On March 28th, Eurasia Net, reported that Turkmenistan launched large unannounced exercises “in the dead of night”.
These movements consisted of: Land, Air, Naval, Air Defense, and Special Operations forces.
But what the heck were they doing with all of that firepower?
The Turkmen Military is largely a land based force based on the Soviet Model, as evidenced by utilization of the “Motor Rifle Division”, of which there are four, as well as breaking aid defense into its own branch.
As such, training and morale tend to be low, but utilization of massive amounts of artillery, T-72s, the infamous ZSU-23-4 “Shilka, and other highlights of the 1980s make up for the doctrinal rut Turkmenistan finds itself in.
After all, a country that has a holiday to celebrate its neutrality is not likely to pick a fight.
One can rule out a show of force to intimidate a state actor.
Turkmenistan, unlike Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, is largely devoid of conflict with its neighbors. It has friendly ties with both Russia and China, and provides the United States with an air corridor to Afghanistan, which makes deterring one of these actors unlikely.
The move could possibly be an attempt to reassert claims over the Caspian Sea, the dispute over these maritime borders with Azerbaijan, Iran, and Kazakhstan have been largely diplomatic in nature. It seems unlikely this is a shift to more bellicose policy regarding control of the Caspian Sea, as the Turkmen navy is composed of a few coastal defense craft.
It is conceivable that this exercise is not a demonstration of power against a state aggressor, but rather a demonstration to both Turkmen and Turkmenistan’s concerned neighbors, of Ashgabat’s border defense capacity.
Recent skirmishes have occurred along Turkmenistan’s Afghan border, including several Taliban militants being stuck being Turkmen and Afghan forces.
This is not an isolated incident, and Ashgabat has responded with the construction of fixed fortifications along the border.
Of perhaps greater concern than Turkmenistan’s formerly cordial neighbors, is the developing Islamic State (IS) affiliate in Afghanistan.
While there are only 1-3,000 IS fighters in Afghanistan, the appearance of weakness along the border may draw the attention of Moscow, who would understandably be concerned.
Thus, it seems likely that this show of force by Turkmenistan is a message to Moscow of Ashgabat’s ability to rapidly mobilize against a Iraq/Syria style IS takeover.
Is is not clear if Moscow will be convinced by this display, who has historically assisted Ashgabat in border control.
In any event, we should pay attention to what happens in Turkmenistan in the coming months.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!
Photo Credit: Gilad Rom/Flickr (CC by 2.0)
What Do You Think?
About the Author"John Massey has a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Alabama. His primary interest is in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but he also finds time to study French and political theory. "
You Might also like
Full disclosure: I am a diehard Bronco fan.
I grew up in Denver and there are two rules to living in Colorado: go to the mountains as much as possible, and place your emotional wellbeing in the hands of the Denver Broncos.
Denver is a great sports town with four professional teams, but the Broncos have been nearest and dearest to our hearts for the longest. If Coloradans had the option to get rid of the Broncos or to ax the Avalanche, Rockies, and Nuggets, I have no doubt that we’d still be showing up at Mile High on Sundays.
Hell, Tim Tebow is more beloved than nearly every Avalanche, Rockies, and Nuggets player ever. Football is the subtext of our state.
Other than the Carolina Panthers’ run at perfection, the biggest story in the NFL right now surrounds the future of Peyton Manning.
NFL.com reporter Ian Rapoport reported last Sunday that Manning would not be happy as the Broncos’ backup quarterback, which was quickly rebuked by Denver’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, and unofficial Governor of Colorado, John Elway.
Peyton has never told Gary or myself that he doesn’t want to be the backup. Any report or rumor that suggests otherwise is incorrect!!
— John Elway (@johnelway) December 20, 2015
Later that day, the Broncos lost a heart-wrenching game in Pittsburgh where Peyton’s backup, Brock Osweiler, carved up the Steeler defense to the tune of 15/19 for 238 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown in the 1st half. In the 2nd half, the Broncos didn’t cross the 50 yard line until 2:58 left in the 4th, running 32 plays that gained only 71 yards.
After the game, Peyton called Rapoport’s report “bullshit” and “insulting.”
Rapoport isn’t some random guy spouting nonsense on the internet; he’s a seasoned sports journalist, having been a beat reporter for Mississippi State, Alabama, and the New England Patriots.
Rapoport has covered the NFL as a whole since 2009, so it’s safe to say that this report was not plucked out of thin air.
The crux of the issue with the 2015 Broncos is that the offense Peyton has come to embody is fundamentally different from the one that new head coach Gary Kubiak wants to install.
Kubiak is a Bill Walsh disciple, and plugged Terrell Davis into his version of the West Coast offense en route to back to back Super Bowl titles as the Broncos offensive coordinator in the late 90’s. The Tom Moore offense that Manning ran in Indianapolis is primarily rooted in the passing game.
This is why the Osweiler vs Manning debate is less about each particular quarterback, and should be more focused on how their talents fit into the greater offense.
The Broncos are built to run the ball.
In short, Peyton wants to play fast and isolate certain matchups over and over again, while Kubiak wants to keep defenses guessing and chew up the clock with short passes and runs to set up a rolling play action that takes shots down field (If you want a terrific and more detailed breakdown of the difference between these offenses, read this piece from Mile High Report).
With Manning’s litany of injuries right now, he simply doesn’t have the mobility to run the kinds of plays that are integral to a Kubiak offense.
No sport is more dependent upon the system that the players play within than football.
For example, Demarcus Ware played outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense in Dallas and tore offensive linemen to shreds for a decade, reserving himself a spot in the Hall of Fame. He played last season as a 4-3 defensive end in Jack del Rio’s defense in Denver and was still good, but not the monster we had come to expect. He finished with 10 sacks, his lowest career output, save for his rookie season and his last injury plagued campaign in Dallas.
This year, until he hurt his back, Ware was arguably the best defensive player in the league, winning his first career defensive player of the month award in October. A big reason for this improvement? New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips replaced del Rio’s 4-3 with his aggressive 3-4 scheme.
This is why the Osweiler vs Manning debate is less about each particular quarterback, and should be more focused on how their talents fit into the greater offense. The Broncos are built to run the ball.
Both CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman are good running backs with complimentary skillsets, and their underwhelming offensive line is down to both their 2nd string tackles, which has led to some pretty ugly showings against good pass rushes (Khalil Mack single handedly destroying their offense most comes to mind).
Since Peyton likes to play out of the shotgun, the only way to meld Kubiak’s offense to what Manning is most comfortable with is to run the base formation out of the pistol, where the running back lines up around 7 yards off the line of scrimmage.
Basic logic dictates that the closer you are to the line of scrimmage, the easier it is to run the ball, and the Broncos have looked like a much more dangerous offense with Osweiler under center, executing the scheme Kubiak was hired to install instead of the awkward hybrid that Manning ran earlier this season.
That said, each players’ respective talents still matter quite a bit at the game’s most important position, and even though Osweiler is a demonstrably better fit for the Denver offense than Peyton is, he has not done enough to convince this partisan that he is a better QB than Manning at this moment.
Osweiler just doesn’t make enough big plays, as evidenced by his 6.71 yards per attempt, ranking him 30th in the NFL (to prove how weird this year has been, the three guys ahead of him? Joe Flacco, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers).
Osweiler has done more than enough to secure the starting gig next year, but if Peyton has recovered from his injuries (as much as he can, plantar fascia doesn’t go away quickly), and can run Gary Kubiak’s offense (the biggest question mark in all of this), he should be the starting quarterback.
Of course Peyton Manning wouldn’t be happy as a backup, he’s Peyton Freaking Manning!
But the implication in a report like Rapoport’s is his unhappiness will be disruptive, and given Manning’s reputation as the consummate professional, that isn’t likely to happen. Media-generated hysteria is what’s disruptive.
It’s why Tim Tebow can never be a backup QB.
Where this all seems to be headed is an amicable parting of the ways between Manning and the Broncos in the offseason, with Peyton either retiring or signing with a QB needy win-now team like the Texans or the Jets. If he does return, it will probably be at a dramatically reduced salary.
There is virtually no scenario where Peyton’s current contract stays on the books and all three of those guys return.
John Elway brought Peyton to Denver in order to win a Super Bowl and end his career much like Elway did, riding off into the sunset baked in blue and orange, but the closest this team has come to reaching that goal is being on the business end of a historic Super Bowl beatdown against the Legion of Boom (which this writer was present for, the Broncos performance forcing him to get drunk off of $14 beers).
This is Peyton’s last shot in Denver, and just because the quarterback of the future has looked adequate to good in his first few starts does not mean that a healthy and able living legend should be sitting on the bench.
Have a news tip? Send it to email@example.com. Like to write? You can become a RISE NEWS contributor.
Cover Photo Credit: Craig Hawkins/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 417
What Do You Think?
This Jail Dog Training Program Helps Homeless Dogs And At-Risk Prisoners Build New Lives For ThemselvesBy Contributor
By Bernard Lima Chavez
Prison dog training programs are becoming quite popular throughout the United States.
Through these programs, supporters say that prisoners help homeless shelter dogs learn basic obedience skills who in turn help prisoners learn a marketable trade that can lead to employment upon release. Backers of such efforts believe it to be a symbiotic relationship that gives a second chance to at-risk offenders, both human and canine.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 2.2 million people were incarcerated in 2011. Today, that number is estimated to be over 2.4 million. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that 3.9 million dogs enter shelters every year, of which 1.2 million are euthanized. By pairing prisoners with shelter dogs, two at-risk populations are given a life-changing opportunity.
Miami-Dade County has its own new and little-known jail dog program, the Second Chance Dog Training Program.
The Second Chance program has two simple goals: teach non-violent inmates a marketable job skill they can use upon release and provide behaviorally-challenged homeless animals from Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS), a second chance at life, free from the threat of euthanasia, through an intensive eight-week basic obedience training program.
The Second Chance program, which kicked off in September 2014, is a collaborative effort between MDAS, Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Services and Applause Your Paws, a dog training and boarding company based in South Miami.
“Second Chance Dog Training Program is a win-win for all,” District 4 County Commissioner Sally A. Heyman said in a press release. “The people in custody and dogs are better socialized and trained for adoption.”
MDAS built a special 2000 sq. foot dog shelter at the Corrections Department Treatment and Training Center and provide all veterinary care, food, bedding and supplies during the 8-week program along with monthly inspections of the facility and care of the dogs.
Participating inmates must express interest in the program, have no history of violence and a minimum of 60 days left on their sentence. The Corrections Department staff selects and supervises all inmate participants.
Dee Hoult, owner and lead trainer of Applause Your Paws, is the Training Director for Second Chance.
Hoult selects candidates from MDAS based on the behavioral history or training needs of each individual dog. To keep the inmate handler, staff, trainers and other dogs safe, any dog with a history of aggression is ineligible for participation.
Once at the Training and Treatment Center, the dogs are assigned to an individual inmate who is responsible for all daily care of his dog, including feeding, walking, bathing and daily cleaning of the dog’s kennel.
Each inmate has four supervised sessions with their dog each day; morning feeding, cleaning and exercise, late morning playtime and training, afternoon playtime and exercise and an evening feeding, training and exercise session.
Hoult conducts weekly training sessions at the jail, teaching the inmates proper dog handling techniques and training skills. The dogs are exposed to a formalized training plan designed to meet all requirements of the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen test.
At the end of the 60 days, dogs are eligible to take their CGC exam and earn their title.
In the program’s first eight months, 6 inmates have participated in the program. Of these, one asked to be removed from the program, two were replaced by Hoult and one continues to participate. His dog graduated last week and earned his CGC title.
Two additional inmates successfully participated in the Second Chance program, served their remaining sentences and have been released. Since their release, both men have found employment working with animals. One is an animal daily care supervisor while the other is a kennel worker. In both cases, Hoult assisted with job placement in the industry. Neither one was available to speak with RISE NEWS.
Of the six dogs who have completed the program, each one has earned his or her obedience title, though not always on the first attempt.
Hoult said that the biggest challenge to successfully earning the CGC title in a jail environment is a lack of human and canine distractions during training sessions and progress evaluations. As a result, some dogs don’t perform well during testing when other dogs or new people are brought in to function as a distraction, a key component of the CGC test.
Two dogs did not pass the CGC test during their final week in the program. In both cases, the dogs were given supplemental training at Hoult’s facility with a special emphasis on working in a distracting environment. Both earned their title within two weeks.
Upon completion of the training program, each graduating dog is placed up for adoption. The dogs are housed at Applause Your Paws training and boarding facility, where Hoult facilitates all adoptions on behalf of MDAS and in accordance with their adoption process and criteria.
All six have been adopted, though two were returned shortly after adoption. They were subsequently adopted again. Based on this experience, Hoult now offers all adopters two complimentary training classes to provide the adopters important information to help ensure the adoptions stick.
“Follow up training is a critical step in creating long term success because the humans need coaching in order to understand how to maintain the training their dogs received for the life of the dog,” Hoult said. “Dog training is a lifelong process and a two-way street. It is a dance between two partners who must be equally committed to each other.”
With the recent graduation of the third group of dogs, new dogs and new inmates will soon start working again, continuing the cycle of dog and man helping each other, a relationship that has been ongoing for thousands of years.
This story was originally published on www.risemiaminews.com.Post Views: 812
What Do You Think?
What’s News In This Story?
This interview is part of the “Tomorrow Lives Here” Conversation Series presented by Miami Business School.
–Lennar executive chairman Stuart Miller was born and raised in Miami.
-He also runs the country’s largest homebuilding company, which makes him uniquely qualified to talk about the future of South Florida’s housing market.
-In a wide-ranging conversation with Miami Business School Dean John Quelch, Miller talked about some of the biggest challenges facing his industry, the impact of the millennial generation on homeownership and why he thinks Miami is a “tale of two cities”.
–Lennar recently acquired CalAtlantic in a $5.7 billion merger that made the Miami based company the largest homebuilder in the US.
-Miller on the impact of the millennial generation on the housing market:
“Initially…the millennial buyer presented as very different. Every generation for the past decades has postponed getting married and having children a year, two years, three years later than the prior generation. But for the millennials it was even later. It was four, five and six years late. Some of that was just natural progression. Some of it related to the economic downturn but many speculated that the millennial generation would be very different than prior generations. In fact, now that they’ve started getting married and having children, we’re starting to see that the trends are very similar [to prior generations].”
—Here’s another cool story: —
Before National Fame, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho Started As An Undocumented Immigrant
RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital TV news network. Sign up for our awesome email newsletter to make sure you never miss a story!
Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.Post Views: 1,684
What Do You Think?