Ukraine -- Victoria Nuland, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs stepped in it last week when she used the 'F-word' in reference to the European Union in a telephone conversation with a U.S. Ambassador. The conversation, which some say was leaked by Russians looking to sabotage western influence over the future of Ukraine was intended to discuss potential leadership in a U.N. controlled Ukraine.
The E.U., International Monetary Fund and the United States State Dept. have met and agreed to financially support Ukraine if the Yanukovych Administration agrees to political reforms, human rights improvements and conflict de-escalation measures. However, Nuland's remarks have soured E.U. leadership against the U.S., and as western leaning progressives squabble over influence in the region, Russia is more than happy to let infighting unravel the power of diplomacy.
Moscow has a similar carrot and stick approach in place and has offered Ukraine 15 billion dollars toward a national bailout if Yanukovych will adopt a Russian-leaning stance at the behest of Putin.
Demonstrations continue and have spilled out from Independence Square as protesters reportedly armed with baseball bats and crude shields marched on Parliament earlier in the week. Ukraine has been embattled since November when a much anticipated bid to join the E.U. was unexpectedly rebuffed by President Yanukovych. Protesters have since barricaded themselves in at Independence Square, a political and ancestral hub for Ukrainians.
Egypt -- Six police officers were wounded in Cairo after Friday prayers when two bombs were detonated two minutes apart. The government which is now in power there has outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood and dubbed the group a 'terrorist organization'. Bloodshed has marked the months since former President Morsi's ouster as democratic ideals clash with Muslim extremism in the struggle for power in Egypt.
The leader of the revolt against Morsi, Egypt's Army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has announced his official intent to seek the Presidency in upcoming Egyptian elections. Sisi is the current poster child for democracy in Egypt and the irony is that as Egyptians look to forge ahead peacefully, the appeal of Sisi is his stance -- willingness even -- to face the militant opposition with military force.
Libya -- Islamist militants are making waves against progress in Libya and as rebels who have blockaded eastern crude oil shipping hubs reach out to foreign crude importers with assurances they will be able to load cargoes safely, the Libyan State Department warns that any vessel loading crude from rebel controlled terminals will be destroyed.
Those eastern terminals were once responsible for 600,000 barrels per day worth of oil revenue for the Libyan government, but now that rebels have taken over, Libya now says that due to declining oil revenues, it may soon be unable to pay government workers' wages.
The longer this situation goes on, the more fragmented it becomes. Tribal leaders have sat with rebel officials and gotten nowhere leading tribal chiefs to look at rebel leader Jathran as a warlord fueling the potential for chaos in that troubled corner of the globe.