Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

U.S. forces killed scores of Russian contract soldiers in Syria last week in what may be the deadliest clash between citizens of the former foes since the Cold War, according to a U.S. official and three Russians familiar with the matter. More than 200 mercenaries, mostly Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, died in a failed attack on a base and refinery held by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region, two of the Russians said. The U.S. official put the death toll at about 100, with 200 to 300 injured.

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This is actually interesting. Now it's clear why the "Syrian" forces were attacking the US forces and their allies - Oil Field control. According to the Russian "Mercenaries" the KIA were double the US estimate. You can bet they were not mercenaries and Russian regulars.

#1 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2018-02-13 09:42 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Russia, Iran, Israel and Turkey have all had aircraft shot down in or near Syria this month"

While we engage in a world war that rages in Syria back here in Fantasyland we are busy arguing about a stupid memo.

We are so easy to manipulate. No wonder an idiot like Trump is now our President. He is the President we deserve.

#2 | Posted by donnerboy at 2018-02-13 10:56 AM | Reply

You can bet they were not mercenaries and Russian regulars.

#1 | POSTED BY GALAXIEPETE AT 2018-02-13 09:42 AM | FLAG:

They were never regulars. It's Russian's version of Blackwater called RSB Group. They've been used in Ukraine, Gulf of Aden, etc. The only hire from ex-Speztnaz which are Russian special forces.

#3 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2018-02-13 11:10 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

#3 | Posted by sitzkrieg

There's sort of HUGE gaps between the lines for you to fill in on this if you have been following this Russian conflicts the last few years.

Wagner is Kremlin Controlled and since they are part of the Government they are by default Russian troops. It would be like if the Federal Government controlled Blackwater...

But besides that when you look into the reports on Ukraine and the stories of Russians where these "volunteers" also fight and have fought, they aren't so much volunteers as conscripts from the regular army. And let's go another step Blackwater - or whatever they call themselves today - never had tanks and multi-rocket launch platforms. Even Defense Secretary General Mattis is questioning the "explanation".

#4 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2018-02-13 12:47 PM | Reply

That proves it. Trump loves putin and all of russia.

#5 | Posted by Sniper at 2018-02-13 01:14 PM | Reply | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 1

It would be like if the Federal Government controlled Blackwater...

#4 | POSTED BY GALAXIEPETE AT 2018-02-13 12:47 PM | FLAG:

Not much gaps at all. The feds contract Academi (Blackwater). They do dirty work for us but aren't US armed forces. It's far more similar than it is different. The RSB are not official parts of any regular armed forces, the Kremlin contracts them. They are better armed and better paid than regulars.

In Ukraine in particular the Russians specifically used only armored vehicles that the Ukranians already had to maintain plausible deniability. We saw the regular Russian army in action there, they pulled off their patches and made rapid cross-border attacks whenever they needed to reverse Ukranian gains. They then crossed back into Russia.

Academi on the other hand operates its own private, heavily armed air force with Super Tucanos and Little Bird -----, and for awhile manufactured their own armored vehicles, in addition to operating the exact same model MRAPs used by the US Special Operations Command they recruit from.

This is 5th generation warfare in a nutshell.

#6 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2018-02-13 01:16 PM | Reply

How many Russians do we kill in Syria until Putin finally issues his rebuke of Trump?

#7 | Posted by moder8 at 2018-02-13 01:27 PM | Reply

Trump was rebuked by the Russians when his admin sold a bunch of Javelin anti-tank missiles and other lethal arms to Ukraine. The admin was rebuked by Russian again over threats to the Iranian nuclear weapons deal along with accusing the US of violating the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

#8 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2018-02-13 02:25 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Though that treaty violation was put into gear by Obama's nuclear arsenal upgrade program, with Trump simply expanding it further.

#9 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2018-02-13 02:25 PM | Reply

#7

Looks like someone needs to follow Obama's advice and get out of the echo chamber once and a while.

#10 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2018-02-13 03:31 PM | Reply

#6 | Posted by sitzkrieg

The Russian forces remain in Ukraine. They didn't dart back and forth across the border there is and has been a sustained presence since they came in. The tanks, artillery and SAM systems remain. The used the same equipment as Ukraine had for initial plausible deniability for sure. And yes I have heard about these "mercenaries" being there it's propaganda too according to my reading.

Second, It isn't as similar as you are painting to Academi (couldn't remember their new name that obfuscates their Blackwater heritage). It's a Government Entity pure and simple. Sure it makes things look "more clean" from a Government perspective. Wagner is believed to be a disguised branch of the Ministry of Defense by Russian experts. They train at MoD facilities and as you pointed out have dabbled in weapons. You consider their air force heavily armed? Compared to what? Old slow prop planes and light duty helicopters. Yep those are probably devastating to the poorly armed but pretty much anything can take them out.

Bottom line, follow the money. Who's paying them? Syrian Government? Iran? Ukraine insurgents? NOT likely. That said if you acknowledge the Russians are "paying" Wagner and they are a branch of the government are they "like Blackwater"? Our Military Industrial Complex at least has a clear separation between the two entities. "Contractors" are a new reality I agree but Wagner group is actually significantly different from "Academi" IMHO.

#11 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2018-02-13 03:58 PM | Reply

I disagree. They are very, very similar. You diminishing the Super Tucano is also not accurate. It is a very modern, turboprop platform that carries anti-tank missiles, smart bombs, cluster bombs, etc. Aircraft have been loaned to them directly from the US Navy for training and USSOCOM has picked up 20 for Afghanistan operations. Those and heavy armored APCs are exactly what you use to fight insurgency campaigns in a cost effective manner.

Also, Ukraine has more nuance. "Separatists", which are a mix of locals and de-badged special forces, are the ones actually on the ground. Russian spec ops have at least 120,000 troops but only about 7,500 are actually in Donbass at any given time. The actual Russian regular army, 3 brigades worth of motor rifles, have gone into Ukraine, fought, and immediately withdrew after stabilizing the front. You don't have to follow the money. Just go to the graveyards like Vice News did.

#12 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2018-02-13 06:11 PM | Reply

As an aside, for all the talk about how good these guys are supposed to be... they attacked positions with questionably maintained Syrian T-72 tanks, with little to no cover, against forces with embedded American JTACS after a deal to buy the oil fields back from the Kurds fell apart. They clearly didn't think that out.

#13 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2018-02-13 09:08 PM | Reply

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