Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vladimir Putin And The " Invasion? " of Crimea In The Ukraine.

By Sodium

Please notice that the word " Invasion ? " in the Title of this essay has been put between quotations and accompanied with a question mark. Please notice also, in the Title, the usage of " In The Ukraine " instead of " Of The Ukraine. " All of this has been done deliberately to convey to the readers that the writer of this essay does not believe that President Putin has military invaded a Ukrainian territory, but has occupied originally a Russian region. Reasons:

(1)  The region that the Russian troops have occupied lately is called Crimea was not really part of the Ukraine. It really belonged to Russia until 1954.

(2)  In 1954, it was Nikita Khrushchev, The First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union then, ( the highest ranking position in the Soviet Union ), who gave Crimea to Ukraine which was itself an integral part of the Soviet Union. That is why Khrushchev's act of enormous generosity had not been challenged at that time by anybody. However, since the demise of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has chosen to be independent of the new Russia that has resulted after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine has succeeded in achieving its goal of independence. The problem has started with the new Russia when certain groups of people in Ukraine, (one political analyst has described them as a bunch of Nazis ), started pushing for closer relationship and clear propensity to join the European Union, ignoring all the historic, linguistic and cultural ties with Russia. No genuine Russian leader could put-up with that, let alone a strong leader like Putin. That is the real reason that has compelled President Putin to make his move and occupy Crimea by Russian troops. Putin's message to Ukraine's new leaders was clear: you go ahead and abandon your historic, linguistic and cultural ties with us, but there is a price for all of that you must pay in return and that price is the Russian territory called Crimea and will leave it to Crimea's Russian-speaking population to decide, through secret ballots of voting, whether or not they want to be part of Russia. So, it has passed and Crimea has returned back to its " Mother Russia." 

(3)  As one researches further the act of such a Khrushchevian generosity, one may find that Khrushchev's generosity was not based on ideology, nor was it based upon some kind of geopolitical strategy that should have been necessary in order to protect the Soviet Union's future interests, but was based on personal passion and emotion toward the Ukraine and its people because Khrushchev had " deep root " in the Ukraine. Such a deep sense of root had expressed itself by Khrushchev himself when he had chosen to spend his retirement, meaning the rest of his life, in the city of Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, after he was purged from the highest ranking office in the entire Soviet Union.  Of all the great and vast land of " Mother Russia, " he had chosen a city in the Ukraine to spend his final days and years until he died in 1971. This is truly an attestation to the fact that his act of generosity to give Crimea to the Ukraine was solely based on his emotions and passion and nothing else.

(4)  President Putin's younger years were spent working as an intelligence officer in the KGB. Such intelligence officers are generally known to be professionally detached from personal emotions towards anything else except total and complete dedication in serving their great "Mother Russia." Hence, one may conclude that what Vladimir Putin is trying to do is simply making amend to what was done by the element of passion and emotion of Nikita Khrushchev.

(5)  Since some groups of people succeeded in claiming nearly a whole country as theirs, because they clamed that their ancient ancestors lived there, once upon a time, and amazingly more than 2000 years ago, WHY not the Russians have also the right to claim Crimea that was theirs in 1954. That is only 60 years ago. The difference between 2000 years and 60 years is huge indeed. This what actually happened in Palestine in which the real indigenous population which was made mainly of Palestinians were violently forced out of their homes, farms, villages, cities and country, at the point of GUNS. Without the political intrigues of certain Western powers, the Zionists and their destructive project could not have succeeded in Palestine. What has happened to the Palestinian people is the shining proof of the HYPOCRISY of the major Western Powers.

If the West continues to claim what Putin has amended is an invasion, it is strongly suggested that the West start looking in the mirror long and hard to see itself as it should be seen, without make-up for beautification or propaganda. Some samples of what some Western powers had done wrongly to some countries in the world and especially in the Middle East:

(I)  Sykes-Picot Accord which was secretly signed, during the First World War, by Mr. Sykes, a British diplomat and Mr. Picot, a French diplomat. Through such an accord, the whole Arab world was divided into more than 20 identities and each identity has its own passport control and its own tariff and customs control. By British and French military occupations, they ruled their colonies by way of " Divide and Rule. " At least, Putin has asked for consensus to be determined by secret ballots through direct voting by the population of Crimea. Fair-minded human beings can easily give him credit for his own fair-mindedness.

(II)  Balfour Declaration: Please just Goggle the two words " Balfour Declaration " and the Internet will provide you with what Britain had done wrongly in Palestine because of this declaration. Or, if you prefer, you can read an essay titled, " Thoughts On Edward Said and T. E. Lawrence " published on this Website on March 19, 2010. The essay has also included an outline, however brief, about the secret accord, ( which is no longer secret ), known as " Sykes-Picot Accord " that is being mentioned above in this essay. See above..

(III)  Kuwait was an integral part of Iraq before the discovery of petroleum in it. In fact, Iraq used to send foods and supplies, by way of camel caravans, to the impoverished Kuwait which would have encountered starvation without the Iraqi genuine help and care. After the discovery of oil in it, a British military officer curved Kuwait as a separate identity from Iraq. No consensus whatsoever. At least, President Putin has acted in a civilized manner, as he insisted that he wanted a direct voting whether the residents of Crimea wanted to be part of Russia or not.

(IV)  France brutally ruled Algeria for many decades by stationing there 500,000 French troops and considered Algeria as an extension of France and many French people moved from France to Algeria and started claiming Algeria the way they claimed their France. The Algerians had to scarify more than one million of its youths to force France out of Algeria. That is why Algeria is described by many, nowadays, as the country with the one million martyrs. Putin has not declared a foreign country to be an extension of Russian, as France had declared Algeria as an integral part of France. He has only taken back what rightly belongs to his own country, " Mother Russia. "

(V)  The destruction of the infrastructure of Iraq in 2003 by the West, led by the United States of America and then followed by land invasion and occupation of Iraq may well be recorded in history books as the most horrible foreign policy blunder that has been committed by the United States of America The sad result of all of this was the fact that Iran had become the real power in Iraq through mainly an American troops occupation. One may not see more complex and foolishness than what happened in Iraq since it was destroyed as a functioning human society. In addition to the immorality of this war, Kofi Anan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations had publicly declared then that the War in Iraq was ILLEGAL Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, is claiming what legally was an integral part of his country, called lovingly by all Russian nationalists:" Mother Russia. " .

(VI)  What the West has done in Afghanistan are well known and no need for elaborations. Putin has not used pilotless airplanes, known as, DRONES, to kill indiscriminately innocent people on the ground, whether they were terrorists or not, under the pretext of the endless war on terrorism, as the West had/has done in Afghanistan.

Final Words:
Some observers say that Putin will eventually fail in all what he is trying to do in Crimea. The writer of this essay believes that Putin will be the ultimate winner, in the finality of it all. Reasons:

(A)  Russia has recovered from its economic and financial crisis that had hit so badly in the 1990's. It is in much stronger economic position that allows it to put up with all the sanction's debris the West is capable of bombarding against it. Thanks partly to its huge natural sources such as gas, petroleum and gold.

(B)  All sanctions against Russia have no chance of being adopted by the United Nations' Security Council for the obvious veto power both Russia and China possess. Of course, the West will not go that rout.

(C)  Because Russia, in its entire dealing with the West, has never really been accepted by the West as a partner, it will always look beyond the West for its independence in finding its own geopolitical alliances that serves its global strategy. Its entire rich history says so.

(D)  Countries like China, India , Brazil, Iran and Egypt and some other Latin American countries, even some Eastern European countries may not follow what the West want to do with regards to sanction. Each of these countries has its own problems and its own trade interest to protect. Most likely, Putin will strengthen Russia's relations, in all fields of interest, as much as possible, with those countries, as well as with several countries in Africa. In short, many countries of the world will ignore whatever sanctions the West throws against Russia and its leaders.

Based on taking all of the foregoing into considerations, it seems to the writer of this essay that Putin will end-up the winner, as the Ukrainian drama reaches its ultimate climax, since he really possesses the highest cards in this game of political poker-perhaps, a "straight flush " of the highest kind.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Ukraine Crisis and Body Language of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

By Sodium

Through watching the global news on the Internet, I have been accustomed to seeing Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany so admirably engaging in her diplomatic efforts whatever was of interest to her country and its trading partners. Because of this fact, I was struck by watching her calm face so un-interested in, or even totally detached to, what the newly appointed Prime Minister of Ukraine was telling her, as both of them were walking side by side, rather slowly, toward a conference to be held by the members of the European Union in which Germany belonged. In fact, her calm face, as it appeared to me, had a touch of " glassy boredom ", by what she had heard from the tall and slim and bald-headed and talking NEW Ukrainian Prime Minister. In short, the spirit of engagement and interest that I had sensed in Chancellor Merkel, in so many global diplomatic events, was simply not there, as she walked, side by side, with the Ukrainian Prime Minister.

At one point, during their walk, she raised her head upward to examine, with her calm face, without saying a single word, the face of the talking Ukrainian, ( he was much taller than her ), as to diplomatically saying to him: " I just wonder how much truthfulness has really existed in what you have just finished telling me ! "

They both eventually had arrived to the place where the conference was supposed to be held. At this point, and right at the entrance of the conference hall, did she smile broadly, as she was received by an official of the host country in which the conference was held. After the apparently pleasant handshake with the host of the conference, she disappeared inside into the conference hall.

As the conference was over, the news came out that members of the European Union could not form one single position with regards to Russia's military occupation of the semi-island called Crimea which was supposed to be part of Ukraine. Some members, especially the Baltic countries, ( Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia ), wanted the European Union to take tough measures against Russia, while some other members did not want to go that far. Germany and United Kingdom, ( Britain ), were among those members who did not want to inflame an already inflammable situation with Russia. It seems to me that both, Britain and Germany have a lot to lose, if tough measures against Russia materialized. Based upon this reality, no wonder I saw, on the Internet and after the conference was over, Chancellor Angela Merkel shared a small table, in a friendly setting, with David Cameron, Prime Minister of United Kingdom, ( Britain ). However, their faces looked like not exactly pleased by the outcome of the conference because, perhaps, they had been considered by the bellicose members of the European Union as couple of outcasts, even perhaps coward, of which I believed they were not either, but wisely political and diplomatic REALISTS.

Finally, I must admit that I look forward to see, on the Internet, in the near future, the engaging and caring Angela Merkel I have been accustomed to watching and learning from, especially from her positive and constructive gestures, in the world of political leadership and diplomacy.



Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sh'iah-Sunnah Split: Understanding How it has Developed.

By Sodium

The following book is a must read by anyone who is interested in understanding how the Shi'ah-Sunnah-Split has occurred and developed to what it is today:

After The Prophet
Lesley Hazelton.

If you are fond of the writings of Karen Armstrong, as the writer of this essay, you will love the style of writing of  Lesley Hazelton.

I have just finished reading " After The Prophet " and I must say that I have enjoyed every minute and hour I had spent in reading it, because of the style in which the book was written. Although most of the historical events in the book have been known to me, I could not stop reading the book because I felt like reading an interesting and fascinating novel.

Lesley Hazelton has divided her outstanding book, " After The Prophet " into the following three parts:

Part One: Muhammad.
Part Two: Ali.
Part Three: Hussein.

The content of each part, of the three parts cited above, is profoundly touching in the style of writing and fascinating in the historical events that had taken place in the way Hazelton had presented them

The book has made it clear, in meticulous details, that the reason for the split has been fundamentally political since day one, as Prophet Muhammad had fallen ill and was obvious he was about to die.

The political nature of the split had to do with the fact that The Prophet did not name a successor of his to be Caliph after his death, although he thought very highly of his son-in-law, Ali bin Abi Talib. It seems to me that The Prophet had refrained from naming a successor of his to be Caliph, after his death, was to avoid a possible Fitna; and he wanted to leave it to a Shura amongst his closest companions, including Abu Bakr Al-Sidiq, Omar ibn Al-Khatab, and Uthman ibn Affan, in addion to Ali and others.

I must admit that by the time I finished reading the book I have developed a sense of compassion to what had happened to Ali and his Son, Hussein, and at the same time I had developed a sense of rejection towards Muawiya bin Abi-Sufian who stole the Caliphate to himself  by sheer political tricks after political tricks, through his wealth and operatives like Amr, the conqueror and governor of Egypt.

Muawiya bin Abi-Sufian was the founder and the First Caliph of the Umayad dynasty that ruled the Arab Empire from Damascus, Syria instead of Medina in ancient Arabia.

Final Words:
The book, "After The Prophet " is now available in soft cover and its price is quite reasonable. I paid twelve American dollars ( $ 12 ), plus the cost of shipping to my home address. The total cost did not exceed fifteen U.S. dollars. I ordered it from Barnes & Noble book store. Buy it, if you can afford it and enjoy reading it. If not, try your local library and check it out and read it. If your local library does not have it, I just do not know what to tell you to help you out. Tough Luck.