Friday, February 28, 2014

China Issues Report on U.S. Human Rights

News | 01.03.2014 | 05:58
A Chinese idiom says that all will follow one who is personally upright, even though he does not give orders; but if he is not personally upright, they will not follow, even though he gives orders.
Attributed to Confucius (551 BC-479 BC), one of the greatest Chinese philosophers in history, the idiom is an important tenet for the Chinese.
In another example of this idiom, China on Friday published a report on the U.S. human rights situation, finding that the hypercritical Uncle Sam has turned out to be a poor performer in human rights issues.
The report said that the human rights situation in the United States is worsening. It faces rampant gun violence and a grave employment situation. With the tapping program code-named PRISM, the U.S. government has infringed on the privacy rights of people both at home and abroad.
The report came one day after the U.S. State Department issued its country reports on human rights practices for 2013. Acting as the world's judge of human rights, the U.S. made arbitrary attacks and irresponsible remarks on the human rights situation in almost 200 countries and regions.
Of course, the report included human rights situations in China, a longtime victim of the U.S.'s groundless accusations. The U.S. report made accusations about China's political and judicial systems, ethnic issues, and other issues.
Pursuing human rights is a process and no country can have an absolute perfect record. China is on a path of rapid development, and due to a low starting point, the country emphasizes the right to development more than developed countries.
The U.S. report deliberately ignored the great progress China has made in human rights. China has abandoned the reeducation through labor system, eased the one-child policy, and significantly improved the people's livelihood, especially vulnerable groups.
The Chinese government's commitment to improving its human rights situation is based on its own will rather than the push from other countries, especially countries such as the United States, which are always criticizing others while their own records are poor.
If the United States wants to be the self-claimed human rights judge of the world, though China and most countries do not agree, it first needs to sweep its own doorsteps. Otherwise, its words will not be heard, let alone trusted, by other countries.

Israel verschärft Druck auf Palästinenser

Palestinian Art
Israel versteht es wieder einmal, die auf andere dramatische Ereignisse in der Region konzentrierte internationale Aufmerksamkeit auszunützen, weitere Schritte zur Verwirklichung der zionistischen Ziele in Angriff zu nehmen. Und über diese Ziele bestehen ja seit über einem Jahrhundert wohl keine Zweifel: es geht um die Schaffung von „Eretz Israel“, sprich um die Vertreibung des palästinensischen Volkes aus seiner Heimat. Auch wenn es manche Idealisten im Westen nicht wahr haben wollen, im zionistischen Konzept ist kein Platz für eine Zweistaatenlösung!

In der Beilage unseres heutigen Newsletters dokumentieren wir zwei Ereignisse der letzten Tage: Der Beschluss der Knesseth, den in Israel lebenden christlichen Palästinensern einen eigenen Minderheitenstatus einzuräumen, sowie eine Debatte über jüdische Ansprüche auf den Haram al-Sharaf (Tempelberg) in Ost-Jerusalem.

Während die Schaffung eines eigenen rechtlichen Status für die dem Christentum angehörigen „israelischen Araber“ ganz offensichtlich als Maßnahme zur weiteren Schwächung der rund 1,5 Mio. in Israel lebenden Palästinenser konzipiert ist – frei nach dem alten Prinzip der Kolonialisten „Teile und herrsche“ –, brachte die Knessethdebatte über den Haram al-Sharif ganz unverhohlen die Ansprüche der zionistischen Israelis nicht nur auf die heiligen Stätten der Muslime sondern auf ganz Jerusalem zum Ausdruck, welches in ihren Augen ja bereits seit Jahrzehnten die „vereinigte Hauptstadt“ Israels ist. Dass dies in krassem Gegensatz zum Völkerrecht und zu allen relevanten internationalen Beschlüssen steht, spielt hier keine Rolle.

Man könnte meinen, dass es sich hier um die Ansichten von radikalen Außenseitern in Israel handelt, leider ist dies nicht der Fall. Diese „Radikalen“ stellen die große Mehrheit dar, sind an der Macht und haben die Möglichkeiten, ihre expansionistischen und rassistischen Ziele auch zu verwirklichen. Daran ändern auch sogenannte „Friedensgespräche“ mit den Palästinensern nichts. Leider praktiziert der Westen die Methode der Verdrängung, wenn es um den israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt geht. Man kennt zwar die wirklichen Absichten von Netanjahu, Lieberman und Konsorten, verdrängt diese aber und macht gute Miene zum bösen Spiel. Damit macht man sich aber zum Komplizen einer Politik der systematischen Aushöhlung jeglicher völkerrechtlichen Ordnung.

Fritz Edlinger

P.S.: Die ebenfalls beiliegende Meldung über einen Amnesty-International-Bericht über die israelischen Gewaltanwendungen in der Westbank (auch in den sogenannten autonomen palästinensischen Gebieten!) rundet diese Bild ab. Der gesamte Bericht ist auf unserer unter Aktuelle Meldungen zu finden.
GÖAB-Newsletter Nr. 20/2014
Posted am  28.2.2014 
Gesellschaft für Österreichisch-Arabische Beziehungen
A-1100 Wien, Laaer-Berg-Str. 43
Tel.: +43 1 526 78 10, Fax: +43 1 526 77 95

"Today Crimea is facing the powerful rise of people’s self-consciousness."

Coup and Anti-Coup. Gene Sharp Amended

Irina LEBEDEVA | 01.03.2014 | 00:35

In the Coup in Kiev piece published on February 24, Justin Raymondo makes no bones about it saying that the events in Ukraine were nothing else but an outright coup d’état «pure and simple, the violent overthrow of a duly elected official», as he puts it. The author describes it as an overthrow of pro-Nazi and anti-Russian nature, just another regime change in the line of «color revolutions» taking place in the post-Soviet space. According to Justin Raymondo, the coup bringing putschists to power is being hailed not only by «that champion of «democracy», the United States government, but also by our clearly biased media, which is using this as «a bludgeon to beat the hated Vladimir Putin»
The author believes Americans would get a better understanding of theUkrainian events if they realize that, «the role of the United States government in this affair is utterly pernicious. While funding and encouraging the Ukrainian people to rise up against a gang of kleptocrats, Washington plots behind the scenes to install their own favored thieves in power»… According to Raymondo, the way the events unfold makes one believe that at this stage it’s just a beginning. With bitter irony he comments the recent statement by Susan Rice, the United States National Security Advisor, as she stressed that deploying Russian troops to Crimea «would be a grave mistake». The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tactfully recommended Susan Rice to address her advices to the US President, while the American journalist leaves diplomacy aside saying bluntly that Susan Rice plays with fire reviving the old Cold War fears and raising «Russians are coming!» style hullabaloo to spook people. The author explains thatRussians don’t need to go anywhere; Sebastopol is the site of the Russian fleet stationed at Sevastopol, as well as the heart of the Russian-speaking population living there since ancient times. As Kiev burned, Crimeans rallied in their tens of thousands calling for unity with Russia. Quite unexpectedly the American author arrives at the conclusion that Susan Rice is completely wrong because «the present borders of Ukraine no more represent a real nation than do the borders of African states set by nineteenth century European colonialists».
Not that unexpectedly though. Whatever it is, American politicians never known for harboring any pro-Russia sympathies before have started to cite Russia Today reports. Ron Paul is a politician often characterized as the «intellectual godfather» of the Tea Party movement. He sought the presidency of the United States a number of times. The website of the Institute for Peace and Prosperity, the think tank he founded and chairs, has posted the interview that professor Mark Almond of Oxford University granted Russia Today. The caption reads 'Whole of Ukraine held hostage by a small group of radicals'. According to Almond, the violence in Ukraine, incited by the West, is something more than just another orange revolution boiling down to revision of election results. This time it’s about «a clean sweep». Mr. Almond believes the situation in Ukraine is similar to the process taking place in Syria. He says, «One of the problems of this crisis is that there isn't a constitutional way out because, in fact, about half of the country, the Western third of the country at least, is already controlled by these very radical groups who suppress any opposition».
On February 24 and February 27 the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) made statements regarding the events in Ukraine. It is clearly stated that the agreement on settlement of the crisis in Ukraine of the 21 February, signed by President of Ukraine Yanukovych and opposition leaders Vitaly Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnybok, is not observed despite the fact that its signature was certified by Foreign Ministers of Germany, Poland and France, as well as the United States, the European Union and other international bodies that welcomed this document. The February 24 MFA statement notes, «We are deeply concerned about the actions in the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada in terms of their legitimacy. Actually referring to the «revolutionary appropriateness» only, they are stamping «decisions» and «laws», including those aimed at deprivation of humanitarian rights of Russians and other national minorities living in Ukraine. There are calls to prohibition the Russian language almost fully, lustration, liquidation of parties and organizations, closing of undesirable mass media, removal of restrictions for propaganda of Neo-Nazi ideology».
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the Ukraine’s new government is not legitimate. According to him, «Some of our foreign, western partners think otherwise, considering them to be legitimate authorities. I do not know which constitution, which laws, they were reading, but it seems to me it is an aberration of perception when something that is essentially the result of a mutiny is called legitimate».
I open From Dictatorship to Democracy, a Conceptual Framework for Liberation by Gene Sharp, the book-length essay translated into dozens of languages. It is devoted to the theory of color revolutions. Gene Sharp has gained fame. His instructions on non-violent insurgency have been followed in many coups staged across the globe to meet the interests of the «only superpower». But this time Gene Sharp does not help me to better understand what is happening in Ukraine now. Unexpectedly his, much less popular publication, called The Anti-Coup, happens to be just the thing. It was written together with Bruce Jenkins and contains a host of instructions on measures civil society can take to resist illegal power when a coup has already taken place. Isn’t it the kind of resistance we’re witnessing in Sebastopol, Crimea and the south-eastern part of Ukraine?
According to Gene Sharp, «A coup d'état is a rapid seizure of physical and political control of the state apparatus by illegal action of a conspiratorial group backed by the threat or use of violence. The members of the previous government are deposed against their will. Initially the coup group rapidly occupies the centers of command, decision-making, and administration, replacing the previous chief executive and top officials with persons (military or civilian) of their choices». That is exactly what is happening in Ukraine. The steps taken by incumbent Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which are supported by Pravy Sector, a new version of «White Al Qaeda», perfectly fit the scenario described by Gene Sharp.
The coup manual is not so big, its length is only 40 pages, but it gives a clue as to how to proceed and effectively resist a coup: never give up and unmask the usurpers as illegitimate imposters. As Sharp puts it, «Immediately after the coup is started, the putschists require legitimacy, that is, acceptance of their moral and political right, or authority, to rule». That’s why, «The first basic principle of anti-coup defense is therefore to deny legitimacy to the putschists». The author notes, that, «The putschists also require that the civilian leaders and population be supportive, confused, or just passive. The putschists additionally require the cooperation of specialists and advisors, bureaucrats and civil servants, administrators and judges in order to consolidate their control over the society». Therefore, «The second basic principle of anti-coup defense is to resist the putschists with noncooperation and defiance». Sharp believes that, «If both legitimacy and cooperation are denied, the putsch may die of political starvation». Thus the society will revive the chances for return to democracy.
Closing the Gene Sharp’s book I start to think about how life makes amendments to what the classic has written in his works. These days the parliament of Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea has found a way out of the crisis spread across the nation. A referendum on «improving the status of autonomy and expanding its powers» slated for May 25, 2014 is the step in this direction. It’s something completely different from an anti-coup. Today Crimea is facing the powerful rise of people’s self-consciousness. Those who take part in the process cherish a hope that the trend would make possible the return to democracy.
Tags: Crimea Russia Ukraine US Sharp

Moscow mayor says Russian capital city to help Crimea’s Sevastopol

Moscow mayor says Russian capital city to help Crimea’s Sevastopol

News | 01.03.2014 | 00:52
Moscow will carry on its cooperation with Sevastopol, the Crimean base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, in all the existing areas, the Russian capital city’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on the air of the City FM radio station.
“We’ve been rending assistance for many years and we aren’t going to stop it,” Sobyanin said specifying that assistance is provided for the veterans, residents of Sevastopol, and the communal services.
“In particular, we’ve been delivering municipal transport - trolleybuses - to Sevastopol for the past 24 months,” he said. “And the mayor’s office (in Sevastopol) is very grateful.”
“We’re connected with that city by lots of cultural ties and an agreement in this sphere has been signed,” he said. “Certainly, we won’t go back on it.

Cartoon Russia/Ukraine "What The Hell Are You Doing Getting So Close To Your Own Border"

My dear artist friend in Florida W. B. Park wrote me today after reading my rant about the US destabilizing Ukraine.  I've been working with Will since the early 1980's when I was organizing in Florida.  He made countless drawings and cartoons for leaflets, newsletters, posters, and even once designed us a billboard that we put up.  When I published my book, Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire, I used all of Will's artwork that I could dig up. (Says Bruce Gagnon from USA)



Add captionU.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland offered food (and $$$) to pro-European Union agitators as she and
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, right, walked through Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine last December
I watched the mainstream national news last night at 6:30 pm.  I did alot of raging at the TV.  One of the networks led off with the story about Russia holding war games inside their own country, near the Ukrainian border.  The White House and Secretary of State John Kerry issued stern warnings to Russia about not trying to "interfere" with the current balkanization of the Ukraine.  In Crimea, riots between pro-EU and pro-Russian citizens broke out.  The Russian Navy has their Black Sea bases in Crimea.

I was ready to throw my slippers at the TV when Obama and Kerry threatened Russia over any "interference".  Who the hell are they to talk about interfering?  The now famous "Fuck the EU" quote from Victoria Nuland (wife of Bush-Cheney era neocon Robert Kagan) was direct evidence of the deep involvement and interference of the US in Ukraine.  This whole story just reeks of hypocrisy and arrogance on the part of the US.

Talking about war games - the US-NATO in recent months were holding war games in Latvia and Lithuania - practicing flying NATO warplanes right up against Russia.  Were they trying to draw a response?  And the US has been heavily arming Georgia and doing joint war games there, again right along the Russian border. At this very moment the US and South Korea are running war games aimed at North Korea which is bordered by Russia and China. 

But the American people would never know about US war games because the network TV news never reports those facts.  They only report the news that is intended to lead the public in a certain direction - and that direction is demonizing Russia (and China) in order to justify US imperial moves.

During one of the commercials that dominate network TV an actor, about my age, was selling some product.  I had muted the sound but watched this nice looking middle class man appear so genuine and I couldn't help but feel confident that he was gaining the trust of those across the nation who had not cut the sound off.  I then thought of a lifetime of watching the tube, buying the soap and the bullshit sold on corporate TV.  The false patriotism during the Olympics... the agenda infused news reporting done by reporters who toe the corporate party line.... the false innocence and phony outrage expressed by US politicians about Russia trying to defend their immediate front-door interests as if the US would not be going ballistic if the Russian Bear had its "diplomats" handing out bread during riots in Canada intended to force that nation to break away from the capitalist camp and move into bed with Moscow.  Just imagine that one.

This stuff just drives me crazy.  And the American people keep walking off the cliff in lockstep as the US prods, pokes, surrounds, and stomps on Russia which sooner or later will indeed respond - and when they do we will hear this from Washington - "Holy shit, look what Putin is doing... we told you he was crazy and wants war with us!"

The US pulls this kind of crap daily all over the world... but you'd never know it back here at home because it is not reported on the TV - and that is all that counts.
Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502

Ukraine: Noose around Neck of US Diplomacy

Nikolai BOBKIN | 28.02.2014 | 10:29

The White House has decided that Ukraine is in for a transition period, though it’s not clear where exactly the country is heading to. President Obama promises to cooperate with all parties without having an idea who he means exactly. It’s not known as yet who has happened to be a winner or a loser as a result of US intervention, but the contemporary plight of Ukraine allows calling it a non-existent state. America cannot stay away from the events in Ukraine but it is not ready to act on its own. The US knows how to destabilize other countries but in the given case it would like to rectify the situation with the help of Moscow…
Washington did not think about Ukraine when it was calm there, at least it never manifested its interest in developing bilateral ties. The US is the tenth largest investor into the Ukraine’s economy with the stock of only one billion dollars. It ignores the interest of the partner. The US is pushing for non-traditional gas production in the low-profit western deposits where the population is not inclined to support the “shale friendship” with the United States. No other energy sector investment projects exist and there is nothing to make the trade turnover grow. It’s tiny; the US exports to Ukraine do not exceed 200 million dollars while the Ukrainian exports to the United States are only $60-70 million. Unlike that, the Ukraine’s ties with Russia are much closer, actually its beyond comparison. The trade turnover between Russia and Ukraine exceeds 40 billion dollars; Russia is the largest market for Ukraine (approximately 10 billion dollars). 
When Yanukovych came to power in 2010, the US concentrated its efforts on developing cooperation in the field of non-proliferation; the parties agreed that Ukraine would get rid of highly enriched uranium. The United States promised aid in decontamination of the territory affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, but it never materialized. It’s a long time since Americans became frugal substituting money with promises to those who are ready to believe empty words. US and UK foreign policy chiefs John Kerry and William Hague never discussed urgent economic aid to Ukraine at anything like a special meeting; instead they exchanged the views on the issue on the sidelines of Sexual Abuse and Armed Conflict conference held in Washington (?). The British Foreign Secretary said the new political leaders in Kiev still had to prove their ability to implement reforms and fight corruption. Mr. Hague believes it will improve the chances to get financial aid from world community. So it’s arms twisting again, this time it applies to those who pin their hopes on Western aid. No doubt, there will be no money flows to Ukraine from the United States. 
From the United States view, Yanukovych was not the worst president of Ukraine. He was dismissed as a result of a coup, something that runs contrary to the US principles of democracy and rule of law. Americans ask themselves what would Obama do if his armed opponents threw Molotov cocktails at the Capitol, assaulted the White House and broke windows in the Oval Office? Would US President reconcile with the ruling by Congress to change the Constitution and fire him without complying with due procedures against the background of ongoing unrest and chaos in the country? 
Law obedient Americans just don’t understand how could Obama tell Yanukovych to get security forces from the streets at the time blood had already been shed in Kiev? Many in America believe the Obama’s reaction was tantamount to incitement. Actually the United States leadership issued a license to kill and is responsible for dozens of human lives lost in Kiev. It’s a shame for America. The fact that Obama tried to hide behind the backs of those who work for him and eluded to meet Yanukovych directly is no excuse for his actions. The US Ukraine policy was in the hands of Vice President Joe Biden those days, it was him who spoke nine times with Yanukovych on the phone …Now State Secretary John Kerry speaks about Ukraine in a very abstruse and murky way trying to rectify the evident blunder of US diplomacy. Talking about the events, Kerry says it’s not “a zero sum game”. Indeed, in a zero sum game the winner’s gain is always the loser’s loss. Russian Foreign Chief Sergey Lavrov noted that Kerry had problems with counting when talking about Ukraine at the Munich conference the State Secretary said that Kiev was to make a choice between the whole world and one country. Now the State Secretary has started to talk about “working together with Russia”. The White House has displayed its support of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, it has even started to emphasize the importance of Russia’s participation in the crisis management. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague admitted that it was important for Ukraine to cooperate with both: Russia and the European Union. But the question is - will Russia want to cooperate with the new regime in Kiev? 
Moscow resolutely condemns the growth of neo-Nazi and neo-fascist sentiments in the western part of Ukraine, the calls to ban Russian language, to make Russian speakers “non-citizens”, to curb freedom of expression and to dismiss the political parties which are out of favor with the new regime. Washington should also understand that Maidan leaders, who have pledged allegiance to European values, are in stark violation of fundamental constitutional norms of the European Union related to the treatment of other nationalities, including minorities that speak their own languages.
Against this background the Zbigniew Brzezinski predictions about the majority of Ukrainians turning into the enemies of Russia sound more like malicious joy of a decrepit Russophobe. Zbigniew Brzezinski explicitly endorsed the Finlandization of Ukraine. This would mean mutual respect, broad economic ties with Russia and the European Union, non-alignment with any military alliances, which Moscow believes to be hostile to it. At that, the cooperation between Russia and Europe should make progress. In a nutshell, Finlandization is offered as a pattern of relations between Ukraine, the European Union and Russia. Now, what’s new about it? 
It was not Russia, but the European Union who suggested that Ukraine should make a choice between Europe and Russia. It was an ultimatum launched by the European Union that Yanukovych had to face. The Russian President asked why Ukraine was to make any choice at all. According to him, Moscow was ready to lend a helping hand and prevent Ukraine from collapse while joining efforts with the West. It could be a three-party aid package. Washington and Brussels refused the offer. They are the ones Brzezinski should have addressed with his Finlandization initiative. Moscow never forgot that Ukrainians were a brotherly nation – Russia and Ukraine are two parts of one civilization. That’s why the West fails to include Ukraine into the list of unconditional allies.
Tags: European Union Ukraine US Brzezinski Kerry Obama Yanukovich

"Whole of Ukraine held hostage by a small group of radicals'" Prof. Mark Almond, Oxford

News | 28.02.2014 | 13:09
A country of almost 15 million people is being held hostage by a very small radical group, namely 2 or 3 thousand very aggressive rioters, with some of them toting firearms and Molotov cocktails, Professor Mark Almond of Oxford University told RT.

RT: Extreme violence, 10 dead, and chaos in a major city. Russia and Ukraine accuse the EU and US of interference, but are they really to blame for this?

Mark Almond: Well, only time will tell when the archives open, but there is a great deal of prima facie evidence that Americans and Europeans wanted some kind of chaotic denouement to this crisis. Remember, if we go back to 2004, they pushed through a compromise solution to the crisis and there was a rerun of the elections. Now what is wanted is a clean sweep or a revolution... It means abolishing the constitution, it means outlawing the losing side, and what I think the West really wants to see is the pushing away from any position of power, any chance of coming back to power, of the president’s government and its supporters.

RT: Who would replace the president? We see extremists and nationalists taking power over the protesters on the streets…

MA: This is a great problem, I’m afraid. Just as we saw the same process taking place for instance in Syria, where we started out by supporting people who said they wanted constitutional change, they wanted general pre-elections, and then we ended up with radical jihadists planting car bombs and so on. So I’m afraid, on a smaller scale, we will probably see it in a European city. We have seen that the process of chaos is taking over.

And we have to say, after all, Mr. Klitchko and Yatsenyuk went to Berlin, they came back and then they made very radical statements. Quite often, particularly in the European media, we hear the moderate views. They said that today was the decisive day. And I think we have to ask ourselves are we really seeing a forked tongue approach? This is a very dangerous approach because it has a long history. When the Germans occupied Ukraine in 1919, the German commandment said “Let’s put these little boys in short trousers, and ministerial seats, and we'll create a government of an independent Ukraine.” And it’s a horrible pre-echo of Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyat, the US State department people, talking about who should be prime minister, who should hold high office. I think this is the danger that we are seeing today. We see the geopolitical game played out over the bodies of ordinary Ukrainians.

RT: What is going to come out of this all? If what they really want is chaos and destruction that we are seeing now, but if it’s a bankrupt country already?

MA: I think what they hope and I’m not entirely wrong, President Yanukovich and the Ukrainian police forces will back off. After all they were repeatedly confronted by violence on a smaller scale. They backed off, they compromised, they released hundreds of people involved in very bad acts a few weeks ago, they released them only this week. That actually has helped to provide the hard core of people to take part, because the tragedy in this situation is really how few people are playing a part in this. We are talking about 2 or 3 thousand very aggressive rioters, just some of them provided with firearms, some with Molotov cocktails, but the country of almost 15 million people is held hostage by a very radical small group.

RT: Many people have seen this as the representation of the Ukrainian people, decent and angry about the corrupt government, and they like the idea of joining the EU because it’s a better life for them.

MA: Two things. First of all, coming to your second point, they have been sold by a very diligent propaganda campaign by the NATO countries, the EU countries that were they to join the EU, they'd have a better life. They have never told how many people have emigrated from Poland to Britain, because in fact joining the EU plunged the already poor country into economic crisis. So the tragedy of people in Ukraine is that they are very misinformed.

One of the problems of this crisis is that there isn't a constitutional way out because, in fact, about half of the country, the Western third of the country at least, is already controlled by these very radical groups who suppress any opposition. If you go to Lviv, if you go to Ivano-Frankovsk, people don’t agree with the paramilitary groups… it's rather like meeting dissidents in Ceaușescu's Romania 25 years ago. And so if you were to hold an election you would find a situation where a large part of the country has a completely bogus situation, for example inflated by large numbers of non-existent people - that happened already in 2004. So the claim, the argument “let’s have elections,” if you have an election with the paramilitaries in control at the polling stations, I’m afraid you are not going to get a genuine result.

RT: Will that still be a case if we wait till the 2015 scheduled elections?

MA: The problem now is, and this is why it’s difficult to see a compromise solution, that the Svoboda and the Right Section radical groups in Ukraine have in a sense played their card. They have shown they are prepared to use extreme violence and then they face the problem if they don’t succeed, if the West is not able to cajole the Ukrainian political elite into making concessions, these people do face a very grim future, they’ll go to prison. The problem now is that we have passed the situation where there is an obvious political solution. And as you said a lot of ordinary Ukrainians are very discontented with their economic law, they are probably also very discontented with the ways the government is handling this crisis. Whether they will be listened to, whether they will have a chance to have their votes counted fairly, I think is now very much an open question.

Reprinted from RT-

Syria forces continue mop-up operations

Syria forces continue mop-up operations, kill 50 militants

News | 28.02.2014 | 06:03
Syrian government forces have continued mop-up operations across the country, seizing parts of Aleppo airport and killing at least fifty militants.
Syrian troops also took control of the Brakat hill, reaching to the east of al-Sakan al-Shababi area in the northern city of Aleppo on Thursday.
The operations came a day after an army operation in which Syrian soldiers killed at least 175 foreign-backed al-Qaeda-linked militants near the capital, Damascus.
The ambush attack near Otaybeh village in the eastern Ghouta region claimed the lives of mostly Saudi, Qatari and Chechen militants, local media said.
Meanwhile, almost 300 people arrived in the Syrian capital after being evacuated from Madaya town, east of the Damascus countryside.
Earlier on Thursday, Syria’s official al-Watan newspaper said the country’s army is “preparing to launch a new phase” of its mop-up operation in the town of Yabrud near the border with Lebanon to clear militants from the area.
It said the government forces have taken control of two strategic hills near Yabrud, in the Qalamoun mountains.
"Every day there is progress" by the Syrian troops, the daily also said, adding that militants used the hills as supply route.
Syria has been the scene of deadly violence since 2011. Over 130,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the unrest.
The Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- have been supporting the militants operating inside Syria, according to reports.