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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 25-Sep-2014
25-Sep-14 World View -- Nigeria's army sees a turning point as Boko Haram fighters surrender

Web Log - September, 2014

25-Sep-14 World View -- Nigeria's army sees a turning point as Boko Haram fighters surrender

Nato reports a 'significant' Russian troop pullback from Ukraine

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Nigeria's army sees a turning point as Boko Haram fighters surrender


Schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in April
Schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in April

Nigeria's military says that the the leader of Boko Haram has been killed, and that some 270 militants have surrendered to the army and are being questioned. It is hoped that this will be a turning point that will lead to the safe recovery of the almost 300 schoolgirls that were abducted in April.

When the girls were first abducted, weeks went by with no visible actions by the government or the military to recover the girls. Some reports claimed various government and military officials supported Boko Haram.

However, in the last two or three months, the military has become much more aggressive in pursuing and fighting the Boko Haram militants. Recently, the military reported that Nigerian troops conducted coordinated air and land operations in furtherance of efforts at containing the terrorists in the North East part of the country. The fighters who surrendered have promised to cooperate with security officials by providing information on the whereabouts of the abducted girls. Guardian News (Nigeria) and Tribune (Nigeria) and Daily Post (Nigeria)

Nato reports a 'significant' Russian troop pullback from Ukraine

According to Nato's Lt Col Jay Janzen on Wednesday:

"There has been a significant pullback of Russian conventional forces from inside Ukraine, but many thousands are still deployed in the vicinity of the border.

Some Russian troops remain inside Ukraine. It is difficult to determine the number, as pro-Russian separatists control several border crossings and troops are routinely moving back and forth across the border. Further, Russian special forces are operating in Ukraine, and they are difficult to detect."

It's been estimated that 20,000-40,000 Russian troops are near the border with Ukraine, and they could be sent in for a re-invasion at any time.

It used to be that President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry would respond to obvious lies by Russia's president Vladimir Putin and defense minister Sergei Lavrov by thanking them for being so helpful and cooperative. It made me want to vomit. However, that strategy has been abandoned. Obama was harshly critical of Russia in his speech on Wednesday to the United Nations General Assembly:

"Recently, Russiaís actions in Ukraine challenge this post-war order. Here are the facts. After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt president fled. Against the will of the government in Kyiv, Crimea was annexed. Russia poured arms into eastern Ukraine, fueling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands. When a civilian airliner was shot down from areas that these proxies controlled, they refused to allow access to the crash for days. When Ukraine started to reassert control over its territory, Russia gave up the pretense of merely supporting the separatists, and moved troops across the border.

This is a vision of the world in which might makes right -- a world in which one nationís borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed. America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might -- that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones, and that people should be able to choose their own future. And these are simple truths, but they must be defended."

Russia has always claimed that any Russian soldiers in Ukraine were purely "voluntary." This has always been a laughable claim, as if thousands of Russian citizens would leave their wives and families, travel to Ukraine at their own expense, and risk getting killed. It's also contradicted by reports that Russian soldiers were ordered into Ukraine.

However, I may have found a way that the Russian claim might contain a grain of truth. Here's a paragraph from an article from earlier this month:

"About 190,000 members of the 760,000-strong Russian army are "volunteers," serving upon their own volition. They earn 18,000 rubles ($500) per month, a huge sum by Russian standards. They can be ordered into combat in Ukraine or anywhere else at any time, and there isn't even a contractual requirement that relatives be notified if volunteers are killed in the line of duty."

In other words, Russia's army has 570,000 conscripts and 190,000 volunteers, for a total of 760,000 soldiers. So perhaps the Russian soldiers that were ordered into Ukraine were from the volunteer force.

The United States has an all-volunteer army, so according to the Russian reasoning, there are no American soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria. Why? Because they're all "volunteers."

By the way, I don't know if my readers can wrap their head around this concept, but I thought Obama's speech was pretty good. He sounded an awful lot like President George W Bush. (See "12-Sep-14 World View -- President George W. Obama pledges to 'degrade, destroy' ISIS"). The speech would have been better if he'd mentioned the threat from China. BBC and White House and Moscow Times (9/1)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 25-Sep-14 World View -- Nigeria's army sees a turning point as Boko Haram fighters surrender thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Sep-2014) Permanent Link
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