Since I have already twice committed this imitation of the corporate media’s “Man of the Year” gimmick, I might as well do that again this year. In 2013 I nominated the Syrian solider for his exceptional courage and fighting spirit and in 2014 I nominated the Russian solider and I think that in both cases this was very much deserved.  And this year again, the title goes collectively to a group of men: all the Russian airman who fight against Daesh and the AngloZionist Empire in Syria.  This year, however, the Russian airmen  will share the distinction ex aequo with two remarkable individual: Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko

Saker 2015 (collective) Man of the Year: the Russian airman.

Russian pilot in Syria

Russian pilot in Syria

I don’t think that anybody can deny that the performance of the Russian airmen in Syria has been absolutely spectacular: the number of sorties, the extremely high effectiveness of their strikes, their courage – everything that the world has seen during this mission by the Russian air task force in Syria has been truly remarkable, especially when compared to the, frankly, pathetic performance of the US-lead “coalition” forces.  Furthermore, following the Turkish attack on the Russian SU-24 and the murder by Turkish forces of one of the two pilots who had parachuted from the burning machine (a war crime), the 2nd pilot, Konstantin Myrakhtin managed to elude Turkish special forces for 10 hours before being rescued by a special team composed of Hezbollah, Syrian and Russian special forces.  Considering the small stretch of land involved and the presence of a large Turkish force it is absolutely remarkable how Captain Mutrashkin managed to remain free and to establish contact with the rescue team even though one Russian helicopter came under fire, had to crash land, and then was blown up (by a US made TOW missile – thank you Uncle Sam), but everybody was safely evacuated in 2nd chopper.

СУ-34

Russian Sukhoi-34 – the most important aircraft in Syria

During the operation in Syria the Russian pilots showed exceptional courage, skills and determination .  Thinking of how much this small force has achieved, I think of Churchill’s famous sentence “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” which, I think, fully applies to them.  To pick as the “Saker Military Man of the Year” was really a no-brainer

Saker 2015 Man of the Year: Major-General Qasem Soleimani

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Qasem Soleimani

Qasem Soleimani is a General in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Commander of the IRGC elite “Quds Force” which is, reportedly, in charge of extraterritorial and clandestine operations for the IRGC.  Soleimani has had a long and prestigious career, but he still is a real “front line” general who recently got wounded in Syria.

According to some sources, Soleimani participated in the development of the Russian military intervention in Syria.  Currently Soleimani appears to be in charge of all the Iranian forces in Syria.  According to Iranian sources Soleimani personally set-up the team which rescued the Captain Myrakhtin. The team was composed of 18 Syrian special forces members and six Hezbollah fighters and Russian special forces.

Here is the only photo of that ad-hoc team I have been able to find:

Rescue force

Hezbollah, Syrian and Russian special forces operating together in Syria

What is certain is that Soleimani and the Iranian and Hezbollah forces are playing an absolutely crucial role in Syria and that their role will only become more important.  Soleimani thus very much deserves to be nominated as my man of the year.

Saker 2015 Man of the Year: Major-General Alexander Zakharchenko

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Alexander Zakharchenko

Following the Ukronazi debacle in Debaltsevo, there we no further amazing battles or huge Novorussian victories in 2015.  Nonetheless, the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics can be proud of an amazing feat: they finally managed to transform a militia of volunteers into a real, regular, army.  This is an extremely difficult process which, at time, has been outright painful to observe.  I believe that most of the credit for this revolution (because that is exactly what such a process mandates) should go to Alexander Zakharchenko whose unique mix of calm confidence, iron determination, immense patience and heartfelt love for his country made it possible for him to convince the people of Novorussia and most military commanders (who had been completely independent in the initial stages of the insurrection) to trust and join him.

Zakharchenko had to fight various “hot-heads” and uncooperative militia commanders, the local mobsters, corrupt officials and ruthless oligarchs while coordinating the battles in the Debaltsevo “cauldron” – the first battle in which the forces of the LNR and DNR acted like one Novorussian military.  In the process, Zakharchenko got wounded in his leg and even after he left the hospital the pain continued to cripple him.  He was fully aware of the number of other Novorussian leaders who had been murdered, sometimes in mysterious circumstances, and he knew that each movement of his implied taking a risk for his life.

Zaharchenko

Zakharchenko under heavy protection

And yet he continued to work long hours ceaselessly day after day.  Under his leadership even the local economy began showing signs of improvement and the crime wave which had done so much damage to Novorussia slowly began to recede.  The situation in Novorussia is still far from good, but at least now it is comparable to the situation in the rest of the Ukraine.  Yes, there are still many severe problems, but what Zakharchenko has done over the past year is truly remarkable even if his success are not of the kind which make for juicy headlines.  Last but not least, under Zakharchenko’s leadership, the Novorussians have successfully conducted a voluntary mobilization.  While the exact figures of men under arms are hard to come by, the consensus is that the Novorussia military is now fairly big, well equipped, well trained and disciplined.  Most importantly, it is now probably capable of operational-level offensives, something which appears to have been sufficient, at least so far, to deter an Ukronazi offensive.  As the regime in Kiev collapses, along with the Ukrainian economy, a last desperate attack of the Ukronazis on Novorussia is possible, if not likely, and although it is very dangerous to be over-confident, there are good reasons to believe that Novorussia is now read to beat back any Ukronazi attack.  And that is also in no small measure a personal achievement of Alexander Zakharchenko.  For all these reasons I believe that it is only fair to recognize him and his hard work.

Your turn now!

Whom would YOU have declared the “2015 Resistance Man of the Year”?

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