World View: Russia Prepares Invasion, Arab States Have Major Split

World View: Russia Prepares Invasion, Arab States Have Major Split

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Russia’s Lavrov blatantly lies as Russia prepares for Ukraine invasion
  • Gulf Arab states have major split over Egypt and Iran
  • China refers to the U.S. ambassador as a ‘banana’

Russia’s Lavrov blatantly lies as Russia prepares for Ukraine invasion

On Wednesday, Russia continued to mobilize its troops in Crimea,apparently preparing for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Absurdly, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Lavrov continued to insistthat there were no Russian troops in Crimea. He said that they wereall ethnic Russian militias over which he has no control. If Lavrovcan sit there and make such a ridiculous lie, then assume thateverything else he and Putin say is a lie. Falsus in unum, falsusin omnibus.If you believe in actions rather than words, then Russia is preparingfor an invasion of Ukraine.

The rest of the day Wednesday was spent in fatuous diplomatic posturingson all sides. So nothing has changed since Tuesday, and a majorconflict could still break out at any time and appears to beinevitable. Telegraph (London)

Gulf Arab states have major split over Egypt and Iran

Since it was formed in 1981, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)alliance has always hid its internal differences from the public, soWednesday’s very public split qualifies as a significant event. SaudiArabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain recalled theirambassadors from Qatar on Wednesday after a stormy GCC meeting onTuesday. Two other GCC members, Kuwait and Oman, took no position onthe split, and may try to mediate.

The three countries issued a joint statement saying that the splitoccurred because Qatar allegedly refused to honor a security agreementthat all GCC members approved last year on November 23 not to backgroups or individuals – via direct security work or through politicalinfluence, and not to support hostile media.” In particular, Qatarhas refused to implement three specific provisions:

  • To distance all GCC States from the Muslim Brotherhood and its intrusive policies throughout the Arab World. The three countries say that Qatar is continuing its support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and throughout the region.
  • To place strict broadcast restrictions on the Egyptian cleric Shaikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi. Al-Jazeera is based in Doha, Qatar, is funded by Qatar, and allows al-Qaradawi, who very vocally supports the Muslim Brotherhood, to speak frequently on al-Jazeera.
  • To severely restrict the movement of Iranian operatives within the GCC. There have been unconfirmed reports that Qatar facilitated the movement of Iranians through the GCC. Apparently this was the main cause of disagreement at the stormy Tuesday meeting.

Qatar declined to withdraw its own ambassadors from the threecountries, and defended its relationships with the Muslim Brotherhoodand Iran:

The move taken by the brothers in Saudi Arabia, UAEand Bahrain has nothing to do with the interests of the Gulfpeoples, their security and stability.

Qatar is very keen on maintaining brotherly links between thepeople of Qatar and all other Gulf peoples.

A Qatari official said that the split is really about Egyptianpolitics, targeting Egyptian general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who headedthe coup that ousted Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhoodgovernment from the presidency last year:

It is unfortunate that some of them [GCC countries]are trying to force Qatar to take certain policies which havenothing to do with the Gulf, nothing to do with Saudi Arabia orthe United Arab Emirates or Bahrain.

The whole issue is really about Sisi. These countries, they aresupporting a coup d’état where thousands of Egyptians are beingkilled in front of the whole world. And they want Qatar to supportsuch a policy. But we will never support any regime which killsits own people.

I am sure in the days after that wisdom will come and thesecountries will realize that trying to impose the philosophy of myway or the highway will not work with Qatar.

Qatari officials are particularly infuriated because three al-Jazeerareporters have been held in Egypt for over two months on charges of having reportednews in a way favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood. Gulf News (Dubai) and Al-Jazeera (Doha) and AFP

China refers to the U.S. ambassador as a ‘banana’

A Chinese state media editorial has called Gary Locke, who isfinishing up his tenure as U.S. ambassador to China, a “banana”and a “guide dog” that had stirred an “evil wind.”

In China, the epithet “banana” is an ethnic slur. It’s related to theAmerican ethnic slur “Oreo,” used by a black to refer to someone whois black on the outside and white on the inside, meaning “not blackenough.” Similarly, “banana” means yellow on the outside but white onthe inside, meaning not Chinese enough. (Apparently, “coconut” issimilarly used by Hispanics.)

Locke is of Chinese descent, but apparently he’s more loyal to Americaand American values than to China and Chinese values. Hence, he’s abut China does not – and does not particularly want to – makeAmerican Chinese.” CNN

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