As America retreats inward, some new research from academic publishers reads like bulletins from minor conflicts abroad.
Since the beginning of 2014, perhaps 13,000 people have been killed in skirmishes between Russian and Ukrainian separatists in the industrial Donbas region, and nearly two million people have been displaced, one contributor reported in a ministry. new academic collection, THE WAR IN UKRAINA’S DONBAS: Origins, Contexts, and Futures (Central European University Press, $75), edited by David Marples, a historian at the University of Alberta. The fighting there is characterized by a blurred line – between regular and irregular forces, with regular military units in some places and guerrillas, militias and mercenaries in others. is different; Additional elements are also mixed in, like cyberattacks and foreign fighters. While Western militaries have increasingly focused on the use of precision weapons in recent years, towns in eastern Ukraine have suffered from inaccurate artillery and mortar attacks, even in civilian area. Like the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia has found that the use of private military contractors – i.e. mercenaries – in Ukraine is helpful in reducing the political impact of casualties. Some military experts describe this messy approach to conflict as “mixed warfare” and consider it a feature of our times.
As for its next move, Russia intervened in Syria in late 2015, deploying at least 500 Ukrainian veterans to the war. Ohannes Geukjian, a political scientist at the US University of Beirut, asserts that the purpose of Russia’s invasion of Syria was largely to assert the country’s status as a “great power”. RUSSIA MILITARY INTERVENTION IN SYRIA (McGill-Queen University Press, report, $39.95). He asserted that one reason Vladimir Putin fired cruise missiles into Syria from ships in the Caspian Sea was to show that Russia’s military power has a lasting influence. A subsequent Russian air and ground campaign has helped strengthen the threatened regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. I was amazed at the extent to which Russia, Turkey, and Iran then began to cooperate in Syria, with Russian heavy bombers operating from a base in western Iran, and Russian planes operating from a base in western Iran. Turkey and Russia conduct joint airstrikes in northern Syria.
As the United States has narrowed its military presence in the Middle East in recent years, Geukjian concludes, “the void has been filled by Russia and Iran, the new masters of the region.” A similar book, by Anna Borshchevskaya, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute, makes a similar point in its title: PUTIN’S WAR IN SYRIA: Russian Foreign Policy and the Cost of America’s Absence (I. B. Tauris, 27 dollars). Borshchevskaya also offered one of the most enduring sentences in American foreign policy history: “The United States threw the Kurds under a bus.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/31/books/review/the-war-in-ukraines-donbas-david-marples.html Russia, Ukraine and ‘Mixed Conflict’