World View: Russia Considers Revenge for Cyprus Bailout Deal

This morning's key headlines from
  • Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka targeting Muslims
  • Anti-Muslim Buddhist mobs rampage through Burma's towns
  • Europeans reach a deal on Cyprus bailout
  • Russia may be planning its revenge

Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka targeting Muslims

Hardline Sinhalese Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka, members of the Buddhist Strength Force (Bodu Bala Sena, BBS), are targeting Muslims with violence and protests, and conducting campaigns threatening people who patronize Muslim businesses. The violence has included a series of attacks on mosques, and attacks on women wearing Muslim garb. The BBS says its campaign is to protect the predominant Sinhalese race, who, they claim, are dwindling. 

According to one hardline monk participating in anti-Muslim violence: "Look around the world - Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others, they were all Buddhist countries - but the Muslims destroyed the culture and then took over the country. We worry they're planning it here too."

Sri Lanka is just coming out of a violent civil war between the Tamil ethnic group (Hindus) and the majority Sinhalese ethnic group (Buddhists). Muslims are 10% of the population, and they did their best to stay out of the civil war. But now that the civil war is over, hardline Buddhists are turning their attention to Muslims. BBC and Gulf News

Anti-Muslim Buddhist mobs rampage through Burma's towns

Following anti-Muslim violent riots last week in Meiktila, Burma (Myanmar), Buddhist mobs rampaged through three more towns in the suburbs, destroying mosques and burning down dozens of homes, killing 32, and displacing 12,000. Burma's government is warning that increasing religious violence could threaten democratic reforms that have been put in place in the last three years. 

Last year in Rakhine state in southeast Burma, Buddhists massacred Rohingya Muslims who had arrived in decades past from Bangladesh. It was thought that last year's violence was ethnic-based, targeting a community of immigrants. But the Muslims in Meiktila and suburbs are full citizens who have lived there for generations. 

Burma's last generational crisis war was the civil war ending in 1958. That was an extremely bloody, genocidal war among Burmese ethnic groups, and today's Burmese government is determined that it shouldn't happen again. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Burma is approaching the time when a new genocidal civil war is likely to begin. The increase in violent Buddhist attacks on Muslims could be the early stages of that war. National Post

Europeans reach a deal on Cyprus bailout

In the early hours of Monday morning, Cyprus politicians and European finance ministers agreed to a 10 billion euro bailout loan for Cyprus, after Cyprus agreed to harsh conditions to qualify for the loan. Although insured savings accounts (containing amounts under 100,000 euros) will be spared, larger accounts will be taxed 40% or more. Cyprus's banking industry will be restructured, throwing thousands of people out of work. Capital controls will be imposed, preventing anyone from transferring money out of the country. Banks will remain closed until at least Thursday, and ATM withdrawals will be restricted to 100 euros per day. Cyprus's largest industry, serving as a haven for offshore banking, is now pretty much destroyed. 

People with large sums in European banks are thinking twice now about how safe their money is. Losing 40% of your savings is a hell of a big hit, and now everyone knows that it's quite possible that the same thing could happen to any bank account, especially in troubled countries like France, Spain, Greece and Italy. In fact, Some people are claiming that the Cyprus deal is very "good news" for American banks, because institutional investors will be moving their money out of Spain's, France's and Italy's banks, and moving it to UK or American banks, where they believe that it will be safer. Reuters and Spiegel

Russia may be planning its revenge

Investors in lots of countries have been hurt by the confiscation of large chunks of their savings in Cyprus banks, but Russia is being pegged as the supervillain, and the feeling is mutual. Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is calling the plan "theft," and said, "The stealing of what has already been stolen continues." 

One popular Russian news commentator said that the last time a Western European government proceeded so recklessly was when Adolf Hitler expropriated the Jews, referring to money held by the Jews as "dirty." That was precisely how Europe was talking about Russian assets deposited in Cyprus, he added. 

Russia was given an opportunity last week to participate in the bailout but refused, saying that Cyprus wasn't giving enough in return. But some commentators are saying that Russia's president Vladimir was politically unable to bail Cyprus out, because it would have meant bailing out Russia's oligarchs. Not only are they very unpopular, but many elite groups are gloating over the losses of their competitors.

Nonetheless, the Cyprus deal is going to create a lot of enemies in Russia and is going to have a negative effect on Russia's economy. As the impact sinks in, some Russians may be plotting revenge. Any European money in Russian banks could be considered for confiscation if there were a crisis in the future, and on cold winter nights, Russia could cut off natural gas exports to Europe, as happened in the past. Spiegel and Jamestown

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