By now if you have been following the Ukrainian conflict, you will have seen or noticed and organization that calls themselves the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) the guys driving around eastern Ukraine in white Toyota Landcruisers. Below is a mission statement from their website.
Who we are
The OSCE has a comprehensive approach to security that encompasses politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects. It therefore addresses a wide range of security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities. All 57 participating States enjoy equal status, and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically, but not legally binding basis.”
One of their central tasks is to the monitor the conflict in the Donbass region, and report back information from the front lines on the progress or destabilization of the conflict. The idea is that they will observe units in the area in which they are permitted, or area in which they are willing to go. From there they will collect information and create reports to inform those who need to know what is happening. Also to inform the Ukrainian government what their units are doing and that they are complying with whatever agreement is in season at the time. Seems like a good plan right? All this is funded by the EU, costing Ukraine nothing and the EU looks to be doing something about the conflict. This will, of course, help Ukraine get brownie points with the EU, as they look to become a part of the European union. All seems good; well it looks good on paper I am sure. I am pretty sure that some head sheds in the EU thought long and hard about this and have 10 degrees from good universities. Well, here I am to burst their bubble and tell you straight, their mission is a fail on a daily basis and a complete waste of money!
Giving the Jambo to the OSCE
The idea is that they monitor the conflict. In order to do this most effectively you must monitor both sides, not just the Ukrainian side. This really only gives the one viewing point of the war and they can only collect information from the Ukrainian side, hardly seems fair to me or accurate. The OSCE’s on the ground teams… well what can I say? They monitor from a distance, in my eyes all they can do is count the bangs and they have no idea who is putting those rounds out, or what is coming in. We can all take a guess now and then, but you need to see the splash or tail ends to give an accurate account on what’s being dropped that day. They are of course not doing this. Instead, they rely on 3rd hand information coming from Ukrainian soldiers. This is one of the biggest problems they have! Their accounts are massively exaggerated and of course biased, so you can take them with a pinch of salt. Moving forward, the OSCE will print reports based on the information their on the ground teams gather, plus other methods which we will take a look at them later. So let us think about that, they will print false and inaccurate information based on biased information and members not in the contact area?
“The OSCE moving out the way for us”
The other methods include flying drones, which they don’t have a great track record for. They get shot down or crashed pretty regularly. Signals intelligence (SIGINT) or that’s what they like to call it, they basically have a really good dig through open source information. I am not knocking the OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) world, they do find some good info on there. As we all know, these Russian-backed dudes like selfies and geo-tagging, plus with a lot of civilians on the other side are posting stuff up to Twitter. You guys get the picture here right? Now I am not saying they don’t have good sources on which they can rely. Of course they will, or at least we hope so.
They can only give at best a poor report on what they are told the Ukrainian armed forces are doing. Not what they are actually doing or the bigger issue here: what the Russians are doing with their ragtag separatist units. Coming to the biggest problem with the OSCE, they hinder the Ukrainian armed forces capabilities and cause delays in the conflict. The only people who benefit here are the separatists because the OSCE can put pressure on Ukraine to move its heavy guns and tanks back, but they cannot put pressure on the other side. The separatists have at every point told the OSCE to move out the way, they shot at them, shot their drones, hacked them and chased them away. Simply put, they have no reason to be there. This a war zone and one side needs to win before they step in and conduct their work.