State of the World 2015
By targeting Dadayev — the former deputy commander of a paramilitary unit formed by Kadyrov and run by the Chechen leader’s cousin, Adam Delimkhanov — the Federal Security Service (FSB) seemed to be ultimately targeting Kadyrov.
And now it appears that Kadyrov has successfully beaten back the FSB’s assault.
It was amid this turmoil that Putin vanished from public view on March 5, just six days after Nemtsov was assassinated and three days before Dadayev was charged.
“Putin appeared, live and legitimate, at exactly the same moment when Interfax reported that the Nemtsov assassination wasn’t a contract hit,” political analyst Leonid Volkov wrote on Facebook.
“Putin had to make a choice. Either feed Kadyrov to the FSB-men, or give up the FSB to Kadyrov. It’s a difficult and unpleasant choice … And he chose the one and only thing he could choose: Kadyrov.”
The secretary of state John Kerry, who has fought hard on the Middle East peace process, and was in Switzerland for the final stages of nuclear talks with Iran that Netanyahu has fought hard to scupper, pointedly refused to respond to questions about the Israeli election results.
State Department officials later said that Kerry called Netanyahu to congratulate him on the results. “It was a brief phone call,” said Jen Psaki, his chief spokesperson. “They did not discuss substantive issues.”
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Washington’s frosty response to Netanyahu’s unexpectedly decisive victory came as analysts predicted that relations between Israeli prime minister and the US president would not recover until Obama’s term comes to an end.
The rift between the Obama administration and the Israeli government reached rock-bottom earlier this month, after Netanyahu snubbed the White House by using a controversial speech before the Republican-dominated Congress to denounce the emerging nuclear deal with Iran.
“What I see is Netanyahu waiting this out until Obama’s successor is in post,” a well-placed diplomatic source told the Guardian. “The Israelis have good enough contacts in Congress and the Pentagon to keep going until either Hillary Clinton or a Republican president is elected in 2016. Israel will ride this out.”
THE MAKING OF A CHRISTIAN TALIBAN IN UKRAINE
Along with being a recruitment center, the former billiard club also serves as the headquarters of Korchynksy’s political organization, “Bratstvo” (in English, the Brotherhood). I find Korchynsky in a side room furnished with a large billiard table, worn-out leather sofa, armchairs and a piano. Lying on the piano are the notes of Chopin’s funeral march and the lyrics to the German national anthem, whose first verse, beginning “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,” harkens back to the Nazi era. It is perhaps an unfortunate choice of song for a political figure that is often described as an extremist, ultranationalist and fascist.
Korchynsky does not pretend to be moderate, but he doesn’t appreciate the worst epithet used against his forces.
“We are not Nazis,” he tells me. “We are patriots and nationalists.”
Korchynsky is nearly a caricature of a Russian-hating Ukrainian nationalist. His silver hair contrasts with his dark, bushy mustache, which is turned down at the edges in the Cossack style. The St. Mary’s Battalion, which is one of more than a dozen private groups fighting alongside the Ukrainian Army against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, is Korchynsky’s creation. It is also one of the more unusual volunteer formations in the ragtag forces taking on the separatists, incorporating an ideology that manages to mix Christian messianism with Islamic jihadism.