The war in Syria has recently been marked by a landmark event – the number of days the fighting has exceeded the duration of world war II. This civil war, which has now become a mini world war, has involved the tens of thousands of soldiers from more than 30 countries and regular armies of the six States.
Is normal that such wars give rise to real monsters, but for some time their logic strives to balance opposing forces and align their tactics and methods of warfare.
This explains the recent emergence of the first private military companies (PMCs) in the Islamic world, which is symbolically called the Malhama Tactical.
Arabic malhama (malhama) means a bloody battle or a battle face to face. But the reason the PMC took this name may be related to the place where it was created – in the North of Syria, near the village Dabic. This small village, nothing meaningful in the strategic plan is for Muslims a symbol of the Apocalypse. In the context of the war in the middle East it also has a theological and mystical significance. Theological in the sense that from the point of view of the doctrine of the afterlife in Islam malhama is the last battle between Muslims and Romans, which are there are Christians of Byzantium (for some – a Russian, for others it's the Americans), which eventually will destroy the world.
In the hadith (tradition about the words and actions of prophet Muhammad), in the embodiment described Abu Muslim, describes these events with more details: "the Last hour will not come until until the Byzantines did not attack Dabic. Army of the Muslims will be collected from the best warriors on earth and sent from Medina for their counterattack. When two armies come together, the Byzantines cried out: "Let us fight like us, a convert to Islam". And the Muslims will answer: "In the name of Allah, we will never abandon our brothers." Then the battle-malhama will continue. One third admits defeat. Allah will never forgive them. One third will die. They will be the best martyrs in the eyes of Allah. And one-third will win. They will never be put to the test and they will capture Constantinople."
Given this title, how can you determine that it is not just an armed group of Islamists in the region, there are more than 50, but a real PMC?
The answer is simple – it has a specific location, training and support for any Islamist groups. Moreover, in the social network Twitter PMC invites the qualified instructors, promising a good salary, one day off per week, a stable and interesting job. Requirements for future candidates is that they must be Muslims, have experience instructors, and also know the tactics of modern warfare.
This PMC is very active in social networks (Vkontakte, Twitter, Youtube), and basically the company publishes content in Russian language. The team leader calls himself Abu Rafic, he, most likely, Uzbek by nationality, and, in his own words, he served in the airborne troops of Russia. Six of his assistants also speak Russian, and probably also Uzbeks, although at least one person looks like a native of the Caucasus.
A screenshot of the video about automatic rifles Steyr AUG from Tactical Malhama (C) YouTube
This group, which was an integral part of the group "Jabhat Ahrar Asham." (formerly "Front EN-Nusra"), was established in 2016 in the Northern Aleppo and actively participated in the preparation and training of militants from various factions, "Jabhat Ahrar Asham." and other groups involved the battle for Aleppo.
They were directly involved in the planning and capture 6 August 2016 base in Ramasese artillery and the Artillery Academy, which was located in the South of Aleppo. This attack allowed the Islamists to break the blockade of the city and connect with the reinforcements marching from the South.
Malhama Tactical is also a bit involved in the training of militants of the Islamic party of Turkestan in Latakia in early 2016, as well as in Aleppo, likely in April-may 2016.
Only after the capture of Aleppo, the Syrian government forces the group announced its desire to change the format in the PMC offering their services to other groups of the same sense as in the training of militants, and in an elite combat unit for operations in the middle East and Africa. Abu Rafik gave an interview to the journalist of the edition of foreign policy, which said that the company did not forget about the Muslims in Myanmar and Xinjiang, and also that it would be possible to return to Russia for the conduct of Jihad.
Before that, the group demonstrated their ability as instructors, organizing a series of dramatic videos, designed for beginners or impromptu groups. These videos were adapted to the Syrian conflict, and they are allowed to apply what he saw in them the skills outdoors or indoors. The group was formed target complex, and its fighters have shown how to assault buildings or fortified positions. In a series of training programs was demonstrated how to reduce losses through first aid, applying modern means, first and foremost, individual dressing packs Western production, ispolzuemye staff nurses and individual militants. Other educational films were shown how to use not the most popular on the battlefield weapons – automatic rifles Steyr AUG, M16, M4, while not calling into question the traditional weapons in the region – AKM. Also from videos you can learn how to make weapons from abandoned munitions, for example, to alter the grenade VOG-17 automatic grenade launcher in a hand grenade.
"Our team is successfully continuing its work towards the preparation of the rebels, large and small groups" (C) vk.com
In this case, the level of training offered Malhama Tactical, enables the militant groups to withdraw from the usual pattern of warfare of attrition, which is very popular with Islamists due to their size and which provides for the conduct of the battle until, until you run out of ammo, and then die. Among the dozens of videos that were publicly demonstrated Malhama Tactical, none of personnel the training of suicide bombers or the development of kamikaze attacks, they are all based on tactical superiority and ability to survive on the battlefield at the expense of teamwork and coordination. It can also serve as proof of the diminishing inflow of foreign fighters and increasing the reluctance of the local population to join the insurgents.
It appears that the Russian military is aware of the activities of this group, which was watched by intercepting radio signals and GSM devices members Malhama Tactical. As a result of 7 February 2017, the head of the group Abu Rofik has undergone precision air strike in Idlib. It appears that he accidentally managed to survive, as he left the shelter for some time before the attack. His wife and child were killed in an airstrike.
Today it is difficult to say whether the Islamic economic model PMC to prove its viability, however, as the conflict moved into less active and more prolonged phase, the need for groups that offer services of trainers, will only increase.
Translation Of Andrey Frolov
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