Address To The International Community From Hunger Strikers In Ukraine

Dear All,

We would like to draw your attention to the fact of unprecedented violation of lawful procedures in Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) that took place during the recent votings for the notorious language bill # 9073 on July 3rd and bill # 9634 on July 4th. To be precise, both bills have been approved by approximately 248 votes while only some 74 deputies were physically present in the session hall (please see the video that evidences this fact).

Besides, an obligatory requirement to procedures of adoption has not been met, notably – 30 days period for examination, hearings and pre-approval in specialized Parliament committees were failed to be followed.

On the very next day, a couple of other not less controversial bills have been approved in the same manner, for instance the bill # 9634, which effectively denies access for the journalists to the information on public purchases, civic activists and non-governmental organizations. Due to loss of transparency of this kind of transactions, an amount of budget funds that can be misused (or, in other words, stolen from public) is estimated at UAH250 billions in one single year.

As a sign of protest (officially – only against the languages bill), opposition leaders have entered into a hunger strike.

As you may have already learned, the bill on languages did not entered into force due to the acting Speaker’s refusal to sign it; on 6th of July the Speaker has pleaded for dismissal, the Parliament session has been closed for summer vacations till 4th of September, thus having put the process of further legitimation of this bill to a halt. Prompted by this fact, the official opposition has quit hunger strike and “celebrated a victory” on 07th July 2012.

However, it seems to be too early to celebrate, as the ruling Party of Regions has already found possible solution to this – the Constitutional Court has been quickly summoned to technically approve the amendment to the procedures of the elections of the Speaker by the Parliament (number of required votes has been decreased from 300 to 226, and the voting mode has been changed from anonymous, in person voting to the conventional voting with electronic cards), so, the situation with that particular bill is uncertain. But what is more important, the Speaker of Parliament is becoming easier to replace and hence more susceptive to the outside pressure and, as a result, much more less independent from the President and the government.

Should We Have Targeted Colonel Mohmmar Gadhafi

The US and NATO as everyone knows conducted an operation in Libya in order to establish a no fly zone so that Libyan aircraft would not be able to fly and bomb its citizens as they had indiscriminately done.Operation Odyssey Dawn was the name of the military operation to establish the no fly zone but it seems that it has morphed and changed into something entirely different. These types of operations always go south for the United States and turn into something totally different from their intended purpose. The world always seems to use the United States as a scapegoat when humanitarian operations go biggest problem with this operation is that the parameters of its conduct are hard to define. The rebels are having a hard time advancing against the Libyan forces without the air support that they have been getting from NATO and the US. The defined purpose of the operation is really not to help the rebels win the war but to prevent President Gadhafi from killing them with his air strikes. It seems that the operation is becoming a matter of assisting the rebels in their attempt to overthrow the government.I honestly don’t think that the US would be blamed much if it did assist in overthrowing the government but we can’t do that.

If we did there would be no way that we can condemn other countries for doing the same. The humanitarian part of the operation has been successful but where do we draw the line? Anything more would have the definite appearance of helping to overthrow the established government of United States has publicly stated that it is not attempting to single out the President of Libya for assassination. Well this is good and legally there isn’t ground to do so, but I would think that privately the situation is entirely different. In fact the assassination of President Gadhafi would solve many of the problems associated with this situation. Now don’t get me wrong on this one. I am not advocating that we engage in hunting and eliminating President Gadhafi, neither am I saying that any such operation is ongoing. The facts are the facts though and they won’t change. The reason for the uprising in the first place is because of the iron fisted rule that President Gadhafi has had over the country since he took control over forty years ago.

If he were eliminated the problem would be strikes into Libya are designed to knock out the countries command and control facilities so that field commanders can’t pass orders to their subordinates who are doing the actual fighting. This generates confusion among the ranks of the fighting troops and severely limits their ability to respond to hostilities. It also prevents them from being able to retaliate against the aircraft which are attacking Libyan president would certainly be difficult to kill at this time because he will definitely be in hiding in a reinforced secret facility. It would not surprise me if he were not in the country. Any operation to take him out would certainly be a total waste of time because it would require the use of more time and resources than we can afford. Mr. Gadhafi is probably a marked man after this operation anyway. Even if the rebels don’t win the war they will surely target him for assassination. Military Ring Express

More Troops in Afghanistan or Not?

Several years has passes since the breaking out the US-Afghanistan war. It is such a deep impression that the US declared war against this turbulent nation, which is believed to be the source and base of terrorist attacks. During the time spent postwar, a large number of soldiers have been claimed their lives accompanied with their conquers.

We can recall the days when the war broke out, which was opposed by millions of peace-lovers. They showed their stalwart dislike and hatred of war by wearing anti-war T-shirts and silicone wristbands onto the streets, on a long parade. Words such as “PEACE, NO WAR” were printed on the rubber bracelets. And many T-shirts are dyed scarlet to show the ferocity and bloodiness of regional warfare. Many news reporters even put on these words on their lanyards to attend different news conference

In this sense, we had to admit that controversial issues have been arising continually that weather there is need to send more troops over this region. For on the one hand, we have been devoting so much time, energy, wealth and even lives for the so-called peace-friendly combat all over the world, on the other hand, it becomes doubtful if we should so selfless at the cost of so many lives of the innocent citizens of our great land.

More recently, the top envoy for Afghanistan from the United Nations, Kai Eide, showed his agreement that more troops should be sent in that country, thus showing consent to top U.S. and NATO commander.

In responding this call, president Obama showed his concern. He hoped that more effective work can be directed to the destroying of the network of the terrorist base. The policy that security should be strengthened at the cost of sacrificing our own peaceful arouses heated discussion one time more in the U.S. and NATO ally.

Why Arab Democracy is Good For America.

We are currently witnessing an unprecedented shift in Arab politics that has caught the whole world, even the Egyptians themselves by surprise. The uprising and it’s epi-center Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) is the Arab world’s version of the fall of the Berlin Wall. For many decades, the general Arab political discourse was defined by the West as the need to strengthen pro-Western dictatorships because of the fear of the alternative which is Iranian style Islamist regimes. Now, the Tahrir Square movement has clearly forced the West to rethink this perspective by showing that there is a third way – the rise of broad based democratic movements that reject totalitarianism and Islamic extremism. We should not fear this change because its uncertain outcome, but rather embrace it and take an active role in encouraging democratic change throughout the Arab world.

Democratic change in Egypt matters greatly to the Arab world because it has historically set the regional pattern of Arab politics. The Islamic Brotherhood which was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt eventually led to the establishment of numerous splinter groups throughout the Middle East. And in 1952, Gemal Abdel Nasser helped replace the monarchy with a pan-Arabist socialist system that also spread to different parts of the Arab world. Gemal Abdul Nasser is regarded as one of the most important figures in Arab history. Then came Anwar Al-Sadat who signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. This treaty had strategic repercussions throughout the Arab world and in fact had weakened it by removing the most populous and powerful Arab country from the Arab resistance camp. Finally, after Sadat’s assassination on October 6, 1981, President Mubarak ascended to the Presidency where he immediately established a police state by implementing “Emergency Rule” which to this day has not been lifted. All these political patterns — from Political Islam, to Pan-Arabism, to the Arab-Israeli peace process, and authoritarianism, have all failed. The Arab people have finally figured it out – it’s People Power.

Supporting democracy in Egypt is good for America as it serves our national interest for a number of reasons. First, dictatorships are mortal — they come and go, and we cannot always guarantee that a pro-US dictator who will eventually die will be replaced with another pro-US dictator. A democratic Egypt where its people share our values of individual political freedoms, tolerance, plurality, and respect for the rule of law will help build a broad based support for the United States by the Egyptian people that will be long enduring. Second, the establishment of a democratic Egypt that opens the political system to a wide range of Egypt’s political-ideological continuum including the Islamic Brotherhood will ensure the functioning of a viable and stable democracy. Incorporating the Islamic Brotherhood into the political system, would further marginalize extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda and its network of splinter groups. Indeed, the Al-Qaeda leadership has been very critical of the Egyptian Islamic Brotherhood for disavowing violence as a form of resistance and for the Brotherhood’s adherence to a future Egyptian democratic state that is based on pluralism.

Third, a shift in the balance of power in the Middle East away from Israel will serve our national interest by making Israel realize that its security is directly tied to making a strategic decision of achieving a just peace with the Palestinians. For too long, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has created tremendous anger and frustration amongst the Arab masses for their inability to help their Palestinian brethren. This deep sense of hopelessness, is the most important source of recruiting efforts of Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups who may not care much about the Palestinian cause but nonetheless, use its emotional intensity to recruit Islamic Radicals. Indeed, captured Al-Qaeda recruiting and training videos often included video clips of Palestinian victims of Israeli aggression. In fact, in May 2010, , U.S. General David Petraeus stated in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was fomenting anti-American sentiment due to the perception of U.S. favoritism towards Israel.” There is no doubt that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extremely vital to our national interests.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Arabs have been very forthcoming in peace efforts with Israel. In 2002, the Arab league, consisting of 22 Arab countries offered for the very first time since Israel’s founding, a full and comprehensive peace settlement that would normalize relations with Israel in return for Israeli withdrawal to the pre 1967 borders as stipulated in UN Resolution 242. Israel rejected it outright without even considering some of its elements. More recently, the Palestinian version of Wikileaks where over 1000 pages on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process were leaked to the press did show that the Palestinians were far more willing to compromise than even the 2002 Arab League peace initiative. One such leaked document showed that the Palestinians would accept Israel’s annexation of all settlement blocs in East Jerusalem except one, and this peace offering was also rejected by the Israelis. Israel rejected President Obama’s call to extend the settlement freeze in the interest of the peace process as it rejected every call from every president since 1967 to stop building Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. Even President Ronald Reagan stated in September 1982 that “further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the confidence of the Arabs that a final outcome can be freely and fairly negotiated.” Israel’s No, No, No policy is clearly harming our interests in the region.

The intransigence of Israel is because no US government official, including the President of the United States can put effective pressure on Israel because no politician wants to experience the wrath of the pro-Israeli lobby. Moreover,President Mubarak, the head of the most powerful Arab country has been the hired sheriff for Israel for three decades. Israel is so powerful that it sees no strategic interest in making peace with the weak and isolated essence, the current status quo is Israel’s modus operandi. By replacing Mubarak’s dictatorship regime with a democracy that truly represents the will of the Egyptian people will cause a change in the balance of power calculus vis-a-vis Israel in a manner that should convince Israel’s leaders that making the necessary concessions for a final peace with the Palestinians is now a strategic necessity for Israel’s long term security.

Finally, we should engage other dictators and monarchs in the Arab world and convince them that supporting genuine democratic reforms is the right path for long term stability. We should not send our troops to invade countries but we should send our technocrats to help these countries politically engineer republics that truly represent the will of the masses. The Arab people will support us and embrace us if they know that we have made a clear choice — supporting their will to empower themselves rather than supporting arrogant and outdated oppressive regimes that are doomed to fail.