EPISODE 10: THE KING OF THE BORDER
Venezuela, Russia ready to militarily support the South American country against Colombia. As the crisis in Venezuela lurches from bad to worse, the chaos unleashed by the country’s slow collapse is threatening to undermine the stability of the entire region and neighboring Colombia in particular.Colombia is bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis caused by Venezuela’s failing state, and the burden is stretching the country’s limited resources to the point where it may fall into crisis itself.
Nicolas Maduro has once again accused the Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos of preparing a series of "incidents" aimed at creating "an armed conflict" between the two neighboring countries. Santos did not recognize Maduro's re-election on May 20, questioning the fairness of the recent Venezuelan presidential vote. Colombia has received hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, out of the estimated 4.1 million, who have left their country, according to the Organization of American States. "We can not even lower our guard for a second, a series of incidents of military character are being prepared by the Colombian government of Juan Manuel Santos, aimed at generating an armed conflict between us".
Moscow. Russia would be ready to help the Venezuelan Armed Forces against possible attacks on their borders. The Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman stated that his country is ready to support Venezuela from the NATO threat through neighboring Colombia.
The new Cold War of the Third Millennium moves quickly in South America. The response of the Minister of Defense of Caracas, Vladimir Padrino López, is ready:
"We are ready to face any aggression in the field of armed and unarmed struggle to safeguard the interests that are consecrated in the Constitution and we have sufficient laws and a good legal basis to build a our own model". Venezuela has more than a million civilians in uniform, volunteers of the Bolivarian National Militia that can also be used against any Army in any scenario of any aggression.
Recall that last June, Colombia has established a partnership with NATO, the first in Latin America. NATO's cooperation with the South American state has developed steadily since 2013. In those days the Secretary-General of the Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg had accepted the outgoing Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, in Brussels, praising him for his efforts to bring stability to his country."Our cooperation - the secretary general had claimed - has provided real benefits both to Colombia
and to NATO". In particular, the South American country had worked side by side with the NATO forces off the Horn of Africa
in 2015, in the fight against maritime piracy Jens Stoltenberg also welcomed the fact that the integrity program of NATO construction increased transparency and professionalism in Colombia's defense institutions and that Colombian personnel benefited from courses at the Alliance School in Germany and Defense College in Italy (NATO Defense College).
"NATO - concluded the general secretary - is committed to working with partners like Colombia who share our values and interests". And turned to Santos he had said. "Our support comes at the request of the Colombian Government and the Alliance will always respect your autonomy and your independence". And now that Colombia has a centre-right administration in sight of the ballots, scheduled in Brazil, on Jair Bolsonaro (PSL-right) and Fernando Haddad (PT-left), Venezuela is back to centre of the geopolitical attention of the area.
At the border, the situation has degenerated and the cities of Cucuta and Arauca were stormed by the migrants are now a territory of war where the ground troops are confronting already for a few days. We know that the Venezuelan air force is ready to attack, they will certainly be waiting for the arrival of their Russian allies.
Venezuela Agreed To Let Russia Set Up A Bomber Outpost On Caribbean Island Orchila. Russian media outlets are reporting that the Kremlin is planning to establish a forward outpost on the Venezuelan island of La Orchila in the Caribbean Sea and base nuclear-capable Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, two of which just wrapped up a recent deploymentto the country, at the site. If true, this could help bolster the embattled regime of Venezuela’s dictatorial president Nicolás Maduroand would significantly change the strategic reality in the Western Hemisphere for the United States.
That the Tu-160s have the ability to carry nuclear weapons, including nuclear-armed cruise missiles that give a stand-off capability, would also give the forward location an added deterrent quality, presenting an unprecedented standing strategic threat to the mainland United States within the Western Hemisphere. The outpost could also potentially accommodate other types of combat aircraft, as well as anti-shipand surface-to-air missilesand associated radars and other sensors.
So far, there are no details about what the Russian outpost might consist of, what forces might go there and when, and what timeframe the Kremlin and Venezuela might have agreed to for starting the project at all. La Orchila, which sits less than 500 miles from Puerto Rico and less than 1,500 miles from Florida, has significant space for new and expanded military facilities, though, as seen below.
Having a forward base capable of accommodating strategic aircraft would enable Russia to conduct flights near the United States on a regular basis, something it is otherwise largely incapable of doing at present. As it stands now, Russian aircraft are generally only able to fly sorties in the vicinity of Alaskawithout the commitment of substantial support assets.
The recent deployment of Blackjacks to Venezuela came after a surge in American aerial activityalong Russia’s western flank after the Kremlin launched an unprovoked attack onUkrainian naval vesselsin the Kerch Strait, which separates the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov. The United States and its allies condemned Russia's actionsand offered to increase military and other supportfor Ukraine, to the ire of the Kremlin.
Friendly Forces. NAS Key West: 2x B-1B Detachment of the 9th Bomb Squadron USAF, 8x KC-135R Rebased from MacDill AFB USAF, 3x E-3G from 970th Airborne Control Squadron USAF, 5x P-8 from VP-26 USN. Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (Puerto Rico): 18x F-15E 333rd Fighter Squadron USAF, 3x EC-130H Detachment 41st Electronic Combat Squadron USAF, 4x KC-130J VMGR-252 USMC, 12x F-35A 421st Fighter Squadron USAF, 2x P-8 from VP-26 (detached) USN. Panama Pacifico International Airport (Panama): 8x KC-135R Rebased from MacDill AFB USAF, 10x F-22 95th Fighter Squadron USAF, 3x E-3G 970th Airborne Control Squadron USAF. Captain German Olano Moreno Airbase (Colombia): 24x F-16 77th Fighter Squadron USAF, 1x Platoon MLRS near Cucuta, 1x Platoon MLRS near Arauca, Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (Puerto Rico), 18x F-15E 333rd Fighter Squadron USAF, 3x EC-130H Detachment 41st Electronic Combat Squadron USAF, 4x KC-130J VMGR-252 USMC, 12x F-35A 421st Fighter Squadron USAF, 2x P-8 from VP-26 (detached) USN. Carrier Strike Group 10 (USN): USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CVN-69, USS San Jacinto CG-56, USS Oscar Austin DDG-79, USS Stout DDG-55, USS Nitze DDG-94, Carrier Air Wing Three. Littoral Combat Group 1 (USN): USS Somerset LPD-25, USS Wayne E. Meyer DDG-108, USS Detroit LCS-7, USS Wichita LCS-13. Submarines (USN): USS New Hampshire SSN-778, USS Toledo SSN-769, USS Pittsburgh SSN-720. Colombia Allied Air Force. Escuadrón de Combate 111-116: Kfir C.10, Escuadrón de Combate 211: A-29B Super Tucano, Escuadrón de Combate 119: A-37B DragonFly. Command & EMCON. Command: USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, EMCON: Alpha-Limited Emissions.
Friendly Forces. La Orchila: 2x IL-96 Tankers, 117th Transport Aviation Regiment, 2x Tu-160 (Unavailable for use), 8x MiG-31, 13th Assault Air Regiment, 6x Su-35, 19th Assault Air Regiment. La Chinita International Airport: 13x Su-25, 18th Assault Air Regiment, 11x Su-34, 871st Fighter Aviation Regiment, 1x Il-22PP, 237th Guards Air Technology, 2x A-50, 799th Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment, 3x Il-38N, 47th Guards Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment 5x Il-96, 117th Transport Aviation Regiment, 2x Tu-214R, 237th Guards Air Technology, 2x P-8 from VP-26 (detached), USN. Kuznetsov Fleet: Admiral Kuznetsov, Admiral Grigorovich, Gromkiy, Sovershennyy, Vasil Bykov. Combatant Group: Admiral Essen, Admiral Makarov, Admiral Sergey Gorshkov. Submarines: Gepard, Vepr, Tomsk, Omsk, Tver. Additionally, the Venezuelans have a number of fighter aircraft available although these will likely be committed to the border region.