The deeper reason why Syria negotiations are doomed

26.01.2016 - Pressenza Hong Kong

The deeper reason why Syria negotiations are doomed
Negotiations were supposed to start in Geneva today, January 25, 2016. The media is full of analyses of why it won’t happen and how virtually everybody disagrees with everybody else about who should be there and who should not.  All this is just surface, however.

By Jan Oberg

Objectively speaking it is of course hugely difficult. No one would envy chief UN envoy, Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura. That said, a totally different perspective may be helpful:

It has to do with a simple distinction that few in the international community are able to make – that between the conflict and the violence in the conflict zone.

Almost all conflicts can be mitigated or solved – but the more violence infused into the conflict (and the longer it lasts), the more difficult it will be to find a solution – because on top of the original conflict you build anger, sorrow, wish for revenge, traumas and justifications for counter-violence.

It’s a simple as that.

Everybody confuses the two – the underlying conflict that should have been addressed from Day One and the violent means that should not have been delivered from outside in the shape of arms, ammunition and bombings.

However, the world’s decision-makers continue – seemingly unable to learn –  to put weapons before peace.

The Syrian conflict had to do with peaceful demonstrations, an authoritarian human-rights-violating national leadership, an environmental crisis that had made people migrate into cities; it had to do with an immensely complex history, society with many groups and factions – and with the interests of neighbouring countries.

And it came in the wake of failed wars and weaponization /wars of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

And all conflicts have to do with grievances, incompatible goals and wishes, fears, trauma, economic/development issues and other structures as shaped through history.

And they have to do with the West’s historical influence – mostly violent and detrimental – in the region.

All of that is left aside. The focus is on nine other superficial matters – see below.

So, yes, turmoil all over the place – but also something somebody somewhere should have learned something from. They did not. They put military “security and stability” before peace – and lost it all.

The Western world – read US/NATO, Russia joining later – un/anti-intellectually brought it all on the old, hopelessly false and counterproductive formula’s 9 elements… Continue reading here.

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TFF provides research and public education related to the basic UN Charter norm that “peace shall be established by peaceful means”.


Jan Oberg – TFF director.


Categories: Middle East, Opinions, Peace and Disarmament
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