World View: Russia, West Plan Next Steps After Crimea Referendum

World View: Russia, West Plan Next Steps After Crimea Referendum

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Islamic Jihad gaining popularity over Hamas in Gaza
  • Western politicians express outrage as Crimea votes to join Russia
  • Russia and the West plan their next steps after Crimea referendum

Islamic Jihad gaining popularity over Hamas in Gaza

Although Hamas is the governing authority in Gaza, last week’s rocketbarrage from Gaza into Israel came from Islamic Jihad, not from Hamas.Hamas has been losing popularity, and Hamas’s loss has been IslamicJihad’s gain. 

Hamas has faced a variety of problems in recent months: 

  • Hamas used to have its headquarters in Damascus, Syria, but when the regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad began exterminating Sunni women and children, Hamas split from Syria and was forced to move its headquarters to Doha, Qatar.
  • Hamas’s biggest financial backer used to be Iran, which provided $20 million per month, in addition to weapons. When Hamas split with Iran’s ally Syria, Iran split with Hamas and now funds Islamic Jihad.
  • Hamas was formed over 30 years ago as an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, so when Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt in June of 2012, Hamas rejoiced. But after the military ousted Morsi and declared MB to be a terrorist organization, Hamas’s relationship with Egypt became extremely contentious. Egypt has declared Hamas to be a terrorist organization, and the army has incessantly worked to destroy the smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.
  • Other countries and organizations that used to support Hamas can no longer do so as well. Turkey used to provide political and economic support, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is mired in political corruption allegations.
  • The Gulf States used to provide support, but they’re split into two factions, the Saudi Arabian faction fighting against MB, and the Qatar faction supporting MB.
  • Lebanon’s terrorist group Hezbollah used to ally with Hamas in the Syria as an ally of Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Even worse, the Syrian civil war has spilled over into a Shia/Sunni conflict within Lebanon.

The result is that the Gaza economy is in freefall along with Hamas’spopularity. The wages of most government employees haven’t been paidfor months, there are shortages of fuel, electricity, buildingmaterials, and some basic foodstuffs. Gazans are turning to IslamicJihad, which has been arming for a future war with Israel. Israel Hayom and Fox News

Western politicians express outrage as Crimea votes to join Russia

Jubilant citizens in Lenin Square in Crimea’s capital Simferopolcelebrated Sunday’s referendum on secession from Ukraine, whereCrimeans voted more than 95% in favor of seceding to join the RussianFederation.

According to Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague:

Nothing in the way that the referendum has beenconducted should convince anyone that it is a legitimate exercise. 

The referendum has taken place at 10 days’ notice, without aproper campaign or public debate, with the political leaders ofthe country being unable to visit Crimea, and in the presence ofmany thousands of troops from a foreign country. It is a mockeryof proper democratic practice. 

The UK does not recognise the referendum or its outcome, in commonwith the majority of the international community.

France’s president François Hollande said Saturday that if there is noagainst Russia: 

It is a “pseudo referendum” in the Crimea because itdoes not conform to the Ukrainian domestic law and internationallaw. This is why France and the European Union will not recognizethe validity of this pseudo referendum.

According to Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper: 

The so-called referendum held today was conductedwith Crimea under illegal military occupation. Its results are areflection of nothing more than Russian military control. 

This “referendum” is illegitimate, it has no legal effect, and wedo not recognize its outcome. Canada is working with othercountries on the possibility of further sanctions.

President Barack Obama telephoned Russia’s President Vladimir Putin onSunday saying the U.S. and allies are “prepared to impose additional costson Russia for its actions.” According to the White House: 

We reject the “referendum” that took place today inthe Crimean region of Ukraine. This referendum is contrary toUkraine’s constitution, and the international community will notrecognize the results of a poll administered under threats ofviolence and intimidation… 

President Obama reiterated that a diplomatic resolution cannot beachieved while Russian military forces continue their incursionsinto Ukrainian territory and that the large-scale Russian militaryexercises on Ukraine’s borders only exacerbate thetension.

AFP and La Tribune (France) and BBC and NBC News and Canadian Press

Russia and the West plan their next steps after Crimea referendum

European Union leaders, supported by President Obama, plan to meet onMonday in Brussels to decide on sanctions against Russia. If Russia takes no furtheraction in Ukraine, it’s possible that the whole sanction plan will be abandoned and things will go back to business as usual, with Crimea’s secessiona fait accompli. However, it seems very likely that Russiawill take further action. 

The first and most logical action would seem to be the annexationof Crimea by the Russian Federation. However, some analysts saythat may not be the most likely first step. 

Most people seem to agree that Russian President Vladimir Putin wantsto rebuild the Soviet/Russian empire and wants all of Ukraine, notjust Crimea. According to this logic, Putin would hold off annexingCrimea until he could launch a full invasion first of eastern Ukraine,then all of Ukraine, pushing west all the way across Ukraine to theborder of Moldova and its secessionist province Transnistria.NBC News

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Gaza, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood,Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Saudia Arabia, Qatar,Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Hezbollah, Iran,Britain, William Hague, France, François Hollande,Canada, Stephen Harper, Russia, Vladimir Putin,Transnistria, Moldova 

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