Overnight the US Navy launched a Tomahawk cruise missile attack on a Syrian Air Force base in response to the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun earlier this week.Read More
Despite comments by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the reality on the ground is that the most recent ceasefire agreement in Syria has miserably failed.Read More
The long-running urban battle to capture the town of Manbij in northern Syria from ISIS has finally come to a close.Read More
The United States announced that it will only commit one battalion to the NATO mission against Russian influence in Eastern Europe, going against their previous promises to commit two battalions to the mission.Read More
Updates and latest news on the offensive by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to take the strategic town of Manbij from ISIS. US Special Forces as well as Coalition aircraft are assisting in this operation.Read More
Several months after the U.S. State Department announced the approval of a sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, the potential deal has hit a snag. Islamabad wants to move forward with the purchase using a U.S. subsidy, but the United States government – under pressure from the Congress – has ruled that option out.Read More
For a number of reasons the current Syrian 'ceasefire' deal will likely not bring peace to the war-torn country, in the near to medium term.Read More
ISIS itself is also taking root in Africa, stationing itself in Libya and prompting serious talks of US intervention.Read More
By Thomas C. Baron Barack Obama is firmly into his final year as President of the United States and with his time increasingly limited, the country's allies and enemies are growing aware that they will soon be dealing with a new Commander in Chief. For Israel’s Prime Minister, this provides an opportunity to secure more funds from Washington than Obama may have been otherwise willing to provide.
Four years later, increased diplomacy between major powers -- especially the US and Russia -- start to cause US leaders to soften their "Assad must go" position.
The New York Times quotes an unnamed senior American official as saying, "It’s encouraging, but we’re still a long ways off [on a solution for Assad]."
Donald Trump tells Americans to let Russia take care of Assad and ISIS.
"Let Syria and ISIS fight. Why do we care? Let ISIS and Syria fight. And let Russia, they're in Syria already, let them fight ISIS. Look, I don't want ISIS. ISIS is bad. They are evil. When they start doing with a head chopping … these are really bad dudes. … Let Russia take care of ISIS. How many places can we be? … Russia likes Assad seemingly a lot. Let them worry about ISIS. Let them fight it out."
Hillary Clinton, now a presidential candidate and no longer Secretary of State (since 2013), states removing Assad is America's top priority, four years after she said it wouldn't make US news.
A month after the Paris attacks, a week after the San Bernardino attack, the day Los Angeles shut down its public schools due to a bomb threat, and the last Republican debate of the year before the holidays. Also the day Kerry meets Putin and Lavrov in Moscow.
The Secretary of State officially reverses the position of the US on Assad, while Republican contenders for the 2016 election spar over what to do. The more memorable quotes are are anti-Russian and anti-intervention.
Donald Trump: "Spend the money [used in striking in the Middle East] in the US... It's a tremendous disservice to humanity, and for what? [The Middle East is] a mess, [a] total and complete mess."
John Kasich: "In regard to Syria, understand that Assad is an ally of Iran who wants to extend that Shi’i radicalism all the way across the Middle East. He has to go. And for the Russians, frankly, it's time to punch the Russians in the nose. They’ve gotten away with too much in this world, and we need to stand up against them, not just there, but also in Eastern Europe where they threaten some of our most precious allies."
Rand Paul: "We need to confront Russia from a position of strength."
Chris Christie: "Reckless was inviting Russia into Syria."
As of posting, President Obama has yet to make an official statement confirming Kerry's comments in Moscow. Kerry maintained that it is in the best interest for the world when Russia and the US cooperate, and that this cooperation is "a sign of maturity" between the two presidents.
While it's great for the US and Russia to be on slightly better terms again, time will only tell if this rekindling of relations will bring Assad to justice and peace to the Syrian people.
Following a report published by a European think-tank group on the ever-impending possibility of a NATO-Russia war, NATO has responded that the report is “misleading” and the Russians have yet to respond – what does this all mean?
The think-tank European Leadership Network (ELN) published a report today that claims Russia and NATO are close to a full-on war as they continue to cross into each other’s borders with their military exercises. The authors of the report found that NATO is focusing on securing the Baltic States, while Russia is focusing on securing the Arctic – two key areas for either side.
“Each side is training with the other side’s capabilities and most likely war plans in mind. Whilst spokespeople may maintain that these operations are targeted against hypothetical opponents, the nature and scale of them indicate otherwise: Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia.”
– from Ian Kearnes, Łukasz Kulesa, and Thomas Frear of the European Leadership Network (ELN).
NATO responded that the ELN report “misleadingly puts NATO and Russian exercises on par” and that Russian exercises far outnumber those planned by NATO and its allies.
“Moreover, Russia has incorporated nuclear and nuclear capable forces in its recent exercises. NATO has made repeatedly clear that we not seek confrontation with Russia. For over two decades, we have tried to build a cooperative relationship with Russia. But Russia has changed borders by force, continues to support separatists in Ukraine and threatens to base nuclear missiles close to Alliance borders.”
– from Deputy spokesman Carmen Romero of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
There’s yet to be an official Russian response (as of 14:00 CEST - this article will be updated once one is released). Previous responses from Moscow towards NATO-centric topics have accused the organization of undermining regional stability via their increased presence in bordering nations with Russia, as stated by Sputnik International.
Coincidentally, the ELN report was published on the same day as the Russian annual holiday celebrating their Air Force branch, known as the VDV; this year marks their 103rd in official existence. Additionally, Russia recently expanded their military aviation branch on August 1st 2015 to include their “aerospace” program, designed to defend Russia against air and space attacks.
So is war between NATO and Russia inevitable as these military drills escalate? The ELN authors are careful to directly state that war will happen -- even going so far as to provide pointers to NATO and Russia on how to avoid war -- but their message is clear enough: at this rate, it’s bound to happen. Spokesmen and women can cite their statistics or opt for the “blame game” tactic, but what lies on the international table presently is an unstable country in a deep recession with anger towards the West and a trembling military organization in fear of any other upsets in Europe, which in all reality looks to be the recipe to another war.
Summing up 2014, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko remarked: “The year 2014 [...] is definitely the most difficult year since 1945 for Ukraine, Europe and the world in general.” While this may in some ways be an exaggeration, this year has been one of the most turbulent years in the post-WWII period, and definitely the most dramatic since the end on the Cold War, and the beginning of the so-called ‘Pax Americana’. But what exactly made this year so bad – just how many wars, conflicts and calamities occurred in this 365 day period? Let’s start from the beginning:
South Sudan Civil War (Beginning January) At the end of 2013 and into January this year, the two major ethnic groups that made up the majority of the new country’s population, the Dinka and the Nuer went to war. The split was driven by a fallout between two independence-era leaders and resulted in an attempted coup. When this failed, Nuer troops took to the bush and staged ongoing attacks against Government forces, now solely loyal to the majority Dinka tribe. The country now faces a humanitarian crisis due to lack of food, following its human-made one earlier in the year.
Ukrainian Revolution (February) The Euromaidan protests which began in November 2013 reached their peak in intensity in February. Activists attempted to storm the government buildings on Hrushevskoho St, however were beaten back by ‘Berkut’ riot police to a series of heavily fortified barricades. In a climactic period of heavy clashes from the 18th and to the 23rd of February, police attempted to storm the Euromaidan encampment. This attempt failed and the police were forced into a hasty retreat, leaving more than 100 people dead. Following this ruling president Victor Yanukovych fled the country to Russia, triggering a change of government.
Annexation of Crimea (March) Following the revolution in Kyiv, the Russia government, deeply unhappy with the outcome, decided to take advantage of the chaos, and annex the region of Crimea in the south of Ukraine. Unmarked Russian troops moved from bases on the Black Sea and quickly claimed strategic positions around the Crimean peninsula, including surrounding key Ukrainian military and air force bases. The new pro-Russian authorities then held a referendum on secession from Ukraine and joining Russia, which passed with overwhelming support, despite condemnation from the international community.
War in Donbass (Beginning April) As from in Crimea, there was also significant pro-Russia sentiment in Eastern Ukraine. In April, unmarked soldiers began occupying government buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts in the Donbass region of Ukraine. These groups eventually coalesced to form “Novorossiya”, a self declared state in Eastern Ukraine. After attempting to negotiate with leaders breakaway republics the new Ukrainian government launched its ‘Anti Terrorist Operation’ (ATO) against these groups. This undeclared war was initially very successful, with pro-Russian forces losing much territory.