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Showing posts from February 21, 2014

Proxy Conflict With Russia: Ukraine Descends Into Open Warfare

By Richard Rozoff


1) Western news media coverage of Ukraine perverted: Russian foreign minister
2) “The West makes no comment on throwing of cocktail bombs or seizing of buildings”: Russian foreign minister says U.S. responsible for armed extremists in Ukraine
3) Speaker of the Crimean parliament: Well-train and well-armed contingent of 5,000 foreign mercenaries active in Kiev
4) Russian Foreign Ministry blames extremist gunmen for Ukrainian violence
5) Russia demands Ukrainian opposition halt violence
6) In consultation with Western patrons, Ukrainian insurgents engage in delaying tactics in order to accumulate arms: Presidential administration
7) Ukrainian Interior Ministry: Rioters employing specialized ammunition
8) Conflict with Moldova and Romania pending? Transdniester now effectively blockaded
9) British foreign secretary: “Violence against peaceful protestors is unacceptable and the Ukrainian gov should be held accountable”
10) Weimar Triangle meets Maidan Triumvirate: French, German,…

Japanese Investment in Africa

Japan's newest aid and investment in Africa suggests it is redoubling its focus on South and East African nations that border the Indian Ocean. In these countries, it not only runs trade surpluses and sees signs of new resources coming to market but also sees its private companies getting more heavily involved in manufacturing and construction. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe started 2014 with a visit to Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Ethiopia, where he promised aid and investment for security, energy and infrastructure. This trip followed his administration's pledge of $32 billion in new aid, investment and loans for 2013-2017 -- well above the $9 billion in aid and the decrease in direct investment stock between 2008 and 2012. Of these newly pledged funds, 44 percent ($14 billion) will go toward development aid, 20 percent toward financing infrastructure for trade corridors, 6 percent toward natural resource extraction and 6 percent toward low-carbon energy projects.

Japan's pledg…

In Ukraine, Fighting Shatters a Truce

Anti-government protesters take cover while under fire, reportedly from a police sniper, during clashes in Kiev on Feb. 20. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


A truce between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the country's main opposition lasted less than a night, with new deaths and the capture of police officers reported on the morning of Feb. 20. Yanukovich, as well as Vitali Klitschko, one of the opposition leaders, traded blame for the latest violence as European leaders scrambled to defuse the crisis. The continuation of violence puts to question the level of control that Yanukovich and the prominent protest leaders have over the events on the streets and the role that Western -- and Russia's -- governments play in calming or inciting the protests.

Analysis


Late Feb. 19, Yanukovich agreed to a truce and continuation of negotiations on Feb. 20 in a parley with three opposition leaders. Far-right protesters from the Right Sector said they refuse to observe t…

Venezuela Continues to Struggle After Chavez

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (R) talks with National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello on Feb. 4. (JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary
As protests continue in Venezuela, the country's ruling elite has yet to settle leadership issues that emerged when Hugo Chavez died in March 2013.

The Venezuelan government seems to have been run essentially by committee since Chavez's death. President Nicolas Maduro lacks Chavez's institutional heft and popular backing, and he has not exercised the same level of control that his predecessor enjoyed. Meanwhile, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello has taken a high-profile political role. Cabello has made a series of moves befitting a president, suggesting the potential for political competition within the ruling clique.

Analysis
Cabello participated in the 1992 coup that marked Chavez's emergence on the national stage, and he has served in a number of positions in government since Chavez was first elected in 1998. Dur…

Ukraine: Dwindling Russian Support Could Unseat Yanukovich

Demonstrators with Ukrainian flags and a poster calling Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich a thief stage a solidarity protest in Brussels on Feb. 20. JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

Analysis


Negotiations in Ukraine are evolving quickly, and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's position appears increasingly precarious. Yanukovich has agreed to hold early presidential and parliamentary elections, according to a Western-mediated plan, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Feb. 20. The announcement comes after Yanukovich held talks with the Polish, German and French foreign ministers following three days of increased violence in Kiev.

The foreign ministers have also spoken with the moderate opposition leaders. However, the French and Polish foreign ministers have said that there is still no agreement between the sides and that they are returning to talk to Yanukovich.

In addition to elections, the Western-mediated plan includes an interim government and constitutional reform. The agre…