US Treasury Dept Helping To Frame Iran for Saudi Terrorism

[This is in keeping with the new narrative–“Iran sponsors Al-Qaeda, not the Saudis.”  Much like they previously used the excuse of one ghost terrorist in Kurdish Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as part of their contrived excuse to invade Iraq, they are now finding one “Al-Qaeda” guy, who is allegedly in Iran, to blame for the “Islamist” fiasco in Syria.  The US is helping Riyadh get out of the mess it is making before international authorities can act upon evidence produced by Syria implicating the Saudis in Sunni terrorism.  Through some sort of diplomatic “ju jitsu,” Iran is to suddenly become responsible for Saudi Al-Qaeda war crimes in Syria (SEE: Secret Riyadh/Obama Deal To Abandon Saudi Jihadis In Syria? ).  By helping absolve the Saudis for the mess in Syria Obama is setting the stage for helping the Saudis prepare for the nasty tsunami backlash that is sure to follow any real abandonment of their terrorist armies in Syria.  It will be interesting to see how they accomplish this without Bashar Asad’s help.]

U.S. targets key Iran-based Al-Qaeda facilitator

the daily star

yasin_al_suri Yasin_al_Suri_Photo

BEIRUT: A key Al-Qaeda member based in Iran is facilitating the transfer of foreign fighters to Syria to aid forces affiliated with the global network, including the Nusra Front, the U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday.

Olimzhon Adkhamovich Sadikov, described by the Treasury Department as an Iran-based Islamic Jihad Union facilitator, was designated for acting on behalf of and providing support to Al-Qaeda.

Iranian officials, according to the Wall Street Journal, denied the accusations, saying Washington was harming diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the international standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program.

According to the Long War Journal, a respected counter-terrorism blog, the IJU is an offshoot of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Both groups are closely allied with Al-Qaeda.

Sadikov, also known as Jafar al-Uzbeki and Jafar Muidinov, “provides logistical support and funding to Al-Qaeda’s Iran-based network,” the Treasury said.

It said Uzbeki serves as a “key extremist smuggler based in Mashhad, Iran, near the country’s border with Afghanistan, and has provided visas and passports to numerous foreign fighters, including Al-Qaeda recruits, to facilitate their travel.”

He also “assisted extremists and operatives transiting Iran on their way into and out of Pakistan and Afghanistan,” the Treasury said.

“Uzbeki has also provided funding to [Abdel Aziz Khalil, AKA Yasin] al-Suri, who has resumed leadership of Al-Qaeda’s Iran-based network after being temporarily detained there in late 2011.”

The Treasury Department designated Suri in July 2011 and has authorized monetary rewards for information leading to his location.

“As head Al-Qaeda facilitator in Iran, Yasin al-Suri is responsible for overseeing Al-Qaeda efforts to transfer experienced operatives and leaders from Pakistan to Syria,” the Treasury said.

Suri is responsible for “organizing and maintaining routes by which new recruits can travel to Syria via Turkey, and assisting in the movement of Al-Qaeda external operatives to the West.”

The Treasury department said the Al-Qaeda network in Iran “has facilitated the transfer of funds from Gulf-based donors to Al-Qaeda core and other affiliated elements, including the Nusra Front in Syria.”

“The Iran-based Al-Qaeda network has also leveraged an extensive network of Kuwaiti jihadist donors to send money to Syria via Turkey,” it added.

The United States has blacklisted the Syria-based Nusra Front as a terrorist organization.

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The Curious Case Of Prince al-Walid bin Talal

In an embarrassing legal defeat, Prince al-Walid bin Talal, one of the best-known personalities of the royal family, lost a court battle in the UK, having endured a hostile grilling and branding as “pathetic”. This is the latest in a series of setbacks to al-Walid’s carefully contrived public image. by Senior Analyst Talal Kapoor

On July 31, a UK court ruled in favor of Jordanian businesswoman Daad Sharab, who contended that she was not paid an agreed commission for brokering the sale of an Airbus 340 jet to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Prince al-Walid had bought the jumbo jet from the Sultan of Brunei for $95 million, and after years of convoluted manoeuvrings and double-dealings, the plane was finally delivered in 2006 for $120 million. al-Walid’s defence was that there was never an agreement to pay a $10 million commission, but rather that Sharab would be paid “at his discretion”. He told the court he had paid her nothing because during the proceedings she had “stabbed him in the back”, and “moved to the Libyan camp”.
>
al-Walid gave testimony in person for two days at the trial in July, but the court rejected his evidence on all key points in the dispute. In fact, the judge described him in his written ruling as “completely unreliable”, “hopeless” and “pathetic”. His testimony was confusing, regularly changing and ultimately untrustworthy, the court concluded, adding that he had “made up” evidence as he went along. “His attempts to bolster that defect in the witness box were frankly pathetic and he demonstrated great amounts of confusion,” the judge said.

Humiliating as this was, it is only the latest in a string of embarrassing public relations flops for the prince. al-Walid was in the news earlier this spring in relation to an ongoing dispute with Forbes over his ranking in the magazine’s annual Billionaires List, a spat which spilled out into the open and resulted in a fierce rebuttal from Forbes that shone an unwelcome light on his craving for recognition and need to impress. Forbes eagerly shared details of his ongoing and brazen attempts at image management, which included having his image photoshopped onto the covers of prominent magazines such as Forbes and Time, and inviting reporters to his palaces for the purpose of showing off his surroundings and possessions. Unfortunately, his over-reaching attempts to influence the Forbes staff backfired miserably, and he came off looking small and petty.

At issue was the net worth of al-Walid. Forbes staff’s ongoing concerns over the valuation of his Kingdom Holdings Co. were amplified by off-the-record comments by former associates of the prince, who spoke frankly of the ease with which market manipulations could take place on the Saudi exchange, where Kingdom is listed as a public company. (A private equity firm, Kingdom Holdings has exposure to various management, real estate and financial services companies, and also invests in industrial and energy interests.) Forbes was concerned over the apparent discrepancy between the performance of Kingdom and the broader market, particularly in light of the fact that the value of Citicorp, which comprises an outsized portion of the company’s portfolio, had declined significantly in the relevant period.

In particular, there were problems reconciling the performance of Kingdom with the underlying assets and fundamentals, made more difficult by the fact that annual reports and financial statements in recent years had not provided the names of stocks or holdings the company owns. They noted that auditors Ernst & Young had also been aware of the discrepancy between the market and Kingdom’s stock value, pointing out the small public float (5%) and thin and unusual trading (interestingly, Forbes suggested that Kingdom’s supposed value would typically shoot up in the period just before the annual Billionaires List ranking). Ernst & Young (before being replaced as auditors) used its own determination to come up with a value of $10.6 billion for his stake in Kingdom Holding, far less than was being claimed. In the end, Forbes decided (and it was a conservative estimate at that) that he was worth about $20 billion, putting him out of the top ten on the list for this year. –

image meets reality

Secret Riyadh/Obama Deal To Abandon Saudi Jihadis In Syria?

[SEE: Saudi king orders punishing jihadi fighters ;Saudi’s top cleric warns against fighting abroad ]

Messages Royal Order: Saudi Arabia abandon its fighters

alakhbar

Royal Order authorized a new phase has eaten the sticks rather than counted! (AFP)

What Saudi Arabia announced earlier this week regarding the fighters in Syria is not detailed. Index is extremely dangerous to the extent of U.S. pressure, and the threat to cancel a planned visit by Barack Obama to Saudi Arabia. After the last of the story as well: Riyadh fears the return of non-Organization for these fighters to their country, Fodathm two choices. First, back under the supervision of the security gate of the Saudi Embassy in Turkey, according to the Ambassador in Ankara yesterday, and the second displacement between the fronts, to restore to experience Saudia Afghan jihad. What follows is some of the well known tale of abandonment Kingdom for its fighters in Syria

Fuad Ibrahim

 

Do not issue a royal decree in Saudi Arabia comes only when the Prince of exemption or appointed, or something related to sovereign issues require a decision from the highest authority in the state. Royal Order issued last Monday, the date fixed for the meeting weekly to Saudi Council of Ministers, indicates clearly that the case, which was issued in the Royal Order would exceed the authority of the Board, and require what could be described as «a written pledge» of the king himself. Messages in the Royal Order, can stop at three of them:
The first: that the Royal Order was issued in the context of a media attraction about a hypothetical visit of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Riad end of next March. American newspapers, such as the «Wall Street Journal» and «New York Times», published earlier this month, a story about the upcoming visit, rushed the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh to reply in the next day confirmed «that the White House did not talk about anything in this regard». The assistant press attache at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh Stewart-Whyte «that the embassy does not have any information about this visit, and can not comment on it».

But with the release of the Royal Order on the third of February, the White House announced, on the same day, about Obama’s visit to Riyadh at the end of next March. The bottom line is Royal (which for the occasion is the longest in the history of the royal orders, and is matched only by the royal orders budgetary): Conviction comprehensive terrorist acts of all kinds, which proved the involvement of Saudi citizens, civilian and military officials and advocates agitators and belonging and donors, and glorified for religious groups and ideological extremist, and take down the most severe penalties.
In the information, the U.S. officials on the Saudis dossier huge end of last year includes documents compelling condemns the involvement of Saudi Arabia in terrorism which strikes Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, all the way to Russia, and that the file is at the disposal of the international community, which could push in the direction of a resolution condemning the Council Security, and the classification of the Saudi state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
The letter came to the U.S. clearly to Saudi Arabia, and that it is not possible to enter the terrorism issue within the protection treaty and the Strategic Defense that took place in the forties of the last century between King Abdul Aziz and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and must act on the basis that the issue of terrorism with an international character, and outside the treaties bilateral.
I felt Arabia that the danger staring destiny, and it took a stand sooner is the highest in the country, but there are of the royal family to understand the message the U.S. as a prerequisite for Obama’s visit to Riyadh, to remove the embarrassment in front of U.S. allies and the international community in general, which is no longer quite skeptical regarding the The majority of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in terrorist activities taking place in the region and in the world.
The second message: the face of the Royal Order a clear message to the Saudi fighters, civilians and military alike, first in Syria, in Iraq, Lebanon and other secondly, that there is a conclusion and a tent waiting for them in case they decided to return home. To prevent face-determination gloomy and punishment difficult, they remain out of bounds, and the completion of the march until the yard concluded or spread in battlefields again, as he did the first group of Arab Afghans and beyond regiments arose in Iraq after 2003, and Lebanon after the battles Nahr el-Bared late 2007 , and currently in Syria after an agreement Bandar Petraeus summer of 2012.
There is no doubt that this is a royal Hardness is a poisonous stab in the back, aiming it official sponsor, represented in Bandar bin Sultan, who put an end to the royal mission. Reactions involving supporters of «Al-Qaeda», as they appear on the social networking sites, the maelstrom of Saudi Arabia to the deception of the fighters again and again, since Afghanistan through Iraq, Lebanon and Syria down to. Therefore, it is seen by many Saudis fighters and supporters to the Royal as a provocative act, has been pushing fighters to commit follies security to thwart the goal of the order, any tarnish the image of the kingdom, and consolidate the impression that it is supportive of terrorism.
Of course, the Saudi regime could Altlati behind the excuse that he was not supportive in any day to fight abroad, were not allowed to collect donations or inciting immigration for the jihad. In the figure, the protest seems convincing, it has undergone advocates agitators and the imams of the investigation to prevent the collection of donations to fight in Syria, also issued fatwas considers what is happening in Syria «sedition»!
On the other hand, the possibility of observer crowd iceberg of the evidence on the involvement of institutions Saudi political, media and religious migration of thousands of Saudis to what he describes as the advocates of incitement to «land of Rabat» in Syria, and how else can we explain the participation of hundreds of military personnel in the fighting there, with that they can not travel abroad except with special permission from the military command.

Did not mention the military and cruel punishment that awaits them just goes, in the absence of documented reports of the involvement of a large number of military personnel in the fighting in Syria, and they who were streaming from the land of Jordan under the patronage of Deputy Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Sultan, a half-brother to the godfather of the war in Syria Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Chief of General Intelligence.
The fact is that Saudi Arabia has mastered the double game; publicly showing tighter deliberate on the subject of post Saudis fighting abroad, and in fundraising for the organization «Al-Qaeda» and branches of old and new, in secret flow of money and men and weapons on the battlefield without supervision or control.
The third message: There is a secondary indicators in the Royal Order stating that the war in Syria is nearing an end, and the armed groups muddle, after the loss of care, financial and armament and training required. This necessarily means, and in fact, that no role anymore could be played by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who left to the United States under the title treatment, a vacation in the open.
We refer to the proposed Iranian Turkish providing a decent outlet to Saudi Arabia from the mud of Syria, to gradually abandon support for the insurgents. It is clear that the duo began a joint high-level coordination to confront terrorism file which Ankara hesitated in his approach previously in earnest, according to the Iranian vision, but they are back now, after the visit of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent Iran, to open the widest.
In the results, Saudi Arabia afraid of the return of its citizens fighters, so I decided to put a list of tough sanctions to avert violent repercussions that affect them at the stage of the calculation. But seriously, from its point of view, is the international punishment that awaits if not paid eighths of losing the war in Syria, and the outbreak of the phenomenon of terrorism on an international level, forcing the European intelligence services to step up its presence in the region to keep up with the return of its citizens fighters to home.
It is necessary to draw attention to what the concessions made by Saudi Arabia to banish the specter of being accused of sponsoring terrorism. In the recent visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Riyadh, described the position of the Saudi leadership on the issue of settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian words banner, where he said he touch the «high enthusiasm» has in this regard, at the time was not what it pays to such enthusiasm.
Here intersect Information: File terrorism, which was introduced Americans to their Saudi counterparts, and file the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, where according to sources close to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah that Kerry request of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to acknowledge the Jewishness of the state of Israel in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital her, to be abandoned principle of the right of return, for work to revive the settlement project on a large scale, so as to include them in the absorption section Arab countries as well as Australia and Canada.
The sources added that the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas frequency in the announcement of the approval did not happen on the cover of the Arab countries and offset, chiefly Saudi Arabia. Kerry took the initiative to reassure Abbas that he will take over the job himself. Is there a relationship between Kerry and enthusiasm to reassure King Abdullah?
In total, the Royal Order authorized a new phase, which has eaten sticks instead of counted!


Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia: is the guardian … Heard and obedience

He stressed the Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, on the need to comply with the order issued to prevent the Saudis from fighting abroad, noting that young people who go out to fight «deceived them from the enemies of Islam», and they are now «sold in the slave market».
Al-Sheikh said, in an interview with the Saudi state television a few days ago: «What ordered by the Crown ordered that does not violate the law of God and we have a duty to listen and obey, because he does not want only good and interest. God made him a patron of this nation, is responsible for security and pay everything about her and protect her religion, view, and its economy ».
He said that «guardian», King Abdullah, «feared for our young people falling prey to the arrows of these and those, so came the Royal Order preventing out to fight outside the country, and that doing so is wrong, because he left damage it», pointing out that «lions ravage »involved in these conflicts.
(News)


Saudis killed 250 out of 2000 in Syria

The newspaper «Le Figaro» French in a report published yesterday that 250 Saudis have been killed in Syria between 2000 joined the «jihad» and fighting in the ranks of the armed opposition groups, specifically those associated with the organization «Al-Qaeda».
The report said that some of the volunteers fired from the prison condition Go to Syria, however, since, authorities doubled its warnings to the Saudis, who are inclined to join the Syrian armed groups, but the task is difficult, where jihadi groups are being funded at least in part of the Kingdom. The report added: «This is in addition to the role played by intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan. Is it a coincidence? Prince is located in a U.S. hospital three weeks ago. For some, that if disgrace after failing to topple President Bashar al-Assad also pledged ». The report considered that the decision issued by the Saudi king, and which provides for the punishment of fighting outside the Kingdom of imprisonment for a period ranging between 3 and 20 years, it may be «the result of the first to take out of the decision-making circles Bandar».
(News)

The Saner Ukrainian Factions Worry About Russian Intervention

Russian adviser threatens Ukraine with military force

usa_today_long

Nele Obermueller and Olga Rudenko, Special for USA TODAY

Ukrainian protesters say they have no doubt that Russia will intervene militarily in the unrest that has been plaguing the former Soviet territory for months.

 

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian protesters said Thursday they have no doubt Russia will intervene militarily in the unrest here if the current Moscow-aligned president gives in to demands for more freedoms and stronger ties to the West.

“Everyone knows that Russia is going to send troops to Ukraine – we have known it for a long time now,” said Kateryna Chorna of Kiev who has regularly taken part in the anti-government protests that started in November.

“And everyone knows that some of (the Russian troops) are already here but nobody wants to speak openly about it because nobody wants to fight our brothers,” she said, referring to a widespread belief that Russian military make up the police force and hired provocateurs trying to sabotage and subdue the protests.

Protesters expressed their fears as a senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Kiev to try to help find a resolution to the country’s political crisis, and an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened Ukraine with attack.

Sergei Glazyev on Thursday accused the United States of funding the Ukrainian “rebels” by as much as $20 million a day for weapons and other supplies. He urged the Ukrainian government to put down the “attempted coup” or Russia may have to to intervene under the terms of a 1994 agreement between the U.S. and Russia, according to the Ukraine edition of the Russian daily Kommersant.

Glazyev was alluding to the Budapest Memorandum, a treaty in which the Ukraine agreed to turn over a nuclear arsenal on its soil left over after the fall of the Soviet Union, of which Ukraine was a part until it dissolved in 1991.

In return, the United States, United Kingdom and Russia, nuclear powers all, guaranteed to respect the independence and the borders of Ukraine and reaffirmed their commitment to seek immediate U.N. Security Council action should Ukraine become a victim of an act of aggression.

But the memorandum, which is not binding, refers only to “nuclear aggression” and it requires the signatories to consult each other if other unspecified aggression arises.

Glazyev said the agreement binds Russia and the United States “to intervene when conflicts of this kind arise. And what the Americans are doing now, unilaterally and crudely interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine, is a clear breach of that treaty.”

On Thursday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met separately in Kiev with President Viktor Yanukovych and with opposition leaders to find a solution to the conflict. Yanukovych is scheduled to meet with Putin on Friday at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Protesters want Yanukovych to resign, and for his successor to sign an economic treaty with the European Union that Yanukovych rejected in favor of a $15 billion loan and gas deliveries from Putin.

Nuland’s visit comes amid growing frustration over parliament’s failure to enact constitutional reforms and an amnesty for protesters. The legislature met three days this week but produced no results and adjourned Thursday until next week.

In Kiev on Thursday, about 2,000 demonstrators marched toward parliament carrying a banner reading: “We are tired of waiting.” Protesters said they were ready to resume clashes with police, if parliament’s inaction continued.

The U.S. and the European Union have called for Yanukovych and the opposition to reach a compromise and warned Yanukovych against using more force against the protesters.

The European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, adopted a non-binding resolution Thursday urging the bloc’s 28 nations to prepare targeted sanctions such as freezing assets of “Ukrainian officials, legislators and oligarchs personally responsible for the attacks on and deaths of protesters.”

Glazyev said the Ukrainian government needs to spurn outsiders and put down the insurrection with force.

“The Ukrainian government is making a mistake by resisting the use of force to solve the crisis, and if the protesters will not disperse, the violent suppression of protests will be inevitable,” he said. “In a situation where the authorities face an attempted coup, they simply have no other course of action – otherwise, the country could be plunged into chaos.”

The protests, which have seen hundreds of thousands take to the streets, had remained largely peaceful but turned violent last month as demonstrators clashed with police, leading to at least four deaths, according to police, although others say the toll is higher.

The United States and the EU want the opposition to share in government. Yanukovych offered leading opposition figures high-level posts in the government but they rejected the offer, instead calling for new elections.

Analysts say that while Russia has a special interest in Ukraine, Glazyev does not speak for Putin and is exaggerating the threat of military force.

“Mr. Glazyev has a record of making inflammatory statements about Ukraine – to my knowledge, he does not speak for the Russian government on Ukraine,” said John Lough, an analyst specializing on the Russia and Eurasia at Chatham House think tank in London. “I think that any potential intervention by Russia would be political and economic, and certainly not military.”

But many protesters believe that the Ukraine government is playing for time and would welcome Russian military intervention if protesters refuse to back down.

“The only question is if they will act now or after the Winter Olympics end,” said protester Chorna. “Me, my family and my friends, we are all very worried about this because it will have impact on business, on salaries, benefits.”

Mob Justice, Nazi Symbolism, and the Western Plot Called “Democracy”

How spread of Banderite slogans and symbols undermines Ukrainian nation-building

kyiv post

Oleh Tiahynbok, leader of the nationalist Svoboda Party.
© AFP

Writing about the implications of Ukraine’s divided historical memory is a thankless task. Ukraine’s nationalist intelligentsia’s response to voicing the most elementary facts on, and assessments of, the corroding role of the promotion of World War II themes for Ukrainian state-building is always the same: Kill the messenger!

It is less important what is said and for which purpose. The person who dares to point out even widely known trivialities and makes all too evident conclusions related to the ambivalent meaning of a heroization of wartime nationalists, will be lectured or defamed, or both.

The analyst and not the matter of the issue will be questioned – if necessary through wild allegations, far-going accusations, and outright libel. The reason and justification for such far-reaching denunciations will be the attacker’s strong patriotism and love of Ukraine.

But is mainstreaming symbols, slogans and ideas related to the so-called Stepan Bandera movement really patriotic when soberly considering the socio-political realities of post-Soviet Ukraine?

The ethno-centrist slant of Ukraine’s third post-Soviet mass rebellion

The current uprising is the third such popular insurgence following the Granite Revolution of 1990 and Orange Revolution of 2004.

While these earlier revolts had also nationalist undertones, the current insurrection is different regarding the prominent role that supposedly “national” themes play in it. Above all, it is characterized by the far more notable presence, than in 1990 and 2004, of slogans, symbols and followers implicitly or explicitly heroizing Bandera’s wartime Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.

This discourse is promoted, first and foremost, by the nationalist party Svoboda led by Oleh Tiahnybok, but has been willingly taken up by other political and civil actors too. In spite of the minor role of right-wing extremists in the protests, some leitmotifs historically associated with, but today not any longer perceived as representing, Ukrainian war-time ultra-nationalism are now characteristic of the entire protest movement. This may be a remarkable success for Ukraine’s post-Soviet neo-Banderite ethno-nationalists; yet it is bad news for the future of Ukrainian political nation-building.

Already a prominent participant of the 1990 Granite Revolution, in 2004, Tiahnybok was excluded from the Verkhovna Rada faction Our Ukraine for an anti-Semitic speech earlier that year. He thus played an only third-rate role during the Orange Revolution.

Today, in contrast, Tiahnybok is one of the most influential leaders of the protest movement eminently co-directing its rhetoric, ideology and actions. To be sure, he and has party usually have the support of only around 4-6 percent in recent popularity polls.

Moreover, in a number of experimental public opinion studies conducted by different sociological agencies, Tiahnybok has been repeatedly identified as the only major opposition leader who could lose, in a hypothetical two-round presidential election, against the discredited incumbent Viktor Yanukovych. Nevertheless, being effective orators and supported by a vocal support group in the crowds, Tiahnybok and some other ethno-nationalist spokespersons are, during the current protests, disproportionally present, on the streets, at the podiums, and in mass media. While they represent the electorally smallest faction and regionally most contained part of the opposition, the Svoboda leaders are as visible as those of the two larger opposition parties, Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR and Arseniy Yatseniuk’s Batkivshchyna.

This may by itself not seen as a problem. Representing a parliamentary faction, Tiahnybok’s party certainly has the right to be involved in the protests, and promote itself among the opposition voters. Moreover, “Svoboda” has, to no small degree and with considerable discipline, contributed to the effective organization, combat spirit and physical protection of the protesters. Also, Tiahnybok and Svoboda’s other spokespersons have markedly toned down the implicitly anti-Western aspects of their ideology, and took already 2012 an explicitly supportive stance on Ukraine’s rapprochement with, and integration into, the European Union. They did so in spite of the glaring contradictions between their ideology and post-war European values, and the outspokenly Eurosceptic positions of most of their former and current far-right cooperation partners in Central and Western Europe (e.g. France’s Front national, Germany’s NPD or Italy’s Forza Nuova).

However, at the same time, “Svoboda” and some minor similarly oriented groups have managed to insert into the entire protest movement a number of their own specifically ethno-nationalist themes, symbols, and slogans. This concerns above all the Ukrainian Insurgent Army’s red/black blood-and-soil flag, more visible today than during the 1990 and 2004 protests, and the OUN’s battle cry “Glory to Ukraine! – To the heroes glory!” The Euromaidan’s podium presenter, Yevhen Nyshchuk, an otherwise little known theatre actor and 2004 Orange Revolution DJ, has helped to transform this slogan into the protest movement’s main motto – mantra-like repeated hundreds of times during the last weeks.

Moreover, even such explicitly ethno-nationalist slogans like “Ukraine Above Everything!”, “Death to the Enemies!” or “Glory to the Nation!” have started being circulated, on Independence Square – a fact explicitly criticized by, among others, popular folk-rock singer Oleh Skripka.

Most likely, the spread of these mottos is also a result of their promotion by Svoboda and other ethno-nationalist groups over-represented on the EuroMaidan, including the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, Ukrainian Platform Sobor or Right-Wing Sector.

In his speeches, Tiahnybok has used formulas like “national revolution” and “national state” to describe his vision of the nature and aims of the uprising. Before the current protests, Banderite slogans and symbols were heavily used only in Western Ukraine, and played a minor role in earlier protests. Today, in contrast, they have become mainstream, in the entire opposition protest movement, whether party-affiliated or not, and can be noted all over Kyiv as well as other Ukrainian cities.

The anti-national character of Ukrainian ethno-nationalism

Superficially, there may be nothing extraordinary happening today in Kyiv: Modern democratic revolutions, more often than not, had nationalist undertones – sometimes quite explicitly so.

A minority of political scientists even argue that nationalism has crucially supported liberalization and democratization in post-communist Europe. However, a distinct peculiarity of the situation in Ukraine is that the supposedly “patriotic” symbols and ideas of the war-time Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist, promoted by “Svoboda,” are not properly national, but instead implicitly separatist.

The issue here is not only and not so much the ambivalent historical record of the OUN which is being praised as liberationist, by one side, and classified as fascist, by the other. It is not this fact as such that is the problem, but rather that the OUN symbols trigger positive responses only in Western and, to lesser degree, Central Ukraine. In contrast, they are seen as inappropriate or even offending by the overwhelming majority of southern and eastern Ukrainians.

This circumstance – and less so a lack of xenophobia and homophobia in russophone Ukraine – is also a reason why Svoboda has been and probably will remain a minor Ukrainian political force. In spite of the considerable presence of racist stereotypes to which Svoboda appeals in Southern and Eastern Ukraine, Tiahnybok’s party cannot hope to ever collect a significant electorate there. Although calling itself All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda,” it is a regionally based party that is popular mainly in Galicia, Volyn and Kyiv as well as, to a lesser degree, in other parts of western as well as central Ukraine. Yet, it does not cover the entire country.

The prominent role of disputed historical references is all the more surprising as there are episodes and figures in Ukraine’s all-national history that are uncontroversial among most Ukrainians.

For instance, the pride of the medieval Kyivan Rus, memory of the early modern Cossack republics, adoration of the national poet Taras Shevchenko, or grief about the millions of victims of 1932-33 famine nowadays constitute themes that unite the Ukrainian nation more or less comprehensively.

The moderately nationalist Ukrainian interpretations of these and similar topics may still be regarded as offensive by official Russian or pro-Russian Ukrainian historians. Nevertheless, even southern and eastern Ukrainians with Russian ties tend to support the mainstream Ukrainian view on, for instance, the Holodomor as a peculiarly Ukrainian tragedy. While many russophone Ukrainians feel, in one way or another, bound to Russia, they often nevertheless regard the current ambivalent portrayal of Stalin by the Kremlin-promoted media and Ukrainian Communist Party as inappropriate. There are thus a number of important historical periods and figures the interpretation of which is largely uncontentious and unites most Ukrainians in the west and east.

In contrast, the proper evaluation of the actions and ideology of the so-called Bandera movement is Ukraine’s by far most contentious historical question. Many Galicians and some central Ukrainians – above all Svoboda’s followers – tend to see the OUN and its military wing, the UPA, in exclusively epic terms. Ukrainophone nationalists, resembling their colleagues in the Baltics, even heroize known Nazi collaborators among the OUN leadership, like Roman Shukhevych, a one-time Hauptsturmführer of the infamous Schutzmannschaften.

In contrast, millions of eastern and southern Ukrainians regard the same persons as either alien to their historic traditions, or even as despicable traitors in the Soviet Union’s nations’ joint struggle against fascism. These divisions in Ukraine’s historical discourse are common places among those interested in Ukrainian politics – whether in- or outside Ukraine. The geographically divided memory of World War II has been confirmed in dozens of opinion polls and regional studies.

The Ukrainian patriots’ flight from reality

In spite of their obviousness, the implications of these facts for Ukrainian party politics, public debates and intellectual discourse are insufficiently discussed by Ukraine’s political leaders, activists and analysts.

The division in the memory of World War II is acknowledged and analyzed as such. But what topical conclusions, rhetorical strategies, and political actions would have to follow from them? Instead of asking and answering such questions, Ukraine’s patriots distract or escape from these difficult issues.

When confronted with the contradiction between their support for spreading Banderite nationalism and the incongruent historical memory of millions of eastern and southern Ukrainians, they use escapist tactics that avoid debating the actual challenge. They either engage in pseudo-historic lectures that whitewash the war-time Ukrainian ultra-nationalists, or they use neo-Soviet “whataboutism” asking: What about this or that inconsistency in the historical memory of this or that other country?

The patriots’ history lectures often simply repeat the OUN hagiography of those Ukrainian history writers who have manifest sympathies for, or even organizational ties to, their object of study. They restate the stories told by self-ascribed history experts who seldom or never publish in leading academic journals, and do not attend relevant international scientific congresses. The patriots’ “What about?” questions sometimes concern only partly comparable issues abroad (e.g. in Israel), or seek to offset their own ambivalent preferences against those of others (e.g. Poles). If East Ukrainian communists praise Stalin, why should west Ukrainian nationalist not be able to praise Bandera? – is one of the most absurd “arguments” one sometimes hears even from educated Ukrainians.

The main defect of these responses is that they divert attention to a pseudo-analytical or para-comparative debate about the nature of the OUN rather than focusing on how to solve a rather salient practical-political problem of today Ukraine.

Instead of trying to find an answer of how to formulate a historical narrative that may be acceptable to most citizens of Ukraine, the apologists usually start a different discussion about who is right or wrong. Often these rebuttals include an explicit or implicit diminishing of the opponent as either a naive victim or a mischievous propagator of Soviet-Russian Kremlin propaganda. Such debates thus only further deepen rather than heal the divide between different parts of Ukraine. The “Ukrainian patriots’” mumblings about history, morality and comparability actively undermine rather than support the ideational foundations that a consolidation of the Ukrainian state needs. As a result of their escapist rhetorical strategies, the supposed patriots do the exact opposite of what they claim to be doing: They are subverting rather than strengthening the Ukrainian state. Worse, with their divisive discourse, they indirectly, but effectively serve Russian neo-imperial irredentism.

For instance, the standard response to the questioning of the usefulness of an elevation of the “To the heroes – glory!” cry to the main mantra of the protest movement would be a simple switch of topics. The most autistic respondents would start a discussion of the historic origins of the older “Glory to Ukraine!” slogan simply ignoring the question about the “heroes” part.

The more responsive defenders’ reply to critique would be some trivial explanation of what this slogan means to the today demonstrators on Independence Square. One would be informed one that the cry has no deeper historic connotation for many protesters, that it expresses their emotions in such historic times, that it unites people from different regions, including russophone ones, coming to Kyiv, and so on.

Yet, the most difficult question will be stubbornly ignored: Not what do the protesters mean when they shout the slogan, but what do many Eastern and Southern Ukrainians feel when they hear “To the heroes – glory!” For the protesters on the Maidan, including those from the Donbass or Crimea, “heroes” may be a generic term that means little beyond the concrete context of the protests. Yet, for many of their listeners in Ukraine’s east and south, the historical origins of the slogan will be known and relevant.

For them, “heroes” will actually mean UPA combatants once killing Red Army soldiers who were fighting German fascism and whose children today do not regard the UPA as heroic at all. Yet, this challenging contradiction would be simply ignored, and responded to with a pseudo-moralistic sermon about the lack of the questioner’s understanding of Ukraine’s past and present, or the anti-Ukrainian intention behind such a blasphemous question.

Will the Ukrainian revolution succeed?

Svoboda and the minor ethno-nationalist parties present on the Maidan have already done a lasting disservice to the Ukrainian nation by impregnating the protest movement with their peculiarly Banderite slogans, ideas and symbols unpopular in southern and eastern Ukraine.

A particularly sad outcome is that the ethno-nationalists have poisoned Ukrainian civil society with formulas that will disturb the formation of a unified Ukrainian civic community. The non-nationalist protesters who have uncritically taken over ethno-nationalist slogans and symbols are making a strategic mistake: When utilizing ambivalent historical references in their fight against a semi-authoritarian regime, they may be helping to undermine the Ukrainian state.

Oddly, they also create considerable uneasiness in the opposition’s relations with the European Union and particularly Poland – Ukraine’s most faithful friend in Europe. A whole number of more or less prominent Western representatives and institutions, among them the European Parliament, have repeatedly and unequivocally spoken out against heroization of the OUN. Indirectly, the protesters using OUN symbols or slogans would be assisting rather than fighting Putin’s imperialist divide-et-impera policies in the post-Soviet space.

For Jan. 1, Svoboda has announced that it intends to organize a big celebration of Stepan Bandera’s 105th birthday in Kyiv. This will not only give the Kremlin and his agents in Ukraine an additional excellent opportunity to discredit the EuroMaidan. It threatens – even without the unavoidable Russian political spin – to make on many people in and outside Ukraine a misleading impression about the origins, substance and aims of the current protests at Kyiv. As result of a worst-case scenario, one day historians may conclude that Putin and Tiahnybok did jointly succeed in tearing the young Ukrainian state apart.

Andreas Umland is an associate professor of political science at Kyiv Mohyla Academy.