Category Archives: Zeitgeist

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.

 

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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.

Thanks for the friends’ and followers’ boom

During the last two weeks I have received almost 800 friend requests on Facebook and about 1000 new followers. It’s overwhelming and warms my heart beyond words.

Many many thanks for your trust and support – and for not only thinking it but taking time to tell it.

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I can only assume that it is all because of my visit to Damascus and Aleppo. Literally thousands have thanked me for my short texts and photos from there – and for taking the risk going there.

Lots of people go to difficult places, be they humanitarian workers, journalists, photographers, UN people, other diplomats or civil society organisations. But – regrettably, I would say – it is not often I’ve met other researchers in war zones.

Those of us who go, go because we feel we have a duty, because we are curious and must see for ourselves and because a visit opens doors to people, to the suffering and to natural human solidarity.

Media focus on all those with weapons in their hands – the warlords. I’ve always felt enriched and grateful to all the others one can meet, wonderful people who stand up and stand together, struggle, help their neighbours – and survive the other main type of people present, the murderers who get all the fame.

I’m no hero. Just that you know. Many (more) could do what I do.

But back to the social media boom, I’ve just experienced. Continue reading

The refugee mis-handling and the EU’s decline

Turkey’s coup – Another example of the West’s disintegration

Here is my take on the July 15 coup in Turkey – why it happened the way it did and what is the least unlikely hypothesis – followed by some examples of regional and international consequences this coup is bound to have.

And it ends:

NATO comes across as a very tired alliance that should have been closed down or re-invented itself 25 years ago when its raison d’etre – the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact – disappeared. (That was always false because the Warsaw Pact was created 6 years after NATO had been established).

And, then, now this coup too – and rapid decent into instability, extreme authoritarianism, chaos and possible violence or civil war in Turkey.

One may wonder what the Western press and politicians would have made of such purges had they happened in Russia or Iran? Now we hear mainly vague ’worries’ or full endorsements of a dictator. Self-censorship because of Turkey’s NATO status, or what? Why?

One crack in the Empire after the other. Indeed, we are living in interesting – and dangerous – times.

EU’s so-called refugee crisis – and what should and must be done

Commenting on PressTv on July 22, 2016 after yet another tragedy in the Mediterranean. But how much did the media cover that in comparison with the Nice tragedy – and Hollande’s killing of 120 innocent civilians as revenge for Nice (which at the time was not known to have any connections to ISIS or similar).

Fearology and militarism – But the real enemy is us

JO2016_1_10Sepia_275By Jan Oberg

Published on July 8, 2016, the day of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. It’s the 5th in the TFF Series “The New Cold War”

Russia and NATO have offensive capacities and MIMACs (Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex) but NATO’s is a much larger potential threat to Russia than the other way around

Why does an alliance with such an overwhelming superiority shout and scream and see ghosts on the horizon when, in reality, there are none?

Why does it seem to be intellectually unable to see things from the side of its opponent? Is the show of strength in reality a sign of weakness?

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A threat consists of two main things: An intention to do something negative to you + acapability to actually carry it through – thus I + C.

Whenever NATO S-G Stoltenberg – a person who has gone through a serious personality change – speaks, he says nice things like: NATO does not seek confrontation and none of its moves are directed at Russia. NATO countries just have to protect themselves against Russia which they see as a threat.

Typically the talk is about an actor, a country, a leader – not about issues or trends that challenge the Alliance and certainly not that its own war adventures have weakened it in moral and legitimacy terms.

On their own side, NATO leaders buy none of – similar – Russian peace rhetorics.

Continue reading

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