Archive for the ‘UN matters’ Category

Aleppo’s Liberation one year ago – Anybody ashamed today?

By Jan Oberg

December 12, 2017, marks the anniversary of the liberation – the West called it fall – of Aleppo in Syria. What happened is conveniently forgotten today by the West.

Some of us can’t and won’t forget what was both world, regional and local history.

Important for Syria, for the West and for the future world order – for at least 5 reasons.

1. The Western mainstream media’s deceptive – constructed, ignorant, or both – narrative since 2011 was debunked.

Perspectives that media and political decision-makers deliberately omitted (remember omitted stuff is more important than fake):

• History and the colonialists’ role in Syria.
• The immense complexity of the Syrian society.
• Syria as a 7000 year-old civilisation and as end of the Silk Road.
• The decades-long conflicts underlying the violence, since CIA’s coup in 1949.
• The Western-driven regime change policies years since before 2011.
• Other causes of the conflicts than “Assad the dictator and his regime” such as environmental crisis, oil and gas, and its being partly occupied since 1967 by Israel.
• That nothing of the conflict complexity can de facto be reduced to a matter of one man’s role – like it couldn’t with Milosevic (now exonerated), Saddam, or Ghadafi;
• That this may have been a civil war for about a week but then almost 7 years of international aggression by thousands of foreign groups, Western governments/arm suppliers and their Saudi-led allies.
• Syria’s right under such circumstances to self-defence according to Article 51 of the UN Charter.
• The major role in the utter destruction of Syria played by NATO countries, Turkey particularly when it comes to Aleppo, and Western allies such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states; all was simply ”the dictator/regime killing his own people”…
• That Russia and Iran was the only foreign powers legitimately present according to international law.
• That the UN was sidelined – again – and tasked with the impossible role of making peace out of such member state policies.
• The media interest in Syria disappeared immediately after Aleppo’s liberation as if orchestrated by one conductor. Silence.
• And Facebook and Google Search changes algorithms…

The media coverage stopped there and then – like musicians under a conductor, obeying the tiniest move.

2. It marked the end of the West’s attempt at regime change since 2012

It had started formally on Dec 12, 2012 – on the day four years earlier, in Marrakesh. “Friends (!) of Syria” declared Assad’s government illegitimate and set up a Syrian National Council – without, of course, asking the Syrian people it was supposed to represent. Here’s AlJazeera’s/AFP’s coverage of that cruel decision.
Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo # 434: Nuclear weapons use within months – Part 1: Why?

By Jan Oberg*

Part II here.

That’s what I hold quite likely in case the present US administration under Donald Trump’s formal leadership continues down the path its in-fighting militarist fractions seem to have chosen.

We’re in the worst, most dangerous situation since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sitting down and hoping for the best is neither responsible nor viable or wise.

I can only hope that I will be proved wrong. That the present extremely dangerous tension-building will die down by some kind of unforeseen events or attention being directed elsewhere.

The world could quite well be drifting toward what Albert Einstein called ’unparalleled catastrophe’. It’s something we may – or may not – know more about when President Trump returns from his trip to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam (APEC where he also likely to meet Russian President Putin) and the Philippines.

Except for 93-year old Jimmy Carter offering to go to North Korea, we witness nobody taking any mediation initiative – not the UN’ S-G Guterres, not the EU, not European NATO countries, not BRICS, not single countries like Sweden, not… well, you name them.

It’s about denial, about heads deep down in the sand, people hoping for the best at the moment when humanity’s future is in the hands of a couple of leaders from whom they would probably not buy a used bicycle.

That this silence all around is a roaring fact, is about as tragic and dangerous as the situation itself. Read the rest of this entry »

The One and Only Path to Palestine/Israel Sustainable Peace

By Richard Falk

Prefatory Note
This post is a slightly modified version of my presentation to the Human Rights Commission of the Italian Parliament on October 11, 2017. The Commission is composed of members of Parliament and chaired by Hon. Pia Elda Locatelli, representing the city of Bergamo. The presentation was followed by a discussion, and a generally favourable response on the central issue of switching from an emphasis on ‘occupation’ to ‘apartheid.’

An Overview of Present Realities

We meet at a difficult time from the perspective of the Palestinian people: several developments nationally, regionally, and internationally now deprive Palestinians of that glimmer of hope that comes from seeing light at the end of the tunnel; more fully appraised, the situation is not as bleak for Palestinians as the picture of their struggle being painted from a realistic perspective.

A series of factors pointing in both directions can be identified, first to highlight the negative developments from a Palestinian perspective, and then to set forth several developments that are positive with regard to the Palestinian national movement aiming for decades to achieve a just and sustainable peace.

(1) The foreign policy priorities of regional and international political actors have increasingly shifted attention away from the Palestinian ordeal; developments internal to Israel have deliberately accentuated this inattention to Palestinian goals and rights; of special relevance in these regards are the ongoing wars and turmoil in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq, as well as deteriorating relations and rising tensions of the Iran/US relationship.

Further, there are the moves toward normalization of relations with Israel by the Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia; and the unsteady diplomatic approach of the Trump presidency that seems accurately interpreted as supportive of whatever the Israeli government chooses to do, including even accelerated settlement expansion and a rejection of the Palestinian right of self-determination.

(2) Israel and Zionist support groups have launched a variety of initiatives designed to convince the Palestinians that they have been defeated, that their struggle is essentially futile at this stage, and they should move on for their own sake, overtly renouncing their struggle and posture of resistance.

The pro-Zionist Middle East Forum, founded by Daniel Pipes has even sponsored a so-called ‘victory caucus’ that basically proclaims an Israeli victory as a way of demoralizing Palestinian activism and global solidarity efforts by treating Palestinian goals as a lost cause. Read the rest of this entry »

Putin’s Ukraine proposal should be explored

By Jonathan Power

To its credit the Soviet Union and its successor state, Russia, has long supported UN peacekeeping, a practice that originated in 1960 in the time of UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold, who evolved the concept during the great Congolese civil war when it was in danger of becoming a Cold War flashpoint.

But what Russia has never contemplated is UN troops in its own backyard. “Summoning the UN deep into Russia’s historical space is a serious step”, Dmitri Trenin, head of the Moscow Carnegie Centre, told The Economist recently.

There does seem to be a shift in Moscow’s thinking on this highly sensitive issue.

Last month President Vladimir Putin put forward a plan for the deployment of UN troops in south-eastern Ukraine. Not that he imagines their use along the Russian-Ukrainian border – that would be too much – but he wants them to divide the fighting forces inside Ukraine. Read the rest of this entry »

Establish an International Tribunal or Commission on the International War In Syria


It’s time – long ago – to establish an International Tribunal/Commission on the Entire International War In Syria.

Jan Oberg Comment

You should be sick and tired of blame game around selected events and misuse of international law in Syria. I am!

Process instead the entire war and give justice and reconciliation to the Syrian people who have suffered incredibly.

Here is the interview in which I am saying that.


Why is the UN still so important – while it must also be reformed?

By Jan Oberg

Why is the UN still so important – in spite of having had its Charter violated repeatedly during the last 25 years?

Why should we not – cynically – side with the cynical and powerful countries that want to undermine and marginalise the world’s finest organisation with the most Gandhian-like document ever signed by governments?

What is the real UN and what does its Charter really say?

Jan Oberg tries to cover some of the answers in this 6 min video produced as Facebook Live on October 24, 2017.





Evolving International Law, Political Realism, and the Illusions of Diplomacy

By Richard Falk

International law is mainly supportive of Palestinian grievances with respect to Israel, as well as offering both Israelis and Palestinians a reliable marker as to how these two peoples could live normally together in the future if the appropriate political will existed on both sides to reach a sustainable peace.

International law is also helpful in clarifying the evolution of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination over the course of the last hundred years. It is clarifying to realize how the law itself has evolved during this past century in ways that bear on our sense of right and wrong in the current phase of the struggle.

Yet at the same time, as the Palestinians have painfully learned, to have international law clearly on your side is not the end of the story. The politics of effective control often cruelly override moral and legal norms that stand in its way, and this is what has happened over the course of the last hundred years with no end in sight.

The Relevance of History

2017 is the anniversary of three crucial milestones in this narrative:

(1) the issuance of the Balfour Declaration by the British Foreign Secretary a hundred years ago pledging support to the World Zionist Movement in their campaign to establish a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine;

(2) the passage of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 seventy years ago proposing the partition of Palestine between the two peoples along with the internationalization of the city of Jerusalem as a proposed political compromise between Arabs and Jews; and

(3) the Israel military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip over fifty years ago after the 1967 War.

Each of these milestones represents a major development in the underlying struggle.

Each combines an Israeli disregard of international law the result of which is to inflict major injustices on the Palestinian people. Without due regard for this past, it will not be possible to understand the present encounters between Israelis and Palestinians or to shape a future beneficial for both peoples that must take due account of the past without ignoring the realities of the present.

Israel is sophisticated about its use of international law, invoking it vigorously to support its claims to act in ways often motivated by territorial ambitions and national security goals, while readily evading or defying international law when the constraints of its rules interfere with the pursuit of high priority national goals, especially policies of continuous territorial encroachment at the expense of reasonable Palestinian expectations and related legally entrenched rights.

To gain perspective, history is crucial, but not without some unexpected features. Read the rest of this entry »

UN Under Siege: Geopolitics in the Time of Trump

By Richard Falk

Why the peoples of the world need the UN: multilateralism, international law, human rights, and ecological sustainability

A Point of Departure

When Donald Trump withdrew American participation from the Paris Climate Change Agreement in early June of this year a bright red line was crossed. Most obviously, there were a series of adverse substantive consequences associated with weakening an agreement that was promising to provide critical interim protection against severe harms to human wellbeing and its natural habitat threatened by further global warning. U.S. withdrawal from Paris was also a rather vicious symbolic slap at multilateralism under UN auspices.

We should recall that the agreement was rightly hailed at the time as the greatest success ever achieved by way of a multilateral approach to international problem solving.

The Paris Agreement was indeed a remarkable achievement, inducing 195 governments representing virtually every sovereign state on the planet to sign up for compliance with a common agreed plan to address many of the challenges of climate change in the years ahead. To reach such an outcome also reflected a high degree of sensitivity to the varied circumstances of countries, rich and poor, developed and developing, vulnerable and less vulnerable.

The Paris withdrawal also exhibited in an extreme form the new nationalistic posture adopted by the United States in relation to the UN System, and a major retreat from the leadership role at the UN that the U.S. had assumed (for better and worse) ever since the Organization was established in 1945.

Instead of fulfilling this traditional role as the generally respected cheerleader and predominantly influential leader of most multilateral lawmaking undertakings at the UN and elsewhere the U.S. Government has instead apparently decided under Trump to become obstructer-in chief.

This Trump/US assault on the UN approach to cooperation among sovereign states and global problem solving and lawmaking is particularly troubling. This manifestation of the new American approach in the policy domain of climate change is particularly disturbing. Read the rest of this entry »

The BAN Treaty – why it’s significant and why some have isolated themselves from civilisation

By Jan Oberg

The Debate on PressTV with Jim Walsh, MIT

And here the link to a partial transcript

UN Peacekeeping gets tougher

By Jonathan Power

The United Nations is often scapegoated for the falling short of its peacekeeping troops and deployments. Why are they not in Syria or Yemen, Libya or along the Palestinian/Israeli border? Why did the US and the UK make it impossible for the few UN troops present at the onset of the genocide in Rwanda to have their numbers significantly augmented? As a result those few on the ground had no choice but to withdraw when some of their members were killed and their genitals stuffed in their mouths.

All good questions if not easy to answer. In Syria, for example, where exactly would they be deployed?

But a better question is why didn’t they go in at the beginning of the civil war when things weren’t so complicated and Al Qaeda and ISIS were not around?

Then there is the bad behaviour of UN troops.

In Mali, French peacekeepers were found to have engaged in paedophile activity with local children. In the Congo peacekeepers from the Indian subcontinent have been found to be raping. In Bosnia, Dutch troops washed their hands and pulled back after they felt they couldn’t do anything to avert the onset of a pogrom that happened almost before their eyes.

In Somalia, US troops supposedly there under UN command, fled when the going got rough, and then President Bill Clinton blamed the UN for the debacle.

On the other side of the coin are the great unsung victories of the UN troops – in El Salvador where at the end of the civil war the UN held the ring and organised fair elections. In Namibia at the end of the colonial war against South Africa the UN did the same. In Cyprus it averted a Bosnian-type Christian/Muslim war. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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