Looking Forward to Fight in Eastern Ukraine

Russia has stopped its advance on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. However many believe that those forces are being redeployed to the eastern line. Ukrainian forces may have been doing well in recent weeks and may continue to defy the odds but the Russian may just ware down Ukrainian forces. According to estimate more than 400 Russian tanks, 20 aircraft, and 32 helicopters have been destroyed by Ukraine. Analysts believe that any Russian advance on the east will utilize more aerial bombardment before ground forces move in. Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has stated that fighting might resemble that of World War II.

The article mentioned that while the number of destroyed equipment is high in quantity for Russia and low in number for Ukraine these numbers must be put relative to scale of each army. In other words, one destroyed tank for Russia is not as big a deal because they can replace them but one destroyed Ukrainian tank is huge because they can’t manufacture more. More equipment needs to be given to Ukraine in the next few days to weeks in order to combat the on coming Russian advance.



Continued tensions between Syria and Israel

On Saturday, the Israeli air force struck Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon’s Hezbollah locations in Masaf (1,2,3). The Syrian government claims Israel hit government positions in a heated statement(3). The strike caused no casualties but “damage from the strikes was still being assessed” (2). The air strike is continuation of Israeli strikes in the region targeted against Israeli threats (2).

The attacks will only continue the tense relations between Israel, Iran, and Syria as each country jostles to spread their influence in the region.

1 – https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/9/israeli-air-strikes-target-positions-in-syria

2 – https://www.timesofisrael.com/syria-accuses-israel-of-conducting-rare-daylight-strike-near-masyaf/

3 – https://www.jns.org/syrian-state-media-israel-struck-targets-in-central-syria/

Ukraine Live Updates: Civilians Rush to Flee as Russian Troops Mass in the East

Ukrainian authorities told many Ukrainian citizens to flee as it appears that Russian troops are gathering in anticipation of a major attack from Izium to Dnipro. It is not easy to get to safety, however, as about 50 civilian bodies were found on a major highway near Kyiv attempting to escape the danger. This has discouraged many Ukrainians from even attempting to flee, while others have been desperately looking for a safe way to escape. Some citizens are driving buses and vans in the Donetsk region to shuttle Ukrainians to safety to the best of their ability. It appears that the war will last longer than initially thought, and some people have already relocated several times trying to find safety. The main goal is to limit the casualties suffered over the course of the conflict by helping civilians find safety.

Although the United States might not be able to stop Russian troops from advancing or limiting pathways to safety, they can still provide aid. I think the US should provide support in the form of technology and vehicles or vehicle parts that might make travel safer. If the US can increase the safety of Ukrainian refugees it will minimize the casualties of this war in Ukraine.



In a break with the past, U.S. is using intel to fight an info war with Russia, even when the intel isn’t rock solid

The United States is using intelligence, even when false or misleading, in order to throw Putin “off track”. The administration has used the intelligence to highlight Russian failings, movements, and potential plans of action. This includes the ‘false flag’ pretext that was circulated before the actual invasion and the potential use of chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine. These intelligence reports were reported on without a 100% basis in truth at times, as we saw with the US “predicting” the invasion date, which ended up happening weeks later. Us officials have stated that the information doesn’t have to be “rock solid” to use it.

I think this is very dangerous territory that the US is treading. All I can think of is the intelligence failings in Iraq that led to the subsequent war. If the US officials are admitting that not all its intelligence it puts out is accurate or trustworthy, then it is hard to differentiate between truth and fact. How much of Russia’s ‘failed’ invasion is actually failing? We may never know the real truth of what is going on

-disclaimer, I am not condoning the invasion of Ukraine, before anyone makes assumptions about this blog post. I simply find it interesting that the US is admitting that some of the information they are putting out isn’t accurate.





Yemen Warring Parties Agree to Two Month Truce

Recently, the War in Yemen took a positive turn with both sides agreeing to a two month truce that was brokered by the United Nations. This is significant move in the right direction given that the conflict has been ongoing for seven years. This is the first successful peace talks since 2016 and the United Nations hope to provide relief to Yemen and its people. All around this is a positive move for the conflict because of the length of the war, thousands of citizens have suffered human rights crisis. For the United States, they are involved in the United Nations and in the Saudi-backed Coalition, therefore, it is a significant sign of potential peace coming to the region.


– Justin Mayer

Boko Haram Fighters Surrender to Nigerian Troops

On Sunday, ten members of Boko Haram, as well as five children, who were loyal to recently killed faction leader Bakura Salaba surrendered to the Nigerian army’s 151st battalion in Banki, Bama LGA. They emerged from enclaves around Jango village and Mandara Mountain in Gwoza following a sustained aerial bombardment which is part of an intensive clearance operation by troops of Operation Hadin Kai. Reportedly, those that surrendered and “their family members [will] receive medical care at a military medical facility, after which they [will] undergo profiling and investigation”.

I think that the incentive for medical care for not only those that surrender but their families as well will cause a lot of Boko Haram fighters to defect. Especially given sustained bombardment against their strongholds, it is likely that many of those survive it will need medical care that Boko Haram will not offer, and combined with reintegration efforts, fighters have a high incentive to defect because they face few severe consequences (ie. jail time) and high comparative rewards.

-Thora Gibbs

10 Boko Haram fighters ‘surrender to troops’ in Borno

Lithuania cuts off Russian gas imports, urges EU to do same

Lithuania has stopped the purchase of Russian natural gas. In 2015, nearly all of Lithuania’s gas came from Russia. However, since then, they have become increasingly energy self sufficient, allowing them to completely stop importing gas from Russia. They urge other nations in the EU, such as Germany, to halt gas purchases as well.

This may be a sign of what’s to come in Europe as the Invasion of Ukraine continues. Given the dependence of other countries in Europe on Russian gas and oil, I think it will be unlikely that many countries will follow in Lithuania’s footsteps.






The Pentagon is investigating extremism in the military. Here’s how bad the problem is

The pentagon has begun investigating Extremism within the ranks of the United States military. The investigation ultimately failed to find concrete proof that the US military has become a breeding ground for extremists, and in fact has found less than 100 incidents of extremist activity in 2021. Many of the service members interviewed by Fox were reportedly not surprised by this, as they believe that the military stamps out any ignorance that may lead to extremist thought by forcing individuals to operate and work in a multicultural and multiracial environment. Many servicemen that were interviewed saw no evidence of extremism throughout their time in the military and believe that this is due to the “melting-pot” environment that many military recruits are immersed in throughout their service. Some even believe that the military does its best to actively stamp out forms of extremism, as they are a threat to unit cohesion and the brotherly connection that is encouraged in the branches.

The article mentions several other studies, including one from the University of Maryland that concluded that the majority of extremists who have committed criminal acts have had no military background. In fact, roughly 12% of all individuals who have committed crimes between 1990 and 2021 motivated by extremism had a military background. Of the extremists that do have a military background, the largest plurality has not been active in the US military and left roughly a decade before they committed any criminal activities. It is believed that the perceived connection between the military and extremism comes from the fact that many high-profile white supremacists, such as Timothy McVeigh and about a quarter of those who stormed the capitol on January 6th, 2021, had military backgrounds. It is also common for extremist groups to attempt to recruit former military personnel.


Service members generally believe that looking for extremism in the military is not very effective, as so little evidence that the military is an extremist breeding ground has been found. They believe it prevents the government from going after other extremists and is a misuse of resources that could be utilized in other ways to stop extremists. Among veterans and active-duty members of the military, it is clear that they do not believe the military promotes extremism and in fact believe the opposite. Many state that any ignorant or extremist views they may have had or known about disappeared or were less attractive after their time in the military, as the military provides a multicultural environment where they can learn about other people and need to work with and rely on other people of different backgrounds.


I think it is worrying that many high-profile extremists have had experience in the military, but from articles and studies like this it appears that many individuals with military backgrounds become radicalized or extremist after their experience in the military, as they are actively targeted by extremist groups for recruitment and indoctrination. We need to focus our resources on veterans and those that may be vulnerable to extremist rhetoric in order to prevent extremism from spreading, rather than to focus on areas that do not seem to be efficient. However, it is also important to note the network that has written this article. While fox news is not the most aggressively political news outlet, they do commonly have a specific agenda, so it is important to read this article while also being aware that Fox may not be telling the whole story. I encourage individuals to review the initial University of Maryland study that found that most extremists do not have a military background.



The Pentagon is investigating extremism in the military. Here’s how bad the problem is | Fox News

Study the article cites:

Radicalization in the Ranks (umd.edu)


AJ DeGeorge

In Solomon Islands, Australia’s largesse faces China challenge

China has recently signed a security deal with the Solomon Islands. This would allow the Solomon Islands to request Chinese security and military support to maintain social order. This comes after widespread anti-China protests in the Solomon Islands nearly ousted the current government. Australia and the Western powers are concerned by this as it could allow for a Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands.  This has led Australia to increase its funding for the Solomon Islands. This comes as Australia, which is already the top donor of economic aid to the South Pacific, is becoming increasingly more geopolitical as Australia is looking to counter the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.




In Solomon Islands, Australia’s largesse faces China challenge | Poverty and Development | Al Jazeera

Shanghai’s 25 million residents to be covid tested: Chinese troops sent to assist

In accordance with China’s “zero-covid” health policy, the Chinese government has decided to send thousands of troops to Shanghai to facilitate the testing of all 25 million residents in the city. Shanghai is currently facing record numbers for daily covid cases, with more than 9,000 cases reported just yesterday. The intense restrictions, including lockdowns, has intensified shortages of food, medical equipment, and other goods. Some residents of Shanghai are stuck in their offices, while others are indefinitely separated from their covid-positive children for treatment. Although different, each scenario is a direct result of China’s covid restrictions. The choice to send troops to Shanghai stems from intense political pressure regarding the eradication of covid within China, especially within such a large and important city like Shanghai. Despite the strain that the intense restrictions have placed on citizens, the Chinese government is doubling down on its covid containment strategy, with troops being an interesting new addition.

Chinese citizens are undoubtedly struggling financially, economically, and physically as a result of covid, but also because of the methods chosen to contain the disease. The government’s choice to send troops to Shanghai demonstrates that they recognize the struggles but are unwilling to compromise on their extreme strategies. Their choice to ignore the internal financial implications of their covid plan is also likely to worsen the status of the global economy rather than just their own. With global markets already strained, it will be interesting to see if the intense restrictions help to minimize covid, or if they simply add to economic disaster. There is little doubt that China has had to divert time and energy away from other projects to tackle covid, potentially leaving the country more vulnerable. Only time will tell if the government’s choice to stick to their guns will work in their favor, or cause even more issues than before.


Darcy Spicer

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