Tag Archives: Current Events

Ukraine

Periodic World Craziness Update # 28

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.

 Ukraine crisis: Police storm main Kiev ‘Maidan’ protest camp:  The question on everyone’s mind: Is this the start of the Ukrainian Civil War?  I would guess no but still put the likelihood of Ukraine descending into civil war around 50%.  It would appear that the president is hoping he can wait the protesters out.  A hope that appears misplaced since the coldest part of the winter is about over and warmer weather is on the horizon.  The return of warm weather will actually bring out more protesters and if eh fails to dislodge the protesters now he appears weak, which will just make more people willing to protest the pro-Russia policies.  Ukraine bears watching.  There has not been a truly violent civil war in Europe since 1796 and we might be watching the first clashes of the next.  If civil war happens it will be interesting to see how the rest of the world aligns.

What Happens Next in Venezuela Will Depend on the Military (Opinion):  This story is also worth watching and if anything the potential for civil war is higher in Venezuela than Ukraine because the people have had a longer time to get truly fed up with the incompetent regime and it’s blatant corruption.

Egyptian militants warn tourists to leave or face attack:  Lest we forget, Egypt has not settled down so much as had a lid clamped on it by the Egyptian Army.  I fully expect to see some spectacular attacks in Cairo this year by the Sinai insurgents.

Fears grow that Ukraine’s military could be called into the fray:  I would guess that any attempt to use the troops for domestic policing would definitely provoke a civil war.  The interesting question to me is what would be the EU response if the situation in Ukraine devolves into civil war?  I have suspicions on what it would be but they could surprise me.

Ukraine sets European course after ouster of Yanukovich:  It would appear that a peaceful settlement of the sectional differences in Ukraine is in the offing.  I am not convinced that the issue is settled yet though.  Russia has put a lot of prestige on the table and is quite capable of fomenting trouble with a Ukrainean turn towards Europe.  The country is also split fairly evenly aver the relative advantages of EU integration.  This is not over yet but the signs for an end to the bloodshed and an avoidance of full-fledged civil war are promising.

Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level:  Who among us did not see the military being drastically cut as the Terror Wars wind down?  Cutting the military fits the pattern and we will once again be aught flat-footed if the country goes to war.  However, we should all take note that while there is plenty of talk about cutting the military budget there is absolutely ZERO discussion about reining in entitlement spending such as welfare and medicaid.  That lets you know where the Admin’s priorities are.  The mob clamors for bread and circuses and the Emperor cuts the Legions to pay for more bread from Egypt.

Government Buildings Seized in Ukraine’s Crimea: The political problems in the Ukraine are not over by a long shot.  The talking heads started patting themselves on the back thinking this thing was over, it is not.  The two sides in the country are split, the main sides are themselves unsure of where to go and the danger is that the radicals on both sides will lead everyone else along as the radicals escalate the violence.  Russia is also a wild card, Russian prestige is at stake in the Ukraine as it has not been for 100 years.

Russian moves raise stakes in Ukraine conflict:  It just keeps on getting better.  Does Russia want a civil war?  The West is going to threaten Moscow with the loss of their lunch money if Putin doesn’t back down and disengage.  Now why would Russia back down?  Western Europe needs Russian gas more than Russia needs Western money.

Crimea votes to join Russia, Obama orders sanctions:  Heck at this rate, I might not even make it to the 15th before war breaks out in the Ukraine.  The West is playing a continual game of catch-up and letting the pro-Russian faction in Ukraine and Putin himself set the agenda.  That is a losing strategy.  The West needs to force Putin to react to them for a change and I don’t think visa restrictions and asset freezing is going to do it.  From where he is sitting right now, Putin can see no credible threat to stop him from annexing both the Crimea and the other ethnically Russian parts of Ukraine.  I just wonder when he is going to start calling that section of the Ukraine the Sudetenland.

Cyber Snake plagues Ukraine networks:  Is his the next stage in Russia’s attempts to separate the Crimea by hampering any military/civilian response on the part of the Ukraine?

Interpol probes more suspect passports from missing flight:  Now this is interesting.  I had no inkling that there would be something fishy other than run of the mill maintenance problems from a third world airline when i read about this plane going down.  The apparent crowd of passengers with bogus or stolen passports is an interesting development and makes me wonder what did cause this plane to go down.  I would expect that if it were terrorism some group would have claimed responsibility by now.  The outcome of the investigation and search for this aircraft bears watching.

Putin mocks the West and threatens to turn off gas supplies:  In another development, I wondered how long it would take Putin to get around to threatening to cut off the energy spigot in a bid to deter Western responses to the Russian aggression against Ukraine.  that question is now answered.  I bet he wished for better timing and a worse winter for Western Europe though.  There is now a good 8 month period until next winter when that threat rings somewhat hollow and allows the West to seek alternate energy supplies.  I would not be surprised to see the UK and Norway frantically trying to up production in the North Sea this summer.

Russian troops seize hospital, missile base in Ukraine’s Crimea:  When is the West and Ukraine going to call the Russian acts in Crimea what they are, Acts of War?  If Russian activities so far don;t amount to aggression what will it take?

Remains of a prematurely detonated Car Bomb (VCIED) outside of Ad-Daw, Iraq in January 2005

Periodic World Craziness Update # 27

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.

Suicide Bomb Instructor Accidentally Detonates, Kills 21 Students In Iraq:  I just about fell out of my chair laughing when I read this story.  I was reminded of the moron one afternoon in January 2005 who came out of a side road racing towards me and my wingman’s Bradley’s as we were driving into Ad Dawr, Iraq.  As he got to about 300m from our two vehicles his car suddenly disintegrated.  Stuff like this is why Arabs make horrible fighters.

Remains of a prematurely detonated Car Bomb (VCIED) outside of Ad-Daw, Iraq in January 2005
Remains of a prematurely detonated Car Bomb (VCIED) outside of Ad-Daw, Iraq in January 2005

 

North Korea warns South and U.S. over “provocative” drills:  I start to get the feeling that at some point either the US or more likely, South Korea is going to call North Korea’s bluff.

Ukraine protests turn into fiery street battles:  The brewing conflict in Ukraine bears watching.  Ever since the Orange Revolution and the 2010-2011 politically charged ouster and criminal prosecution of former president Yulia Tymoshenko I have been convinced that a day of reckoning is coming in Ukraine between the pro-Western and pro-Russian factions.  It appears that day is here.  The question now is whether the violence will escalate or if a peaceful solution will be found.  I am not sure enough to make a call one way or the other.

Iranian official on nuke deal: ‘We did not agree to dismantle anything’:  I am pretty sure that in the end we will fin out that the only people who benefited from this deal with Iran is Iran.  They probably already have enough enriched Uranium for their needs.  Thus any ‘deal’ with the West is a win-win for them.

Kiev Truce Falls Apart, and Unrest Resurges:  The question I have now is not if but when the situation in the Ukraine will degenerate into civil war and if Russia will send troops to “assist” the regime.  If Russia sends troops will the EU sit idly by and watch the rebellion be crushed is the next question at the top of my list and I am afraid the answer to that one will probably be yes.  I simply cannot envision any European country being willing to risk soldiers lives to help themselves much less the Ukraine.  The only countries I can see helping Ukraine are Poland, Czech, and maybe France or Britain.

North Korea envoy warns on US-South Korea military exercise:  The DPRK begin pounding on the war drums yet again loudly screeching that they are relevant.  The war scares NK generates are rapidly becoming the modern version of the “boy who cried wolf.”

Iraqi army clashes with militants near Fallujah:  based on my personal experience daling with what Iraqis call soldiers I expect that any Iraqi Army attempt to recapture Fallujah and Ramadi will turn into bloody failures.  Arabs in particular are the stereotype of incompetent soldiers as the history of Arab Wars against Israel show.

Germany preparing third financial rescue for Greece:  On the geopolitical front the EU is apparently preparing to get Greece to triple down on the so-far failed policies of their efforts to save the Greeks from themselves.  I just wonder if the EU power brokers seriously think they will ever really get their money back or if they are just playing sops to the northern tier of EU countries.  The continual support to Greece shows that the Eu is in fact a suicide pact, at least as far as Greece is concerned.

Taliban Capture a War Dog

The Taliban capture a British dog of war

Just before Christmas last year the Taliban in Afghanistan apparently captured a British War Dag and true to form have posted a capture video of it.
Now that is going too far.  I wonder if they are torturing the dog and trying to get information out of it.  It would not surprise me if they were.  The dog appears to be a Belgian Malinois, one of the favorite breeds for working dogs because they are smart, diligent, and not easily distracted from their tasks.  There is apparently some confusion as to whether it is a British or American dog.

As the article mentions, the Taliban have been extremely critical of the use of what they call “infidel” dogs in theater.  They cling to the somewhat esoteric claim that Islam holds dogs to be unclean.

I hope the dog is recovered soon.  I had no working dogs on my FOB during deployment to Iraq but we did have some FOB dogs that were useful because they hated Iraqis and would go off every time one came near the FOB.  This was especially useful at night when they would try to get close to the walls and pitch hand grenades.

Periodic World Craziness Update # 26

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.

 China’s State Media Blame U.S. for Near Collision of Warships:  I start to wonder how far and how fast China is willing to ratchet up tensions over the Senkaku’s?  It seems that China is not unwilling to provoke an incident.  What happens if they pull something like this in the future and the US retaliates by sinking a Chinese ship, maybe even their beloved waste of a carrier?  Never mind that this whole incident is akin to Hitler blaming Poland for WWII.

India-US row over arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York escalates:  though this piece is not strictly military it begs the question of what the US thinks it is accomplishing in the realm of international relations.  The Obama administration and State Department seem to have a positive talent for making enemies of friends and making enemies hold the US in even more contempt than had hitherto been the case.  From the “reset” with Russia, bowing to the Saudi king, Benghazi, to weakness against Iran American foreign policy has been one set of disasters and mistakes after another under the current president.  One thing is certain, the next president can just about only make things better.

Saudi Arabia warns it will act against West’s policy in Middle East:  It has only taken Saudi 3 years to realize that Saudi and Western intentions in Syria are not the same?  I am actually surprised that they figured it out this early.  Then again, I fully expect Saudi financed arms to end up disproportionately in the hands of Muslim extremist groups as well.  I also expect Saudi to express dismay at such thoughts but continue to buy arms anyway.

Russian city hit by suicide bombing for second straight day:  I will not be surprised in the slightest is Chechen rebels make more than one attempt to attack the olympics.  Expect more attacks as the games approach as terrorists try to scare off people and teams from the games.

Al-Qaeda-linked force captures Fallujah amid rise in violence in Iraq:  Further proof that the US accomplished exactly nothing besides killing Saddam Hussein with the 2003 invasion.  Modern geopolitics is wonderful.

U.S. troops prevented from helping even as al Qaeda overruns Iraqi cities:  Kerry says war no longer belongs to Americans:  Of course, what would anyone expect to hear from the waste of oxygen that Kerry is?  This is the guy that dishonored himself and his comrades from his own war after all.

General: Strategic Military Satellites Vulnerable to Attack in Future Space War:  Does anyone seriously think that space assets won;t be the first thing destroyed in any future war between reasonably developed countries.  If the US dos not have plans to knock down opponent’s satellites in the case of conflict then we have some pretty big morons running our nation’s defenses.

Security alert in southern Russia as bodies found in bomb-rigged cars:  Anybody willing to take bets on some kind of terrorist attack at the Winter Olympics next month?  I am not.  Russia’s Muslim terrorists are even more rabid than those elsewhere.  Remember, it was Caucasian Muslims that perpetrated the Beslan attack in 2004 that killed 380 and the Moscow Theater Siege that in 2002 in which 133 hostages were killed.

The misuse of American might, and the price it pays:  One the best analysis pieces I have read about the failure of American strategy in Iraq in a good long while.  Well worth reading.

Periodic World Craziness Update # 25

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  

Syrian Regime Chokes Off Food to Town That Was Gassed:  What is the point of a siege if food is allowed through the siege lines? I will never understand modern bleeding hearts.  They should be happy the government forces are not catapulting disease ridden corpses into the besieged area or trying to poison the water supply.  Since when is war supposed to bloodless and not affect non-combatants? Update: Starving rebels eat lion from a Damascus zoo - Apparently the siege is doing what a siege is intended to do.  I am not shocked.  Further, the guys in the picture look anything but starved.

COIN Doctrine Under Fire:  Wow, now after the manifest failure of COIN doctrine everywhere it has been tried somebody found the courage to say it out loud and that is news.  With warfighting strategies like COIN it is no wonder terrorists are not afraid of America.  Of course, stories like this are not helpful in making our enemies fear us either.

Endless Afghanistan? US-Afghan agreement would keep troops in place and funds flowing, perhaps indefinitely:  Who has not seen this coming?  since apparently we are unable or unwilling to achieve our stated victory conditions in Afghanistan we are now negotiating an endless presence.  Does this mean they can always claim progress?  Watch the metrics used to judge effectiveness get more and more divorced from any reality as time passes.  Update-US and Karzai agree on language for pact  Update again- Oh wait, they don’t agree.  Karzai tacks on additional demands to previously agreed on language  Yet another Update- Iran’s President determined to maintain uranium enrichment sites: The only change after the deal is that Iran’s position has not changed  Update: Saying no to Karzai: I am becoming increasingly convinced that the US will be leaving Afghanistan next year.  I am not sad.

Norwegian army goes vegetarian… to fight global warming:  While this story does not speak to any current conflicts it does speak to the the current state of Western militaries.  Apparently, it is not just the US military who spends as much time thinking about and implementing postmodern policies as fighting wars.  This is one of those stories that if you think about if it was not so funny you would break down in tears.

China creates air defence zone over Japan-controlled islands:  Will these islands or other similar disputes serve as a pretext for the next shooting war in Asia?  The lengths to which China will go in its hunt for regional prestige are truly startling.  I am not certain they would not risk a shooting war if they think they get too much pushback from Japan on these islands. Update- China sends warplanes to newly declared air zone: I wonder how far China is willing to go to provoke an incident and if they are willing to start a war at this time.  They are certainly going out of their way to start an incident over matters of prestige.

New Law in Egypt Effectively Bans Street Protests:  I don’t quite know what to make of this.  I expect it is the military trying to clamp down even harder on the MB.  The question is whether enough MB leadership was rounded up this past summer.  I expect we will find out when we see if the insurgency in the Sinai spreads across Suez Canal to the rest of the country.

FBI warns about Americans joining Islamic fighters in Syria:  Didn’t we hear warnings similar to this at the height of the Iraq War?  The wonder is not that naturalized citizens return home and radicalize, it is that the US continues to allow such security threats to reside in the US and naturalize in the first place.

Syria: US and UK suspend aid after Islamist fighters seize weapons stores:  I wonder this has not been a bigger story in the West.  It is essentially what many have been calling for.  Perhaps the story is being buried because conservatives want no aid going to the rebels while liberals are in live with them?