“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Red Alert Update: At the Heart of the Mariupol Crisis 

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As the situation on the ground quiets down in the wake of the Jan. 24 barrage by Russian-allied forces near the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Stratfor is continuing the watch initiated by our Red Alert. We believe, at the very least, that Russia is keeping its option to mount an offensive open, and at most, is preparing to launch an offensive to secure its hold on the Crimean Peninsula.
The artillery barrage in Mariupol has died down, and according to the Ukrainian military's local commander, there have been no attacks today. Some diplomacy is spinning up, and mutual charges of responsibility are being exchanged. The pro-Russian faction is blaming the Ukrainian military for the attack, and the Ukrainians are charging that the Russian military initiated the barrage, not Ukrainian pro-Russian factions. The fog of war is being supplemented by deliberate disinformation on all sides. The issue is whether this was an isolated incident or part of an extended strategy. If it is, it is not a Ukrainian strategy. Following recent defeats, Ukraine is not in a position to go on the offensive in this region, despite a noticeable build up and mobilization of Ukrainian forces in recent weeks. The Russians, however, have been moving regular forces, including some first-rate units, into Donbas. More important than the charges and counter-charges is this fact: At this moment, the rebels are being strongly reinforced by Russian forces, and those forces have an operational advantage but a strategic problem.
Consider this from the standpoint of a Russian military planner. The operational advantage is that the separatists have more and better forces available for combat. The strategic problem is that this advantage is temporary. If the United States chooses to increase arms transfers and training, the operational gap will close in 6-12 months. The rebels' broader strategic problem is geographical. Russia holds Crimea, but it has little sustainable contact with its forces there. Both sea and air transport can be interdicted. The best access to the peninsula is by land, but the routes are heavily defended by mobile and strategic surface to air missiles and armor to the north. Opening the route up would not be easy, but it would dramatically increase Ukraine's cost of severing Russia's link to Crimea. Without this, blockading Crimea would be relatively easy for the United States, Ukraine and other allies once their capabilities are increased and more units are deployed.
There is a connection to Crimea over the Kerch Strait from Russia proper of course, now based on ferry traffic but with plans for a bridge. But if war were to come, such tenuous links can easily be closed by a capable enemy. They are useful in peacetime, but vulnerable in war and near-war situations.

If Russia is serious about holding on to Crimea, it has a diplomatic route and a military route that it can use. The diplomatic route would be to gain international recognition of its hold on Crimea. That will be difficult to get, certainly if Russia is passive. The alternative is to create a military presence that might be attacked but would have significant ability to resist. The third option is to use the threat of an attack on Ukrainian positions to force a more favorable political settlement. If that fails, Russia still has the superior strategic position that it has now.
If the Russians are serious about holding Crimea, and if their calculation of how the correlation of forces will shift over coming months is the same as ours, then they now have a window of opportunity to redefine the strategic reality using their current operational superiority. Whether this results in a diplomatic settlement instead of further combat will be up to the West.
The counter-argument will be that, given Russia's economic problems, the diplomatic consequences of further offensive operations would increase the strain on Russia. From a political point of view, however, pure passivity in the face of sanctions that are not the critical factor in Russia's economic downturn will hurt the government's legitimacy at home while offering no real economic advantage. In addition, the Americans are not eager for a Ukrainian conflict while their forces are engaged in the Middle East. Therefore, while nothing is certain, a Russian strategist might well calculate that the risks of passivity are higher than those that come with an offensive. The military buildup in Donbas, the concentration of artillery, certain incursions by Russian aircraft that would be needed to keep Western aircraft at a distance from the battle zone, including aircraft with standoff anti-armor capabilities, indicate to us that the Russians are at least keeping this option open, and at most, are preparing to launch an offensive.
Good strategy involves creating options while withholding commitment to any particular course until the political and diplomatic possibilities are played out in the context of a build up. It would seem to us that this is what the Russians are doing, while signaling capability if not yet intent. However, the Americans sending the commander of the U.S. Army to Kiev on a very public visit is a signal that the window is closing. That forces Russia to make decisions sooner rather than later.
The Red Alert we issued yesterday was triggered by what appeared to be artillery preparation by the Russians at exactly the point when a move toward Crimea would be launched. That was alarming. We think it was meant by the Russians to be alarming, a warning of Russian operational superiority and strategic imperatives. Things have quieted down. The quiet ought not to be taken as the end of anything.
We call Red Alerts when action is underway. While the action has now halted, the underlying crisis is intensifying. There are exits from the path to an offensive, though it is not clear that either side is prepared to pay the toll needed for the exit.

Read more:  Red Alert Update: At the Heart of the Mariupol Crisis | Stratfor
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  1. They are going to have to drag Putin out into the street, turn his lights off and put Russia out of its misery.

  2. Who, one must ask, who is the 'they' to whom you could assign that task?

  3. You Jack!!!

    Off you go on another seek and destroy mission....

    1. I was seeking some parve chocolate, but the Chocolate Emporium has been destroyed.

    2. Go to Israel, they have Parve Chocolate, oh, wait you would not be allowed IN...


    3. The good people at the Chocolate Emporium, they used to ship it to me. First by UPS, later by USPS.

      Israel, no need to go there, they attack Semites on the street there.
      No desire to support the hate that emanates from Zionism.

    4. You stalked the wrong Jew for 10 years...


      But as Martin Luther King used to say, those who attack Zionism attack Jews.

      So Jack, you are just a jew hater, nothing new.

    5. Never stalked anyone, "O"rdure.

      The proof of it, theChocolate Emporium closed almost a year ago, I just found out last month.
      A stalker would have kept current...
      The "O"riginal bragged incessantly about the business, I checked it out.
      Even bought some stuff.
      That is not stalking, you little piece of "O"rdure.

    6. As for your MLK fraudulent quote, that is all you are, a fraud and a liar.

    7. Since that business has died, no longer exists, it serves as a good example of so many things.
      And does no one any harm to be known or mentioned

    8. So it will be used as an example, now and in the future.

    9. You are a hoot Jack...

      I am the Original WIO, you are so full of SHIT...


      Stalked the WRONG Jew...


      Fucking moron...


  4. Iceland's Economy Growing After Arresting Corrupt Bankers

    Iceland didn't follow the rest of the world by bailing out bankers. Surprisingly, they arrested them instead. Now their economy is recovering faster than the EU and the United States.

    Remember when the United States government told the American people that action was required to save the banks? Action in the form of Billions of dollars of debt. Hard to forget that. Hundreds of Billions of dollars in National debt later were still digging our way out of the hole.

    At the start of the world wide 2008 economic collapse, Iceland was in worse shape than almost any other country in the world.

    Imagine what America would be like today if we bailed out the victims of poor banking practices, while punishing the bankers who were responsible instead of bailing them out.

    What We Can Learn From Iceland

  5. Rivlin blasts attack against Druse guard who served in President’s Residence

    President Reuven Rivlin on Friday condemned an attack on a young Druse who recently completed his service in the IDF, serving as part of the unit under the command of the president’s military secretary in the President’s Residence.

    The president wrote on his Facebook page that Tommy Hasson, who on Thursday night had been violently assaulted by a group of Jews who heard him speaking Arabic near the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, had been hospitalized at the capital’s Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.

    Rivlin, who also published a photograph of himself with Hasson, wrote that he had spoken to the young man’s father and could not believe what the father told him.

    The president reiterated his passionate opposition to any and all forms of racism, telling Hasson’s father “we are brothers.”

    1. Wow!
      Mr Rivlin has been hitting the nail on the head, lately.

      “It is time to honestly admit that Israeli society is ill – and it is our duty to treat this disease,”
      - Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel

      To bad for that veteran of the IDF, a citizen of Israel and spending those years defending Israel, just to be beaten by a bunch of racists and hospitalized for being bi-lingual.

    2. The Zionists attacking a Semite, on the streets of Jerusalem.
      Not surprising though, if one is versed in the history of Zionism.

      The Zionist have even killed Jews from Europe, when they needed a propaganda boost.

    3. Once again Jack "I am full of shit" Hawkins has proved to the readers he is incapable of discussing the topic of the thread.

    4. As if that has ever made a difference, "O"rdure.

      You are left 'speechless' and so, ineffectually, grasp at straws.


    5. But the truth of it, "O"rdure, is that Israel is a Russian micro-culture.

      So by examining one, we can learn about the 'other'.


    6. Hayim Gordon describes the situation in his 2007 book Israel today:
      “ They speak only Russian to their children.
      They read one of the seven Russian-language newspapers that Russian-speakers have established, and they watch the private Russian TV station that has been set up in Israel and Russian stations abroad.
      Even after living years in Israel, hundreds of thousands of these Russian-speakers cannot carry on telephone conversation in Hebrew; many thousands of them cannot ask for directions in Hebrew.
      Despite these inconvenience, many Russian-speaker continue to reject the Hebrew language wherever and whenever they can. ”

      The million Russians that changed Israel to its core

    7. Glad to see you are obsessed about Israel. It will ingather all the Jews from across the globe.

      Millions and millions from the arab occupied middle east, millions from Europe and Russia and more and more from the USA.

      Jack? We are armed.

      Not like the Jews your granddad murdered....

      we'll give you a fight you prick...

  6. The elected government of Ukraine was deposed in a coup, sponsored by the US.
    The government that was installed, headed by a Jewish businessman, a billionaire some say.

    There are those that claim a connection between the new government and Israel

    Looking to create a Jewish defense force in eastern Ukraine

    The Latvian-Israeli activist who helped found a Jewish self-defense force in Kiev following last year’s revolution is looking to create a similar organization in the port city of Mariupol, just kilometers behind the front lines of Ukraine’s civil war, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

    1. Maybe a Jewish billionaire can figure out a way to make your land eminent domain?

  7. The military operations undertaken by the Ukrainian and Israeli governments in East Ukraine and Gaza, although frequently being represented as "anti-terror operations", in fact involve the mass killing of civilians on the ground, with US support, under the pretext of the state defending itself.

    As wars are being waged in both countries, the Ukrainian and Israeli militaries are heavily bombarding civilians as Human Rights Watch has confirmed. The civilian toll in Ukraine has been at least 1,129 so far and 1,650 people were killed in Gaza.

    The UN condemned the massive shelling of schools and seniors’ homes by the Ukrainian military as it condemned the bombing of a UN school by Israel, saying these violated international law.

    The similarities between the two conflicts and the ideology that produced them may be worth pointing out, as has been done before in different ways by a critic of these policies and also by the ambassador of Ukraine to Israel, though perhaps not by the way the latter had in mind.

    The slaughter of civilians, be they ethnic Russian or Palestinian, cannot be divorced from the fact that both the Ukrainian and the Israeli Governments have no intention of granting autonomous rights to these respective populations under their control and may ultimately even see their lives as disposable.

    The unelected Ukrainian Government did not accept the referendum held in the Donbass in which over 90% of residents voted for self-rule, while in Israel, Netanyahu recently said that he would never support a sovereign Palestinian state. Indeed, both the Ukrainian and Israeli government share highly racist views of these targeted populations.

    1. The highly racist manner in which both Ukraine and Israel view residents under their control who do not fit into the image of the nation they claim to represent, cannot but disturb those who pay attention.

      The former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk termed Russians in East Ukraine "subhumans", therefore repeating the phrase "untermenschen" used by the Nazis towards Russians during World War II.

      Yatsenyuk made no secret of his intentions towards ethnic Russians in Ukraine by writing that "we will commemorate the heroes by wiping out those who killed them and then by cleaning our land from the evil", therefore suggesting that ethnic Russians citizens of Ukraine are contaminating the ‘pure’ Ukrainian nation.

      A leading Ukrainian politician, Julia Tymoshenko, expressed her wish to wipe out the 8 million Russians who reside in the Crimea.

      Leading Israeli politicians also have a highly racist view towards Palestinians. Israeli Minister Naftali Bennet referred to Arabs as those "climbing on trees" in the past.

      The deputy minister of Religious Affairs, Eli Ben Dahan, said regarding Palestinians that "in my eyes they are human animals, not human".

      Israeli Member of Parliament Ayelet Shaked, perhaps the Israeli version of Julia Tymoshenko, condoned a mass killing of Palestinian civilians.

    2. In both East Ukraine and Gaza, plans or suggestions have been laid out to repopulate the war-torn territories after a victory is achieved.

      The Ukrainian government openly said that land in Southeast Ukraine, where ethnic Russians and Russian speakers currently reside, will be given to Ukrainian soldiers for free, in return for their participation in the fighting against residents of these areas.

      In Israel, Member of Parliament Moshe Feiglin of the Likud Party, suggested that
      "subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews".

      Needless to say, the Ukrainian and Israeli governments do not seek to represent and guard the rights of the populations over which they rule, a fact that may escape the notice of US State Department Spokesperson Jan Psaki.

      The first action taken by the Ukrainian parliament after the illegal coup in Kiev, was not to call for a multicultural democracy which would represent all ethnicities, but to revoke the right to use Russian as an official language in areas where a majority of residents were Russian.

      The Ukrainian ambassador to Israel noted that the two countries are united in "fighting terrorism" but failed to mention that they are also united in the racist view they hold of the civilians they are attacking.

      Israel does not see Palestinians nor does Ukraine see ethnic Russians as full citizens worthy of rights.

      The author of this informative piece ...
      Joshua Tartakovsky is an Israeli-American independent journalist and a graduate of Brown University and LSE.

    3. Wow!
      Who'd have known, and right on the thread's theme, too.

      Thanks Anonymous, you're a gem.

  8. I see Jack "Ass" Hawkins is back to passing his gas again, off topic, half the time as 'Anonymous'.

    Don't strike a match, the whole world will explode.

    Got my bidness done so am checking out of the motel early.

    Any further posts by 'Bob' today aren't by me but by my stalker, rat ass, posing as me.


    Cheers !

    1. Jack has to talk to himself as he has no one...

      lonely old coot...

    2. He has your responses, someone that really cares.

  9. It seems that ethnic Russians do not, when given a choice, naturally assimilate into other cultures, this the lesson from Israel.

    It also seems that the western Ukrainians do not want the ethnic Russians to be assimilated into becoming 'real' Ukrainians, either. This according to the Israeli author who wrote pretty authoritatively on the subject.

  10. I was looking for some old Candyman quotes, when I found this ...

    MətušélaḥSat Dec 27, 07:29:00 PM EST


    dRat has it exactly right.

  11. The discussion was about the Israeli electric car, the scam of swapping the 'magic batteries'

    desert ratSun Sep 21, 11:36:00 PM EDT

    Those are all the questions pertaining to viability of the plan

    Questions not addressed in Agassi's public presentations.

    He's selling pie in the sky.
    Here in Scottsdale we see a lot of that.

    Here's to hope, but it seems far fethed, at this point.

    No cars, no batteries, no swap stations, today, but 100,000 cars on the road, in 27 months.

    Don't bogart that joint.

    The months have ticked away, and the Israeli plan, failed.

  12. Wrong in 2008, nothing has changed

    bobalMon Dec 24, 01:14:00 PM EST

    That being the case, would it not be better to have American involvement in the technology and commerce?

    It would, but they aren't going to do business with The Great Satan.

    2008 Prediction--Iran gets the bomb, and our advantage in affairs begins to dissipate as Mat says.

  13. From the fella that said he never advocated nuking anyone ...

    What is "Occupation"Sat Dec 26, 07:46:00 PM EST

    Rufus: Eventually, Every Nation on Earth will have "Nukes." That's just the way it is.

    Then all the more reason to nuke those without them that are a threat asap....

  14. desert rat, aka jack hawkins, aka a dozen other names.....

    all anti-israel, anti-jewish, anti-zionist.

    nothing changes about louts like that...

    but his honest hatred is validating on why I carry a gun.....