Category Archives: Middle East

Peace plan for Syria – first steps

A quick comment – expressive of a slight frustration.

It doesn’t even occur to the reporter – the Washington Post’s bureau chief in Beirut – that she is talking about international aggression. Can everybody just use Syria for whatever games they please?

Welcome to follow me on my new public page.

 

Keep focus on Aleppo and global dimensions of Syria

jibrin11

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.

 

jibrin1

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.

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.

School in an Aleppo factory

The occupiers denied children education. Now they get it.

school1_phsh

 

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.

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.

jibrinface1_phsh

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.

 

From Obama to Trump

Commenting with David Swanson, leading and sharp peace intellectual, on the inauguration of Trump – also about the legacy of Barrack Obama.

For Iran’s international PressTV. Posted on TFF’s blog.

 

trump