New ‘Praetorian Guard’ Seals Putin’s Hold on Power

Vladimir Putin now has his own private army to enforce policies he is borrowing from both Russia’s Soviet and czarist history.

The Praetorian Guard of the Roman Emperor became infamous as one of the ancient world’s most brutal military forces. Equal parts secret service, riot police and imperial bodyguard, this corps d’elite became a permanent force only after Caesar Augustus made himself sole master of the Roman world.

These handpicked soldiers were loyal first and foremost to the emperor. After the fall of Rome, the legacy of this imperial force inspired would-be emperors from Napoleon Bonaparte to Czar Peter the Great to create private armies.

A modern-day imperial strongman is resurrecting this idea once again!

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Bashar Assad: The Beginning of the End

“Based on current trend lines, it is time to start thinking about a post-Assad Syria.” That was the estimate of a United States intelligence official, based on events that occurred in Syria in May.

On May 21, the Islamic State captured the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria—four days after the same terrorists seized the city of Ramadi in central Iraq. With the capture of both of these cities, the Islamic State gained control of the vast region between them, ensuring the group’s supply routes for weapons. Continue reading