World View: Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland Forming Alliance to Confront Russia

World View: Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland Forming Alliance to Confront Russia

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland forming alliance to confront Russia
  • Health workers boycott Pakistan’s polio vaccination campaign after shooting
  • Two British brothers jailed for training at Syria terror camp

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!

Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland forming alliance to confront Russia

Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko, right, greets Lithuania's president Dalia Grybauskaite in Kiev on Monday (AP)
Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko, right, greets Lithuania’s president Dalia Grybauskaite in Kiev on Monday (AP)

Lithuania may supply weapons to Ukraine as part of plans to increaseits support to the Ukrainian military with the formation of a jointLithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian Brigade project. According toLithuania’s Defense Minister Juozas Olekas:

A joint brigade formed by Lithuania, Ukraine andPoland will provide an opportunity for Ukraine to learn fromLithuania’s and Poland’s experience of Nato integration and todevelop efficient armed forces.

The plan grew out of a visit to Kiev this week by Lithuania’spresident Dalia Grybauskaite and Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko.Grybauskaite announced that Lithuania would be providing Ukraine withmilitary aid, but did not specify if this would include weaponry or beof the non-lethal kind.

In a bizarre statement of a kind that we’ve come to expect fromthe Russians, Russia’s foreign ministry warned that supplyingweapons to Ukraine would violate international agreements:

We heard repeated confirmations from the [US]administration, that it only supplies non-lethal aid toUkraine. If there is a change of this policy, then we are talkingabout a serious destabilizing factor which could seriously affectthe balance of power in the region.

This is bizarre because Russia hasn’t worried about seriouslydestabilizing the region when it invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea,and continues to pour weapons and troops into east Ukraine, all inviolation of international law.

Lithuania already has a tense relationship with Russia. Grybauskaiterecently called Russia a “terrorist country” because of its troops ineast Ukraine.

Ukraine has been lobbying for months to receive military assistancefrom NATO as a whole or from the United States, but those requestshave always been refused. The new alliance will Ukraine to becomeintegrated with two NATO countries – Lithuania and Poland – thoughobtaining far fewer resources.

Ukraine is already in an alliance of post-Soviet countries. Thealliance is called “GUAM – Organization for Democracy and EconomicDevelopment” where GUAM stands for Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan andMoldova. It used to be called GUUAM, but the fifth member,Uzbekistan, dropped out. However, GUAM is more an economic union,while the new alliance is primarily military in nature. Paul Goble and Army Technology and Russia Behind The Headlines and Global Security

Health workers boycott Pakistan’s polio vaccination campaign after shooting

Gunmen killed four polio workers and injured three others on Wednesdaymorning in Quetta, in southwest Pakistan. The Lady Health Workers(LHW) association in the province subsequently announced a boycott ofthe polio campaign in Balochistan.

The polio vaccination campaign was announced earlier this month. Over238,000 children under the age of five were to be administered poliovaccine. The boycott will put the campaign on hold. At least 10cases of polio were reported so far this year from the region aroundQuetta. Many parents refuse to allow their children to receive poliovaccine, believing the Taliban claims that the polio vaccinationcampaign is a Western plot to sterilize Muslim children. Pakistan isone of only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic,along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, while polio has also reemergedin Syria.

Polio cases in Pakistan have been surging to record-breaking levels,thanks to the Taliban’s opposition to polio vaccine, claiming thatit’s a Western plot to sterilize Pakistani children. The Taliban havebeen murdering health care workers in Pakistan involved in polioproviding vaccines, ever since the U.S. administration bragged in 2011that a hepatitis vaccination program in Pakistan was used as a coverto locate and capture Osama bin Laden. Dawn (Pakistan)

Two British brothers jailed for training at Syria terror camp

Two brothers, Mohommod Nawaz, 30, and Hamza Nawaz, 24, both citizensof Britain, were sentenced to 4 1/2 years and 3 years in jail,respectively, after admitting to having attended a terrorism trainingcamp in Syria in 2013. According to the judge,

It is clear from the evidence from mobile phones thatyou both had been in a camp in Syria used for terrorist training.The evidence shows you were there for jihad, or holy war, andwanted to join an extremist group.

In August 25 of last year, the pair said they were going out for ameal, but instead left for France by car, and then flew to Turkey andultimately crossed the border to join a jihadist training camp.Later, they send a message by social media to selected friendsconfirming what they had done.

They returned to the UK in September but were stopped by borderofficers who found ammunition designed for use in AK-47 rifles, mobilephone pictures of a training camp, and videos of their trip to the warzone.

The jailing of the two men is the first in a string of cases, withseveral men convicted of terrorism offences in relation to Syriawaiting to receive sentences. At least three other men face similarcharges directly linked to activity in Syria. Others are awaitingsentencing for planning their own activity or assisting others.

European officials are becoming increasingly alarmed that thousands ofyoung men and women are traveling to Syria to join terrorist groups,including the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL).Some of them have already returned to Europe and others are expectedto return. The fear is that they’ll use the skills developed in Syriato perform terrorist acts in their home countries. Britain can’tprevent young men and women from going to Syria, but the new laws meanthat they can’t simply return to Britain and resume their former livesas if nothing had happened. BBC and Independent (Ireland)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Russia,Petro Poroshenko, Dalia Grybauskaite, Crimea, Nato,GUAM – Organization for Democracy and Economic Development,Pakistan, Balochistan, polio, Taliban, Osama bin Laden,Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, Mohommod Nawaz, Hamza Nawaz
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