolton phrases it, «could be a bulwark against both Mr Assad and an Iran-allied Baghdad».
This is not the first time that the world has flirted with partition as a way to solve an intractable war. The idea has circulated for many years as an option for managing the crisis in Iraq. There have been proposals made public to reshape the entire Middle East. The one put forward by Ralph Peters hit the public light in 2006.
The experts’ community is well acquainted with the report published by Robin Wright in 2013.
The proposals of Joshua Landis on the solution of Syria’s crisis have been in spotlight ever since they were presented by CNN in 2014.
True, the borders of Syria were created by colonial powers in the early 20th century. They are often called «artificial» and referenced as a cause of instability as countries struggle to control divergent populations. By and large, it all boils down to dividing the country’s territory up along ethno-religious lines for the Sunni Arabs, Alawi Arabs and Kurds as either separate countries or as states within one federal system to achieve stability and a put an end to sectarian violence. Iraq and, especially, Bosnia are cited as good examples to follow.
But if history is any guide, partition is no guarantee of peace. Indeed, it can ignite the very conflicts it means to forestall. Did the partition of India into India and Pakistan in 1947 end violence? Or, let’s look at the most recent example – Sudan’s partition in 2011, which gave rise to horrible bloodshed.
Syria’s prime location makes it the strategic center of the Middle East. But it is a complex country, rich in religious and ethnic variety, and therefore fragile. If new borders were drawn in Syria, many people would find themselves «on the wrong side» of the lines, especially those who will be deprived of the right to have a state of their own (Christians, Yazidis, Shabaks, Mandaeans and many others – the list can go on).
The Syrian opposition has no leaders to unite and lead it. The Kurdish region is the most cohesive entity, but Turkey appears to never reconcile with the idea of an autonomous Kurdish state near its border. As a result, a partition could have the opposite outcome of the one expected and simply ignite new fights.
There is no legal way to partition the country. Receiving the consent of Syria’s is hardly conceivable as it has reportedly rejected the idea. Syria's leadership opposes the partition of the republic and does not support the idea of the country's federalization, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on March 11.
The approval of the partition by UN Security Council through Chapter VII of the UN Charter is also unrealistic.
Russia and China have rejected plans to carve up Syria. If the United States and its allies were to go ahead without Security Council approval, it would represent a blatant rejection of the international legal order.
There is no alternative plan to the joint Russian-US statement on settlement in Syria, and nothing like that is planned, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on February 25. «We’ve already said everything on the ‘plan B’ – there never was one and there never will be», he noted.
The recent history provides lessons to learn about the fate of loose federal states with strong autonomies. Iraq is actually a failed state – the turmoil there made possible the emergence of the Islamic State group. Yugoslavia was a strong and prosperous state before the partition. Now its former part – Bosnia and Herzegovina – has turned into an artificially created entity, which is impoverished and fully dependent on outside help.
Let’s not forget Kosovo and Libya plunged in disorder and turmoil after NATO’s interventions.
If a federal state is the solution, then why the West does not say the same thing about Ukraine?
True, a status of autonomy for the Syrian Kurds is a natural thing to do. The problem is Ankara. Its government is opposing too many things with making no constructive proposals of its own. Just remember how Turkey complicated the peace process in Geneva.
The information about its ties with the Islamic State has been made public.
Ankara violated the UN-brokered truce in Syria.
As time goes by, Turkey may turn into the main obstacle on the way of finding a settlement to the Syrian crisis.
No matter how the events unfold, one thing is indisputable – the feasibility of a federal administrative alignment in Syria is conditional on the progress to be made at the inter-Syrian dialogue. No arrangements imposed by outside powers can do the job. The mission is to create proper conditions for talks. Let Syrian themselves decide their fate. All the statements and opinions mentioned in the article calling for some kind of Syria’s partition are in gross violation of the United Nations resolution 2254 (2015) which states unambiguously that it is adopted «reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syria Arab Republic, and the purposes and principles of the charter of the United Nations».

The main reason for #Obama perpetrating his coup in Ukraine Juncker Damns

Jean-Claude Juncker Damns Obama’s Plan for Ukraine
ERIC ZUESSE | 11.03.2016 | WORLD

Jean-Claude Juncker Damns Obama’s Plan for Ukraine

Jean-Claude Juncker, the most powerful person in Europe, the chief of the European Commission and therefore Europe’s closest equivalent to America’s President, said, in a little-noticed comment on March 3rd, «Ukraine will definitely not be able to become a member of the EU in the next 20-25 years, and not of NATO either».
The article reporting this, at europeonline-magazine, also observed that, «The commission, the EU’s executive, plays a leading role in accession negotiations between the bloc and aspiring members».
The main reason why US President Barack Obama had perpetrated his coup in Ukraine in February 2014, and why his CIA hired racist anti-Russian paramilitaries to carry it out as they did behind the cover of the popular anti-corruption «Maidan» demonstrations in Kiev, was in order to get Ukraine into NATO, so that US missiles will be able to be placed near-enough to Moscow for a blitz-attack so as to conquer Russia. That would be America’s ultimate «regime-change» operation (toward which the regime-change in Ukraine is merely one of the most important steps); but the European Commission’s Jean-Claude Juncker has here said, it’s not going to happen.
This isn’t only a reversal of what the EU had been promising to Ukraine’s government (especially promising to the post-coup government), but it’s also a drastic separation of Europe from America’s empire: a severe limitation of the control by the US aristocracy, which has, ever since the time of US President George Herbert Walker Bush, been executing his plan to strangulate Russia by surrounding it with NATO member-nations on Russia’s western borders, and so cutting off Russia’s major trading-partner (Europe), thus squeezing Russia’s economy until a regime-change can be carried out there like was done in Ukraine, ‘democratically’ instead of by an outright invasion of Russia. This way, the threat of a NATO blitz-attack won’t even need to be acted upon, and the world’s most resource-rich nation, Russia, can thus be added to the US international-corporate fold without NATO needing first to attack Russia by any such super «Prompt Global Strike» – a PGS that can destroy Russia’s command-and-control within just a few minutes, instead of within an hour or even more.
Juncker is thus challenging the US aristocracy here; he’s saying that GHW Bush’s plan isn’t going to go all the way. The US aristocracy can benefit by surging US arms-sales that are generated from NATO’s expansions, but not into Ukraine.
As the representative of Europe’s aristocracies, Juncker is finally saying, to the US aristocracy: You’re not going to control us entirely. We want to work with you on things such as TTIP, which will benefit the aristocracies of every participating nation; but, we’re not going to follow your lead regarding the conquest of Russia; we European aristocrats (the billionaires whom these government-officials represent) will instead pursue our own independent policies regarding Russia. We’re not going all the way with you on that.

France has a crazy war on free speech arresting for wearing a T-shirt with the words “Boycott Apartheid Israel”

France Arrest Woman For Wearing T-shirt Criticising Israel

France will no longer tolerate t-shirts it deems to be offensive, marching the once great nation towards all-out tyranny.

France begin arresting citizens who criticise Israel
France has intensified its war on free speech this week by arresting a woman for wearing a T-shirt that criticised Israel by promoting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in support of Palestine. 
The woman was taking part in a march for International Women’s Day in Paris on Sunday, when undercover police grabbed her and detained her for wearing the ‘illegal’ t-shirt that had the words “Boycott Apartheid Israel” printed on it.
The arrest confirms that France will no longer tolerate t-shirts it deems to be offensive, marching the once great nation towards all-out tyranny.
According to the newspaper L’Humanité, officers from the Renseignements Généraux, the intelligence service of the French police, were involved in monitoring the demonstration in which numerous social justice and leftist groups took part.

France remains under the state of emergency severely limiting public freedoms that was declared after last November’s atrocities by suspected Islamic State extremists who killed 130 people in Paris.
The young woman was taken to Paris’ 3rd district police station for questioning.
Hundreds of marchers halted their procession and demonstrated loudly outside the police station for an hour until she was released, as a video posted on Facebook and this clip tweeted by a march participant show:

Aujourd'hui, lors de la manifestation pour les droits des femmes, une militante a été arrêtée et conduite de force au commissariat d'Étienne Marcel par une dizaine de policiers. La raison de cette arrestation ? Elle portait un tee-shirt BDS appelant au Boycott d'Israël. Ni plus ni moins. Si elle a été relâchée près d'une heure après son arrestation (sous les applaudissements des manifestants qui l'ont attendue), elle est convoquée lundi 14 mars par la police politico-vestimentaire de notre pays...À suivre donc.
Posted by Sihame Assbague on Sunday, March 6, 2016

Aujourd'hui, lors de la manifestation pour les droits des femmes, une militante a été arrêtée et conduite de force au...
Posted by Sihame Assbague on Sunday, March 6, 2016

Posted by Sihame Assbague on Sunday, March 6, 2016
Political repression
The woman has been summoned back to the police station for questioning at 2pm on Monday on suspicion of “inciting hatred by reason of [national] origin, through writing,” according to L’Humanité.
Supporters are planning to demonstrate outside the police station at that time.
The feminist collective 8 Mars Pour TouTEs denounced the arrest and pledged support for the activist and for the BDS movement.
The arrest was evidence of the “criminalization of political struggles,” the group said, vowing to mount strong solidarity in response to “the police state and political and racist repression.”
The left-wing grouping Ensemble has condemned the arrest, describing it as a consequence of the “security climate” in France.
The Palestine solidarity group BDS France noted that the day after the arrest, Prime Minister Manuel Valls tolda dinner hosted by the Israel lobby group CRIF that “anti-Zionism is nothing more than a synonym for anti-Semitism and the hatred of Israel.”
“Today, politicians who support the Israeli apartheid regime are out of arguments,” BDS France said in a statement.
“They conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and terrorism, and take all the Jews of the world hostage, stubbornly insisting that they become accomplices of the war crimes and apartheid of a state which is foreign to them,” BDS France added.
The campaign group said that with the growing global success of BDS, “a nonviolent, anti-racist citizen movement for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people,” Israel and its allies in the French government had no recourse but to try to smear it as anti-Semitic.
Court rulings and government decrees have outlawed calls to boycott Israeli goods, prompting defiance from French civil society.
BDS France is also vowing not to fold under government repression.
On Thursday, dozens of activists handed in an international petition at the Paris offices of Airbnb to protest the company’s profiting from the renting out of vacation homes in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
As the photos published by BDS France show, the activists were proudly wearing their “Boycott Israeli Apartheid” T-shirts.
On Saturday, activists will hold rallies all over France against the state of emergency. An action alert from BDS France urges supporters to wear their T-shirts at those marches too.

Stephen Hawking Warns Humanity: Leave Earth Before The Ruling Class Destroys It

Stephen Hawking Warns Humanity: Leave Earth Before The Ruling Class Destroys It

United Kingdom — Humanity’s future is in peril thanks to so-called advancements in science and technology, claims Professor Stephen Hawking, who cited “nuclear war, global warming, and genetically-modified viruses” as deadly threats to our existence.
Hawking described various “things that could go wrong” to an audience of hundreds attending the first in a series of BBC Reith Lectures, which pertain to research about black holes. He asserted the necessity for colonization of other planets to ensure survival of the human species. According to theBBC, Hawking cautioned:
“Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year might be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years.
“By that time, we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race.
“However, we will not establish self-sustaining colonies in space for at least the next hundred years, so we have to be very careful in this period.”
Though it would seem counterproductive for such a well-respected scientist to decry scientific progress as humanity’s most existential threat, this isn’t the first time Hawking has advised us to exercise caution, as Anti-Media has reported several times. Last summer, the theoretical physicist was among over 1,000 artificial intelligence experts who signed an open letter about the weaponization of robots and the ongoing “military artificial intelligence arms race” among the world’s military powers.
In October of last year, Hawking warned scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) about the potential for the Higgs Boson “God Particle” to initiate catastrophic vacuum decay — the formation of a quantum bubble that expands at the speed of light and could decimate the entire universe. Concern over the automation of the world’s workforce coupled with capitalist greed also earned the scientist’s stern alarm.
In fact, taken collectively, Hawking’s numerous warnings are aimed directly at the careless hubris of the ruling elites and their tendency to act in favor of profit — in a variety of fields — without consideration given to long-term consequences resulting from such hastily implemented projects.
Despite the numerous cautionary scenarios Hawking has proffered, he claims society will likely discover the means to cope.
“We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we have to recognize the dangers and control them,” he stated. “I’m an optimist, and I believe we can.
“It’s important to ensure that these changes are heading in the right directions. In a democratic society, this means that everyone needs to have a basic understanding of science to make informed decisions about the future.
“So communicate plainly what you are trying to do in science, and who knows, you might even end up understanding it yourself.”
The BBC will broadcast this first lecture with Stephen Hawking on January 26 and February 2. It will also be found online here.
Hawking’s theories, of course, haven’t escaped criticism; yet he does maintain a healthy enthusiasm, which was evidenced in this advice he offered young scientists:
“From my own perspective, it has been a glorious time to be alive and doing research in theoretical physics. There is nothing like the Eureka moment of discovering something that no one knew before.”

This article (Stephen Hawking Warns Humanity: Leave Earth Before the Ruling Class Destroys It) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commonslicense with attribution to Claire Bernish andtheAntiMedia.orgAnti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: LWP Kommunikacio. If you spot a typo, emailedits@theantimedia.org.


Monday, March 7, 2016

A relative of one who died in the crash MH17 Boeing in Ukraine:Asks for Results much faster

A relative who died in the crash Boeing in Ukraine: the Result should work much faster

It is expected that on 7 March in the Netherlands will be published new information about the crash Boeing in the East of Ukraine in July 2014. Representatives of the joint investigation team will tell journalists and relatives of those killed in the crash during the investigation of the causes of the tragedy, which claimed the lives of 283 passengers and 15 crew members. Details — RT correspondent Roman Kosarev.
Eighteen months after the collapse of the Malaysian Boeing in the East of Ukraine issues in the investigation team, apparently, remains more than answers.
Dutch parliamentarians have expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of evidence, declared the US, and also criticized the secrecy around the investigation.
The relatives of the victims urged the Joint investigation team to publish any available information.
The plane crash that killed 13 residents of the Dutch town hilversum. RT correspondent interviewed their fellow countrymen and found that they share some concerns of the relatives of the victims.
"They want to hide something, because otherwise, apparently, can be confirmed by the unwanted facts," suggested one of the interviewees.
"Everyone should have access to investigative data. Perhaps the evidence points to something that could complicate the political situation," said resident Process
"Perhaps, in the interests of a country not to give full information, or the truth is too terrible to disclose it", – expressed his opinion the third woman.
In July 2014 Robert van Hanegen lost in a plane crash in Eastern Ukraine, his brother, sister-in-law and 17-year-old nephew.
This tragedy claimed the lives of nearly 200 Dutch. The investigation lasted for a year and a half. It takes place in an atmosphere of secrecy and causes many disputes. All this does not give the relatives of the victims come to terms with the loss.
RT discussed with Robert some of the details of the protracted process.
"The investigation should be carried out more speedily. Since the collapse it has been too long. I would like to joint investigation team released its findings. They do not provide us with full details. According to them, some of the material is prohibited to publish," said van Hanegen.
It is expected that new information will be published on 7 March in the Dutch city of Utrecht.
Let's hope that it will shed light on the work done in the course of the investigation, and, more importantly, will help the relatives 298 of the dead in some way come to terms with this tragedy.+

America’s Newest Aircraft Carrier: A ‘$15 Billion Floating Graveyard’?

America’s Newest Aircraft Carrier: A ‘$15 Billion Floating Graveyard’?

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)

If worst comes to worst, Russia’s latest hypersonic missiles could make the America’s newest aircraft carrier design, the Ford class, a ‘floating graveyard’, says journalist and military analyst Sergei Ischenko.
Later this year, the US Navy plans to accept the USS Gerald R. Ford, the most expensive and advanced warship ever put to sea, into service. Eventually, Ford-class carriers may replace all ten of the Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers, starting with the USS Enterprise.
Analyzing the new vessel and its weak points, Sergei Ischenko, a military analyst and columnist for independent Russian newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa, suggests that unfortunately for the US Navy, in the event of a conflict with Russia, America’s latest and greatest carrier would effectively be turned into a giant floating graveyard. And those aren’t his words, but those of American analysts themselves.
“The Navy’s gigantic new aircraft carrier, capable of accommodating up to 90 aircraft and aerial vehicles (including drones and the F-35 fifth generation attack aircraft), has already received a series of enthusiastic epithets about its high level of automation, and its record $15 billion cost,” Ischenko recalls. At the same time however, “a series of respected American military experts have already suggested that it may be possible that what the aircraft carrier really is a super-expensive, ‘super-graveyard’ for its crew of thousands. The huge ship, aspiring to become a symbol of America’s power on the oceans, may become obsolete before it is even completed.”
Last month, Harry J. Kazianis, a military analyst and senior contributor for the Washington-based foreign affairs magazine The National Interest, said as much in an article.
“Countries with the technological means, specifically great powers like China and Russia –nations the Pentagon considers as the main big challenge for the US military – are developing cruise missile platforms that can strike from long-range and en masse from multiple domains,” Kazianis noted. “Such weapons…if accurate, using highly trained crews combined with the means to find their target on the vast open oceans –could turn America’s supercarriers into multi-billion dollar graveyards for thousands of US sailors.”
“And Harry Kazianis is not alone in offering such an opinion,” Ischenko recalled. Also last month, in an op-ed for Politico, retired US Navy Captain Jerry Hendrix, a defense analyst for the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, suggested that the golden age for US carriers ended the moment when China and Russia began introducing long-range coastal missile systems into the ranks of their militaries.
“Hendix,” Ischenko writes, “is convinced that in case of war, the capabilities of Russian and Chinese anti-ship cruise, ballistic missile and air defense forces would force US Navy carrier strike groups (CSGs) to stay hundreds or even thousands of kilometers from the enemy’s coast, which would make strikes from their carrier-based aircraft against ground targets ineffective. Additionally, any CSG movement is easily observable from space, enabling the US’s opponents to position their countermeasures ahead of time.””The arithmetic here is simple: the main strike capability of the contemporary US Navy consists of its air wing, consisting of 30-40 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. The combat radius of these aircraft is about 800 km. For the Super Hornets to able to even threaten to conduct air strikes against targets on the shores of enemy territory, they would have to take off 400 nautical miles from their targets.”
“However,” the analyst continues, “if the US Navy CSG were to attempt to make it to say, the Russian shore, it’s unlikely that it would reach its destination, because, far from its target, it would be attacked by the Tu-22M3, a supersonic long-range bomber equipped with the Kh-22 anti-ship missile, designed back in the Soviet period specifically for use against aircraft carriers.”
Tupolev Tu-22M3 strategic bombers flying past the Kremlin during a rehearsal for the parade marking the 70th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War, May 2015.
Tupolev Tu-22M3 strategic bombers flying past the Kremlin during a rehearsal for the parade marking the 70th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War, May 2015.
“Each Tu-22M3 is capable of carrying up to three such missiles. Moreover, the missiles can be fitted with a nuclear warhead.” The Kh-22’s latest modification, the Kh-22M/MA, has an operation range of 600 km (320 nautical miles), delivered at Mach 5, and carrying a payload of 1,000 kg of RDX. “The range of the aircraft itself is practically unlimited, since it is possible to refuel from the air,” Ischenko notes.
A Raduga Kh-22 anti-ship missile under the wing of a Tupolev Tu-22M supersonic long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber.
A Raduga Kh-22 anti-ship missile under the wing of a Tupolev Tu-22M supersonic long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber.
“And if by some miracle the US CSG were to evade the air-based missile strike, closer to our shore the ships would come up on the firing range of the K-300P Bastion-P mobile coastal defense missile system, equipped with the P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles [known in export markets as the Yakhont, with an operational range of 600 km [the export variant’s range is 120-300 km, depending on altitude].”
The Bastion coastal defense missile system during a parade rehersal.
The Bastion coastal defense missile system during a parade rehersal.
“Right now, the Bastion-P is deployed near Sevastopol, Anapa, the Kola Peninsula, Novaya Zemlya and the Kurile Islands. There is reason to believe that in the near future these systems will deploy for combat duty near Kaliningrad and in Kamchatka. Additionally, plans exist to deploy the first ‘Bastion-S’, a silo-based system with up to 36 anti-ship cruise missiles, in Crimea by 2020.”
Among the Oniks’s key features is its low profile flight (sea-skimming) capability, which allows it to defeat electronic countermeasures and fly under enemy fire. Moreover, Ischenko recalls that the missiles’ ‘swarming pattern’ of attack means that even if part of them were damaged or destroyed, “the remainder are guaranteed” to find their targets.
“Then there are the Russian multipurpose nuclear submarines, which can also find themselves in the CSG’s way. For example, the K-560 Severodvinsk, the lead unit of the Project 885 ‘Yasen’, is capable of carrying up to 32 Oniks missiles.”
The first multirole Yasen K-560 submarine, the Severodvinsk, by the pier of the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk Region.
The first multirole Yasen K-560 submarine, the Severodvinsk, by the pier of the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk Region.
“Then of course, there are the small missile ships, which recently became famous all around the world, with their Kalibr cruise missile,” which feature the 3M54K and 3M54T anti-ship variants. Finally, “there are the Varszawianka (Kilo-class) submarines, equipped with the same weapon, and 3K60 ‘Ball’ coastal defense system, featuring the Kh-35U missile,” whose maximum range has recently been upped to 300 km.
The GRAU 3K60 'Ball' coastal defense system.
The GRAU 3K60 ‘Ball’ coastal defense system.
“But even all this,” Ischenko suggests, “will seem like a baby’s toy, if Russia will be able to start mass production of the 3M22 ‘Zircon’ hypersonic missile. By all appearances, several such missiles have already been tested and put into service. A few days ago it was announced that the the Admiral Nakhimov heavy nuclear missile cruiser, presently undergoing modernization at the Severodvinsk port, would be equipped with such missiles by 2018.”
The Admiral Nakhimov heavy nuclear missile cruiser, presently undergoing modernization.
The Admiral Nakhimov heavy nuclear missile cruiser, presently undergoing modernization.
“The range of the Zircon remains a secret, with some experts saying that it at least matches the Oniks. But the flight speed of the new weapon is several times faster, which dramatically reduces the time necessary to pass through any naval-based air defense systems and, consequently, effectively makes attempts to defend aircraft carriers and their support ships pointless.”
“Moreover, because the Admiral Nakhimov’s rearmament implies that the launchers onboard will be capable, depending on the mission, of launching the Oniks, the Zircon or the Kalibr, it’s logical to assume that the weight and size characteristics of the missiles will be maximally universalized.” If this is the case, the analyst notes, “it would mean that the latest Russian hypersonic cruise missile could also equip the ‘Bastion’ shore-based systems, thus precluding the possibility of carrier groups approaching [Russia’s shore] even for a brief period.”
Ultimately, Ischenko notes, “it is logical to assume that these facts are not a secret to American experts, whose writings have almost ‘buried’ the multi-billion dollar Gerald R Ford directly in its shipyard. What’s their solution?”Kazianis, in his piece for The National Interest, “is convinced that there is an urgent need to develop long-range unmanned drones, capable of launching from the deck of aircraft carriers. Apparently, their range should be sufficient to ensure that they can fire without entering the range of Russian coastal defense systems.”
“I am afraid that if we don’t give America’s most expensive weapon of war the platforms it needs to strike from range, the aircraft carrier could join the battleships of yesteryear as floating museums sooner rather than later,” Kazianis noted.
“However, as the author himself complains, the Pentagon, for now, has no intention to create such UAVs. Secondly, who was it that promised Kazianis that Russia would not simultaneously take up efforts to increase the flight range of its anti-ship missiles?” Ischenko bluntly concludes.