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On April 4, 2017, when 23-year old Akbarzon Jalilov has blown himself up taking 15 other innocent people lives at the St. Petersburg metro, very few people initially paid attention to his place of birth. Shortly, it turned out that him, as another eight of his friends who were detained, were ethnic Uzbeks from a Kyrgyz town of Osh. Another Uzbek man, Rakhmat Akilov, is suspected of steering a hijacked beer truck into a crowd of shoppers in Stockholm on April 7 that left four people dead and 15 others wounded. Yet another Uzbek national, Abdulkadir Masharipov, has been arrested for allegedly killing 39 people of different nationalities only two hours into the New Year in the Reina nightclub in Istanbul on January 1, 2017. All three of them
Moscow is not a reliable partner for Washington in combating international terrorism. On the contrary, the Kremlin supports forces in the Middle East and elsewhere that oppose the US. It aims to deflect violent jihadism toward the West both to shield Russia from being targeted and to weaken America’s global influence. Vladimir Putin’s Russia possesses all the attributes of a terrorist sponsor, by engaging in terrorist attacks against its own population and playing a significant role in developing terrorist networks outside its borders. Russia’s security services have engaged in domestic terrorism both to subdue and manipulate public opinion. The most notorious outrage occurred in September 1999 shortly before Putin was appointed President. John Dunlop, a distinguished scholar at the Hoover Institution, in his landmark book The Moscow Bombings of
By launching cruise missile strikes on government forces in Syria, successfully obliterating dozens of ISIS terrorists in Afghanistan, and dispatching a military flotilla to confront the North Korean regime, the Trump administration has sent four strong messages: to dictators, allies, Russia, and Western populists. Trump’s moves overturn several years of fruitless diplomacy and empty threats by the Obama administration and appear to be working. Although the cruise military strike in Syria only involved one airfield, it was swift and decisive, thereby demonstrating to dictators such as Bashar al-Assad that the new White House values hard deeds above tough words. White House action was in stark contrast with the previous administration, which warned of consequences for war crimes and the use of prohibited chemical weapons but did not deliver
In a year that has begun with a bloody attack on Europe’s southeastern edge, the SEE region figures to again factor prominently in world events. What transpired in Southeastern Europe in 2016 and what lies ahead in 2017? 2016 was a very violent year in Turkey, where war, terror and mass arrests grabbed the headlines. In 2017, the bloodshed has already begun. More than three dozen New Year’s Eve partygoers were killed just minutes after the year began. Now, Turkish President Recep Erdogan will seek to exploit the chaos in order to transform Turkey’s system of governance and obtain the executive presidency he has long desired. While blood spilled in Turkey, the year 2016 in the Balkans was characterized by an uneasy peace. Following the Brexit vote
Prognostications of what the New Year might bring are more often than not a fool’s errand and pundits are usually better served with a laconic “more of the same” answer to what to expect. Usually, but not this time, for 2017 promises to be a very different year and quite possibly the beginning of a new geopolitical era. The last such watershed year in recent history was 1980 and it is worth remembering briefly the momentous changes ushered in by that year. The 1970s were a decade marked by a seeming retreat by the United States as the dominant Western power and a commensurate increase in the status and military might of its chief protagonist – the Soviet Union. Beginning with the Arab oil embargo in 1973, the US
With a Clinton at the top of the Democratic ticket, Tuesday’s United States elections are generating significant interest in the Balkans and are dividing some neighbors along familiar ethnic lines. A quick trip around the Western Balkans reveals Clinton footprints all over the region, some of which trigger feelings of immense gratitude and some of which are the source of long-lasting anger. In the latter half of the 1990s, then-president Bill Clinton arguably delivered peace through strength to the Balkans. However, Clinton’s signature peace agreement is malfunctioning as a system of governance, and the U.S. interventions in the region have left a trail of radical Islam and unhealed wounds that are affecting geopolitics. Peace through strength Clinton-led NATO interventions effectively put an end to both the brutal
“Human mercy requires that we are merciless to those who have no mercy.” Johannes Becher, The Power of Poetry It goes without saying that the most serious war waged against the Islamic state hordes is not by the West, much less by Russia or Iraq and Assad. The ones putting in the most serious fighting are the Kurds. As for the Euro-Atlantic community, its operations can, without prejudice, only be qualified as symbolic. This war is not a war of air aces; it cannot be won by air – neither with bombers, nor with fighters nor cruise missiles. American and European military strategists are fully aware of this. If they had the power to decide, their tanks would have destroyed ISIS completely a long time ago. However, as