2014 Moscow conference on international security [II]

Moscow Conference Identifies ‘Color Revolutions’ as War
by Tony Papert
Executive Intelligence Review | June 13, 2014

June 7—The Russian and Belarusian military speakers at the May 23 Third Moscow Conference on International Security, spelled out in increasing detail how what they called "color revolutions," foreign-controlled attempts to overthrow governments under the initial cover of democracy promotion, are actually nothing but a new form of aggressive war. This yearly conference has been a venue for significant Russian policy statements, such as in 2012, when Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov made a detailed analysis of how NATO’s BMD plans threaten to strip Russia of its defenses.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu opened this year’s conference by reading a message from President Vladimir Putin, who was unable to be present, in which he explicitly attacked the "color revolutions." "It’s time to stop playing geopolitical games," read the headline of the Voice of Russia report on the message. They then report the following remarks from the Russian President:

"The process of development of a new polycentric system of international relations is proceeding with difficulty and is accompanied by an increase in global instability. We have not been able to make considerable headway in the formation of a union space of peace, security and stability in Europe and the Atlantic."

"The situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa remains tense, and serious risks are associated with the situation in Afghanistan," the President said. "Obviously, modern challenges and threats make it necessary to stop the archaic logic of geopolitical games with a zero sum game, the attempts to force your own methods and values on other peoples, including by color revolutions."

Indeed, according to the reports available in the West, the major theme of the conference centered on the threat which so-called "color revolutions," like those that occurred in the Philippines, Georgia, Ukraine, and the like, represent to a stable international order, based on national sovereignties. Thanks to the Obama Administration-instigated boycott of Russia, there were few Americans attending the event, but two who did, have posted extensive notes, along with the PowerPoint slides shown. This report on the conference is based on these notes.

A View That Should Not Be Ignored

Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) was so struck by the laser-like focus of the Russian and Belarusian military speakers at the conference that he posted 52 pages of his raw notes, with PowerPoints, to the CSIS site under the title, "Russia and the Color Revolution: A Russian Military View of a World Destabilized by the U.S. and the West (Key Briefs)."

He wrote,

"Key Russian officers and officials presented a view of the U.S. and the West as deliberately destabilizing nations in North Africa, the Middle East, and the rest of the world for their own ends. They describe such actions as having failed, and been a key source of terrorism. Cordesman indicated that they see the West as rejecting partnership with the Russia and as threatening Russia along all of its borders with Europe.

"Senior Russian officials are also using the term ‘Color Revolution’ in ways that are far more critical than in the past. For example, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has accused the United States and the European Union of an attempt to stage yet another color revolution in Ukraine, and said during the Conference that, ‘Attempts to impose homemade recipes for internal changes on other nations, without taking into account their own traditions and national characteristics, to engage in the export of democracy, have a destructive impact on international relations and result in an increase of the number of hot spots on the world map.’

"What is critical is that the U.S. and Europe listen to what Russian military leaders and strategists are saying. These are not Russian views the U.S. and Europe can afford to ignore" (emphasis in original).

Defense Minister Shoigu

In his keynote address, Defense Minister Shoigu addressed the negative impact of color revolutions on international stability. The following summary was provided by Dmitry Gorenburg, a Russian military analyst at the CNA Corporation, a non-profit research organization that runs the Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Public Research.

Shoigu said that color revolutions were a new form of warfare invented by Western governments seeking to remove national governments in favor of ones that are controlled by the West, in order to force foreign values on a range of nations. He made the argument that the same scheme has been used in a wide range of cases, with the initial goal of changing the government through supposedly popular protests, shifting into efforts at destabilizing and fomenting internal conflict if the protesters are not successful. This scheme was used in Serbia, Libya, and Syria—all cases where political interference by the West transitioned into military action. Now the same scheme is being followed in Ukraine, where the situation in recent weeks has become a virtual civil war, and in Venezuela, where the so-called democratic opposition is actually organized by the United States.

Shoigu pointed out that the consequences of color revolutions are very different from the protest organizations’ initial stated goals. The main result has been instability. The Arab Spring, for example, has destabilized the Middle East and North Africa. Now, a whole range of African states are near collapse because of the effects of events in Libya. Afghanistan is increasingly unstable, which has forced Russia to increase its military presence in Central Asia in order to contain threats coming from the south.

Others addressing this theme in detail included General Gerasimov, Belarusian Defense Minister Yuri Zhadobin, Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha, and Gen. Vladimir Zarudnitsky, head of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, who spoke on a panel on the Mideast and North Africa.

Chief of Staff Gerasimov

Gerasimov reiterated the idea that the United States has developed a new method of warfare, beginning with using non-military tactics to change opposing governments through color revolutions that utilize the protest potential of the population to engineer peaceful regime-change. The two graphics from his presentation that we reproduce here (Figures 1 and 2), give a good idea of his strategic argument about what the Western policy has done.

Gerasimov emphasized that military force is concealed behind the color revolutions. If the protest potential turns out to be insufficient, military force is then used openly to ensure regime change. Libya was cited as a textbook example. In Syria, the West is using mercenaries and military assistance in an effort to overthrow the government. What began as a purely internal conflict has turned into a battle between religious radicals and the government.

The following raw notes from Cordesman detail the flow of Gerasimov’s argument.

•The breakup of the former Soviet Union has led the U.S. to act as if it were the only superpower, and for its own ends using a mix of force and sanctions using its NATO allies.

•The U.S. military interventions in Iraq in 1991, in Yugoslavia in 1999, in Afghanistan, and then again in Iraq in 2003 used pretexts to allow aggression that violated international norms and law.

•Color revolutions have led to civil wars and threats to civilian populations that only make things worse, and leave major parts of the state under militant control, which become training areas for terrorists.

•Afghanistan has seen more than 10 years of war, and a 30-fold increase in drug production. There has been no concern for the civilian population; drones have killed some 2,500 in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen. Create revolutions so as to be able to use military forces.

•Crises in Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Georgia, Ukraine. Tensions in many other areas like Algeria and Mauritania.

•Use transfers of arms, SOF (special operations forces), mercenaries, and foreign fighters.

•Claim to protect civilians and deal with WMD, but use to change regimes and force support of the U.S. and NATO.

•Syria sees influx of foreign troops, U.S. double standards. Use of SOF and weapons supplies, threat of military operations like cruise missiles, and constant use of information warfare.

•The adaptive approach to Color Revolutions allows the U.S. and Europe to fight low cost wars at the expense of local populations.

•Libya is a warning of the costs: terrorism, migration, fragmentation, suffering, spread of MANPADs to Mali, Tunisia, etc. Then [they] left Libyans to themselves without assuming any responsibility for order.

•Russia favors collective action to bring stability and unity.

•Ukraine is another case in point:

•Pressed to change the regime;

•Overturned the legitimate power;

•Suppressed protests;

•Operations by private military groups;

•Use anti-government demonstrations;

•Army used against the people;

•Makes legitimate economic development impossible;

•Increasing use of force;

•Threaten European security;

•NATO build-up in Baltic, Poland, areas near Russia;

•Sanctions end European and Russian cooperation;

•Entire region sees growth in mercenaries, terrorism, extremism, transnational crime;

•All in the guise of a Color Revolution.

Military Threat Integral to Color Revolutions

According to Cordesman’s notes, Belarusian Defense Minister Zhadobin "mentioned Gene Sharp as the originator of the strategy used in these revolutions," thus bringing in the British hand behind the policy, as EIR has documented (see article by Rachel Douglas in this section). Zhadobin also noted that color revolutions are always set up from outside. In the three PowerPoint slides (Figures 3, 4, and 5) we republish from his address, his central point is clear.

But the speaker who delved into the most detail on the color revolution strategy appears to have been General Zarudnitsky, head of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff. This is Gorenburg’s summary of Zarudnitsky’s talk:

"Like the plenary speakers, Zarudnitsky focused on the military aspects of colored revolutions. He argued that while the West considers colored revolutions to be a peaceful way of overthrowing undemocratic regimes, events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown that military force is an integral part of all aspects of colored revolutions. This includes external pressure on the regime in question to prevent the use of force to restore order, the provision of military and economic assistance to rebel forces, and if these measures are not sufficient, the conduct of a military operation to defeat government forces and allow the rebels to take power. Colored revolutions are thus a new technique of aggression pioneered by the United States and geared toward destroying a state from within by dividing its population. The advantage of this technique is that it requires a relatively low expenditure of resources to achieve its goals.

"Zarudnitsky argues that since this type of warfare is based on the network principle, it has no front line. It is used primarily in urban areas, frequently using civilians as shields. Commonly accepted rules of warfare are ignored, since official state-run armed forces are not used. Instead, criminal and terrorist forces and private military companies are allowed to act with impunity. Counter-guerrilla warfare tactics are required to defeat this type of warfare.

"The key question for military planners is which state will be targeted next. Weak states with poor economies are generally the most vulnerable to these tactics, but the main factor in determining targets is the geopolitical interest of the provoking state. For this reason, such revolutions are organized primarily in countries with significant natural resources or ones that have an important strategic position and conduct an independent foreign policy. The destabilization of such countries allows for a major shift in the balance of power in a particular region (in the case of the Arab Spring—the Middle East and North Africa)."

Cordesman’s more inclusive account adds the following points from Zarudnitsky:

The Color Revolution is:

•Delegitimizing war

•Urban areas are targets

•Use of human shields

•Goes beyond boundaries of humanitarian behavior and international law

•Criminalizing war

•Seizes and uses religious values as weapons

•Use private military units, SOF disguised as rebels: forces like Blackwater

•The most disgusting medieval methods of violence.

Coming to a Head

The Russian leadership’s understanding that the irregular warfare, or color revolutions, being instigated in the nations around it, are an undeclared war against it, has been evident at least as far back as 2011, when, in the aftermath of the Libyan war, the subversive apparatus of several hundred NGOs in Russia, championed by U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, moved, after the Dec. 4, 2011 parliamentary election, to try to prevent Prime Minister Putin from being elected President in May 2012.

On Dec. 8, 2011, Putin spoke to his National People’s Front, declaring that the U.S.A. had invested "hundreds of millions of dollars" to shape the Russian electoral process. "We must develop forms of protecting our sovereignty, protecting ourselves from outside interference," he said. Subsequently, Russia passed laws requiring rigorous registration of NGOs operating in Russia as agents of the foreign organizations supporting them. The U.S. has had exactly the same law since 1938, according to Putin.

http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2014/4124moscow_conf_colors.html

 

Moscow Conference on International Security 2014, part 1: The plenary speeches
Dmitry Gorenburg
Russian Military Reform | May 29, 2014

Last week, I attended the Russian MOD’s Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS). Over the next few days, I plan to share my impressions of the event. First up, the keynote speeches. The lineup of presenters at the plenary session could not have been more prominent. The key Russian speakers included Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. The other speakers included Belarusian Defense Minister Yuri Zhadobin, Pakistan Defense Minister Asif Khawaja, Iranian Defense Minister Hossien Dehghan, CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha, the political commissioner of China’s Lanzhou Military District General Li Changcai, Egyptian Deputy Defense Minister Mohamed Said Elassar, and Indian Deputy Defense Minister Anuj Kumar Bishnoi. So quite an all-star cast. The links above go to videos of the speeches  (with audio in Russian) whenever they are available. Text summaries of the Shoigu and Gerasimov speeches have been posted online in Russian.

For those who don’t understand Russian, here are some highlights. I didn’t take verbatim notes, so consider these the key points — what seemed to me to be most significant from what was said.

Sergei Shoigu opened the conference. After some preliminary remarks, he launched directly into what turned out to be the main theme — the negative impact of colored revolutions on international stability. He made the claim that popular protests of this type were a new form of warfare invented by Western governments seeking to remove national governments in favor of ones that are controlled by the West in order to force foreign values on a range of nations around the world. He made the argument that the same scheme has been used in a wide range of cases, with the initial goal of changing the government through supposedly popular protests shifting into efforts at destabilizing and fomenting internal conflict if the protesters are not successful. This scheme was used in Serbia, Libya, and Syria — all cases where political interference by the West transitioned into military action. Now the same scheme is being followed in Ukraine, where the situation in recent weeks has become a virtual civil war, and in Venezuela, where the so-called democratic opposition is actually organized by the United States.

Shoigu pointed out that the consequences of colored revolutions are very different from the protest organizations’ initial states goals. The main result around the world has been instability. The Arab Spring, for example, has destabilized the Middle East and North Africa. Now, a whole range of African states are near collapse because of the effects of events in Libya. Afghanistan is also increasingly unstable, which has forced Russia to increase its military presence in Central Asia in order to contain threats coming from the south.

The second speech was by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He noted that Western states have been focused for years on containing Russia. They wanted to force CIS states to choose between East and West. This is what led to the crisis in Ukraine. Lavrov called for an end to zero-sum games and said that a Euro-Atlantic security regime was needed, with Russia and the U.S. involved on equal terms rather than having each side looking for geopolitical gains. What is needed is a new poly-centric international system.

He also noted that the same forces that the West are assisting in one country (Libya, for example) subsequently start being labeled as terrorists when they move on to a neighboring state (Mali). Lavrov then restated the main theme — “the export of democracy without taking local values into account leads to instability.”

Valery Gerasimov also focused on the role of the U.S. in international relations. He argued that the U.S. can’t deal with more equal relations among states, so it is using new tactics to assure its supremacy. These include sanctions and assistance for protesters, all backed up with the potential of using military force. He said that the U.S. and NATO are responsible for initiating the majority of conflicts in the world, including those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia. The only difference among these cases is the specific pretext for the military operation with which the United States seeks to eliminate opposing governments. The ostenisble goal of peace and stability is not achieved. Instead, the result is an increase in instability and many casualties.

Gerasimov then reiterated the idea that the United States has developed a new method of warfare, beginning with using non-military tactics to change opposing governments through colored revolutions that utilize the protest potential of the population to engineer peaceful regime change. But military force is concealed behind this effort. If the protest potential turns out to be insufficient, military force is then used openly to ensure regime change. Libya was cited as a textbook example. In Syria, the West is using mercenaries and military assistance in an effort to overthrow the government. What began as a purely internal conflict has turned into a battle between religious radicals and the government.

In Libya, the post-conflict period has been characterized by a crisis of power, with tribal control of parts of the country, widespread terrorism, large numbers of refugees, and the spread of arms to neighboring states that have also been destabilized as a result. Western countries have failed to take responsibility for post-conflict security in Libya. The same thing would happen in Syria if the government was overthrown. The Ukraine crisis is now turning into a civil war, with paramilitary groups being used against the peaceful population in eastern Ukraine. Mercenaries have arrived and it is not clear what will happen next, though military force is increasing in importance.

NATO is turning more anti-Russian, organizing a military build-up on its eastern borders. This will necessitate a Russian response. What is needed is more cooperation between Russia and NATO, but this is frozen. Again, colored revolutions are causing instability throughout the world.

Next up was Yuri Zhodobin, the Belarusian Minister of Defense. He began, not surprisingly, by focusing on how colored revolutions spread conflict to neighboring states. He even mentioned Gene Sharp as the originator of the strategy used in these revolutions, noting that colored revolutions are always set up from outside. The model is to train local activists for peaceful action. If that’s not effective, then paramilitary organizations are brought in and trained. He then went on to a discussion of how to counter colored revolutions, focusing on the importance of international organizations and joint defense and security structures.

Zhodobin highlighted the danger of arms falling into the wrong hands. He also mentioned that the Baltic States are not subject to any conventional arms control regime and could be used to concentrate and prepare forces that could then be used in third countries. He also highlighted the danger posed by a new NATO military buildup in Eastern Europe, with five NATO military exercises going on now in the region. He noted the danger of a new Cold War and mentioned the need to develop rather than destroy existing East-West military contacts.

Nikolai Bordyuzha made a few interesting arguments:

  • The information war is always lost by those who speak the truth.
  • The US has to block Russia from Europe in order to maintain control of the European economy.
  • Ukrainian scenario follows directly from US policy on Yugoslavia.

And, to conclude, a summary of Li Changcai‘s key points:

  • Russia and China are friends.
  • China is being provoked regarding the ownership of several island groups.
  • The Ukrainian crisis has a complex history and should be solved through dialogue on the basis of the Geneva agreements.
  • Terrorism and extremism are the greatest threat in Asia.
  • China will not allow the violation of Chinese sovereignty and interests.
  • China supports further EU integration.
  • Chinese economic development should be seen as an opportunity for the world.

http://russiamil.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/moscow-conference-on-international-security-2014-part-1-the-plenary-speeches/

 

Moscow Conference on International Security 2014, part 2: The panels
Dmitry Gorenburg
Russian Military Reform | June 2, 2014

In addition to the plenary panel, the MCIS conference included two panel discussions, one on the Middle East and North Africa and the second on Afghanistan.

The panel entitled “Finding Ways of Stabilization in the Middle East and North Africa” was moderated by Vitaly Naumkin of the Institute of Oriental Studies. Participants included Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, General Vladimir Zarudnitsky — the head of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, Deputy Syrian General Staff Chief Mahmoud Abdul Wahab Shawa. Deputy Director of the Israeli Institute for National Security Udi Dekel, Director of the Iranian Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies Kayhan Barzegar, Chief of Military Intelligence and Counterintelligence of the Lebanese Army Fadel Edmond, and CIS Executive Secretary Sergey Burutin.

Since I am not a MENA specialist, I was primarily interested in how the region influenced Russian foreign policy. The only speech directly relevant to this topic was by Vladimir Zarudnitsky. The Russian language text of his remarks is also available. Like the plenary speakers, Zarudnitsky focused on the military aspects of colored revolutions. He argued that while the West considers colored revolutions to be a peaceful way of overthrowing undemocratic regimes, events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown that military force is an integral part of all aspects of colored revolutions. This includes external pressure on the regime in question to prevent the use of force to restore order, the provision of military and economic assistance to rebel forces, and if these measures are not sufficient, the conduct of a military operation to defeat government forces and allow the rebels to take power. Colored revolutions are thus a new technique of aggression pioneered by the United States and geared toward destroying a state from within by dividing its population. The advantage of this technique is that it requires a relatively low expenditure of resources to achieve its goals.

Zarudnitsky argues that since this type of warfare is based on the network principle, it has no front line. It is used primarily in urban areas, frequently using civilians as shields. Commonly accepted rules of warfare are ignored, since official state-run armed forces are not used. Instead, criminal and terrorist forces and private military companies are allowed to act with impunity. Counter-guerrilla warfare tactics are required to defeat this type of warfare.

The key question for military planners is which state will be targeted next. Weak states with poor economies are generally the most vulnerable to these tactics, but the main factor in determining targets is the geopolitical interest of the provoking state. For this reason, such revolutions are organized primarily in countries with significant natural resources or ones that have an important strategic position and conduct an independent foreign policy. The destabilization of such countries allows for a major shift in the balance of power in a particular region (in the case of the Arab Spring — the Middle East and North Africa).

—–

The final panel covered the situation in Afghanistan and its impact on regional security. It was moderated by Deputy Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov. Speakers included GRU Chief Igor Sergun, Special Representative of the Russian President for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, First Deputy Kyrgyz Defense Minister Zamir Suerkylov, Deputy SCO Secretary General Keneshbek Dushbaev, President of Islamabad Policy Research Institute Sohail Amin, and Indian Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis Senior Fellow Phunchok Stobdan.

Zamir Kabulov described the security situation in Afghanistan, noting that the Taliban is active in all parts of the country and has parallel organs of power. Most Afghans are opposed to the Taliban but fear and insecurity make it difficult for people to express their opposition. He also mentioned that there are more than one kind of Taliban fighters, including nationalists fighting against foreign occupation, local religious activists, and global jihadis of the younger generation.

Igor Sergun‘s speech was made available on the conference website. He noted that the Taliban views the withdrawal of ISAF forces as a success. They expect victory, so see no reason to bother with negotiations at this point. He discussed the three most likely scenarios for future developments in Afghanistan, including some fairly ridiculously exact percentage likelihoods for each scenario:

  1. Balance of political forces within the country remains relatively unchanged, supported by a limited Western presence. Afghanistan remains a source of terrorist, extremist, and drug threats for Central Asia. Likelihood 39 percent.
  2. Taliban seizes power in the absence of a foreign presence. Islamists could begin infiltrating Central Asian states. Likelihood 27 percent.
  3. Afghanistan disintegrates and is divided into ethnic enclaves. This scenario leads to an increase in battle for influence by local and regional powers. Likelihood 31 percent.

In the second part of this speech, Sergun discussed the logistics of the ongoing withdrawal of ISAF forces from Afghanistan. Given the amount of equipment present in the region, his analysis showed that Western states would not be able to withdraw their equipment in the allotted time frame. He argued that while the 40,000 personnel could be withdrawn by the end of 2014,  it would be impossible to complete the withdrawal of 40,000 vehicles and 300 helicopters any earlier than 2017. As a result, he claimed that Washington will soon need to start a propaganda campaign to convince the international community that U.S. presence in the region will need to be extended at least through 2024 in order to ensure regional stability. However, this will not change the threat posed by the Taliban to Central Asian states.

(A small editorial comment on this score. While I claim no expertise in logistics and have no idea whether the GRU analysis is valid or not, it does seem clear that it ignores the fact that a large part of US equipment in Afghanistan is being scrapped on site, rather than removed. That seems likely to change the calculations of how much equipment can be removed by what date.)

And, to conclude, a few key points from other speakers and from the Q&A.

Sokhail Amin‘s key points

  • The drawdown in Afghanistan is well-planned and being done gradually
  • If it is done right, Afghanistan will be stable for the future
  • The process of reconciliation in the country must be led by Afghans

Phunchok Stobdan‘s key points

  • It would be best to have power-sharing between the leading candidates for president of Afghanistan
  • The West is preparing for future activity in Central Asia
  • Sectarian conflict is spreading from the Middle East to Afghanistan, in part through the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia
  • There are training camps in Central Asia, Chechnya, and Pakistan’s FATA region that have been negatively affecting Afghanistan’s security

Key points from Q&A

  • A journalist asked about the fate of the joint NATO/Russia helicopter project for Afghanistan’s military. The cancellation of this project was described as a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. (Actually, the project was not canceled, the U.S. just chose to not pick up the option on additional orders — DPG) Stopping other NATO/Russia cooperation, such as counter-narcotics work and training in demining, is also not helpful.
  • It seems that NATO is removing itself from responsibility for Afghanistan, handing it over to the international community.
  • Alexei Arbatov noted that the U.S. operation in Afghanistan was the greatest blow against the success of the operation to stabilize Afghanistan. It gave comfort the the Taliban. Now, the Taliban is trying to maximize civilian casualties to increase discontent and fear. They have lots of financing and can stay in the field indefinitely. He argued that if they win in Afghanistan, the Taliban will definitely try to destabilize Central Asia.
  • Yevegeny Kozhokhin argued the the Taliban threat to Central Asia is overstated. When the Taliban previously controlled Afghanistan, they showed no intention to attack Central Asia and instead sought talks with Russia.

http://russiamil.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/moscow-conference-on-international-security-2014-part-2-the-panels/

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