Thursday 27 March 2014

Law: The Arab Spring, Ukraine, and the Westernised legitimization of the armed or unarmed coup.

A few years ago, the idea that governments could legitimately be overthrown by a revolution or armed street protests where police and violent rioters die, was a foreign idea. In about 2003, America invaded Iraq on false pretences, without United Nations backing. After overthrowing a long standing Western ally in the Middle East, America set up elections where the deposed leader's party could not be given a chance of success, and claimed a transitional yet imposed government was legitimate, and that following elections also were. Afghanistan saw a similar imposed government, and similarly suspicious elections guaranteed to go the way the West desired them to go. Then, in Tunisia a violent uprising occurred, and a long standing Western ally fell. And it spread.

The West insisted again that elections and an unrepresentative transitional government could fix all. Yes, government was overthrown, by force, but it was termed a Spring Time, the coming of Western Democracy to the Middle East: except that did not happen, just as it did not happen in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Spring Time saw a rise of radical movements, and the fall of the region's economies and the creation of unstable states, where Al Qaeda could flourish.

When in Honduras, a leader was removed by force in accordance with the country's Constitution, it was deeply condemned by the West, but two Coups have occurred in Egypt, and the silence remains deafening, as Egypt remains an ally essential to the western world-view. In Syria, Al Qaeda backed rioters set off onto the streets, hoping to topple the moderate secular presidency of that country. As in the other cases, the West instantly took the side of the rioters, spurred on by Al Jazeera (a television station controlled by a monarchy), in the pursuit of apparent democracy. The riots were violent, and reports emerged of Ethnic cleansing, and that it like the Libya revolution (aimed at cleansing the black immigrants from Libya according to aid groups, the New York Times, and Catholic Church), was what might be called a race riot: a riot by people who want impure people eliminated. The West backed the rioters, and has continued to back Al Qaeda linked militants ever since.

Ukraine decided not to join the ever expanding German run European Union. Backed by European Politicians, rioters took violently to the streets, spreading chaos and destroying lives and the economy, allegedly to have closer economic ties with Europe. Europe backed the violent protesters. An agreement for a transitional government representing both the Russian speaking East, and the Ukrainian speaking West was set to be signed, and was signed. The rioters, the revolutionaries would have none of it, and insisted that the Russian Speakers' leader and President of the country be killed or otherwise dealt with. The leader did not sign any document to revert the Constitution to an earlier form, where authority lay in different seats of power. Because they feared the rioters or for whatever reason, the coup government in Ukraine, unconstitutionally impeached their president and issued a warrant for his arrest. The West praised them for this coup. Russia, no doubt very aware of the Arab revolutions and the destructive force of these on these places and their surroundings, saw that danger right on her doorstep. Before Russia invaded Crimea every person feared a civil war, as the East was not represented and as the Ukrainian coup parliament attempted to ban the use of Russian (something their leader vetoed eventually). Russia invaded Crimea. The many lives lost in Western Ukraine, did not feature in this action requested by what procedurally was still the President of Ukraine, as he did not acquiesce but retained his throne over parliament which he was set to give up almost immediately, if the transitional government were to be set up.

Once again there is a transitional government which does not represent the people making decisions which are divisive and serious. Elections will no doubt ban the President of Ukraine partaking, if they happen at all, and any government will have the threat of the rioters hanging upon them. Was Russian intervention legal? I would say yes: not under Responsibility to Protect, but because the President of Ukraine who procedurally is still just that, demanded their intervention. Is it the right move for Russia? Probably. Is it a Russian Response to Western Weakness? Certainly not: it is Russia seeing the potential of Ukraine becoming another Syria and deciding that it is much more worthwhile to experience sanctions than to be sitting next to a civil war as in Syria. Elections do not legitimise a Coup. A biased transitional government does not legitimise a coup. Preventing civil war is never a bad thing. A house divided will fall upon its foundations and collapse, destroying all in its proximity. Such is a civil war. A show of strength by Russia, has averted much bloodshed, but the legitimisation of the armed overthrow of governments might see many more nations fall into chaos.

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