The Ukrainian Crisis and the Struggles and Success against Terrorism
The tensions in Ukraine seem to be flaring up again despite the truce between government and rebel forces there. The two sides are each claiming ceasefire violations and fighting has again erupted in the eastern city of Donetsk. Since the fall of the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine has been gripped with a civil war with the eastern portion of the nation bearing the brunt of the fighting. In April 2014 pro-Russian rebels seized key government locations and declared the Donetsk People’s Republic, a move that has triggered a strong Ukrainian response and sparked the war in Donbass. Pro-Russian rebels have repeatedly requested Russian intervention in the conflict, and although the Russians have largely denied the deployment of troops to the region the capture of Russian soldiers by Ukrainian forces have contradicted official Russian claims. With the seizure of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia in the immediate aftermath of Yanukovych’s ousting from power, Russian government officials have cited the future deployment of strategic nuclear missiles to the region to counter what they are citing as western aggression. To date the conflict in the Ukraine has further alienated Russia from international relations, resulting in their expulsion from the Group of Eight summit (G8 which is now known as G7), and has led to economic sanctions that have diminished Russian international standing.
The war on ISIS continues to plague the Iraqi government and its western allies. The seizure of Ramadi and the poor performance of the Iraqi military on the battlefield has led American government officials, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter for example, to cite the Iraqi’s lack of will to fight against ISIS. The seizure of equipment from Iraqi forces, especially western supplied HMMWV (Humvee) vehicles has been especially disturbing to American government officials since these vehicles have been utilized as suicide car bombs (SVBIED) against both Iraqi military and civilian populations. With the loss of this equipment to the ISIS, questions arise about how America should continue to supply the Iraqi military if there are significant chances those arms and equipment will fall into the hands of ISIS.
In Africa it appears that the ISIS-affiliate Boko Haram has suffered significant defeats as of late by Nigerian government forces. The offensive against Boko Haram has greatly reduced their strength and capabilities in the region, although it is still far too early to tell how successful those operations have been. Boko Haram’s attempted spread into Cameroon has largely been a failure with government forces there defeating the terrorists and pushing them back into Nigeria. With continued military success of Nigerian and West African forces against Boko Haram, the future for the terrorist organization looks bleak and their existence will hopefully only be relegated to history books.