From Minsk to Wales, Germany is the key
Merkel emphasized, “A solution must be found to the Ukraine crisis that does not hurt Russia.”
She added that “There must be dialogue. There can only be a political solution. There won’t be a military solution to this conflict.”
Merkel talked about “decentralization” of Ukraine, a definitive deal on gas prices, Ukraine-Russia trade, and even hinted Ukraine is free to join the Russia-promoted Eurasian Union (the EU would never make a “huge conflict” out of it). Exit sanctions; enter sound proposals.
She could not have been more explicit; “We [Germany] want to have good trade relations with Russia as well. We want reasonable relations with Russia. We are depending on one another and there are so many other conflicts in the world where we should work together, so I hope we can make progress”.
The short translation for all this is there won’t be a Nulandistan (after neo-con Victoria ‘F**k the EU’Nuland), remote-controlled by Washington, and fully financed by the EU. In the real world, what Germany says, the EU follows.
Geopolitically, this also means a huge setback for Washington’s obsessive containment and encirclement of Russia, proceeding in parallel to the ‘pivot to Asia’ (containment and encirclement of China).
It’s the economy, stupid
Ukraine’s economy – now under disaster capitalism intervention – is… well, a disaster. It’s way beyond recession, now in deep depression. Any forthcoming IMF funds serve to pay outstanding bills and feed the (losing) creaking military machine; Kiev is fighting no less than Ukraine’s industrial heartland. Not to mention that the conditions attached to the IMF’s ‘structural adjustment’ are bleeding Ukrainians dry.
Taxes – and budget cuts – are up. The currency, the hryvnya, has plunged 40 percent since early 2014. The banking system is a joke. The notion that the EU will pay Ukraine’s humongous bills is a myth. Germany (which runs the EU) wants a deal. Fast.
The reason is very simple. Germany is growing only 1.5 percent in 2014. Why? Because the Washington-propelled sanction hysteria is hurting German business. Merkel finally got the message. Or at least seems to have.
The first stage towards a lasting deal is energy. This Friday, there’s a key meeting between Russian and EU energy officials in Moscow. And then, later next week, it will be Russian, EU and Ukrainian officials. The EU’s energy commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, who was in Minsk, wants an interim deal to make sure Russian gas flows through Ukraine to Europe in winter. General Winter, once again, wins any war.
Here, essentially, we have the EU – not Russia – telling Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to stuff his (losing) ‘strategy’ of slow-motion ethnic cleansing of eastern Ukraine.
Moscow has always insisted the Ukraine crisis is a political problem that needs a political solution. Moscow would accept a decentralization solution considering the interests – and language rights – of people in Donetsk, Lugansk, Odessa, Kharkov. Moscow does not encourage secession.
Poroshenko, on the other hand, is your typical Ukrainian oligarch in a dance of oligarchs. Now that he’s on top, he does not want to become road kill. He might, if he relies on ‘support’ by the neo-Nazis of Right Sector and Svoboda, because then there will never be a political solution.
The Empire of Chaos, needless to say, does not want a political solution – with a neutral Ukraine economically tied to both the EU and Russia; economic/trade integration across Eurasia is anathema.
It’s all about NATO
In parallel, every EU diplomat with a conscience – well, they do exist – knows that the non-stop hysteria about the Russian‘threat’ to Eastern Europe is a Washington-peddled myth designed to boost NATO. Secretary-General Anders ‘Fogh of War’ Rasmussen sounds like a scratched CD.
It’s hardly a secret in Brussels that larger EU powers simply don’t want permanent NATO bases in Eastern Europe. France, Italy and Spain are forcefully against it. Germany is still sitting on the wall, carefully weighing how not to antagonize both Russia and the US. Needless to say, the Anglo-American “special relationship” badly wants the bases, supported by the hysteria unleashed by Poland and the Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
So Fogh of War is on a predictable roll, talking “rapid reinforcements”, “reception facilities”, “pre-positioning of supplies, of equipment, preparation of infrastructure, bases, and headquarters” and “a more visible NATO presence.” This graphically proves, once again, that the Empire of Chaos couldn’t give a damn about Ukraine; it’s all about NATO expansion – the key talking point next week at the Wales summit.
The no-holds-barred neoliberal asset-stripping, wild privatization and outright looting of Ukraine, disguised as loans and ‘aid’, is now unstoppable. Yet gobbling up Ukraine’s agriculture and energy potential is not enough for the Empire of Chaos. It wants Crimea back (that future NATO base in Sevastopol…). It wants missile defense deployed in Poland and the Baltics. It would even love regime change in Russia.
And then there’s MH17. If sooner rather than later is proved the Empire of Chaos fooled Europe into counterproductive sanctions based on the flimsiest ‘evidence’, German public opinion will force Merkel to act accordingly.
Germany was the secret behind the Minsk summit. Let’s see if Germany will also be the secret behind the Wales summit. In the end it’s up to Germany to prevent Cold War 2.0 getting hotter by the day all across Europe.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.
Fonte: Russia Today
26/8/2014, [*] Pepe Escobar, RT − Rússia Today
Traduzido pelo pessoal da Vila Vudu
Assim como Irã, Rússia, EUA e União Europeia estão envolvidos num sofisticado balé nuclear/de-energia, Síria e Ucrânia são também dois vetores chaves nos jogos de energia, com peso suficiente para determinar grande parte do que acontece a seguir no Novo Grande Jogo na Eurásia.
E essas duas guerras, na Síria e na Ucrânia, também são guerras de energia.
O plano máster do governo Obama para a Síria era “Assad tem de sair”; a mudança de regime geraria uma entidade da Fraternidade Muçulmana apoiada pelos EUA, e uma perna chave do Oleogasodutostão – o gasoduto Irã-Iraque-Síria, de US$ 10 bilhões – estaria amputada para sempre.
Leiam também: “Balé da Energia: Irã, Rússia e o Oleogasodutostão”
O próprio emir do Qatar em pessoa tomou a estrada de Damasco em 2009 para negociar um gasoduto Qatar-Síria-Turquia. Mas Bashar al-Assad disse que não; explicou que não tinha interesse algum em pôr em risco os negócios de energia entre Síria e Rússia.
Mesmo assim, prosseguiram as conversas e, lembrando que em 2001, acontecera um entendimento para um projeto rival Irã-Iraque-Síria. Significa que já aparecia escrito na parede – ou nas tubulações (de aço) que chegariam, mais dia menos dia, ao Mediterrâneo Leste. O gás para consumidores europeus potenciais viria, de fato, do campo Pars Sul, no Irã, contíguo ao campo Cúpula Norte, do Qatar; juntos, os dois campos formam o maior campo de gás de todo o planeta.
Não só para o Qatar e para a Turquia, mas especialmente para a Voz do Patrão, era negócio inaceitável; a política oficial dos EUA de “isolar o Irã” estaria em cacos. Pior: a possibilidade estaria aberta para que a União Europeia em seguida se convertesse em consumidora privilegiada de ambos, Rússia e Irã, dos quais passaria a receber nada menos que 45% de seu suprimento de gás. A plena integração energia/comércio da Eurásia – nesse caso envolvendo grande parte da União Europeia, Rússia e Irã – é anátema absoluto para o Império do Caos.
Eis aí o contexto argumentacional que “explica” o desastre intitulado “Assad tem de sair”; uma guerra DE terror, financiada em grande parte por Qatar e Arábia Saudita, com apoio logístico da Turquia, com Ancara, a CIA e a gangue do CCG (Conselho de Cooperação do Golfo) criando uma ponte aérea “secreta” para armar os chamados jihadistas “do bem”, usando para isso aviões cargueiros militares sauditas, qataris e jordanianos, desde 2012.
O mínimo que se pode dizer, é que a volta do chicote no lombo do chicoteador foi espetacular. “Assad tem de sair” deu em nada. E nada menos que o Estado Islâmico (IS), antes conhecido como ISIL, liderado pelo Califa Ibrahim, ergueu a própria cabeçorra. Até as Forças Especiais dos EUA estão embasbacadas ante o poder de luta deles.
O Califato, que engloba partes da Síria e do Iraque está ganhando rios de dinheiro vendendo – ironia mãe de todas as ironias – petróleo e gás a preço de liquidação no mercado negro. São pelo menos US$ 38 milhões de dólares/mês: US$ 8 milhões de um campo de gás capturado na Síria e US$ 30 milhões de, no mínimo, seis campos de petróleo capturados no Iraque.
As Casas de Saud e Thani mostram-se hoje ostensivamente horrorizadas com o Califa e seus degoladores, inclusive os já chamados jihadistas-Beatles. Mas mesmo assim os doadores sauditas e qataris privados, além de outros notáveis do CCG, continuam a fazer chover dinheiro e armas sobre o Califato. O presidente Erdogan na Turquia está hoje também oficialmente horrorizado. Mas a fronteira turco-síria continua escancarada para o ir e vir de todos os jihadistas viajantes.
No pé em que estão as coisas no Oleogasodutostão, a possibilidade de o projeto do gasoduto Qatar-Síria-Turquia decolar é zero. E as coisas não estão mais bem paradas no que tenha a ver com Irã-Iraque-Síria, considerando que dois desses três países estão em guerra civil sem final à vista.
No cenário da Ucrânia, o “vilão” é a Rússia, em vez do Irã. E a implicação é muito mais direta sobre interesses dos EUA.
Michael Hudson resumiu muito bem:
Agora, imaginem se aqui nos EUA o presidente Obama e o vice-presidente Biden mandassem tropas para o interior do estado de New York, que se opõe à perfuração para extração de petróleo/gás, e bombardeassem as cidades de Rochester, Buffalo, e se pusessem a bombardear as cidades e a matar todos os que se opõem ao fracking. Pois isso, exatamente, é o que está acontecendo na Ucrânia. E estão fazendo isso com o apoio do Banco Mundial.
A empresa Royal Dutch Shell é a principal interessada em perfurar/extrair xisto betuminoso no leste da Ucrânia; em janeiro, assinou negócio de US$ 10 bilhões.
E há também a Exxon, além da conexão Burisma Holdings. O governador nomeado de Dnepropetrovsk, cidadão israelense-ucraniano, o tenebroso bilionário Igor Kolomoisky – que também mantém sua própria milícia privada – está na cama com ninguém menos que o vice-presidente dos EUA Joe Biden. O filho de Joe Biden foi contratado como diretor para negócios de petróleo e gás da Burisma Holdings – exatamente a maior empresa de extração/refino de xisto betuminoso [fracking] na Ucrânia.
Além disso tudo, o Parlamento em Kiev aprovou lei que permitirá que investidores dos EUA e da União Europeia participem – em termos de joint venture – de até 49% da propriedade da tubulação enterrada no trecho ucraniano e das instalações subterrâneas de armazenamento de gás.
A conversa dos “especialistas” de Kiev é previsível: a joint venture trará o tão necessário “investimento”. E porá na prateleira para sempre o gasoduto Ramo Sul, de 2.446 km, planejado para levar o ouro azul da Gazprom pelo subsolo do Mar Negro e entrar na União Europeia na Bulgária, absolutamente sem passar pela Ucrânia. Tradução: o já periclitante orçamento de Kiev encolherá ainda mais, com a redução nas taxas cobradas pela “passagem” do gás.
A União Europeia importa da Rússia quase 30% do gás de que precisa. Metade disso transita hoje pela Ucrânia. Mas em futuro próximo o gasoduto Ramo Norte, pelo subsolo do Mar Báltico entrará em operação, e o Ramo Sul é praticamente certo, tão logo a confusão na Ucrânia seja resolvida. Contornar a Ucrânia é opção mais firme a cada dia.
Compare-se isso ao sonho molhado de Kiev, inflado por Washington, de vir a “controlar” todo o fluxo de gás da Gazprom para a União Europeia e, além do mais, de controlar todo o comércio em dólares norte-americanos. Mais uma vez, voltamos à política básica do Império do Caos – impedir maior integração econômica/de-energia entre Rússia e União Europeia.
Assim sendo, a prioridade de Washington no curto prazo é sabotar o Ramo Sul; não surpreende que o gasoduto esteja suspenso, com a Comissão Europeia obedecendo caninamente a Voz do Patrão. Mas a obediência nesse caso também significa que, por hora, largas porções da União Europeia permanecem reféns da Ucrânia.
É sob essa luz que se tem de examinar a recente intervenção, pelo vice-ministro do Petróleo do Irã, Ali Mejidi, quando declarou entusiasticamente que o eternamente conturbado Nabucco, a ópera do Oleogasodutostão, se algum dia houve tal coisa, estaria outra vez “em cena”.
A ideia do gasoduto Nabucco é levar gás para a União Europeia via Turquia, Bulgária, Romênia, Hungria e Áustria. Sim, mas, gás vindo de onde? O Turcomenistão e o Cazaquistão ficaram, afinal, excluídos. Poderia ser gás do Azerbaijão, mas essa via exige uma fortuna extra em investimentos. A indústria iraquiana não estará, tão cedo, em operação. E o Irã só estará no jogo se assinar algum acordo nuclear até o final de 2014 e se as sanções forem levantas em 2015 (e todos esses “se” são gigantes).
Assim sendo, na Ucrânia, como na Síria, estamos de volta ao começo do jogo, em termos de energia. O país é uma arca de recursos econômicos, que está sendo sugado para dentro do poço do capitalismo de desastre. No fim, é provável que a Gazprom surja como vencedora.
Não está entendendo Síria e Ucrânia? Calma: basta seguir a trilha das guerras da energia.
[*] Pepe Escobar (1954) é jornalista, brasileiro, vive em São Paulo, Hong Kong e Paris, mas publica exclusivamente em inglês. Mantém coluna (The Roving Eye) no Asia Times Online; é também analista de política de blogs e sites como: Tom Dispatch, Information Clearing House, Red Voltaire, Counterpunch e outros; é correspondente/ articulista das redes Russia Today,The Real News Network Televison e Al-Jazeera. Seus artigos podem ser lidos, traduzidos para o português pelo Coletivo de Tradutores da Vila Vudu e João Aroldo, no blog redecastorphoto.
− Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War, Nimble Books, 2007.
− Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge, Nimble Books, 2007.
− Obama Does Globalistan, Nimble Books, 2009
Fonte: Rede Castor Photo.
Official Washington’s war-hysteria machine is running at full speed again after Russia unilaterally dispatched a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to the blockaded Ukrainian city of Luhansk, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
By Ray McGovern
August 24, 2014 “ICH” – “Consortium News” – Before dawn broke in Washington on Saturday, “Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists” – more accurately described as federalists of southeast Ukraine who oppose last February’s coup in Kiev – unloaded desperately needed provisions from some 280 Russian trucks in Luhansk, Ukraine. The West accused those trucks of “invading” Ukraine on Friday, but it was a record short invasion; after delivering their loads of humanitarian supplies, many of the trucks promptly returned to Russia.
I happen to know what a Russian invasion looks like, and this isn’t it. Forty-six years ago, I was ten miles from the border of Czechoslovakia when Russian tanks stormed in to crush the “Prague Spring” experiment in democracy. The attack was brutal.
Once back in Munich, West Germany, where my duties included substantive liaison with Radio Free Europe, I experienced some of the saddest moments of my life listening to radio station after radio station on the Czech side of the border playing Smetana’s patriotic “Ma vlast” (My Homeland) before going silent for more than two decades.
I was not near the frontier between Russia and southeastern Ukraine on Friday as the convoy of some 280 Russian supply trucks started rolling across the border heading toward the federalist-held city of Luhansk, but that “invasion” struck me as more like an attempt to break a siege, a brutal method of warfare that indiscriminately targets all, including civilians, violating the principle of non-combatant immunity.
Michael Walzer, in his War Against Civilians, notes that “more people died in the 900-day siege of Leningrad during WWII than in the infernos of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki taken together.” So the Russians have some strong feelings about sieges.
There’s also a personal side for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was born in Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg, eight years after the long siege by the German army ended. It is no doubt a potent part of his consciousness. One elder brother, Viktor, died of diphtheria during the siege of Leningrad.
The Siege of Luhansk
Despite the fury expressed by U.S. and NATO officials about Russia’s unilateral delivery of the supplies after weeks of frustrating negotiations with Ukrainian authorities, there was clearly a humanitarian need. An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team that visited Luhansk on Aug. 21 to make arrangements for the delivery of aid found water and electricity supplies cut off because of damage to essential infrastructure.
The Ukrainian army has been directing artillery fire into the city in an effort to dislodge the ethnic Russian federalists, many of whom had supported elected President Viktor Yanukovych who was ousted in the Feb. 22 coup.
The Red Cross team reported that people in Luhansk do not leave their homes for fear of being caught in the middle of ongoing fighting, with intermittent shelling into residential areas placing civilians at risk. Laurent Corbaz, ICRC head of operations for Europe and Central Asia, reported “an urgent need for essentials like food and medical supplies.”
The ICRC stated that it had “taken all necessary administrative and preparatory steps for the passage of the Russian convoy,” and that, “pending customs checks,” the organization was “therefore ready to deliver the aid to Luhansk … provided assurances of safe passage are respected.”
The “safe passage” requirement, however, was the Catch-22. The Kiev regime and its Western supporters have resisted a ceasefire or a political settlement until the federalists – deemed “terrorists” by Kiev – lay down their arms and surrender.
Accusing the West of repeatedly blocking a “humanitarian armistice,” a Russian Foreign Ministry statement cited both Kiev’s obstructionist diplomacy and “much more intensive bombardment of Luhansk” on Aug. 21, the day after some progress had been made on the ground regarding customs clearance and border control procedures: “In other words, the Ukrainian authorities are bombing the destination [Luhansk] and are using this as a pretext to stop the delivery of humanitarian relief aid.”
‘Decision to Act’
Referring to these “intolerable” delays and “endless artificial demands and pretexts,” the Foreign Ministry said, “The Russian side has decided to act.” And there the statement’s abused, plaintive tone ended sharply – with this implied military threat:
“We are warning against any attempts to thwart this purely humanitarian mission. … Those who are ready to continue sacrificing human lives to their own ambitions and geopolitical designs and are rudely trampling on the norms and principles of international humanitarian law will assume complete responsibility for the possible consequences of provocations against the humanitarian relief convoy.”
Despite all the agreements and understandings that Moscow claims were reached earlier with Ukrainian authorities, Kiev insists it did not give permission for the Russian convoy to cross its border and that the Russians simply violated Ukrainian sovereignty – no matter the exigent circumstances they adduce.
More alarming still, Russia’s “warning” could be construed as the Kremlin claiming the right to use military force within Ukraine itself, in order to protect such humanitarian supply efforts – and perhaps down the road, to protect the anti-coup federalists, as well.
The risk of escalation, accordingly, will grow in direct proportion to the restraint exercised by not only the Ukrainian armed forces but also their militias of neo-fascists who have been dispatched by Kiev as frontline shock troops in eastern Ukraine.
Though many Russian citizens have crossed the border in support of their brethren in eastern Ukraine, Moscow has denied dispatching or controlling these individuals. But now there are Russians openly acknowledged to have been sent by Moscow into Ukraine – even if only “pilots” of “Russian military vehicles painted to look like civilian trucks,” as the White House depicted the humanitarian mission.
Moscow’s move is a difficult one to parry, except for those – and there are many, both in Kiev and in Washington – who would like to see the situation escalate to a wider East-West armed confrontation. One can only hope that, by this stage, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the European Union realize they have a tiger by the tail.
The coup regime in Kiev knows which side its bread is buttered on, so to speak, and can be expected to heed the advice from the U.S. and the EU if it is expressed forcefully and clearly. Not so the fanatics of the extreme right party Svoboda and the armed “militia” comprised of the Right Sector. Moreover, there are influential neo-fascist officials in key Kiev ministries who dream of cleansing eastern Ukraine of as many ethnic Russians as possible.
Thus, the potential for serious mischief and escalation has grown considerably. Even if Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wants to restrain his hardliners, he may be hard-pressed to do so. Thus, the U.S. government could be put in the unenviable position of being blamed for provocations – even military attacks on unarmed Russian truck drivers – over which it has little or no control.
Giving Hypocrisy a Bad Name
The White House second-string P.R. team came off the bench on Friday, with the starters on vacation, and it was not a pretty scene. Even if one overlooks the grammatical mistakes, the statement they cobbled together left a lot to be desired.
It began: “Today, in violation of its previous commitments and international law, Russian military vehicles painted to look like civilian trucks forced their way into Ukraine. …
“The Ukrainian government and the international community have repeatedly made clear that this convoy would constitute a humanitarian mission only if expressly agreed to by the Ukrainian government and only if the aid was inspected, escorted and distributed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). We can confirm that the ICRC is not escorting the vehicles and has no role in managing the mission. …
“Russian military vehicles piloted by Russian drivers have unilaterally entered the territory controlled by the separatist forces.”
The White House protested that Kiev had not “expressly agreed” to allow the convoy in without being escorted by the ICRC. Again, the Catch 22 is obvious. Washington has been calling the shots, abetting Kiev’s dawdling as the supply trucks sat at the border for a week while Kiev prevented the kind of ceasefire that the ICRC insists upon before it will escort such a shipment.
The other issue emphasized in the White House statement was inspection of the trucks: “While a small number of these vehicles were inspected by Ukrainian customs officials, most of the vehicles have not been inspected by anyone but Russia.” During a press conference at the UN on Friday, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin took strong exception to that charge, claiming not only that 59 Ukrainian inspectors had been looking through the trucks on the Russian side of the border, but that media representatives had been able to choose for themselves which trucks to examine.
Regardless of this latest geopolitical back-and-forth, it’s clear that Moscow’s decision to send the trucks across the border marked a new stage of the civil war in Ukraine. As Putin prepares to meet with Ukrainian President Poroshenko next week in Minsk – and as NATO leaders prepare for their summit on Sept. 4 to 5 in Wales – the Kremlin has put down a marker: there are limits to the amount of suffering that Russia will let Kiev inflict on the anti-coup federalists and ethnic Russian civilians right across the border.
The Russians’ attitude seems to be that if the relief convoys can be described as an invasion of sovereign territory, so be it. Nor are they alone in the court of public opinion.
On Friday at the UN, Russian Ambassador Churkin strongly objected to comments that, by its behavior, Russia found itself isolated. Churkin claimed that some of the Security Council members were “sensitive to the Russian position – among them China and the countries of Latin America.” (Argentina and Chile are currently serving as non-permanent members of the Security Council.)
The Polemic and Faux Fogh
Charter members of the Fawning Corporate Media are already busily at work, including the current FCM dean, the New York Times’ Michael R. Gordon, who was at it again with a story titled “Russia Moves Artillery Units Into Ukraine, NATO Says.” Gordon’s “scoop” was all over the radio and TV news; it was picked up by NPR and other usual suspects who disseminate these indiscriminate alarums.
Gordon, who never did find those Weapons of Mass Destruction that he assured us were in Iraq, now writes: “The Russian military has moved artillery units manned by Russian personnel inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and was using them to fire at Ukrainian forces, NATO officials said on Friday.”
His main source seems to be NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who famously declared in 2003, “Iraq has WMDs. It is not something we think; it is something we know.” Cables released by WikiLeaks have further shown the former Danish prime minister to be a tool of Washington.
However, Gordon provided no warning to Times’ readers about Rasmussen’s sorry track record for accuracy. Nor did the Times remind its readers about Gordon’s sorry history of getting sensitive national security stories wrong.
Surely, the propaganda war will be stoked by what happened on Friday. Caveat emptor.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. As an Army officer and CIA analyst, he worked in intelligence for 30 years. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
Fonte: Information Clearing House