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Yemen, Ukraine, and "Legitimacy"
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It has the world’s highest number of guns per unit of GDP, a population fast outgrowing the land’s carrying capacity, is riven by ethnic and religious divisions, and its cities look something like the Counter-Strike map de_dust.

Otherwise, I don’t know much about Yemen.

So I will not wax knowledgeable about it except insofar as the incipient intervention there allows me to make a couple wider points on the hypocrisy of international relations.

The first point was eloquently argued by my friend Alexander Mercouris at Sputnik earlier this morning. I will liberally paraphrase henceforth (I would otherwise quote outright, but I wish to add in some additional details as I go).

President Hadi was elected Yemen’s President in 2012 as the sole candidate with 99.8% of the vote, in what Hillary Clinton said was “another important step forward in their democratic transition process.” But early this year he was unseated and fled to the souther port city of Aden, declaring his overthrow illegal, and since then he has fled on to Saudi Arabia. He has called on the UN to “quickly support the legitimate authorities with any means at their disposal,” and his new hosts were quick on the uptake, assembling an Arab coalition of Sunni states and carrying out airstrikes against the Houthi rebels. They are doing this with logistical and intelligence support from the United States and the United Kingdom, both of which have also unequivocally made clear their views on the situation: The Obama administration refers to President Hadi’s regime as “the legitimate government,” and the UK’s Foreign Office calls him the “legitimate President.”

Now compare and contrast with what happened in Ukraine last year. In 2010, Yanukovych was elected President that was declared free and fair by the West. (How could they not? “Their” side had been ruling the country for the past five years). In March 2014, he was overthrown in a coup that was unconstitutional, went against public opinion, and was enabled by what even the Western MSM is admitting looks more and more like a false flag. He fled to Crimea, and then on to Rostov, from where he called himself the “legitimate” President – drawing smirks not only in Ukraine, but in Russia – and asked Russia to restore him to power. Russia didn’t overtly intervene, its influence being mostly circumscribed to the “military surplus store” that it maintains for the Novorossiya Armed Forces. Certainly nowhere near to the extent of using its air power, which could have depleted most Ukrainian military power in a matter of days. But instead of joining Russia in support of Ukraine’s “legitimate” President, there were sanctions and condemnations.

Why? Well, this goes back to my point about Westernism being a revealed truth, and deviation or opposition it being essentially a religious crime. As Alexander Mercouris puts it:

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov calls this a double standard. He is wrong. As Noam Chomsky (the US political activist who is also a prominent linguist) pointed out long ago what Lavrov calls a double standard is actually a single standard: the United States does not consider itself (or its allies) subject to rules of behaviour that apply to everyone else. The United States is always gravely offended when others say otherwise. The “exceptional country” is not subject to rules. It is lese-majeste when “lesser countries” say it is.

Or consider another precedent. In 2011, there was an exceedingly vicious crackdown on Shi’ite protesters against the Sunni Bahraini monarchy, up to and including the Bahraini security forces arresting and imprisoning medics for exercising the Hippocratic Oath and treating the wounded demonstrators. The Saudis ended up sending in their tanks. Did Obama fulfill his promise, made good in Libya that same year, that “we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.” Of course! The US and Britain sold them weapons throughout the turmoil, so in that sense, they indeed did not merely “stand by.”

One more point. The supposedly Iranian-backed Shi’ite Houthis, needless to say, are not exactly friendly with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, whom the US is purportedly at war with. Back when President Saleh was ruling the country before 2012 – the same guy to whom the Houthi rebels now pledge allegiance – a journalist who carried out interviews with Al Qaeda and was suspected of being a bit too friendly with them (human rights organizations disagreed), Abdulelah Haider Shaye, was imprisoned – at the explicit request of the Obama administration, funnily enough.

yemen-civil-war

According to the Wikipedia map, the Houthi insurgency now controls pretty much all of the western part of the country. But in the rest of the country, Al Qaeda and affiliated groups are disturbingly close to parity with the Hadi regime. While neither Hadi nor Saleh and the forces they represent are shining beacons of liberalism, gay rights, and non-nepotistic governance, pretty much every reasonable person will agree that they are “better” than the anti-civilizational fanatics of Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and sundry Islamist militants.

Which is why Saudi Arabia sees fit to concentrate its energies against the force there that has the most potential (by virtue of being strongest) of checking the spread of those Islamist militants. So okay, the Saudis like to play around with these groups, hoping that their boomerangs never end up rebounding on them; and at a basic geopolitical level, they must also be legitimately concerned about getting encircled both from the north (South Iraq) and south (West Yemen) by newfangled Shi’ite states that might ally with Iran.

But at a time when domestic oil production is booming and Saudi Arabia’s influence over OPEC has been diminishing, what dog does the US have in this fight?

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Islamism, Western Hypocrisy, Yemen 
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  1. Let the commenting begin.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    If you don't read Col. Patrick Lang's blog, you must. You'll be simpatico with his Paleo philsophy.
    His posts on Yemen are the most informative, as the ME was the area he headed at the DIA (and taught at West Point).
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  2. Interesting article. It is an old fight. The borders cannot and will not hold. We should stay out and don’t let refugees into western countries.

    The Saudis have been nibbling the ear of Isis and now act all shocked at the psycho in their bed.

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  3. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The US is very closely tied to the fortunes of Saudi Arabia. They’ve made huge purchases of arms from the US over the years, invest here, put money into the banking system, etc. Much of their oil money gets kicked back to us. Besides being a valuable customer it’s also a way of buying protection and support from us in return.
    Everyone these days seems to be arming and financing their own factions of Islamic zealots and setting them loose against other groups and/or governments, hoping things don’t boomerang too badly. The sinister Brzezinski had the grand plan of stirring up Islamic fervor in order to use it as a tool against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It worked but it should be apparent he cared not a bit about their well-being, only in having them act as cannon-fodder. Unfortunately that has gradually metastasized into a general movement of various groups of fanatical jihadis roving everywhere. No matter how erudite and masterful these foreign policy experts appear to be, no matter the elite schools they went to, they’re never as clever as they believe themselves to be.

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  4. AP says:

    The poll about Ukrainian support for Euromaidan is somewhat misleading. It showed 44% supporting and 51% opposing. Another poll by KIIS/Levada showed more detailed information: 42% supported Maidan, 20% supported Yanukovch, and the rest supported neither/opposed both sides.*

    So yes, this can be spun as majority opposed Maidan, but in reality the protesters had twice as much support in the country as did their enemy.

    I don’t know enough about Yemen to comment on any parallels between the two countries. But the description of Ukraine was somewhat misleading. It’s not that over half the population supported the government or that more supported the government than supported Maidan.

    * the crucial thing is that the figures for central Ukraine that includes the capital, where the action was, were 51% supported Maidan, only 11% opposed, the rest opposed both/supported neither

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    AP, I think in that case both of you have a valid point: probably Maidan had a larger number of supporters than Yanukovich, but on the other hand Anatoly was using it to prove the support wasn't totally overwhelming, i.e. probably the Yemenite rebels could easily have similar levels of support.

    OT

    While I don't always agree with you, I think you represent Ukraine quite well.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    So yes, this can be spun as majority opposed Maidan, but in reality the protesters had twice as much support in the country as did their enemy.
     
    Frankly, this interpretation is even more misleading.

    You can be apathetic or even opposed to Yanukovych (could I point out that even Russians didn't give a fuck about him ), but also against Maidan, let alone against Yanukovych's unconsitutional overthrow. Just because you don't like your President does not necessarily mean that you support storming his palace and guillotining him. Note that according to the original poll I cited the percentage of Ukrainians against the takeover of regional administrative centers was even higher at 60% vs. 32%. That is probably your closest proxy as to whether Ukrainians supported the February Revolution as it unfolded in realtime.

    According to a March 3rd poll, before the new regime's propaganda and the Crimea Effect had a chance to kick in, 52% of Ukrainians blamed either the opposition or the West for the escalation of the conflict (Russians: 69%, significantly but not overwhelmingly higher) while 56% blamed Yanukovych or Russia (Russians: 48%). Moreover, the responses of people from the South and East were actually more, nor less, "hardline" than Russians'.

    That the Maidan enjoyed preponderant support in the capital certainly helps explain why it succeeded at the functional level but doesn't "justify" it in the sense of Kievans having the right to impose their views on the rest of the country, in particular the East and South where it was overwhelmingly opposed. While you might disagree with this argument, and have a perfectly valid right to do so if it pleases you, that doesn't mean the argument won't be made, including by many people who still live in Ukraine and consider themselves Ukrainians.

    @reiner Tor,

    Anatoly, I just debunked your post.
     
    Unless you're going to argue that Hadi really did enjoy 99.8% support in Yemen, I'm afraid I don't quite see how.
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  5. @Anatoly Karlin
    Let the commenting begin.

    If you don’t read Col. Patrick Lang’s blog, you must. You’ll be simpatico with his Paleo philsophy.
    His posts on Yemen are the most informative, as the ME was the area he headed at the DIA (and taught at West Point).

    Read More
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  6. President Hadi was elected Yemen’s President in 2012 as the sole candidate with 99.8% of the vote, in what Hillary Clinton said was “another important step forward in their democratic transition process.”

    Obviously the Houthi rebels are recruited from among the remaining 0.2% of the population. While Euromaidan may only have been supported by some 42% of the population, it’s still twenty times more than the tiny 0.2% who are now toppling the democratically elected president in Yemen.

    Anatoly, I just debunked your post.

    Read More
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  7. @AP
    The poll about Ukrainian support for Euromaidan is somewhat misleading. It showed 44% supporting and 51% opposing. Another poll by KIIS/Levada showed more detailed information: 42% supported Maidan, 20% supported Yanukovch, and the rest supported neither/opposed both sides.*

    So yes, this can be spun as majority opposed Maidan, but in reality the protesters had twice as much support in the country as did their enemy.

    I don't know enough about Yemen to comment on any parallels between the two countries. But the description of Ukraine was somewhat misleading. It's not that over half the population supported the government or that more supported the government than supported Maidan.

    * the crucial thing is that the figures for central Ukraine that includes the capital, where the action was, were 51% supported Maidan, only 11% opposed, the rest opposed both/supported neither

    AP, I think in that case both of you have a valid point: probably Maidan had a larger number of supporters than Yanukovich, but on the other hand Anatoly was using it to prove the support wasn’t totally overwhelming, i.e. probably the Yemenite rebels could easily have similar levels of support.

    OT

    While I don’t always agree with you, I think you represent Ukraine quite well.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    AP, I think in that case both of you have a valid point: probably Maidan had a larger number of supporters than Yanukovich, but on the other hand Anatoly was using it to prove the support wasn’t totally overwhelming
     
    I agree the support wasn't overwhelming - 40% supported it, 23% supported the government. The rest supported neither side.

    That has a very different implication from AK's statement that the "coup" " went against public opinion". In the conflict between the two sides - protesters vs. Yanukovich - the protesters had twice as much support.

    There was a violent rebellion against the government, that 40% of the population supported. Let's compare that to the 2010 Ukrainian election. With 67% voter turnout, Yanukovich got 49% of the vote. That is, a little under 33% of voters voted for him. The percentage of Ukrainians who supported his overthrow surpassed the percentage who voted him into office in 2010!

    (This fits neatly with the numerous opinion polls showing each of the opposition figures involved in Maidan easily beating him in potential elections).


    While I don’t always agree with you, I think you represent Ukraine quite well.
     
    Thanks. I respect your comments even when we disagree, so your praise is meaningful.
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  8. @AP
    The poll about Ukrainian support for Euromaidan is somewhat misleading. It showed 44% supporting and 51% opposing. Another poll by KIIS/Levada showed more detailed information: 42% supported Maidan, 20% supported Yanukovch, and the rest supported neither/opposed both sides.*

    So yes, this can be spun as majority opposed Maidan, but in reality the protesters had twice as much support in the country as did their enemy.

    I don't know enough about Yemen to comment on any parallels between the two countries. But the description of Ukraine was somewhat misleading. It's not that over half the population supported the government or that more supported the government than supported Maidan.

    * the crucial thing is that the figures for central Ukraine that includes the capital, where the action was, were 51% supported Maidan, only 11% opposed, the rest opposed both/supported neither

    So yes, this can be spun as majority opposed Maidan, but in reality the protesters had twice as much support in the country as did their enemy.

    Frankly, this interpretation is even more misleading.

    You can be apathetic or even opposed to Yanukovych (could I point out that even Russians didn’t give a fuck about him ), but also against Maidan, let alone against Yanukovych's unconsitutional overthrow. Just because you don't like your President does not necessarily mean that you support storming his palace and guillotining him. Note that according to the original poll I cited the percentage of Ukrainians against the takeover of regional administrative centers was even higher at 60% vs. 32%. That is probably your closest proxy as to whether Ukrainians supported the February Revolution as it unfolded in realtime.

    According to a March 3rd poll, before the new regime’s propaganda and the Crimea Effect had a chance to kick in, 52% of Ukrainians blamed either the opposition or the West for the escalation of the conflict (Russians: 69%, significantly but not overwhelmingly higher) while 56% blamed Yanukovych or Russia (Russians: 48%). Moreover, the responses of people from the South and East were actually more, nor less, “hardline” than Russians’.

    That the Maidan enjoyed preponderant support in the capital certainly helps explain why it succeeded at the functional level but doesn’t “justify” it in the sense of Kievans having the right to impose their views on the rest of the country, in particular the East and South where it was overwhelmingly opposed. While you might disagree with this argument, and have a perfectly valid right to do so if it pleases you, that doesn’t mean the argument won’t be made, including by many people who still live in Ukraine and consider themselves Ukrainians.

    ,

    Anatoly, I just debunked your post.

    Unless you’re going to argue that Hadi really did enjoy 99.8% support in Yemen, I’m afraid I don’t quite see how.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    You can be apathetic or even opposed to Yanukovych (could I point out that even Russians didn’t give a fuck about him ), but also against Maidan, let alone against Yanukovych's unconsitutional overthrow. Just because you don't like your President does not necessarily mean that you support storming his palace and guillotining him.
     
    Sure, and conversely you can be opposed to protesters but also hate the government they are fighting against and not support the crackdown either.

    That's why a direct question as in the KIIS/Levada poll is more meaningful because it asks specifically whose side people are on in this conflict between the two sides: protesters or government. And twice as many Ukrainians supported the protesters as supported the government.

    Note that according to the original poll I cited the percentage of Ukrainians against the takeover of regional administrative centers was even higher at 60% vs. 32%. That is probably your closest proxy as to whether Ukrainians supported the February Revolution as it unfolded in realtime
     
    .

    Two different questions: 44% supported Euromaidan but only 32% supported regional takeovers. One can conclude that across Ukraine, overthrowing the central government was more popular than were regional conflicts.

    According to a March 3rd poll, before the new regime’s propaganda and the Crimea Effect had a chance to kick in, 52% of Ukrainians blamed either the opposition or the West for the escalation of the conflict (Russians: 69%, significantly but not overwhelmingly higher) while 56% blamed Yanukovych or Russia (Russians: 48%). Moreover, the responses of people from the South and East were actually more, nor less, “hardline” than Russians’.
     
    This is the same poll I'd been referencing, showing 40% support nationally for Maidan and only 23% support for the government.

    You are correct that there were huge regional differences. In terms of support for Maidan vs. Yanukovich, it was 80%/3% in the West, 51%/11% in the Center, 20%/32% in the South, and 8%/52% in the East.

    There were also age and educational differences. The younger, the more likely to support Maidan - those ages 18-39 were more pro-Maidan than the national average, those ages 40-49 were about at the national average, and those over 50 were more likely to support Yanukovich than the national average (though only those over age 70 were more pro-Yanukovich than pro-Maidan). Education was interesting - those with university education were more pro-Maidan than the national average. High school only educated were more pro-Yanukovich than the national average. Support for Maidan increased with high school dropouts (I'm assuming, deeply rural ethnic Ukrainians?), but then declined among those with less than 7 grades of education.

    That the Maidan enjoyed preponderant support in the capital certainly helps explain why it succeeded at the functional level but doesn’t “justify” it in the sense of Kievans having the right to impose their views on the rest of the country, in particular the East and South where it was overwhelmingly opposed.
     
    I agree. Justification depends on other arguments and can be a conversation in itself. But it's important to at least view the opinions objectively: in this conflict between protesters seeking to overthrow the government, and the government, about twice as many of Ukraine's people supported the protesters than supported the government.

    Also - while the protesters were indeed overwhelmingly opposed in the East (which mirrored the Center - though it was not as pro-government as the West was anti-government), the South was much more mixed. More people supported Yanukovich than did the protesters in the South, but the government only had a 32% vs. 20% advantage in the South.
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  9. AP says:
    @reiner Tor
    AP, I think in that case both of you have a valid point: probably Maidan had a larger number of supporters than Yanukovich, but on the other hand Anatoly was using it to prove the support wasn't totally overwhelming, i.e. probably the Yemenite rebels could easily have similar levels of support.

    OT

    While I don't always agree with you, I think you represent Ukraine quite well.

    AP, I think in that case both of you have a valid point: probably Maidan had a larger number of supporters than Yanukovich, but on the other hand Anatoly was using it to prove the support wasn’t totally overwhelming

    I agree the support wasn’t overwhelming – 40% supported it, 23% supported the government. The rest supported neither side.

    That has a very different implication from AK’s statement that the “coup” ” went against public opinion”. In the conflict between the two sides – protesters vs. Yanukovich – the protesters had twice as much support.

    There was a violent rebellion against the government, that 40% of the population supported. Let’s compare that to the 2010 Ukrainian election. With 67% voter turnout, Yanukovich got 49% of the vote. That is, a little under 33% of voters voted for him. The percentage of Ukrainians who supported his overthrow surpassed the percentage who voted him into office in 2010!

    (This fits neatly with the numerous opinion polls showing each of the opposition figures involved in Maidan easily beating him in potential elections).

    While I don’t always agree with you, I think you represent Ukraine quite well.

    Thanks. I respect your comments even when we disagree, so your praise is meaningful.

    Read More
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  10. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    So yes, this can be spun as majority opposed Maidan, but in reality the protesters had twice as much support in the country as did their enemy.
     
    Frankly, this interpretation is even more misleading.

    You can be apathetic or even opposed to Yanukovych (could I point out that even Russians didn't give a fuck about him ), but also against Maidan, let alone against Yanukovych's unconsitutional overthrow. Just because you don't like your President does not necessarily mean that you support storming his palace and guillotining him. Note that according to the original poll I cited the percentage of Ukrainians against the takeover of regional administrative centers was even higher at 60% vs. 32%. That is probably your closest proxy as to whether Ukrainians supported the February Revolution as it unfolded in realtime.

    According to a March 3rd poll, before the new regime's propaganda and the Crimea Effect had a chance to kick in, 52% of Ukrainians blamed either the opposition or the West for the escalation of the conflict (Russians: 69%, significantly but not overwhelmingly higher) while 56% blamed Yanukovych or Russia (Russians: 48%). Moreover, the responses of people from the South and East were actually more, nor less, "hardline" than Russians'.

    That the Maidan enjoyed preponderant support in the capital certainly helps explain why it succeeded at the functional level but doesn't "justify" it in the sense of Kievans having the right to impose their views on the rest of the country, in particular the East and South where it was overwhelmingly opposed. While you might disagree with this argument, and have a perfectly valid right to do so if it pleases you, that doesn't mean the argument won't be made, including by many people who still live in Ukraine and consider themselves Ukrainians.

    @reiner Tor,

    Anatoly, I just debunked your post.
     
    Unless you're going to argue that Hadi really did enjoy 99.8% support in Yemen, I'm afraid I don't quite see how.

    You can be apathetic or even opposed to Yanukovych (could I point out that even Russians didn’t give a fuck about him ), but also against Maidan, let alone against Yanukovych’s unconsitutional overthrow. Just because you don’t like your President does not necessarily mean that you support storming his palace and guillotining him.

    Sure, and conversely you can be opposed to protesters but also hate the government they are fighting against and not support the crackdown either.

    That’s why a direct question as in the KIIS/Levada poll is more meaningful because it asks specifically whose side people are on in this conflict between the two sides: protesters or government. And twice as many Ukrainians supported the protesters as supported the government.

    Note that according to the original poll I cited the percentage of Ukrainians against the takeover of regional administrative centers was even higher at 60% vs. 32%. That is probably your closest proxy as to whether Ukrainians supported the February Revolution as it unfolded in realtime

    .

    Two different questions: 44% supported Euromaidan but only 32% supported regional takeovers. One can conclude that across Ukraine, overthrowing the central government was more popular than were regional conflicts.

    According to a March 3rd poll, before the new regime’s propaganda and the Crimea Effect had a chance to kick in, 52% of Ukrainians blamed either the opposition or the West for the escalation of the conflict (Russians: 69%, significantly but not overwhelmingly higher) while 56% blamed Yanukovych or Russia (Russians: 48%). Moreover, the responses of people from the South and East were actually more, nor less, “hardline” than Russians’.

    This is the same poll I’d been referencing, showing 40% support nationally for Maidan and only 23% support for the government.

    You are correct that there were huge regional differences. In terms of support for Maidan vs. Yanukovich, it was 80%/3% in the West, 51%/11% in the Center, 20%/32% in the South, and 8%/52% in the East.

    There were also age and educational differences. The younger, the more likely to support Maidan – those ages 18-39 were more pro-Maidan than the national average, those ages 40-49 were about at the national average, and those over 50 were more likely to support Yanukovich than the national average (though only those over age 70 were more pro-Yanukovich than pro-Maidan). Education was interesting – those with university education were more pro-Maidan than the national average. High school only educated were more pro-Yanukovich than the national average. Support for Maidan increased with high school dropouts (I’m assuming, deeply rural ethnic Ukrainians?), but then declined among those with less than 7 grades of education.

    That the Maidan enjoyed preponderant support in the capital certainly helps explain why it succeeded at the functional level but doesn’t “justify” it in the sense of Kievans having the right to impose their views on the rest of the country, in particular the East and South where it was overwhelmingly opposed.

    I agree. Justification depends on other arguments and can be a conversation in itself. But it’s important to at least view the opinions objectively: in this conflict between protesters seeking to overthrow the government, and the government, about twice as many of Ukraine’s people supported the protesters than supported the government.

    Also – while the protesters were indeed overwhelmingly opposed in the East (which mirrored the Center – though it was not as pro-government as the West was anti-government), the South was much more mixed. More people supported Yanukovich than did the protesters in the South, but the government only had a 32% vs. 20% advantage in the South.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    Also – while the protesters were indeed overwhelmingly opposed in the East (which mirrored the Center – though it was not as pro-government as the West was anti-government), the South was much more mixed. More people supported Yanukovich than did the protesters in the South, but the government only had a 32% vs. 20% advantage in the South.
     
    I just checked a more detailed (and English-language) version of this survey:

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=eng&cat=reports&id=231&page=1

    The "South", which as we see above was 32% pro-Yanukovich vs. 20% pro-protester, included Crimea and Sevastopol in this survey. Without Crimea, I strongly suspect the South was even more evenly divided in its loyalty, to the point where no side probably had a big edge. This would make the East (plus Crimea) as the only real pro-Yanukovich areas during the conflict. It was West and Center pro-Maidan, South neutral, and only East and Crimea pro-Yanukovich.
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  11. AP says:
    @AP

    You can be apathetic or even opposed to Yanukovych (could I point out that even Russians didn’t give a fuck about him ), but also against Maidan, let alone against Yanukovych's unconsitutional overthrow. Just because you don't like your President does not necessarily mean that you support storming his palace and guillotining him.
     
    Sure, and conversely you can be opposed to protesters but also hate the government they are fighting against and not support the crackdown either.

    That's why a direct question as in the KIIS/Levada poll is more meaningful because it asks specifically whose side people are on in this conflict between the two sides: protesters or government. And twice as many Ukrainians supported the protesters as supported the government.

    Note that according to the original poll I cited the percentage of Ukrainians against the takeover of regional administrative centers was even higher at 60% vs. 32%. That is probably your closest proxy as to whether Ukrainians supported the February Revolution as it unfolded in realtime
     
    .

    Two different questions: 44% supported Euromaidan but only 32% supported regional takeovers. One can conclude that across Ukraine, overthrowing the central government was more popular than were regional conflicts.

    According to a March 3rd poll, before the new regime’s propaganda and the Crimea Effect had a chance to kick in, 52% of Ukrainians blamed either the opposition or the West for the escalation of the conflict (Russians: 69%, significantly but not overwhelmingly higher) while 56% blamed Yanukovych or Russia (Russians: 48%). Moreover, the responses of people from the South and East were actually more, nor less, “hardline” than Russians’.
     
    This is the same poll I'd been referencing, showing 40% support nationally for Maidan and only 23% support for the government.

    You are correct that there were huge regional differences. In terms of support for Maidan vs. Yanukovich, it was 80%/3% in the West, 51%/11% in the Center, 20%/32% in the South, and 8%/52% in the East.

    There were also age and educational differences. The younger, the more likely to support Maidan - those ages 18-39 were more pro-Maidan than the national average, those ages 40-49 were about at the national average, and those over 50 were more likely to support Yanukovich than the national average (though only those over age 70 were more pro-Yanukovich than pro-Maidan). Education was interesting - those with university education were more pro-Maidan than the national average. High school only educated were more pro-Yanukovich than the national average. Support for Maidan increased with high school dropouts (I'm assuming, deeply rural ethnic Ukrainians?), but then declined among those with less than 7 grades of education.

    That the Maidan enjoyed preponderant support in the capital certainly helps explain why it succeeded at the functional level but doesn’t “justify” it in the sense of Kievans having the right to impose their views on the rest of the country, in particular the East and South where it was overwhelmingly opposed.
     
    I agree. Justification depends on other arguments and can be a conversation in itself. But it's important to at least view the opinions objectively: in this conflict between protesters seeking to overthrow the government, and the government, about twice as many of Ukraine's people supported the protesters than supported the government.

    Also - while the protesters were indeed overwhelmingly opposed in the East (which mirrored the Center - though it was not as pro-government as the West was anti-government), the South was much more mixed. More people supported Yanukovich than did the protesters in the South, but the government only had a 32% vs. 20% advantage in the South.

    Also – while the protesters were indeed overwhelmingly opposed in the East (which mirrored the Center – though it was not as pro-government as the West was anti-government), the South was much more mixed. More people supported Yanukovich than did the protesters in the South, but the government only had a 32% vs. 20% advantage in the South.

    I just checked a more detailed (and English-language) version of this survey:

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=eng&cat=reports&id=231&page=1

    The “South”, which as we see above was 32% pro-Yanukovich vs. 20% pro-protester, included Crimea and Sevastopol in this survey. Without Crimea, I strongly suspect the South was even more evenly divided in its loyalty, to the point where no side probably had a big edge. This would make the East (plus Crimea) as the only real pro-Yanukovich areas during the conflict. It was West and Center pro-Maidan, South neutral, and only East and Crimea pro-Yanukovich.

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  12. AP says:

    Latest Ukrainian political poll results, survey taken mid March 2015:

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=eng&cat=reports&id=511&page=1&t=3

    Poroshenko’s support has eroded but he remains on top. Yatseniuk has really declined in popularity. Tymoshenko is back, and Samopomich (the party led by Lviv’s non-extremist mayor, which claims to be non-oligarchic, pro-EU, pro-reform) has moved into strong second place.

    With respect to potential parliamentary elections, About 60% stated they would vote. Of these:

    26,7% – Poroshenko’s party
    17,1% – Samopomich
    11,5% – Fatherland (Tymoshenko’s party)
    10,2% – Opposition Bloc (remains of Yanukovich’s Party of Regions)
    8,4% – Lyashko’s Radicals
    6,6% – National Front (Yatseniuk)
    5,2% – Right Sector

    Svoboda – 4.1%
    Communists – 2.6%

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  13. AP says:

    Same survey, about views of Ukraine’s economy.

    Most Ukrainians (64%) expect the situation to get worse in the next year; 9.3% think it will improve. The rest don’t know or think it will be the same.

    In five years, however, views are quite different. 42.2% expect improvement, 23.4% expect it will be worse, with the rest being not sure or expecting no change.

    51.4% of Ukrainians believe Ukraine should orient itself towards the EU, 10.5% towards Russian Customs Union, 24.7% towards neither, and the rest don’t know.

    73.7% of Westerners are pro-EU, 55.8% of people in Center are (pro-Russian are 2.7% and 4.8%, respectively for these regions).

    In the South – 32.2% pro-EU, 21.8% pro-Russia, 31.4% neither. The East is about the same.

    Donbas* shows equal 28.5% for both a pro-EU and pro-Russian orientation, with 23.6% for neither.

    43% of Ukrainians would vote for NATO membership, 33% would vote against it. 10% wouldn’t vote, 14% weren’t sure or didn’t answer. Regionally, West and Center support, the South and East both oppose NATO membership.

    *These are the parts of Donbas under Ukrainian control, not DNR/LNR territory.

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  14. So now the Saudis are bombing the sunni ISIS in the north and the shia Houthis in the south. Sooner or later the House of Saud will be history.

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  15. […] into knots over status of Russia’s loan to Ukraine. 45. The Unz Review: Anatoly Karlin, Yemen, Ukraine, and “Legitimacy” 46. http://www.rt.com: ‘Reuters lied': MH17 witness says reporter falsified testimony. 47. Sputnik: […]

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  16. recommend the war nerd’s recent post:
    pando.com/2015/03/28/the-war-nerd-a-brief-history-of-the-yemen-clusterfck/

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  17. Pro-Maidan and pro-coup are not the same thing, a point which some people appear to have missed.

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    • Replies: @Immigrant from former USSR
    Hello, MarkU. If you want to express some idea, do it.
    Meanwhile your point is completely mute, i.e. it is unclear what you meant by it.
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  18. @MarkU
    Pro-Maidan and pro-coup are not the same thing, a point which some people appear to have missed.

    Hello, MarkU. If you want to express some idea, do it.
    Meanwhile your point is completely mute, i.e. it is unclear what you meant by it.

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