What Is Really Going On In Ukraine

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By Walid Shoebat

The world is deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside Ukraine. So what is this all about and what does it mean to our projection in the region. The nations of Belarus and Ukraine, home to large Russian populations, have entered into negotiations with the European Commission, setting out benchmarks for reform in preparation for eventual accession to the union. [1]

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There is a cleavage among the political elites of Ukraine. Yanukovych, the current president and his government are based in the East of the country, where the big but economically obsolete factories and mining areas are. People in this area generally speak Russian, not Ukrainian (Yanukovych himself only learned Ukrainian as an adult, for career reasons).

The business class in these areas is oriented to Russia and politicians like Yanukovych see the Ukrainian-Russian relationship as vital. In the West, where people speak Ukrainian, elites are much more oriented towards the EU.

Man splits picture of Yanukovych

Man splits picture of Yanukovych

They hope for investment opportunities and business ties. The Ukrainian state balances between these twee oprions, with the current regime generally leaning more to Russia, but not entirely closing off the road to Brussels. [2] There was a trade deal being prepared between Ukraine and the EU. At the last moment, Yanukovych rejected the bill mainly because of trade liberalization and making Ukrainian law conform to EU regulations.

Pro-EU wing of the ruling class succeeds in raising an impressive stage army of protesters, a large part is inspired by the Occupy movement and the other by traditionalists. These see themselves as Europeans. Then you have nationalists like Oleh Tyahnbok, an anti-Semite, which is a tradition that is not exactly dead in Ukraine. These are anti-Russia. Russia has been the imperial overlord of Ukraine, both under the Czar and in the time of the Soviet Union.

So it’s a geopolitical rivalry between the European Union and Russia, which has been mapped out with what is seen as Ukraine’s decision to turn its back on Europe.

Russia’s President Putin has never given up on the idea of a Russian-led and dominated political and economic union as a counterbalance to Nato and the EU. [3] With its historical, cultural and political and economic ties with Russia, it is the biggest prize in a competition for geopolitical power between Russia and the EU.

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Putin started a parallel and competing strategic initiative with the Eurasian Customs Union (ECU) in October 2007 aiming for a ‘fully-fledged union’ similar to the EU as a global pole of power. Russia used similar pressure to force Armenia to give up negotiating with the EU.

There is a deep dividing line between the EU and Russia. Moscow has always seen the EU’s engagement in Eastern Europe as competitive interference. Dealing with Moscow has always been one of Europe’s most sensitive dilemmas.

The tsarist empire, the Soviet Union and Russia have all been both the enemy, and an ally to Europe. Europeans have fought with and against the Russians, just as they have done among themselves.

Many see Russia as a European country, which extends into Asia. [4] Europe has no choice, what is in the interest of most of Europe is to have Russia as a close ally who can help on key matters such as dealing with Syria and the security of their energy supplies – which is about one-third of Europe’s gas, oil and coal imports which come from Russia. Europe’s relationship with Russia is more important for the EU than their relationship with the Ukraine.

So what does the future hold? President Putin’s visit bolstered Armenia politically, economically and militarily, which is bad for Turkey. Armenia’s recent rise as a regional power has only been possible due to the near total control Moscow has had over Armenia’s energy and military sectors. Armenia in the future will be an asset to fight against Turkey when conflicts arise between Russia and Turkey.

Putin visiting the Armenian Genocide Memorial

Putin visiting the Armenian Genocide Memorial

The European Union is in shambles given the terrible economic problems of Southern Europe, so adding the weak Ukraine to the EU was preposterous, but making it in the Russian sphere of influence will prove an asset for Russia in the future.

As far as the future goes, many in the U.S. fear the Russian sphere of influence, especially that it strengthened Iran. The Prophecy arena is replete with a Russian Iranian alliance that is based on error. But what needs to be understood are the issues at hand; first, they were fighting Sunnis in the northern Caucasus and feared the strengthening of radical Sunnis anywhere, but particularly in the larger Sunni-dominated republics in Russia. [5]

Second, an Iranian sphere of influence would threaten Saudi Arabia and would compel the United States to re-engage in the region to protect Saudi Arabia and by that will also be inclined to defend Israel. After all, the Americans remain obsessed with the Islamic world.

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Russia is creating a strategic crisis for the United States who fears Iran more than the Russians who are buffered from Iran by the Sunni Caucasus states. The Russians do not really have an interest to attack Israel as many in the Prophecy mania proclaim. No serious analyst would see any reason for Russia to invade Israel, and neither does Russia want the Iranians to gain nuclear weapons. What they do want is an extended conflict in Iraq, extended tension between Iran and the United States, and they wouldn’t much mind if the United States went to war with Iran as well. [6]

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Turkey and Iran have a common interest in preventing an independent Kurdish nation. The more the United States supports the Iraqi Kurds there will be a greater danger of an Iranian-Turkish alliance which is what we project will happen.

Turkey has a vested interest in being viewed as the stabilizing agent in the region and no longer regards the United States as a stabilizing force, and it sees Europe as a collective entity and individual nations as both hostile and impotent.

It views the Russians as a long-term threat to its interests and sees Russia’s potential return to Turkey’s frontier as a long-term challenge. [7] Considering the future of the region, the only power in a position to assert its consistent presence is as we have been saying for two decades is Islamist Turkey. [8]

Protests in Ukraine

Turkey is ready to revisit its relations with Iran. Turkish experts believe that competition with Iran for regional dominance is futile. They argue that leaderships of both nations have come to realize that striving to secure an undisputed leadership in the Middle East was pointless. [9]

Iran’s ambitions in the region will then succumb to Turkish dominance. The primary reason being that the Sunni-Shia strife in the region would eventually acquire a content conforming to the geopolitical interests of the U.S. and despite Ankara’s insistence and is why Washington refrained from resorting to plans of total regime dismantling in Syria. [10]

Most do not understand U.S. policy in the region and why the U.S. Administration are behind the Sunni-Shia divide. The U.S. needed a region equally treacherous both for Turkey and Iran. Current balance of forces between extremist religious groups prevents Turkey and Iran to feel comfortable, whereas Washington reaps geopolitical dividends from the situation. [11]

The only problem with this policy is that it undermines the situation for the Christians in the region, who are becoming highly persecuted. Such persecution will extend to the future in which the entire Christian population in the Middle East will have to flee or be slaughtered. To Christians, this issue should be the highest priority. Please help us rescue Christians.

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