Peace Rank: Balkans and Eastwards

June 14, 2010

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is implemented by organization called Vision of Humanity, which groups together a number of interrelated initiatives focused on global peace. As its mission Visions of Humanity brings a strategic approach to raising the world’s attention and awareness around the importance of peacefulness to humanity’s survival in the 21st century. Now on May Vision of Humanity published its fourth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI). It has been expanded to rank 149 independent states and updated with the latest-available figures and information for 2008-09.

Indicators

The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from respected sources, which combine internal and external factors, such as violent crime, political stability and military expenditure, correlated against a number of social development indicators such as corruption, freedom of the press, respect for human rights and school enrolment rates and relations with neighbouring countries. These indicators were selected by an international panel of academics, business people, philanthropists and members of peace institutions.


Some reservations:

  • Vision of humanity, its expert panel and GPI are representing mainly western methodology, approach and values
  • GPI is based to data available of different indicators and as such a compromise
  • The 2010 scores are based information collected mainly information for 2008-2009 so there is some delay

With these reservations I however find GPI both interesting and useful and anyway I haven’t seen any better global survey.


The Rank


To the table below I have collected the GPI rankings from the Balkans and Eastwards on countries analysed in 2010 report. In addition I have included to table also top-3 and worst-3 countries, the BRIC countries and USA. Besides 2010 ranking I show also rankings in 2009, 2008 and 2007 reports to see trend during last years as this may help to track when and how some countries become more or less peaceful. Countries most at peace are ranked first. A lower score indicates a more peaceful country. My source – Vision of Humanity Org, GPI results, full list of 149 countries, methodology and other explanations and scores per country/indicator can be found from here!

Country 2010 2009 2008 2007
Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score
New Zealand New Zealand 1 1.188 1 1.202 4 1.350 2 1.363
Iceland Iceland 2 1.212 4 1.225 1 1.176
Japan Japan 3 1.247 7 1.272 5 1.358 5 1.413
Slovenia Slovenia 11 1.358 9 1.322 16 1.491 15 1.539
Croatia Croatia 41 1.707 49 1.741 60 1.926 67 2.030
Romania Romania 45 1.749 31 1.591 24 1.611 26 1.682
Bulgaria Bulgaria 50 1.785 56 1.775 57 1.903 54 1.936
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 60 1.873 50 1.755 66 1.974 75 2.089
Albania Albania 65 1.925 75 1.925 79 2.044
Moldova Moldova 66 1.938 75 1.925 83 2.091 72 2.059
People's Republic of China China 80 2.034 74 1.921 67 1.981 60 1.980
BrazilBrazil 83 2.048 85 2.022 90 2.168 83 2.173
Republic of MacedoniaMacedonia (FYR) 83 2.048 88 2.039 87 2.119 82 2.170
United StatesUSA 85 2.056 83 2.015 97 2.227 96 2.317
The image “https://i0.wp.com/europeandcis.undp.org/uploads/public1/images/Montenegro_Flag-RESIZE-s925-s450-fit.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Montenegro 88 2.060
Serbia Serbia 90 2.071 78 1.951 85 2.110 84 2.181
Ukraine Ukraine 97 2.115 82 2.010 84 2.096 80 2.150
Armenia Armenia 113 2.266
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan 119 2.367 114 2.327 101 2.287 101 2.448
TurkeyTurkey 126 2.420 121 2.389 115 2.403 92 2.272
IndiaIndia 128 2.516 122 2.433 107 2.355 109 2.530
Georgia (country) Georgia 142 2.970
Russia Russia 143 3.013 136 2.750 131 2.777 118 2.903
AfghanistanAfghanistan 147 3.252 143 3.285 137 3.126
Somalia Somalia 148 3.390 142 3.257 139 3.293
Iraq Iraq 149 3.406 144 3.341 140 3.514 121 3.437

Some developments

Central and Eastern Europe remains, on average, the third most peaceful region, after North America. The recent members of the European Union are ranked highest, with Slovenia leading the way in 11th place. Non-EU countries in the Balkans are ranked between 60th and 90th in the 2010 GPI and nations in the Caucasus and Central Asia occupy the lower reaches of the index, as before. Croatia also fared well, with a robust score increase and a rise of eight places to 41st position, amid growing political stability and improved relations with neighbouring countries as it closed in on accession to the EU. Romania’s score also deteriorated sharply and it dropped 14 places in the overall ranking. Particularly large score rises for Russia and Georgia, which were embroiled in conflict in 2008. Serbia and Montenegro were covered earlier as the state and the scores of Serbia does not include Kosovo province as figures from there were not available.

Findings

One of the more remarkable findings from the 2010 Global Peace Index is that societies that are highly peaceful also perform exceptionally well in many other ways. The most peaceful societies share the following social structures and attitudes peaceful also perform exceptionally well in many other ways. The most peaceful societies share the following social structures and attitudes

Photo: dreamstime.com

Well functioning government

Sound business environment

Respectful of human rights and tolerance

Good relations with neighbouring states

High levels of freedom of information

Acceptance of others

High participation rates in primary and secondary education

Low levels of corruption

Equitable sharing of resources.

These qualities act as a facilitator making it easier for people to produce, businesses to sell, entrepreneurs and scientists to innovate and governments to regulate. A detailed review of these qualities is contained in discussion paper.


Monetary value of peace

Peace has also its monetary value in terms of business growth and economic development. The index authors estimate that the total economic impact of an end to violence could have been US$28.2tr between 2006 and 2009. A 25% reduction in global violence would add an annual $1.85tr to the global economy. If an improvement of 25% in global peacefulness could have been achieved in 2009 then this would have unleashed $1.2 trillion in additional economic activity. (Source: Peace, Wealth and Human Potential)

However also war has its monetary value and in short term business – especially inside military-industrial-complex – world the profits from war can be more attracting than those from peace. In my previous article “Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?”. I described situation as follows:

Global military industrial consumption per year is 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars, representing a few percent of GDP and still rising. U.S. share of the cake is about 40% to the current year, 664 billion dollars. This is a good comparison of the UN budget (27 billion), which is a sum of nearly three per cent of its Member States on military expenditure. UN’s “Millennium Development Goals” are dreaming 135 billion per year, this one only a fraction of military spending.

An other comparison (dollars / year): the world’s military spending 1.2 trillion, the OECD Development 106 billion, Peace work 6 billion and 0.6 billion of conflict prevention. The international community is now willing to invest 200 times more to the war than peace. Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but development of tools for killing is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers.

Peace and global challenge


Global challenges, such as climate change, decreasing biodiversity, lack of fresh water and overpopulation, call for global solutions and these solutions will require co-operation on a global scale unparalleled in history. Peace is the essential prerequisite because without it the level of needed co-operation, inclusiveness and social equity necessary to solve these challenges will not be achieved. The big challenge at global, regional and state level is to strengthen factors – or “drivers” of peace in social structures and attitudes.

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Gaza Flotilla – a successful manoeuvre with win-win changes

June 3, 2010

“If ships reach Gaza – victory, if terrorized by Zionists – victory.(PM Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas)

The Gaza Flotilla is a model example of successful PR action to gain political aims. Israel sent commandos on an “aid” flotilla trying to pierce the blockade that both Israel and Egypt have imposed on Gaza, a territory controlled by the Islamist Hamas. Six vessels carrying nearly 700 activists after mission organizers ignored the Israeli government’s weeks-long call to bring the cargo to an Israeli port, where it would be inspected and transferred to Gaza.

When the Israeli soldiers then took over six ships five of these agreed to follow the orders of soldiers from Israel Defence Force (IDF) to redirect their route to the port of Ashdod instead Gaza strip. However one ship, the Mavi Marmara, was different than the other five ships of the flotilla. The Mavi Marmara was sponsored by a Turkish humanitarian relief fund -IHH – and there the Israelis meet a resistance that clearly – and fatally – caught them by surprise.

The death toll some 9-16 as well dozens of wounded ones from both sides spread into head lines in world media. Already now it is possible to size up the Islamist manoeuvre as tactical success. The question from the very beginning was not the humanitarian aid, if it were then the sponsors of the flotilla would have worked with Israel and Egypt to bring in the aid by land after a requested inspection of the goods. And they would not have declared victory in advance, regardless of whether any suffering was alleviated, as Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh did earlier claiming that it did not matter if the aid reached Gaza or if it was intercepted. The humanitarian supplies brought on board were just a ploy to hide their avowed political objective.


Unnecessary provocation

If taken the flotilla case away from its political context or from real objectives of the flotilla organizers the whole event was possible to avoid. Israel did all it could to stop it. Appeals to Turkey went unheeded and that country let the flotilla sail and gave its assistance. Israel offered to have all humanitarian supplies brought to the Ashdod port where they could then be sent to Gaza through our crossings. Israel also asked the “peace militants” to transmit a letter to captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who has been in Hamas custody for almost four years.

The militants were not interested in any humanitarian operation. They wanted to carry out their joint Arab-European propaganda offensive against Israel in order to delegitimize the Jewish state, deepen its isolation and provoke an international outcry.

Israel lost the information war

The operation of Israeli Commandos took place 4.30 am. At 09.00 am the Israeli government was still silent about events. First official statements from Israel came at 3.45 pm – that is nearly 12 hours too late. It is clear that when other side had possibility to tell their side of story so this first impression also spread globally as given fact. Besides the drama about aggressive attack against poor civilians and massacre is always easy to sell due choking headlines. First strike in media was a success and has already got its political impact.

IHH – militants instead of peace activists

The Foundation for Human Rights, Liberties and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) played a central role in organizing the flotilla to the Gaza Strip, is a Turkish humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic anti-Western orientation. Besides its legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and at least in the past, even global jihad elements. IHH has strong sympathy among Turkey’s ruling party, but is banned in Israel, which accuses it of links to Hamas and al-Qaeda. IHH’s orientation is radical-Islamic and anti-American, and it is close to the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas’ parent movement). IHH is a member of the Union of Good, an umbrella organization of more than 50 Islamic funds and foundations around the globe, which channels money into Hamas institutions in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories.

The CIA as long ago as 1996 noted it was linked to “Iran operatives” and gave “support for extremist/terrorist activity”, including in Bosnia. In 2001, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, the prominent French counter-terrorism magistrate, said at the trial of the “millennium bomber” that IHH had played “an important role” in the plot to blow up Los Angeles airport. He said the charity was “a type of cover-up” to infiltrate mujahideen into combat, get forged documents and smuggle weapons. In 2006 Turkish security forces raided the IHH’s Istanbul bureau and found firearms, explosives and bomb-making instructions, as well as records of calls to an al-Qaida guest house in Milan. The Turkish investigators concluded this “charity” was sending jihadists to Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan.

More about IHH and similar Islamic organisations in “The role of Islamic Charities in international terrorist recruitment and financing” by Evan F. Kohlmann – a publication of Danish Institute for International Studies

Peace activists?

On board the Mavi Marmara ship that arrived as part of the flotilla towards Gaza was a group of approximately 40 people with no identification papers, who are supposed to be mercenaries belonging to the Al Qaeda terror organization. This group wore bullet-proof vests, and carried with them night-vision goggles, weapons, and large sums of cash. Gaza flotilla participants chanted Islamic battle cry invoking killing of Jews. The name Khaibar mentioned in battle cry was the last Jewish village defeated by Muhammad’s army in 628. Video “Kill the Jews” about Gaza flotilla can be found here (Palestinian media watch/Al-Jazeera, 29.5.2010)

Reasonable doubt

In my opinion the embargo is an acceptable measure taken between entities that are in a state of armed conflict, as are Israel and Hamas-run Gaza. On 4 Nov 2009 Israel caught approximately 200 tons of weapons, rockets, and missiles were found on the ship – Francop – disguised as civilian cargo flying an Antiguan flag, which was intercepted and brought to the Ashdod port. This cargo were smuggled by Iran to Hezbollah. (Slide show about case here)


Humanitarian Aid”

The cargo was taken off the boats at the Ashdod port and checked there, in accordance with the Israeli embargo on Gaza. Much of the equipment and supplies aboard the “humanitarian” ships for Gaza has been checked and found to be worthless. Many of the medicines are expired and/or came in an assorted, not easily organized manner. In addition, much of the equipment is in poor condition. Despite this, it is being taken to the Kerem Shalom crossing, and will be distributed in Gaza by human rights organizations.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza however is alarming. Israel allows about 15000 tonnes of humanitarian aid like food and medicines into Gaza every week, but not enough e.g. construction materials. Besides emergency relief the international community gives also huge donations for capacity building activities. One problem however is that The impact of the international assistance is poor if not even non-existent in relation to sustainable development. As The Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS) concluded “it has been almost impossible to trace any positive impact of these mobilized resources on the ground” . More about MAS analysis in “Placebo effect for people and society with 20 bn bucks” .

Conclusions

“Bit by bit Israel is turning into more of a burden than asset for the US,” (Mossad chief Meir Dagan)

The Gaza Flotilla was successful political manoeuvre planed by Hamas and their supporters. Success was guaranteed by win-win position of operation. Either the Flotilla goes through blockade or Israel uses force to stop it – with both cases Hamas could take a tactical win. The later option realized even better than dreamed: There were casualties, there were Western politicians, aid workers from Israel’s former ally Turkey, there were other useful public figures brought along for camouflage to guarantee media coverage. Same time IDF acted according insufficient information without sufficient force and was late in its media response giving the theatre on hands of Hamas. The early conclusions that Israel aggressively attacked Turkish aid vessel carrying desired humanitarian relief to Gaza will have its effect to political climate long time.

What EU can do? First EU could consider is the two-state solution an option any more, is it worth still waste time with this dead road map. Then EU among others and especially with local stakeholders could facilitate developing some new alternatives such as three-state option or similar. What EU should not do is to continue its hypocrisy based on manipulated media by political PR campaigns such as Gaza flotilla.

The most severe impact in short term is that Israel’s relations with Turkey could be unfixable. The US will have more and more difficulties in UNSC defend Israeli’s viewpoint and US lead proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians could be stopped. UN, EU etc also will put pressure for Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza. Israeli’s position that the successful arrival of the flotilla in Gaza would have created “a corridor of arms smuggling” is not gaining wide understanding now and the new flotillas are already on the way.

My related articles:

The Three-State Option could solve Gaza conflict”

Gaza War: Could Balkan history show way out?”

Will (East) Jerusalem be the End of Two-State Illusion?

Placebo effect for people and society with 20 bn bucks”



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