Monthly News Review: February 2015
Overseen by the OSCE, Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany brokered a deal known as Minsk II to bring an end to hostilities in the Ukraine. The first Minsk agreement brokered in September 2014 failed to stop the fighting.
As of this moment, it’s fair to say the deal has succeeded. In the immediate aftermath of the agreement, fighting continued in the town of Debaltseve. If one were to look at the map and the front lines it would be easy to understand why. Novorossiya forces went on to take the town of Debaltseve and the trapped Ukrainian forces had to either surrender or retreat. Once that battle had been settled there have been no significant reports of any fighting.
How long this peace deal will last is open for debate. One notable absentee from the peace deal was the UK (as a major European country), the UK government was accused by the press of being impotent due to its absence, I think this was misleading as perhaps the reason they weren’t involved is because the UK didn’t support a peace agreement under the current terms. This is most likely the position of the US who made great efforts to facilitate this so called revolution in the Ukraine and have also had no part in the Minsk peace agreement. The reason for not wanting peace at this stage is probably due to the unsatisfactory position they currently find themselves in, when the objectives have been met, then they will settle for a peace agreement. The position of the US is quite clear, they are sending a battalion of troops to the Ukraine to assist the Ukrainian armed forces with the remit to train and assist the Ukrainian army to defeat the Russian and separatist forces, they arrive in March. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of US Army Europe, (this title seems unusual, is there a commander of the Russian Army South America?) made the following statement recently “We have to raise the cost for Putin. Right now he has 85 per cent domestic support. But when mothers start seeing their sons come home dead, when the price goes up, domestic support goes down.” If that isn’t a clear signal of what the US has in mind then I don’t know what else could be more obvious. Just remember, there’s no price too high they aren’t willing to make someone else pay for what they want. If you think that’s harsh, just ask Madeleine Albright Former US Secretary Of State what she thinks…
At the end of the month, we witnessed a very dubious murder of a Russian politician. Borris Nemtsov aged 56 was shot dead on Great Moskvoretsky Bridge within a short distance of the Kremlin in Moscow. He had spent the evening with his 23 year old model Ukrainian girlfriend at a restaurant. Nemtsov was a long time politician and was in an opposition party to the government and by all accounts was a prominent figure. That said I doubt anyone outside of Russia had ever heard of him except those in politics. The reaction of the western media was as predictable as it was instant, in short it’s like this; Putin had his opponent killed because he is a tyrant and a dictator. With a small amount of analysis, to me it seems very unlikely. With all the resources at Putin’s disposal could he not have found a better way to eliminate an opponent rather than a gangster style contract killing on a busy bridge in the open air in front of Putin’s own house. Not the smartest move I would think. Or…perhaps his strategy is to say to everyone look it’s so obvious it’s me it can’t be me as I wouldn’t be that stupid, a little double bluff maybe! Bearing in mind the back drop of the Ukraine crisis this is the perfect opportunity for more anti-Russian/Putin propaganda to rile up the citizens of the west, in addition maybe they can even rile up a few Russians and start a little revolution? As it stands several Chechens have been arrested for his killing and if they are the culprits it would appear to be a contract killing. Will they admit who hired them? Most citizens of the West didn’t know this mans name before he died and I doubt they know his name just a few weeks after he died, but the fires of anti-Russian sentiment have been successfully stoked just that little bit more.
Following the rise to government of the Greek Syriza party in Greece’s elections in January, a wave of optimism has swept the county in the hope that they might cast off the shackles of the Troika that have been destroying them for the last 5 years. Syriza promised to renegotiate their debt with the Eurozone and bring an end to the age of austerity that has crippled the ordinary Greek citizen and left the country with all their national assets sold off to private corporations at bargain prices. Many commentators think the only escape for Greece is to exit the Eurozone and default on their loan, or not pay it back in laymen’s terms. If you think the bankers are going to let you walk away easily from what you owe them and not to mention the massive implications for project Eurozone if Greece were to exit, you better think twice. I would imagine there is no amount of blackmail, bribery or plain threats the Eurozone wouldn’t engage in to keep the Greeks in the Eurozone and suckling off their nipple of financial aid rather than lose their money. The first test came in February when negotiations began between the Syriza representatives and the Eurozone. It ended with the Eurozone agreeing an extension to the current deal and the Greeks agreeing to more restrictions. Ultimately it was just putting off the final showdown and left a lot of people on both sides relatively dissatisfied. Arguably it was Syriza who came off looking worst as their tough talk seemed to not count for much on this occasion and many Greeks feeling dissatisfied with the apparent submission.
After the famous Charlie Hebdo Paris shootings in January, Denmark was the latest country to taste some home grown “terrorism” in February. It was a Lone gunmen named by police as Omar el-Hussein. He had a criminal record and had been released from prison just two weeks prior to the shootings. The gunman had gone to a café where an “art, blasphemy and freedom of expression” meeting was being held, up to 40 shots were fired into the café from outside, fatally wounding a film director. Reports suggest the target was a cartoonist who had drawn cartoons that were considered offensive to Islam. The gunman then went onto a nearby synagogue where he shot dead a guard. Shortly after the police caught up with him at nearby address and they shot him dead. Five police officers were also wounded. Netanyahu likened the attack to Nazi Germany happening all over again, “Again, Jews were murdered on European soil just because they were Jews. This wave of attacks is expected to continue, as well as murderous anti-Semitic attacks. Jews deserve security in every country, but we say to our Jewish brothers and sisters, Israel is your home”. Presumably, by Israel, Netanyahu includes the 262 settlements built on confiscated land in the Palestinian West Bank.
In February a Jordanian pilot crashed his fighter jet in ISIS held territory in Syria whilst on a bombing mission against ISIS targets as part of the US campaign. He was captured by ISIS and as you might expect was quite a prize for them. Within a week or so, (during which time the whole affair was being played out on international media) despite negotiations for his release, a video was released on the internet which depicts him being burnt alive in a cage. Naturally the reaction of the general public was of outrage at this horror. The Jordanian reaction was swift; they carried out further air strikes killing dozens of ISIS members but also killed an American woman being held hostage by ISIS in doing so. There is a CIA training centre in Jordan, and from 2012 individuals have been given military training so that they could enter Syria and fight against Assad and the Syrian government. It is well known that many so called moderates fighting the Syrian government went on to join ISIS or the Al-Nusra front. I wonder what the Jordanian King (whose English is perfect I might say) has to say about that.
February was quite a month for horrific killings that got played out in the press. In Libya, now an ISIS stronghold thanks to the NATO led violent removal of Gadhafi, 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were beheaded on the beach as they faced towards Europe. Strong symbolism that undoubtedly sent more shivers down the spine of your regular EU citizen watching another horror unfold before them as they read the newspaper.
Of course, some deaths matter more than others. During February and for several years before February, hundreds perhaps thousands of Syrians and Iraqis have had their heads chopped off by Takfiri Islamic militants, not to mention a host of other horrors that have befallen them since the benevolent “west” has intervened to bring democracy and freedom to their countries. You’re unlikely to hear too much about deaths that might turn you against the agenda, you’re only likely hear about the deaths that stimulate an opinion that supports the agenda. Ultimately what it really demonstrates is that most people don’t really care, they just pretend to care for the two minutes they hear the headline and then forget about it all. Total trust in the message provider and the authorities facilitates an apathy beneath a guilt driven politically correct false exterior that says “we care”.