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Showing posts from March 3, 2014

War: Russia gives Ukrainian forces ultimatum to surrender

March 3, 2014 - Russia's Black Sea Fleet has told Ukrainian forces in Crimea to surrender by 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Tuesday or face a military assault, Interfax news agency quoted a source in the Ukrainian Defence Ministry as saying.

The ultimatum, Interfax said, was issued by Alexander Vitko, the fleet's commander.

The ministry did not immediately confirm the report and there was no immediate comment by the Black Sea Fleet, which has a base in Crimea, where Russian forces are in control.

"If they do not surrender before 5 a.m. tomorrow, a REAL ASSAULT will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea," the agency quoted the ministry source as saying.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's first president, Leonid Kravchuk, has slammed Russia's invasion of Ukraine and said he would take up arms to defend his homeland if Moscow does not retreat.

In an op-ed written for Russian website, Kravchuk said that Putin had gone too far.

"They have gone b…

Crimean War?

By Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh

 - It is sometimes instructive to learn a bit of history to reflect on current events because if we do not learn from history, we are bound to repeat the tragic history of useless wars. This came to me as I read about the escalating situation in Ukraine, where the US and western countries invested heavily to dislodge the Ukraine (strategically located on the Black Sea) from Russian influence. The coup that toppled the elected government in the capital and Russia’s strong influence in the mostly Russian Speaking Crimean peninsula of the Ukraine threatens to ignite another Crimean war (1854 prelude to many more European wars).

The Crimean war 1854-1856 was a devastating and useless conflict that was started with a with an incident here in Palestine (then under Ottoman Rule). The British were in the midst of an industrial economic boom (at least for the elites, the workers were essentially enslaved). To fuel this industrial boom, Britain (and to a lesser degree…

Al Shabaab's Adaptability

Somali militant group al Shabaab has been able to survive because of its tactical capabilities and adaptability. Recently it has been more active in the capital of Mogadishu; on Feb. 21, militants attacked the Villa Somalia compound, which is home to the presidential compound and, as such, is one of the city's most secure locations. The attack gave rise to renewed concern about the group's activities. Unless security forces conduct a more effective counterinsurgency, the increased al Shabaab presence in Mogadishu may cause continued attrition that could allow the group to re-establish a foothold in the capital.

The Villa Somalia attack follows the tactics al Shabaab militants used in their assaults on the Mogadishu courthouse in April 2013 and the U.N. compound in June 2013. These attacks combined the destructive power of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and suicide commandos.

Outside of the capital, Somali and African Union forces have held territory around Beledweyn…

Russia Consolidates Control Over Crimea's Future

Unidentified soldiers guard the Crimean parliament building next to a sign that reads 'Crimea Russia' on March 1 in Simferopol, Ukraine. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)


Moves by Russia on March 1 heightened security tensions in Ukraine's autonomous republic of Crimea, deepening concerns of an imminent Russian military takeover of the peninsula. The newest turn of events began when the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement alleging that a group of unidentified armed men from Kiev attempted to seize the Interior Ministry building in Simferopol -- though this has not been confirmed by authorities in Kiev. In response, the chairman of the Council of Ministers of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin for assistance in "ensuring peace and tranquility" in Crimea.

Putin responded positively to the appeal, sending Russia's Federation Council -- the upper house of the Russian parliament -- a request for the use of Russian armed …

Ukraine Finds its Military Options Limited

A Ukrainian soldier stands behind the gate of a Crimean military base that was surrounded by Russian forces March 2. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)


Kiev ordered a military mobilization and called up reservists nationwide March 2, a day after Russia's upper house of parliament approved Russian President Vladimir Putin's request to send troops into Ukraine. But the Ukrainian military finds itself in a weak state of readiness at a time when its country needs it the most. That and Western reluctance to get involved militarily will make Kiev hesitant to provoke the Russians by using military force.


At first glance, the Ukrainian military appears quite capable. Though largely equipped with legacy systems from the late Cold War, the weapons -- whether tanks, combat aircraft, or helicopters -- in Ukraine's inventory remain potent. In fact, the Russians continue to use much of the same equipment despite a recent modernization drive. On paper at least, the Ukraini…