Tag Archives: Insurgents

President Poroshenko asks the US for more aid against Russia

Speaking to Congress Thursday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked for America to provide support to Ukraine to help quell the Russian-backed insurgency in the country, in the form of lethal equipment and continuing the economic sanctions against Russia.

While, according to Al-Jazeera, the US government agreed to provide $46 million in new security assistance to Ukraine’s military forces, Poroshenko made a comment saying, “Blankets and night-vision goggles are important, but one cannot win a war with a blanket.”  The Ukrainian president asked the US to give the embattled country “special security and defense status.”

Poroshenko also requested further assistance from the US in the form of “lethal and non-lethal” military equipment to aid in physical confrontations against the insurgents.

The Obama administration has said they would help the Ukrainian government in the form of financial aid and material support such as bullet-proof vests and combat helmets, but according to RT, President Obama has previously pledged non-lethal support to the country, which they plan on maintaining.

Poroshenko also made a list of evidence to support his claim of Russia’s “imperialistic mindset,” which he says threatens, not only Ukraine, but the West and the global order.  Some of the evidence included Russian troops occupying South Ossetia in 2008 and Transnistria in a similar fashion in 1992, as well as the occupation of Crimea earlier this year.

“The security assurances that were extended to Ukraine then have failed to work, proving that no agreements or treaties can secure world order,” said Poroshenko according to USA Today.  “Therefore, I urge you not to let Ukraine stand alone in the face of this aggression.”

Some members of Congress are agreeing with giving lethal aid to Ukraine after hearing Poroshenko’s speech.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., both said various weapons should be given to Ukraine to help in their defense but they differ on the timing of providing such support.  While Hollen wants to wait to assess what is happening on the ground and within negotiations, Corker has said the US should have provided such support “when the Russians had 40,000 troops on the border…”

Iraqi Insurgents Storm Mosul, Reportedly Seizing US Weaponry

On Tuesday, insurgents representing a group which calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria stormed and captured Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. The armed rebel group had recently been disavowed by Al-Qaeda leaders, who disagreed with the extreme brutality of ISIS’ tactics. The Washington Post is reporting that, as ISIS fighters charged into the city from the west, many US-trained soldiers and police officers representing the Iraqi government dropped their weapons, stripped off their uniforms, and fled their guard posts, allowing ISIS to seize the entire city and several bases full of weapons, most of which were likely provided by the United States.

According to International Business Times, up to 500,000 residents of Mosul fled in advance of the attack. The city’s population prior to these evacuations was estimated at around 1.5 million people, making this a significant victory for the Sunni insurgency. ISIS also captured Fallujah in January. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki requested that Parliament declare a state of emergency and called on Iraqis to take up arms and fight back against the insurgents, which may have signaled to ISIS that the government lacks the manpower and resources to defend itself against the group’s advances.

Amid reports that the US is sending F-16s to Iraq, ISIS fighters seized a massive stockpile of weapons and vehicles, which likely included munitions supplied by the United States. The infamous Chechen jihadi fighter Omar al-Shishani was depicted in a photograph on Twitter examining a US-provided Humvee which may have been seized during the attack. The loss of US-supplied weapons to insurgents raises questions as to whether or not the Iraqi government has the ability to keep advanced American weaponry from falling into the wrong hands.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also referred to as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, claims to be an independent state representing Iraq and Syria, but is unrecognized by international bodies and is considered a rebel group by the Iraqi government. ISIS now controls a significant portion of land in the region, encompassing sections of eastern Syria and western Iraq, and plans to capture the Levant region in the future. Prime Minister Maliki has announced that security forces will be mobilized to combat the invasion.

The sudden seizure of such a large city has shocked observers, causing experts to reassess the strength of ISIS’ fighters. Also, the fact that government forces fled in advance of the attack calls into question the loyalty of Maliki’s soldiers and police officers, some of whom might have had sympathies for the insurgents.