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Old 10-25-2016, 11:06 AM
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Post Why Russia has been ramping up hostile action

Why Russia has been ramping up hostile action
Keir Giles
Updated 9:29 AM ET, Fri October 7, 2016
RE: http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/07/opinio...on-keir-giles/
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(CNN)Russia, of late, has been demonstrating not only increased confidence in its own abilities and capabilities, but also a sense of urgency in being as well prepared as possible for open conflict.

Russia's ramping up of hostile actions reflects not so much a disregard for its international reputation, as some commentators have suggested, as an urgent concern in Moscow at the prospect of impending conflict with the West.

Each week brings startling new evidence of Russia's lack of restraint in pursuing its own security agenda. Opinions differ on the underlying objectives, but it is almost always a mistake to look for a single reason for Russian actions.

Russia does care what the world thinks of it, but not in the same way as Western nations. Instead, it wants the world to be alarmed at the consequences of antagonizing Russia.
The increase in tempo and urgency of Russian preparations for conflict has meant leaving caution behind. The move to overt, even blatant, intelligence gathering and probing for vulnerabilities has led to the activities of Russian hackers, spies, submarines and satellites that previously were conducted in deep secrecy now being commonly reported in open media.

Targeting and intimidation of individual servicemen from NATO nations that come within Russia's reach can be expected to increase with the stationing of NATO's new multinational battalions in the Baltic states and Poland.

In fact, Russia sees that it is already in conflict with the West in every domain except direct and deliberate military clashes. With sanctions and "information war," meddling in elections and referendums in the West, and disregarding or walking away from treaties and agreements,economic, intelligence, propaganda and cyber confrontation by Russian definitions are already well established.

How did the Cold War affect relations with Russia?

How did the Cold War affect relations with Russia? 04:17

According to the general in charge of Russia's NATO-facing Western Military District, Russia's new definition of war "is never declared, and never ends". What is more, it can achieve its aims without using armed force at all.

But Russia is preparing for the worst. The ongoing process of rearming and transforming the military, and mobilizing government and society, reached a new peak this week with the announcement of a massive civil defense exercise accompanied by rhetoric on surviving nuclear attack.

Meanwhile, Russia's actions in Syria have provided an unwelcome reminder of the Russian way of war. For the West, the notions of disregard for collateral damage, of terrorizing an opponent into submission by targeting the civilian population and soft targets like hospitals, of bomb and missile strikes intended to cause mass casualties in reprisal for the deaths of Russian servicemen, all belong in previous centuries. For Russia, once open conflict begins, they remain the most effective means to an end.
And despite Russian military brinksmanship displayed in the air and at sea along its Western periphery, Syria risks being the trigger for an even more dangerous confrontation. Lack of cooperation due to incompatible priorities and a failure to agree on the enemy increases the risk of Russia directly causing greater U.S. casualties in airstrikes - or vice versa.

Syria:

France submits draft UN resolution over Aleppo crisis
Aleppo's eastern sector 'could be destroyed in months,' UN envoy warns
In both Ukraine and Syria, Russia's active intervention successfully averted a situation that, viewed from Moscow, appeared potentially disastrous. But whether Russia sees its actions as self-defense is unfortunately irrelevant to those suffering the consequences in both conflicts.

Russia will push as far as it can to achieve its objectives -- without risking damaging counterattack. At present, Russia can set both the tempo of the confrontation and its limits. Moscow knows it will lose this control if it pushes the United States too far, in Syria or elsewhere. But as yet, Russia has not found the limits of what it can get away with.
Several years of testing boundaries -- and pushing further when meeting no resistance other than words -- have taught Russia that it can be confident of little meaningful response from the current U.S. administration; and so, Russian behavior becomes more and more outrageous. A continuing lack of challenge can only mean that this process will continue, and Russia will become ever bolder and more ambitious in what it seeks to achieve.

Russia's latest demands for rolling back U.S. and NATO defensive preparations to how they were in 2010 would seem laughable, if it were not for Moscow's recent solid track record in manipulating the West to its advantage.

Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.

The refusal of the current U.S. administration to recognize the problem, extending to attempts to suppress congressional reporting on Russian hostile actions, is an abdication of responsibility for mitigating the long-term consequences of failing to deal with Russia.

The next administration will be left to pick up the pieces and do whatever possible to bring the Russia relationship back under control. If it fails to do so swiftly, the consequences are likely to be severe.
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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Old 10-25-2016, 11:09 AM
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Eastern Aleppo 'could be destroyed in months', UN envoy warns
By James Masters and Angela Dewan, CNN
Updated 12:55 PM ET, Thu October 6, 2016
RE: http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/06/middle...ion/index.html

Syria, a war on children? 03:42
Story highlights
UN says 861,000 Syrians are now besieged
France submits draft UN resolution over crisis

(CNN) On the day a senior United Nations envoy warned that Aleppo could be destroyed within months, France began a new round of diplomatic wrangling to bring an end to the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Syrian city.

French officials submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council Thursday for an end to hostilities.

The UN said at least 376 people had been killed in Aleppo in the past two weeks, and 1,266 injured.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said these figures were only from medical facilities, and that the real figure was likely to be much higher.
He also warned that if attacks continued at the current rate, Aleppo "may be totally destroyed" in the next couple of months.

"We are talking about the whole city," he said.

"The reality is ... at this rate unless there is any major game-changer ... the cruel, constant use of military (acts) -- bombing, fighting, destruction -- in Aleppo will continue. Let's be honest," Mistura said.

Jan Egeland, head of the UN-backed humanitarian task force for Syria, said the 275,000 people trapped in Aleppo must be added to the list of people living in besieged areas in Syria.

"861,000 Syrians are now besieged, meaning full military encirclement, no humanitarian supplies going in and no freedom of civilians to go in or out," he said.

"It is illegal under international law and is the reality of 861,000 Syrians."
He added that the number had increased by almost 400,000 since February.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, France's Minister of Foreign Affairs, said in a joint press conference in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, that the "situation is grave and serious" in Aleppo.

Lavrov said Russia was "ready to work" on the French resolution as long as it doesn't contradict any other UN resolutions or US-Russia ceasefire agreements.
According to Ayrault the resolution would lead to the " the immediate halt of the airstrikes, and second, the immediate access of the civilians to humanitarian aid, as they have been desperate for aid for months."

Regime forces took a key part of the rebel-held eastern part of the city on Thursday after weeks of bombardment, gaining control of part of Bustan al-Basha, Syrian state media and a UK-based monitoring group said.

The UN says 275,000 people trapped in Aleppo must be added to the list of people living in besieged areas in Syria.

The UN says 275,000 people trapped in Aleppo must be added to the list of people living in besieged areas in Syria.

The district is located on the front line between rebel-held eastern Aleppo and government-held areas in the center and west of the city. It is the first time the government has made gains in that neighborhood since losing the area to rebels three years ago, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The Assad regime has long warned that it will retake the whole of the northern city that has become the epicenter of Syria's devastating five-year civil war. The regime already controls some parts of the city, mostly in the west.

Propped up by Russian airpower, the Syrian regime has pounded rebel-held eastern Aleppo since it took the area under siege in July, cutting the population off from essential food, medical and fuel supplies.

Many Aleppo residents have told CNN correspondents who visited earlier this year that they were hesitant to use corridors open for their evacuation, saying they had heard horror stories of people fleeing other cities through corridors and never being seen again.
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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