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Joint drills in the north

Two major international military exercises are currently happening on the shores of the Gulf of Finland the Siil2018 and Arrow18. The Siil 2018 is the main exercise of the Estonian Defense Forces. This multinational exercise is focused on testing the Estonian capability to defend its territory and receive international assistance to its small but effective fighting force.
The previously light infantry oriented Estonian Army is rapidly mechanizing itself with K9 SPG:s and CV90 IFV:s. The reservist based army is supported by a rather large and extremely well motivated Kaitseliit home guard.

The initial phase of the Siil2018 is a mobilization test, that is a crucial part of a reservist army’s defense operation. After the forces are assembled the exercise will turn into a force on force drill, where the international element together with the 2nd Estonian Brigade will train to retake a region overrun by hostile forces. This international element comprises of NATO allies and Finnish comba…
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Israeli strikes on Syria, success on many levels

On May 9th the Iranian Quds force that belongs into the Revolutionary Guards Corps launched a rocket salvo against the Israeli forces in the Golan heights. The IDF had anticipated the move and placed several Iron Dome batteries to protect the region, so the attack did very little damage and several rockets were shot down.
There have been conflicting reports on whether the weapon used to attack Israel was a Russian built BM-27 Uragan or an indigenous Iranian Fajr-5.
The Fajr-5 system is an indigenous Iranian 333 mm artillery rocket that is mounted on Mercedes-Benz 2624 trucks in 4-tube launchers. System has a maximum range of 75 km and rather abysmal accuracy with a 3 km CEP. Combination of a 900 kg class conventional warhead and the low accuracy makes the FAJR-5 more of a terror weapon than any kind of precision battlefield instrument.

The Israeli Air-force had apparently been waiting for a provocation as the resulting counterattack against the launchers and the Iranian military infra…

Russian asymmetry, nukes and missiles for diplomatic measures

Until this weeks kaleidoscopic scramble across Russia’s the western frontier, the Russian armed forces have been following a largely routine schedule since the rolling readiness checks of the October 2017 and the massive Zapad17 exercise.
The recent flurry of activity started with the snap drills of the reconnaissance, artillery and combat engineering units, that are commonly associated with the spearhead formations of the Russian army. Alone these drills are not very remarkable and even when grouped like this, they shouldn’t cause a major alarm with the Western defense planners.
When the entire Strategic Rocket Force (RVSN), ie. the Russia’s ground based ICBM force was alerted and the mobile TEL:s rolled into the vast forests things started to look slightly suspicious. Especially when the readiness check of the nuclear forces coincided with the expulsion of the Russian diplomats by UK, EU and USA.


Simultaneously with the RVSN, the majority of the Russianair defense and anti-ship …

Two new divisions for the Russian army

Latest news is that Russia will expand both of the remaining motorized rifle brigades of the 58th Combined Arms Army into full strength divisions. This would mean that the army would have three full divisions of mechanized forces with heavy artillery and missile support. At the same time when the brigades are being upgraded, “Other units of the 58th Army” will be moved from their traditional posts in the Northern Caucasus further into west.

There is no schedule for the transition, but as Chechnya is relatively calm under the iron grip of Kremlins pet attack dog Kadyrov, the already full strength 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, that was expanded in 2016, could begin its relocation at a moments notice.
Not that long ago the Russian armed forces transited largely to a brigade structure, very similar to that of the western armies. Next iteration of this concept were the Battalion Tactical Groups that are agile independent units, with integral indirect fire components and high operational …

Echoes from 1918 - From the Finnish Civil War to Donbass

The social stability in Finland had steadily deteriorated as the newly independent nation lacked both police and military forces and the Russian army still had a strong presence within the Finnish borders. Both socialists and conservatives had begun to build their own security forces during the previous summer.
To solve the situation, that had already escalated into sporadic violence and acts of terror, the Finnish Senate, with a mandate from the elected Parliament, declared in 25th of January1918 that the Civil Guards would become the Senates army under the command of the General Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, a 30 year veteran of the Imperial Russian Army. The Reds immediately refused to obey the order to stand down their military forces. The Civil Guards began to disarm the Russian garrisons and used the captured weaponry to arm their forces.
During the 27th of January 1918 the Red Guards issued a full-scale mobilization within the areas they controlled and declared that they were st…

Of pandas and aircraft carriers – Chinese power on the rise

Written by quest author Henri Hautamäki For the past few days, there has been a lot of media attention in Finland towards two giant pandas, which were airlifted from China and brought to the Ähtäri zoo in the central part of the country, following a deal in which they were loaned there for fifteen years. During the discussion rising from this “news spectacle”, a friend of mine decided to write in her blog about these animals, both from the perspective of animal rights, and the panda-deal’s political ramifications. You see, pandas have been rather important for the People’s Republic of China, namely as tools of their foreign policy and public image. Considering that many of the recent Chinese activities globally are rather less cute than their precious pandas, I decided to write a little bit about what they have been up to, for those who are not aware of it. As many people have probably realized, during the last fifteen years or so, China is increasingly aiming to become the single most…

Sweden at crossroads: NATO or Neutral?

Sweden is preparing for a parliamentary election next fall. Security, both internal and external, will be a major issue that all parties must confront. Situation in the Baltic-Sea region is getting tenser by the day and there are serious security issues within the troubled immigrant neighborhoods of the Swedish cities.
As the nation’s political elite, diplomats and military leaders gathered to a ski resort in Sälen to their traditional foreign and defense policy seminar, the leading opposition party, the Moderates, stated that their goal is a Sweden that is a NATO member. The party leader Ulf Kristersson is confident that the now ruling social democrats will change their minds and that Sweden will be a NATO member within the next decade.
Kristersson’s comments sparked a furious response from the Swedish defense minister Peter Hultqvist. According to Hultqvist the Social Democrats will maintain the traditional neutrality and co-operation and remain outside of alliances. How this policy w…