July 3, 2015

Interfaith Peace Treaty - An Introduction

Video Title: Interfaith Peace Treaty - An Introduction. Source: IIPSGP1. Date Published: April 28, 2015. Description:
Dr Thomas Daffier explains the complex thinking and years of experience underline the Interfaith Peace Treaty; he also invites colleagues to read the treaty in full and to sign as a declaration of commitment to humanity at peace.
Website: https://interfaithpeacetreaty.wordpress.com/

June 30, 2015

Envisioning the Future of Urban Warfare

Video Title: Envisioning the Future of Urban Warfare. Source: Atlantic Council. Date Published: June 23, 2015. Description: 
Approximately sixty percent of humanity will live in urban areas in the near future. These billions of people will not just inhabit cities, but megacities that will be economic, cultural, and political centers – and potential conflict zones. Conventional discussions about the future of warfare often fail to capture the epic challenge of preparing for – and preventing – urban warfare in megacities. With that in mind, the Art of Future Warfare project will host a discussion on Envisioning the Future of Urban Warfare at the Atlantic Council on June 23 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. It will be the capstone to a war-art challenge calling for graphic novel, or comic book, illustrations revealing what urban warfare might look like in the 2040s and 2050s.

To address this important topic, Max Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of World War Z, will join Jon Chang, the writer of the Black Powder Red Earth series, along with the winner of the contest. The best illustrations will be on display for all to see and the panelists will discuss the battleground that is expected to encompass sixty percent of all people in the near future. Most importantly, they will tell us what we should worry about, and what is merely conjecture.

The Art of Future Warfare project, housed in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, aims to create a world in which artists—writers, illustrators, directors, videographers, and others— and creativity enjoy a valued place in the defense establishment’s planning and preparation for the future of warfare and conflict.

June 29, 2015

Diplomacy Beyond the Nation-State

Video Title: Diplomacy Beyond the Nation-State. Source: AtlanticCouncil. Date Published: June 29, 2015. Description: 
In an era of diffuse power, the 2015 QDDR makes a strong case for much greater diplomatic engagement with non-state actors. Similarly, the Atlantic Council has long made the case that more systematized engagement with non-state actors ought to become a core component of the US government’s strategic outlook. The Council’s first Strategy Paper, titled Dynamic Stability: US Strategy for a World in Transition, asserts that in a ‘Westphalian-Plus’ world, states must be able to harness the power and capabilities of non-state actors in order to succeed diplomatically.

Ambassadors from Chile, Morocco, Singapore, and other nations will join the State Department’s Thomas Perriello, Special Representative for the QDDR, at this event. They will discuss the forces of change in the twenty-first century and how the interstate system must adapt to harness these forces within a rapidly evolving global system.

June 28, 2015

UN Chief Condemns ISIS's Worldwide Terrorist Attacks, But Neglects To Mention Their Most Targeted Victims

 Photo: ISIS using U.S. weaponry in Syria. Source.

An excerpt from, "Perpetrators of ‘reprehensible’ terrorist attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia must be brought to justice - UN" UN News Centre, June 26, 2015:
Strongly condemning the terrorist attacks carried out separately today in Tunisia, Kuwait and France, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored that, far from weakening the world’s resolve, the heinous incidents will only strengthen commitment to defeating all forms of terrorism.

In a statement released by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and France, and stressed, “those responsible for these appalling acts of violence must be swiftly brought to justice.”

In a separate statement, the UN Security Council condemned the incidents equally strongly, laying out the specific circumstances of the attacks: against a chemical products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, France, triggering an explosion and killing at least one through a gruesome beheading while injuring others; a bomb attack in a Shiite mosque in Kuwait City, Kuwait, killing at least 24 and injuring many more; and gunmen attacking a tourist hotel near Sousse, Tunisia, killing at least 37 and injuring many others.

The Secretary-General in his statement affirmed that, far from weakening the international community’s resolve to fight the scourge of terrorism, such heinous attacks would only strengthen the commitment of the United Nations to help defeat those bent on murder, destruction and the annihilation of human development and culture.
The UN chief condemned ISIS's worldwide terrorist attacks, but made no mention of its most damaging atrocities in Kobane, Hasakah, and other cities in Syria.

Just to put things in context, one person died in France as a result of an ISIS attack, and over 200 died in Kobane, many of them women and children.

ISIS also targeted a beach in Tunisia and a mosque in Kuwait in the past week.

Maybe the UN didn't highlight ISIS's terrorism in Syria because it is a war zone, while places like Kuwait, France, and Tunisia are not, but the fact of the matter is that the world is a connected web and many of these countries share responsibility for what has gone on in Syria, some more than others.

Wealthy private donors in Kuwait have helped finance ISIS's operations, the French government has trained ISIS recruits, and Tunisian authorities have not done anything to prevent unemployed youth from going to Syria to join ISIS. The U.S. and UN can point their finger at Assad all they want, but he isn't the main reason why ISIS has grown into the monster that it is today.

Also, this is not the first time the UN body has taken an inconsistent approach to terrorism. It stood back as Islamist terrorists took over Libya in 2011, calling them freedom fighters and rebels while ignoring their atrocities.

Video Title: UN chief Ban condemns attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait, France. Source: DD News. Date Published: June 26, 2015. Description: 
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and France and called for the perpetrators of "appalling acts" of violence to be swiftly brought to justice.

Deal Or No Deal?

Peace-makers? Bridge-builders? Only time will tell. Photo Source: AP.

An excerpt from, "Analysis: Iran Nuclear Talks — Where Things Stand" NBC News, June 28, 2015:
After years of marathon negotiations and several missed deadlines, crunch time has finally arrived for Iran's nuclear talks with the United States and five other world powers.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Sunday in Vienna with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, their third encounter since Saturday.

As gaps remained between all sides in the talks, Zarif planned to return to Tehran for 24 hours for consultations with Iran's leadership ahead of the June 30 deadline for a deal.

An enormous amount of ground already has been covered between Tehran and Washington, old foes who once referred to each other as "The Great Satan" and a member of "The Axis of Evil," respectively.

But despite this progress, there are still red lines to overcome before a deal can be struck.

America, Britain, Russia, France, China and Germany — known collectively as the P5+1 powers — want to ensure Iran cannot produce a nuclear weapon. They are asking for thorough inspections and written guarantees, resulting in harsh consequences if Iran does not hold up its side of the bargain.

In return, Iran wants an immediate end to the economic sanctions it says have crippled its economy. It also wants to rejoin the international community and lose its image as a global pariah.
The whole nuclear issue is a distraction, and an invented problem. It is not worth thinking about. The Ayatollahs are not motivated or interested in building a bomb. They're too clever for that. But that doesn't mean the U.S. and international community should award the regime with sanctions relief for proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is not building a bomb.

Sanctions shouldn't be lifted on the Islamic Republic until it recognizes Israel's right to exist and stops sending weapons and money to terrorist groups in Gaza. Giving the Islamic Republic sanctions relief for not building a bomb is silly since it was not building one in the first place.

At this point in the heated negotiations between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic there is no reason to be optimistic that a deal will get done. But even if a deal were to get done, it could unravel very quickly. Nothing is guaranteed. Israel and Saudi Arabia will seek to sabotage any deal as fast as possible. And with their anaconda-like grip on the U.S. and international media, they can spin the story in their favour in how ever way they want.

June 26, 2015

The Heat discusses US strategy in Iraq

Iraq is history. The sooner all parties involved accept that reality and embrace it the better it will be. The U.S. took a sledgehammer to Iraq in 2003, whether rightly or wrongly, and has pretended for twelve years to pick up the pieces as if the country is some jigsaw puzzle to solve. Sometimes, you just have to break with diplomacy, and tell it as it is because continuing to pretend has run its course. 

Title: The Heat discusses US strategy in Iraq. Source: CCTV America. Date Published: June 25, 2015. Description:
The Obama administration pledges more U.S. troops to help train and advise Iraqi forces the latest response to renewed violence from the Islamic State. Is this sound strategy or risky foreign policy?
The Heat discusses US strategy in Iraq Pt1

Pt 2

June 25, 2015

Syria: Rejection of Israel’s Claim That It Was Protecting the Druze

Video Title: Syria: Rejection of Israel’s Claim That It Was Protecting the Druze. Source: teleSUR English. Date Published: June 24, 2015. Description:
An attack on a Israeli military ambulance believed to be transporting Nusra Front militants in the Golan Heights has called into question Israel’s true motives for conducting operations in the Syrian territory. Scores of Druze youth, angry about recent attacks on villages where many of them have relatives, threw rocks at the vehicle. Syrian Druze rejected Israeli claims of protecting them and said that, in fact, Israel is the main enemy. Hazem Abdullay reports from Damascus for teleSUR.