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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 5-Nov-2014
5-Nov-14 World View -- Russian troops approach Ukraine's border, threaten port city Mariupol

Web Log - November, 2014

5-Nov-14 World View -- Russian troops approach Ukraine's border, threaten port city Mariupol

Hezbollah leader brags about Syria war despite spillover into Lebanon

This morning's key headlines from

Russian troops approach Ukraine's border, threaten port city Mariupol

Russian troops may be planning an attack on the port city of Mariupol, linking Crimea with Russia, and remaining poised to continue to Odessa
Russian troops may be planning an attack on the port city of Mariupol, linking Crimea with Russia, and remaining poised to continue to Odessa

Nato says that regular Russian troops in Russia are approaching the Ukraine border, after Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the Russian anti-government militias in east Ukraine, has vowed the intention to capture the Black Sea port city of Mariupol.

Russia's state-sponsored media is saying:

"Russia has repeatedly stated that it is not a party to the Ukrainian internal conflict and said that all of the country's actions are in accordance with the international law."

It's true that Russia has repeatedly claimed those things, but in each case those claims turned out to be lies. Russia claimed they weren't invading Crimea, just as Russian troops were invading Crimea. Russia claimed that they wouldn't annex Crimea, just before they annexed Crimea, a clear violation of international law. Russia claimed that there were no Russian troops in east Ukraine at a time when Russian troops were entering east Ukraine. On September 5, Russia signed an international peace agreement (the "Minsk protocols") in which they committed to a political compromise in east Ukraine, and then supported east Ukraine elections earlier this week in complete violation of their own agreement.

The winner of those east Ukraine elections was Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said "Ukraine has to understand that the (Donetsk People’s Republic) is already another state," essentially declaring war on Ukraine's government. On the same day, Soviet army veteran Igor Plotnitsky became leader of the neighboring self-proclaimed People's Republic of Luhansk, and he appealed to east Ukraine regions to secede and create a new state of Novorossiya.

As the Russian military buildup proceeds, Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko has ordered army Ukrainian reinforcements to key eastern and southeastern Ukraine cities. However, no one seriously believes that Ukraine's army can withstand an invasion by Russia. BBC and LA Times and Ria Novosti (Moscow) and AFP/Reuters

Russia uses Hungary to put ethnic Rusins in play against Ukraine

Although Hungary has been a member of the European Union, the relationship has been extremely contentious because of discrimination against Jews and Roma citizens, and because of laws favored by Hungary's premier Viktor Orbán to limit free speech and limit the freedom of Hungary's central bank. Hungary's government has been growing increasingly pro-Russian, and Orbán's relationship with Russia's president Vladimir Putin has been getting closer.

Putin has been taking advantage of the closer relationship with Hungary as a cover to promote a secessionist movement in western Ukraine of the Rusin (or Carpatho-Rusin) ethnic group. Orbán's government promotes itself as a defender of the Rusins against Ukrainians, and a strong secessionist movement would destabilize Ukraine in the west, giving Russian troops a freer hand in the east, with the continuing threat of continuing to dismember Ukraine completely. Jamestown and Orthodox Holiness

Hezbollah leader brags about Syria war despite spillover into Lebanon

Shia Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, appearing on nationwide television in Lebanon on Tuesday, bragged about entering Syria's war on the side of the Shia/Alawite president Bashar al-Assad, and tried to downplay the increasing Shia versus Sunni sectarian violence that's been spilling over into Lebanon, particularly along the northern border with Syria.

Tuesday is Ashura, the most important date in the Shia calendar. It commemorates the battle of Karbala in 680, which led to the historic split between Sunni and Shia Islam. Nasrallah tried to cool sectarian tensions in Lebanon by playing them down:

"There is an error in diagnosing the nature of the conflict in the region, which is not a Sunni-Shiite conflict.... We, the Shiites, should not be dealing with this conflict as being sectarian, our battle is not with the Sunnis, but with American hegemony, Israeli schemes, and Takfiris [Muslims accused of apostasy]."

Hezbollah used to be popular with both Sunnis and Shias, many of whom view the militia as the principal force in the "resistance" against Israel. But Hezbollah's invasion of Syria to bolster al-Assad's forces has reduced the popular view of Hezbollah as a sectarian Shia militia, backed by Iran, joining with a regime that's massacring innocent Sunni women and children in Syria.

During his speech, Nasrallah tried to regain popular support by speculating on a Hezbollah attack on Israel:

"Israelis are saying in the media that they would have to close down Ben-Gurion Airport and the Haifa port and yes, that’s true.

You should close all of your airports and your ports because there is no place in the land of occupied Palestine that the resistance’s rockets cannot reach. ...

They know that going to war with the resistance will be very costly because we are more determined, stronger, more experienced ... and we are capable of achieving such accomplishments."

Daily Star (Beirut) and Naharnet (Beirut) and CS Monitor

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Nov-14 World View -- Russian troops approach Ukraine's border, threaten port city Mariupol thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Nov-2014) Permanent Link
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