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Showing posts from March 17, 2014

Three Years After Gaddafi, Libya is Imploding into Chaos and Violence

Its government has no real power; militias are ever more entrenched, and now the state itself is under threat

By Patrick Cockburn

The Libyan former prime minister Ali Zeidan fled last week after parliament voted him out of office. A North Korean-flagged oil tanker, the Morning Glory, illegally picked up a cargo of crude from rebels in the east of the country and sailed safely away, despite a government minister's threat that the vessel would be "turned into a pile of metal" if it left port: the Libyan navy blamed rough weather for its failure to stop the ship. Militias based in Misrata, western Libya, notorious for their violence and independence, have launched an offensive against the eastern rebels in what could be the opening shots in a civil war between western and eastern Libya.


Without a central government with any real power, Libya is falling apart. And this is happening almost three years after 19 March 2011 when the French air force stopped Mu'ammer Gaddafi&#…

Russia: Laws On Crimea's Accession To Be Passed Quickly

Russia's lower house of parliament will pass a legislation allowing Crimea to join Russia as soon as possible, Interfax reported March 17. About 75 percent of the ballots have been counted and of those 95.7 percent are in favor of Crimea's annexation by Russia. President Vladimir Putin has said he will respect the will of the people in Crimea, ignoring Western leaders who say the referendum was illegal.


The Japanese Government does not recognize the referendum in Crimea and urges Russia not to annex the region, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Reuters reported March 17. Tokyo will respond on sanctions against Russia in coordination with the Group of Seven leading economies

Russia Threatens to Withdraw From Arms Treaties

Then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev (R) and U.S. President Barack Obama sign the New START agreement in Prague on April 8, 2010. (Getty Images)

Summary


As Russia and the West continue to trade threats over the Ukraine crisis, the Russian Defense Ministry has raised the stakes by saying it is considering halting foreign inspections of its strategic nuclear arsenal. If it followed through on the threat, Moscow would be in clear violation of the New START arms control agreement. To this point, most of the threats or enacted measures over the Crimea standoff have centered on economic reprisal, not anything that could affect security. Russia certainly has concerns about New START and other weapons treaties with the West, but it has no intention of withdrawing and rekindling an arms race it may not be able to afford.

Analysis


Russia has threatened in the past to break or withdraw from New START or the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, which differs from New START in that it bans gro…

Mexico's Gains in Michoacan Could Become a Setback

Former Knights Templar informants now in a self-defense group in Michoacan state in February 2014. (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


In the latest in a string of counternarcotic successes for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, top Knights Templar leader Nazario Moreno Gonzalez was killed in a confrontation with Mexican authorities March 9 in Tumbiscatio, Michoacan state. Though on the surface a success, the elimination of Nazario Moreno could wind up creating additional security distractions for Mexico City as rival groups rush to fill the vacuum left in Michoacan by the Knights Templar cartel's reversals of fortune.

Analysis


Throughout Mexico, military pressure continues to break organized crime groups into separate, autonomous crime networks. A number of major organized criminal group leaders have been killed or captured lately, including Los Zetas leader Miguel "Z-40" Trevino Morales and Sinaloa Federation leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera. As…