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  • Writer's pictureThe Paladins

Fragments from a War Diary, Part #289



In these recent days I have had contacts with a friendly Gulf state, under entirely new rulership, whose new leader seems a sober and serious man committed to mediation, neutrality and sensible relationships between states. I consider this an extremely good sign, which is why I have approached him with my own peace signals and I think he will be receptive to them. Because the world is full of dirty and filthy stories but ultimately you need calm, reasonable, seasoned and reasoned people of stature to solve those problems and I think I have found the right person. So I am going to give it all my best shot to try to achieve the goals for peace in Ukraine and future harmony between Russia and her neighbours. A small country in the Middle East, having been the victim of external aggression on the part of her neighbours, might understand this plight more than any others. And hence I am hopeful that my peace feelers might prove to be of some value. And were I able to achieve that, then I would feel proud to be acting in the interests and in accordance with the principles of my country amongst whose patriots I still like to count myself as a member.


The situation between Russia and Ukraine has spiralled entirely out of control, and I realised that these recent days when I was in Kherson, a city rendered paranoid by the fact that no fewer than half its population are palpably infiltrators or Russian sympathisers, waiting for the Russian Armed Forces to reoccupy the city they were happy to be taken by Russia in the first place. This is the ugly truth; but it is one I have had to come to terms with in the days since I left Kherson and I started to reflect upon all the nasty experiences I had come across. This is a city divided by artificial ethnicity,  in which Russian artillery selects its targets with great precision purely upon presumptions of ethnic identity and nothing more. We are dealing with a Mafia state, just as we were in the early 1990’s with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and we must deal with Russia’s massive army of incompetent and bewildered soldiers in precisely the same way as we did that of Iraq’s in the 1990’s: by comprehensive destruction, so as to demonstrate that the norms of international law and polity by which international boundaries are upheld are not laid waste to as happened in some of the darker moments of the twentieth century from which we imagined ourselves permanently liberated. But now it seems that we must once again fight for these liberties and privileges. Let it be.


Within the Gulf there is one small state, a mediator by reputation and reasonable by all accounts, with whom all parties feel they can talk. Under wise new stewardship, with a background in everything that renders stable an otherwise delicate regional polity, this country might play a significant role in mediating the resolution of the Russia-Ukraine military conflict. This is all the more the case given that Russia seeks to extend her conflict with Ukraine into the Middle East by supporting her proxy Iran, and Iran’s proxy Hamas in the Gaza Strip, against western interests including American support for Israel. Hence a wise Middle Eastern Gulf proxy to negotiate resolution of apparently intractable trans-continental disputes might prove of great value. That is why I have agreed to engage in a partnership with certain relevant actors from that state - subject to certain conditions, of course, but that is normal and rational and reasonable and nobody would respect me otherwise given everything I have been through were I to stipulate conditions otherwise.


In other words, what I am saying is that there is the opportunity for a small Gulf state with the experience of being dominated then liberated by a tyrannical and illiberal militarily superior neighbour to share her insights with Ukraine, a nation bedevilled at least equally by geographical, historical and territorial injustices.


With the financial might and diplomatic finesse of the Gulf, and one state in particular; and with what I hope to be able to proffer as my instinctive wisdom in respect of a difficult and protracted conflict about which I have superior knowledge, I hope to be able to engage in partnership with the wise and sensible officials of a small state that has seen this all before. At least so goes the idea. We must put aside casual, petty and idiotic differences, the genesis of two corrupt and ridiculous men, and we ought together to pursue the common good.


On Monday, I have resolved, I am heading back out East: this time to Kramatorsk, in free Donetsk Oblast, because I hear that the Russian front lines have moved distinctly against the West’s favour and the only way of assessing this type of intelligence is to go there for oneself and assess it individually. The whole journey comes with silly details, of course. My preferred hotel in Kramatorsk is apparently unavailable, and I can only stay in a hotel with rooms which comes with ladies of the night. This is very nice. Maybe I just pay them to go away. Or maybe I take my new Norwegian friend, who seems not to have a care in the world in respect of the risks inherent in live-fire war zones, and she can ward off the banshees associated with this particular kind of front line hotel accommodation.


Either way, I have resolved that I am heading back to the front on Monday. This weekend will be spent no doubt in licentious and corrupt behaviour; but that is normal for a man returning from the front. Then I need to go back to the front line, and understand what precisely is going on in all its myriad horrors, and to report back. Only with this sort of intimate knowledge of what is really going on on the ground, together with knowledgable and wise backup diplomatic mediation, do we stand the remotest prospect of winning the war in Ukraine.

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