Category Archives: Middle East

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.

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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.

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.

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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

Good: EU will honour the deal with Iran

Happy to speak positively about the EU foreign policy chief’s commitment to stand by the nuclear deal with Iran – a clear signal also to Trump.

That’s good – the alternative could very well be war.

Aleppo’s evil humanitarians

The third photo story from the days of the liberation of Aleppo in Syria

Unique photos with text from Aleppo’s Jibrin reception center for people finally liberated in Eastern Aleppo December 11-12, 2016.

Documentation of the fact that it was the Syrian authorities, the Syrian Army, Russian doctors, the Syrian Red Crescent and volunteering Syrian youth who took care of these destitute internally displaced people.

In short, the evil guys – the only ones at that – according to most Western media.

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University volunteer and soldier hand out bread © Jan Oberg 2016


No Western humanitarian organisations were seen, neither any leading Western media.

The media have also conveniently stopped writing about Aleppo – beyond doubt a world historic event – and ignored the suffering of the innocent, non-armed victims in this crisis: the largest humanitarian crisis in the world since 1945.

The last article about Aleppo in New York Times is from December 19, about 7-year old Twitter-girl Bana and written by a marketing expert. The level can hardly get lower.

The story of Aleppo cannot be silenced.

TFF’s first two photo reports have already been seen by close to 50.000 people. There are many other eyewitness reports – all on social media, de facto barred from the mainstream media.

The attempt to ignore the historical turning point that Aleppo is and to silence on-the-ground reports will fail.

A larger truth is emerging. The moral and political failure of Western and allies’ policy since 2012 makes the story of Aleppo just too embarrassing, something neither politicians nor governments nor media want to be reminded of.

But 13 million Syrians who are in need of humanitarian help – thanks to non-UN sanctions since 1979 and the war – need a more truthful story.

And they need the world’s attention and help – to all of them and not to the politically chosen few.