This Week in Political Violence

Want to understand the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Iraq? You can do no better than read this masterful account by Kenneth M. Pollock at Brookings. One quote: These [ISIS and other Sunni militants] are Militias First and Foremost, Terrorists only a Distant Second. Here as well, Prime Minister Maliki and his apologists like to … Continue reading This Week in Political Violence

What Would a Negotiated Settlement to the Crimean Crisis Look Like?

On Monday, Russia made a non-serious offer to settle the ongoing Crimean crisis. The key points involved international recognition of Crimea's annexation by Russia, military neutrality and federalization of Ukraine, and establishment of Russian as a second state language of Ukraine. The offer is not serious because it would give Russia far more than it … Continue reading What Would a Negotiated Settlement to the Crimean Crisis Look Like?

A Pariah State

Today Vladimir Putin signed a treaty with the self-styled independent government of Crimea, annexing Crimea to Russia. I did not see this coming. It is an unprecedented deviation from the post-World War 2 international norm that force and the threat of force shall not be used for conquest. Article 2 of the United Nations Charter … Continue reading A Pariah State

Crimea: Competing Homelands

Russia's annexation of Crimea, de facto or de jure, is likely to spur violence in the peninsula. "Crimean Tatar representative" in Lviv, Ukraine Alim Aliyev is quoted as saying, "Tatars will launch a guerrilla war against the Russian forces if they do not pack up and leave the region." While he could be communicating a … Continue reading Crimea: Competing Homelands

What’s Happening in Ukraine Is Irredentist Interstate Conflict, Not Secessionism (updated)

Gazeta.pl reports that the majority of the Crimean parliament did not vote in favor of a referendum on independence, but that armed men prevented a quorum from attending, allowing a pro-Russian rump to pass the measure. (For my translation, I am relying on Jacek Rostowski on Twitter.) In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian crowds face determined Ukrainian … Continue reading What’s Happening in Ukraine Is Irredentist Interstate Conflict, Not Secessionism (updated)

The Risk of Civil War in Ukraine

The government and the opposition in Ukraine have begun to shoot each other, leading to 26 deaths overnight. The Ukrainian army is being mobilized, and protestors have started to storm police stations and arm themselves. Could Ukraine be facing civil war? Several factors point to a high likelihood of civil war. The first is the … Continue reading The Risk of Civil War in Ukraine