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Looking at the amazing footage coming out of not only Kiev, but also from many other cities in the Ukraine, one can get the idea that what is taking place is absolute total chaos and that nobody controls it. This is a very mistaken impression and I think that this is a good time to look at who the actors of this conflict are and what they really want. Only then will we be able to make sense of what is going on, who is pulling the strings behind the curtain, and what could happen next. So let us look at the various actors one by one.
The dissatisfied Ukrainian people
There can be absolutely no doubt that a large segment of the Ukrainian population is deeply unhappy with the regime in power, Yanukovich himself, and what has been going on in the Ukraine for many years. As I have written many times before, the Ukraine is essentially in the hands of various oligarchs, just like Russia in the 1990s, but only worse. The vast majority the Ukrainian politicians are for sale to the highest bidder, this is true for the members of Parliament, the Presidential Administration, the regional governors, the government and, of course, of Yanukovich himself. Collectively, these oligarchs also own the media, the courts, the police, banks and everything else. As a direct result of that, the Ukrainian economy has been going down the tubes for years and currently is pretty much in ruins.
It should therefore surprise nobody that most Ukrainians are unhappy and what they want is prosperity, safety, the rule of law, business opportunities, the means for personal, social, professional and spiritual development. Basically, they want what every human being wants: decent living condition. Some of them see the EU as the best hope of achieving this goal, others see a participation in an economic union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan as a much better option. The exact ratio really does not matter for a simple and mostly overlooked reason: the people of the Ukraine don't matter at all in this conflict, they are just pawns used by all sides.
The Saker, The Vineyard of the Saker. Traduzido pelo pessoal da Vila Vudu.Se se olham os incontáveis vídeos que vem, não só de Kiev, mas também de outras cidades da Ucrânia, pode-se ter a impressão de que o que está acontecendo ali é caos total, que ninguém controla. É impressão muito errada, e acho que é mais que hora de examinar os atores desse conflito e o que cada um realmente quer. Só assim será possível construir alguma compreensão clara sobre o que se passa lá, sobre quem puxa os cordões por trás da cortina e sobre o que pode acontecer adiante. Assim sendo, examinemos os vários atores, um a um.O povo ucraniano insatisfeitoAbsolutamente não cabe dúvida alguma de que um grande segmento da população ucraniana está profundamente infeliz com o regime que está no poder, com o próprio Yanukovich e com o que está acontecendo na Ucrânia, há muitos anos. Como já escrevi inúmeras vezes antes, a Ucrânia está, essencialmente, em mãos de vários oligarcas, exatamente como a Rússia nos anos 1990´s, só que piores. A vasta maioria dos políticos ucranianos estão à venda a quem dê mais, e isso vale para os membros do Parlamento, o Gabinete do Presidente, os governadores regionais, todo o governo e, é claro, também para o próprio Yanukovich. Coletivamente, esses oligarcas também são proprietários dos jornais e televisões, dos juízes, da política, dos bancos e de tudo. Resultado direto disso, a economia ucraniana está descendo pelo esgoto há anos e, atualmente, está, pode-se dizer, em ruínas.Não deve ser surpresa para ninguém que muitos ucranianos estejam infelizes e que queiram prosperidade, segurança, respeito à lei, oportunidades de negócios, os meios para seu desenvolvimento pessoal, social, profissional e espiritual. Basicamente, querem o que todos os seres humanos querem: condição decente de vida. Alguns deles veem a União Europeia como a melhor aposta para alcançar esse objetivo; outros apostam numa união econômica com Rússia, Bielorrússia e Cazaquistão, como opção muito melhor. A exata proporção dessa diferença não faz diferença alguma, para lado algum, por uma razão simples, mas que poucos parecem considerar: o povo da Ucrânia não faz qualquer diferença nesse conflito; são simples peões usados por todos os lados interessados.
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by Wayne White. In Libya, which is bordering on failed state status with minimal central government control, many Libyans have made the transitional General National Congress (GNC) the latest target for blame.
The nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are back this Tuesday in Vienna. The stakes couldn’t be higher. It will be a long and winding road. Hidden agendas on both sides badly want the talks to fail – and will spare no effort towards that goal.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei could be interpreted as a stony realist, when he said that the talks will go nowhere. It’s as if the Supreme Leader had read Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, a crucial book by Martha Gellhorn Prize winner Gareth Porter, which is being launched this week in New York. In the book, Porter thoroughly debunks the whole narrative of the Iran nuclear dossier as sold to the world by the George W Bush administration, assorted neo-cons and the Israeli Likud.
And it gets much worse, in terms of prospects for a final deal to be reached this year. According to Porter, “the Obama administration has introduced the subject of ‘possible military dimensions’ into the nuclear negotiations. That means that the United States will be demanding an explanation for ‘evidence’ that the book shows was fabricated. That is a decision that could threaten the conclusion of a final agreement with Iran.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday last week, millions of people hit the streets in Tehran in a massive rally celebrating the 35 years of the Islamic revolution. How come?
So it is done. Yanukovich has fully capitulated. He has signed a deal with the insurgents which, according to the BBC, includes the following provisions:
The 2004 constitution will be restored within 48 hours, and a national unity government will be formed within 10 days Constitutional reform balancing the powers of president, government and parliament will be started immediately and completed by September A presidential election will be held after the new constitution is adopted but no later than December 2014 and new electoral laws will be passed An investigation into recent acts of violence will be conducted under joint monitoring from the authorities, the opposition and the Council of Europe The authorities will not impose a state of emergency and both the authorities and the opposition will refrain from the use of violence Illegal weapons will be handed over to interior ministry bodies
What does really mean in plain, simple, English?
The so-called "return to the 2004 Constitution" really means that the President has handed over the control of all the police and security forces to the Parliament. Hence, from a legal point of view, he has handed over to the insurgents the legal command over the Berkut riot cops who were beaten up, burned, maimed, tortured and killed by these very same insurgents, but under orders from Yanukovich not to use lethal force. In the light of this absolute monstrosity, I can only applaud the foresight and wisdom of the governors of Kharkov and Crimea who have called back their local Berkut forces.
The so-called "national unity government" means that the insurgents will get to run the country but without having to bear the full responsibility for the economic, political and social disaster the Ukraine is going to be plunged into.
As for the so-called "investigation into recent acts of violence" it will clear all the insurgents and terrorists from any accusations of wrongdoing and put all the blame on the policemen who tried to maintain law and order and protect the Presidency.
This is bound to go down in history as one of the biggest acts of national treason in modern times.
Needless to say, the real leaders of insurgency, the so-called 'Right Block', have rejected the accord and have promised to continue their 'resistance' until complete regime-change.
This latest development really turns a page. The experiment of a Ukraine as a unitary state has clearly failed and, short of a miracle, a civil war followed by a breakup of the country in two or more parts is now inevitable. Kiev has fallen and the new "Eastern Front" has now moved roughly 400km to the east. A long conflict is about to begin.
PS: I have just learned that the insurgent-controlled Parliament has voted to free Timoshenko. Good! I hope that they give her cell to Yanukovich now, as he is infinitely more deserving of it than she ever was.
We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution by George Ciccariello-Maher. This history of Venezuelan politics from below tells how militants, students, women, Afro-indigeneous peoples, and the working-class brought about Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution and, ultimately, brought Hugo Chávez to power.
Ukraine. Bosnia. Venezuela. Tear gas. Masks. Water cannons. Ours is an age of riots and rebellions, of radical self-creation in the heady streets: Spain’s indignados, the Occupy movement, Mexico’s Yo Soy 132, and of course the Arab Spring.
The EU is really terminally degenerate. These two pearls come off the BBC website at the same time:
EU imposes Ukraine sanctions after deadly Kiev clashes (which the EU blames entirely on the government, nevermind that 13 unarmed cops were murdered by sniper fire overnight) Germany arrests three suspected Auschwitz guards (the three arrested men are 88, 92 and 94 and had therefore to be brought to a prison hospital)
I honestly don't know what to think about European politicians. Are they just completely insane? Have they lost any remaining drop of common sense? Do they really not see how ridiculous and despicable they are? How can they even look at themselves in the mirror and not die of shame?
Every time I hear or see any of these self-enamored pompous asses I feel like flushing a toilet and forgetting what I just saw.
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If you only watch the mainstream media coverage, or read major newspapers, you’d think that what is happening in the Ukraine right now is some kind of organic, grassroots political reform movement. It’s nothing of the sort.
At the height of hypocrisy, we can witness US officials and western media pundits all chastising Ukrainian authorities for cracking down on violent protesters. As if the governments of the US or the UK wouldn’t do exactly the same if street gangs set fire to government buildings in Washington or London.
Beyond all the freedom and democracy rhetoric pouring out of the western media and neoliberal government orifices, what we are essentially looking at is an attempted coup d’état in the Ukraine, orchestrated by a cadre of western NGO’s and multilateral institutions – in concert, trying to unleash a more sophisticated version of the Arab Spring on Europe’s doorstep.
The situation on the street is extremely dangerous right now. As Voltaire Net’s Andrew Korybko points out, the west have nudged the Ukrainian government into an almost impossible situation. Korybko states:
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