Links – February 2, 2016

I have been following events in Harney County, Oregon, where a group of (militants, insurgents, protesters, you name them!) has occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. They base their occupation on a bizarre interpretation of the United States Constitution that claims that the federal government cannot own land and the county sheriff is the highest level of law enforcement. Eleven of the leaders have been arrested, and four holdouts remain in the refuge. One of the group was killed by law enforcement officers during an arrest of the leaders.

That’s not nuclear, but it does have to do with national security from within. A great many right-wing militias have sprung up during Barack Obama’s presidency. Many of them share theories of government that include overthrowing it when they feel it has become too onerous. I retweet information from several of the local reporters who are covering the story. Many of the national reporters miss parts of the story because they are not acquainted with conditions in the West. Here are a couple of background stories to help you out. Photo from the second link: A view of Steens Mountain from the Buena Vista Overlook at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Update: more background.

Insights from the Thirty Years’ War that might help in today’s Middle East. And what is happening now in peace talks for Syria.

Everything you might want to know about Iran’s centrifuges.

Ramzan Kadyrov keeps on keeping on. The consensus among Russia experts seems to be that he is trying to keep a generous allocation from Moscow in the next budget deliberations.

It’s well known that corruption in Russia is part of the way the government is run. A number of commentators have suggested that the way to bring Vladimir Putin down is to expose the corruption that he is involved in. To some degree, the sanctions against Russia for its incursions into Ukraine have targeted some of the corruption, although that has not been their primary target. Now an American official has spoken directly of Russian corruption and has drawn forth heated denials. The commentators I read are divided on whether this is the beginning of an American campaign or a one-off comment, along with what its results might be. There seem to be no neutral commentators on Russia. Here’s a summary. Stay tuned.

The man who was president of Hungary as the end of the Soviet Union drew near.

US National Academies report on reducing HEU in research reactors.