The Bell

Geneva II: What if We Set Expectations REALLY Low?

January 24, 2014

The goals of the Syria peace talks in Montreux are fairly straight forward: negotiate an end to armed conflict which has cost well over 120,000 lives and has displaced a huge percentage of the population. As I argued in my overview of the conference, there is absolutely no chance for success. So far, everything that […]

Ukraine Was Hijacked and America and Europe Are Next

January 23, 2014

My European and American friends, I know that you follow the news from Ukraine, and you have a picture of what’s happening. However, I’d like to explain how it concerns you. Ukraine was hijacked. You may remember Flight 93, the only aircraft that didn’t reach its target during the September 11 attacks: the hijackers headed to […]

Don’t Count Yanukovych Out… Yet

January 22, 2014

The draconian laws the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada passed by a show of hands on January 16 were intended to quash the Euromaidan movement. Instead, the action ignited a furious backlash among pro-European Ukrainians: tens of thousands of protesters braved the cold on Kiev’s Independence Square on Sunday, in intentional violation of the new legislation. Fighting […]

Syrian Peace Conference Now Certain to Fail

January 20, 2014

The Geneva II conference on Syria starts this week. The Syrian National Coalition, the internationally recognized opposition group, has decided that it will attend. The SNC also indicated last week that hopes for success were slim. But those hopes have now fallen to zero. This is not my wish, nor my opinion, but the only […]

Fighting Terror and Dissent in Putin’s Russia

January 17, 2014

In the aftermath of terrorist attacks and during times of societal turmoil, it is quite common to see the introduction of security or emergency measures which give security services increased powers. Sometimes these powers are time-constrained and meant as a temporary measure to—at least publicly—reduce the constraints on the security services ability to counter terrorism, […]

Russia is the Victim of Western Imperialism and Greenpeace is a Whore

January 15, 2014

Last week, Senegalese commandos borded the Russian fishing vessel Oleg Naydenov, which Senegal claims was fishing illegally in its waters. The Guardian reports: The trawler, the Russian-owned factory ship Oleg Naydenov, which regularly fishes off the west African coast, was boarded by armed Senegalese commandos near the maritime border with Guinea-Bissau last week and escorted back […]

Aksana Panova: Banned From Journalism For 2 Years

January 10, 2014

On Thursday this week a court in Yekaterinburg issued a two year suspended sentence to a journalist, Aksana Panova, for extortion. The sentence came with an unheard of addition: Panova is banned from working in media for two years. That the grounds for the conviction are ropey at best is worrying enough, though unsurprising for […]

The Massacre in Syria That Wasn’t

January 7, 2014

Updated January 10, 2014, 1255 GMT. See bottom for details. 80 civilians “massacred,” bodies thrown in ovens, and an international cover up of a horrific act of terrorism — these are just some of the striking claims made by the Russian network RT. On December 15th, the Russian state-owned media outlet formerly called “Russia Today” […]

Is Terrorism in Russia Really Getting Worse?

January 3, 2014

Readers might get the idea that the number of terrorist attacks in Russia is increasing because of a series of well-publicized suicide bombings in the central Russian city of Volgograd in December and earlier in the fall. With the Sochi Olympics coming up in February, a view of the map of terrorist bombings in the Russian Caucasus yields a sense […]

Volgograd and the Caucasus Emirate

December 31, 2013

The recent bombings in Volgograd and a car bomb in Pyatigorsk (3 dead) have captured the attention of the international community, not only because of the horrific nature of the attacks but because they have taken place in cities outside the Caucasus republics that are normally the scene of such attacks, and due to the […]