Category Archives: Mellemøsten

“Vittnesrapport från Aleppo, en annorlunda konfliktanalys och vägar till fred i Syrien”

Videoinspelning av Jan Öbergs föredrag i Stockholm februari 2017


Inspelningen är uppdelad i två delar:

Del 1: Vittnesrapport från Aleppo
60 min.

Del 2: Debatt och vägar till fred i Syrien
45 min.

10-14:e december 2016 vistades Jan Öberg i Aleppo. Med sin unika erfarenhet från staden ifrågasätter han den gängse massmediarapporteringen, argumenterar för ett nytt sätt att se på konflikter på och ger förslag till den nödvändiga fredsprocessen.

Anders Björnsson, författare

Lördag 25 februari kl. 14-16, Bagarmossens Folkets Hus, Stockholm

Föreningen Syriensolidaritet, Folket i Bild Kulturfront – Stockholmsavdelningen, FiB-juristerna m.fl.

Jan Öberg rapporterar
– Jag kunde fritt tala med vem jag ville, och fotografera som jag ville. Jag gick omkring utan säkerhet, polis eller annat skydd. Många tackade mig för att jag var i Aleppo vid befrielsen.

– Förstörelsen av Aleppo är värre än jag någonsin trott – efter att ha sett Sarajevo, Mostar och Vukovar. Den stora förstörelsen är från gatustriderna – en mindre del ifrån luften.

– Ingen av dem många jag pratade med hade sett de Vita Hjälmarna. Däremot träffade jag frivilliga från Syriens Röda Halvmåne som var mycket professionella.

– De jag pratade med uttryckte sin glädje över frihet efter fyra års belägring och uttryckte tacksamhet över regeringens och ryssarnas insatser.

Öbergs fotoberättelser
Se också Jan Öbergs fotoserier med bakgrunds- och förklarande text här.

TFF PressInfo och andra artiklar – av vilka många handlar om Syrien – finns på TFF:s blogg här.

Snak om Syrien på en måde der fremmer fred!

En “meta”-kommentar i Arbejderen til den dødfødte måde man diskuterer konflikter på, især Syrien.

Diskursen kommer aldrig frem til at sige noget væsentligt om fred – og den gavner ingen i Syrien, mindst af alt de uskyldige, der lider frygteligt i disse år.

Man kan faktisk snakke om tingene på en anden måde. Se hér!

(Kommentar i Arbejderen, 28. februar 2017).


Keep focus on Aleppo and global dimensions of Syria


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.



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.

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.



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.



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.

Faces of Aleppo

Fourth photo story from Aleppo: “Faces of Aleppo. Just out of 4,5 years of occupation hell”

January 25, 2017

Unique photos from Eastern Aleppo in Syria when it was finally liberated on December 11-12, 2016.

The people you see here have just come out to freedom from 4,5 years of the occupation by what can be called RIOTs – Rebels-Insurgents-Opposition-Terrorists – mostly the latter.

And most of them with some kind of support by NATO countries.

Western media, politics and humanitarian organisations focus on the victims from Eastern Aleppo who left to RIOT territories elsewhere, such as Idlib, after the liberation – family members and supporters of the occupiers.

That’s not the whole truth about Aleppo.

They conveniently ignore the thousands of other Aleppians: Those who were happy beyond words to see all of Aleppo back under the control of the Syrian government.


Man from Eastern Aleppo in the Jibrin Reception Center – relieved, smoking and getting a little food. In freedom © Jan Oberg 2016 

These are the people in this photo story. They are among the 13 million Syrians who, according to the UN in Syria, are in need of humanitarian assistance – thanks to U.S. – non-UN – sanctions since 1979 and thanks to the war since 2011.

They too need and deserve the world’s attention and help.All of them and not just the politically chosen few.

Until the immense historical significance of the liberation of Aleppo is understood much better by many more and the biased Western media coverage has changed we will continue to highlight important but hidden dimensions of the conflicts in Syria.

Because peace will be impossible within the present dominant Western narrative and discourse.

And given the incomprehensible suffering of the Syrian people and the destruction of their society since 2011 possibilities for peace – rather than war – should occupy anyone with a human heart.

If you agree, please use the hashtag: #keepfocusonaleppo

* * *

If we do not care about the single individual, can we care about humanity?

My other stories have had quite a lot of texts. You may check them out to get the background and situation.

Here I just want you to see and reflect on how the Allepians I met expressed happiness, despair, hope, kindness but also anger at one and the same time. Pictures can say much more than words, particularly when we contemplate mindfully on what there is to see in every and each face of these victims of what is often called high politics – which often implies low morality.

So, please don’t rush. See and empathize.

© Jan Oberg 2017. Under no circumstance may the photos in this series be reprinted, reproduced or otherwise used without my prior consent.


Danske specialstyrker til Syrien og Irak!

Sådan står der på Politikens forside om aftenen den 19. januar 2017 

Dansk militærpolitik
Danmark slog ind på sin bane som bøllestat i 1999 med bombningen af Serbien. Derpå militær deltagelse i Afghanistan, besættelsesmagt 2003-2007 i en af historiens mest tragiske krige – drabet på 1 million sagesløse mennesker i Irak. Så hovedbombenation i Libyen under dansk NATO-ledelse, så atter bombninger i Irak og tillige Syrien og nu skal der så danske tropper på landjorden i begge lande.
Uanset hvad problemet er så tilsiger den aktive danske militærpolitik – ikke udenrigspolitik – at militæret altid er løsningen, det første valg. I klokkeklar strid med FN-Erklæringen om at alle civile midler skal være prøvet inden man, som sidste udvej, benytter militære midler.
Danmarks indsats i såvel Irak som Syrien strider mod folkeretten. Og etisk udtrykt burde begavede mennesker kunne komme på noget bedre end at slå mennesker ihjel, man ikke bryder sig om.
At bekæmpe terrorister som ISIS ved at forsøge at slå dem ihjel én for én kan sammenlignes med idéen om at udrydde alle sygdomme ved at slå alle syge ihjel, én efter én.
Dette tiltag kan kun reducere danskernes egen sikkerhed og øge risikoen for terror mod Europa herunder mod Danmark.


Husk at statsministeren flere gange har sagt at han ikke kunne se for sig at der skal tropper på landjorden. Det er en skelsættende beslutning: Mission creep bliver det næste.
60 vil blive til flere…for der er vel ingen, der for alvor tror at 60 danske jægersoldater kan gøre en større militær forskel i et vrimmel af titusindvis af vildt blandede militante enheder?
Der vil blive endnu meget mere kaos i Syrien. Selvom Aleppo gudskelov er blevet befriet, så har alle Assad-hadere nok ikke tænkt at pakke sammen og rejse hjem til de omkring hundrede lande de kommer fra.

Continue reading