بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Question and Answer
Regarding the Minsk Agreement and the Escalation of Events in Ukraine
There has been a noticeable escalation in the interaction of Merkel and Hollande with Putin and then converging in Minsk with the presence of the President of Ukraine... and after their meeting they reached an agreement in Minsk to a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine as of Sunday, 15/02/2015 CE, and the establishment of a demilitarized zone. The Minsk agreement states that the Ukrainian authorities and the rebels in the east of the country have two days after the ceasefire to start the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line. Allowing for the establishment of a buffer zone which is to be expanded to seventy kilometers on either side of the front line... what makes Europe "France and Germany," escalate, even rush to contact Russia to hold a political agreement in Ukraine even without mentioning anything about Crimea, when they were the ones prolonging such meetings to ensure the discussion of Crimea? And why hasn't the Prime Minister of Britain joined them? Why did America appear not to approve of this agreement? And what is expected for its implementation? I apologize for the lengthy question, Jazak Allah Khair.
To get a clearer view in order to reach the correct answer, we mention the following:
1. America's general policy is that Ukraine remains an area of heated tension in Russia's side to be used as a means of pressure or exploitation to have Russia become America's front-line in a number of international issues like Syria and Iran's nuclear agreement, and so on. Europe was not opposed to this policy because it did not lead to war in their view or what looks like a war in Europe with Russia... and the events continued in Ukraine in this way: skirmishes between separatists and the army of Ukraine, and the silence regarding Crimea... and matters fluctuated between escalation and short episode of calm. In Europe's view, this would not contribute to the situation's fuelling to the point of ignition, or even close enough.
2. But matters have developed in recent times which include: America did not like this constant calm in the calculated skirmishes in Ukraine, especially since the international issues have escalated. The pressure and exploitation on Russia is unproductive if Russia's side is calm (no tension present), America intentionally fueled the situation in Ukraine. It began by declaring that it will support Ukraine with advanced weapons, and that it is possible for Ukraine to be NATO member... This is in addition to carrying out military exercises close to Russia's vital space, this caused provocation for Russia which began to escalate military movements near Ukraine, and even interfering with the separatists even without announcing it, as well as its semi-heated remarks...
Some media outlets have reported that US Secretary of State Kerry had visited Kiev at the time when Putin met with Merkel and Hollande to discuss the political agreement. During his visit to Kiev, Kerry was looking into the option of Washington providing Kiev with lethal weapons knowing that the interlocutors in Minsk oppose it. Also Al-Hayat reported on its website on Friday 6 February 2015, "... Washington announced that it will provide Kiev with urgent aid worth $118 million, allocated for the training of Ukrainian troops, and will provide equipment, including protective uniforms, military vehicles, and night-vision devices..." Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Ukashević responded, "Providing Kiev with sophisticated American weapons not only threatens to escalate the conflict, but also the security of Russia, which its territory was bombed by the Ukrainian army many times." He warned that "a decision of this kind would cause severe damage to Russian - American relations"...and so on.
This is in addition to American officials' statements on the issue of Crimea and that what Russia has done by annexing Crimea is an aggression... In a statement by the American President Barack Obama on Monday February 9, 2015, he directed a warning to Russia regarding the conflict in Ukraine, and said that Moscow has no right to "redraw Europe's borders by the force of arms." It is a clear indication to the issue of Crimea that it has been dropped in the Minsk agreement, and of course, this statement opens fire towards Russia because it considered Crimea as part of it, what makes the significance of this statement equivalent to, if not more, to America's statement in arming the Ukrainian army, etc.
3. Europe, particularly Germany and France, took America's statements seriously, so both countries were quick to declare that they are against supplying weapons to Ukraine because this could lead to war in Europe...
In their speeches in the International Security Conference held in Munich from 06/02/2015 to 09/02/2015, Merkel rejected the idea that sending American weapons to Kiev will contribute to resolving the conflict, and she said, "A better equipped Ukrainian army will not convince President Putin that it will lose militarily, while Europe wants to strengthen its security by cooperation with Russia, and not against it." German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen also warned during her speech at the opening of the annual International Security Conference in Munich, that sending Western weapons to the Ukrainian army "may fuel the conflict in Ukraine, because it pours oil on the fire, and takes us away from the desired solution."
France did the same, Al-Quds Al-Arabi Newspaper reported in the 07/02/2015, "French President Francois Hollande expressed his belief that the initiative is one of the last opportunities." Hollande continued by saying that without compromise or lasting agreement for peace, then the scenario is known "It has a name: it is war." He added that it was clear to him that the journey with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Kiev and Moscow was difficult and an adventure, "but it was necessary". Hollande explained that he and Merkel believe that "the phantom of war is knocking on the doors of Europe." French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius - whose country is involved in mediation efforts sees - that "no one wants to fall into the trap of an all-out war, nor anyone can benefit from it and that it is time to carry out the options," stressing that what Germany and France want to achieve in Ukraine is "real peace not peace on paper".
4. Europe (France and Germany) feared that this heated developments in America's positions will lead to the escalation of Russian military action against Ukraine, it will be embarrassing to Europe if it does not stand on Ukraine's side, which will result in war or quasi-war in Europe but will not affect America. This is why it was a compelling reason for Europe to change its policy that agrees with America in Ukraine, who decided to contact the Russian President to reach a political solution, and halt any heated escalation between Europe and Russia, and this is what took place. European (French and German) leaders have discussed this and agreed upon it on 06/02/2015. Merkel then went to Washington on 08/02/2015 to inform Obama about it and not to ask his permission... and it was clear that Europe for the first time took control over an issue before getting a green light from America. The implementation paper was approved and decided on by the three leaders Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, and French President Francois Hollande on Friday, 06/02/2015, what is only left is to summon the Ukrainians parties "the president and the rebels" to sign it, then Merkel went to Washington to inform Obama!
5. The French and German position impacted Obama and his administration greatly, it lead to the verbal altercations at the Munich conference between Kerry and Merkel, especially about America's statements to provide Ukraine with weapons which Europe rejects. Al-Hayat reported on its website on Sunday 8 February 2015, "The International Security Conference in Munich ‘saw a fiery verbal exchange' between the Germans and Americans about Washington's intention to arm Kiev forces to fight the pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine. This was reflected in the absence of consensus across the Atlantic on how to deal with Putin in this conflict." In another speech in the Munich conference, the US Senator Lindsey Graham praised Merkel's interest in the Ukraine crisis but added that "it is time the Chancellor wakes up to the facts of the attacks by Moscow." He continued, "Our Europeans friends can go to Moscow until they get frustrated because it will not work, what has become a lie and dangerous must be confronted.'"
6. However with all that is taking place, Europe is still a significant American ally, but this ally saw the fire getting close to it so it rushed to extinguish it without the permission of its friend thinking that it will be excused for doing so! It seems that this was acted out; Obama and Merkel said in a press conference following their two hour meeting on Monday, 9 February 2015, that "Russia's aggression in Ukraine has strengthened our unity, and we will not stand on the sidelines." Obama said, "in the event of failure of diplomacy this week, I have sent my team to develop other options, including arming." He added, "There is no military solution but the goal is to change Russia's plans, note that I have not made the decision yet." Merkel insisted to give diplomacy a "last attempt" before studying other options, and said that "the US-EU alliance will remain strong and will continue whatever the decision is later." As it is apparent, the ties between them are not cut, but are not strongly extended, but in the statements of some US officials there some sarcasm as in the statement of the aforementioned American Senator.
7. We can conclude from all of the above that the reason for the sudden shift in Europe's policy towards Russia regarding Ukraine is the above considerations, even though Europe has exaggerated the danger and rushed to the agreement with the conditions that are in Russia's favor and did not even address the subject of Crimea. And this was clear in Merkel's reply to a question posed to her regarding this subject, she replied to the effect that she is not interested in the subject of Crimea, but that it is important to reach an agreement! Her full answer was "I will not trouble myself with issues related to the lands. It is the role of each state to manage these negotiations themselves, I did not travel with the French president to Moscow as neutral intermediaries; the issue is concerning the interests of France and Germany and the foremost interest is that of the European Union." It is worth mentioning that whether America mentions Crimea or not, and whether Germany and France mentioned it or not, all of them do not care about Crimea only to the extent of the colonial benefit that it brings to them from the capitalist perspective...
8. As for why the British prime minister did not join France and Germany, it is because Britain's position is as usual: one foot here and the other foot there! While the British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond described the Russian president as "acting like a tyrant" with respect to Ukraine, pointing out that the Kiev forces cannot defeat the Russian army on the battlefield, making the political solution the only option to stop the bloodshed. Hammond also stressed "that his country has no plans to arm the Kiev forces..." and by this he is pleasing Europe...
Nevertheless, in another statement, he said that Britain would review its earlier decision in which it announced that it had no plans to arm the Ukrainian army to help it fight the separatists, which is what the United States wants. Al-Hayat has reported on Wednesday February 11, 2015 that the British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told parliament, "We cannot allow the collapse of the Ukrainian forces." He added "providing lethal weapons to Ukraine is a national decision for each country to take separately in the Atlantic Alliance (NATO), and we do not intend to do so, but we reserve the right to revise our position." And so has left the door ajar he does not intend to, but this may change! By this he is seeking the satisfaction of America to avoid any confrontation with it, and this is known to be Britain's position in recent times. Accordingly the Prime Minister of Britain did not join Merkel and Hollande.
9. As for the expectations, it is likely that America will find many problems to stall its implementation (the agreement), it has followers in Ukraine, although the President of the Republic Poroshenko is close to Europe but he is also close to America... and it can exacerbate the situation with one of three things or with all three:
- Providing advanced weapons to Ukraine.
- Or hold talks with it for its inclusion in NATO.
- Or by moving some of its men in Ukraine.
And through this it can counter the agreement, because each one of these three provoke Russia and affect events, and lead to its failiure...
Russia may seek to enter into talks with the United States pertaining this issue, they are aware of America's important position regarding this subject, and this is why there were previous reports that Russia preferred to hold talks with the United States instead of Europe, but Europe hastened to contact Russia first not Russia.
10. This is what is expected... As for us, regarding this subject we are only concerned about Crimea. It is an Islamic country, we have inhabited it and it existed with us for centuries, if it was not at the heart of the issue, we would have not given weight to the conflict between America and Russia. Crimea was part of the Khilafah "Caliphate" for centuries until it was invaded by Russia with the collaboration of Western countries and it annexed itself in the late eighteenth century even though Crimea was an Islamic emirate since 1430 CE. Then it became a province (Wilayah) of the Ottoman state in 1521 CE during the prosperous reign of the Khilafah "Caliphate", until the Russians and the Kaffir countries conspired against it and were able to separate it from the Ottoman Empire in the year 1783 CE. They carried out crimes and massacres unacceptable by monsters, then it was annexed to Russia, which changed its capital name from "Aqq Masjid" i.e. White Mosque to the current name "Simferopol", and for the knowledge the word ‘Crimea' means the castle or fortress in the language of its people, the Tatar Muslims. Thus, Crimea was a Muslim land before its Russian occupation for about three and a half centuries! Hence, its permanent stability is achieved by its return to its roots as a Wilayah of the Islamic state in the upcoming Khilafah "Caliphate", Inshallah.
We do not forget Crimea nor any Islamic country occupied by the Kaffir colonists, despite the span of time.
((وَتِلْكَ الْأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيْنَ النَّاسِ))
"And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people" [Al-i-Imran: 140]
((وَلَتَعْلَمُنَّ نَبَأَهُ بَعْدَ حِينٍ))
"And you will surely know [the truth of] its information after a time" [Sad: 88]