Category Archives: United Nations

Keep focus on Aleppo and global dimensions of Syria

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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.

MS – Markedsført Sandhed og Syrien? Med tillæg om en god dialog

Introduktion tilføjet den 7. februar 2017

Som det fremgår i en kommentar under denne artikel blev både MS’ forkvinde, Helle Munk Ravnborg og generalsekretær, Tim Whyte, kede af min udlægning omkring MS “markedsføring” og holdning til Syrien. Naturligt nok.

Mit indlæg var skarpt formuleret – der skal af og til sparkes i løgsovsen også for den gode sag som MS i sig selv jo er. Men de valgte alligevel til min store glæde at invitere mig til en snak.

Det møde havde vi så i dag den 7. februar over deres kaffe og min medbragte mazarintærte.

Jeg indledte med at undskylde at der i min artikel (som står herunder som den blev skrevet) findes et par formuleringer, der kunne tolkes af de to som et personangreb; det var ikke tilsigtet og jeg mener jo som alle andre fornuftige mennesker – oh, Gandhi! – at man skal gå efter bolden og ikke spilleren.

Vi havde 90 minutters sober snak og gensidig lytten, udforskning af vigtige temaer. Man kan sige at min konfrontation ledte til dialog og endog nogle konstruktive idéer til fremtiden.

ms

Jeg lærte at det er svært at balancere når man – de såvel som jeg – bliver vred over den lidelse vi ser uskyldige udsættes for. Og at man let kommer til at tage parti i kampens hede for den ene eller den anden part i stedet for måske at tage afstand fra alles vold.

At det kan være svært at have alle fakta på plads (og at vide hvad der er empirisk holdbart og hvad der er fordrejning) inden man tager stilling og mobiliserer opinion. Aktivisme går jo gerne gå lidt hurtigere end det dér 5-10 årige forskningsprojekt.

At MS ikke – som jeg havde fået indtrykket af – har et markedførings-firma, der hjælper dem med den stil, de har på hjemmesiden, på blogger og i taler; det er deres egne folks måde at gøre det på.

At de er dybt bekymrede over at mennesker føler så stor magtesløshed og at det vigtigt at organisationer som MS forsøger at skabe møder, pladser og forløb hvor denne magtesløshed – der er så farlig for demokratiet – kan erstattes af fællesskaber og konstruktiv aktivitet.

Og at MS så at sige arbejder med sig selv og har en løbende intern debat om både form og indhold i kampagner.

Jeg følte både åbenhed og respekt og det er jeg glad for.

Derfor delte jeg også lidt af min erfaring med hensyn til hvordan man kan analysere de underliggende konflikter, som volden er symptomer. Jeg mener at symptom-diskussioner let leder til golde debatter om skyld. Det ville være bedre at fokusere mere på konflikternes karakter over tid end på “hvem der er værst” til at bruge vold – fordi symptom- og skylddiskussioner ikke kan lede frem til dialoger om fredens muligheder.

Og at det er freden, der er MS’ historie eller essens og ligger både Tim Whyte og Helle Munch Ravnborg varmt om hjertet – ja det er der jo ingen tvivl om.

Jeg foreslog så nogle konkrete ting som jeg mener MS måske kunne tænke over og måske gøre fremover og at det er vigtigt at være for nogen eller noget snarere end at være imod – og de blev opfattet med stor interesse.

Så meget at vi blev enige om at mødes igen når jeg er hjemme fra næste rejse til Syrien.

Dét ser jeg meget frem til. Så tak for idag, kære venner.

• • •

Mellemfolkeligt Samvirkes nye stil og måden at håndtere Syrien på bør blive en parentes i organisationens liv. For der må være tale om enten uvidenhed eller uhæderlighed.

Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke er slået ind på den amerikansk inspirerede linje med professionel markedsføring, reklamesprog og iscenesat aktivisme samt – og ikke mindst – en bestemt politisk holdning vedrørende visse internationale spørgsmål.

 

Den nye humanitære industri

Det er muligvis en del af den nye humanitære industri hvor regeringer, humanitære og menneskerettigheds-organisationer samt medier gør fælles sag vedrørende krigszoner. Det indebærer selvsagt at “N” i NGO, Non-Governmental Organisations, kommer til at stå for “Near” og ikke “Non.”

Civilsamfundet tenderer at udhules og demokratisk dialog mellem folk og regering forsvinder. Langsomt men sikkert.

Organisationer som Læger Uden Grænser og Human Rights Watch påtager sig roller som både partiske medier i felt og politiske eksperter og gør det politisk korrekt i forhold til især vestlige militære interventioner.

Det er altsammen affødt af den kendte men tvivlsomme doktrin om humanitær intervention eller Responsibility to Protect (R2P) – hvor spørgsmålet i en begrænset verden er: Intervention hvor? Mod eller med hvem? Af hvem? Vil vi gøre mere skade end gavn? Og hvor gider vi ikke intervenere?

Svaret på det sidste er: dér hvor største menneskelig behov findes og hvor der samtidig ikke findes strategiske interesser eller mulighed for at bruge våben.

I dagens verden flyver de fleste landes humanisme F16. Også det officielle Danmarks. Ren humanisme, medmenneskelighed og ægte solidaritet er faldet ud af den politiske værktøjskasse.

 

M for Markedsføring – og USAs valg

Vælger man denne let smarte markedsføring-og-politik strategi i denne nye industri skal man være godt klædt på forinden.

Det findes der, som jeg ser det, to årsager til at MS ikke synes at være. Continue reading

“Shadow World” – on your tax money

I’ve felt deeply touched by Johan Grimonprez’ brilliant and frightening documentary “Shadow World” which is based on Andrew Feinstein’s book with the same name.

I want to share it with my readers and here is all about the book and the movie. It was shown in November 2016 by Swedish Television with Swedish text but is due to be taken down a couple of month later.

shadowold

It will help you understand US foreign policy, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and all the rest in 90 minutes.

You may of course choose to put your head in the sand and avoid it thinking of such things.

But it’s this criminal system that will shape our – your! – future and end freedom, democracy, development, international law, security and peace as we have come to know it…

  • that is, if you don’t join hands with millions around the word and do something about it.

And all you probably do about it at the moment is to enable it to be even more destructive.

Because it is all based on your tax money.

 

Obama is urged to make closer ties with Iran

In an open letter – hardly mentioned by the Western mainstream press, a group of high-level and rather “Realpolitik” US diplomats, scholars, military and politicians urge President Obama to take concrete steps to intensify the co-operation with Iran.

There are obviously concerned that the U.S. shall be perceived as an obstacles for the implementation of the JCPOA, or the Iran Nuclear Deal that, on Thursday the 14th, turns one year.

I argue here why I think it is very important that the U.S. moves ahead, one because it was a good deal under the circumstances and, secondly, because it could have absolutely terrible consequences if the deal and its provisions are not honoured – both in Iran, for the Middle East and for the credibility and honour of the US and the rest of the West.

Here my comments on Iran’s international channel, PressTV:

PressTV

Much stronger than during the First Cold War: Why is NATO so irrational today?

By Jan Oberg

The third article in the TFF series on The New Cold War

We are witnessing a remarkable increase in tension between the US/NATO and Russia these years – and it can not only be explained by whatever we choose to think happened in Ukraine and Crimea. We find a totally new effort on both sides to use social and other media to tell how dangerous “they” are to “us”. There is a clear tendency to “fearology” – to instill fear in the citizens on both sides about the capabilities and intentions of the other side.

We find deeply concerned articles about the possibility of war between the two parties – a quarter of a century after the Berlin Wall tumbled.

Why is the new tension rising in Europe between US/NATO and Russia so manifestly dangerous and – with the exception of the Cuban Missile Crisis worse than during the First Cold War?

On a series of indicators, the political Western world – US/NATO/EU and Christian (Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic with sects) – is becoming weak relative to other players in the global society.

The West has engaged in a series of wars that turned into very costly fiascos – from what followed from Sykes-Picot which turned 100 in May 2016 over Vietnam to the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

The West is still the largest economic bloc and the 28 NATO members cover about 70% of the world’s mind-boggling US $ 1700 billion military expenditures. Africa as a continent, BRICS countries – China in particular – are making progress, also in fields where the West has failed; for instance, China has lifted 400 million Chinese out of poverty in a couple of decades. The wealthy West has done nothing of the sort over centuries but produced a grotesquely, perversely unequal income distribution.

Continue reading

“Peace, Conflict, Democracy”

The West leaves, a multi-polar world comes

Jan Øberg – Video lecture – Part 1/3

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