Beyond the Cusp

April 29, 2014

Anti-Semitism Explodes in the Ukraine

Serial news stories have dribbled in from the Ukraine reporting incident after incident of attacks on Jews and Jewish buildings and institutions since the beginning of the Russian offensive to instigate unrest presumably to facilitate their reacquisition of Ukrainian territory back under Russian control starting with the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. There was the mugging of a Jewish man who was barely able to make it to the neighborhood Synagogue which may have saved his life. Soon thereafter a Synagogue in a neighboring town was firebombed. A second Synagogue was firebombed a few weeks later and there have been numerous reports of verbal abuse and Jews being accosted though not seriously injured in the confrontations. This past weekend brought an end to such benign attacks as events have become far more serious and life-threatening.

 

Yesterday some three-hundred pro-Russian militants armed with baseball bats assaulted a branch of the bank owned by a well-known Jewish oligarch regional governor who has voiced criticism of Moscow. The attack was on the Donetsk office of the private banking and metal industry holding belonging to Igor Kolomoisky. Mr. Kolomoisky is also governor of the nearby region of Dnipropetrovsk. The rioters screamed charges of “fascist” and “enemy of the people” during the assault among other abuses. Kolomoisky has been particularly vocal in his opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin claiming, “He has gone mad with his mission to re-establish the Russian empire.” He has said that Putin was, vowing that “separatism will not pass in Dnipropetrovsk.” Apparently that is sufficient to have your business assaulted and the offices overturned and employees threatened by imminent threats of violence.

 

Over the weekend the Mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov, Gennady Kernes, has been shot in the back by unidentified gunmen. Reported in the City Hall’s website a report on the incident says that doctors are fighting to save his life. Mr. Kernes is known to be Jewish and this has been suspected as a contributing motivation behind the shooting. The rabbi of Kharkov, Rabbi Moshe Moskowitz, told Arutz Sheva that the mayor is being operated on and that security forces are attempting to catch the shooters. As mayor of Kharkov since March 2010, Kernes had been a strong supporter of President Viktor Yanukovich right till his ouster in February. This removes anti-Russian motives as the motivation in his attempted assassination making anti-Semitism an even likelier motivation, especially with the recent boiling over of such emotions which have resulted in a general state of fear in the Jewish community in the Ukraine.

 

The rabbi said the mayor had been jogging and was apparently shot in the back many times. The Rabbi was quoted stating, “This is a very dear Jew, with a warm and loving connection to the community, and we are shocked by the assassination. We are praying for his health – Moshe son of Hana.” Our prayers also go out for Mayor Kernes. Another report that included more information on the severity of the wounds was given by Kernes’s friend Yury Sapronov who told Vesti Ukrainy, a news outlet, “They shot him in the back from the forest. The injury is serious. His lung is pierced and his liver pierced all the way through.”

 

Abraham Duvdevani, head of the WZO, stated, “We strongly condemn this despicable act, and wish a speedy recovery to the mayor.” Anti-Semitism during the early months of 2014 is at a height not seen for decades and anti-Semitic groups operate with no restraint in many places around the world according to Abraham Duvdevani. Jews around the world, especially in Ukraine, feel the need to defend themselves against the spreading hatreds. Abraham Duvdevani further stated, “We must fight this until it is removed from the world.” May we suggest to Mr. Duvdevani and the World Zionist Organization that perhaps in addition to calling attention to these difficult times and the imminent threat to Jewish life in the Ukraine that they coordinate with Israel and arrange for an escape route for those Jews who wish to leave the Ukraine and return to Israel. There have been reports of a sizeable segment of the Ukrainian Jewish community who have expressed the desire to make Aliyah and return home and many do not have sufficient means to make this happen without some assistance. We hope that there will be assistance for those Jews anywhere who desire to return to Israel even if the main reason is due to the increased anti-Semitism which is rearing its head across wide swaths of the globe.

 

This is even more important and deserves additional emphasis in Israel where the commemoration of the Shoah was just observed and a nation stood for two minutes of silent remembrance while the wail of the siren exclaimed the moment. Echoing our sentiments was Yaakov Haguel, the WZO’s Israel activity head for the fight against anti-Semitism, who called on the Ukrainian government to find Kernes’ shooters and put them on trial. “Today, on Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Memorial Day, as anti-Semitism continues to rage, I call on the leaders of the world to use a strong hand against anti-Semitic incidents, whether large or small.” How many more Jews will have to pay before the world takes a stand this time, how many?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 4, 2014

Ukraine Russian Threat Beyond Obama’s Pay Grade

Russia is injecting troops and full compliments of armor, artillery and other ground support into the Crimean Peninsula with full air support wings sitting just over the border in Russia. The nascent government in the Ukraine has called up the entirety of their reserves and are pleading that those who signed treaties with the Ukraine and Russia throughout the 1990s and guaranteed Ukrainian independence to now honor their commitment. The main guarantors were the United Kingdom and the United States, neither of which are currently in any position or have the ready capability of honoring that commitment. Still, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are both making desperate statements which Russian President Putin will disregard as he knows from the past lack of fortitude and actions in backing his words by President Obama after Benghazi and throughout the chemical weapons use fiasco in Syria that the United States has as its Commander in Chief a spineless squirrelly indolent childlike leader who only knows how to give a great speech and even then only if the teleprompter provides the words. Putin is likely enjoying a hearty laugh as he watches President Obama attempting to sound threatening and earnest as he bellows threats in a futile attempt to stay the Russian military from rolling over the Ukraine submitting it once again to Moscow’s will. Putin is acting with a lack of concern or regard for the sputtering of both Obama and Kerry taking advantage of that more flexibility that Medvedev relayed as the promise from the American President.

 

Putin knows full well that he has a green light to do as he pleases with the Ukraine completely sure that the Western powers have no taste for a military action any more today than they had when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier signed away Czechoslovakia to German Chancellor Adolf Hitler in Munich in 1938 as they also were not prepared for a war or preventing German aggressions. Now we have Great Britain and the United States along with the rest of the Western powers making vacant threats sounded with trembling voices that betray their hope against hope that their bluffs will not be called. President Obama does not even realize that he resembles a small child standing in the kiddie pool while drawing lines in the water and screaming threats at the bigger kids swimming in the main pool. Putin realizes he is looking at what resembles a clown more than a leader of a nation which still has the abilities and potential of a world leading power if only those in the seats of power had any real convictions. Putin has won and the Ukraine is standing alone and that will prove to be a sad affair.

 

Putin said he would agree to a proposal from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to set up a contact group on Ukraine. Angela Merkel made this proposal in a telephone conversation Sunday evening. She has also been quoted as having “accused the Russian president of violating international law with the unacceptable Russian intervention in Crimea.” The reality is that President Putin is simply taking advantage of the situation and weakness in the Ukraine after months of unrest and years of misrule that weakened the Ukraine making it a prime target for the next step in the reassembling of the old Soviet empire. This was part of the reasoning behind the Russian military action against their former state of Georgia where the Russians took control over the two northern provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Now the Russians have taken at a minimum the entirety of the Crimean Peninsula and stands poised to take control of at least the eastern Russian speaking lands of the Ukraine. The new government in the Ukraine has bravely, even if foolishly, they will not stand for the Russian invasion of their nation. Expect Russia to claim that they are simply working to reestablish the rightfully elected leader, President Viktor Yushchenko, back into power and assist in subduing the illegally imposed government. Anybody believing such complete deceptive dishonesty will also believe that the Russian aid to Syria is simply to support the duly elected leader Bashir al-Assad. Granted any comparison of Bashir al-Assad and Viktor Yushchenko is a long stretch but the use of supporting such oppressive leadership by Russia in order to sustain their puppet governments is exactly the same. We are watching the rebirth of the Russian empire, either the Czarist Empire or, more accurately, the Soviet Empire. The big question is, where will Putin turn his attentions next and how far will Putin go to reestablish the Warsaw Pact and reestablish Russian hegemony over the entirety of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Will the world once again sit still while Putin and Russia swallow nation after nation subjugating hundreds of millions of people and only stand in defiance when Russia invades Poland? We have seen this situation once before in recent history and it inevitably led to the greatest carnage and sacrifice of blood, treasure and civility in all of human history. Will the world stand to stop Putin and end his designs to reestablish a Russian European and Asian Empire early when it might not be as costly or will the world once again wait until the possibility that all efforts will fail as the allied efforts almost failed to stop the spread of Nazi Germany and Empire of Japan in World War II. How many will be sacrificed in the coming war, be it over a hungry Russia swallowing her neighbors or an atomic weapons armed Iran spreading its tentacles wrapping up all of the Middle East oilfields and spreading terrorist attacks worldwide.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 2, 2014

Russia and Ukraine Face-Off

A face-off between Russia and the Ukraine would have been more welcomed on the ice at the Olympics in Sochi a few weeks back. Instead the world is facing a heated and anxious situation as Russian troops have entered the port city of Sevastopol, Ukraine which serves as the home port for both the Ukrainian Navy and the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The Russians are claiming these troops are within agreed upon levels by treaties they have with the Ukraine and have nothing to do with the recent changes in the Ukrainian governance. For obvious reasons, the new government in Kiev is viewing this other than normal infusion of Russian troops in the areas of the Ukraine populated largely by Russians who were placed there by Stalin during his rule over the Soviet Union. A underlying level of animosity has existed between the Russian and native Ukrainian population which has only intensified as a result of what those Ukrainians who feel a close affinity to Russia feel has been an illegal coup by those who have recently claimed to have replaced the former government of President Viktor Yanukovych after months of protests. Further aggravating what is definitely a delicate situation are the rumors that the Russians are also providing a safe haven for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych who has yet to actually fully accept and acquiesce to the fact that there is a new governance going to be elected come May 25th unless something alters the current situation.

 

United States President Obama has expressed concern and warnings to Russian President Putin not to interfere with the “natural progression” currently evolving in Kiev and across the Ukraine. It is highly doubtful that President Putin will be anything other than mildly amused by President Obama issuing warnings as he has had more than enough experiences with the United States President’s Red-Lines. This begs the question why President Putin would only send in a limited force and whether the restraint is due to modest goals or a test to discern what the reactions will be from the rest of the world. Our guess doubts that Putin cares one whit about how the rest of the world, the United Nations included, will react to his placing troops in the Russian areas of the Ukraine. What is far more likely is Putin is only interested in the safety of the southern port at Sevastopol, Ukraine which allows for the Russian entrance to the Mediterranean Sea and from there the Atlantic Ocean and through the Suez Canal to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean and beyond. There are more than sufficient Russian reserve troops poised on the Ukrainian border along with a fleet of aircraft should a larger assault prove necessary. The fact that the Russian presence is limited in both scope and numbers and basically simply holding two airports in the eastern and southern regions and the port city of Sevastopol, one is led to believe that the Russians are simply protecting critical infrastructure and military infrastructure and may have no intent to challenge the evolving politics in the Ukraine. On the other hand, we may be witnessing the first stages of a repeat of the Russian intervention into Georgian Republic where Russian military forces took by force the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which have large ethnic Russian populations similar to the eastern and southern areas of the Ukraine.

 

The responses available to the nascent leadership in Kiev will be completely dependent upon the support or lack thereof from the Ukrainian military. One can expect that the Ukrainian military would not be overly anxious to test their abilities against the Russians, and it is no wonder why. The basic truth is that whatever Putin decides he wants to do, he has the military power and resources to accomplish and this includes reversing the overthrow of President Yanukovych’s government. This has been further enabled as the Russian parliament unanimously voted to grant President Putin permission to mobilize the country’s military to utilize in the Ukraine. The European Union does not actually have sufficient military to enforce anything and are likely to at most sound some bluster and noise that will have little effect. As far as President Obama, he is far more interested in disassembling and paring down the United States military forces and capabilities than he is about preventing Putin from having his way in the Ukraine. The truth is that the United States under the auspices of President Obama has no international intentions and has basically surrendered all foreign policy decisions to the rest of the world. President Obama has decided to vote “Present” on all things beyond the maritime borders of the United States and maybe not even that far out to sea. His entire foreign policy can be summed up in one goal, force Israel to capitulate to as much of the Palestinians demands as possible and hoping that is sufficient to get a Palestinian state founded and he and Secretary of State Kerry a Nobel Peace Prize. Everything and everyone else, best of luck without us, the US. As we said when President Obama was first elected, welcome to Jimmy Carter on steroids. Jimmy Carter gave us the Ayatollahs ruling Iran and Barack Obama is giving the Ayatollahs a free run at manufacturing their own nuclear weapons. Russia imposing their will on the Ukraine, though a sad affair and unfortunate for those who fought so long to win a fresh start for their nation without corruptocratic rulers, a nuclear armed Iran will result in a far more damaging future and it is all thanks to Barry.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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