Kosovo – the West’s predictable fiasco

Baffling Kosovo mass exodus exposes domestic hardships – Al Jazeera 5% of the people have left, 100,000 this year. Funny how in the 1990s the only problems were Serbs and Belgrade. NATO bombed and forced Kosovo out of Yugoslavia. Billions of dollars have poured in from the world; EU, NATO etc. helped build the country. When TFF was there as mediators (1991-2001), we always said: Discuss first what kind of Kosovo you want, then decide its status vis-a-vis Serbia. Nobody listened: Independence was everything, no one bothered about the day after. There was no expertise on economy,  production, society’s development and how to run a complex society as an independent state; there were traders and people of culture – ad then the West threw out, literally, all Serbs who operated the infrastructure, the energy system and managed the institutions. (The method was repeated in Iraq…) Today we see the predictable results when you make quick military fixes, let war criminals run a new, deeply corrupt state and all sides run on obsessive nationalism. It’s feels very tragic to be proven right.

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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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DR Deadline og Iran – det sædvanlige bare lidt mere subtilt

Deadline – DR tog i aften Iran og kærnevåben-diskussionen op. Det er da godt for sagen kan blive afgørende for hele Mellemøsten og store dele af verden i år. Men for at have den iranske vice-udenrigsminister med så må man – politisk korrekt – før og efter interviewet have en saglig, lavmælt herboende iransk analytiker med, der efterlader det indtryk at Iran a) har en interesse i at anskaffe kærnevåben og b) ikke er til at stole på for Vesten fordi hverken præsident Rouhani eller udenrigsminister Zarif har den fornødne magt i f t den øverste religiøse ledelse og c) han er ikke optimist hvad angår en aftale. Der siges intet om vor anklagelserne om Irans skumle planer om atomvåben kommer fra tilbage i historien. Indslaget indledes med Netanyahu der siger at verden ikke kan stole på Iran; det nævnes ikke at han på det groveste bevidst vildledte hele verden om Irans atomprogram fra FNs talerstol i 2012 – heller ikke at han truer Iran og at Israel har 200+ atomvåben. Indslaget siger heller ikke noget om det militære styrkeforhold mellem de to lande (eller koalitionsmuligheder mod Iran i regionen) eller at Israel og Saudi-Arabien nu samarbejder om – om nødvendigt – at indlede krig mod Iran. Intet om at USA konstant har truet Iran. Intet om kongressmedlemmer i USA som vil indføre nye sanktioner og dermed torpedere den vigtige aftale. Intet om det konkrete indhold i konflikten siden CIA/MI5’s […]

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NATO strengthens forces in Eastern Europe

NATO strengthens forces in eastern Europe against Russia risk – Reuters This is indeed worrying and will cause a tough Russian response at some point. However, it is a little less militaristic than I had feared (or the more worrying steps are not made public). NATO talks war preparation while Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande are on diplomatic mission to Kiev and Moscow with a ceasefire or peace plan. This shows that there is no coordination. No timing. Increasing rift inside NATO. And a tremendous lack of vision – both back in history and forward into the future. At a moment when so much is at stake, Western leaders again appear intellectually and politically confused. All because the EU and the U.S. started this crisis with Russia in Ukraine and now don’t know how to back down. How utterly tragic when you think of the fabulous stable, cooperative and prosperous Europe we could have created together after 1989.

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Text: • Who of them will say: “My belief in my Western identity and our values and culture is strong. Therefore, I am Security, Police and Intelligence – but I am also Nonviolence, Dialogue and Reconciliation. And I feel safe when I take the first step away from the spiral of violence. • Let me repeat for a thousandth time […]

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“We Are All Charlie” – but is that story so simple?

Eleven points as a reflection on the terror in Paris and – not the least – the reactions to it*: 1. What was this an attack on? Was that attack an attack on freedom of speech as such, on democracy, even on the whole Western culture and lifestyle, as was maintained throughout? Or was it, more limited, a revenge directed at one weekly magazine for what some perceive as blasphemy? 2. Is freedom of expression practised or curtailed for various reasons? How real is that freedom in the West? Just a couple of days before the Paris massacre PEN in the U.S. published a report – Global Chilling – finding that about 75% of writers report that they are influenced by the NSA listening and abstain from taking up certain subjects or perspectives? Self-censorship, in other words. Finally, most of the political leaders marching in Paris on Sunday January 11 have clamped down on media, such as Turkey and Egypt. I must admit that I have experienced limitations in the practise of that freedom in my work with Western media and it is decades ago I draw the conclusion that things like political correctness, ownership, commercial/market considerations and journalists’ need for good relations with power – e.g. to obtain interviews – play a role. I’ve been on the ground in conflict zones and returning home to see reports so biased to tell very little of what I’ve seen myself. And […]

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Depiction of the Spiral of Violence

Or, rather, of violence against violence + terrorism against terrorism. Among the marchers against terrorism and for freedom of expression we find leaders from France, Denmark, Egypt, Italy, Turkey, Russia, the U.S., Israel, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Bahrein and Ukraine. What do they have in common? A deep belief in violence – violence of various types: 9-10 of them presently fighting […]

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