All roads lead to Rome for Xi

Source

March 25, 2019

All roads lead to Rome for Xi

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times ) by special agreement with the author)

All (silk) roads do lead to Rome, as this Saturday Chinese President Xi Jinping and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will sign a memorandum to adhere to the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Afterward, Xi becomes a magnanimous version of The Sicilian, visiting the port of Palermo, with Beijing intent on investing in local infrastructure.

Atlanticist hysteria has been raging wildly – with the simplistic narrative focused on the fact that Italy is a G7 member, at the heart of the Mediterranean “mare nostrum”, and crammed with NATO bases. Thus, it cannot “sell out” to China.

Conte and diplomats in Rome have confirmed that this is strictly about economic cooperation, and signing a memorandum is non-binding. Italy has, in fact, been informally aligned with the Belt and Road scheme since 2015 when it became one of the founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which finances scores of BRI projects.

EU members Greece, Portugal and Malta have also signed BRI agreements. Berlin and Paris have not – at least not yet. Same with London, but post-Brexit that will inevitably happen as trade with China will become even more important for the UK.

Here, in English and Italian, is the draft text of the memorandum, although the final version may be slightly more diluted to appease the Eurocrats at the European Commission (EC), which last week defined China as a “systemic rival”.

Milan’s Corriere Della Sera published a comprehensive op-ed signed by Xi Jinping himself, even quoting legendary writer Alberto Moravia. Xi stresses the “strategic trustworthiness” between China and Italy and vows to “build a new stage of Belt and Road in aspects of the sea, the land, aviation, space and culture”. So, yes, this is not only about geoeconomics, but crucially also about the projection of geopolitical soft power.

Hoping to emulate Singapore

I have already explained how Marco Polo is back in China, again, and how the EU is struggling to position itself in a common front when dealing with its top trade partner. The ongoing geoeconomic game is essentially about the Maritime Silk Road – with  Italy positioning itself as BRI’s privileged southern European terminal.

The port of Venice is already being upgraded for a possible role as a BRI terminal. Now, the possibility opens for Genoa and the northern Adriatic ports of Trieste and Ravenna to be developed by COSCO and China Communications Construction. Conte himself has already singled out, on the record, Genoa and Trieste as “terminals for the New Silk Roads”.

COSCO is on a roll. It has operated the port of Piraeus in Greece since 2008 and holds 35% of Rotterdam and 20% of Antwerp. And it plans to build a terminal in Hamburg. In the Battle of the Super-Ports, as I defined it, between northern and southern Europe, Cosco is betting on both sides.

Zeno D’Agostino, president of the Trieste port authority, even dreams of becoming the new Singapore, profiting from Chinese investment, while not renouncing to manage its new status – as happened with Piraeus. He has perfectly understood how, for the Chinese, Trieste is “the perfect gateway to Europe.”

Palermo is an even more interesting story. It happens to be the hometown of both Italian President Sergio Mattarella and, more significantly, Michele Geraci, the undersecretary of state for economic development. Geraci was a finance professor at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou from 2009 to 2018. A Sinophile fluent in Mandarin, he has been Rome’s point man negotiating with Beijing.

China directly investing in the Sicilian economy is a huge deal, totally in tune with Italian national interest in terms of expanding the role of a strategic bridge between southern Europe and northern Africa.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, left, is seen with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in this photo from late last year in Brussels. Photo: AFP / Dursun Aydemir / Anadolu

On the hypersensitive telecom front, it’s certain that every direct reference to data sharing, 5G and strategic infrastructure will not be part of the Italy-China BRI memorandum.

That won’t alter the fact that both Huawei and ZTE have been experimenting for years now on installing 5G in Italy. Huawei already sponsors two “smart and safe cities” research centers in Italy. And the recent opinion piece by one of Huawei’s rotating chairmen has made a huge splash not only in Italy but across the EU; Guo Ping argues that the reason for the current demonization campaign is that Huawei equipment blocks all back-doors available for spying by the US National Security Agency.

All aboard the BRI train

Moving on, when Xi visits France early next week, his focus will be totally different. The Paris establishment has not made up its mind yet on how deep to relate with BRI. Inside the EU, France is the top power in terms of constraining Chinese investment. So Xi’s strategy when meeting President Macron will rely on stressing cooperation on climate, global governance and peacekeeping operations.

According to media reports, Macron has also invited German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to join the meeting.

Beijing is very much aware that France chairs the G7 this year and is the crucial co-actor along with Germany in shaping EU policies, especially after the crucial European elections in May that may translate into a huge success for far right, anti-Brussels parties.

Beijing is also focused on guaranteeing a smooth China-EU summit in Brussels on April 9, which will make things much easier for the 16+1 summit of China plus Eastern and Central Europe nations in Croatia on April 12. The inescapable fact is that the 16+1 – the majority of whom are part of the EU – as well as Greece, Portugal, Malta and now Italy are all on board of BRI.

Advertisements

Why 2019 Ukraine Imports Terrorists and Exports Terror 1933-1991

March 23, 2019

by GH Eliason for The Saker Blog

Why 2019 Ukraine Imports Terrorists and Exports Terror 1933-1991

For the last 5 years, the world has gotten a glimpse of what Ukrainian nationalism is. “The Ukrainians” are never shy about claiming the right to murder their enemies. Since 2014, we’ve watched the entire government of Ukraine publically call for the murder of civilians in Donbass and Crimea as easily as the neo-nazi jackboots working for them murdered all those people in the May 2nd Odessa massacre of 2014.

Why are the US and EU supporting such a deviant political group? Why don’t they demand Ukraine act like it belongs to the community of nations?

The questions are tough ones considering the billions of dollars the US alone pumped into post-Maidan Ukraine. For its part, “the Ukrainians” are doing exactly what they have done since the end of WWII. The post-Maidan (revolution of dignity- their term) Ukrainian nationalists have gladly taken every penny offered and like their WWII political progenitors, they promptly stole most of it.

In the spring of 2014, following Ukraine’s coup of indecency, the first 3 billion dollars of US aid disappeared into a fund called Grandma’s Cookie Recipes and was never seen again. This was about the time coup activist Arseny Yatzenyuk and Peter Poroshenko’s wealth spiked. This level of corruption has been the norm for the last 5 years in Ukraine.

At the expense of the world, the Ukrainians have spent the last one hundred years trying to invent themselves.

The “Ukraine” was previously all the borderland between two competing empires. The Russian Empire to the east called their Ukrainian (means borderland) people “little Russians.”

The Holy Roman, Hapsburg, or Austro-Hungarian Empire to the west called their Ukrainian border people “little Austrians.”

This included over 18 nationalities that Ukrainian Diaspora leaders and historians called ethnic “Ukrainian” for the first time in Canada during the 1930’s through 1950s. Being Ukrainian was very much like being American in the sense it is not an ethnicity.

The 1930’s prewar and wartime Ukrainians were a political movement that started in eastern Poland’s Galician province and went to every extreme unsuccessfully trying to set up their own nationalist statelet under the supervision of Adolf Hitler’s 3rd Reich.

Of consequence, during WWII, all of the “little Austrian” regional nationalities congealed under the leadership of the Nazi, Stepan Bandera’s OUN. From that point, until they received their own states in the ’80s through the ’90s, they were under the direct oversight of Bandera OUN Nazis. Afterward, most of the established states like Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia never left the fold. In the West, the OUN Ukrainian lobbies gained too much power to walk away from.

“The Ukrainians” as a group quickly encompassed every nationalist group in Central and Eastern Europe. After WWII, with OUNb (ultranationalists/Nazis) taking the lead, diverse nationalist groups in Europe, Asia, the Levant, Far East, and Central and South America joined ranks under Stepan Bandera nationalists.

Following WWII, “the Ukrainians” set up governments in exile through their Diasporas with the help of western countries just as fast as the Cold War started. Until that point, the west including the US and Europe had no interest in Eastern European Nazis other than to try them for war crimes.

“The Ukrainians” gained notoriety during the Cold War as rabid anti-communists.  During the war, the Ukrainians developed their own assassination and torture group called the SB OUN. This group gained the OUN worldwide influence because of their brutal terrorist methods. In postwar Spain, they were trainers for Franco’s nationalists.

Most nationalist groups worldwide including Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese nationalists joined the “Ukrainian” OUN(Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) group called the ABN (Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations). The Ukrainians tried ineffectively to get the US involved in the Chinese civil war. The Ukrainians vowed to never fail again.

The Ukrainians acted unsuccessfully for the benefit of their Chinese nationalist group leader Chiang Kai-shek in the late 1940s and 50’s. Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists can literally be labeled as part of “the Ukrainians.” This was known as the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) which was started by Yaroslav Stetsko.

After his death, Slava Stetsko took over the ABN and leadership of WACL until after 1991 which signified Ukraine’s independence. WACL leadership fell to Chiang Kai-shek nationalist groups and after a generous renaming to World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD), they write human rights reports for the United Nations.

In the 1950s “the Ukrainians” organized a million man march on Washington. They were able to force then President Eisenhower to not recognize China and that remained the US policy until Richard Nixon changed it in the early 1970s..

Not bad work when you consider most of “the Ukrainian” Diaspora activists weren’t citizens, couldn’t vote yet, and the leaders were stateless Nazi leftovers like Yaroslav Stetsko who should have been tried for his people’s (OUNb, UPA, Waffen SS)conduct at all the death camps in Europe.

In the 1950’s they lobbied the US government into the Korean War to support Korean nationalist aspirations. In the 1960s, “the Ukrainians” were the reason the US jumped into the Vietnam War for the S. Vietnamese nationalist groups.

Going into the 1980s, the extreme nationalist governments in South and Central America joined the ABN. They became “the Ukraine” in the larger sense because they directly followed Stepan Bandera’s 2nd in command, Yaroslav Stetsko’s directives and started anti-communist revolutions as members of the ABN. Mass murder and torture followed them. This was what “the Ukrainians” brought to the table.

Throughout the Cold War, the various groups under the heading of “the Ukrainians” were tolerated by Intel Agencies because they had assets in communist countries that were supposedly working with the West.

The reality is that across the spectrum of the FOIA document releases about “the Ukrainians” under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, the consensus of the CIA, FBI, and US State Dept. is “the Ukrainians” were liars throughout the Cold War, could not be trusted, and only provided real Intel if it helped provoke a war with the Soviet Union, China or a proxy state.

During the post-war period from 1946 to the end of the Cold War, “the Ukrainians” were directly responsible for setting up and carrying out the torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people worldwide. The innocents only crime was not agreeing with” the Ukraine” (ABN) member’s nationalist/fascist state building political program.

Historically, the highpoint in ABN (OUN) Ukrainian history came just before Iran-Contra happened. “The Ukrainians,” thought they succeeded in buying the American Presidency. The Nazi Ukrainian leaders Slava and Yaroslav Stetsko brokered a deal financing Reagan’s presidential aspirations.

The Cold War ended. The Soviet Union split up. The value of generations of “Ukrainian” political Nazis dropped through the floor.

The speech then-President George H. W. Bush gave in Kiev August 1st, 1991 made that clear and can be put into context against this backdrop. Dubbed the “Chicken Kiev” speech, these small sections of the speech make it almost seem likely he was looking at Stetsko when he spoke it.

Because of his position in the CIA and the Reagan Administration, George HW Bush knew both Stetskos and all the Ukrainian nationalist leaders for over 30 years.

This speech outlining American policy is probably the only thing that kept a fully Nationalist Ukraine(OUNb fascist/Nazi) from being realized through the Diaspora before 2014.

“In Moscow, I outlined our approach: We will support those in the center and the Republics who pursue freedom, democracy, and economic liberty. We will determine our support not on the basis of personalities but on the basis of principles. We cannot tell you how to reform your society. We will not try to pick winners and losers in political competitions between Republics or between Republics and the center. That is your business; that’s not the business of the United States of America…

…But freedom cannot survive if we let despots flourish or permit seemingly minor restrictions to multiply until they form chains until they form shackles. Later today, I’ll visit the monument at Babi Yar — a somber reminder, a solemn reminder, of what happens when people fail to hold back the horrible tide of intolerance and tyranny.

Yet freedom is not the same as independence. Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred.” – George HW Bush August 1991

Slava Stetsko, wife of Yaroslav Stetsko was the only post-WWII Nazi leader to take an MP position in a post-war government. Her people were at Babi Yar too. They were there committing the atrocities in September 1941. The surviving members of her OUN and UPA along with their children, the 2nd generation of Ukrainian nationalists were at Babi Yar with President Bush commemorating their own work 50 years later.

Slava Stetsko was in Ukraine SSR on June 30, 1991, to celebrate her late Ukrainian nationalist husband Yaroslav’s speech and action “declaring” a free Ukraine 50 years before. Yaroslav Stetsko celebrated by starting the Lviv Pogroms on June 30, 1941.

Apparently, Stetsko thought to murder innocent Jews was great fun and the Ukrainian nationalists had 2 more pogroms within the next month. They even dedicated one of them at the end of July to the last nationalist leader who murdered 100,000 Jews during the 1917-18 pogroms and failed to establish a state. The late July pogroms were called “Petliura Days.”

She came back in July when it became clear Ukraine would secede from the Soviet Union. Her husband Yaroslav Stetsko was 2nd in command of Stepan Bandera’s OUNb until his death. Babi Yar was the first act of the Holocaust in WWII at a large scale. Over 36,000 Jews were killed by OUN members of the auxiliary police in only a few short days.

There is little doubt she attended the Bush speech. And if there was an incarnation of the evil he spoke against gaining power or office, it was her and her Ukrainian nationalists.

The irony is that this Nazi leader took a Senate position the very next year in a post-Soviet government ruling the very people both she and Adolf Hitler were intent on wiping out 45 years before. In 1945, even as the 3rd Reich was falling, she was in Berlin begging Adolf Hitler for more armies.

In an interview, Stetsko made it clear Slava Stetsko never felt bad enough to lose a night’s sleep over anything she or her Ukrainians had ever done. As the leader of the OUNb from the mid-’80s until her death, she was the worldwide leader of “the Ukrainians” and their various Diasporas currently totaling over 20 million voters in the US alone and have a profound effect on US elections.

Most of the WWII death camps in Europe were staffed mainly by “the Ukrainians.” In the Diaspora Slava Stetsko was still leading “those Ukrainians” spread across the globe in 2002. The nationalist groups that still existed in Ukraine and the Diaspora were never even made to apologize for the murder of millions. Let that sink in for a moment.

In a landmark work , Genocide Committed by Ukrainian Nationalists on the Polish Population During World War II, Ryszard Szawlowski characterizes it this way:

“the Germans have long admitted to their crimes, and have apologized for them publicly …. [The] president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Roman Herzog, [said] in his speech in Warsaw on August 1, 1994 … ‘I bow before the fighters of the Warsaw Uprising, and before all the Polish war victims. I beg forgiveness for what the Germans did.’ Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when he kissed monsignor Zdzislaw Peszkowski on the hand, whispered the words ‘I apologize’ ….

Ukrainian genocide committed against the Poles during World War II surpassed German and Soviet genocide …. [It] was marked by the utmost ruthlessness and barbarity, and … up until the present day, it has been denied or, at best, presented with reminders that all is “relative’ or other such evasions.”

Should “the Ukrainians” have been educated in how to act civilly before being handed a state in 1991? One month before an independent Ukraine joined the community of nations, “the Ukrainians” celebrated pledging their honor and loyalty to Hitler and Nazism forever as well as the beginning of the 1941 Lviv pogroms. This was part and parcel with commemorating the 1941 declaration. The festivities were grand marshaled by Slava Stetsko.

From the 1940s through the fall of the Soviet Union, the CIA made it clear every time they wrote about the Stetskos that the only time these people or their groups told the truth was when it got them something. The Stetskos were and Ukrainian nationalists are liars.

According to the Ukrainian Encyclopedia written by former SS officers, “The Ukrainians” nationalist political program demands that they can never change direction. They lie and betray as a matter of course. Whether or not lying was necessary to attain their goals is a different subject. The CIA files make it clear, lies were the preferred method of communication for Ukrainian nationalists.

After 1991 and before the nationalist revival, nationalists in Ukraine were rewriting their history, and the monsters of the world from WWII became heroes.

Szawlowski’s work on the genocide committed by Ukrainian nationalists during World War II is brought up to date by the recent observations of Ukrainian Wiktor Poliszczuk. “… he condemns the dangerous activities of the post-UPA [Ukrainian Insurgent Army] nationalists in present-day Ukraine, taking place not only in Lvov, but even in Kiev, ‘Galician Fundamentalism,’ and other such phenomena. Also criticized by him are the promoting of the totalitarian and genocidal doctrines of the Ukrainian Dmytro Dontsov, the erecting of monuments to the SS-men of the 14th Ukrainian SS Division “Galizien” (“Halychyna”), the OUN [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists] and UPA leaders: Yevhen Konovalets, Andryi Melnyk, Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych and others, and the glorifying of the murderers of Poles, Jews, Russians and Ukrainians as national heroes of the Ukraine, after whom streets and squares are named, awaking the spirit of the Dontsov and Bandera era, so much hated by people.”  This was written only a few years ago.- The July 1943 genocidal operations of the OUN UPA in Volhynia

The shame of post 2014 Ukraine is that its only equivalent would be the civilized world giving “the Ukrainian” Waffen SS death camp guards and officers charge of Israel. Giving them free reign to do as they will, then turning a blind eye to the fact they still practiced NAZI politics and the final solution was what they were determined to attain.

If this seems unlikely, we know that 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust.

Hitler and “the Ukrainians” (nationalists from outside the Soviet Ukraine) murdered at least 8 million inside the borders of today’s Ukraine. And since 2014 “the Ukrainians” are finally in charge of the families of people they murdered in the Great War.

Part 2 will examine the role “the Ukrainians” played in the rise of Al Qaeda and ISIS as well as how they support them. We’ll also look at the barbaric role “the Ukrainians had in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, and other countries in the run-up to the 2019 Ukrainian election.

Hindutva And Fascist White Nationalism: A Match Made in Hell

By Adam Garrie
Source

In 2011, the fascist Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb in central Oslo before travelling to Utøya island where he opened fire on children on a camping holiday. Overall, Breivik murdered 77 people whilst he injured over 300. While Breivik has been behind bars since committing the atrocities of 2011, his name has been back in the news after the terrorist behind the barbaric attacks on two New Zealand mosques claims that Breivik (through his proxies) offered his support for the atrocities in Christchurch.

In many respects, the Australian terrorist of Christchurch infamy acted in a manner that sought to copy the methods and mentality of Breivik. This including the drafting of a political manifesto that was published online just before the beginning of the attack.

Going back to 2011, it is helpful to remember that in addition to citing figures from European history as inspirations for his attack, Breivik also extolled what he thought to be the virtues of the Hindutva ideology.  But far from distancing himself from Breivik, former BJP Indian parliamentarian B.P. Singhal openly revelled in Breivik’s anti-Islamic cause. In 2011, Singhal stated:

“I was with the shooter in his objective, but not in his method. If you want to attract the nation’s attention, surely you need to do something drastic and dramatic, but not killing people”.

Whilst Singhal’s qualified support for Breivik is both disturbing and distasteful, Singhal then went on to qualify his initial qualified remarks by apparently justifying violence against Muslims. According to Singhal, the Holy Quran is “violent” and as such, sometimes “violence must be fought with violence”.

But far from being an aberration, Singhal’s support for a fascist European killer follows on from a long line of Hindutva politicians and theorists who openly praised Adolf Hitler and other extreme European leaders. Hindutva’s founding father Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an unabashed admirer of both Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and fascist Italy’s Benito Mussolini. Beyond this, Savarkar blamedEuropean Jewry for the Holocaust and went on to compare his own views on south Asian Muslims with Hitler’s views on European Jews.

At one point, Savarkar stated that Indian Muslims should be treated in the way that African Americans were treated in the United States during the Jim Crow Era, even though this racist remark was mild compared to his desire to create a Hindutva empire that would see Pakistan (West and East as it was at the time) wiped off the map.

With the revival of Hindutva extremism under the BJP government of Narendra Modi, a fascination with Hitler and European fascism in India has likewise been documented by foreign observers. As recently as 2017, even the BBC recognised that neo-fascists in Europe and North America were reviving the concept that Hindutva extremism and white supremacist extremism should cooperate in order to fulfil various socially exclusive goals. In particular, the BBC noted how 21st century western fascists have come to admire the European born Hindu convert and promoter of Hindutva ideology Savitri Devi as a figure of inspiration.

Just months ago, Qatari broadcaster and news outlet al-Jazeera observed that based on both pre-Hitler theories on how central Europeans were related to ancient Indo-Aryans and also due to a shared contemporary hatred of Muslim people and the religion of Islam, the world had witnessed a burgeoning growth in a political and ideological alliance between western fascists and Hindutva extremists in India and beyond.

But the story does not end there. Through the power of the internet, it is now possible for western fascists to watch English language Hindutva television programmes on a 24/7 basis. While there is plenty of western pro-fascist material to occupy the time of western extremists, because Indian media tends to give extremist views a veneer of respectability that is otherwise missing in much of Europe and North America, Hindutva propaganda is in many respects the perfect way for western fascists to both gain inspiration and to further internationalise their cause.

Thus far, Turkey’s broadcaster TRT World has been helpful in offering the wider world a critical glimpse of the hateful rhetoric that spews continually from pro-BJP platforms as well as in film.

The growing ties between the western fascist revival and India’s increasingly prominent Hindutva socio-political movement continue to receive only marginal attention. And yet, while the BJP’s militant wing RSS continue to promote violence in India, Europe and the west as a whole are sleepwalking into an era in which a western version of RSS may well be right around the corner.

If people throughout the world are genuinely concerned with ebbing the flow of extremism, the Hindutva-Fascist axis must be both named and shamed.

New Zealand and the Positive Feedback of Violence:

March 15, 2019

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

The tragic news of terrorism in New Zealand highlights the failure of Western governments in dealing with it.

In its policy of denial of addressing ISIS-like activities in the West, Western governments have inadvertently given ultra-right wing elitist Fascists the green light to take the law in their own hands to “avenge” the terrorism of Salafist/Wahhabi/Jihadi terrorists on innocent Westerners thereby driving them to kill innocent Muslims.

It is hard to think of a policy that is more antithetical than the manner in which the West deals with the so-called “Islamic terrorism”.

On one hand, at least as far as the Western media outlets are concerned, the West is duly adamant in its “war on terror”, all the while feeding it from the other hand. The topic has been so widely addressed and proven beyond any reasonable doubt, and there is no need to even try to provide more evidence that Western policies have capitalized on Wahhabi doctrines and nurtured and facilitated the emergence of Al-Qaeda and ISIS in the Middle East, all the while it is trying to control followers of the suicidal devotees at home, ie in the West.

The recent terror attacks in Europe over the last 3-4 years are a gruesome testimony, and the failure of Western governments in dealing with those serious massacres left many Europeans not knowing how to deal with them other than in one of two manners, either by shifting their votes towards ultra-right wing parties, or taking the law in their own hands.

In saying this, we must keep in mind that at least some massacres that recently happened in the West had the fingerprints of ISIS, but were not pronounced as such. The infamous Las Vegas massacre stands out like a sore thumb. As a matter of fact, ISIS did “claim responsibility” for the attack, but the claim was played down by the media and by the Trump Administration as well as the highly-charged Democrats digging extremely deeply in dirt and sniffing with radio-telescope-sized nostrils, desperately trying to find anything against Trump, including hiring highly-imaginative fiction script writers who are capable of writing a story, any story, upon which they can impeach President Trump.

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to ISIS attacks on the West that highlight the inabilities of Western governments to curb it, both the American Democrats and Republicans have an unwritten agreement of bipartisan inaptitude-based silence.

But the infamous November 2015 Bastille Day attack in Nice, the London Bridge and Manchester attack, the Munich attack, just to name a few, were undeniably ISIS-inspired attacks. And what did the governments of France, the UK, and Germany do in way of preventing such further attacks? Nothing much that would give Western residents enough feeling of security.

Fear breeds insecurity and insecurity breeds radicalism, violence and counter violence.

When the West under the presidency of Jimmy Carter and advice of Zbigniew Brzezinski decided to turn on the Afghani Mujahideen, in their shortsightedness, not realizing that they were opening a Pandora’s box that is far bigger than they could even imagine, in their second-tier failure, and without giving a second thought as to whether or not they monster they were awakening/creating was going to chase them home, they are now facing not only the Jihadi monster that they cannot switch off, but also a domestic ultra-right one that is potentially capable to inflict much more harm to the democratic fabric of Western society.

Shifting blame does not solve problems, but in between the supposedly developed and rational West and the Middle East that is still by-and-large stuck in medieval ideologies, there is logically a bigger onus on the West to be the “wise guy”, but it has proven to be anything but.

New Zealand does not deserve any of this violence. New Zealand is a nation with a predominantly Western culture, but it is also one that endorses its indigenous Maori culture. It has a very compassionate refugee policy, and ever since its former late Prime Minister David Lange made a stand against nuclear US Navy vessels docking in his country in the 1980’s, New Zealand has taken many steps that clearly position itself as the Switzerland of the South Pacific. And this is perhaps why Brenton Tarrant chose New Zealand as his theatre of action. In fact, he did say that he chose the most unlikely place on earth in order to prove that no place is safe for the “invaders”.

Terrorists of all flavours and descriptions, and there is no philosophical difference between them at all, seem to be embarking on a highly dangerous path of proving their worth by planning and perpetrating unprecedented acts of terrorism. They see such acts like sportsmen and woman see sporting achievement records, and every achiever tries to break records.

Some sanity has to prevail to stop this vicious cycle of positive feedback of violence.

Arms sales to Middle East increase dramatically, research shows

Saudi Arabia’s arms purchases grew by 192 percent over 2014-2018 (AFP)

By 

in

New York, United States

Arms flows to the Middle East grew by 87 percent in the past five years and now account for more than a third of the global trade, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report on Sunday.

The defence think tank’s annual survey showed that Saudi Arabia became the world’s top arms importer between 2014-18, with a growth of 192 percent compared to the preceding five years.

Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq also ranked in the top 10 list of global arms buyers.

The report shows how the United States and European nations sell jets, jeeps and other gear that is used in controversial wars in Yemen and beyond, SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman told Middle East Eye.

“Weapons from the US, the UK and France are in high demand in the Gulf, where conflicts and tensions are rife. Russia, France and Germany dramatically increased their arms sales to Egypt in the past five years,” said Wezeman.

The growth in Middle Eastern imports was, in part, driven by the need to replace military gear that was deployed and destroyed in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya, said Wezeman.

It was also driven by tensions and a regional arms race, he added.

Exporting American’s gun problem? The proposed rule that has monitors up in arms

Read More »

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel are readying for a potential conflict with Iran, said the 12-page report. Since 2017, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and others have rowed with Qatar in a rift, which, at times, looked like it could turn violent.

Between 2014-18, Saudi received 94 combat jets fitted with cruise missiles and other guided weapons from the US and Britain.

Over the next five years, it is set to get 98 more jets, 83 tanks and defensive missile systems from the US, 737 armoured vehicles from Canada, five frigates from Spain, and Ukrainian short-range ballistic missiles.

Between 2014-18, the UAE received missile defence systems, short-range ballistic missiles and some 1,700 armoured personnel carriers from the US as well as three corvettes from France, the report says.

Qatari imports grew by 225 percent over the period, including German tanks, French combat aircraft and Chinese short-range ballistic missiles. It is set to receive 93 combat aircraft from the US, France and Britain and four frigates from Italy.

Iran, which is under a UN arms embargo, accounted for just 0.9 percent of Middle Eastern imports.

For Wezeman, “the gap is widening” between Iran and its foes across the Gulf, which have more advanced weapons.

US remains top arms seller

The US has kept its position as the world’s top arms seller. Its exports grew by 29 percent these past five years, with more than half of its shipments (52 percent) going to customers in the Middle East.

British sales grew by 5.9 percent over the same period. A total of 59 percent of UK arms deliveries went to the Middle East — most of it combat aircraft destined for Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Arming governments in the turbulent Middle East is increasingly controversial in the West, said Patrick Wilcken, an arms control specialist with Amnesty International, a UK-based rights watchdog.

He pointed to cases where sales are merited – such as re-tooling Iraq’s army after it lost much of its hardware and territory during the so-called Islamic State (IS) group’s surprise attack in 2014.

But, more often, western arms end up being used in human rights abuses, he added, pointing to Egypt’s crackdown on opponents, Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

He blasted the “hypocrisy” of western governments not following their own rules by continuing to supply authoritarian leaders who commit wartime abuses or violations against their own people.

“A critical problem for the region is the emergence of armed groups like IS,” Wilcken told MEE.

A critical problem for the region is the emergence of armed groups like IS

– Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International

“In Yemen, totally unaccountable militias are being armed and supported by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which is setting the scene for a future period of instability and human rights violations.”

The problem has not gone unnoticed in western capitals.

In the US, lawmakers in both houses have passed resolutions to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition, though US President Donald Trump has vowed to veto the document if it reaches his desk.

In Britain, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a ban on arms exports to Saudi. Last month, a parliamentary committee concluded that the UK was on “the wrong side of the law” by arming Riyadh.

In October, Amnesty released a report about French-built armoured vehicles being used by Egyptian government forces to “disperse protests and crush dissent” in crackdowns between 2012-2015.

Germany, however, has taken a stand. This week, it extended until the end of March a unilateral freeze on arms supplies to Saudi over its war in Yemen and the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

This has caused a rift with Britain and France, its partners in European defence projects, as it puts a question mark over orders, including a $13.1bn deal to sell 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Riyadh.

Jeff Abramson, a scholar at the Arms Control Association, an advocacy group, said the US should follow Germany’s example.

“Instead of being challenged, the US continues to claim a larger share of an expanding global arms market,” Abramson told MEE.

“As such, the US should take the lead in promoting responsible behavior, rather than encouraging trade to repressive and irresponsible regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

Other findings

The report made other interesting findings.

These past five years, Turkey has increased exports of armoured vehicles, missiles and other gear by 170 percent, becoming the world’s 14th most important arms exporter and the second biggest in the Middle East, after Israel.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE were among Turkey’s top three importers of weapons in the past five years, despite Ankara being at odds with its customers over Khashoggi and the blockade on Qatar.

Continuing to buy arms from Turkey may be a bid by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to keep ties with Ankara on track despite the rift, said Wezeman.

Also, Algeria increased its arms imports by 55 percent over the past five years, with shipments from Russia, China, Germany and elsewhere.

This made it the world’s fifth biggest arms importer despite only having a $168bn economy.

Algeria buys arms for military prestige, to tackle militants from neighbouring Libya and because of its “long-standing rivalry with Morocco”, said Wezeman.

Sipri measures the volume of deliveries of arms, not the dollar value of deals. The volume of deliveries to each country tend to fluctuate, so it presents data in five-year periods that a give a more stable indication of trends.

Gone with the Wind: The Disastrous Passion of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron

Gone with the Wind: The Disastrous Passion of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron

MARTIN SIEFF | 06.03.2019 | WORLD / EUROPE

Gone with the Wind: The Disastrous Passion of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France have run their once great nations into the ground as rage, frustration, poverty and fear erupt across the streets of Western Europe. But Merkel and Macron are not concerned: They have eyes only for each other. Their mutual regard and unlimited support for each other’s catastrophic policies continue unabated.

Merkel has been in power for more than 13 years and is old enough to be Macron’s mother. Macron is a neophyte of less than two years in power, though with an inflated sense of self-regard as ridiculous as the comic character of Mr. Toad in the British children’s book, “The Wind in the Willows.”

Merkel and Macron share the same assumptions, were raised up by the same forces and are endless feted and fraudulently praised by the same worthless pundits.

Both are arrogant elitist intellectuals. Both believe in stripping and shrinking the social functions and responsibilities of the state towards the weak and the poor. Both agree that the state should help and protect large national corporations and that ordinarily people rate a poor second to this: In fact they do not rate at all.

Both believe that they and their regimes represent the absolute perfections of human achievement and therefore must be replicated around the world, instantly if possible. Merkel looks to advance regime change to the east, across all of Eurasia. Macron in his faux-Mussolini style dreams of being the neo-Napoleonic wise leader of the Mediterranean, orchestrating the remaking of the Maghreb across North Africa and of the Arab Middle East.

Both leaders see themselves selfless, visionary internationalists and regard Presidents Donald Trump in the United States and Vladimir Putin in Russia with fastidious distaste because they presume to put the interests of their own peoples first.

Both Merkel and Macron have condescending contempt for their own peoples and believe the native populations of their countries need injections of millions of immigrants from around the world as quickly as possible. Neither of them cares a fig for the values of the Christian civilizations that built and embodied their nations for more than a millennium. Instead, they openly despise those who take their national heritage seriously.

Yet there is also a strange, even creepy mutual attraction between the aging German chancellor and the (supposedly) young and dynamic French president.

Neither of them ever had any children. Merkel likes to play the wise and experienced stateswoman to younger, callow world leaders who share her superficial fashionable assumptions. Barack Obama of the United States filled that role for her and Obama, whose ignorance of affairs outside the borders of the US was proverbial, eagerly appreciated her condescension.

As Obama left office, he memorably praised Merkel as his closest friend among world leaders. This comment, farcically, stunned British Prime Minister David Cameron whose spin machine had for six years pumped out the reassuring fairy tale that Cameron was the closest confidant to Obama and his trusted sidekick on the world scene.

Macron has always gravitated to older women. His wife is 24 years older than he is and they met when she was his teacher in high school.

In the United States and Britain, this kind of misalliance would have been fodder for the tabloid newspapers. The National Enquirer and the Daily Mail could have run with prurient speculations on the nature of their relationship for years. In France, where no human proclivity surprises people they take this kind of thing in their stride.

Still, for Macron the progression from his wife to Merkel is as consistent as Merkel replacing Obama with Macron as her admiring young disciple and/or favorite nephew.

However, the most enduring image that the strange Merkel-Macron pairing conjures up is an older one. Before World War II, the most enduring popular romantic movie of all time was made in Hollywood – “Gone with The Wind,” a tear-jerking melodrama of passionate love between privileged white racists in the Antebellum South before the US Civil War.

It is not at all too much of a stretch of the imagination to see Macron farcically replacing the chiseled features of Clark Gable as unscrupulous, rather fraudulent but always dashing gambler Rhett Butler and the imperious Kaiserin (Lady Empress) Merkel instead of British fiery, imperious beauty Vivien Leigh as the movie’s riveting pain-in-the-neck heroine Scarlett O’Hara. Like Kaiserin Angela, Scarlett, always, always had to have her own way.

In “Gone with the Wind” the tempestuous, virtually insane passion between Rhett and Scarlett survives as the entire society of the racist Southern Confederate Slave State crashes to ruins around them. In the end, the city of Atlanta burns, but the fiery passion of Rhett and Scarlett survives, even when they are apart.

The cities of France and Germany may well be burning soon as testament to the disastrous policies of “Rhett” Macron and “Scarlett” O’Merkel. But it is a safe bet that they will be even more oblivious to the consequences of their own actions. In the words of Rhett Butler that end the movie, neither Merkel nor Macron really gives a damn.

Photo: Flickr

The Other Ukraine

Source

by arras for The Saker blogThe Other Ukraine

Ukraine is a country in the Eastern Europe, which doesn’t require introduction to most readers as it was and still is filling pages of the newspapers and screens of a TVs. Courtesy of ongoing geopolitical conflict between the United States and the Russian Federation there. Some say, this is a conflict between East and West and thus suggesting that it is not just a place of competition between the world great powers, but between cultures and civilizations.

This conflict isn’t new to Ukraine. Ukraine is one of those places, where history never falls asleep it merely takes short naps. After the last nap, which we call the Cold War, history is back in Ukraine, writing new pages full of dramatic lines.

However, Ukraine has a sister. It was on the front pages of the newspapers as well not long time ago and it is also rich with dramatic history. The fate and history of both, including the most recent history, bears remarkable similarity and many parallels. Parallels that I intend to show you.

The name of the “other” Ukraine is Krajina and a reader might remember it as a place in the Balkans, which was one of the frontlines of the civil war in Yugoslavia. Krajina is a part of Croatia, but historically it was inhabited by the Serbs. The name of Ukraine in the native Slavic languages is “Ukrajina” and thus the difference in the name is just a prefix “U”. That’s not by a coincidence. Ukrajina and Krajina are the virtually same word, just pronounced slightly different in different Slavic languages. In English, it means “edge”, “margin”, “frontier” or “borderland” and that’s exactly what Ukraine and Krajina were. They were one of those places where realms, cultures, civilizations and empires converged and clashed. Seems they still are, and because of that, Ukraine and Krajina were not just ordinary frontiers, they were military frontiers. Romans used to call such places as “limes” and in the Western Medieval Europe, they were called as “march” or “mark” – ruled by “marquis” and of the same etymological origin as the word “margin”.

Ukraine was a borderland between Russia, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Crimean Khanate which itself was a remnant of the mighty Mongol Empire and at that time, it was a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire. Today Poland and Lithuania might seem like small countries compared to Russia while Crimean Khanate doesn’t even exist, but back in medieval and early modern era these were powerful realms vying for control over the whole region of the Eastern Europe. Krajina together with the similar region called Vojvodina on the other hand was a borderland between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. These places, were such powerful states, even religions and civilizations met weren’t the most peaceful ones and not very well suited for long prosperous life. They were in the state of almost perpetual conflict and war, because even if realms were in formal peace, irregular forces and local chieftains and feudal lords carried raids across the border seeking plunder or revenge, often with the silent consent of their sovereigns. Today we call it a hybrid war and plausible deniability. For that reason, such military frontiers had special status and were organized according to the military rather than civilian principles. Their purpose was to serve as a buffer zone, which was supposed to shield deeper inland territories from enemy attacks and raids and as a staging place for own attacks and raids against the enemy. Traditionally military settlers who had special status populated such territories. These settlers were typically freemen, as opposed to serfs in more secure territories and were exempt of taxes. Instead, they were obliged to carry military service on the border. Being half soldiers, half farmers, these men weren’t the best trained, equipped and disciplined comparing to the regular troops, but they were always available on the spot and required little or no pay as they supported themselves from their land which they supplemented with plunder from lands of the enemy.

These military settlers were often recruited from refugees. In the case of Ukraine, these were the peasants fleeing wars between Russia and Mongol Golden Horde in the east on the one hand and on the other advancing feudalization of Russia itself, which saw farmers being forced in to serfdom in the increasing numbers. Refugees were fleeing to the areas away from the main conflict and out of the reach of the central authorities. Here they begun to organize in to small communities and as soon as the situation in the central parts of Russia was consolidated and Russia has emerged victorious from the wars with Golden Horde and its successor khanates, these communities came in to attention of the Russian authorities who begun to utilize them as military settlers, giving them lands and tax exemption in return for the military service. Thus famous Cossacks were born. The word Kazak, which is Russian for Cossack, is of Turkic, not Slavic origin, and it is assumed to be originally describing nomadic mercenaries hired by the Russian princes to fight in their wars. Later it was used to describe men for hire, both in civilian and military roles and that is likely how it was originally applied to the people we now know as Cossacks.

It should be noted however that modern Ukraine is not identical to historical Ukraine. Historical Ukraine was much smaller compared to modern Ukraine and it never was official name of some administrative region with definitive borders. Not until the creation of the modern Ukraine at the end of the First World War. This term was vaguely applied to the lands that were bordering Russia, Poland-Lithuania and Crimean Khanate, border that kept changing with the fortunes in wars. Moreover, Russia did not had just one Ukraine, there were several ukraines and “little” ukraines (ukrajinka) all along Russia’s sensitive borders. There were ukraines in the west, on the territory of contemporary Belarus, there were ukraines in the south near Caucasus Mountains and there were ukrainas in the Eastern Siberia. Only in the north where Russia shared a border with polar bears, Russia did not have ukraine. However, as Russia kept growing in power, securing its borders or expanding them further, most of the other historical ukraines disappeared and the one that was left longest became The Ukraine. Consequently, Cossacks did not exist only in Ukraine, there were and in some cases still are other Cossacks. Cossacks on the rivers Volga and Don, Siberian Cossacks and Terek Cossacks in the Caucasus to name the most notable ones. Russians were not the only ones who recognized usefulness of Cossacks either, Poles and Tatars were actively using them as well. Cossacks themselves were keen on exploiting conflicts between those powers to extract political and economic advantages for themselves.

Delineatio Generalis Camporum Desertorum vulgo Ukraina cum adjacentibus Provinciis-General Draving of the Deserted Fields, vulgarly known as Ukraine together with its neighbouring Provinces by French cartographer Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan (1600-1673), note that North is down and South is up): source: Wikipedia

Military settlers in Krajina on the other hand were recruited mostly from Serbs, Vlachs (Romanians) and Croats fleeing Ottoman Turks who conquered Constantinople, capital of the East Roman Empire (also known as Byzantium) and defeated the kingdom of Serbia and the fragments of Bulgarian empire in the Balkans and were aggressively pushing north towards the Central Europe engaging with Hungarians and Austrians. That’s how Krajina got its Serbian population. Just like in Russia, historical Krajina does not necessarily copy the borders of what is considered Krajina in Croatia today. And just like in Russia, there are other krajinas elsewhere in Balkans. Bosanska Krajina near Banja Luka, Timocka Krajina between Serbia and Bulgaria, to name a few. In 1881, with the danger of Ottoman incursions all but disappearing, Austrian Emperors dissolved Krajina as an administrative region and incorporated it in to the kingdom of Croatia.

Map of the Krajina (in red) cca 1800:source: Wikipedia

While Cossacks are widely known as famous horsemen, a few people know that Krajina, and neighboring regions of Balkans are where the other most famous light cavalry of Europe comes from. Not less famous Hussars. Hussars were originally irregular cavalry from Balkans. Hungarian kings and Austrian emperors who employed them in their armies introduced them to the Western Europe, where they were quickly copied and adopted by the other armies for their effectiveness. With the advent of firearms, European knights in their shining expensive armors, riding heavy warhorses were gradually withdrawn from the battlefields as European armies begun to appreciate less heavily armed cavalry in their place, which substituted speed and agility for direct protection and ambushes and flanking for charges in to the enemy front lines. And that’s where experience of combating Turks and Tatars of Asia who always preferred lighter cavalry came in handy. Through centuries of constant fighting, Cossacks and Hussars adapted themselves to the fighting methods of their opponents and adopted many elements of their equipment and tactics. Not everybody though served in the cavalry and contrary to popular belief, most Cossacks served as infantrymen. Horse, especially saddle horse back in those days was something that only the wealthiest Cossacks could afford.

Hungarian hussar in the 16th century. Woodcut by Jost Amman:source: Wikipedia

When Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires collapsed in the flames of the Balkan Wars and the First World War, which had aroused from the conflict over the Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia joined Yugoslavia, a new state that supposed to unite all the Slavic people of the Balkans. Krajina ceased to be a province on the edge and it seemed that history there would slow down. Nevertheless, history just took a nap. On April 1941, German army invaded Yugoslavia under Adolf Hitler’s orders and Yugoslavia quickly fell apart. In Croatia, with the support of the Germans, puppet state with the pro-German fascist political party of Ustashe in power was established. Ethnic cleansing campaign and persecution of Serbs and other minorities followed, and lasted until the defeat of Nazi Germany in the WWII. The exact number of Serbs who perished in those repressions is unknown, estimates vary between 300,000 and 500,000. About 50,000 alone died in one of the concentration camps in Jasenovac.

With the National Socialist Germany and their allies defeated, Yugoslavia was reinstated under the leadership of the Communist party and a war hero Josip Bros Tito. Whereas survived Nazi collaborators found a shelter under the wings of the US and British secret services in the West Germany, Canada, USA and Australia. Unlike Nazi scientists, they did not possess any great knowledge or technical skills, but experience of political repression and anti-guerrilla warfare were of the value for the CIA in the upcoming Cold War. The end justifies the means. Interestingly enough, Ustashe from Balkans found themselves thriving at the same centers and under generous tutelage of the same secret services of the same governments as Nazi collaborators from Ukraine – the infamous UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) and its political leaders like Stephan Bandera. In some instances, political and cultural institutions of the Ustashe and UPA were located on the same streets, sometimes even inside the same buildings of Western cities like Munich. Just like Ustashe, the WWII records of UPA are full of the ethnic cleansings, mass murders and war crimes against civilian population that did not fit UPA’s racial and ethnic standards. Now they were to be sustained like bacteria of a biological weapon on a Petri dish in CIA laboratories, waiting for their time.

Ironically, their time did not come during the Cold War, even when there were some failed attempts to utilize them. Their time came with the end of the Cold War and fall of the Communist rule in the Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The easiest way to destroy multinational country is to start ethnic conflicts between the peoples of a country itself and let them destroy it themselves. Under Tito, who himself was from mixed Croat-Slovenian family, stability was maintained between the various ethnic groups dwelling in Yugoslavia, but that balance was fragile and rested to a large extend on the authority of Tito himself. With his death, the institutions of the state and the way Yugoslavia was constructed came for a test.

Yugoslavia was constructed as a federation in such a way, as to prevent any one of the constituent nations from dominating the state. Serbs were always the most numerous and therefore strongest nationality in Yugoslavia and other nationalities, particularly Croats and Slovenians feared that Serbs would dominate the state. Not without a good reason either as interwar Yugoslavia indeed ended up being dominated by the Serbs and their elite. To prevent that, in post war Yugoslavia, Serbia was divided in to four parts: republics of Serbia and Montenegro and autonomous regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina. Later three had significant non-Serbian ethnic minorities. That accomplished the goal of creating a balance between the powers of national republics inside Yugoslavia, but it inevitably created feeling of injustice among the Serbs. It was only Serbia which was divided and weakened in such a way, neither Croatia, nor Bosnia or Macedonia were divided even if they too had regions with ethnic minorities present. Serbs in Krajina were an example and Bosnia was heterogeneous to such extent, that it was sometimes nicknamed as Little Yugoslavia.

After period of unsuccessful Communist experimenting with creating single Yugoslav supranational identity, which would replace individual nationalities, Tito and his Communists went the other way and in the new constitution of 1974 tried to placate nationalist sentiments by bestowing more power on to the republics and strengthening autonomy of the regions. In Voivodina, Montenegro and Kosovo that led to an increasing cultural, economic and political pressure against Serbs who became convinced that system inside Yugoslavia works at their expense and they are loosing. In Kosovo where Albanian population was steadily increasing due to immigration from Albania and higher birth rates, issue was especially sensitive because Serbs consider Kosovo to be historical cradle of their civilization.

But any attempts to change the situation by the Serbs, inevitably led to the reaction in the other republics creating endless spiral of increasing suspicion and tensions between the republics. With the economy and central institutions weakened by the gradual decline in the power of the Communists and change of the political and economic situation in the whole of Eastern Europe, it required only a gentle push from the outside to spark ethnic conflict. That’s were Ustashe and other similar groups been held in the reserve during the Cold War in the West were finally put to a good use. Under disguise of democracy and freedom of speech, they were re-imported back in to their countries of origin along with the literature and propaganda created around their ideologies in the Cold War exile thanks to the generous US and German sponsorship. Money from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries played similar role in the Muslim communities of Yugoslavia.

Eventually it brought yields. Spinning in spasms, in 1990 Yugoslavia has arrived at the cliff when constitutional crisis completely paralyzed federal institutions, including Communist party itself. Republics were fighting each other. The only significant federal institution left willing to defend Yugoslavia was its army. However, army required an order from politicians to start acting, and there was no one to issue it. Yugoslavia was going to dissolve. The only question was how and when.

Anybody remotely familiar with Yugoslavia, knew, that if it would be done in unilateral uncontrolled manner, it would lead to a war. Only in Slovenia, the administrative borders were identical to the ethnic borders. The rest of Yugoslavia had ethnic minorities living all over the place. This was also well known in Washington and Berlin. Despite, or may be because of it, Washington and Berlin chose exactly this option even against the warnings from other European capitals. Berlin was the first to recognize independent Slovenian and Croatian states and hence British diplomats unofficially named the war that begun immediately in Croatia as “Gensher’s war“, after German foreign minister at that time Hans-Dietrich Gensher.

Single picture that explains civil war in Yugoslavia:source: Wikipedia

When Croatian government declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Serbs of Krajina in response declared their own independence from Croatia. All peoples have equal rights for independence. Right? Wrong. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” to paraphrase George Orwell and his famous book. Everybody likes to be independent himself, but not when others want to be independence at his expense. Croats are no different and independence of Republic of Serbian Krajina, which is how Serbs named their new country, was met with more than a strong disapproval in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. A conflict flared almost immediately and it set off bloody civil war that engulfed other parts of Yugoslavia, eventually ending its existence.

When declaring independence, the most important thing isn’t who has the right for independence and who does not, the most important thing is who supports it. And here Serbs of Krajina were placed at a disadvantage because they were supported only by small Serbia, which itself was having plenty of problems inside, while Croats were supported by several world’s most powerful countries – USA, Germany and the entire NATO alliance. Serbs held for several years, but at the end fight was just too uneven. It ended when Croatian forces supported by the USA and Germany overrun Serbian lines manned mostly by local militiamen on August 1995 and proceeded to ethnically cleanse Krajina of its Serbian inhabitants for good. Up to 1500 of them lost their lives, 2/3 of that number were civilians and up to 200,000 had to flee to Serbia and Bosnia. It was one of the two places in former Yugoslavia, where an entire historical region was ethnically cleansed of its population during the civil war. The other region being ethnically cleansed of Serbs was Kosovo, also with the support of the USA and it’s allies. The irony that is still carefully hidden from the public by the politicians and journalists in Washington, London and Berlin who worked tirelessly to convince people in their countries that those are Serbs who perpetrate crime of ethnic cleansing and had to be stopped by noble and smart bombs, enriched with uranium. Everyone else were portrayed as victims. It was a deliberate lie. Even supposed plan of ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo by the Serbs, named “Operation Horseshoe” which served as a pretext for bombing of Serbia itself by the NATO forces, was after the war exposed as entirely fabricated by the German secret service BND with the help of Bulgarian government. To be sure, there were plenty of cases of local ethnic cleansing, perpetrated by all sides of the civil war, Serbian one including, but not on the scale of the entire historical regions like Krajina or Kosovo. Nevertheless, ethnic cleansing wasn’t the real reason for the intervention, the real reason was that USA, Germany and EU wanted Yugoslavia to be gone and Serbs in Krajina and Kosovo stood in their way. Yugoslavia was too large to be incorporated in to the EU and NATO, one has to join the EU and NATO as weak as possible and under the conditions favoring those who are in charge of the EU and NATO. Conditions that demand political, economic and cultural subordination and transfer of the control over national resources and markets to the global corporations. Corporations of the global Empire. Therefore, Serbs of Krajina and Kosovo had to go. All of them. Yugoslavia had to be broken in to small pieces and pieces then digested by the Empire one by one until the whole Balkans had “proper” democracy, endorsed “proper” values and values were “protected” by the US military base or two. Divide et impera, Romans used to say.

The conflict in Ukraine is driven by exactly the same motives and reasons and using the same old methods and the same propaganda tricks. Timed bombs in the form of the arbitrary changes of the administrative borders made by the ruling Communist elite blew up during break up of the USSR too, as well as their policies of creating new Soviet people. Former Nazi collaborationist were also used to instigate ethnic hatred. Place Soviet Union instead of the Yugoslavia, Russians instead of Serbs, Ukraine instead of Croatia, Donbas and Crimea instead of Krajina and Kosovo and the story is almost identical. Ukraine and Krajina share similar history once again. Almost. With the exception that the Soviet Union was much larger than Yugoslavia, Russia is much larger than Serbia, and Russia has powerful allies in the world of its own. A victim turned out to be too big and vital and the Empire appears to suffer major digestive problems as a result. Will Ukraine end up sharing the fate of its sister after all?

Or will Ukraine turn out to be one mouthful too many? One thing is certain, history did not stop. History has no end. Prophets of the Empire has been proven wrong.

arras‘s mini-bio: HIC SVNT LEONES

%d bloggers like this: