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Showing posts from November 5, 2014

Breakaway Republics the New Normal for Ukraine

The Ukraine crisis is carrying on in much the same fashion it has been since it broke out in early 2014: for every gesture of diplomatic contrition, there are two moves on the ground pointing to further conflict.

The most recent dovish overture comes in the form of a gas deal reached between Moscow and Kiev, one that will also ensure the flow of energy supplies to Western Europe over the coming winter. The deal calls for Ukraine to pay out two tranches of $3.1 billion by the end of the year, covering both its outstanding debts with Gazprom and the 4 billion cubic meters of gas it will need through next March. High levels of EU and IMF assistance will be necessary to help the nearly bankrupt government in Kiev cover the cost of the deal.

Yet there are, as always, hawkish developments unfolding against the backdrop of this ostensible détente. Moscow is openly supporting the elections currently being held in separatist ‘people’s republics’ in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. The…

Submerged Russian nuclear sub test-fires strategic Sineva missile

A Sineva missile launch. Still from video provided by the Russian defense ministry.

The Delta IV-class submarine Tula has successfully test-fired a Sineva strategic SLBM in a latest of a series of tests of Russian nuclear weapons arsenal.

The missile was launched on Wednesday from a submarine beneath the Barents Sea. Its multiple warheads arrived at the Kura rocket test range in the Far-Eastern island of Kamchatka.

It was the third test of a strategic submarine-launched missile Russia conducted this year. In September and again in October two Bulava missile launches were conducted.

The Tula is one of seven submarines of the Delta IV class (or Delfin in Russian disambiguation) currently in service in Russia’s Northern Fleet. The class is the current backbone of the naval component of the Russian nuclear deterrence. The newer Bulava-carrying Borey-class submarines are to gradually replace them after 2020.

The K-114 Tula nuclear submarine at a pier of the Russian Northern Fleet's naval ba…

How the Islamic State evolved in an American prison

Camp Bucca in 2008. (Photos by Andrea Bruce/The Washington Post)

In March 2009, in a wind-swept sliver of Iraq, a sense of uncertainty befell the southern town of Garma, home to one of the Iraq war’s most notorious prisons. The sprawling Camp Bucca detention center, which had detained some of the war’s most radical extremists along the Kuwait border, had just freed hundreds of inmates. Families rejoiced, anxiously awaiting their sons, brothers and fathers who had been lost to Bucca for years. But a local official fretted.

“These men weren’t planting flowers in a garden,” police chief Saad Abbas Mahmoud told The Washington Post’s Anthony Shadid, estimating that 90 percent of the freed prisoners would soon resume fighting. “They weren’t strolling down the street. This problem is both big and dangerous. And regrettably, the Iraqi government and the authorities don’t know how big the problem has become.”

Mahmoud’s assessment of Camp Bucca, which funneled 100,000 detainees through its barrack…

"Western Training" And The Fight Against The Islamic State

By Moon Of Alabama

"Training" foreign troops seems to be some magic solution for various foreign policy problems. "Training" a new Iraqi army against the Islamic State is the latest of such a hoped for miracles. But all recent "western training" has been more problematic than successful.

The various foreign troops trained at the infamous U.S. Army School of the Americas, turned out to be capable, but only as torturers and death squads:
Observers point out that School alumni include: 48 out of 69 Salvadoran military members cited in the U.N. Truth Commission's report on El Salvador for involvement in human rights violations (including 19 of 27 military members implicated in the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests), and more than 100 Colombian military officers alleged to be responsible for human rights violations by a 1992 report issued by several human rights organizations. Press reports have also alleged that school graduates have included several Peruvia…