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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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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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Islamist Militancy – the resurgence of the Caliphate

We have seen in the news a disturbing trend at these hotspots: 1) Boko Haram using deception by pretending to be government soldiers to gain security access to and kill government supporters and soldiers.  2) Syrian Sunni hard-line militants seizing and holding territory both in Syria and Iraq, battling moderate Islamist fighting groups, the Assad regime, YPG Kurdish militias, AND Shiite-dominated Iraqi government forces effectively.  3) The Pakistani Taliban attacking government facilities in major cities without a decisive response.  4) Weak Yemeni, Somali and Kenyan government forces under siege by Shiite Houthi, al-Qaeda, and al Shabaab factions.  5) Mali remains precariously on the verge of more violence.  6) Libya embroiled in infighting between Islamist and secular factions.

Did 13+ years of American war against terrorists create any positive outcomes?  Or did the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unlocked Pandora’s Box and have launched a whole generation of young muslim men and women into a mindset of using harsh religious views and violence to take control of a life that has been hijacked by decades of societal corruption and immobility? 

America could not have caused all these conflicts to spiral out of control.  In these regions more muslims are fighting against and killing other muslims than they are fighting Westerners or Christians.  These wars of ideology over infidelism and warlordism is a matter between the sects of Islam and their world views of modern life, of secular consumerism and populism versus social conservatism and morality.  And yet the use of violence have ruptured the communities and silenced the debate over the proper way to live in the muslim world.  The lack of economic opportunities have now been eclipsed by a total lack of human safety.  The militants and insurgents scream out to fight for human dignity while they detonate indiscriminate bombs and act out punishments according to laws that were created centuries ago before modern human knowledge.  They fight, as they say, against injustice of oppression and mass murder by dictators and regimes, yet their answer is a regime of their own ever so cruel and bloody hands.

The Sunni militants are responding to the rise of their Shiite rivals in Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Houthis in Yemen, and in Iraq.  The only solution is the establishment of a pan-Arab Sunni Caliphate able and willing to challenge this broad alliance of strong heretics.  They see Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and the Gulf States as too comfortable in their wealth and power to face the affront to their beliefs.  In fact these regimes tolerated the Shiite bloc and thus have lost legitimacy.  But America and the West needs them to have stable energy, which is why these militants hate America and the West.  Western capitalism is holding Sunni power back, and have given their religious enemies strength to challenge their claims to supermacy.  The struggle for power is about the ability to influence life over a billion muslims.  In Pakistan the Taliban is concluding their military conversation with the United States, and soon direct its attention towards both Iran and the Pakistani secular establishment and army. 

The United States has realized that the militants have a new enemy they desperately want to fight, more than Western devils oceans away, they see an existential threat in the rise of Shiite states much more than the meddling of a receding superpower.  The breakaway of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from al-Qaeda’s anti-American message and their quick rise to power, their formidable fighting abilities and organization, shows that the genie is out of the bottle.  But the threat to global security, thus American and European security, is far more potent now than ever.

Should the Islamic Emirate of the Levant be established both in Syria-Iraqi realm, and the return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to prominence, Iran will suddenly find itself with Sunni enemies on two of its borders.  Their reaction will be to accelerate their development of nuclear weapons.  The Saudis may next be toppled, for the Caliphate will seek to overthrow them and take control of the holy lands to further extend their own legitimacy as rightful rulers of Sunni muslims. 

Can the Western world endure a massive regional war between the sectarian muslim states and have disruption of their energy supplies?   Military interference have already failed to extract positive results, and the expense in treasure and lives have yielded nothing for the United States.  American global interests in the Middle East are centered now on preventing the Caliphate from being created, as their Saudi and Israeli allies will be under great threat.  But how should America protect its own national interests?

Natural Gas and electric vehicles.  If American oil dependency is quickly weened, our dependency on the Saudis will diminish greatly.  While European and Asian economies will remain at further risk from the failure of the Saudi and Gulf states, America can seize this opportunity to create markets for our alternative energy options, and so can Russia do the same – to be the providers of energy for Europe and Asia. There is an opportunity for a true era of Russo-American global hegemony through this upheaval.

Let the Muslim sects fight it out.  This is a generational and existential conflict that has been long delayed.  The religious carnage and possible sectarian genocide is unavoidable and no longer preventable.  Unless, the moderate secular muslims take a firmer hand in suppressing the militants, but that only will give rise to more strongmen and dictatorships and bloodshed will occur anyway.  Caught up in this is Israel, whose existence will be threatened by a unified and powerful aggressive muslim Caliphate on its border with the military might to do great harm to their population.  Israel would have to fight, perhaps even preemptively against both the Hezbollah and Assad regimes first, but then against the militants that would overthrow the kingdoms whom Israel has peace with and acts now as buffer states.  It would be interesting to see a Saudi-Egyptian-Israeli-Jordanian alliance form against the Caliphate in the next 20 years.  But the Secular States vs Sunni Caliphate vs Shiite bloc would be a destabilizing scenario for global trade, as arms flows and financing would disrupt the peacetime consumption economies and the West and Russia would become arms providers to the warring parties as they already are.  

The tipping point is who we will choose sides with.  The Americans may end up working with the Taliban forces in Afghanistan, like the former enemies of Germany, Japan, Vietnam have become bitter enemies to friends of common foes.  The Taliban, I suspect is attempting to take control of the vast Pakistani military and shift it west against Iran versus against India.  The Pakistanis fear this would alter the power dynamic and give India the opportunity to expand at Pakistan’s expense.  But the Taliban have a larger prize, an ideological global threat of Shiism rather than a realist threat of India.  The Taliban, in my view would rather cede significant territory to India and be able to defeat Iran, than maintain the stalemate with India but lose their global religious dominance to the Shiites.  The war for the heart of the muslim world is at hand, and the players better start choosing sides.

So, can the new Islamic Caliphates/Emirates be allowed to form between the fracturing of post-colonial states of Syria-Iraq, and in Afghanistan-Pakistan?  The West’s long term objectives must be forward thinking, for the intensity and ferocity of this conflict, whether it becomes a limited nuclear war, must be considered before we “get out of the way” and look from the sidelines.  Islamic militancy will always be a double-edged sword.  The majority of muslims are young and of fighting age.  Their economic opportunities are crippled by corruption and poverty.  They have the motivation and desperation to seek purpose through struggle, and while the West concerns itself with a new Cold War in the Ukraine where hundreds of lives are lost, within 20 years, tens of millions of lives may be lost in the outbreak of the “Great Islamic War/Jihad” of the 21st Century.  Imagine fighters from Malaysia, Indonesia, West Africa, Central Asia all sending armies of fighters into this conflagration, and the global impact against non-muslims in the aftermath. 

If the West wish to avoid this dire prediction I have laid out here, and not get caught up any further in the resentment or violence against Western interference in their religious and social affairs, then only helping the secularists in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, and Israel consolidate and expand their peaceful development is the only way to show these other muslims that their violence is leaving their families in worse shape than necessary.  Establishment of a secular counterweight to the Caliphate, such as a stronger Kurdistan will also minimize the spread of the impending conflict.  Turkey will need Kurdistan as a buffer state, and Kurdistan needs this conflict to redraw the border with Iran so it is in their best interests to become stronger through Turkey and the YPG controlled Syrian territories.  This arrangement will pit the Caliphate against Iran and its allies only, and channel the war and keep the damage from spreading all over the world.  When the dust settles, when enough blood is shed and the killings done, there may be peace in the land for good.  The militants must first have their fill of jihad.  If not there, they will seek out enemies against all over the world.         

The realist argument says: Why not there, rather than here?  If it cannot be stopped, at least let it be managed.         

   

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