The drone swarm attack on a Russian military base in Syria raises the cost of coercion for the Russians considerably. The drones themselves are not expensive, despite Russian claims that the drones are more sophisticated than it appears they actually are.
The Daily Beast did some research and discovered the very drones the Russians displayed and offered in an indirect manner as proof the US was involved in the attack, appear to be drones that can be purchased….on the black market, by anyone.
While I am not supporting the groups that most likely carried out this attack (due to the coercive nature of the governance models these groups support), this attack on a Russian military base by relatively cheap drones demonstrates further how the balance of military power is shifting towards the defensive over the offensive, meaning that the cost of coercion, of taking and holding territory against the will of the people that live there, is rising.
Defensive action, such as the use of cheap drones to swarm attack multi-million-dollar military bases, raises the cost of continuing that coercive action.
That, my friends, is a good thing. That, my friends, is a reason to hope that the days of the powerful, large-scale coercive enterprise model are numbered.
The Kremlin may have accused the United States of a drone swarm attack on its naval base in Syria. But The Daily Beast found the drones for sale on a social media arms market.
Russia has all but accused the U.S. military of being behind the improvised drone attack on its air base in Syria last week, claiming the aircraft could have only come from a major military power like the United States.
But days before the unique, jury-rigged drone bomber surfaced in the attack, a seller in a rebel social media arms market based in Syria’s Idlib province posted an advertisement for an identical-looking model of rickety homebrew drone along with similar munitions, casting serious doubt on Moscow’s tales of high tech transfer.
Russia’s defense ministry says the attack took place in the early hours of Jan. 6, involving a swarm of 10 bomblet-armed drones aimed at the Hmeimim air base in Latakia and an additional three drones targeted at the Russian naval base in Tartus—all guided by GPS navigation. On Wednesday, Russia’s defense ministry released a statement claiming that “moderate opposition” fighters in Syria had launched the drones from Idlib and called on Turkey to provide greater security in the province as part of its participation in a Russian-sponsored peace plan for the conflict.
The incident, aimed at the heart of the Russian military presence in Syria, struck a blow to the triumphalist talk of final victory against Syria’s insurgency, coming just a little over a month after a Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the base for a George W. Bush-style declaration of “mission accomplished.”