PUTIN'S PLAYBOOK: DISRUPTION, EVASION AND CHAOS; RED CHINA PROVES JAPAN'S DEFENSES, HOW PUTIN PLAYS ISRAEL AGAINST IRAN
Russia is back in the Central African Republic (CAR). In a military training base located on former palace grounds southwest of the capital Bangui, hundreds of Russian fighters, described as army reservists, are training CAR government soldiers in preparation for deployment along the country’s border. – Al Jazeera
Russian Special Operations Forces: Image Versus Substance
By Sergey Sukhankin, Eurasia Daily Monitor: “The Russian SOF does not fall under any of the pre-existing branches/ arms of Russian armed forces or the non-military special services. And unlike other types of Russian special forces, or Spetsnaz (such as Alpha Group or Vympel), the Special Operations Forces are “not small special groups of highly qualified professionals, but large army-type structures comprised of professionals of the highest quality.”"
How Putin Plays Israel and Iran Against Each Other in Syria By Yaakov Lappin, April 8, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Russia holds the cards in Syria. Jerusalem and Tehran must spell out their desires for the Syrian arena to Moscow, who in turn must find a way to leave each side with "half its desires."
Continue to full article ->
America, You're Not Listening to Us
// Anatoly Antonov Russia's ambassador: We're ready for urgently needed security dialogue — when our U.S. counterparts are ready to engage in good faith.
MEXICO IS COMMITTING SUICIDE
Mexico Veers Onto Road Toward Ruin
By BENNY AVNI, Special to the Sun | March 21, 2019
In his first 100 days in office, Mexico's new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, seems intent on steering the country toward an idealistic, but ultimately ruinous, future.
Known as AMLO, the new president is fast concentrating power and influence in his own hands. He has rewarded party loyalists and mighty state bosses, enriched loyal backers like the teachers unions, stacked the courts with cronies and dried out funds for democratic institutions, weakening checks and balances. Continue Reading
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) recently marked his 100th day in office. In an AEIdeas blog, Ryan Berg explains that while the president’s first 100 days have featured plenty of populist rhetoric and destruction, he has been light on policy and proposals. While it appears that AMLO understands what makes for good politics, his understanding of good policy is an open question. Find out why here.
A New Good Neighbor Policy
Joel Kotkin & Luis B. Torres, City Journal
Whatever one thinks of Donald Trump’s proposal to build a “beautiful wall,” it is unlikely to resolve the crisis sending ever more people—largely from Central America—to America’s borders. The problems that drive large numbers to leave their homes and trust their families to criminal gangs will not be solved by bigger fences but better thinking. Fundamentally, the United States should regard Mexico and Central America not as adversaries but as economic partners in a world increasingly defined by competition. Read more here....
Russia has been steadily expanding its military influence across Africa, alarming Western officials with increasing arms sales, security agreements and training programs for unstable countries or autocratic leaders. In the Central African Republic, where a Russian has been installed as the president’s national security adviser, the government is selling mining rights for gold and diamonds at a fraction of their worth to hire trainers and buy arms from Moscow. – New York Times
What is the Sahel?
Emily Estelle | AEI video
What is the Maghreb? In a new AEI “Define” video, Emily Estelle briefly explains that the northern African region is a historic crossroads between Africa, the Middle East, and Europe and then outlines its various security challenges. Watch the video here.
Michael Rubin writes: As China moves into Djibouti and Ethiopia and as the US-funded government in Mogadishu increasingly offers its strategic assets to China, the State Department has decided to break past precedent and turn its back on Somaliland, the only stable, secure, and truly democratic region in the Horn of Africa, even as Russia seeks to move in on the territory. More important, however, is that the US State Department is, through either neglect or malpractice, risking a resurgence of radicalism in the Horn of Africa. – National Review
Emily Estelle writes: The Trump administration is drawing down the US military presence in Africa in order to pivot to great power competition and claim success — prematurely — on the many fronts of the war on terror. This drawdown requires local partners, like Mali and Burkina Faso, to continue a counterterrorism mission that is far from complete. But these states, among the poorest in the world, are not only incapable of completing the fight against al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)- and Islamic State-linked groups. They are part of the problem. – American Enterprise Institute
Burkina Faso was supposed to take an important step Sunday toward democracy. The West African nation was expected to adopt presidential term limits through a long-anticipated national vote, even as Islamist violence gripped the countryside. […]Now a spreading insurgency appears to be threatening that progress. Deaths from terrorism in West Africa spiked in 2015 and continue to pose a stubborn problem for the international community. – Washington Post
Col. Chris Karns writes: If African countries are to become exporters of security beyond their borders, and not importers, U.S. government educational programs and partnership-building capacity are key.Access to education and basic services are not birthrights, assured as they are in wealthier countries. Where education exists in Africa, a hundred children can be packed in a classroom. There is a strong demand signal for improved education, especially for English language training. – Military Times
TNSR: Book Review Roundtable: Building Militaries in Fragile States by by Walter C. Ladwig III, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Tommy Ross, and Jason Fritz
Brexit: Waiting for Elizabeth
Editorial of The New York Sun | April 4, 2019
It looks -- at least to us -- like Brexit is going to have to be decided by Queen Elizabeth II. Will Her Majesty give her Royal Assent to the bill the Commons has just passed outlawing a so-called no-deal-Brexit? That is, will she be the one to forsake the independence of her own kingdom? Or will she protect the monarchy, which has been sovereign for a thousand years?
The Devil and Theresa May
Editorial of The New York Sun | March 28, 2019
Of Prime Minister May's offer to quit as prime minister if the Commons approves her Brexit deal . . . well, it hasn't happened yet (nor any other of eight proposals). Yet we haven't heard anything so tempting since Stephen Vincent Benet's story of the Devil and Daniel Webster. Mrs. May is no further down on her luck than Farmer Jabez Stone was when he pricked his finger and struck his deal with the Devil.
Brexit and the Irish Question
Editorial of The New York Sun | April 1, 2019
Could Brexit result in the reunification of Ireland? Could it trump -- forgive us -- all the wars and feuding over the division of the emerald isle between the centrally Catholic Irish Republic in the south and the predominantly Protestant part of the United Kingdom that is known as Northern Ireland? That it might is a suggestion being made in a piece in Sunday Review of the New York Times .
Dangerous Times in the U.K.
Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal
TRANSITION IN KAZAKHSTAN AS GULF MONARCHIES INVEST IN CENTRAL ASIA & COMMITTEE ON PRESENT DANGER REGROUPS
Kazakhstan After Nazarbayev: The First Priority is Continuity by Deirdre Tynan
Rauf Mammadov writes: Central Asia’s strategic location, vast resources, and predominantly Muslim population mean that Gulf states are likely to continue expanding their influence in the region[…]. But a larger Gulf state presence in the region also means rivalry with Russia and China. Saudi Arabia has established a unique collaboration with Moscow to stabilize global oil prices while at the same time competing with Russia for the lucrative Chinese market. The Gulf states will likely need to continue walking a tightrope to maintain good relations with Central Asia’s two big neighbors as they expand their presence in the region. – Middle East Institute
National Security Group Reestablished With Focus on China Threat
By Bill Gertz, The Washington Free Beacon: “Creation of the Committee on the Present Danger-China follows three earlier iterations of the storied organization that played influential roles in American national security policy beginning in the 1950s and throughout the Cold War and after."
MOSCOW BACKS MADURO, PYONGYANG & BEIJING ROLL OUT THREATS; CHINA SOURCES NUCLEAR POWER FOR ISLANDS IN SOUTH CHINA SEA
The Kremlin Prepares to Defend Venezuela’s Maduro Regime by All Means
By Pavel Felgenhauer, Eurasia Daily Monitor: "The fact that this mission in Venezuela is headed by such a prominent military commander indicates the importance of the engagement. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Russian military specialists, experts and advisors will stay in Venezuela “as long as it takes and as long the Venezuelan government wants them” and will be helping to “realize [bilateral] military-technical cooperation agreements.”"
Two Russian military planes arrived in Venezuela over the weekend carrying cargo and an estimated 100 soldiers.
The U.S. Is Running Low on Options to Force Maduro Out
// Uri Friedman and Kathy Gilsinan
The Trump administration has already deployed visa restrictions, sanctions, and even an embargo on Venezuelan oil. What else is left?
SYRIA'S THREE CIVIL WARS
Syria's Civil War Is Now 3 Civil Warsby Jonathan Spyer
March 18, 2019
Net Assessment: Masterpiece Theater by Melanie Marlowe, Bryan McGrath, and Christopher Preble
How to help Venezuelans oust Maduro
Roger F. Noriega | New York Post
The collapse of Venezuela’s electrical grid this month triggered a struggle for power — literally, electricity — by narco-dictator Nicolás Maduro and sent 30 million people scrambling for food and water.
How Trump Should Counter Putin in Ukraine and Venezuela
By Dr. Jiri Valenta, March 18, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: If Nicolás Maduro is removed from office in Venezuela, Putin might act as he did when a popular revolution overthrew Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014. At that time, he launched a surprise invasion of Crimea. This time, he may launch a surprise naval and land attack on Mariupol, set up a land bridge from Crimea to Russia, and continue intensifying his attempt to strangle Ukraine’s economy in order to subjugate that country to Russia. Trump must take immediate preemptive measures to prevent this by increasing naval aid to Kiev.
Continue to full article ->
EXAMINING IRAN'S BALLISTIC MISSILE SYSTEM: BEGIN SADAT CENTER ISRAEL; VENEZUELA WILL GET WORSE BEFORE BETTER
Iran's Ballistic Missile Program: New Developments By Farhad Rezaei, March 12, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Iran’s rapid development of missile expertise has raised concerns in Washington and among its allies about Tehran’s intentions. Despite international censure, the Revolutionary Guards have been able to develop the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the region. Tehran is determined to develop and acquire ever more advanced and accurate ballistic missiles – but its efforts to achieve that goal are hampered by American and Israeli determination to subvert it.
Continue to full article ->
Unmasking war's changing character
(Modern War Institute) There seems to be widespread agreement that the character of war is changing but little consensus as to exactly how.
SUDAN GOING UNDER WITH PROTESTS, US MUST ADDRESS AMERICA'S LONGEST WAR IN SOMALIA, AFRICOM HANDS OVER MISSION COMMAND & EXAMINING TSARIST-SOVIET TYRANNY
Africa: A continent where partnership is in demand
(Military Times) The strength of the United States is reflected by its values, diversity and what we can offer the world as a collective whole.
Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, to protest against President Omar al-Bashir. Security forces rounded up some of the protesters.
US missteps in Somalia benefit our enemies
Michael Rubin | NationalReview.com
Micheal Rubin writes: Arguably, Somalia—rather than Afghanistan—is America’s longest war. […], the failure even to coordinate with those controlling key territory most successful again Al-Shaabab, pirates, and weapons smugglers suggests that, while the Pentagon is willing to spend money, AFRICOM is not prepared to win. – American Enterprise Insitute
The US is handing over the counterterrorism mission in West Africa to local partners
Emily Estelle | AEIdeas
We are fixated on whether the Islamic State is defeated in Syria and Iraq (spoiler alert: it’s not), but we are missing the risk of a massive, and lucrative, expansion of the Salafi-jihadi movement in West Africa.
HOW TURKEY, GERMANY AND EGYPT PLAY SPOILER FOR NEAR EAST WITH RUSSIA INFLUENCE & IDEAS SUPPORTING ISLAMIC STATE ARE STILL IN PLAY
Turkey: Putin's Ally in NATO? by Burak Bekdil
March 19, 2019
Aaron Stein writes: The S-400 saga is a microcosm of broader, structural changes driving the United States and Turkey apart. Beyond personality politics, it is now simply a fact that Washington and Ankara have different interests in the Middle East and view one another as hindrances to realizing national goals. Given this reality, it would be imprudent for the United States (and European F-35 operators) not to study its options, and start looking at ways to mitigate the risk to the F-35. – War On The Rocks
Turkey is changing the Middle East, but the US doesn't get it
(Bloomberg) For at least 10 years, the region has been caricatured as divided into two camps: a pro-Iranian coalition and a looser but larger group that opposes Iran's ambitions. For short, it’s sometimes foolishly reduced to a Sunni-Shiite sectarian divide.
Erin Dunne writes: Turkey is an important ally occupying a key geographic position at the crossroads of Central Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. That has made the country a strategic ally hosting airbases and missiles and serving as a launch point for U.S. and NATO operations in the Middle East. Those same strategic considerations have also made Turkey a prime target for other foreign powers, Russia chief among them. Increased relations between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin is a clear blow to Washington’s interests, threatening to block U.S. access to the Middle East and cut its regional influence. – Washington Examiner
Micheal Rubin writes: The German government’s celebration of Iran’s Islamic Revolution may have been gratuitous, but it was consistent with decades, if not more than a century, of German foreign policy. For successive German governments, lucrative contracts have always trumped human rights and, absent any moral clarity in German political culture, will continue to do so. – Washington Examiner
Michael Eisenstadt and Soner Cagaptay write: Although President Trump was following through on an oft-repeated campaign pledge when he announced a full withdrawal in December, the decision was still viewed by many as a hasty move that could upset the fragile equilibrium created by the U.S. military presence in Syria. […] In the end, President Trump will have to reconcile two incompatible campaign promises—disengaging from the Middle East or defeating IS. Doing so means making hard choices that may not align with his preferences, but could go far toward safeguarding U.S. interests in the region. – Washington Institute
The Erasure of the Islamic State's Caliphate Won't Ensure Its Defeat
By Scott Stewart, Stratfor Worldview: “A number of external factors greatly aided the revival of the Islamic State in Iraq and its expansion into the larger and more expansive Islamic State."
Mired in recriminations, Turkish-Egyptian ties remain stagnant
Prospects for improved relations between Ankara and Cairo appear dimmer than ever following recent executions in Egypt.
Asli Aydintasbas writes: If you think Turkey’s relationship with the United States is currently very tumultuous, you haven’t seen anything yet. The two allies have had bouts of hysteria on and off since 2015, mostly to do with Ankara resenting U.S. support for Syrian Kurds and Washington increasingly finding its longtime ally an unreliable partner in the Middle East.[…] As much as a strongman as Erdogan appears, the S-400 controversy actually demonstrates the weak position he has put Turkey in. His effort to demonstrate that Turkey has choices and is not an American vassal has so alienated Turkey’s Western partners and weakened its economy that the country now risks becoming a Russian vassal. – Washington Post
Road From Hanoi to Pyongyang Goes Via Beijing
By James Stavridis, Nikkei Asian Review: “Trump's best hope of a lasting nuclear deal with North Korea depends on China."