We don’t want walls anywhere

  The UN Charter states clearly: • The equal rights of men and women • The equal rights of nations large and small • The norm to bring about peace by peaceful means The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states clearly: • The norm that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights without distinction of […]

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Libya, “migrants” and EU military action

E.U. Seeks U.N. Backing for Military Action to Stop Wave of Migrants Fleeing Horrific Abuse in Libya | Democracy Now! I’ve been around for a long time but I can still get both surprised and angry when I see things like this and try to connect the dots: 1) NATO bombs the hell out of Libya and kills its head of state and many others. 2) Predictably the country falls apart – chaos and cruelty follow. 3) Then refugees – not “migrants”, Democracy Now! – flee and traffickers profit. 4) Now more money and more warfare to “solve” the problem. 5) They don’t even seem to see that this proposal would put refugees at the firing line between EU military/police and armed traffickers. Excuse me but what about learning just one little thing: War and “humanitarian” intervention only and repeatedly make things worse! What about arresting all arms traffickers – then you would have less problems with human traffickers. But the only thing these EU Nobel Peace Prize winners will never dare to do is to challenge and change their own perverse militarism.

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Burundi – Early warning and violence prevention

Burundi is a country with very special characteristics. It’s always been in the shadow of Rwanda and relatively neglected by the international community. A very very serious crisis is now unfolding because its president, Pierre Nkurunziza, is willing to risk everything to get elected for a third 5-year time which is very dubious according to the constitution. It’s a country with a GDP per capita of around US$ 300 and the Global Power Index places it as Number One in the world in terms of percentage of the population going hungry. Nkurunziza’s first years were in many ways very positive but since about 2008 there is no evidence of real change or leadership. The only Burundians, it seems, who want him for a third term are his own ruling party and the poorest and illiterates in the countryside. Virtually all segments of society want him to step down. The people are protesting and the ruling party’s response is now coming close to dictatorship – with killings, arrests, tear gas, water cannons, closing down of civil society organisations, cutting communication and closing down all non-state media. I write a bit about this since I have worked on and off in Burundi between 1999 and 2012 with youth organisations and other civil society organisation, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a university and others. I fear very much what could happen the next weeks and months and sense how woefully inadequate the […]

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Behind every refugee stands an arms trader

This sunny Sunday morning, we wake up to yet another human catastrophe in the Mediterranean. The earlier ones have not caught much media attention – imagine if these had been luxury cruise ships with white Europeans and Americans. I listened carefully to the presenter at AlJazeera in this report Hundreds feared dead as boat capsizes off Libya coast He says that they come to seek a better life. NO! They run away to another continent without shoes, money or belongings because their lives are unbearable and hopeless. Normaly people seek a better life where they are, don’t we all? Here is a better explanation: “Behind almost every refugee stands an arm trader” – said once Swedish human rights advocate and humanist, Dr. Peter Nobel, former head of the Swedish Red Cross, when he was chairman of TFF’s Board. This formulation has been chiselled in my mind ever since. These people, all from warzones, are not on the run to happiness but run away from Hell. To solve, or at least reduce, the migration problem we should criminalise arms trade and abolish war as a socially acceptable institution.

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The UN Yemen mediator resigns – conspicuously

UN Yemen envoy Jamal Benomar resigns amid crisis – Al Jazeera English How conspicuous that Benomar – whom I happen to know a little bit – is choosing this moment to resign. It’s only a two days after the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on the Houthis but coming out in de facto support of the Saudi-led coalition bombing of Yemen by not even mentioning it or its 1200 airstrikes till now. The resolution was drafted by Jordan – a member of the bombing coalition and thereby a party to the conflict. My nasty mind tells me that Benomar has recognised that there is no basis for his decent, all-inclusive mediation efforts under such circumstances and with such UN Security Council biases. A more UN-loyal Secretary-General would have called the Council immediately after the Saudi-coalition started its war and have prevented such biases in the name of the world organisation. He obviously takes order – which he shouldn’t according to the UN Charter.

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Iran nuclear deal – a road to peace

Jan Oberg commenting on Iranian President Rouhani: “Tehran abides by commitments, if P5 1 fulfills promises” – YouTube/PressTV http://ow.ly/LbX3d In spite of the deal’s negative sides, Iran has chosen peace to the benefit of the world. In that perspective it is much more than a nuclear deal, it’s – potentially – a road to peace.

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UN Peacekeepers to be deployed in Eastern Ukraine? Yes, please!

Deployment of UN peacekeepers should be agreed with both sides of Ukrainian conflict, says Lavrov — RT Russian politics. Ukraine has – wisely – suggested that UN Peacekeepers be stationed in Eastern Ukraine. Russia’s foreign minister sounds positive. That is important and good news – the most constructive for a year. To get the UN peacekeepers into the conflict zone has been one of TFF’s proposals since the fighting broke out. In October 1991, TFF was also the first to suggest that the UN be deployed to Croatia. It actually was a few months later thanks to Cyrus Vance, the former U.S. Secretary of State, who in his role as mediator was working on exactly that when he received our report and we then met him a late evening in Belgrade. Conclusion: Never give up constructive pro-peace proposal-making. One day they do become relevant – when people find out that violence was not such a brilliant idea. 

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Like we use Islamism – why not USism

War with Iran is probably our best option – The Washington Post By Joshua Muravchik – one of the extremist neo-cons influencing U.S. foreign policy. Hardly one argument backed up by facts here. The professor advocates a series of violations of international law. He thinks it is fine to kill people and cause regime change. Two simple points: Why does Washington Post publish such crap? Answer: Only because it is 100% politics and propaganda and 0 academic. Qaulity is no criteria anymore; it is politically correct within the narrow circles that edit this newspaper. Secondly, academics who support US foreign policy – domestically and around the world – these year should come out and say whether they support or distance themselves from semi-fascist views such as these. Like we use Islamism (which is a nasty term that links the religion to terrorism – and that is of course the intention – we should use USism about stuff like this. It has as little to do with the best traditions of American politics as Islamic State has to do with Islam.

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And who funded Sen Tom Cotton’s and 46 other Senators’ mean, condescending letter?

Senator Cotton – behind the Letter of 47 – has been promoted by pro-Israeli RJC’s Singer and Adelson • LobeLog Instructive reading for anyone who thinks – because they are manipulated by Western mainstream media – that economic corruption in politics and oligarchs are only found in Russia and China and not in the so-called democracy of the United States. It seems that not only was the – backfiring – speech of PM Netanyahu in the US Congress a Jewsih lobby-financed operation, so was this young Senator’s ignorant and counterproductive letter campaign. If you’ve seen him talk about Iran you’ll understand that he has no knowledge and less respect for other people – e.g. saying that all Iranians are extremists etc. It is very sad to witness the infighting and moral decay – and corruption – of the American political system. Even the best Constitution can be misused or circumvented if the intensions are malicious enough. Whether you like it, the whole affair is indicative of the weakening and eventual fall of the U.S. Empire. It’s demise will, I believe, be good for both the American republic and the world.

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The Saudi Arabia – Sweden row

Saudi Arabia recalled envoy to Sweden amid diplomatic row – YouTube video with Iranian PressTV. I comment on the Sweden-Saudi Aabia conflict, points out that it is good that Sweden introduces some ethical consideration but that it lacks a positive vision in Swedish foreign policy. Certainly Saudi Arabia – now the world’s largest arms importer – doesn’t need more weapons. It is wrong to cut dialogue opportunities as Saudi Arabia does – in the modern world, dialogue with respect is the name of the game: I would add that at last, a Western country stands up to Saudi Arabia on human rights. For once we can be a little proud of Sweden’s foreign policy. Germany has also stopped amrs exports to Saudi Arabia. Now, could the other EU countries – recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize – and the U.S. please do the same! Please see this appreciation of Sweden in the US. Ishaan Tharoor in The Washington Post •

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The military game between NATO and Russia – it is dangerous and not in our name!

My interview with RT, Russia Today – This military build up is not in our name !! While we speak there is a huge military exercise in Northern Norway – a NATO member, Joint Viking. There is NATO’s Atlantic Resolve in the Baltic region (see interesting maps on the link). There are smaller ones in Germany and one coming up in the Black Sea. Why all these NATO exercises right up to the border? What about Russia’s response? There seems to be about 10.000 Russian “forces” in Eastern Ukraine What is the history that lead us here? It is high time that the citizens of Europe get a chance to voice their opinion: Do you want war in Europe? I am tired of listening to all governments and militarists and never to the people. Do citizens have freedom of expression when it comes to war and peace? If NATO is an alliance of and for democracies, I wonder how long time millions of taxpayers are forced to pay without having the slightest say, without ever being on media and criticise both parties and demand that their money be used more productively and for social welfare instead of this spiralling game towards war.

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TFF PressInfo # 313: Ignore the 47 irresponsible US Republican senators

By Farhang Jahanpour & Jan Oberg, TFF Board members Read the whole text “Ignore the 47 irresponsible US Republican senators – here” Now that Iran cannot trust the U.S. – what must be done to secure a nuclear deal? NATO and EU friends of the US as well as the other negotiating powers must come forward. Iran must be assured that a deal is a deal. “It must no longer be considered acceptable that decision-makers in Washington can continue, without paying diplomatically, to violate international law by threatening war and create such circumstances that war breaks out and threatens the lives of millions of people for not one good reason.”

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Gun in hand – less motivated to negotiate

Syrian Rebels in Aleppo Reject UN Peace Effort Perhaps understandable but tragic. When all this began in Syria some of us – a clear minority and without any media interest – suggested an arms embargo on all sides and involvement of the UN. But “Friends of Syria”, hot-headed politicians and media people knew that arming the opposition and never talk with Al-Assad was the only way. We he opposed it were considered ‘naive” and ‘unrealistic’. Today we see the results: Weapons embold people. Such people believe they can win – somebody else paying the price, but do they care? – and say no to each and every mediated solution. And, so, the killing, suffering, and displacement of innocent Syrian citizens – squeezed between the ruthless government and the ruthless rebels – will go on. When will the world norm change and arms traders be put on trial as the war criminals they are – civil as well as governmental arms traders who “weaponize” conflicts so they cannot possibly be solved?

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About the nuclear negotiations with Iran

Iran’s FM Zarif: “Any deal with P5 1 would cover all issues” I agree with the foreign minister and point out how a-symmetric this conflict is. I believe also that historic mistrust should have been dealt with before technicalitites. Then I ask how on earth it could be better for Israel if there is no deal than if there is one – as PM Netanyuahu argues and will say in the U.S. Congress in a couple of days. I finally point out that the U.S. position on sanctions is counterproductive.

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Olof Palme – murdered today 29 years

Olof Palme – murdered today 29 years ago • Wikipedia A politician who willed a better society, to whom politics was a calling – working for justice, international law, nuclear disarmament, against big countries bullying small countries, a person who made Sweden stand ut. Then. And it was the Palme Commission on Common Security that broke the ice towards the end of the Cold War with the idea that we can only be sure together with the other side, not against the other side. That was 1982. As relevant today as then – think Ukraine! I met him twice – the first time to criticise him for Swedish arms exports. The second for an hour-long lunch in which he constantly asked me questions about peace, nonviolence, peace research and alternative defence – and I did not get a chance to ask him a single of all the questions I had prepared… A rare combination of intellectualism and curiosity, vision and passion, self-confidence and humility – so sadly missed in today’s political world.

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Help Netanyahu to come to his senses

Mossad contradicted Netanyahu on Iran nuclear programme – Al Jazeera PM Netanyahu repeatedly speaks and acts in bad faith with the aim of getting some kind of war started on Iran. A leader of a nuclear weapons state suffering from obsession and having such bad aims and political judgement is a threat to us all. With a population roughly 10 times bigger than Israel’s, the two have about the same military expenditures. Israel spends 6,0 % of its GDP on the military, Iran 4,1. Israel can count on major militarist cuntries such as NATO – 60% of the worlds military – and Saudi Arabia for an attack on Iran. Iran has no nukes, has not occupied or invaded anybody for more than 200 years. The threat from Iran is Netanyahu’s own psychologial projections. Could the EU and/or Washington please help this man to come to his senses before it is too late. The war he has on his mind will be nothing less than a world catastrophe.

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