“Glory to the free Ichkeria!” (or, What we need is a brand new war)/updated
Posted by Charles II on February 6, 2015
Update: Crossposted with massive additions and obligatory pie fight at DK.
Robert Parry has an eye-opening piece focusing on the financial interests and malfeasance in our policy toward Ukraine:
(Our new agent in Ukraine: Jaanika Merilo, advisor on foreign investments to the Economics Minister)
The Russians also have noted the arrival of financially self-interested Americans, including Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and Ukraine’s new Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, reminding the Russians of the American financial experts who descended on Moscow with their “shock therapy” in the 1990s, “reforms” that enriched a few well-connected oligarchs but impoverished millions of average Russians.
Jaresko, a former U.S. diplomat who took Ukrainian citizenship in December 2014 to become Finance Minister, had been in charge of a U.S.-taxpayer-financed $150 million Ukrainian investment fund which involved substantial insider dealings, including paying a management fund that Jaresko created more than $1 million a year in fees, even as the $150 million apparently dwindled to less than $100 million.
Jaresko also has been involved in a two-year-long legal battle with her ex-husband to gag him from releasing information about apparent irregularities in the handling of the U.S. money.
More Interested Parties
The Russians also looked askance at the appointment of Estonian Jaanika Merilo as the latest foreigner to be brought inside the Ukrainian government as a “reformer.” Merilo, a Jaresko associate, is being put in charge of attracting foreign investments
The Russians are aware, too, of prominent Americans circling around the potential plunder of Ukraine. For instance, Hunter Biden was named to the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, which is a shadowy Cyprus-based company linked to Privat Bank.
Privat Bank is controlled by the thuggish billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky, who was appointed by the Kiev regime to be governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, a south-central province of Ukraine. Kolomoysky has helped finance the paramilitary forces killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.
And, Burisma has been lining up well-connected lobbyists, some with ties to Secretary of State John Kerry, including Kerry’s former Senate chief of staff David Leiter, according to lobbying disclosures. As Time magazine reported, “Leiter’s involvement in the firm rounds out a power-packed team of politically-connected Americans that also includes a second new board member, Devon Archer, a Democratic bundler and former adviser to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Both Archer and Hunter Biden have worked as business partners with Kerry’s son-in-law, Christopher Heinz, the founding partner of Rosemont Capital, a private-equity company.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Whys Behind the Ukraine Crisis.”]
James Carden has a piece in The Nation on the recent report I linked that argues for starting a war with Russia over Ukraine:
And if the establishment’s media campaign to pressure the White House can be said to have a pièce de résistance, it is this report, titled Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do.
Published under the auspices of the the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution (of which Strobe Talbott is President), and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (of which Ivo Daalder is president), the report calls for the United States to become Kiev’s principal arms supplier.
More worrying still is the fact that the authors of the report are members-in-good-standing of the Democratic foreign policy establishment. Should Hillary Clinton gain the Oval Office in 2016, Talbott would likely be the front-runner for secretary of state, while another of the report’s co-authors, Michele Flournoy, would be a leading candidate for secretary of defense. Since there is really no tangible difference between the recommendations of these (largely) Democratic party stalwarts and those being bandied about by hardline Republican in the Senate, Russia policy has truly become “bipartisan” in the very worst sense.
Mikhail Klikushkin has some follow-up in The New York Observer, in an article titled The New Ukraine Is Run by Rogues, Sexpots, Warlords, Lunatics and Oligarchs:
One new face in the Rada—leader of the Right Sector ultra-nationalist party and former warlord Dmytro Yarosh—admitted in a January interview with Ukrainian TV that he caresses a real hand grenade in his pocket while inside the Rada. Because he is MP, the security personnel has no right to check his pockets. They just ask if he has anything dangerous on his person and he says no. The reason to have a hand grenade on his body is that there are too many enemies of Ukraine within the MP crowding him during the voting process. He is not afraid, of course. But when the time comes, he will use this grenade and with a bit of luck he will take a lot of them with him if he dies.
Ukrainian MPs Yuri Beryoza and Andrei Levus, also former warlords and members of radical parties, became notorious last December after publicly applauding the terrorist attack in the Russian city of Grozny….
Another former warlord, former member of social-national party and today’s Ukrainian MP Igor Mosiychuk said to the journalists that Ukraine, “being in the state of war, must stimulate the opening of the second front in the Caucuses, in Middle Asia” against Russia. In the scandalous video, which has been viewed 2.5 million times, he unloaded an assault rifle into the portrait of the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov ranting, “Ramzan, you have sent your dogs, traitors into our land. We have been killing them here and we will come after you. We will come after you to Grozny. We will help our brothers to free Ichkeria from such dogs like you. Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the free Ichkeria!”
Michael Kofman of the Wilson Institute has a piece in the [paleocon] National Interest that goes into weapons issues in some detail:
Experts familiar with the reasons for Ukraine’s military defeat understand that it is not due to technical deficits, although those exist across the board in its armed forces, but because its army as a whole is not a capable force. It lacks logistics, training, commanders with experience at maneuvering brigade- or battalion-sized elements, any coordination between volunteer battalions and regular forces, along with independent military analysis of the problems. There is no intelligence, no mobile reserves, no unified command and a political leadership that often seems disconnected from the facts on the ground. Dumping weapons into this operating environment is unlikely to prove a solution to the problems, all of which are fundamental and structural.
In truth, the reason for the current winter offensive that was launched on January 13th is often misunderstood. It is widely recognized in Moscow that signing the Minsk ceasefire was a wholly unforced strategic mistake, as it achieved none of its stated political objectives, while making Russia a party to the conflict with obligations that could subsequently be pointed to by the West. Minsk remains a dead ceasefire because of a fundamental disagreement over the sequencing of how the deal should be implemented, not because Moscow could think of nothing better than to launch a ground offensive in January, the worst month for such operations. Russian leaders will not withdraw their forces, or restore control of the border, until they first see that Kyiv is willing to give political status and recognition to the separatists.
Ukrainian leaders naturally have no desire to grant true political recognition or autonomy to the separatists, and Russia has no interest in abandoning them to be completely crushed by political, economic and military pressure from Ukraine. Hence, Moscow and Kyiv did not fulfill their respective obligations under this agreement, or withdraw troops according to the secret protocol signed on September 19
The reason for the resumption of the current war is that Russia’s leadership has wagered a colossal amount of political capital on its invasion of Ukraine. It is perhaps a matter of life and death for the current political system, and a core interest of Russia that it is unlikely to give up on, no matter the amount of Western political pressure or weapons sent.
I wrote my elected representatives today.
13 Responses to ““Glory to the free Ichkeria!” (or, What we need is a brand new war)/updated”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.