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By Iftikhar A Khan|
The western media is crying hoarse over Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which the western powers consider a blatant violation of international laws. The UN, which is always quick to pass resolutions that suit the western agenda, condemned Russia’s actions and won the approval of every Security Council member except China.
Russia has amassed 40,000 troops on the eastern borders of Ukraine; this, according to analysts, has reignited the cold war.
The United States has raised the issue of violation of international laws against Russia; does the superpower itself adhere to the same laws in the first place? If there’s one power whose hubris and arrogance is unbounded, it’s the US of A. The majority of the people would simply smirk over American claims of respecting international law.
Nevertheless, the last cold war ended when the Russian forces withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 and mother Russia disintegrated. Pakistan was then in the western camp and supported the imperialist proxy war to rid Afghanistan of Russian occupation. The Russians vacated Afghanistan and the Taliban, with Pakistan’s help and American designs, were installed in power.
When the red army marched into Afghanistan in 1979, Pakistan opposed the occupation of the neighbouring country. And when on the pretext of 9/11, the US-led Nato forces came hunting the Taliban more than a decade later, we supported the invaders in occupying Afghanistan. We failed to foresee that the decision to support western invasion against Afghanistan would draw a wedge in the nation’s unity whose lingering effects we would suffer for a long time.
After Afghanistan the coalition forces invaded Iraq on the pretence that it possessed ‘weapons of mass destruction’. No such weapons were found but the western powers acquired total control of the cheap Iraqi oil, which was the sole purpose of attacking a sovereign country.
Libya’s turn came next. Rulers of both countries, Saddam Hussain and Moammar Gaddafi, were executed after much humiliation. The then French president Sarkozy had warned the Arab leaders of meeting the same fate if they entertained any smart ideas.
Nevertheless, the powerful military alliance of western powers faced no resistance from any country until the Syrian imbroglio developed. Russia had thus far remained unconcerned about the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq by the Nato forces. It woke up only when the western powers instigated an insurgency in Syria to topple Bashar al-Assad.
The insurgents call themselves the Free Syrian Army and use Turkey’s land to operate from. Removing Assad from power and installing a Karzai-Maliki type proxy in Syria would achieve two main objectives: 1) weaken Iran and 2) deprive Russia of its naval base at Tartus – Russia’s only port in the Mediterranean. Therefore, Russia decided to intervene and because of its diplomatic offensive the western pressure over the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons abated.
Similarly, the Russian naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea has a strategic importance for Russia. And it’s not the first time that Russia and the western powers have faced each other over Crimea. About 160 years ago, Britain – then the superpower – declared war on Russia. Britain tried to lay siege to Sevastopal, the Russian naval base in the Black Sea, where the famous charge of the light brigade took place.
President Putin has termed the annexation of Crimea as “an accomplished fact”, meaning thereby that it wouldn’t be undone. Even though the Ukrainian government considered the referendum illegal under its laws the reality is that the referendum represented the will of the majority of the people to reunify with Russia.
The smaller countries are watching in awe how the superpower that intimidated them reacts against a powerful adversary – Russia and its popular president, Vladimir Putin.