26 February 2015

Of Ukraine, Daesh and the Gulf states

The new Ukrainian government, which according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has been asking for weapons in preparation for a ‘full-scale war’ with a nuclear power, ‘however dangerous it sounds’, has found a willing supplier in the United Arab Emirates, which is one of the top buyers in the world for American-made weapons. We should be highly concerned about a military escalation taking place on the Russian border in the wake of the tenuous Minsk peace talks, and we should be highly concerned that this escalation is taking place with our own weapons.

In fact, our military support to the Gulf states needs to be subject to a great deal more scrutiny than it is, because so many of these states are either direct or indirect supporters of the single worst threat to the Christians and Shi’ites of the Middle East today: Daesh. According to Günter Meyer, an expert in Middle East and North African affairs and a Director for the Centre for Research into the Arabic World at the University of Mainz, ‘the most important source of ISIS financing to date has been support coming out of the Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia but also Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates’. The reason for this, he explains to Deutsche Welle, is sectarian religious Gulf state opposition to Assad’s Syria. They seem to be thinking twice about such support now, because they appear to be realising that the Daesh militants they send to Syria might cause trouble for them when they return home. But the same lack of wisdom that the Gulf states are applying to Syria and Daesh, we are seeing in our own governments in their support for the new Ukrainian government.

What they stand for in Ukraine, is precisely what we stood against in the 1930’s and 1940’s. And they are crazy enough in their total dedication to the Ukrainian national myth, including the fascist elements, that they are – by the admission of their own officials – willing and indeed eager to risk not only their own security but the security of all of Europe and North America in their mad and self-destructive undeclared war against Russia. America’s entire security strategy, both in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe, will ultimately prove self-defeating, unless we start to show some discernment in our allies, and not allow Cold War prejudices, either against Russia or against the secular Arab states, to cloud our judgements about our present engagements.

EDIT: Looks like the ties between Daesh and Ukraine are even more direct than this. According to this story, Ukraine has been using men from Daesh in volunteer units like the Dudayev Battalion, to fight against Russia. Not a pretty picture, to say the least.

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