As Ukraine's struggle against Russia and its proxies continues, Kiev must also contend with a growing problem behind the front lines: far-right vigilantes who are willing to use intimidation and even violence to advance their agendas, and who often do so with the tacit approval of law enforcement agencies.
Iran and Russia have made no secret of their mutual desire to sideline the United States in the Middle East. “Our cooperation can isolate America,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Vladimir Putin during the Russian president’s recent visit to Tehran. Putin, for his part, has praised the Moscow-Tehran relationship as “very productive.”
Ukraine's Western allies may finally have run out of patience with Kiev's unwillingness to fight the country's endemic corruption. The United States, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have all criticized the recent undermining of an independent corruption investigation by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office – an organization itself accused of rampant fraud.
Vladimir Putin’s global stature appears to be at an all-time high. Some observers call the Russian president the Middle East’s New Sheriff, and for good reason. Last week, during a series of meetings with the leaders of Syria, Turkey and Iran in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin took the central role in a major diplomatic push to end Syria’s civil war by winning support from Turkey and Iran to host a Syrian peace congress.
Middle East tensions are flaring – again – as Lebanon becomes the new front in the regional rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran. But while the focus of the news has shifted from the battering of Islamic State to the repercussions of the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, there’s been a remarkable silence about one of the Middle East’s most important players: Israel.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wants the Trump administration to supply Ukraine with “defensive weapons” to combat the Russian-supported separatists occupying parts of eastern Ukraine's Donbass region. On a recent visit to Kiev, Mattis told a news conference that these weapons “are not provocative unless you are an aggressor, and clearly Ukraine is not an aggressor.”
Steve Bannon made many enemies during his stormy seven-month tenure at the White House. He clashed with Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner as well as top economic advisers and national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Bannon was also a divisive force for the country, instrumental in decisions like the travel ban barring people from several Muslim majority policies from entering the United States; a supporter of building a wall with Mexico, and a conservative blamed for stoking white voters’ resentment towards minorities.
The U.S.-Russian relationship is in a downward spiral. President Donald Trump just grudgingly signed a bill imposing additional sanctions on Russia, while Russian President Vladimir Putin angrily ordered 755 U.S. diplomats to leave the country.
Donald Trump just got another chance to fight charges that he’s soft on anti-Semitism. Let’s hope he took it.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s verbal affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin so puzzled the Washington establishment that some speculated Putin had either “recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation” or that Trump was simply a “useful fool” for the Russians.