Archive for May 14, 2014

Treasury Department Announces Counterterrorism Sanctions Over al-Qaeda and ISIL Activities in Syria

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

Both al-Qaeda and ISIL, the latter formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq, have been trying to capitalize on unrest in Syria to develop a foothold there, with al-Qaeda also looking to use Syria as a base from which to strike external Western targets. The U.S. Treasury Department on May 14, 2014, announced counterterrorism sanctions against two individuals connected with al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and

Ukraine Holds National Unity Talks Without Separatists

Column in Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(VOA News – 5.14.14) Ukraine launched talks Wednesday on national unity without the participation of pro-Russian separatists who are seeking autonomy from Kyiv in the country’s east and southeast. In opening remarks, interim President Oleksandr Turchynov said his government is ready for dialogue. He also insisted, though, that Kyiv will not talk to the pro-Russian gunmen who have seized buildings and killed government troops near

Deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) reaches United States

MERS Coronavirus

An American who traveled to Saudi Arabia, and later returned via London to the greater Chicago area, is the first confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the United States.  The patient is currently being treated in a hospital in northwest Indiana. MERS is a type of corona virus, a broad family of viruses that includes the common cold and SARS.  Infection can result

NEWSLINK: Dozens die in Odessa, rebels down Ukraine helicopters

Commonwealth of Independent States, European States, adapted from CIA image through Library of Congress

[“Dozens die in Odessa, rebels down Ukraine helicopters” – Reuters – 5.2.14] Reuters covers violent unrest in Ukraine, including military action against rebels in eastern Ukraine, the later shooting down military helicopters. In addition, unrest unfolded in Odessa [which is not in eastern Ukraine, yet is closer to Moldova, a country which some commentators might be on Russia's list of lands to destabilize or divide].  Deaths occurred

NEWSLINK: Russia, West accuse each other of hypocrisy on Ukraine

United Nations Building and Flags

[“Russia, West accuse each other of hypocrisy on Ukraine” – Reuters – 5.2.14] Reuters covers UN Security Council meetings on unrest in Ukraine.  The fact that Russia has taken over permanent member status and veto power previously exercised by the now-defunct Soviet Union complicates efforts for the UNSC to act. Western powers and Russia on Friday used an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council

NEWSLINK: Vladimir Putin’s long—and very dangerous—game

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

[“Vladimir Putin’s long—and very dangerous—game” – American Enterprise Institute – Leon Aron 5.1.14] AEI examines the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for manufacturing crises there to bolster himself politically at home, in the face of Russian economic shortcomings. It is suggested that Western sanctions focus not just on deterring Russia from further interference in Ukraine, but be directed against negative developments

NEWSLINK: Ukraine forces in ‘full military readiness’ in case of Russia invasion

Commonwealth of Independent States, European States, adapted from CIA image through Library of Congress

[“Ukraine forces in ‘full military readiness’ in case of Russia invasion” – Chicago Tribune 4.30.14] The Chicago Tribune reports on ongoing unrest in eastern Ukraine, sustained by pro-Russian activists described by the U.S. Embassy as terrorists. Ukraine promises that it is on full military alert against the prospect of a Russian invasion: As pro-Russian separatists continued to make gains in their revolt against the government of

NEWSLINK: Ukraine Reinstates Conscription as Security Deteriorates in Eastern Region

Column in Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

[“Ukraine Reinstates Conscription as Security Deteriorates in Eastern Region” – VOA 5.1.14] VOA reports that Ukraine is restarting a military draft to bolster security capacities in the face of growing unrest in Ukraine’s east, beset by pro-Russian militants: Ukraine’s acting President Olexander Turchynov has reinstated military conscription to deal with deteriorating security in the east of the country. * * * Donetsk, a city of about