Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ukraine ceasefire

The moment I saw this headline -- "Ukraine ceasefire agreed at Belarus talks" -- my first thought was: "DC will find a way to screw this up." How's that for cynicism?
Merkel also confirmed that Putin put pressure on the separatists to agree a truce.
This turn of events places our propagandists in a bind. The neocons have portrayed Putin as the imperialist to end all imperialists. The American people cannot be allowed to know that Putin was the one who told the separatists to cool it.

The Voice of America, in a rather desperate attempt at spin, is saying that Putin was "cornered" into a deal by "a rising fallout in Russia from Russian citizens dying in the fighting in eastern Ukraine." What hilariously hallucinatory horseshit! The Novorossia forces are winning in the field, the Ukrainian military is in horrible straits, and potential Ukrainian conscripts are fleeing the country -- to Russia! -- by their thousands.

Moon of Alabama believes that the new agreement won't stop the war. This (says MoA) is just the pressing of the pause button; the IMF will use its financial power to press Ukraine back out onto the battlefield.

I'm trying to be more optimistic. Poroshenko knows that he is running out of troops, that his people are sick of war, and that American hegemony has its limits.

The last-mentioned factor may be the most important. Germany and France don't want this war to continue, and are refusing to follow orders from DC. Zero Hedge ran a good piece about all this the other day...
Despite John Kerry's denial of any split between Germany and US over arms deliveries to Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier slammed Washington's strategy for being "not just risky but counterproductive." But perhaps most significantly is France's continued apparent pivot towards Russia... Following Francois Hollande's calls for greater autonomy for Eastern Ukraine, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has come out in apparent support of Russia (and specifically against the US), "we are part of a common civilization with Russia,” adding, "the interests of the Americans with the Russians are not the interests of Europe and Russia."
The BRICS alliance is solidifying, and the Europeans can see where the future lies.

Incidentally, Robert Parry published a good piece yesterday on the NYT habit of airbrushing out the swastikas
Though the article provides much color and detail – and quotes an Azov leader prominently – it leaves out one salient and well-known fact about the Azov battalion, that it is composed of neo-Nazis who display the Swastika, SS markings and other Nazi symbols.

But this inconvenient truth – that neo-Nazis have been central to Kiev’s “self-defense forces” from last February’s coup to the present – would presumably disrupt the desired propaganda message. So the New York Times just ignores it and refers to Azov as simply a “volunteer unit.”

What’s particularly egregious about this omission is that the connections between the Azov battalion and Nazism have been well-documented for months and even acknowledged by officials of the Kiev regime, who knowingly sent these and other extremists into the battle because they are the fiercest fighters.
Odd, isn't it? When "our" proxy warriors place actual SS insignia on their helmets, the NYT refuses to notice. If you ask about their swastikas, you'll be told: "Relax. It's nothing. Boys will be boys." Yet we are continually warned about a "new anti-Semitism" elsewhere in the world.

(Those warnings are old news. I recall reading a book in the 1970s about "the new anti-Semitism" which was supposedly sweeping through America. To prove that this imaginary problem was real, the authors pointed to the popularity of that notoriously Nazi-fied musical Jesus Christ Superstar. As older readers will recall, that's the one in which Yvonne Elliman sings "I don't know how to goosestep.")


joseph said...

Gareth said...

Poroshenko has no control over the National Guard, which placed under the command of the neo-Nazis by the junta. The Nazi Guard never really stopped fighting during the last ceasefire and provoked the rebels to launch an offensive due to their incessant shelling of Donetsk. The US already has advisers on the ground training the Nazis, so I expect them to be used in provocations to scuttle whatever halt in fighting there is. At that point the US government and the corporate media will start screaming about Putin breaking his word, with more arms and advisers flowing in. The US needs this war in the Ukraine to keep Russia and Europe from forming stronger economic bonds. It's almost as much about keeping Europe under the boot of NATO as it is to weaken Russia.

b said...

A BBC article begins:

"New shelling has been reported in the rebel-held east Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, a day after a peace deal was reached in Minsk [...] Both cities are near the front line where the pro-Russian rebels face government forces."

That means the fascists broke the ceasefire. "Has been reported" indeed! And "has been reported in" rather than where the shelling has occurred (or reportedly occurred). They know what they're doing, these journo-scum. Unlikely (although not impossible) that the Russians will shell the cities they already hold.

Published terms:

"Heavy weapons to be withdrawn, beginning on 16 February and completed in two weeks"

Was I right? Mariupol to be neither taken nor defended? Anyone who doesn't get why that city is important, look at a map showing the whole area and the Crimea - and also realise the Russians have carried out some large-scale flanking along the coast. That's what forced the talks.

"Withdrawal of all foreign troops and weapons from Ukrainian territory. Disarmament of all illegal groups."

Those points are grouped together? Get it?

"Ukraine to allow resumption of normal life in rebel areas, by lifting restrictions"

That means Novorossiya and the pro-Russian oligarchs there get access to the Ukrainian banking system, or to the western banking system through the Ukraine. But they don't get US and German ambassadors accredited to them. The fascist government will send Visa-card bitstreams, not weapons for the Hitler-lovers.

"Constitutional reform to enable decentralisation for rebel regions by the end of 2015."

Decentralisation! That means 'Go Novorossiya!' See also Transdniestria, 'autonomous' 'within' 'Moldova'.

"Ukraine to control border with Russia if conditions met by the end of 2015"

That's not worth the paper it's written on. There's no way that Kiev is going to control the Novorossiyan-Russian border. This isn't the West Bank of the Jordan. Controlling that border is a military objective they didn't achieve. This won't happen, and including this point is about saving face.

The Russians won this war, as they also won the war against Georgia.

Additional unpublished protocols will doubtless include the bridge to Crimea. I now think construction will start, and that they've agreed that if anybody intereres, wham.