Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) continues to monitor ‘substantial’ Russian naval activity in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and will revise the schedule for exercises, say the alliance.
NATO says it will postpone exercise Dynamic Guard to provide flexibility in the schedule to support Allied operational interests.

This move is in response to Russia staging a large-scale military exercise in the Mediterranean Sea near Syria, involving both its Navy and Air Force. The drills were held amid ongoing escalation around Idlib.

Footage released by Russia’s Defence Ministry shows Russianl Forces landing on the shores of Syria’s Latakia province. The troops used helicopters, fast-attack craft and armoured vehicles while landing from amphibious ships under the cover of combat aircraft.

SNMG2 ships including flagship HNLMS De Ruyter, HMCS Ville de Quebec, HS Elli and ESPS Cristobal Colon, in coordination with additional Allied navy units in the area, will support maritime situational awareness throughout the eastern Mediterranean.
According to the alliance in a news release:
“Several Allied nations border the eastern Mediterranean Sea and have a vested interest in maintaining awareness of activities in the region. Maintaining this flexibility in the schedule of operations for the standing maritime groups allows the ships to provide value back to Allied nations.
Maritime Situational Awareness supports greater awareness, safety at sea and reduces the risk of any mistakes or miscalculation.”
Dynamic Guard is a multinational air defence and electronic warfare exercise. The aim of this exercise is to maintain proficiency in electronic warfare and anti-ship missile defence of vessels assigned to NATO.

25 COMMENTS

  1. The Russian’s are going to be responsible for a massacre in Idlib, whilst NATO watches on and does nothing, despite Russia commuting crimes against humanity and supporting a dictator also guilty of crimes against humanity.
    It is going to be interesting over the next few weeks whether NATO will do anything to stop Idlib from falling.

  2. Unfortunately a totally messed up and aimless western foreign policy has handed Russian a nation with oil access, a meditation coastline and most importantly the ability to act as a choke piont to suez.

    This may have been the biggest home goal since Iraq 2, when will we learn the rest of the world has no interest in taking forward western values and will not just fall into line because we undermine or remove whichever dictator is in power at the time.

    It seems that some of our opponents ( Russia, China etc are not competitors they are opponents even in peace) such as Russia and Iran in particulate are better at taking advantage of chaos than western powers. The west is far better at gaining influence in a stable environment where wealth can flourish and people have time to think and look to there childrens education and betterment. In chaos people just want it to stop and authoritarian brutal regimes can manage this better than the west, utter butality generally works, where as a little brutality does not (look at the Second World War, effective the UK and US had to hold their noses and out britalise the nazis to win). As the West is simple not able to accept stepping over a number of lines we need to start with the assumption we are less likely to win if chaos takes hold.

    We need to learn from this and use our foreign policy to stabilise not destabilise and work within stable environments to gain influence and power. Just because we may not agree with a regime does not mean its population wants the government we have and as we have seen over the last decade chaos brings far more death and misery over a longer period than your average dictator.

    Britain did not fall into democracy and liberal values, it took century after century to slowly embed as the population and ruling classes played out a generations long Negotiation. No revolution (wars of separation had different outcomes) ever delivered peace and freedom, just chaos, death, misery and finally another authoritarian regime.

    • I agree. However I am not sure what we do about it. The issue is that we will not (and rightly so) simply accept mass civilian deaths to kill a few militants. Russia has no such morals so will happily carpet bomb cities. It gets results and then they support a leader that will also do anything to keep control while we try to back less brutal leaders. If you want to keep rule over chaos then you need to be willing to kill children, women, and pretty much everyone in your way. This is not compatible with our morals so we are always going to struggle as it takes a lot more money and time to do it our way. It is also easy for a small number of militants to hold a large armed force away as they know we will not want to kill the civilians they put around themselves. The Russians will just level the whole area.

      I know which one I am more comfortable with but it does mean we need to be more clever when it comes to these conflicts. For instance we should have called Putins bluff on Crimea. He was claiming that Russians were there as peacekeepers. We should have said to him “Great idea! We will help by sending our troops as peacekeepers too!” Rather than simply stand back and watch as he took over part of a European country.

      • I must agree this is a massive conundrum that our Nation’s forces and politicians face. With are progressive values and rule of armed conflict. We have stepped away from what war entails in respect to the loss of life. We now go out of our way to protect life even to the extant of scrubbing a mission if there’s any suspicion of collateral damage. This is further enforced by the laws we have introduced.
        By example this has caused the recent policing wars of Iraq and Afghanistan to be significantly drawn out and made overly complicated. But, what is the answer, do we revert back to the total war ethos of the past or do we still maintain our modern western values?

        • I think we keep our values but we need to become far more clever when it comes to the politics and strategy as well as the equipment we use. ie Do we keep sending Typhoons (and possibly F35s) to kill bomb a compound in an area that is void of enemy aircraft when a Hawk could do the job for much less cost?

      • Hi Lee

        As you say, rightly we will not go down the road to brutality, but we ( I mean the west) have over the passed 20 is years, fallen into the habit of destabilising and interviewing against dictators we don’t like. In my view unless we are looking a full scale genocide in a nation the west is willing to fully committee to over the long term or we or friends are directly threatened we need to step away, half assed interventions such as Libya or Syria just creates misery on a massive scale/prologes it all and then others take advantage.

        For me I think less is more, red lines should be set at a very high threshold (if out forces are going to be asked to put their lives and minds on the line, we should have apsolute clarity of why) but then policed/enforced with absolute commitment and until the issue is fully resolved. We also need to accept that resolution may not be the formation of a democratic Government, just one we can live with and works with us.

        • I agree to a point although there are times when it is probably beneficial to us and the local population for a dictator to be removed… However what we always fail to do is to commit troops, resources and money to that country afterwards in order to support it while it rebuilds.

          Look at Iraq. We went in there and very successfully removed Saddam. The people were pretty happy with that. However instead of increasing the numbers of troops in order to protect engineers, politicians and the general public while it was getting back to its feet we pulled troops out and then engineers could not risk going out to fix water supplies etc. The people then became angry and the militants filled the void.

          We should have stuck with the project for the long term rather than smashing the place up then leaving…

          I do agree though that if we are not willing to commit to the long term plan then we should not go the in the first place.

          • I agree, my issue with Iraq is not the intervention, it’s the when of it and as you say the follow up. Saddam had crossed a line years before even Iraq 1. Any intevention should possibly have happened earlier and had more long term support with a better understand of the power dynamics within the nation, forcing democracy into a tribal system of government does not work well.

            Our follow on actions in Libya and Syria have just been appalling in the lack of clarity, understanding of impact and the fact they have just added to the chaos.

    • It’s hardly an own goal…. Syria, was, is and will continue to be in the Soviet/Russian sphere of influence…
      The western countries failed to differentiate between the popular uprising and the extreme Islamic militants when military equipment was being sent into the country…

  3. Another potential flashpoint and a very good reason for the UK to greatly increase its defence spending as we depart the EU in six months time.

    First type 26 due in 2027, no idea when the type 31e will arrive or in what form, and our army reduced to ridiculous numbers.

    Wake up call for NATO and HMG. Our foreign aid budget can be used for a great many things!

    • Indeed. Our foreign aid budget can be used for lots of great things to keep countries stable and prevent them from falling into chaos in the first place.

      • Indead, instead of money into low risk stable nations ( India et al) it should be focused very much on nations deamed at risk.

        We could also focus on using it to help the stabilisation of failed states, but for that we need to have a UN that can provide the security element.

    • They may not be a direct threat to us. However they are a direct threat to other countries. Look at Crimea… They just walked in and stole a load of Ukraines navy.

    • True but they have numbers, not sure if that matters or not. Putin getting rid of the national pension to fund its nukes shows you how determined he is to keep the strength in numbers going.

  4. This war could have been stopped in its tracks
    When Cameron proposed a no-fly zone the leader of the Labour party at the time said yes what a good idea and agreed
    When the vote came in parliament Labour said no and the rest is history
    I wonder who it was that that persuaded others to vote it down ?
    Whoever it was (i have my thoughts on that ) has the blood of all those that have been killed and wounded in this conflict on his hands
    Perhaps his plan is working
    His masters have now a big foothold in the Med and surrounding area and also a big foothold on British politics
    Before the PC brigade go off on one put your thinking caps on and think

  5. The civil war in Syria is abominable & it sickens me how the Russians stepped in to prop up Assad. But we too support abominable regimes such as Saudi Arabia bombing Yemen back into the stone age & repressing its own people. I would have liked to see the west step in to curb Assad before we did nothing long enough for Putin to step in to help his ally, but would that have ended any better than Iraq or Lybia? Syria is a much tougher nut than either of these.

  6. Trump is a blessing to Russia, his unpredictability is screwing US foreign policy. By the time he leaves office, it will be in tatters. This situation will be a gift aplenty for Russia, and why not exploit this dia state of affairs. Some say if and when Russia moves south with intent, be very much afraid?

  7. There are some fine things being said in this thread.

    When it comes to war, we have lost our way: Surely in a war all gloves are off and anything goes? It’s not sport, where there are apparently rules (although I think sport is one step from war for some nations). I know we don’t want to kill innocent people, but maybe in the long run a half-assed intervention will actually cause more deaths than full out carpet bombing and going for the win? Easy to say of course sat behind my computer, as would I hell want to be living in one of these countries where most people will be decent people but are getting killed on a daily basis. Maybe better not get involved at all in such countries.

    To tackle Russia and its ilk it’s better to go to the heart of the bear.

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