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Ukraine needs to give Russia the war it is fighting.

The seizure and annexation of Crimea. The sham elections which legitimized the Russian takeover. The rebellion backed and supplied by Russia. The irregular military involvement by deniable troops sent in by Russia to professionalize the proxy rebel army. When is enough truly enough? Yes. Ukraine has neither the money nor military resources to declare a war is upon them. But what choice do they have? The dismemberment of prized strategic territory and industrial capacity is not the privilege of Russia. Russia cannot redraw the world map as it sees fit to feel secure. If Russia fears NATO encroachment, then Russia should declare war against NATO while they are militarily weak and disorganized. The EU economy is in tatters and in no shape to wage war. But the Budapest Memorandum is torn to shreds. Russia believes NATO and the West first in expansion east, violated that agreement. Now given the right to assert its own security by creating buffer puppet states and systematically weakening its neighbors so they cannot become viable allies to Western Powers, Russia is fulfilling its goal to dominate its borders.

Ukraine is the biggest kid to pick a fight with, because beating him up will show all the others that leaving Russian influence has a steep price. But therein lies the truth: Russia is weak and fearful of breakup.

Ukraine risks inviting a larger war on not just the eastern provinces but all its lands if it declares Russia its real enemy. But Russia already has shown aggression and taken actions to undo Ukraine as a nation. If it is already an existential threat to Kiev, why not act like it.

If Russian planes bomb Kiev and Lviv. If Russian troops invade openly across the entire border, will it finally convince Europe that this doctrine of Putin’s will not bring peace?

What Ukraine needs is to form a Central European Bloc or Confederation which includes the Baltic States, Poland, Moldova, and Slovakia. Western Europe will not commit land forces to fight in the east unless there is a viable coalition ready to join them in a real fight. Russia can be deterred if it sees the Central Bloc as a force to be reckoned with that does not owe allegiance to the West.

Will a new Warsaw Pact be formed?

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The Russo-Ukrainian War of 2014-2016 has recommenced.

This ceasefire was not going to last. Both sides skirmished and rearmed for the next big push. It is impossible for the rebel forces to mount any offensives without Russian supply, troops and expertise. Russian leadership drives the campaign on the ground. They cannot openly invade yet, but the rebel offensive if met by real determined resistance, will show just how prepared the Russian Army is to again intervene.

The Ukrainians have to ask their direct neighbors for aide. Polish and Lithuanians, and Finns should be asked to volunteer and also send supplies and weapons. If the Russians can play this game, so should the West. Even if the Germans and French want to bury their heads in the sand, the Eastern Europeans have to stand against Russian aggression before they believe their own invincibility.

The Russians need to be dealt a disasterous defeat in battle. The Chechens gave them a real bloody nose and Russian mothers called out in pain. The streets of Moscow and St Petersburg need to be filled with grieving wives and children without fathers. The Ukrainians have to let the Russians drive far for awhile before unleashing a blistering counteroffensive. The goal is not territory, but to kill Russians in large numbers. Surround, cut off, and destroy in place. No mercy must be shown. Only then will the generals in Moscow hesitate.

This adventure can only end when the Russian army itself suffers real defeats. The Ukrainians have months to arm and prepare, if they cannot beat back the Russians, then NATO is just a piece of paper holding back the bear b

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Russian Fascism – the real threat to global security.

Europe is socialist by policy in managing its public services, but it is fascist? Did the Nazis take over and purged the continent of non-Aryan races since the end of World War II?
Is there extreme xenophobia amongst NATO countries where Turks, Greeks, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, French, German, Poles, Norwegians, Danes, Dutch, Lithuanian, and other nationalities are seen as allies and equals?

There is only one country now exhibiting xenophobia, using propaganda to fan the flames of hatred against Jews, non-Russians, and using military aggression to stake out “breathing room” and “Motherland” for its people and culture. Sound familiar? It is Russia.

Europeans are not burning Russian books or harassing ethnic minorities to dominate or force them to leave. Europeans are not ethnically cleansing non-Slavs or non-Orthodox believers from Bosnia, Georgia, and the Crimea in brutal war. They are not the ones sending covert armies to fuel a separatist war of instigation to justify invasion and conquest of desired lands.

If Ukraine is better off joining Europe, their people will choose to try their system for a few generations. What Russia fears is that they will never look back because it proves the Russian way is a long standing lie to control their own people and living off their hardships.

The Ukrainians know they have to fight this menace off without starting a world war. They know they may lose territory to the Russian aggression. But Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Moldova are all watching. Sweden and Finland are awakening.

An Eastern European bloc is forming within NATO. Their reaction to the next blatant hegemonic acts by the Putin regime will decide the fate of Ukraine for the decades to come.

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The Invasion of Ukraine – Phase III

Phase I – Crimea
Phase II – Novorossiya to Crimea (stalled)
Phase III – Winter campaign to expand Novorossiya to Crimea.

Crimea cannot be sustainable by ferry and planes. Russia needs a land bridge to hold onto Crimea. Establishing the Novorossiya region is imperative.

This ceasefire with Poroshenko is about to break and the Separatist forces, openly backed by Russian forces in Ukrainian sovereign soil, is far better armed and equipped now for a winter offensive than the Ukrainian national forces. They will press their advantage to seize and expand lands under their control, before the snow and blizzards end the fighting season.

The sham local elections in the Donbas is the same pretext as it is in Crimea for legitimizing the proxy thugs subservient to Moscow to declare the violation of ceasefire as justification for a new offensive to eject Ukrainian government forces and push west.

The Ukrainians do not have the firepower and neither do any other nation. NATO and the US now are too distracted by ISIS to intervene. Sanctions cannot toll back facts on the ground and Russia wants those facts to favor them.

Unless the Ukrainians are prepared to obliterate entire Russian units with mass warfare and send thousands of Russians home in coffins, making their involvement in the war too obvious to hide, the Russians will keep pushing and taking territory away.

This winter is about to get hot.

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War

Russo-Ukraine War – European impotence against Putin’s gold-plated balls

Just as we all knew that Russia would not easily allow a humiliating defeat of their proxy forces inside Ukraine, we now see the machine of a transplanted insurgency take root deeper. Russian volunteers with military training taking leave to go fight across the border. Taking with them often second tier weaponry from arms caches from mothballed stockpiles into another people’s country to help locals break away from the government they no longer consider legitimate. This allows the Russian government the deniability of saying “Hey these guys decided en masse to go help their ethnic brothers and we did not give them permission or weapons.”. But does Ukraine really have hundreds of tanks, trucks, artillery pieces, mobile SAM units, ammunition and military supplies to outfit tens of thousands of rebels? Where are the rebels capturing these equipment from, the hundreds of prisoners who surrendered and only a few thousand wounded soldiers they injured? The numbers don’t add up, and the only way to explain the discrepancy is Russian intelligence services are sending across commando forces to aid the rebels, even coordinate their battle strategy.

So Russia is driving this war to wreck Ukraine. What will the West do to counter this and make Russia pay a hard price? Economic levers are pressed and results are not effective. So an Afghanistan strategy needs to be devised. Poland, as Pakistan was in this scenario, needs to be the conduit of fresh arms and expertise in command and control with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. For one thing it is surprising Ukraine did not position veteran reserve troops in blocking positions in case of Russian invasion forces crossing over to flank and encircle their engaged combat troops in the Donbass. This is telling that the most capable forces are already committed and that Ukraine truly has a weak military capability remaining to deal with Russian reinforcements.

You cannot blame the Ukrainians for failing. They are using Russian designed weapons and battle tactics against forces who know exactly those capabilities and weaknesses. The entire country is covered with spies reporting troop movements, and social media and news outlets are not managed to hide activities in the rear echelons. Russia has the initiative for now, and Ukraine needs to take a few hits as it regroups. The West if they do not send covert military help, may see the Russian plan succeed in carving out a loyal feifdom of Novorossiya from Donbass to Crimea, effectively crippling Ukraine as a power in the region.

The clearest effort by Ukraine is to trap and capture whole units of Russian formations on Ukrainian soil intact, so unequivocally that denials by Moscow can no longer hold up by their lies to the world. And although Ukraine cannot withstand provocations turn full open war, they need to approach the strategy of fighting Russian forces on their territory using new tactics and methods. They should consult Finland and Western planning experts on how NATO would fight massed Russian troops and infiltration forces.

At some point soon the gloves need to come off and Donbass need to be reduced to utter ruin. Ukraine may need to recognize that if they fail to quell the rebels they have to make the region impossible for Russia to govern and incredibly costly to annex. Novorossiya will need to cost Russia hundreds of billions to repair and rebuild, bankrupting Moscow and amplifying sanctions and drain on Russian pensions and citizens. Hundreds more Russians must go home dead so hiding their activities killing in a secret war against another country can not be silenced by grieving families.

Lithuania and Poland will need to revisit their larger roles within NATO but partner up as regional friends of Ukraine and act. The worst that can happen is Russia attacks, and invokes Article 5. Russia talks nuclear reprisals but they know they cannot. All Europe is languishing in peacetime recession, which means people are bored and frustrated. Give them a reason to unite, rally against an external threat, and watch the sleeping giants like Germany, Norway, and France step up. Even the Romanians are itching to take back Moldova and push the separatists out of Transnistria. The Americans? We rather blast Russians than fight Islamic terrorists, easier to quantify tanks and cities smashed into smoldering ruin.

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Showdown in Donetsk

With the retreat of rebel forces to the main city by about 800-1000 fighters, the DPR has limited choices as the Ukrainian army asserts itself further in the region and shows the locals they are not the genocidal Nazi murderers the Russian propaganda has demonized them as. The rebels brace for a bloody confrontation, but the Ukrainian forces have the luxury of time on their side. They just have to seal off the border with Russia, fortify around Donetsk and Luhansk, and wait for the rebels to simply run out of 1) ammunition 2) show locals their inability to provide basic services, jobs, income.

The reason Russia cannot invade is because Russia can barely afford to integrate Crimea with its own weak economy. To invade Ukraine, fight the Ukrainians city for city in pitched battles and destroy infrastructure and industries they need, and then pay to rebuild and provide support for millions of refugees and dependents, is a burden Putin cannot handle even if he has the money from Gazprom.

And worse if an invasion triggers severe EU and American sanctions, and UN condemnation. The damage to Russia is simply too great if investments dry up and their stance of non-interference in internal conflicts in places such as Syria suddenly is hypocritically superceded by its own interference in a civil dispute in Ukraine. Crimea is a strategically vital priority, but taking the Donbas is a bridge too far.

The Ukrainians have mustered the will to fight and choke off the insurgency. Russia has lost the stomach to do much more and prolong the negative press. Kiev signed the EU Trade agreement, have a new elected and functioning government and their armed forces now have months of combat experience and the more fighting occurs the better they will get to face Russian soldiers if necessary. They could even try to retake the Crimea if Russia cannot get a negotiated treaty or peace agreed upon.

Russia also is dependent on Ukrainian industry and if they don’t get back to normal business Russia will be badly crippled by lack of parts and supplies. The cost-benefit analysis for Putin is starting to look less positive to piss off the Ukrainians for much longer. They cannot take back Crimea without open war with Russia, but they can win the Donbas and the rebels have ran out of rhetoric and supplies.

The mercenaries that came from Russia and abroad will see the writing on the wall much sooner than the locals and head back before the border is completely closed off. Russia cannot fly in supplies or reinforcements, and Ukraine is showing signs they plan to interdict Luhansk first so the supply lines to Donetsk is cut. When the skirmishes in the coming weeks deplete their ammunition stores and their fuel runs low, the rebels cannot maneuver or respond to raids and probing attacks by the Ukrainian forces.

The rebels still have several thousand fighters but the more guns they shoot the faster they will run out. The mercs from Chechnya and Russia will cannibalize the best supplies, take their loot and booty and drive back to Russia like thieves. They will only fight if the Ukrainians take complete control of Luhansk first and cut off their escape.

Will the Ukrainians storm the major cities? Probably not, they won’t need to. They just have to control the roads and the airspace. They have the numbers, and they have the firepower. The few tanks Moscow provided is not going to last against artillery and air power.

The rebels can try to draw the army into the city but that will risk the ire of locals who may turn on them as casualties mount. The fight is over as long as Russia is blocked from action, which Poroshenko has done. Putin can go to war but that would be the end of his new Russia before it is even a reality.

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Iraq, Syria, and other hot wars.

The Middle East is experiencing a Post-Arab Spring hangover.  Many of the dictatorships in Libya and Tunisia has been replaced by hardline Islamist governments that is sobering new revolutionaries with the reality that power did not fully go to the people.  The reaction by the liberal-moderates is now a re-revolution against the threat of new oppression by these authoritarian parties.

Egypt actually restored the military dictator of Hosni Mubarak with Sisi, ironically with popular support.  The Islamists are now proven to be incapable of being inclusive in democratic government, and the slide back to strong-men or warlords with the most capable armies is unfortunately necessary until this generation of muslims are fed up with this nonsense in their own communities.

In Syria and Iraq, the bloodshed is at unprecedented levels of brutality as the Syrian regime, backed by allies in Hezbollah and Iran are able to retain a foothold on much of the Shiite/Alawite domains.  The FSA and Islamist rebel groups are fighting a three-front war against the regime and the ISIS agenda, which we now see is what they had promised, the conquest and creation of a new country ruled by an emir and follows Sunni sharia laws.  At best the FSA and rebels can do is carve out their own turf in the north, declare it a Free Republic of Syria with Aleppo as its capital, and build a new mini-state that isn’t ruled by Assad nor ISIS. 

In Iraq, the breakup is becoming a reality, and the Sunni forces cannot hope to take Baghdad without drawing Iran into the fight.  The Shiite Iraqis will rule the south. The Sunni forces will be able to hold Anbar and the northwest provinces and form a new Arab republic, if ISIS can transition out from a guerrilla force to a national army.  Whether sharia law becomes the means of government will be up to the locals, but the secular Baathists may not give them the chance to take it too far.  A new Sunni nation incorporating Eastern Syria and Western Iraq needs investments and allies, and Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and Qatar would support a new government but not a much larger guerrilla army bent on terror and assassinations. 

America’s military involvement in muslim countries is almost over.  The people are tired of endless war and of muslims killing muslims.  The upheaval is exacerbated by the massive number of weapons circulating in these countries but those are getting destroyed with every battle.  al-Shabab has no chance to recapture Somalia, al-Qaeda has been shown its ineffectiveness in overthrowing the Yemeni government, and the Taliban is gearing up to win the peace in Afghanistan once the Americans leave.  Pakistan now has less need to be tolerant of the Taliban and will start to push them back across the border.  The Sudan wars and Dafur are only going to flare up again.

Europe is distracted by the Ukraine war but that may now wind down from a negotiated settlement.  The new realities and borders being drawn are clear that the post-Colonial structures are finally getting obliterated by the fires of resurgent identities.  Kurdistan incorporating the Syrian territories and larger Iraqi areas will be recognized as a new country.  Sunni Iraq will become separate from the Shiite Iraq, give them new names as long as they separate and stop killing each other over money and power.  The people in the Middle East have rejected imposed American democracy, shown us its flaws, and are now seeking their own path freed of our influence.  Half a million lives lost, almost all muslim from Mali to Libya, Sudan to Egypt, Syria and Iraq and still no system of government that can ensure the prosperity of these peoples. 

It is simple chemistry, unstable compounds will always break apart at the slightest disturbance, sometimes violently, and then recombine to form a new state.  Such as it was, and so it shall be.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/fareed-zakaria-an-enclave-strategy-for-iraq/2014/06/19/e06d8938-f7ea-11e3-a606-946fd632f9f1_story.html

 

 

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