Ukraine crisis: A minnow in dark waters

A minnow in troubled waters

Washington officials and heads of state are nation-hopping to convince governments follow a unified front on sanctions against Russia. Some of those countries are able to cope with the economic repercussions of such sanctions but for smaller countries like Cyprus, Greece and Malta could be the last nail on the coffin for their small economies! In fact, those countries are trapped like minnows swimming in troubled waters that cannot escape unscathed!

Turkey on the other hand — a long time NATO member — has refused to employ sanctions in fear they would harm its economy. The Austrian Foreign Minister also refused and stated that, "the embargo of Russian natural gas, as energy sanctions primarily cause harm to the countries imposing them”. There are also other member-states ready to opt out in opposition to EU Commission's plans. President, Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus — for the first time ever- opposed the proposed new sanctions and stated; "the cost of EU sanctions against Russia should not be greater on the economies of member states than on the Russian economy”. In this case, it seems as if national self-interests are proving to be much stronger than loyalty.

Meanwhile, the war in Europe offered the EU Commission the opportunity to introduce a well-hidden bombshell: to abolish the powerful Veto of member states. This is to "to stop opposition to EU critical decisions of great importance”! The removal of such a defensive mechanism means political suicide for smaller states and total submission of national powers to a faceless bureaucracy.

This sleigh of hand will ultimately cement Jean Monet's original philosophy of "nation-suppression” through rules and regulations executed by unaccountable civil servants, "for the bureaucrat is the one and most trusted loyal and efficient servant of the state”.

However, there is a strong resistance to the idea of abandoning the right to Veto. If successful, it would be the end of EU majority rule in the decision-making process of national importance. In the absence of the cherished Veto the Commission will then be free to implement its unilateral decisions into law through a pseudo Parliament that has no legitimacy to oppose or draft and make laws.

Meanwhile the EU and NATO have joined forces to convince countries for more sanctions against Russia. Victoria Nuland the US Under Secretary of State has recently made a two-day visit to Nicosia to "help the island on diversifying away” from Russian dependence. But Washington's arm-twisting this time has gone one step too far! In fact it was nothing less than an insult!

The US has requested that the Cyprus Army abandons its Russian defensive weapons-including the S-300's- and send them to Ukraine to fight the war. In exchange, the US would replace them with American ones. Such demands demonstrate the US shows no respect for the integrity of the Republic but to ensure Cyprus's dependence on US arm sales henceforth.

Even so, US-NATO's military expansion into the Eastern Mediterranean makes Cyprus a shining jewel for military operations; the one who controls the island controls the region!

Under the current war frenzy, it is essential for NATO to counter Russia's strong naval facilities in Tartus of Syria but also topple the Assad regime. Syria remains the main stumbling block for the construction of oil pipelines starting from Saudi Arabia en-route to Europe where energy has become the ultimate war trophy!

This puts Cyprus smack in the eye of the storm; a storm that could have serious military implications for the future but especially if Cyprus joins NATO. Some political parties support the idea that by joining NATO it would provide "security and stability”. Those are the exact promises peddled to Cypriots in 2004 for joining the EU bankers' bureaucratic institution!

Influenced by the EU and Greece on matters of "security and stability” the Anastasiades government has played a critical role to reduce Russian presence in Cyprus. Yet, the Russian Federation has been a steadfast ally throughout the years at the UN Security Council where others failed to show solidarity.

The Cyprus government without hesitation complied with EU Directives and set out to enforce the sanctions on Russia; it closed all banks and froze bank accounts; destroyed a strong tourist industry and banned airspace to Russian planes including port facilities to vessels; blocked Russian bankcards on the island and trade between the two has totally collapsed while Russian companies are relocating their head offices elsewhere and out of Cyprus!

The enforcement of EU directives were a time bomb for the small economy of Cyprus and damaged shipping, tourism and the hospitality sector including the services industry. Turkey on the other hand grabbed the opportunity and filled that vacuum by establishing a new airline carrier to "operate exclusively between Russia and Turkey” to accommodate the influx of Russian tourists handed to them on a platter by Cyprus.

In the end, Cyprus has shot itself in the foot and killed the goose that laid the golden egg! The government is now struggling to replace the losses in Russian trade and tourism of more than 1.2 Million visitors annually. Maria Zakharova, the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman criticized Cyprus at the way it treated the Russian Federation saying that: "Russia will not forget the betrayal of both Greece and Cyprus”.

The war in Europe has in fact opened a Pandora's box and Cyprus is dragged right into the war pandemonium in support of foreign interests. Under the current scaremongering hype, it would not be surprising if the Republic applies for NATO membership in line with Finland and Sweden; at least that's what President Anastasiades and his Party will do when the political conditions are conducive to do so!

Yet, one cannot overlook the fact that it was a NATO member (the Greek junta of Greece) that initiated a military coup to overthrow the Makarios government-known by CIA as the "Castro of the Med”-for refusing to abandon its non-aligned status; and it was also a NATO member (Turkey) that executed the CIA inspired occupation of Cyprus while the West turned a blind eye to the invasion. A membership with an alliance that brought about the catastrophic events of 1974 in Cyprus raises serious questions as to why?

However, there are serious conundrums with such an endeavour! Since Turkey does not recognize the Republic it will certainly exercise its Veto to block Cyprus's NATO application-just like EU-Cyprus keeps threatening to block Turkey's EU application! The stalemate will probably be resolved under some sort of a pseudo-federation but with one result: Cyprus will be carved into a two-state entity: a Muslim state and a Greek state! The ancient Hellenic island of Cyprus would no longer exist but demographically abolished!

Under NATO's umbrella, inevitably the island will be used as a stepping-stone and become a hub of military activities complete with air bases and naval facilities. Would this geo-political transformation make Cyprus a safer place or will the island end up at the centre of another US-European war; this time against Syria!

Such a possibility cannot be discounted. Removing the Assad regime has been on the back burners of western powers for many years and if successful it would primarily reduce Russian dominance in the region. Most importantly, it would open up the floodgates to allow the Saudi Arabia black gold flow across Syria-prohibited so far by the Assad regime-to reach the energy-hungry markets of Europe.

If and when that happens, EU-Cyprus would certainly be placed at the centre of another war theatre of madness for geopolitical control in the region. The island for one more time, it would be the prized Jewel of the Med that everyone aspires to grab a piece of its entrails.

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Author`s name Andreas C Chrysafis
Editor Dmitry Sudakov