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Monday, August 18, 2014

Quick Notes: On IS (ISIS), Israel and Palestine, Russia and Ukraine

This is just a quick note on three topics.

The Islamic State (IS, aka ISIS)
As previously discussed, IS is wreaking havoc in a wide swath of Middle Eastern territory and its successes -- even following a few recent setbacks -- are proving entirely groundbreaking.  This is exactly as I had indicated may happen, although many are acting surprised, including a large contingent of commentators and analysts.  The United States is now conducting limited airstrikes, and allegedly considering other options, in an effort to combat this former terror actor's largely successful transition to a more traditional, and growing, state-esque structure.  The likelihood of further American, and international, involvement is high, as are IS' victories.  Until a larger scale military interruption arrives, there exists no regional force -- except, perhaps, that of Israel -- sufficiently strong to combat IS and reclaim lost territory.

Israel and Palestine
Israel's strange behavior -- wherein a pervasive existential threat is declared in an effort to combat an aggressor demonstrably incapable of anything approaching battle-readiness -- continues.  This was previously discussed, in an attempt to better understand the motivations, and it, soon afterward became a paper: "An Asymmetric Israel: Perceived Threats and Response Behaviors."  What Israel is calling Operation Protective Edge is rather complex, but the basic realities are the same: asymmetric consequences between asymmetric forces on the pretext of an imminent existential threat to Israel.  The Palestinians, either as a people or as any one of the groups that claim representation (military or otherwise), have no political leverage against Israel and no ability to thwart any invasion of their territory.  Although the international community has resoundingly condemned Israeli behaviors, this conflict will only cease when Israeli leaders decide to do so, as with all other past conflicts involving the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

Russia and Ukraine
Cold War II, also previously discussed, has quickly become a visible reality, as relations have regressed between the United States (and the West) and Russia to levels not seen since the end of the Cold War.  Despite that many analysts and commentators believed another Cold War was not coming, it has arrived.  Moreover, there exists a very real possibility that Cold War II may quickly take on another hallmark of its predecessor through an open, armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, wherein the United States would likely support, although quietly and covertly, the Ukrainians.  This is going to evolve quickly and events may occur that create an open and armed conflict before the international public realizes; however, it will remain Cold War II until the unlikely time that the United States, itself, engages in open conflict with Russia.