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For Ukraine, It's Time To Shift To Guerrilla Warfare

Ukraine cannot win the war against Russia's superior military power. But it can at least try not to lose it — with methods like those used in Vietnam or Algeria. Last week's sinking of the Moskva warship was a perfect example.

Two members of the Ukrainian military walk on the debris caused by Russian shelling in Kharkiv

Ukrainian military walk amid the debris from Russian shelling in Kharkiv last week.

Jacques Schuster


Moscow's major offensive has begun in Donbas. The Russian military machine now appears ready to waltz mercilessly over eastern Ukraine, bringing death and terror.

Can the horror of the images that have been spread for weeks be surpassed? We have to assume so with an army like Russia's, which has made wanton murder and cruelty its trademarks.

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Let there be no illusion: Ukraine will not win this war. Moscow's military power is overwhelming — no matter how clumsily its invasion was planned. Even if Germany were to supply all the weapons it possesses to Kyiv, the Ukrainian army would not be able to defeat the Russians.

At least not in the sense in which European kingdoms defeated one another in the past, imposing humiliations and cessions of territory on the defeated, or at least demanding reparations for the endless suffering and damage the defeated unilaterally inflicted on them.

None of this is possible against the nuclear power of Moscow with its formidable conventional firepower as well.

Lessons from Vietnam and Algeria

But this realization that it can't win does not necessarily mean that Ukraine will lose the war.

What Ukrainians can achieve is to spoil the invader's attacks and make it impossible for him to exploit their own conventional-military inferiority and weakness to subjugate them.

Appear weak when you are strong and strong when you are weak.

This may sound modest, but it is hardly the case. The Vietnamese showed how it was done against the Americans, and before them the Algerians in the war against France. Both followed the fundamental lessons of guerrilla warfare.

One of those lessons is: know when to fight and when not to. A second: stubbornly dodge every decision as long as the enemy remains stronger, and accept no decision as final until a counterattack is successfully won. A third: appear weak when you are strong and strong when you are weak.

This strategy has the confusing property that the seemingly weaker side always wins and the apparent superiority turns out to be powerlessness; to the repeated dismay and embarrassment of the conventionally trained military and military policy experts.

Ukrainian military men in guerrilla structure in Odessa

Some Ukrainian military men in guerrilla structure in Odessa, Ukraine, 31 March,2022


The right weapons

It is easy to see that this will take a lot of time, a lot of hard and bitter and terrible war time. And weapons!

But these too must be chosen wisely. In the current debate over the delivery of heavy war supplies, the question of strategy gets short shrift.

Does it make sense to supply Leopard tanks when the Ukrainians can only lose open tank battles against the Russians? Wouldn't it be more effective to provide them with the best anti-tank missiles the West has?

In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Egyptians almost succeeded in wearing down Israel's state-of-the-art armored forces with missiles. Why shouldn't something similar be possible in Ukraine today? Last week we saw the lesson of the Ukrainian missile attack on the Russian warship "Moskva," where there was no need for another warship to sink the enemy's great asset.

In this case, the Ukrainians used the strategy of guerrilla warfare. It will not lead to a Ukrainian victory parade in Moscow, but, hopefully, it will throw off every laid plan of the invader.

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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