viernes, 1 de noviembre de 2013

Cyprus: In the eye of the storm

The European Union is a hive for all forms of political maneuvering. Today's topic: Cyprus.

Cyprus now finds itself in a very uncomfortable position. It either applies some really impopular measures and triggers social unrest, or it does not apply these measures, gets thrown out of the EU and triggers social unrest. Either way the civilian population risks becoming the target for ethnic cleansing, revenge attacks, and crossfire casualties. 
Add to the mix the ongoing, age-old tension between the Turkish and Cypriot loyalists, and you will have the perfect excuse for, yet another, coup d'etat. 
Cyprus' geographic position is not particularly helpful, either. Being so close to the birthplace and current worst case of the Arab Spring, it might just become a hot spot thanks to refugees both arriving from neighboring Syria and Greece, and departing from Cyprus itself in case of a raging conflict. It must also be considered that, because of its touristic appeal, the island might also begin swarming with nationals from many other nations who would also become collateral damage victims to the conflicts, including the armed one and the commonplace rip-off unwise tourists often suffer at the hands of, in this case, desperate people striving to scrape a living.
Additionally, in the far removed and remote possibility that the UN will finally decide to take action in Syria or Turkey, it would make strategic sense to set base, if only temporary, in Cyprus... like the economically ravaged country does not already have enough problems to also have to play host to hordes of soldiers and military hospitals. 
But would not this make it possible for Cyprus to remain an EU member, if only for a bit? Nah. Nicosia already went to Russia and got turned down. Brussels turned her down as well. Bottomline, none of the prospects are good. Be it as it may, Cyprus stands at a very difficult crossroads where armed conflict is brewing. The strength of the Cypriot military will be tested, as well as its allegiance. Seeing as the north coast is Turkish controlled, but the majority of the territory is Cyprus ruled, a civil war would not play well for either side based only on resources and supply routes. But it must be recognised that the north would have a strategic and political advantage: Turkish support. Ah, but the south has the ground in its favour, and that only in the case of civil war. In the case of a UN intervention, civil war is off the table and Turkish Cypriots would be reduced to border skirmishes, which would be denied by all parts involved, and kickstart guerrilla wars, with plundering, ransacking, the whole nine yards. 
In my opinion, however, the best that can happen to Cyprus is a breakoff from Brussels. Just as it happened with the Arab Spring, it would bring about turmoil both political and civil, along with military. Even so, societies must be granted a chance to define themselves by themselves. Cyprus has had quite a convoluted history, being defined and dominated again and again by many other social conglomerates, none of which ever provided a safe harbor or platform for Cyprus to rise and grow. As a society, it needs to stop returning to its nursing mothers, be it Greece or Britain, and make its own way.
UPDATE: Cyprus has chosen the hard, yet comfortable path for the moment by agreeing to the EU bailout, which is not by no means without strings. Given the liquidity of the banks, Cyprus will likely require a new bailout some time next year. Meanwhile, the social unrest spoken of will cook up and erupt quicker than the government's ability to quash it. Two possible scenarios then arise: The Turkish Cypriots vie for independence and attempt the creation of a new state member of the EU and civil war sparks off, or Cyprus as a whole is expelled from the union due to lack of fulfilllment of committments and civil war sparks off.

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