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VANISHING CYPRUS: Cyprus–Russian Link and IS extremism

VANISHING CYPRUS: Cyprus–Russian Link and IS extremism

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By Andreas C Chrysafis

March, 2015 (No 70) ©

Turkish Duplicity in ISIS issue

The geopolitical changes in the Eastern Mediterranean have become like shifting sand; land is gained and lands are lost; souls vanquish and lives perish at each day’s passing! With the Assad ‘regime change” and Jihad atrocities in Syria and Iraq, stability its shaky to say the least. Evidently, accordingly to military experts the greatest danger of all is the war against “Islamic State” extremism. It is envisioned that it will take a generation to eradicate it. Such assertions announced by the USA and EU governments offer reasons for serious concerns about world safety and stability.

The latest mass beheadings of twenty-one innocent Egyptian Christians by IS on a Libyan beach – orchestrated like a movie – makes one’s skin crawl over by such carnage committed at the hands of those murderers who show no mercy for human lives. The sea turned red with the blood of the slaughtered.

Add the recent attacks in the heart of Europe and the IS threat becomes so obvious they prescribe that there are homegrown Jihadist “sleeper” cells in dormancy and in readiness to unleash havoc in their own countries at a time and place of their own choosing. This terror recognizes neither borders nor nationality.

Actually, Jihadists have rediscovered an old magic formula to attract new recruits and gain notoriety; religion! They misuse the Muslim faith to justify their actions but no religion is responsible for committing such brutalities; deranged people are! Unfortunately, this is what the world is dealing with today; an archaic form of modern barbarism gone berserk!

Cyprus is smack in the eye of the storm and in close proximity to those horrors. If IS terrorists successfully gain control and formulate a corridor through Syria to reach the Mediterranean coastline, nobody would feel safe in the region. One can be sure Cyprus would become a target of conquest. Those black reapers of death on the loose, killing in the name of Allah would then seek out new trophies soaked in blood. Each day passing, they weave and spin a web of brutality never seen before.

As a Christian nation, Cyprus is quite vulnerable with the presence of 400,000 Anatolian Turks imported by Turkey to change the demographic character of the island. The threat becomes real by Ankara’s admittance that 10% of IS terrorists are considered to be Turkish Sunni nationals. Under those terms, if a tiny 3% of those settlers are radically brainwashed for Jihad, then a disturbing picture emerges; one that could transform the island forever.

Should Cyprus worry? Definitely and there are a number of factors and reasons that puts Cyprus directly in harms way:

First and foremost, the island was once a part of the Ottoman Caliphate, which IS wants to recapture; geographically Cyprus offers a good base for expansion; it has natural gas; the British use the Akrotiri military bases for air attacks against IS targets in Syria and Iraq; Turkey under “Sultan Erdogan” Buyuk Usta “Great Master” is sympathetic to the “Islamic State”; an Islamic Sunni Study Centre (the largest in the world) is being set up on the island; the British military base at Dhekelia offers good land and sea access for cross-border incursions; Turkish nationals come and go freely between the crossings and fanatics could easily cause havoc against civilians.

Under the IS threat, keeping those crossings open it’s questionable whether to maintain them open or shut until a solution to reunite the island has been reached between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

It is encouraging however, to note that the government has recently recognized the IS threat Cyprus is facing. The prospects that some Jihadist “sleeper” cells are lurking in the Turkish occupied area are not too far fetched. Mr. Kasoulides, the Foreign Minister admitted that Cyprus is susceptible to the dangers of IS and that his government is taking steps to deal with the threat.

In fact there are signs to validate Mr. Kasoulides’ warnings. The Cyprus Intelligence Service (KYP) commander Mr. Andreas Pentaras has admitted that since 2013, there is a movement for Cypriot-registered double-cabin vehicles crossing to the north, shipped to Turkey and then across the border to Syria. Those pickups are modified with weapons and are used by IS fighters while still displaying Cypriot car licensed plates. Also recently, two Syrian-Jihadists with Kalashnikovs, knives and other weaponry as well as a stash of cash were apprehended, whilst at Larnaca airport, European Muslims were stopped from entering the occupied area en-route to join Jihadist training camps. Those signs may seem insignificant at the moment but disturbing nevertheless.

As an independent nation Cyprus needs to forge strong relations with other powers to defend the country and its citizens. Since nothing is for nothing, Cyprus has to decide how much it’s prepared to give up in exchange for a strong alliance; an alliance that its own existence may depend on.

President Anastasiade’s recent visit to Russia was seen as a breakthrough in a new foreign policy; from years of passiveness, to one of an offensive and a defensive policy!  Foremost, Cyprus has finally put its own interests first above others. He did well by securing important bilateral agreements in finance, culture, tourism and trade but the most important of them all it’s the agreement that would allow Russian military ships to use the Cyprus ports and waters when necessary for peaceful purposes.

The next likely initiative is to see a permanent Russian Naval Base on the island. If so, it would transform the entire geopolitical environment of the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus would no longer feel alone nor a sitting target at the mercy of its enemy.

That political move by Cyprus did not go down well with its western “allies” and “friends”. The UK wasted no time to question the President’s agreement while France did not object – since it also uses its ports and waters for its navy and military maneuvers – but the EU was not pleased at all. The Cyprus/Russian co-operation agreement took everyone by surprise but more so by the fact that it was initiated by a right-wing conservative government. Recognizing how unfairly western allies and the EU behaved politically towards Cyprus all the parties in Cyprus unanimously welcome the agreement.

Insofar as foreign policy is concerned, the Cyprus government has now moved in a new direction. Like all other countries, the government has the right to make alliances and agreements with anyone it chooses that would best serve its own interests. Seeking to make new agreements in a wider political spectrum and abandoning the 40-year old failed foreign policy of the past, it’s a wise move and well overdue in most people’s minds.

There is now a strong triangle, formulated by agreements between Cyprus with Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Greece. That triangle offers a good protection umbrella for Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean waters against provocateurs and opportunists such as Turkey. With Russia on board, Cyprus has now secured a powerful ally where others botched.

 Establishing a Russia naval base, would not only encourage greater Russian investments to help kick-start the economy but also and most importantly, it would act as a deterrent to those who plan the destruction of Cyprus, namely: Turkey or the Islamic State terrorists!

They would think twice before attempting to make their next aggressive move for the Islamization of the island.

That’s what the Republic of Cyprus desperately needs; a strong ally so all people – both Greek and Turkish Cypriots – would start to feel safe and secure again in a democracy as one unified country. They can then look forward to a brighter future without been intimidated by Turkey’s constant provocations because of its military might; for might is not right!

Andreas Chrysafis

Andreas C Chrysafis

Author – Writer – Artist


About Mode of Life


  1. One small correction we should note regarding a comment that Andreas made in this article, is that in Islam (and it exists also in post 70AD Rabbinical Judaism), is that there is a theology of killing, ill-treatment or enslavement of non-believers.

    In actual fact, the case for the misanthropic ideology of the jihadists of today, does have very strong roots within the Quran’s teachings and affirmed by the Sunnah. And it is not merely a matter of interpretation or schools of Islamic thought, as the instructions are quite clear regarding non-Muslims, and even how to deal with Muslims not willing to commit such crimes as are going on in Syria or Iraq and elsewhere today.

    Of course many politicians, commentators and writers are either ignorant or too scared to state that Islam does under certain conditions teach it is alright to kill, terrorise, rape, commit genocide and many other nasty things against non-Muslims (and Muslims unwilling to collaborate).

    Islam is not a religion of peace as the word “Islam” itself tells us, it means submission. Now the question is, in what sense does a person submit and to what?

    The positive side of Islam teaches that a person must humble themselves and submit before the grace of God to work through them. Now this can be done peacefully as the customary greeting “assalamu Allai’kum” (salaam – peace) indicates and exhorts the Muslim to do so.

    The other approach which historically has been the usual manner in which Islam has encouraged its own believers and non-believers to submit, has been by force and violence. As anyone familiar with Islamic history will recall the wars of apostasy of Muhammed’s companions or the Arab conquests of the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere are good examples to examine.

    Anyone serious about study on the subject should look carefully at Sharia legal codes so as to see how non-Muslims were treated in their condition of “dhimmitude” or how Muslims were treated if they did not agree with their local ulema. I know some will say that some of these things happened in Christendom, but the difference lies in the fact that Christian theology and beliefs does not teach nor have directives that teach violence towards the non-believer. Christians who used Christianity to justify their barbaric acts had to either fabricate a theology to legitimise their actions or were ignorant of their own belief and were thus hypocrites.

    Whereas Judaism and Islam never outlawed slavery, and furthermore have a theology that justifies violence and terror against other peoples who are neither of their culture or religion. In actual fact the language used in the Talmud, the Quran (Medinan Surahs) and the Hadiths, speak of non-believers in dehumanising terms. And if a person is not a human, then to treat them like an animal is not a far stretch, (-which is what the Western European colonial powers and the USA did towards the peoples they conquered and colonised).

    Now with respects to Muslims today, where does this negative and violent course of submission leave them. Having lived in and continue to communicate with Muslim lands, I can say the reality of the Islamic world today speaks for itself; as is the widespread poverty, corruption and violent conflicts in which Muslims are embroiled in, and their generally disadvantaged position. Thus the violence that the Quran calls for, has been counterproductive to the development and progress of Muslims and the Islamic world, but rather has produced more blood upon blood.

    So the need for dialogue and self-examination really needs to take place, as maybe the need for a new insight into their religion and religious perspective might require a new approach to humbling themselves before God. And I would highlight that those governments and corporations which seek to exploit Muslims and the Islamic world, are taking advantage of this “violent theology” by sponsoring jihadist groups which are recruiting Muslims to kill other Muslims, and any non-Muslims within their midst.

    I cannot see a greater irony in our present-day world than this slaughter that is taking place in locations such as Syria or Iraq, where innocent civilians are terrorised and killed, historical and cultural sites destroyed, religious and burial sites desecrated and so forth.

    But again there is a theology that advocates such destruction within Islam. And this is why we must not speak in diplomatic terms to avoid “causing offence”, because if we truly love our neighbour, whether they be Muslims or not, we must be honest with them and encourage them towards honest discussion and self-examination. And I believe Muslims need to engage with each other in a serious dialogue about their perspectives of the world around them, their religious beliefs, and how they will confront those things that are destroying them from within, gnawing away at their culture,society and families.

    However, the jihadists erroneously believe that by waging war and destroying everything in their path, or striving to convert the whole world to Islam, the world will have peace, and that they render service to God. But destruction which is of the devil, will always bring about further destruction and chaos, and there will never be peace; because within the Islamic world both today and historically, the people have always suffered under many conflicts and civil strife. So even if the whole world would become Muslim tomorrow, the peace will not exist, as the issues that are tearing Muslims and Muslim countries apart, come from within the teachings of Islam.

    As one Syrian gentleman I recall from years back saying to me, “They look for enemies everywhere and seek to kill them, believing they will avoid strife, but it is their own beliefs, and how they put it into practice that is their greatest enemy. In effect Islam is Islam’s own worst enemy, and if you don’t believe me, study their religious texts carefully and see the immense contradictions. Until those contradictions are resolved within their theology or turning away from an violent absolutist approach to all matters pertaining to life and faith, you will always see these people (Muslims) attacking each other and non-Muslims, and will never progress or attain what they seek which is the peace of God, or submit faithfully to Him“.

    Speaking personally, and after having studied many Muslim religious texts as the gentleman had encouraged me to do so, I found he had a very sound point to make. But as a Christian I cannot provide Muslims the answers to their own impasse. I could speak about Christianity to them as they have many false ideas and beliefs regarding Christianity, and to offer my faith as a path for them. But for those who wish to remain Muslims and live a Muslim life, I can only suggest that they need to discuss seriously amongst themselves, many of these glaring contradictions and issues within their religion, and to resolve them or put forward a new theology. An Islamic reformation if you will, and that was what many Muslim intellectuals and religious scholars of the 18th and 19th century were calling for, but never materialised.

  2. Cyprus signs military deal with Russia
    Russian ships already have made port calls at Limassol, but the new agreement apparently aims to create a more solid legal basis for it

    Cyprus signed a deal with Russia allowing its navy ships to make regular port calls on the island.
    The deal with European Union member Cyprus, which also hosts British military bases, comes amid Russia-West tensions over Ukraine, the worst since the Cold War times.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with visiting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades that the agreement would primarily refer to Russian navy ships involved in international counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts. He added that military cooperation between Russia and Cyprus isn’t directed against any third party.
    “Our friendly ties aren’t aimed against anyone,” Putin said. “I don’t think it should cause worries anywhere.”
    Russia has sought permission for navy ships to use ports in various parts of the world to replenish supplies and undergo maintenance, deals that would allow Moscow to expand its global military presence.

    Russian ships already have made port calls at Limassol, but the new agreement apparently aims to create a more solid legal basis for that.
    Speaking to Tass news agency before his trip to Moscow, Anastasiades said that Cyprus and Russia were also discussing a possibility for Russian planes to use an air base near Pathos for humanitarian relief missions.

    Source: AP

    It’s about time that closer ties with Russia, China and India be pursued as these are countries which have always been very pro-Greek and have respected our culture, our history and what we have to say within today’s world. And I would add, that they have been very supportive of our position regarding crucial national and foreign relation issues. For too long we Greeks have been foolish enough to believe the lies of our so-called Western allies, our supposed “friends” like the British, French, Germans, Americans and company for the last 194 years…

    We have merely substituted the Turk and Islamic law and submitted instead to Western culture, Western finance, Western modes of behaviour, Western linguistic idioms and the infantile “ideological” and “intellectual” movements of right-left wing politics and all the “isms” you can poke a stick at. We are still not free, and one only has to compare a newspaper from 150 years ago with a present day newspaper, and see it’s the same issues; keep Greece weak and under the thumb, prevent Russia from gaining access to the Mediterranean, promote sectarian violence in the Balkans and the Middle East, particularly keeping the Arabs weak and inflamed with religious fanaticism.

    Some things never change. And for those who doubt, look at the conditions that are being imposed on both Greece and Cyprus over this so-called “financial crisis”, conditions which predominately remain in secret and unknown to the general public. And I hasten to add, that it is interesting to note that this “crisis” comes to the fore when both countries are sitting on some of the world’s largest oil, gas and gold deposits amongst other resources, and which can pay off its so-called debt 50 times over!

    Furthermore, we should note the concerted efforts that were made to push Greece and Cyprus into the EU and adopt the euro, despite it being contrary to Greek and Cypriot sovereign interests or capabilities to integrate into either. This alliance with the West, and more specifically EU membership has not helped resolve or given leverage regarding pressing national and foreign relation issues, such as; Northern Epirus, FYROM, the right of Greeks and Orthodox Christians in Turkey and the Middle East in general, Turkish sponsorship of jihadist groups within Greece like Al-Qaeda or Turkish sponsorship of illegal immigrants to flood into both countries (many of whom are partial towards Islamist ideologies), the Aegean and territorial waters, occupied Cyprus, the reopening of Halki, the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to name a few issues that our Western friends have not been very supportive of us.

    Yet the real purpose of EU membership which to many in Greece and Cyprus was something suspect, as the reality of opening up both economies to free trade with some the world’s most advanced and industrialised economies showed. Local Greek and Cypriot industries folded, went bankrupt or were taken over by foreign firms. Businesses which I may add, were not interested in developing local industrial capital as EU membership promised, but were more concerned about securing markets to dump their product and increase profit margins.

    The creation of jobs or wealth within Greece or Cyprus were not their objective. This sad state of affairs caused many to shift towards artificially created and unsustainable service sector jobs that neither develops industrial capital nor generates wealth, or ensures future economic development and innovation. This was grafted onto a fragile political culture based on nepotism, clientele relations and corruption, which both left and right wing political parties perpetuated with European financing.

    The Europeans knew what they were doing, because they sought to keep Greece and Cyprus as their vassals; while those in power could not see beyond their beloved kleptocracy or the culture that spawned citizens who became thieves also, where no one takes responsibility for their actions, surrendered Greek and Cypriot sovereignty and its citizens to become slaves.

    Of course there are similarities to the Australian context in that over the last 30 years, much of our industry, particularly manufacturing went abroad. Legislation affecting small/medium business and agriculture has made the task of creating jobs and wealth more cumbersome, and the obstacles they are creating are cultivating a similar culture to Greek-Cypriot political and economic ethos (or lack thereof).

    It is only by virtue of Australia’s mineral resources supplying developing Asian economies (which have taken many of Australia’s industry) and the export of agricultural goods to the Middle East-North Africa that has saved the Australian economy. But the efforts of successive Liberal and Labour governments since Keating, to wind down agricultural production in a number of quarters, corporatize farming and cut regional services, is a recipe for disaster as many farmers are abandoning the land and foreigners are buying up the farms; (particularly those who wish to experiment with GM foods, or divert our food supply to overseas, while Australians will have to pay top dollar for food grown here).

    The reality is illustrated by this simple example from Mildura, whereby farmers who pay their water bills in full, are often denied the full 100% water allocation that they paid for. In the not so recent drought, the farmers received only 5% of what they actually paid for. And more recently, the corporations that have moved into farming are bringing contract workers from overseas to work on farms, while people residing in regional areas that have high unemployment rates are denied jobs. But I digress.

    With reference to the new Russia-Cyprus agreement, and the recent talks between Tsipras and Russia, it is certain that a better deal can be secured for Greece and Cyprus in terms of economic development and national security issues, as our “European friends” have not been forthcoming with support for either over the last 194 years which has seen one betrayal after another; whether it be the Asia Minor catastrophe, Cyprus, being drawn into World War II, the Civil War, Northern Epirus and many more issues. Consider that more Greeks have been killed and uprooted from their place of origin, over these last 194 years than the thousands of years in which Greeks have existed.

    Truly we are not free, we have merely substituted the tyranny of Turkish rule and Sharia Law for enslavement by the West. But that unfortunately is the story of Greece, stuck between the West and the Islamic world, both of which seek to oppress or destroy us. But we of course are so blinded by our arrogant individualism and petty differences to notice this reality and foolishly believe, according to Western imported ideas, that our differences are based on left-right wing political ideologies and who happens to be correct…

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