Skip to main content

tv   Russian Involvement in the Middle East - Russian Private Military Companies...  CSPAN  August 1, 2018 2:53am-3:39am EDT

2:53 am
are we finished and we have one more? we are finished with questions. a 15 minute coffee break says the boss over here. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
2:54 am
>> welcome back. part of my role as conductor and want to make sure everything runs smoothly. i am the senior vice president of the american foreign part -- policy council. i am here mostly in an officiant role, delighted to be here. my contribution to the russian release program was earlier when i did a paper earlier this year u.s.ssian demography and policy. the subject here is the question of private military contractors and their role as a supplement, as a comp lament to russia's war fighting strategy, it could not be timelier. in terms of the topic. i thought that the best thing to do would be to lead with the folks who really know the subject inside and out. what i will do is with very minor introductions, i will turn to floor over first two --
2:55 am
my colleagues. talk about and unpack worse this enormously timely subject and to add another layer of complexity to what we have heard already today. with that formalities aside, feel free to sit at your seats -- speak and >> thank you. this topic is supersensitive or was collaborated with the assassination with the russian journalist who has been working on the [inaudible] in the central african republic. so the russian journalist keeps getting killed, they were working in the wagner group and
2:56 am
this shows how sensitive and how essential this topic is for the russian side. my assignment today is to speak about both the -- theoretical and practical aspects of russian pm sees operating in the ukraine but i will be making allusions to other theaters. one thing -- i will be referring to the wagner group, why? this is the most well-known wasany, the one that destroyed in syria and some sources say some people were killed but my information said it was close to 300 people that were killed in syria. in retrospect, i have to say that employment of private militarized groups for achieving
2:57 am
specific geopolitical and economic sectors has been one of integral part important to the russian way of foreign policymaking at different times before 1970, during the soviet period and after 1991. it was preserved. on the basis of my research published by the jamestown a private military company in the middle east [inaudible] pmc's.russian s economic function, adopting the concept called powertel -- power economy.
2:58 am
and the promotion of russian interests abroad which was underscored with president was president who in 2012 and the strategic function [indiscernible] which was demonstrated in many ways in syria and beyond. here are key points i want to emphasize here. first of all, ukraine played the role of a testing ground for the russian pmc's. selectionatural process in crimea. andgroup was one in ukraine and 2015, weo 2014 will see that the wagner group [indiscernible] the quality off
2:59 am
personnel was not that high and the most interesting thing here is that the cossacks who comprised a sizable part of this group. point number two, russian pmc's are private armies. a -- if we take a look at how pmc's happen operating in russia, we will see that they are capable sometimes a performing military operations of a relatively high sophistication. sometime it was said that one guard took an offensive operations and this contradict with how [indiscernible] how they operate. point number >> number three, the controlled
3:00 am
command structure in many ways is established in the regular armed forces area -- forces. there is room for additional resources but there are a lot of obstacles for the research. there is not much information available, unfortunately. point number four, the most interesting and intriguing point, which boils down to a simple question. who owns the wagner group? there are two excellent nations. the first one is the most convenient one. and the least challenging one. sourcesrity of russian the white agreed to
3:01 am
put chief. the second expiration or ours more intellectual effort and more than nation. -- more investigations. i think there is a consortium of actors who have control of the wagner group and the other that are currently active a broad. we take the training process of the warnaco group, you will be trained at a space , andit along to the group major construction works were done i the russian ministry of defense. it's quite difficult to imagine that it ingle tycoon -- that a single tycoon would be given this room.
3:02 am
the second example is a notable bill that was failed in march 2018 when all major russian internal versus were bitterly against legalization of private military companies in russia. that got me thinking why was that? many of them are saying that yes, private military companies should be legalized but then after that, everyone was virtually against this decision. so life after death or why russia needs wagner. who needs them? on the surface is the plausible deniability concept. everyone is basically satisfied
3:03 am
with this structure. the government can solve it is without any soldiers involved. of certainerests factions or some individuals are area --l that followed also followed. many russians are saying they had it coming, they knew why they were in syria and they are mercenaries. he said about russian soldiers, those are mercenaries, we did know that -- we did not know that. and the never ending pool of record. the quality, quantity, and price is here.
3:04 am
lives, lives of russian mercenaries, are cheaper than those of other countries. the quality is right hot -- quite high. in the quantity, there are a lot of men in russia with enough military background who are able in most importantly willing to die for the russian national interests. there is a never ending pool of resources. and finally, the duality of unction. -- of functions. we will see that the russian military theory envisaged something quite more sophisticated, something far-reaching than is on the surface. the private military companies
3:05 am
have two main unction. defense, forces of territorial defense. we can often see the local cossacks playing this role. and the act of a regular force as groups are capable of performing certain missions abroad. ass duality of functions well as the economic functions, this is what will not put a lid on this into rise at this time for companies in russia. >> thank you. steve? >> the phenomenon of pmc is ubiquitous. i want to build on what surrogates that about russian nationals carry strategy because pmc's are a russianon inside
3:06 am
security policy writ large. not just syria or africa. the presence of the russians and the success of the russian have not only emboldened russia to go into africa but have enabled , they have enablers like the uae, who are helping them get into africa and use places like the uae to get mineral resources or energy contract or create long-term last in political influence and russian arms sales. it's a big deal and is a growing import. importancef growing to other sectors as well. the phenomenon of private entrepreneurs, because they are policyvate, in russian goes back to the stars -- the a
3:07 am
zars because it gave them plausible liability. it's become ubiquitous under putin. there was an article in the all -- in the washington post last week that one of the people who was sponsoring bettina was another russian oligarch. we now find out that russian millionaires or greek minors with connections was bankrolling the attempt of a coup in macedonia. it led to the expulsion of two diplomats. the same guy who organized by wasmilitias for crimea involved in the montenegro to about year and a half ago -- montenegro coup about year and a half ago. you might call these great area phenomena.
3:08 am
but they are military operation. they are part of the broader military strategy to advance russian national interest. ande are thousands of men more sense involved in various or military groups -- various s that defendgroup the state. they are outside the regular chain of command. they belong to putin as does the they. state.oes the these privated militaries that are loyal to the they but also make money for their bosses and for this they. the operation in syria was aiming at a refinery which obviously somebody in our interest in.
3:09 am
it's a complex phenomenon that is part of the larger russian national security strategy of nonlinear war. off and entrepreneurs, quote unquote, are usable for all kinds of operations in and out of russia -- russia. companies like blackstone were mainly -- mainly involved in information that these guys are doing mission. they are trying to stay under the radar while creating havoc wherever they go.
3:10 am
whether they do so by political na or in with buti actual combat operations as in syria and the central african republic. and that's probably not the only place they are look dated. every infrica because we have seen in the middle east is happening in a. you are seeing growing russian influence an enormous chinese and the lengths. finally, latin america. we have two states on the verge of failing. venezuela and nicaragua. nicaragua has major political strife going on. russian military and clause i military versus a and involved there were years.
3:11 am
used private military contractors. i wrote about this years ago. it's as relevant now as it is -- as it was then. a privatealer, entrepreneur, sitting in moscow even though interpol wants them, goes out of his secure perch to be with the agents to run weapons to columbia and the gets arrested in this ring. minutesent because the he was arrested, the whole russian government and crazy trying to get him extradited just as they are now trying to get madame butina extradited. i believe he was sent by politicians to undermine america by running gun.
3:12 am
it to lace in latin america and could happen again if the situation warrants it. lacesuggested, there are that are going to start burning very quickly. needsore, everybody your to think about these. not just part of russian strategy and syria or you train but as a global and of russian power. in russian strategy in syria or ukraine but as a global arm of russian power. >> i want to talk about emcs in how thate region and is connected to russia's pmc push today. there are three different models you find in the middle east and the gulf. this has occurred over time.
3:13 am
with then to start transfer of equipment and other materials from the iraq the a church or the afghan theater -- you rock theater to the -- iraq theater to the afghan theater. vehicles renting out to move equipment via the you a to afghanistan. includingan companies an airline was hired id os -- -- dos. tos there are dozens of kinds of these companies. example of how these types of companies got started
3:14 am
in the region. findond type of pmc you are those that were involved in campaign to counter the off the coast of somalia. thesed hundreds of pms coming in. businessmen who heads they interest behind them. they wanted to get a piece of that pmc high. -- pmc pie. thend around the port -- horn of africa. lanesw those maritime sea are heating up again. do third part here has to and i'm going to use this very loosely is with the groups of our two or academy.
3:15 am
groups that right in region are the third model that are used and are hired by governments and not only for -- operations but as specific mission topics well as also for protection of the elites. these different types of models over time have become ingrained in the region. now you have the russians coming in with a multitude of different types of pmc's, particularly with wagner. the question becomes about nexus. the nexus between this type of pmc development in the middle east and that is owned by arab states versus those that are owned by russians and oligarchs.
3:16 am
these third areas such as africa or libya and maybe somewhere, will we see in a future the nexus of the pmc's or will we see them fight against each other? i wanted to bring up this point because this is all about russian pmc's and so on. there are pmc's that america and its allies deal with in the region. where are we heading in the next five years in terms of emc nexus? -- pmc nexus? greathink that's a appetite generator for a very rich conversation. struck by and let me abuse my closest moderator to ask the first question.
3:17 am
me and listening to all three of you was how much this is not driven by real-world constraints. i've heard very little conversation about this being a product of necessity. conversation about constraints on the russian government that very naturally nudge them into the use of emcs. are increasingly ubiquitous because they are effective, because they work, and because they allow for plausible deniability. is this the new normal? is this what we are looking at in terms of russian irregular warfare? in theeen flashes of it context of ukrainian theater. we've even seen it less effectively in syria. where do we go from here? what is the complexion of russia's pmc foot point globally
3:18 am
in the years ahead? i think it is at least for the foreseeable future. it's a technique that is useful all over the world. putin has used it here in a nonviolent way. he's used it in macedonia. ukraine. the central african republic. syria. elsewhere. he's trying to do something like that in latin america. so yes, it's a flexible model. it can be used elsewhere and not only is there plausible deniability, it is cheap. , out of theirs own money, do it out of the expectation of fabulous awards.
3:19 am
africa, they are not coming they're being paid for strictly by russia. host governments are paying for some of their expenses. i do think it's the new normal. because i didn't have the time forward in the presentation, i want to warn people. definition of the state is the institution that has the monopoly of the use of legal force and a country. when you start putting force , there aree armies other such formations in russia, you are throwing loaded dice onto the table. at some point in time if the state does become weak, those forces don't go away but they are owned by somebody who is not completely controlled by an
3:20 am
enfeebled state. is true in any other state. mercenaries can turn on their masters. it has been known to happen. and a formew normal of irregular war. time a form of war in our which allows you to stay under the article five or force and hascategory potential for substantial if not enormous payoffs but it also carries some real and consequential risks. do you want to weigh in or open it up for other russian's? -- other questions? we have some microphones coming around. you had your hand up first. right there.
3:21 am
>> might--mica from the jamestown foundation. an obviouslike question but one of the functions you didn't emphasize or mention is intelligence functions. obviously, they have to have their own intelligence to operate so there must be some intelligence collection but is there any function of intelligence collection or operations that can be traced back or theoretically directly normal, if there is such a thing, intelligence channels in russia. don't talk about intelligence collection operations in public so you can only infer. but the ubiquity of this formation and the fact that it is formed in conjunction, with
3:22 am
orina or montenegro suggests this is being coordinated at a very high level of russian intelligence operations. what they're tasking czar we don't know and if we did we wouldn't talk about it here. no doubt that is a given part of the equation. agree and i would from ahere to a remark whetherwho was asked this private military company is controlled in any form by the ministry of defense and he said those guys, they have their own
3:23 am
forces to do the functions that are treated to the pmc and i would agree with stephen here. the intelligence collection could be done by other departments. it's quite interesting because it belongs to the g are you works were done by a production ministry of defense. done by the production team of the ministry of defense. the training resembles the training undergone by russian special military services -- forces. can you hear me? [inaudible] you're saying they're not
3:24 am
connected? i'm not talking about the water group, no. i'm saying about their preparation and their training which in many ways resembles preparation that is undergone by russian special ministry forces. this is what is quite interesting about this group and the entire project. >> let's do a question in the back. yes. >> thank you. question is to stephen blank. , [indiscernible] [indiscernible]
3:25 am
question? the repercussions in the republic of south africa and. -- of south africa. djibouti they are part of the anti-pirate operations under a u.n. mandate. many governments have naval forces out there and they are anding to clear the gulf the indian ocean of pirates. that's an internationally recognized mandate. any real evidence of what they are doing in djibouti. the americans and chinese are there. africa, as you know, a meeting just finished in south africa last week.
3:26 am
they have a lot of economic influence and are trying to gain more. they are trying to sell them nuclear power. deals andeconomic there are probably a lot of mining and diamond operations. south africa and russia are very friendly. be surprised if there are commercial operations going on that nobody really wants to talk about in public given what we know about the previous government of south africa. mr. zuma has a well-earned reputation for corruption. they are probably using south africa as a base for other political, and may even military intelligence operations. very clear is that africa is an expanding area for the russian military, foreign affairs, and business communities. mozambique, angola, rwanda, and
3:27 am
so on. traditional means of influence salesning, energy, arms and now the use of mercenaries. as a result, russia can come in its to they are doing help mediate civil war's. putting theat is wolf in the chicken coop but that is the way it is. think there is a time between russian pmc's and burundi that has been established by the russian military. setting up ay russian military base in burundi.
3:28 am
i would add to what stephen said about arms sales and military experience. also military instructors. they could act as military localctors because of the army. they lack the experience and in this regard they can act as a ministry advisor. this is an identical function. i would like to add to this question about the horn of africa. important tovery watch how the russian/ethiopian because of the agreement that was signed between ethiopia and eritrea recently that was brought together by the uae with a $3 billion investment into ethiopia , as part of a larger move for allowing russia into that part of africa.
3:29 am
in addition to that, you're seeing ethiopia get closer to moscow on religious grounds which is part of the expanding tactic from the christian middle east. because of ethiopia's riches and the strategy to extract goods from that country out through we are going to see a lot of russian pmc's popping up there. let's go one seat down. thanks so much for speaking today. i have a quick question. with the tools we have available and knowing that we should be working with an international law and these companies work outside of that in the gray zone, what recommendations would
3:30 am
you have for the west to combat this threat using the tools we have available? >> the threat is not primarily military. it's primarily political. to strengthen the economic and political capabilities of these states to deal with the problems they have civic conflicts don't corrupt in them or between them -- iraq in them or between them. them or erupt in between them. russia doesn't create opportunities as much as they exploit them. there has to be much more serious attention paid to latin america. and to africa. aboutscreaming a lot immigration from latin america but venezuela has already had 1.5 million people flee the country because it's intolerable.
3:31 am
nicaragua is on the verge of becoming a failed it -- a failed state. moscow and perhaps beijing will try to take advantage of it. really thing i see about american form policy in africa is either there are some big investments from the europeans africa intion conjunction with initiatives against aids but it's hardly enough to say there is a strategy or a foreign policy area the budget is cut. we need to have a real rethinking of the foreign threat to africa. whatever russia is doing china is doing much more and that has been known for a decade. russia is probably getting and because they don't want china to have the holocaust and to themselves. whole continent
3:32 am
to themselves. we need to get fully up to speed on how to deal with them. basically,nt is that i think this is an analogy of how american or western forces [inaudible] russians have a completely different set of our oe's. the same is true in the pmc world. there are no our oe's per se. for pmc's operating in the gulf, they are forced to pay attention to particular rules of engagement, particularly in terms of their conduct and weapons on board when they come to shore. they have to leave their weapons outside of international boundaries. there are rules and regulations
3:33 am
governing pmc's for those that are from the west and have been involved in counter piracy operations and so on. the two sides do not mix together at all and that's the fundamental problem. we have time for one more question. let's go up year. -- up here. , ai want to know if the pmc is a little bit the same as the private constructor -- ,ontractor in the united states like blackwater or some other private contractors? have they abuse their power?
3:34 am
have they abuse the government authorities? have russians attacking and meddling. private contributors? i see no evidence that russian private military companies are engaged in cyber activities. they probably have some cap abilities but it's not sure what that is. the russian approach to war, temporary war is a whole state operation using all the ortruments and creating innovating new ones or doubting one's that have specific rules and regulations that are adapted for military use area they operate under a completely
3:35 am
different paradigm. let me be the first to apologize because i have to draw to a close here. the hook because i am tasked with making the trains run on time. i know there are lots of other questions and the speakers will be around in the cracks at the end of the conference. i hope you can reserve your questions for them there. please join me for thanking these panelists, this has been an informative session. [applause] [indiscernible] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] washington journal,
3:36 am
live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning, the manhattan institute's member will join us to discuss automation in the future of the u.s. workforce. then the democratic socialists of america's representative will talk about democratic socialism. ingtone to watch "wash journal" this morning. >> there are lots of people who say, i don't want to have my kid read stories that are sad, disturbing or downbeat. that's not a totally illegitimate thing to say. i want to choose as a parent when my kid understands things that might bring grief. but they are 14 now, when are you going to introduce them to the idea that not everything is perfect outside of your thoseite suburb? all of
3:37 am
factors swirl together to create the perfect dumpster fire of censorship of books. cory doctorow will be our live sunday at noon eastern. his other books include down and out in the magic kingdom, "little brother," and other novels. in-depth, fiction addiction -- fiction addition -- fiction addition, live noon on sunday. andrew wheeler testifies in front of the senate. later hearing about nasa's explanation of the solar system.
3:38 am
on c-span2, the senate continues work on a federal spending bill for 2019. you can watch all of our live programming online or at the free c-span radio app. yesterday, the trump administration zero-tolerance policy along the mexico border was the focus of a senate judiciary committee hearing. it has resulted in the separation of some migrant families seeking asylum in the u.s.. officials from immigration and customs enforcement, health and human services, and customs and border control briefed members on the efforts. we have that for you in its entirety and it runs about three hours and 20 minutes.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on