Monthly Archives: April 2017

Iran on nuclear deal and nuclear-free Middle East


I had the pleasure and honour to comment on the Iranian defence minister’s views on the nuclear deal, on a nuclear-free Middle East, terrorism and more.

Syria – two perspectives illustrated

“The Debate” of April 16, 2017 on Iran’s PressTV between Richard Millett and myself is important to me.

I think it will be for you too in the sense of clarifying two approaches and positions on Syria.


Its focus is on the difference in media coverage of the terrible events in Khan Seykhoun and al-Rashideen but there is much more to it.

I’ll keep on struggling for the conflict and peace perspective against the violence perspective that sees black-and-white only and continues the seemingly eternal blame game – and thus legitimates more, rather than less, warfare.

Happy if you care to share and continue the – meta – debate!

Aljazeera’s explanation of Syria and its commenting policy


Wrote a comment this morning under its explanation – in film and text – of the Syrian war here:

Then waited the whole day only to find that Aljazeera’s moderator must have decided that it wasn’t worthy being published.*

Here it is:

“When we try understand a war it is very important to distinguish between the underlying conflict(s) and the violence that grows out of them. Your film as well as the text is focused only on the violence – and violence is never anything but a symptom of underlying conflicts. Violence is abrupt, conflict are longer-lasting – have been simmering for years often before they blow up.

It’s the same as with diseases – a doctor who listens only to the patient’s symptoms but cannot say what the cause(s) is, is a bad doctor.

Media has war and violence reporting – but no conflict reporters and no peace-reporting.

Secondly it is very problematic – actually impossible – to understand anything of a war and conflict if we focus on individuals. With due respect, there is no way that a boy’s spraying words on a wall can explain one of the world’s and history’s most complex conflict and most destructive wars.

And there is also no way it can be explained by one man – al-Assad’s – policies. It’s the same irrelevant media focus as with Milosevic in Yugoslavia, Saddam in Iraq, Gadafi in Libya – it just doesn’t explain what needs to be explained.

Conflicts are about incompatible goals, wishes not fulfilled, promises not held, conflict ignored or mishandled – about history, traumas, grievances, economic deprivation – and here it is, to a high degree, a consequence of about 100 years’ of foreign influence – from Sykes-Picot and onwards.

I would urge Aljazeera to try to re-think the way all these conflicts and wars are covered.

This approach does not help your viewers and readers understand the breadth and depth of these tragic processes.

Your approach does – surely unintended – everything to help everybody play the blame game and prevents us from discussing the only thing that really matters to humanity, including the Syrian people (all those who have never touched a weapons) namely: How can some kind of peace be re-stored?

If we keep on focusing on the violence and ignore underlying conflicts, there will be no peace.

Like a patient’s problem will not be solved until doctors do something about the underlying causes. When we understand the conflicts, and begin process of conflict-resolution, peace may have a chance. That means that violence will be reduced and finally end.

Kind regards

Jan Oberg, dr.,
peace and conflict researcher, mediator

* There are other comments that I would believe violate Aljazeera’s own policies and guidelines such as people telling you how to earn money every day.
It is also strange that an article which is 8 hours old can have comments under it which are almost a year old.
Finally – when trying to send a comment bot to “Contact us” and to “What do you think?” it doesn’t work, the “Captcha has expired” at both places and repeatedly.
Perhaps there is something for Aljazeera to fix here?

The US/NATO confrontation with Russia is dangerous

TFF Live
April 12, 2017

The secretaries of state, Tillerson and Lavrov meet today. We seem to enter a stage of what must appropriately be perceived as a frosty new Cold War.

In the worst of cases this can lead to a new Cuban Missile Crisis. God forbid!