Ukraine – weapons pour in to fuel the conflict

28th February 2022

Members of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion march in Kyiv

Transgressions of international law have been legion in the period since the defeat of the Soviet Union in 1991.  The NATO led bombing and dismemberment of Yugoslavia in the 1990’s resulted in fragmentation, civil war and thousands of deaths, counter to international law.  The US led bombing of Iraq in 2003 flew in the face of international law, resulting in thousands of deaths and the collapse of the Iraqi state.  The same applies to the US bombing of Libya, the twenty year long US occupation of Afghanistan and the Saudi led bombardment of Yemen, which has gone on since 2015.

The United States continues to illegally blockade the Cuban economy in the face of massive international opposition.  The British government will not release to Venezuela gold reserves which legitimately belong to that country.  The Israeli government continues its illegal occupation of Palestinian land, counter to United Nations resolutions and international agreements.

None of which justifies Russia’s decision to launch a military operation in Ukraine but certainly makes Western holier than thou proclamations of defending democracy and being a bulwark against tyranny sound particularly hollow.

The West has always taken a pragmatic approach how it handles ‘tyrants’.  Saddam Hussein was courted for many years, his pilots trained by the RAF and his regime tolerated as a lesser evil in the Middle East than that of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The eight year long Iran-Iraq war, which raged from 1980 -1988 and left over a million dead, was encouraged by the West in the hope that the Iranian revolution would be thwarted.

The plan backfired.  The war ended in stalemate but the Iranian clergy used it as cover to purge those progressive elements who had been against the Shah, but were equally opposed to the establishment of an Islamic Republic, and consolidate the medieval theocracy which continues to oppress the Iranian people to this day.

The Taliban in Afghanistan emerged from opposition groups, armed by the CIA and Saudi Arabia, to undermine the 1978 revolution in Afghanistan, which freed the country from feudal overlords and which the Soviet Union was asked to assist in defending.  The recent retreat of Western forces from Afghanistan, defeated by the very same Taliban, is another instance of the plan backfiring.

Opposition to the Bashir al-Assad government in Syria was fuelled by the West pouring into the country vast quantities of weaponry, which encouraged ongoing violence and degenerated into civil conflict.  The attempt to undermine Syria failed, though not without the people of that country paying a significant price.

Agreements were made following the defeat of the Soviet Union that NATO would not take advantage and extend its influence into Eastern Europe and threaten Russia’s security.  The exact opposite has happened.  NATO influence and membership now extends to Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and beyond.  The United States territory of Alaska shares a border with Russia.

The NATO and EU backed coup in Ukraine in 2014 was followed by the banning of a wide range of political parties, including the Communist Party, attacks upon the ethnically Russian dominated areas of Odessa and Mariupol and the inclusion of fascist elements in both the government and armed forces.     

The ‘democratic’ Ukraine, much vaunted by the Western media and liberal opinion, is little more than a façade for the influx of weapons which the current crisis has precipitated.  Arms are flowing into Ukraine at an alarming rate, including an alleged 30,000 weapons handed out on the streets to Ukrainian citizens for their ‘defence’ but has actually resulted in gangs looting in the capital Kyiv.  The EU has just agreed weapons deliveries of €500 million to Ukraine, further fuelling the likelihood of extending the conflict rather than moving towards a peaceful resolution.

Russian and Ukrainian peace talks have been initiated in Belarus offering the opportunity that an agreement may be reached.  However, it is unlikely that Russia will accept any agreement which does not result in Ukraine’s neutrality, while Ukraine’s President Zelensky is reported to be demanding an unconditional ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops and immediate EU membership for Ukraine.  Both sides may remain apart for some time.

A special session of the UN General Assembly has been called, only the tenth in the past seventy years, to discuss the crisis.  In his speech the Ukrainian ambassador to the UN has described the Third Reich as the “spiritual mentors” of the Russians.  He further went on to question whether Russia is even a legitimate member of the United Nations.  Such rhetoric does not augur well for negotiations.

Putin has made it easy for the West to ramp up the demonisation of both himself and Russia with the miscalculated invasion of Ukraine.  It may be that the unintended consequence is his own downfall, as the gangster capitalists he represents will no doubt be quick to find an alternative, if Putin is not seen to be serving their best interests.

The West will seek to exact a price to defend its own position but may still tolerate a more compliant, resource rich Russia, desperate to do business with the West to rebuild its profit base.  Feelers will no doubt be out already for an alternative to Putin, not least from the British Tories, who benefit significantly from donations of dirty Russian money, and the City of London, which has played a key role in laundering the asset stripping of the former Soviet Union.

It may not play out that way, Putin may yet step back and find a way to survive.  In any event, he is unlikely to emerge from the crisis stronger.  Whatever the outcome the West will need to remember, seeking reparations from a weakened rival may seem like a good outcome in the short term but, as twentieth century history shows, it my store up greater dangers in the future.

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