Mar 16, 2022

THE ANGRY ARAB:

THE ANGRY ARAB: The Middle East & the War in Ukraine – Consortium News:

By As`ad AbuKhalil Special to Consortium News 

By As`ad AbuKhalil
Special to Consortium News

It is premature to determine the exact shape of the world in the wake of the Russian military intervention in the Ukraine. At the risk of repeating dreaded cliches, it is clear that the world order has been irrevocably altered. The post-cold war era is over, forever.

The U.S. established global supremacy after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and ensured that NATO would form a security siege around Russia to keep it weak and vulnerable — and to maintain American hegemony throughout the continent. Never has America been challenged in such a direct and focused way as by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

The old rules that the U.S. imposed — by force — will be no more. While China has been cautious in expressing support for Russia in its official pronouncements, its media have been clear in refuting U.S. propaganda claims. The reverberations of the cataclysmic event will be felt for years to come and will affect regional and international conflicts.

The impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war will also be felt in the Middle East, which has a long history of involvement in the Soviet and Russian-U.S. rivalry.

Despite U.S. pressure, no Arab states are participating in the economic war on Russia by imposing sanctions, joining most of Latin America and Africa, as well as Iran, India, Pakistan and China. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have resisted U.S. pressure to pump more oil to make up for the U.S. ban on Russian oil imports. Most significantly, Riyadh is in talks with China to trade some of its oil in yuan, which would deal a blow to the U.S. dollar, which is used in 80 percent of world oil sales. Until now, the Saudis have exclusively used the dollar.

Moscow is trying to defeat the West’s ferocious economic assault on Russia by creating a separate economic and financial system with China. Arab nations could play an important part in it, effectively turning their backs on the U.S.

Background to Geopolitical Shift

U.N. Security Council approving
no fly zone in Libya, March 2011. (
C-Span screenshot)

The shape of international relations was shaken in 2011 with the passage of U.N. Security Council resolution 1973, which was limited to setting up a no-fly zone to protect civilians in Libya supposedly in danger of a massacre at the hands of Libyan leader Moamar Qadhafi. (A British parliamentary report later found there was no such threats and was based on inaccurate intelligence and “erroneous assumptions.)

The resolution did not permit ground forces to enter Libya. The language was clear. It said the Security Council:

Decides to establish a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians. [and] Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory. ”

Despite these limitations, the U.S. and NATO took the resolution to mean a license for NATO to overthrow a government that the U.S. had long complained about. It didn’t matter that the Libyan dictatorial regime was cooperating with the U.S. in the years leading up to its overthrow. Then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had even met the chief of Libya’s secret police, who happened to to be the ruler’s son.

Russia, ruled at the time by President Dmitry Medvedev, abstained on the resolution, as had China. Both countries had evidently believed the mission would be restricted to the non-fly zone. Vladimir Putin, who was prime minister at the time, was reportedly furious with Medvedev over the abstention.

After it became clear NATO was violating the resolution by overthrowing Qadhafi, China and Russia, both veto holders, were determined to change the course of the Security Council to prevent the U.S. from again using it as cover for military interventions and regime change. The U.S. started to lose its undisputed global supremacy at that point.

Moscow and Beijing were both building up their military capabilities and were becoming more assertive on the international stage. Fearful of changes in the global configuration of power, the Biden administration incorporated strong language into its National Security Strategy (issued by successive administrations) to make clear U.S. rejection of any competition from Russia and China. (Biden’s strategy complained about Chinese assertiveness. (How dare any country but the U.S. be assertive in the world?) It is one thing for the U.S. to insist on global supremacy and another to guarantee it without a cost in blood and money.

Russia, in fact showed its assertiveness four years after the Libya resolution when it intervened on Syria’s behalf against the U.S. and Gulf-backed jihadist assault, but not before Putin at the General Assembly asked the U.S. to join Moscow in the fight, an offer the U.S. rejected.

Middle East Reverberations

Dubai: A safe haven for Russian
billionaires?
(Robert Bock/Wikimedia Commons)

In the Middle East, the effects of the new global conflict have already reverberated within U.S. client regimes, many of whom also have good relations with Russia. The United Arab Emirates is one of those U.S. clients. Washington supplies it with advanced military technology, (despite its abysmal human rights record). In return, the UAE works with the U.S., recently establishing a strong alliance with Israel. The U.S. rewarded the UAE with the sale of advanced fighter jets.

And yet the UAE abstained on a March 3 Security Council resolution condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine that was vetoed by Russia, while it voted in favor of a General Assembly resolution saying the same thing. Now the UAE, and especially Dubai, is being seen as a refuge for Russian billionaires who have been heavily sanctioned by the West.

Gulf countries like the UAE are caught between their complete loyalty to the U.S. and their increasing closeness to the Russian government, especially as they lament what they regard as American retrenchment from the Middle East. Many Gulf despots are still unhappy that the U.S. let Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Zein Abidin Bin Ali on Tunisia fall during the 2011 Arab uprisings.

Only Qatar among the Gulf countries took a strong stance in support of Ukraine, but has not joined the economic war against Russia. Qatar’s emir was recently welcomed in the Oval Office and the country was awarded the status of “major non-NATO ally.” Furthermore, the U.S. wants Qatar to fill the gap of Europe’s gas needs in the wake of sanctions on Russian gas sales (it is curious that the White House worked with Qatar on that before the first Russian soldier moved towards Ukraine.)

US Consensus Fractured

Chinese and Russian presidents
meeting in Beijing, 2019.
(Chinese MFA)

The U.S. will no longer achieve a consensus in the world according to its own interests. While China is neither prepared, nor willing, to challenge U.S. foreign policy head-on for now, its cooperation and treaties with U.S. foes (Iran chiefly) is an indication that China is planning to operate in a world not subject to U.S. dictates.

Chinese government statements during the crisis have been cautious, but social media in China and Chinese diplomats’ pronouncements via social media have been squarely sympathetic to the Russian stance. China has increased economic ties with Russia to soften the blow of the sanctions, including allowing Russia to use its UnionPay system to replace Western credit cards.

Russia’s ejection from the SWIFT international banking system has seen Russia rely on it own System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS) and that may be linked to China’s Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS). Russia has begun making payments to China in renminbi, weakening the dollar as the world’s premier currency. The blowback effects on the West of its economic war is leading to separate economic and financial systems that is fracturing U.S. global dominance.

Gulf regimes, and other developing countries, will adjust to a new world where the power configuration is changing. It is no longer the world the U.S. shaped after the Cold War.

Russia doesn’t have America’s power or influence. But Russia is an influential regional actor; its role in Syria in support of the Syrian regime showed its ability to shore up a weak regime and to operate free of U.S. plots to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. Gulf governments are already planning for a world in which the U.S. is less militarily assertive than before. Toward that end, the UAE established its strong alliance with Israel.

Impact on Arab-Israeli Conflict

Gulf regimes aren’t favored in Washington quite the same way Israel is. Israel followed the U.S., expressing support for Ukraine. It can’t afford to antagonize the Biden administration in the wake of the damage to its image during the Obama-Netanyahu era.

The Russian-Ukrainian crisis will undermine U.S. and E.U. rhetoric on the Arab-Israeli conflict. It won’t be easy to sell the so-called peace-process after the West adamantly refusing to support diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine, while the U.S. preaches strict pacifism for Arabs in the face of decades of Israeli occupation and aggression.

After the first two days of conflict, some 30 countries sent advanced missiles and arms to Ukraine and championed the right of resistance. Palestinians, on the other hand, are denied even the right to peaceful resistance. The U.S. and Europe have gone so far as to ban BDS (boycott, sanctions, and divestment in Israel) while wielding sanctions around the world. How can Palestinians ever take seriously Western insistence that their struggle against occupation should never resort to violent means?

The world we live in is changing, and the Russian intervention in Ukraine will not be confined to Ukraine, or even to Europe. The U.S. is learning that the world is slipping from its hands. It won’t tolerate it.

It will resort to force in its attempt to maintain its grip over humanity. Violent conflicts are very likely to now dominate our world.

As`ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of the Historical Dictionary of Lebanon (1998), Bin Laden, Islam and America’s New War on Terrorism (2002) and The Battle for Saudi Arabia (2004). He tweets as @asadabukhalil

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Mar 15, 2022

Russia shows off captured Western equipment

Russia Showcases Captured And Destroyed Ukrainian Equipment Amid Diplomatic And Humanitarian Stalemate SouthFront

 

On March 15, the Russian Defense Ministry published a statement of Head of the National Centre for Defence Control of the Russian Federation Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev regarding this situation. It provides a closer look at what is really happening in the humanitarian aspect of the conflict (source):

Since yesterday, the Russian Federation has been conducting an unprecedented humanitarian operation in Mariupol. At the same time, the civilians rescued yesterday and today confirm all the previously made assumptions about the nightmare and horrors that took place in this city.

The Ukrainian nationalists mined all the approaches to the city, blew up bridges, residential quarters of Mariupol, kindergartens and schools, medical institutions and other civilian infrastructure facilities were turned into strong points, ammunition depots, firing points, and Mariupol residents themselves were used as a human shield. At the same time, under the threat of death, all able-bodied residents were driven to the equipment of barricades, trenches and other engineering structures.

The inhumanity and ruthlessness of the agonizing Ukrainian neo-Nazis towards their own civilian population is fully confirmed by the so–called “festung” concept they borrowed from the fascists – “fortress cities”. The special tragedy of such tactics lies in the fact that the Nazis created all conditions for the mass destruction of civilians in order not to leave a single living witness to their monstrous crimes.

In addition, nationalist battalions and units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have disabled life support systems, housing, social and administrative infrastructure of the city, individual buildings and structures have actually been wiped off the face of the earth, shops have been looted, monuments and objects of historical heritage have been desecrated and cannot be restored.

All our previous appeals with persistent and diplomatic appeals to the Kiev authorities to allow the civilian population to go to safe areas were completely ignored.

Despite the complete unwillingness of official Kiev to protect the civilian population from terrorist attacks by crazed nationalists, as well as the complexity of the situation, aggravated by the actions of disparate armed gangs, the Russian Federation continues to fully fulfill its humanitarian obligations.

More than 450 tons of food, medicines and basic necessities have already been delivered to the civilians of Mariupol to provide humanitarian assistance, including 225 tons today. Mariupol residents are being evacuated safely through open humanitarian corridors from the unblocked city.

Starting at 10 a.m. today, exclusively for humanitarian purposes, the Russian Federation has already provided humanitarian corridors for the twelfth time in the Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy and Kharkov directions along one humanitarian corridor to the Russian Federation, and one more through the territories controlled by the Kiev authorities towards the western borders of Ukraine. The Russian Armed Forces strictly observe the imposed ceasefire.

Of the ten routes we have proposed, the Ukrainian authorities have agreed on only three, but at the same time, not a single humanitarian corridor to the Russian Federation has been confirmed by official Kiev again, which once again proves the indifference of the current government to its own people.

Based on humanitarian principles and solely for the purpose of ensuring the safety of civilians forcibly held by nationalists in blockaded settlements, we coordinate all additional humanitarian corridors proposed by Kiev on a daily basis. Today, the Ukrainian side announced nine routes for the withdrawal of refugees in the Zaporozhye, Zhytomyr and Poltava directions. On all these routes, the Russian Armed Forces also strictly observe ceasefire.

We continue to closely monitor the actions of the Ukrainian side both on the ground and from the air, including with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Once again, it was recorded that the Ukrainian side uses the ceasefire regimes to actively move weapons and military equipment, restore the combat capability of equipment, replenish material reserves. At the same time, the wishes of civilians to evacuate to safe areas in the northern and eastern directions to the territory of Russia are simply ignored, and all attempts to do this are blocked by territorial defence detachments and units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Exclusively for humane purposes, Russian servicemen not only do not hinder, but also urge Ukrainians to use any convenient ways for them to get to safe places, including those routes that pass through the territories controlled by Kiev.

The Kiev authorities, on the contrary, continue to force people to stay in their homes and allow evacuation only to the western regions of Ukraine or neighboring European countries, deliberately not notifying the civilian population about the possibility of evacuation to the Russian Federation.

Western countries, as well as international organizations such as the United Nations, the OSCE, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights organizations continue to hush up the horrific facts of missile and artillery strikes on densely populated areas of Donetsk. They don’t know the current situation, so they distract relevant departments of the Russian Federation  by various and multiple requests to ensure the safe evacuation of civilians from territories controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and not by the Russian Armed Forces.

In the conditions of the growing humanitarian crisis, a significant part of the population forcibly held by radicals in Ukrainian cities and used by them as a “human shield” is looking for the possibility of evacuation only to Russia, without considering options for exit to Western states, as evidenced by the next multimillion appeals of citizens to the Russian side.

According to the results of daily monitoring, it was found that 11,412 more such requests were received only over the past day, and there are already 2,678,069 of them in our database with specific surnames and addresses from almost 2,000 settlements of Ukraine.

And this is not just statistics, these are the fates of ordinary people, their hopes for an early end to the daily nightmare, despair at the hopelessness of the situation and the uselessness of their country, whose authorities have legitimized crimes against humanity with their criminal decisions, ignore numerous cases of looting, robbery, banditry, sanctioned the use of weapons by nationalists against the civilian population, including women and children.

I quote another one of the thousands of appeals received today:

“I ask for help in the evacuation of my family along the humanitarian corridor: my wife, Svetlana, her brother and 82-year-old father, who are now in Dnepr city. They are asking for evacuation to Russia. Please help them use the humanitarian corridor. They are very scared, exhausted and can’t even go down to the shelter. They will die. Please help.” End quote.

Despite this, 11,372 people, including 1,873 children, were evacuated from the dangerous zones of various regions of Ukraine, as well as the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, during the day without the participation of the Ukrainian side, and 258,791 people have been evacuated since the beginning of the special military operation, 56,180 of them children. The state border of the Russian Federation was crossed by 29,291 personal vehicles including 1,368 per day.

Over the past day, thanks to the security measures taken by the Russian Armed Forces, it was possible to provide humanitarian corridors and evacuate 36,721 citizens traveling by buses and personal cars from various settlements to the western regions of Ukraine in Zhytomir, Lugansk, Donetsk and Mariupol directions.

7,070 citizens from 22 foreign countries, as well as the crews of more than 70 foreign vessels blocked in the seaports of Ukraine, continue to be held hostage by the militants of the territorial defence battalions.

The fate of these foreign citizens has been the subject of round-the-clock cooperation with representatives of the relevant diplomatic agencies. At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities still do not respond to the appeals of foreign states for the rescue of compatriots in distress.

More than 9,500 temporary accommodation centres continue to operate in the regions of the Russian Federation.

More than 18,500 tons of basic necessities, food and medicines have been prepared at the collection points.

At the same time, the Russian side is creating the necessary conditions for a peaceful and safe life in all the liberated territories, ensuring unimpeded access of the population to any humanitarian aid.

2,709 tons of humanitarian cargo have already been delivered to the settlements of Kiev, Sumy, Chernigov, Zaporozhye, Kharkov, Kherson regions, as well as Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics during the 334 humanitarian actions, including 28 actions carried out over the past day, 544 tons of basic necessities and food were transferred to the civilian population of the liberated areas.

To date, 15 humanitarian actions have been planned and are currently being carried out in Chernigov, Donetsk People’s Republic and Mariupol during which 510 tons of basic necessities, medicine and food are distributed.

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War In Ukraine Day 19

War In Ukraine Day 19: Russian Forces Pave The Way For Blow In Response To Massacre In DonetskSouth Front

 

 

War In Ukraine Day 19: Russian Forces Pave The Way For Blow In Response To Massacre In Donetsk

Click to see full-size image

The main military developments in Ukraine are taking place in eastern regions and around the capital Kiev. While on the Kiev outskirts Russian forces reinforce their positions with any significant advances, in the Donbass region, the L/DPR and Russian forces are slowly but steadily advancing. However, the Ukrainian terrorist warfare may force them to change their tactics.

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Mar 14, 2022

Ukraine - Russia War Day 18

 

UPDATED: War In Ukraine Day 18: Russia And Allies Consolidate Forces In Donbass And Succeed

UPDATED: War In Ukraine Day 18: Russia And Allies Consolidate Forces In Donbass And Succeed

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UPDATE: On March 13, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that about 180 foreign fighters have been killed so far.

On March 13, there were several important military events on the Ukrainian front lines which marked important successes of Russian forces.

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Ukranian Forces Fire Ballistic Missile at Donetsk. Civillians Injured.

 

Kyiv’s Forces Launch Ballistic Missile At Center Of Donetsk City. Dozens Civilians Killed Or Injured

 via SouthFront please support their original reportage.

Kyiv’s Forces Launch Ballistic Missile At Center Of Donetsk City. Dozens Civilians Killed Or Injured

Click to see the full-size image

On the morning of March 14, around 11:20 a.m. local time, Ukrainian units struck the center of Donetsk with a Tochka-U tactical missile equipped with cluster munitions. The strike targeted the center of the city, where there is no military infrastructure or equipment. Civilians were deliberately chosen as targets. The nationalist units of the Kiev regime, using cluster munitions, sought to hit as many of the city’s inhabitants in the central part of the city as possible.

The missile was intercepted in mid-air and did not reach its direct target, but even the aerial detonation of the missile, which was equipped with shrapnel cluster munitions, had terrible consequences.

As of now authorities say that at least 20 people were killed, including children, and 26 others were injured in the attack. The numbers of casualties could rise as authorities investigate the scene of the crime.

Kyiv’s Forces Launch Ballistic Missile At Center Of Donetsk City. Dozens Civilians Killed Or Injured

Click to see the full-size image

Forces of the Kyiv government have once again demonstrated why there is no another option to put an end to the violence in the region besides the full demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.

DPR Head Denis Pushilin said that the missile was equipped with a cluster ammunition warhead. He added that if the missile was not shot down, it would lead to even more casualties.

The leader of the republic, Pushilin, said that the DPR would declare mourning after the missile attack on the city.

DPR authorities consider the strike as a terrorist attack.

“Ukrainian armed formations once again used the Tochka-U tactical missile system on residential areas of Donetsk in order to genocide civilians and destroy important civilian infrastructure,” the statement said.

According to Pushilin, DPR forces have already shot down over 15 Tochka-U missiles launched by Kyiv’s forces. He stated that the missile launching point will be found and eliminated.

DPR authorities also vowed to increase the speed of offensive against Kyiv’s forces.

Kyiv’s Forces Launch Ballistic Missile At Center Of Donetsk City. Dozens Civilians Killed Or Injured

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Kyiv’s Forces Launch Ballistic Missile At Center Of Donetsk City. Dozens Civilians Killed Or Injured

Click to see the full-size image

More photos and videos from the site of the attack:

Almost immidiately after the Tochka-U attack, the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out strikes on positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces near Yasinovataya, located in the countryside of Donetsk:

As long as units of the Kyiv government remain close to residential areas, their actions (both offensive and defensive) will continue to cause civilian casualties. MSM-promoted ‘democratic Ukrainian fighters’ use civilians as human shields and intentionally launch strikes on civilian targets as part of their ordinary military approach.

This crime took place amid the new round of talks between Kyiv and Moscow and followed diplomatic signals by both sides that some kind of ‘compromise’ could be found in the talks. After the March 14 attack, it is hard to expect that the diplomatic process will achieve any fruitful results.

More photos and videos from the site of the attack:

Kyiv’s Forces Launch Ballistic Missile At Center Of Donetsk City. Dozens Civilians Killed Or Injured

Click to see the full-size image

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