Keep focus on Aleppo and global dimensions of Syria

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Soldiers and volunteers from Aleppo University hand out food to IDPs having come in from Eastern Aleppo. December 14, 2016 © Jan Oberg 2016

 

TFF PressInfo # 405 

Lund, Sweden – February 24, 2017
Failed conflict analysis

To analyse a conflict is as necessary as the diagnosis for the doctor: You either get to a solution/treatment or you don’t.

If the diagnosis is deficient, you don’t. You instead risk killing the patient.

And it’s deficient of you stare only at “evil” cells and blame the patient for a life style that has increased the risk that she would attract cancer.

That doesn’t bring healing.

A typical, deficient or irrelevant approach to international conflict is to a) focus on the violence but not the underlying conflicts its a symptom of; b) to apportion guilt and c) believe that we will solve the conflict if ‘good’ violence is used to defeat ‘evil’ violence.

After failed conflict analyses in Afghanistan, Serbia-Kosovo, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Iraq, Ukraine and Libya, Western politicians and subservient mainstream media have done it once again in Syria:

Contributed heavily to tremendous human suffering, made everything much worse than it was before and failed to achieve anything good.

 

Moral superiority lost

In terms of ethics, there exists no political goal whatsoever that can justify the killing of 300.000-400.000 people and the destruction of houses, livelihood, economy and milieus that has forced 7 million to flee inside the country and 5 million to leave the country – i.e. more than 50% of the population.

Yes, the “regime” and the “dictator” and Russia have participated in this destruction – very much so –  but it’s anyhow time to ask:

How does the West/NATO and its allies such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Gulf States and Israel morally justify their contribution this the largest humanitarian crisis on earth since 1945 with 13 millon people in desparate need of humanitarian assistance.

It’s not only untrue, it is morally unacceptable to keep on blaming everything – everything – on one person and one leadership with no self-reflection.

The self-assumed Western moral superiority fell with the liberation of Aleppo.

 
Aleppo’s liberation: A golden opportunity for a new policy

The liberation of Aleppo is a golden opportunity to do just that.

But instead that turning point has been deliberately forgotten and the victims of the occupation of Eastern Aleppo have been disappeared by media and politics.

The war and destruction will continue because such a biased approach leads only in direction: More war.

Very soon, presumably, we shall witness US boots on the grounds. Massively.

There is woefully little constructive-creative peace thinking the whole way around the political and geographical spectrum.

And without a better vision, continued killing will look to many as the optimal way ahead. 

However, for the millions of victims in Syria it just isn’t.

Aleppo should become a turning point toward peace instead of more war.

 

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From the Jibrin Reception Center in Aleppo, December 14, 2016. Note the footwear © Jan Oberg 2016

 

Geneva negotiations

One must fear that the negotiations just started in Geneva will not yield any better results than before – because they don’t build on a comprehensive understanding of this – hugely complex – conflict.

Even the way the tables are arranged is counterproductive…

TFF PressInfo # 405 walks you through a few principles of professional conflict analysis and provokes you to reflect a bit on:

a) What is it “we” have done so wrong and:
b) How can we help Syria’s people to stop an even deeper descent into hell.

 

TFF PressInfo # 405
Keep focus on Aleppo and global dimensions of Syria

TFF PressInfo # 404:
Unique Aleppo photos seen by 100.000+ but not in the mainstream media

See also the PressInfo 398 and 397 below.

TFF PressInfo 398: Syria and Aleppo: Old news media falling

TFF PressInfo 397: Syria’s destruction – When everybody thinks power and no one thinks peace.

Anvender DR og DIIS screening?

Hvis ikke hvorfor er alsidighed så ophørt på udenrigspolitikkens område?


DR’s dækning af forsvar, sikkerhed og udenrigspolitik bør diskuteres langt mere

Der skal nok være nogen, der tror at jeg har fået DR på hjernen. Men jeg skriver ofte – og ugerne – om DR’s behandling af forsvars-, sikkerheds- og udenrigspolitikken fordi det:

a) handler om eksistentielle ting, om krig og fred;

b) dækningen er mere ensidig end nogensinde i de fire årtier, jeg har fulgt den og

c) der er en voksende symbiose mellem DR, forsvaret som institution og de eksperter, der indkaldes som alle enten er militære selv – og altså partiske eller objektive – er fra DIIS eller fra et af de efterhånden mange militærforskningscentre, Danmark har oprettet i de senere år.

Man skal huske på at DIIS er delvist finansieret af Forsvarsministeriet og har en chef, der nok har forskningsbaggrund men har gjort karriere i NATO og forsvarsministeriet. Det kunne f.eks. sætte sig spor i valget af forskningsemner.

At DIIS skulle forske i ting som ikkevoldelig konfliktløsning, ned- og afrustning, afskaffelse af atomvåben, alternativt forsvar, fremsætte forslag til fredelig løsning på nogle af verdens alvorlige konflikter, udgive en fundamentalt kritisk analyse af dansk militær udenrigspolitik eller udvikle alternativer til NATO og NATO-medlemsskab  er i det nærmeste utænkeligt.

 

En farlig symbiose som gør fri meningsdannelse og debat stadigt sværere

Med andre ord – en symbiose mellem den første politik på de nævnte områder og dem, der i et eller omfang skulle tilsikre en alsidig behandling og levere viden baseret på uafhængig forskning. Men ikke gør det.

Lidt tilspidset kan man formulere det sådan at DR fungerer som informationsorgan for den militært aktive udenrigspolitik uden at stille spørgsmål af nogen art omkring den og at DIIS’ og andre forskere fungerer som det præsteskab, der skal udlægge teksten og overbevise de bekymrede sjæle, der jo også skal betale.

Og aldrig stille principielle spørgsmål eller præsentere mulige alternativer til den første politik og specielt ikke problematisere krigsdeltagelse.

Sådan har det ikke altid været.

 

Det er så galt at man kan frygte at der er tale om screening og/eller selvcensur

Styrken og omfanget af denne symbiose er vokset hastigt i de senere år, ikke mindst efter at Danmark er blevet en bombenation, dvs. fra 1999 og især i og med besættelsen af Irak 2003-2007.

Spørgsmålet er om den vedvarende mangel på alsidighed, som DR står for, er konsekvens af en eller anden form for screening – altså at man Continue reading

Discussing NATO with a former U.S. Ass. Sec. of Defence

A 30 min debate about NATO, Ukraine, Crimea, Yugoslavia, Syria the eternal enemy images and the – obsolete – philosophy on which NATO builds.

Time for something new, I argue in the debate with former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defence under Reagon, Mr. Lawrence J. Korb who at the time was in command of 70% of Pentagon’s budget.

Here in TFF PressInfo # 403  is a little longer text about this debate and there is also a little about my experience and policy vis-a-vis the media.

NATO = North Atlantic Treaty Obsolescence

NATO defence ministers meet on February 15-16 and we will see and hear the same mantras as during the last 5 or so decades.

I was pleased to comment a bit about it a day before.

Hjort Frederiksens Danmark og Honeckers Østtyskland

Der var en gang sikkerhedspolitik var vigtigt og krævede sagkundskab

Jeg er gammel nok til at huske danske politikere, der have kundskab om forsvar, sikkerhed og fred som f.eks. Lasse Budtz, Kjeld Olesen, Gert Petersen, Bilgrav-Nielsen, Jytte Hilden, Poul Hartling, Anker Jørgensen, Preben Wilhjelm. Nogle af dem skrev bøger om international politik.

Jeg kendte flere af dem, sad i Sikkerheds- og Nedrustningspolitiske Udvalg, SNU, igennem 1980erne hvor der foregik en sober omend ikke revolutionerende debat baseret på kundskaber. Ingen nævnte nogensinde at Danmark burde deltage i krig.

Sådan er det ikke idag.

hjort

 

Hverken i politikken eller medierne bliver man noget ved musikken på at kunne noget om disse ting. Og det behøves måske heller ikke? Danmark lader sig jo helt underdanigt styre udefra på disse områder.

Forsvarsminister Hjort Frederiksen kan – som man har set for nylig i Clement og i dag på Danmarks Radios hjemmeside – kun gengive hvad hans embedsmænd har fortalt ham at han skal sige. Sådan ser det i alle tilfælde ud.

Og idag gælder det at ministeren deltager i NATOs forsvarsministermøde 15-16. februar.

De ting er bleve sagt ungefär sådan i et halvt århundrede. Og dét i sig selv udgør en slags sikkerhedsrisiko for Danmark. Continue reading

School in an Aleppo factory

The occupiers denied children education. Now they get it.

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TFF’s first four photo series from Aleppo have been seen by 95,000 people so far and been featured in online magazines from Vietnam to California, among them a German site with a million visitors daily.

Above is the fifth story.

It’s about the terrible, systematic destruction of this UNESCO World Heritage site but also about an Aleppo businessman who turned his damaged factory into a school for 1500 children.

It had been damaged by the Free Syrian Army and al-Nushra who looted it and then used it as HQ.

It’s situated in the Sheikh Najjar Industrial City outside Aleppo that – before the militant/terrorist occupation – represented no less than 50% of Syria’s total industrial production.

During two years, these children received no education. Now they do. And hope is slowly coming back.

This photo story ends with some “civilisational questions” by Jan Oberg who also took the photos.

This is the kind of story Western mainstream media don’t bring for reasons one must assume are political.

But TFF does. Because it is a free research think tank.

We focus on the conflict and civil society where media are obsessed with violence and war criminals.

We look at peace opportunities where others spend their energy on blaming one or the other but have no ideas on how to solve underlying conflicts and make peace.

TFF doesn’t work for this or that violent party but for the UN Charter norm of peace by peaceful means. That is, for the innocent, suffering people in Syria – the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945:

Such as these wonderful, innocent children whose story deserves to be told.

I wonder about Aleppo…

By Jan Oberg

I shot this simple video out of the window on December 13, 2016. I wonder about Aleppo and say #keepfocusonaleppo

© Jan Oberg 2016

Here in the Sheikh Najjar Industrial City outside Aleppo lived and worked 40,000 people. It had 50% of Syria’s industrial capacity.

Today – after the occupation by Western-backed militants and terrorist groups – this is what is left.

I wonder why the Syrian government did not destroy this industrial city between 2000 and 2012. We are told that all this destruction is caused only by that side and the dictator kills his own.

I wonder where the terrorists used the weapons and spent the money they got from NATO countries – Turkey in particular – Saudi and Qatar since they did not do any of this destruction here – according to Western media and the White Helmet reporters and a series of humanitarian organisations.

I also wonder where the Western left is? Solidarity with the workers who lived here?

No many among them defend this and want to arm this or that group even more.

The more I study, the more I wonder.

And something doesn’t seem right.