Rick Francona

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CNN Opinion asked a range of contributors for their take on last week's attacks in Paris and how the war on ISIS must change if the U.S. and its allies want to defeat it. The opinions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of the authors.

Fareed Zakaria: What does ISIS want?

The barbarism of the attacks in Paris mark a new low in terror. The attacks were not directed against national symbols or government targets, but designed simply to kill innocent men, women and children. The murderers did not even bother to issue demands.

French President Francois Hollande has called Friday's attacks an act of war.…  Seguir leyendo »

There is optimism, and hope, that the Egyptian-brokered three-day "humanitarian cease-fire" between the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas will turn into a longer-term cessation of hostilities -- with good reason.

Why? Militarily speaking, Hamas is on the ropes. Although the group has survived an IDF aerial, naval and ground onslaught, it has suffered a severe blow. Despite its somewhat successful attempts to portray itself and all Gaza as victims of a disproportionate Israeli military campaign, in the end it failed to prevent the IDF from achieving almost all its military goals, while achieving very little on its part.

The Israelis stated early on in the campaign that their objectives were to find and destroy Hamas' networks of tunnels constructed under the Gaza border with Israel, tunnels designed to be used for offensive attacks on Israeli cities and kibbutzim in southern Israel.…  Seguir leyendo »

The current round of fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, in Gaza has been raging for over three weeks. Both sides have suffered casualties -- the numbers are much higher on the Palestinian side, as they always are.

The Palestinian death toll has exceeded 1,000, while the Israelis have suffered fewer than 50. There are many reasons for the huge disparity, not the least of which are the facts that the ground combat is taking place in densely populated Gaza, and the effectiveness of the Israeli anti-rocket/missile system known as Iron Dome.

Despite calls by the Egyptians, the United Nations and the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reported Thursday that the U.S. intelligence community has information that Russian artillery is firing into eastern Ukraine. The artillery pieces shown in the released footage are Russian M-46 130mm field guns with a range of a little over 16 miles.

Why would the Russians do this? Simple -- this fits into their plan to support pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The end game? I believe it is the eventual absorption of that region into the Russian Federation.

The area in red on the map is where much of the fighting between the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian rebels has been occurring over the last month.…  Seguir leyendo »