Military Conflicts – Austerlitz 2005 http://austerlitz2005.com/ Sun, 18 Sep 2022 03:30:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://austerlitz2005.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-7-150x150.png Military Conflicts – Austerlitz 2005 http://austerlitz2005.com/ 32 32 Bangladesh is urging Myanmar to exercise restraint amid escalating border tensions https://austerlitz2005.com/bangladesh-is-urging-myanmar-to-exercise-restraint-amid-escalating-border-tensions/ Sun, 18 Sep 2022 03:30:00 +0000 https://austerlitz2005.com/bangladesh-is-urging-myanmar-to-exercise-restraint-amid-escalating-border-tensions/ Bangladesh currently shelters over 1.1 million Rohingyas since a ruthless military cleansing campaign in Myanmar in August 2017 forced their influx into the country Bangladesh currently shelters over 1.1 million Rohingyas since a ruthless military cleansing campaign in Myanmar in August 2017 forced their influx into the country Bangladesh on Saturday urged Myanmar to exercise […]]]>

Bangladesh currently shelters over 1.1 million Rohingyas since a ruthless military cleansing campaign in Myanmar in August 2017 forced their influx into the country

Bangladesh currently shelters over 1.1 million Rohingyas since a ruthless military cleansing campaign in Myanmar in August 2017 forced their influx into the country

Bangladesh on Saturday urged Myanmar to exercise restraint as tensions at the borders escalated over the use of artillery pieces along the borders by its forces, killing a Rohingya child and injuring several others in recent days.

“Bangladesh wants war,” Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters here, when asked to comment on the actions of Myanmar security forces at the borders, which spooked both Bangladeshis and Rohingyas who took refuge in makeshift camps in the neighborhood.

Mr Kamal said Bangladesh will inform the UN if Myanmar does not end the shooting near the Bangladesh border as “we have repeatedly warned Myanmar through the Foreign Ministry but they have not heeded the warnings”.

Mr Kamal said Bangladesh wants to resolve the issues with Myanmar peacefully and expects the neighbor to see its mistake and refrain from anything that impedes bilateral ties in the future.

also read | There is no home for the Rohingya

“Since we do not want conflict, our efforts are ongoing to find a peaceful solution with Myanmar. We will do everything,” Mr Kamal said, attributing Myanmar’s actions to its internal conflicts with rebel groups such as the Arakan Liberation Army.

“Sometimes there was a good relationship between Myanmar and the Arakan Army, sometimes it turned into a war for reasons unknown to us. But definitely their war should stay within their borders,” said Mr. Kamal.

Mr Kamal said Dhaka observed Myanmar forces engaged in near-identical conflicts with their own rebel groups on India’s Mizoram borders and borders with Thailand and China, but “conflicts in their country (Myanmar) should remain within their borders”.

also read | Prolonged Rohingya stay affects Bangladesh’s stability, says Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Mr Kamal said the Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) is closely monitoring the situation at the border with Myanmar to prevent the influx of people from the neighboring country.

“Our Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) never wants war, we want a peaceful solution. Keep their internal conflict within their boundaries. We always protest from the outside what is happening on our soil,” said Mr. Kamal.

The minister’s comments came a day after a teenage Rohingya boy died and six people, including a Rohingya child, were seriously injured in gunfire and mortar fire from across the border with Myanmar on Friday in the Gumdhum area of ​​Bangladesh’s southeastern Bandarban district had suffered.

also read | Rohingya must be part of Myanmar crisis resolution, UN chief says

On the same day, a Bangladeshi youth was injured and lost a leg in a landmine explosion in the Headmanpara border area.

Reports from the borders said both Bangladeshis and Rohingyas who fled their homes in Rakhine state across the border to seek refuge in Bangladesh spent days in fear of indiscriminate gunfire while bullets and mortar shells often continued struck inside Bangladesh.

Officials said the BGB has stepped up patrols and surveillance since two unexploded mortar shells from Myanmar landed in Bangladesh territory on Aug. 28.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already summoned the Myanmar envoy to Dhaka three times on this matter.

Bangladesh currently shelters over 1.1 million Rohingyas since a ruthless military cleansing campaign in Myanmar in August 2017 forced their influx into the country.

Dhaka had previously said it hoped Rohingya repatriation would begin later this year, but experts said the clashes between the Myanmar military and the rebels indicated conditions did not exist for the Rohingya to return consent to home country.

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Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping praise ‘great power’ links in talks that defy the West https://austerlitz2005.com/russias-vladimir-putin-and-chinas-xi-jinping-praise-great-power-links-in-talks-that-defy-the-west/ Fri, 16 Sep 2022 06:14:39 +0000 https://austerlitz2005.com/russias-vladimir-putin-and-chinas-xi-jinping-praise-great-power-links-in-talks-that-defy-the-west/ SAMARKAND, UZBEKISTAN: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held their first face-to-face talks since the start of the conflict in Ukraine on Thursday, defiantly praising their strategic ties. Seated opposite each other at two long round tables and flanked by aides-de-camp, the two leaders met on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation […]]]>

SAMARKAND, UZBEKISTAN: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held their first face-to-face talks since the start of the conflict in Ukraine on Thursday, defiantly praising their strategic ties.

Seated opposite each other at two long round tables and flanked by aides-de-camp, the two leaders met on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in former Soviet Uzbekistan.

The meeting was part of Xi’s first trip abroad since the pandemic began. For Putin, it was a chance to show that despite Western efforts, Russia has not been completely isolated.

“China stands ready to join efforts with Russia to assume the role of great powers and play a leading role in bringing stability and positive energy to a world shaken by social unrest,” Xi Putin said at the talks.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV also quoted Xi as saying China is willing to work with Russia to support “the other’s core interests.”

Xi also met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who met on Friday on the sidelines of the summit and urged “political mutual trust” between the two sides at a regional security meeting in Central Asia.

Turkey is a dialogue partner of the SCO.

“The two sides should strengthen political mutual trust, respect each other’s core interests, and solidify the political foundation of China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations,” Xi said, according to CCTV.

“We should focus on development cooperation (and) make full use of the role of the various cooperation mechanisms and the respective strengths between the two countries,” China’s head of state reportedly said.

Putin, meanwhile, took a clear broadside against the United States, which was spearheading efforts to support Ukraine and impose sanctions on Russia.

“Attempts to create a unipolar world have recently taken an absolutely ugly form and are totally unacceptable,” Putin said.

“We greatly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends on the Ukraine crisis,” Putin told Xi, while reaffirming Moscow’s support for China on Taiwan.

“We adhere to the principle of one China. We condemn the provocation by the US and its satellites in the Taiwan Strait,” Putin said after a US Senate committee Wednesday took the first step toward Washington directing billions of dollars in military aid to Taiwan.

It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since Putin saw Xi attend the Beijing Winter Olympics in early February, days before the Russian leader launched the military offensive in Ukraine.

The Kremlin has touted the SCO summit in the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand as proof that there is an “alternative” to Western-dominated international institutions.

The SCO – consisting of China, India, Pakistan, Russia and the former Soviet Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – was founded in 2001 as a political, economic and security organization to compete with Western institutions.

Putin earlier Thursday met with the leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, as well as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

To both Raisi and Sharif, he said ties were “developing positively,” while Iranian leader Putin said US-backed sanctions on both countries would only make their relationship “stronger.”

“Americans think whatever country they impose sanctions on, it will be stopped. Your perception is wrong,” said Raisi.

For Putin, the summit comes at an important time as his forces face major battlefield setbacks in Ukraine and amid an ongoing Western push to turn Russia into an international pariah.

For Xi, it’s an opportunity to cement his credentials as a global statesman ahead of a crucial congress of the ruling Communist Party in October.

The Chinese leader also met with the leader of the Belarusian ruler, Alexander Lukashenko, on Thursday, who was quoted by the state news agency Belta as thanking Xi for China’s “serious support in these difficult times.”

Lukashenko has been shunned by Western leaders after he cracked down on the opposition and backed Russia in Ukraine two years ago.

Chinese state media said Xi will also meet with Erdogan on Friday.

China and Russia, former Cold War allies with a tumultuous relationship, have grown closer in recent years in what they call an “unlimited” relationship that acts as a counterbalance to global dominance by the United States.

The two countries have also intensified military cooperation, with China sending hundreds of troops last month to take part in military exercises in Russia’s Far East.

The Defense Ministry in Moscow announced on Thursday that Russian and Chinese warships are on a joint patrol in the Pacific and are planning a live artillery drill at sea.

Other global leaders have sounded the alarm over deepening ties between Moscow and Beijing.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said China and Russia “share a vision for the world that is at odds with the vision that is at the heart of the international system, the vision that has been expressed for the past eight years in the United States.” The center of the international system was decades.”

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the two countries would do harm to “international peace, stability, democracy and freedom.”

Putin was also scheduled to hold talks with Erdogan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.

Security in Samarkand — a city with large tiled mosques that was one of the hubs of the Silk Road trade routes between China and Europe — was tight, with a huge police presence on the streets and armored vehicles parked downtown.

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“What would Winston Churchill do?” Meeting of the British military chiefs with Queen Elizabeth https://austerlitz2005.com/what-would-winston-churchill-do-meeting-of-the-british-military-chiefs-with-queen-elizabeth/ Wed, 14 Sep 2022 06:08:52 +0000 https://austerlitz2005.com/what-would-winston-churchill-do-meeting-of-the-british-military-chiefs-with-queen-elizabeth/ During an audience with the former Chief of Defense Staff, Queen Elizabeth II demonstrated a keen sense of military affairs and speculated on what Winston Churchill would have done in particularly difficult situations. As Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces, she also proved an excellent listener, “although I occasionally clashed with my political bosses,” said […]]]>

During an audience with the former Chief of Defense Staff, Queen Elizabeth II demonstrated a keen sense of military affairs and speculated on what Winston Churchill would have done in particularly difficult situations.

As Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces, she also proved an excellent listener, “although I occasionally clashed with my political bosses,” said General Lord David Richards.

The Queen has always been “particularly concerned” for the well-being of military families, especially when she felt they were not being treated as well as they deserved.

He said they often talk about their shared love of military history, referring to Churchill, the famous wartime Prime Minister who was the first of 15 to serve the Queen.

“Getting to know her well gave me more opportunities to talk about history and to speculate about how someone like Winston Churchill would react to the situation we’re talking about,” he said.

“It was an amazing moment to speak to someone who knew these great statesmen of the past. That was a huge privilege.”

The British Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) typically had at least two and up to four formal half-hour audiences with the monarch each year, during which she was briefed on both operational and political matters.

Similar to the weekly audiences Queen Elizabeth had with her prime ministers, the talks were private, although the monarch was free to use the information as she saw fit.

During Lord Richard’s time as CDS from 2010 to 2013, Britain was heavily involved in the war in Afghanistan at a time when major defense cuts were being introduced.

“Essentially it was an opportunity to update them on everything affecting our armed forces, from the state of morale to operational issues,” Gen. Richards said The National.

“In my case, it coincided with the conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria along with the 2012 Olympics.

“Anything related to the armed forces could and was discussed. She was particularly interested in issues of morality and worried about anything that might undermine her.”

Gen Richards had to brief the sovereign on the 2010 Defense and Security Strategic Review, which included cutting aircraft carriers, Harrier jump jets and Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

“We discussed the impact of the cuts, she raised concerns and I would need to explain what the plan was,” he said.

With dozens of British soldiers dying or seriously injured in Afghanistan, the Queen was also worried about the impact on her close relatives.

“She wanted to be sure that the families were being looked after properly,” he said. “They were her armed forces and the men and women within them whom she valued as individuals and as a collective.

“There was a very special relationship between them and her as Commander-in-Chief. She was really worried about her.”

She also wanted assurances that she could have confidence in the military hierarchy, he added, and that senior officials would deal with any issues and work with political leaders to resolve problems.

It’s also reassuring, he said, that when he’s had trouble with politicians — “as every CDS invariably will” — the mere fact of attending a royal audience “reminded me that my ultimate loyalty and obligation is to her.” he said.

“She asked very intelligent and well-informed questions, and I consistently gave honest answers, confident that they would remain completely private,” General Richards said.

“I wasn’t sure how she would use the information I gave her, it was part of building an understanding of how the country works as a whole, often during difficult times.”

Meetings were held principally in the Audience Chamber at Buckingham Palace and occasionally at Windsor Castle, but once formalities or principal business were settled Queen Elizabeth sometimes exhibited a keen sense of humor, something Gen Richards witnessed when he visited his Royal Horse Artillery Regiment at the year 1993

He remembered the visit, he said The National his efforts to bring in the troops went horribly wrong.

“I introduced her to a soldier and because I had to learn many names, I misunderstood him. “That’s not my name, sir,” said the gunner.

“The Queen turned to me and said, ‘Now you’ve been told, Col Richards.’ She recalled the incident many years later with much amusement.”

Gen Richards will be among nine former military personnel who have held the same high-level post who have been invited to next Monday’s funeral as a mark of respect for their position.

Updated September 14, 2022 at 6:00 am

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New Rice study: When it comes to military intervention, Americans prefer to give peace a chance https://austerlitz2005.com/new-rice-study-when-it-comes-to-military-intervention-americans-prefer-to-give-peace-a-chance/ Thu, 08 Sep 2022 14:28:00 +0000 https://austerlitz2005.com/new-rice-study-when-it-comes-to-military-intervention-americans-prefer-to-give-peace-a-chance/ A new study from Rice University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on American attitudes toward military intervention finds that the public prefers the US to work with other military powers, protect civilians and resolve conflicts peacefully. Developed by Songying Fang, an associate professor of political science at Rice, and Jared Oestman, an assistant […]]]>

A new study from Rice University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on American attitudes toward military intervention finds that the public prefers the US to work with other military powers, protect civilians and resolve conflicts peacefully.

Developed by Songying Fang, an associate professor of political science at Rice, and Jared Oestman, an assistant professor of political science at UNLV and recently Rice Ph.D. Diploma in Political Science, appears in a recent issue of Armed Forces & Society.

Specifically, the researchers examined public opinion about military intervention in a hypothetical civil war in which the motives for US involvement varied.

They presented the survey participants with various scenarios in which political and humanitarian interests would be harmed. Fang and Oestman examined attitudes toward three aspects of military intervention: motivation, form, and mandate (in other words, what it takes to be successful). This research took a different approach from previous opinion polls, which measured attitudes toward specific military campaigns as they were being developed.

“These types of polls, conducted in the midst of specific military conflicts, may not provide all of the options and dimensions for the public to consider and therefore often do not paint a complete picture of public preferences,” Fang said. “By using this hypothetical scenario and an experimental survey design, we were able to use a consistent framework to compare public support in different scenarios.”

Rather than supporting US soldiers fighting without allies, the study found that people were more likely to support multilateral interventions (including United Nations peacekeeping efforts), the protection of civilians and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. The only scenario in which most respondents expressed support for unilateral intervention was counter-terrorism. Fang and Oestman also noted that concerns about the perceived legitimacy of a US intervention outweighed the cost and success of a military campaign.

Breaking down the results by gender, political views, and educational level, the researchers found that Republicans are less supportive of UN-led peacekeeping efforts than their Democratic counterparts. People with at least a college degree were significantly less likely to single-handedly support the US in a military intervention. Those who expressed higher degrees of nationalism and/or were less educated were more likely to support unilateralism. Finally, women were more likely than men to support peacekeeping and the protection of civilians.

“Our study shows that Americans are very supportive of US military involvement in the scenarios we present,” Oestman said. However, perhaps because of the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they also show a strong preference for the US to prioritize efforts focused on protecting civilians and resolving conflicts peacefully over direct involvement in combat . Linked to this could also be the statement that they are also very concerned about the legitimacy of any US action.”

The paper, The Limit of American Public Support for Military Intervention, is available online at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0095327X221107700.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/author(s) may be post-date in nature and may be edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s). full view here.

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UN: Clashes between tribes in Sudan kill 380 from January to August. Period https://austerlitz2005.com/un-clashes-between-tribes-in-sudan-kill-380-from-january-to-august-period/ Tue, 06 Sep 2022 22:02:15 +0000 https://austerlitz2005.com/un-clashes-between-tribes-in-sudan-kill-380-from-january-to-august-period/ According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, around 380 people were killed in tribal fighting in Sudan between January and August, most of them in the conflict-torn Darfur region CAIRO — Around 380 people were killed in tribal fighting in Sudan between January and August, most of them in the conflict-torn […]]]>

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, around 380 people were killed in tribal fighting in Sudan between January and August, most of them in the conflict-torn Darfur region

CAIRO — Around 380 people were killed in tribal fighting in Sudan between January and August, most of them in the conflict-torn region of Darfur, the UN said on Tuesday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said more than 430 people were injured in the same period, leading to 224 violent incidents in 12 of the country’s 18 provinces.

The clashes – mostly between Arab and non-Arab tribes – have displaced some 177,340 people, OCHA said, further straining aid agencies’ operations in the crisis-hit country.

West Darfur province was hardest hit, with 76 incidents killing at least 145 people and injuring 156 others, it said.

The count did not include 23 people, including two children, who were killed when tribal fighting flared up in Blue Nile province earlier this month, charity Save the Children said.

The violence, which broke out on September 1 and lasted four days in the town of Roseires, also injured 23 people, including 10 children, according to the charity.

Sudan, home to several longstanding ethnic conflicts, has been in chaos since a military coup last year. The takeover turned the country’s short-lived transition to democracy on its head after a popular uprising in April 2019 forced the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

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US troops are still under fire in the ‘forgotten’ war in Syria https://austerlitz2005.com/us-troops-are-still-under-fire-in-the-forgotten-war-in-syria/ Sun, 04 Sep 2022 21:30:29 +0000 https://austerlitz2005.com/us-troops-are-still-under-fire-in-the-forgotten-war-in-syria/ Many Americans were reminded in late August that the US is actively involved in military combat. But the conflict involving US troops is taking place neither in Afghanistan nor in Ukraine. It’s in Syria. Loading Something is loading. Many Americans were reminded last week that the United States remains actively involved in military combat overseas. […]]]>
  • Many Americans were reminded in late August that the US is actively involved in military combat.
  • But the conflict involving US troops is taking place neither in Afghanistan nor in Ukraine. It’s in Syria.

Many Americans were reminded last week that the United States remains actively involved in military combat overseas. But this conflict is not taking place in Afghanistan, where the US withdrew its troops last August. Not even in Ukraine, where President Joe Biden has done everything possible to avoid direct military involvement. It is in Syria.

Last week the Biden administration sanctioned airstrikes against Iran-backed militants in response to missile attacks on bases housing US forces. While the militants’ missiles only slightly wounded the US troops, The US is reportedly retaliating were quite extensive and deadly.

While the war in Afghanistan seemed to last “forever” and the war in Ukraine has “fixated” the public for six months, the war in Syria seems largely “forgotten”.

To be fair, it has caught attention at certain moments, such as when then-President Barack Obama decided not to attack Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in response to the use of chemical weapons in 2013, or when his successor, President Donald Trump, chose to respond with violence to a chemical weapons attack in 2017.

There was also much outrage at the brutal killings – including of Americans – by Islamic State in 2015, as well as fear at the US decision to ‘abandon Kurds’ — the ground partners for the US-led coalition that militarily defeated the Islamic State — in 2019. Even the The 2016 vice presidential debate contained one segment to the war.

US troops in Kurdish Qamishli Syria

U.S. troops patrol near the Kurdish-majority town of Qamishli in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah on April 20, 2022.

DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images


But overall, the Syrian war has failed to capture the attention of the US public for a number of reasons.

First, the war in Syria is complex. It is a civil war in which various militant and militant groups are fighting both against the Assad regime and against each other. Numerous external actors have intervened in the fighting, including the United States, which largely supports the anti-Assad rebels, and Russia, which supports the Assad regime, but also Iran, Hezbollah and Turkey.

The complexity of the conflict and the number of intervening powers make it analogous to the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s or even the thirty years‘ War that embroiled Central Europe in the 17th century.

Not only is the US one of many actors in the war, but unlike the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan or the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it was not an initiator or major participant in the conflict. Washington has played a largely supportive role as a war party — although, unlike Ukraine, it is a war party. This means that events like last week, where US troops were directly attacked, are rare. This, in turn, serves to keep US involvement in Syria out of the public eye.

That doesn’t mean the United States didn’t play a role in the origins of the conflict. When protests against the Assad regime broke out in 2011, Obama made a statement He said: “Syria’s future must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad stands in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, it is time for President Assad to resign.”

Perhaps fearing Washington’s intervention, the Assad regime intensified its crackdown on demonstrators. And perhaps in anticipation of US support, insurgent groups began to fight back. Subsequently, they were largely armed and trained by Western forces, including the United States. The war was on, and Obama’s statement may have contributed to the escalation of violence.

But the US has been, at best, tangent to the main drivers of the conflict. The anti-Assad protests erupted in the wake of the pro-democracy “Arab Spring” movements that spread across the Middle East and North Africa. These movements largely died out, with the autocratic status quo remaining intact. But some, like in Syria, but also in Libya and Yemen, triggered civil wars.

Syria

Troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Qusair on June 5, 2013.

REUTERS/Mohammed Azakir


Second, there is a perception that US interest in the conflict ended the military defeat of the Islamic State in 2019. It was the rise of the Islamic State that initiated direct US involvement in war.

The group, which originated in Iraq, took advantage of the unrest in Syria to quickly amass territorial gains. It then garnered widespread attention in 2015 when it peaked in territorial control in both Syria and Iraq Sponsoring terrorist attacks around the world and flaunts his brutal violence in online videos.

If the US-led coalition defeating the organization and removing its territorial control indicated, at least to the American public, that the war was over. At the very least, that should have meant the end of US involvement in the war. It has not.

The Islamic State gained in importance as a result of the war – it was a consequence rather than a cause of the conflict. But even after the group was defeated, the conditions that enabled its rise – the “unregulated” spaces created by the fighting in Syria – remained. And to prevent a possible resurgence of the group that US-led coalition has also stayed.

While this may make sense from a geostrategic perspective, it makes the justification for the continued US presence in Syria unclear to the American public.

isis raqqa

An ISIS member in Raqqa, Syria, on June 29, 2014.

REUTERS/Stringer


Third, the war in Ukraine has become a focus of international attention, including that of the American public. But imagine a scenario where Russia would not have invaded Ukraine in February.

In that case, the end of US engagement in Afghanistan in August 2021 may have prompted further public and congressional calls to end US engagement in other parts of the “Greater Middle East” from Syria to Somalia – something Trump has repeatedly threatened to do .

At the time of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden administration argued that withdrawing resources from Afghanistan would make it possible US to focus those resources elsewhere, including ongoing efforts to eradicate the last traces of the Islamic State in Syria. but leave Afghanistanthe chaotic nature of the disengagement, in particular, could also have fueled calls for Washington to reduce its military presence throughout the region.

In fact, at first it seemed that the The Biden administration would pursue such a course. But events soon overtook such plans. The Biden administration far ahead of all European countries was aware that Putin was planning to invade Ukraine and is trying to convince its European allies of the impending danger.

The continued Russian troop presence in Syria may have contributed to Biden’s decision to keep US troops there as well, as it could ensure Russia cannot fully deploy its own forces to Ukraine.

That the war in Syria has become the “forgotten war” points to a more troubling trend in U.S. foreign policy: The United States is so involved in wars and interventions around the world that conflict with the US military that killed Hundreds of thousands of civilians no longer even report to the American public.

Perhaps this is the price of playing such a prominent global role and the “indispensable nation“—that a nation is involved in so many conflicts that it can forget one of them.

Paul Poast is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago and Nonresident Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

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Report: Israeli attacks tighten screws on Iranian arms transfers at Syrian airports https://austerlitz2005.com/report-israeli-attacks-tighten-screws-on-iranian-arms-transfers-at-syrian-airports/ Fri, 02 Sep 2022 21:02:00 +0000 https://austerlitz2005.com/report-israeli-attacks-tighten-screws-on-iranian-arms-transfers-at-syrian-airports/ Israeli airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria have increasingly targeted airports to counter Tehran’s increasing use of commercial flights to bring military supplies into the country. Reuters reported on Fridayciting intelligence and diplomatic sources. A Western intelligence source and a defector from the Syrian military told the news agency that Tehran has started flying small […]]]>

Israeli airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria have increasingly targeted airports to counter Tehran’s increasing use of commercial flights to bring military supplies into the country. Reuters reported on Fridayciting intelligence and diplomatic sources.

A Western intelligence source and a defector from the Syrian military told the news agency that Tehran has started flying small arms and other military supplies on regular civilian flights. Deliveries transferred include precision-guided missiles, night vision goggles and UAVs, all small enough to load onto civilian aircraft, they said.

Iran has increasingly relied on flights as its previous ground routes via Iraq have become unreliable due to local turf wars and internal conflicts, the report said.

Israel views Iran’s expansion across Syria as a continuing threat to its national security and has launched attacks on a wide range of targets in an attempt to contain Iranian forces in the region.

A regional diplomatic source told Reuters that Israeli intelligence had noticed Iran’s increasing use of civilian airports to transport military equipment, and that recent airstrikes on airports seemed to signal a change in Israeli strategy in the region.

“They started hitting the infrastructure used by the Iranians to ship ammunition to Lebanon,” the source told Reuters. “It used to be just supply, not the airport. Now they land on the runway.”

According to the Reuters report, the recent attacks on airports in Aleppo and Damascus also appear to have been carried out to prevent the arrival of certain aircraft carrying weapons.

This satellite photo released by Planet Labs PBC shows the damage following an Israeli attack on Aleppo International Airport on September 1, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

While Israel has declined to comment on specific airstrikes, military officials have acknowledged they were carried out during Syria’s 11-year civil war.

Earlier this year, airstrikes blamed on Israel caused extensive damage to Damascus International Airport and grounded all air traffic for two weeks. The Syrian defector told Reuters that Iran then diverted supplies to Aleppo airport, prompting Israel’s alleged attack there on Wednesday.

Nawar Shaaban, an analyst at the Omran Center for Strategic Studies, also told Reuters that the location of the Israeli airstrikes shed light on the expansion of Iranian influence in Syria. While previous attacks have targeted Damascus and surrounding military zones, attacks on more distant targets such as Aleppo and the Syrian coast show where Israel sees potential threats.

“The dangerous thing is when we look at these affected areas, it tells us that Iran has continued to expand,” Shaban said.

“Every time we see a strike hit a new area, the reaction is, ‘Woah, Israel struck there.’ But what we should say is, ‘Woah, Iran is here,'” he added.

A fire is reportedly seen at Aleppo International Airport in northern Syria following an airstrike attributed to Israel on August 31, 2022. (Social media)

While the IDF spokesman has declined to comment on specific events, he has acknowledged numerous attacks in the region, in line with Israeli policy.

A satellite image taken on Thursday showed damage at Aleppo International Airport in northern Syria. The image, captured by Planet Labs PBC and provided by Aurora Intel, appeared to show a burned area near the end of the runway.

The strike tore a hole through the runway and ignited a grass fire at the airfield. Despite this, planes landed at the airport throughout Thursday.

According to Aurora Intel, a sanctioned Iranian cargo plane had landed at Aleppo airport several hours before the attack. It was not clear if the plane or the cargo it was carrying had been hit in the attack.

Also on Thursday, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad issued a sharp warning to Israel about the airstrikes. According to Arab media reports, he said Israel was “playing with fire” and risking a major military conflict.

On Friday, an Arabic newspaper reported that Russia had urged Iran and its militias to withdraw from positions across Syria amid an apparent increase in airstrikes blamed on Israel.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat, a London-based Saudi daily, quoted Syrian officials as saying Russian officers asked their Iranian counterparts to leave several locations in the country during a Wednesday meeting at the Hama military airport in central Syria.

According to the report, the calls came as Russia sought to maintain stability in Syria and deprive Israel of targets it could bomb in areas Russia considers important. An airstrike attributed to Israel last month hit several Iranian sites near Russia’s main naval base in Syria, in the port city of Tartus.

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Putin reversed many of Gorbachev’s reforms https://austerlitz2005.com/putin-reversed-many-of-gorbachevs-reforms/ Thu, 01 Sep 2022 06:17:04 +0000 https://austerlitz2005.com/putin-reversed-many-of-gorbachevs-reforms/ NEW YORK (AP) – One represented freedom, openness, peace and closer ties to the outside world. The other jails critics, muzzles journalists, pushes his country deeper into isolation and wages Europe’s bloodiest conflict since World War II. These are the bookends of the story between Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, and […]]]>

NEW YORK (AP) – One represented freedom, openness, peace and closer ties to the outside world. The other jails critics, muzzles journalists, pushes his country deeper into isolation and wages Europe’s bloodiest conflict since World War II.

These are the bookends of the story between Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, and Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President.

In many ways, Gorbachev, who died Tuesday, unwittingly enabled Putin. The forces unleashed by Gorbachev spiraled out of control, leading to his downfall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Since coming to power in 1999, Putin has taken a hard line that has led to a near total reversal of Gorbachev’s reforms.

When Gorbachev came to power as Soviet leader in 1985, he was younger and more dynamic than his predecessors. He broke with the past by saying goodbye to a police state, turning to press freedom, ending his country’s war in Afghanistan and releasing Eastern European countries trapped in Moscow’s communist orbit. He ended the isolation that had gripped the USSR since its inception.

It was an exciting, hopeful time for Soviet citizens and the world. Gorbachev brought the promise of a better future.

He believed in integration with the West, multilateralism and globalism to solve the world’s problems, including ending armed conflict and reducing the threat of nuclear weapons.

In sharp contrast, Putin’s worldview holds that the West is a “kingdom of lies” and that democracy is chaotic, uncontrolled and dangerous. While Putin largely refrains from direct criticism, he does imply that Gorbachev has sold himself out to the West.

Putin, returning to a communist mindset, believes that the West is imperialist and arrogant, trying to impose its liberal values ​​and policies on Russia, using the country as a scapegoat for its own problems.

He accuses Western leaders of reviving the Cold War and holding back Russia’s development. He aspires to a world order with Russia on par with the United States and other major powers, and in some respects trying to rebuild an empire.

Gorbachev sometimes bowed to Western pressure. Two years after US President Ronald Reagan implored him to “tear down that wall” in a speech at the Berlin Wall, Gorbachev did so indirectly by not intervening in populist anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe. The fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Cold War followed.

At home, Gorbachev introduced two far-reaching and dramatic measures – “glasnost” or openness – and “perestroika”, a restructuring of Soviet society. Topics previously taboo could now be discussed in literature, the news media and society in general. He implemented economic reforms to allow private enterprise and moved away from a state-run economy.

He also relaxed the dreaded police state, freed political prisoners like Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov, and ended the Communist Party’s monopoly on political power. Freer travel abroad, emigration and religious customs were also part of it.

Putin has turned away from Gorbachev’s changes. He focused on restoring order and rebuilding the police state. An increasingly tough crackdown on dissent has led to critics being jailed and branded traitors and extremists, including for describing the “special military operation” in Ukraine as merely a war. He sees some critics as foreign-funded collaborators with Russia’s enemies.

In his quest for control, he has shut down independent news organizations and banned human rights and humanitarian organizations. He demands absolute loyalty to the state and emphasizes traditional Russian family, religious and nationalistic principles.

Gorbachev’s leadership was not without flaws. Its more liberal policies have been patchy, such as a bloody Soviet crackdown in 1991 against the independence movement in the Baltic Soviet Republic of Lithuania and an attempted early cover-up of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986.

In 1988, he realized that trying to hide dire events was not working, and when a severe earthquake struck Armenia in December 1988, he opened the borders to international emergency relief and provided transparency about the destruction.

After nearly a decade of fighting in Afghanistan, Gorbachev ordered the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, entered into several arms control and disarmament agreements with the United States and other countries, and helped end the Cold War. For these efforts he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

But at home, Gorbachev’s economic reforms were not going well. The liberation of industry from state control and the all-too-rapid and arbitrary admission of private enterprise led to widespread shortages of food and consumer goods, exacerbated corruption, and produced an oligarch class.

The burgeoning pro-independence movements in the Soviet republics and other problems so angered the Communist Party hardliners that they attempted a coup against him in August 1991, further weakening his hold on power and leading to his resignation four months later.

In the end, many in Russia felt that Gorbachev left them broken promises, dashed hopes, and a weakened, humiliated country.

One who felt this way was Putin. For him, much of what Gorbachev did was a mistake. The biggest was the collapse of the Soviet Union, which Putin called “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”

The Soviet Union was disregarded, defeated and shattered into pieces – 15 countries. It was also personal for Putin, for as a KGB officer stationed in East Germany, he watched in horror as huge crowds staged the popular uprising that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, and once besieged his KGB offices in Dresden.

To this day, Putin’s perceptions of threats to his country and people’s revolutions color his foreign policy and deep distrust of the West. They reinforce his decision to invade Ukraine on February 24.

As a justification for the war, he cites what he believed to be a broken US promise to Gorbachev – an alleged promise made in 1990 that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe. US officials have disputed any such pledge, but Putin believes NATO expansion, and particularly the prospect of neighboring Ukraine joining the alliance, poses an existential threat to Russia.

Critics say Putin is twisting facts and ignoring local moods to claim Ukrainians want to be liberated from the Kiev government and ally with Moscow.

He has also made massive efforts to modernize and expand Russia’s military power by moving away from the arms control agreements that Gorbachev agreed to.

Putin’s war in Ukraine, his human rights abuses, and the 2014 annexation of Crimea have sparked massive international sanctions that reverse the cultural and economic ties that Gorbachev fostered. But for a few allies, Russia is isolated.

One might expect Gorbachev to be more critical of Putin, but he condemned NATO’s eastward expansion and said the West missed the opportunity offered by the end of the Cold War. He even supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

But in many respects the historical bookends between the two leaders are far apart.

In 1983, before Gorbachev came to power, Reagan famously branded Russia an “evil empire.” Five years later, he recanted the description at a summit meeting with the Soviet leader.

Fast forward to today, where current US President Joe Biden has called Putin a “murderer,” a “butcher,” and a “war criminal” who “cannot remain in power.”

The Cold War that Gorbachev helped end is back.

___

Andrew Katell was a Moscow-based Associated Press correspondent who covered Gorbachev from 1988-1991. Now semi-retired, he has a lifelong interest in Russian affairs and contributes to the AP’s reporting on Russia and Ukraine.

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Kazakhstan suspends arms exports for a year https://austerlitz2005.com/kazakhstan-suspends-arms-exports-for-a-year/ Sat, 27 Aug 2022 23:58:16 +0000 https://austerlitz2005.com/kazakhstan-suspends-arms-exports-for-a-year/ Kazakhstan, which has close economic ties with Russia, is trying to strike a balance between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and China amid fears that Moscow’s geopolitical ambitions could reach far beyond Ukraine. Kazakh authorities said the country suspended all arms exports for a year, without giving the reason for the decision. Corresponding radio freedompresident Kassym-Jomart Tokayev […]]]>


Kazakhstan, which has close economic ties with Russia, is trying to strike a balance between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and China amid fears that Moscow’s geopolitical ambitions could reach far beyond Ukraine.


Kazakh authorities said the country suspended all arms exports for a year, without giving the reason for the decision.

Corresponding radio freedompresident Kassym-Jomart Tokayev recently expressed concern that Kazakh weapons could find their way into regional military conflicts amid Russia’s war against Ukraine.

It notes that the leadership of Kazakhstan, which has close economic ties with Russia, is attempting to strike a balance between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and China amid fears that Moscow’s geopolitical ambitions will spread well beyond Ukraine could.

After the start of full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine in late February, Kazakhstan did not officially offer full support to either Moscow or Kyiv.

Kazakhstan produces a wide range of military equipment, including boats, armored vehicles, machine guns, grenades, torpedoes and protective gear. What was exported in the past is not known.

Last month, Tokayev signed a decree allocating an additional 441 billion tenge ($939.5 million) to support the country’s defense sector, increasing total spending by almost 1.5 times last year’s budget of 1.7 billion US dollars were increased.

Kazakhstan is strengthening its defense capability amid fears of war with Russia. In addition, Nur-Sultan is reconsidering Russia’s position in its foreign policy and establishing ties with countries such as the United States, Turkey and China.

At the same time, according to NSDC secretary Aleksey Danilov, Russia will not stop with its aggressive ambitions in Ukraine. Other countries should already be preparing for Putin’s impending attack.


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When will the war in Ukraine end? https://austerlitz2005.com/when-will-the-war-in-ukraine-end/ Wed, 24 Aug 2022 21:03:12 +0000 https://austerlitz2005.com/when-will-the-war-in-ukraine-end/ Six months into the military conflict, Russia and Ukraine are firmly entrenched in their positions, a Northeast expert says, which offers little hope for peace in the near future. On August 24, Ukraine celebrated its Independence Day, which also marked the six-month anniversary of the Russian invasion. The day was filled with Russian artillery and […]]]>

Six months into the military conflict, Russia and Ukraine are firmly entrenched in their positions, a Northeast expert says, which offers little hope for peace in the near future.

On August 24, Ukraine celebrated its Independence Day, which also marked the six-month anniversary of the Russian invasion. The day was filled with Russian artillery and air raids, according to the Ministry of Defense of Ukrainemainly in the front areas and the Russian-controlled areas in the east, with some bombardment in the north-east and central Ukraine.

The positions are becoming more and more solid and the front line is becoming clearer and clearer.

Pablo Calderon Martinez, Northeastern University-London

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the courage of his people over the past six months as he addressed the day the country declared its independence from the Soviet Union 31 years ago.

“It doesn’t matter to us what kind of army you have, what matters to us is our country. We will fight for it to the end,” said Zelenskyy.

With Russia using the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine as a shield recent car bombing near Moscowit becomes really difficult to see a path to peace, says Pablo Calderon Martinez, assistant professor of politics and international relations at Northeastern University-London.

“What we have seen in recent weeks is really an intensification, not necessarily of the armed conflict, but certainly an intensification of the positions of the two [sides]’ says Calderon Martinez.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has become less intense but will be difficult to resolve, he says.

“What we’re seeing here is this constant violation of the traditional rules of engagement, the rules of war,” says Calderon Martinez.

He suggests the conflict may be turning into a “new war,” a term coined by British academic Mary Kaldor. New wars are ongoing, low-intensity conflicts that are becoming less predictable and less asymmetric, says Calderon Martinez.

“We see that this is the case with Ukraine and Russia, [which is] simply unable to defeat the Ukrainian army,” he says.

The initial goal of a new war is eventually lost, he says, and the conflict continues for the sake of the conflict.

Power plant takeover is not an uncommon strategic military objective; However, Russia has shown it is not interested in compromise by using the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant as a shield, says Calderon Martinez. Instead, due to the high risk of a nuclear accident, which is a very dangerous strategy, Russia has created a sense of confusion and panic in the international community and local population.

Both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of the artillery shelling of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.

In the long term, Calderon Martinez says, Russia hopes to desensitize people around the world to the conflict in Ukraine as the world becomes more accustomed to the conflicts in the Middle East.

On Wednesday, President Biden announced that the US will send $2.98 billion worth of arms and equipment to Ukraine, the largest tranche of security aid to date.

“The United States of America is committed to supporting the people of Ukraine as they continue the fight to defend their sovereignty,” Biden said.

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