Cyprus important again, but for other reasons
E DII TO RII A L
With the flurry of activity by VIPs from New World Order rivals visiting the island, one could not help to think that the Cyprus problem has been restored from the ‘boring’ category to one of ‘seeming interest’, in other words raised a notch, as the rating agencies would say. However, the stark reality is that Cyprus once again finds itself in the eye of the Middle Eastern storm that has been difficult to contain and for westerners harder to understand.
True, the island is an obvious oasis of peace in an area that has been plagued by revolts getting out of hand, frail “democracies” (as perceived by the West) falling apart and the new terror of the Islamic State overtaking the evil of Al Qaeda.
The U.S. and its allies have made a mess of things in Iraq and now Syria, finding it extremely difficult to regain the image of peacemaker in the region. The Russians found a window of opportunity to push through their own expansionist agenda, dating back to the Tsarist era, while East-West “ally” Turkey has failed to put a lid on a problem it created; it subsequently opened its floodgates to migrants and refugees headed to Europe, for which it is being rewarded with a 3 bln euro bonus and resumption of membership talks.
That leaves the five nations of the eastern Mediterranean almost on their own and in a need to cooperate closer – Cyprus has no military might, nor does Lebanon, with both struggling to get our natural gas projects off the ground in order to some day boost state revenues and start reinvesting in the ‘social fabric’ and public services (health, education, jobs) that should in turn calm civil discontent. Jordan and Egypt have a somewhat significant force and, for now, are capable of maintaining their borders, but, too, seem unprepared for the waves of migrants-refugees. That leaves Israel as the only seemingly sane country in the area, but with too many internal problems of its own and a relationship with both the U.S. and Turkey that is odd at times, but uneasy for sure.
Cyprus should grab the opportunity of the LavrovKerry visits to take a leading role in regional diplomacy, where all other nations and their authoritarian rulers do not trust their neighbours. It is now evident that Federica Mogherini has a plateful and on her own is unable to cope with vast responsibilities of her portfolio, that has exploded in the past 12 months.
President Anastasiades and Foreign Minister Kasoulides should not wait to be asked how we can help, but must show initiative and leadership and take an active role in looking after European interests in the area, if our EU partners genuinely believe in showing true solidarity with fellow member states. Shuttle diplomacy and monitoring the flow of migrant-refugees is one critical matter where the EU should have a say, as are others, such as energy security, containing large-scale health issues, combating money laundering used by terror groups, as well as clamping down on the sale of stolen artefacts, that not only helps finance these rogue groups’ operations, but also destroys the heritage of nations and our region in general.