Michael Weiss

How to Kneecap the Thug in the Kremlin

It's time to treat Vladimir Putin like the crime boss he is: Go after his money.

Since the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by Russian-backed and Russian intelligence-led separatists in Ukraine, Westerners have learned a great deal about Vladimir Putin and the regime he has built and overseen, uninterrupted, for 15 years. They've learned that an international tragedy involving the murder of hundreds of innocents weighs not at all upon the mind of the KGB czar. Russians had long grown accustomed to this fact, thanks to Putin's handling of the Kursk submarine disaster and the Beslan and Nord-Ost (aka Moscow theater) hostage crises, all episodes in which the president's mendacity, incompetence, and cold indifference to human life necessarily meant that more of it had to be squandered. But now Americans and Europeans have definitive proof of what motivates a Soviet-style post-Soviet dictator when it comes to the well-being of their citizens, too. An important lesson should be learned from this affair.

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Russia Is Firing Missiles at Ukraine

As the U.S. slaps additional sanctions on Moscow and Donetsk separatists, new evidence emerges that short-range rockets are being launched from Russia into Ukraine.

Just as news broke today that the U.S. Treasury Department was instituting a new suite of sanctions against Russia, video evidence has emerged apparently showing the most definitive proof yet of Moscow's direct participation in the ongoing war in eastern and southern Ukraine: Russian rockets being fired toward Ukraine.

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All Is Not Well in Novorossiya

From Moscow to Donetsk, Russia's resurgent revanchists are turning against each other. Are Ukraine's pro-Russian firebrands too hot for Russia?

In the week since eastern Ukraine's pro-Russian separatists withdrew from Slavyansk on July 5, ceding control of their de facto capital to Ukrainian armed forces, their allies in Russia have begun to turn on them. The rebels repaired to Donetsk, some 70 miles to the south, where they burrowed into the civilian infrastructure and, more or less, vowed to use residents as human shields against a feared Ukrainian invasion.

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Trust Iran Only as Far as You Can Throw It

American talking heads say that Iran is the key to defeating ISIS. But those in the know say the two "enemies" are actually secret allies.

"There has never been any doubt in my mind that elements within Iran's security services have facilitated ISIS," Col. Derek Harvey told Foreign Policy, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, a terrorist network-cum-jihadist army that has now taken over territory in Syria and Iraq that, when combined, is roughly the size of Jordan. "When given opportunities to interdict, or have an effect, [the Iranians] have refrained." 

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The Corleones of the Caspian

How Azerbaijan's dictator woos the United States and Europe.

On Oct. 9, 2012, the American subsidiary of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) purchased a five-story, 23,232-square-foot mansion in the heart of Washington, D.C., for the purposes of "expand[ing] its operations in the United States," as the Washington Business Journal put it. Oil is the one thing Azerbaijan has plenty of, and it's the one thing the United States is most interested in, so SOCAR's "operations" are bound to be extensive.

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