Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Darfur - Part 4

I think that from now on, most posts on FX-Based will be part of a series. I can't really cover what I want to regarding some subjects in a single post. Besides, I will be very short on time from here until at least the end of the year.

Fog of War, "A blog devoted to International Defence and Security issues" is the lastest addition to the FX-Based blogroll. I meant to do this a few weeks ago but never got to it.

So, Jules at Fog of War mentions FX-Based and adds:

I’ve read with great interest Sonny's attempt, from FXbased, to draw a "fantasy" framework - as he has called it - for a U.S. led intervention in Darfur. But, as attractive such an idea might be, there is a strong likelihood that such an intervention is not going to happen.

I agree with the last sentence.

Eddie at Live from the FDNF also mentions yours truly and provides a good roundup of other blogs covering the Darfur debacle. Eddie's blog has done more to raise my awareness of Darfur than any other source

I liked Jules' summary of some of the players in the Darfur crisis. Citing from Fog of War. My comments in italics:

The Sudanese government is against any kind of international intervention.

The African Union - which has taken the initiative in Darfur since 2004 - has failed. (FX-Based comment: True.)

The U.N. - The international community has been moving too slow on this matter. (FX-Based comment: When has the UN moved fast on anything?)

The U.S. have recently put forward a stronger position stating that "genocide has to be stopped" in western Sudan and that "involvement by NATO should send a clear signal" to the Sudanese authorities.

NATO - The U.S.'s proposal of NATO deployment plan is still under consideration within NATO.

Transnational Islamist terrorism - Some observers have deemed that a western intervention in Darfur would play into the jihadists' hands, uniting all factions in a war against outsiders.

And my "favorite" player:

China seems to be the biggest player with much at stake: its increasing needs for overseas resources (see China, Africa, and Oil, from the Council on Foreign Relations). In exchange for oil, Beijing provides diplomatic support and weapons to Sudan (see China's role in genocide and China accused of prolonging bloodshed because of oil). An estimated 70% of Sudan’s oil flows to China, and an estimated 6 to 7% of China’s oil imports come from Sudan. It has also been estimated that 80% of Sudan’s oil revenue may be used to buy weapons.

The Chinese deserve a whole new post. At this point in history, China cares only about itself. I personally can't figure out the Chinese. Can they be a positive force for change (like we Americans are) anywhere in the world?

The fantasy plan continues.

The Adversary

The adversary consists of a combinations of elements of the Government of Sudan (GOS) and the Janjaweed. The adversary continues to terrorize the civilian population in Darfur by the systematic, coordinated and indiscriminate use of violence using deployed ethnic proxy forces. Aerial bombardment and attacks on civilians reportedly have occurred widely throughout the region. The number of casualties caused by aerial bombardment cannot be determined, but large numbers of Darfurians have been forced to flee their villages. Many of the reports detailing attacks on villages refer to government and militia forces, preceded by aerial bombardment, acting together to commit atrocities.

Most reports from civilians describe the following pattern in the attacks:

1) GOS aircraft or helicopters bomb villages.

2) GOS soldiers arrive in trucks, followed closely by Janjaweed militia riding horses or camels.

3) GOS soldiers and militia surround and then enter villages, under cover of gunfire.

4) Fleeing villagers are targets in aerial bombing.

5) The Jingaweit and GOS soldiers loot the village after most citizens have fled, often using trucks to remove belongings.

6) Villages often experience multiple attacks over a prolonged period before they are destroyed by burning or bombing

The Sudanese Air Force (SAF)

I would like to see the USAF (or USN) take a shot at these knuckleheads.

Despite Sudan's dire economic situation the SAF has actually undergone a recent modernization. The SAF order of battle contains aircraft and weapons that are considered credible threats to US forces. Of primary concern are modern MiG-29 Fulcrum aircraft, equipped with both AA-12 Adder and AA-11 Archer air-to-air missiles. The Fulcrum is equipped with advanced phased array "Slot Back" radar that can detect targets as small as a cruise missile. The Fulcrum also has an advanced infrared detection system (IRST) that can detect American strike aircraft day or night. Based on Jane's information, the SAF has at least 16 operational MiG-29s. These aircraft are probably operated by Russian mercenaries. In addition, the SAF is known to operate at least two MiG-23 Flogger aircraft. The MiG-29 squadron is located at Khartoun, while the two MiG-23s are based at Bur (Port) Sudan. The MiG-29 purchase represents an expenditure of approximately $400 million.

Reports indicate that Chinese jets sold to Sudan by China and Iran since the 1990s include over 40 Shenyang J-6 and J-7 jet fighters, and more recently some F-7 supersonic fighters, an improved version of the Russian MiG-21 Fishbed.

Based on Jane's, the Sudanese operate two modern air traffic control (ATC) radars that cover the southern approach to Darfur. Both of these Alenea-Marconi radars have a dual-use air defense capability along with civilian ATC.

According to Jane's, Sudan has 20 SA-2 Guideline SAM batteries, with associated Spoon Rest and Fan Song radars. Only three of the batteries are believed to be operational.

Friendly Forces Desired Conditions

Next post will cover the whole plan A-to-Z, phase-by-phase.

Further Reading:

I wonder what would be the political fallout of shooting down MIG's piloted by Russian mercenaries... not just in the context of this operation, but I'm certain in future operations across the world (i.e. Colombia, Nigeria, Burma, etc) we'll be facing Russian, Ukranian etc mercs whose contracts may have been negotiated by elements within their home government.

Thanks for the heads-up on Fog Of War.

Thanks for the feedback.

If the Russian mercenaries decide to go up against coalition aircraft and fight it out in the air chances are that they are going to get blown out of the sky. Our guys have better training, better equipment and are far more proficient in air-to-air combat than whatever Russian merceanries Sudan can afford. Plus, if we engage we will have a far more robust C2 and detection structure, particularly using AWACS...basically the Russians won't know what hit them...especially if we use F-22s (unlikely). The Russian government might deny that the pilots were out there with Russian gov approval; after all their guys were out there supporting a genocidal mission. Although I am not too sure that the Russians care too much about their "image". At least not as much as we do. Anyway, I would go with a mini-IO campaign aimed at the Russian pilots, basically saying "Don't dare to fly against us. The minute you take off you've sign your death setence...oh and let us know that you are not going to fly by positioning your aircraft in such and such way on the tarmac" kind of message. Then again, the Sudanese might say, "Hey Russkies go up and fight the Americans...or we'll kill you right here". But then again, the Sudanese government leadership might be running for their lives due to the coalition's bombing campaign and might be not be too worried about what the Russian pilots actually do. Left to their own devices, my guess is that the Russians will not fly against our guys to defend their Sudanese, Colombian, or Nigerian employers. Also keep in mind that even if the Russians decide to fly, it is ulikely that they will be flying the top-of-the-line MiG-29s that the Russians reserve for their own inventory (and might actually sell for the right price, but I think the Sudanese got the economy models). It is also unlikely that the Russian mercenaries are top-of-the-line pilots. I just can't think that the Russians would send their best dudes to Sudan. If they do, it would be good target practice though. In fact, if I was Boeing (or any of the other big aerospace companies) I would want the Russians to go up against our guys just for the psosible boost to F-22 and JSF sales, if you know what I mean. Ralph Peters would probably have a heart attack though. We can also use the cash route and pay the Russian mercenaries more more money than the Sudanese, but I would not recommend that. I would like to see several MiG-29s in flames. The airshow ones don't count. Additionally, our last guy that became an ace (which I met several years ago) did it during the Vietnam War.
Oh, I'm certain the USAF can handle the Russkies. I just wonder how depraved the leadership in Moscow can get over this issue.

What a shame this will all never happen, it would be great to see the Raptor get some air to air action for once.

Of course, such a ruthless option would have Peters' approval, even with his beloved AF at the center of it all :-).
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