A straightening of the lines – but of objectives too?

October 11, 2014

What seems a very long time ago – but is only just over a week ago, this tweet was sent:

The illustration speaks for itself relating to territorial gains during the “ceasefire” – particularly south of Donetsk.  At the time, it seemed to suggest a straightening of the lines prior to any “freeze” in the conflict.

A few hours ago, it would seem that assumption will be proven correct.

OK.  Asaide from any trust in any such agreement, it raises several large questions, (as well as numerous smaller and technical ones).  The issue of sustainability is one that was briefly touched upon, once again, only yesterday.

Amongst those large questions to be asked and answered, and having previously asked questions regarding the fate of Mr Girkin in June, similar questions must then be asked about the fates of various radical anti-Kyiv military commanders who will not deem any sort of freeze “mission accomplished” – even if creating a frozen conflict is deemed mission accomplished within The Kremlin.

What now for “callsigns” such as Motorola, Givny and several others – or the men they have led in battle – who will certainly not consider a small part of The Donbas “mission accomplished”?

What are the choices?

Motorola & Co spend the winter recruiting and arming themselves for a Spring offensive – with or without Kremlin backing?  Will The Kremlin risk that?  Is there any guarantee, with so many armed nationalists in Rostov-on-Don on the Russian side of the border as well as in The Donbas, that a feeling of being let down and/or abandoned mid-war, that those previously “useful” people will not now become an internal threat unless pacified somehow?

There is the option of assimilation – placing Motorola, Givny and others into political positions – but that is as likely to make the fledgling  political structure unstable, as it is to be the right mechanism to control these people.

There is the option of any new leadership jailing them for something or another, to remove them from circulation.

There is perhaps a method similar to that used to mellow Ramzan Kadyrov – the violent demise of family members to send a message.

There is also the option that they meet with an “unfortunate accident”, or a genuine and/or false flag assassination – but when it comes to “separatist terrorism” the academic studies show that decapitating such an organisation doesn’t work due to existing, trusted and predetermined command structures.  (For those interested whether metaphorical decapitation of terrorism works as part of an effective counter-terrorism strategy, I would humbly suggest the following academic works – “When Heads Roll” by Jenna Jordan, and “Targeting Top Terrorists” by the very clever Brian Price.)

Even if these leaders mellow, does it mean the men they commanded will – on either side of the border?

Opening the nationalist/far right Pandora’s Box, then training and well arming them in a neighbouring nation (rather than far off lands) as part of a proxy war was always going to be risky when not all the Pandoras have the same goals or definition of success – and by extension the same definition of mission accomplished.

Controlling such people will now fall upon the political structures put in place by The Kremlin on the eastern side of any agreed dividing line.  Whether they can be controlled, or whether they are capable of wrecking any “freeze” agreements?

Can the demarcation lines match the objectives of all concerned ?    We shall soon see.


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