Archive for December, 2018

Bluff or Double Bluff

The Syrian state news claims the US-Coalition attacked Syrian military locations in the eastern part of the state. However, there is not confirmation from the coalition yet. In a different article, which came shortly after the first, the anti-ISIS coalition headed by the US claimed to have killed the leader of an ISIS cell responsible for the death of an American citizen in 2013. The types of “strikes” described in both situations have striking similarities. The neither location is specifically disclosed so it is not possible to confirm if they are the same attack interpreted differently. Though I suspect they may be correlated. 

In either case, there is specific US-coalition action. This may be demonstrating how the US is trying to make itself relevant in Syria. It must be cautious not to reopen wounds by attacking the Syrian government forces. Though, in this case, it may be the Syrian army trying to provoke a response from its powerful ally Russia to pressure the US to get out of Syria entirely. This would be in the interest of President Assad. By focusing attention on the successful elimination of an ISIS leader who killed an American soldier, the US can divert attention from the Syrian Civil War, in which it has been unsuccessful and relatively powerless, to the “war on terror.”  It is possible that both are using the same event for their own domestic propaganda. The security concerns for the government of Syria may include that the US will use its war against ISIS to target regime forces. For the US, it has little security concern in this situation, however, justice for its service members is still in of interest to the American people. 


-Anna K.

President Trump Speaks on the Use of Tear Gas

Activist and reporter have been commenting and question the use of tear gas on the Central American Caravan members that are now as the US Mexico boarder near California. BBC reported on the recent comments President Donald Trump made in Mississippi about the recent military retaliation for attempted illegal boarder crossing. President Trump is characterizing the tear gas as being “very safe” and a “very minor form of tear gas”. The presidents comments are contrary to the reaction of the migrants who saw many children pass out and many being unable to breath. For the President, the presence of children at the border seems to be incomprehensible. The President claims that adults with children are “grabbers” that picked up children in order to gain more leverage and ultimately a better outcome in their asylum plea. The Mexican Foreign Ministry is calling for a full investigation on the use of the tear gas by the US government. The images of the tear gas being released have been circulating and have prompted a lot of the domestic push back that we are currently seeing.


Israel Releases PA Authority Governor of Jerusalem

Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem Governor Adnan Gheith was released from jail on bail along with nine other members of the Fatah group. Israeli police arrested Gheith for the third time last month in Israel’s latest attempts to prevent the PA from carrying out political and security attacks within Israel despite a 1995 law that does so. Gheith is unable to leave the country or enter the West Bank over the course of the next six months.
The continued arrests of PA officials could deter future security and political PA attacks within Israel. However, this is probably unlikely as there is already a law to deter the attacks which clearly isn’t working and the arrests probably will not help prevent such attacks.


Putin Calls Russia a “Major Guarantor” of Global Energy Security

At the end of last month, Russian President Putin to the United Nations Security Council that he considered Russia a “Major Guarantor” of Global Energy Security. This is based on Russia’s sizable exports of all main types of energy to the EU and Asian Pacific countries. The purpose of this statement was to ask the Security Council to better protect Russian energy companies around the world.

This statement comes after the United States banned the sale of advanced oil drilling technology to Russia. The larger tensions between the United States and Russia in recent years has continually poured into the energy security world and this is one of the affected issues.

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–John Reinboldt, 12/1/2018

Ukraine cites massive buildup of Russian forces along its border

President Poroshenko of Ukraine claimed that Russia is building up its forces along their shared border. Tensions have been very high between two nations, since the seizure of three Ukrainian navy ships in the sea of Azov. President of Ukraine said that there are currently more than 80,000 troops, 1,400 artillery and multiple rocket launch systems, 900 tanks, 2,300 armed combat vehicles, 500 aircraft and 300 helicopters along deployed by Russia along the border. These numbers add up to the whole force of Russian Western Military District. Although, these numbers have not been independently verified. Ukraine implemented martial law in 10 out of its 17 districts. Russian men aged 16 to 60 are not allowed to enter Ukraine, while any foreigners are forbidden from entering Crimea from the Ukrainian side of the border.

The Ukrainian conflict is enduring an increased amount of tension, since it began in 2014. The number of Russian forces along the border, if true, is incredible, which should raise some alarm within Ukraine’s Western partners, including the United States. Although, at the same time, Ukraine has implemented martial law and ordered its military to be at full military readiness, which can be seen as a threat. While, some Russian citizens have been refused entry into the country, just because they were Russian. This situation needs to be resolved diplomatically, because any wrong move or escalation could have some dire consequences. Ukraine has the right to defend its territory, but at the same time sending such strong and dangerous signals can be detrimental. Now is the time for all sides to get around a table and negotiate some kind of agreement to lower the tension in the region. Russia should release the Ukrainian sailors and its ships back to Ukraine as a diplomatic gesture.


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