Ukraine and Syria: Elections at the Barrels of US-NATO Guns?

Hypocrisy, the most protected of vices.
— Moliere, 1672-1673

On Sunday May 11th, Ukraine’s referenda in the country’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk provinces were met with verbal condemnation from the US – accusations of the electorate voting “at the barrel of a gun”, in reportedly a near 90% turn out, nearly 90% in Donetsk voting for political independence from Kiev and 96.2% in Luhansk in favour of self rule.

Many did indeed vote at the barrels of guns – held by those sent by the US-UK-EU-NATO allies in the $5 Billion US coup in the capitol, Kiev, which replaced the elected government. Their actions “resulted in several deaths.”

The two regions followed Crimea, who on March 16th, voted by near 93% to cede to Russia in an over 80% turnout.

However, as barrels of guns go, they surely don’t get bigger than those focused on the voters in the Ukraine national election on Sunday, May.25th.

The US war ship the Vella Gulf is expected to arrive in the Black Sea “on the eve of Presidential elections”, with American diplomats stressing “that the United States wanted to support the actions of the new Ukrainian authorities through the presence of US warships in the Black Sea.”

In “support” of the elections, “The Vella Gulf is armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, ACPOK, and antisubmarine and anti-aircraft Standard-2 and Standard-3 missiles. The ship carries the total of 122 missiles on board. The vessel also has two multipurpose helicopters.”

It is also “a guided missile cruiser built for open-ocean warfare and long-range attacks on targets inland …”

That should bring the voters out!

Further: “The American Aegis guided missile cruiser will be in the Black Sea in time for the Ukrainian presidential elections on May 25 …” Additionally: “… the French Navy’s intelligence ship, Dupuy de Lome, (is) currently in the waters off Bulgaria’s port city of Varna.  (It is) designed for radar monitoring and capable of intercepting communications, including phone calls and e-mails …”

However, if the people of Ukraine survive US missile driven backing for “democracy”, the people of Syria may face an even bigger challenge as they hold their Presidential election just nine days later.

On the day of the Ukraine elections, Operation “Eager Lion” kicks off in Syria’s neighbour, Jordan, in a “military training drill” involving 24 countries “organized by the Jordan Armed Forces, in co-operation with the US Army.”  Read: organized by the US at every level. The “training drill” just happens to run from May 25th to June 10th, thus taking in the day of Syria’s elections on June 3rd. The distance between Jordan’s capitol, Amman and Syria’s capitol Damascus is a mere 109 miles. The Jordan-Syrian border is a mere hop, skip and jump away.

Of the same named exercise last year, called it: “A NATO exercise in all but name.”

Equipment to be utilized this year seems unavailable, but in last year’s smaller exercise, with 18 nations taking part, just some major equipment included “amphibious assault ships (and numbers of) AV-B Harrier II, C130 Hercules, F18 Hornet, F16 Falcon, Patriot missile system and the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft … “

This year, though, we do learn (mark carefully) that: “The land component includes a mixture of special operations forces and Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which played a role in Operation Odyssey Dawn to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya in March 2011.”

We know what happened to Libya.

“Ground, air and naval forces” will be deployed. The US also now has one thousand troops (including special operations?) deployed in Jordan long term.

In April last year in another eighteen country silly named operation in Qatar, operation Eagle Resolve, according to the US Department of Defence, included every country in the region except Syria and Iran. “Everyone else had representation.” Syria and Iran, of course, were on the Pentagon list, after September 11th, 2001 of “Seven countries” to be “taken out in five years.” They are behind, but clearly still working on it under the Nobel Prize winning and more recently the “Ambassador for Humanity” awarded US President.

Search engines explain that the names of US military exercises and operations are long pondered over to make them meaningful, assertive, ringing of authority, control and dominance. “Eager Lion” has all the authority of a bully taunting in a reception class school playground. “Assad” in Arabic translates as “Lion.” To quote Peter Ustinov again: “When we were five, we all wanted to be Generals.” Pathetic.

Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger's Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.) Read other articles by Felicity.