Multifaceted Intervention Practices

March 25, 2011

For years the EU has outlined a common foreign, security and defense policy (CFSP, ESDP) and has even created the EU battle troops (EUBG) and established its own European External Action Service. However recent developments in Libya once again clearly showed the insignificant role of these EU activities. One could ask, if those new systems really are needed or could it be better for EU to go backwards redusing it to focus to the original visons and structures of the European Coal and Steel Community and European Economic Community (ECSC and EEC).

Somehow it was characteristic, that while United Nations and the EU were deciding their statements for Libya, the British and the Americans special forces had been operating there already for at least three weeks preparing military intervention. Wheter the intervention really was needed is a bit unclear for me. William Bowles gives one view about this inervention in his essay Kosovo Revisited (kind of) :

It (intervention) started life with well-placed atrocity rumours, created by ex-Gaddafi sidekicks that got the whole ball rolling. A classic Kosovo move: plant fake stories of ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Serbians (all the while arming the fascist Kosovo Liberation Army, who had been committing atrocities and funding their operations from the heroin trade), then send in NATO and bomb the shit out of the natives.

Essential in any case from my point of view is that the preparation of military intervention, the decision-making and the execution itself took place outside the structures of the EU which was totally bystander during the whole process.

Interventions and wars have their own logic and its own motivations behind brave EU statements. In my previous article Libya Intervention is creating problems instead of solving them I described some motivations of intervention. Recently The Guardian gave a disgusting example from Afghanistan related to intervention practice on the ground. Officially international community and ISAF troops are building administrative capasity for Afghanistan, spreading there also democracy and other Western values. How this works at grassroot level – here an example from the Guardian related to new type of sports activities:

An American soldier has pleaded guilty to being part of a “kill team” who deliberately murdered Afghan civilians for sport last year. Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, 23, told a military court he had helped to kill three unarmed Afghans. “The plan was to kill people, sir,” he told an army judge in Fort Lea, near Seattle, after his plea. Morlock detailed how he and other members of his Stryker brigade set up and faked combat situations so that they could kill civilians who posed no threat to them. Four other soldiers are still to come to trial over the incidents. This week the German magazine Der Spiegel published three pictures that showed American soldiers, including Morlock, posing with the corpse of a young Afghan boy as if it were a hunting trophy. Some soldiers apparently kept body parts of their victims, including a skull, as souvenirs.

No wonder that local population in Afghanistan wants more or less to get rid of foreign “helpers” and Libya does not want (Western) “humanitarian” intervention either. The intervention has many forms and some of them appear to be relatively distant from official high flown ideals.

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Libya Intervention is creating problems instead of solving them

March 20, 2011

Air strikes to Libya started after related UNSC resolution. In my opinion sc “Responsibility to protect” principle (R2P) could be applied if Gaddafi would use against opposition weapons of mass destruction – such as mustard gas (almost ten tonnes in his possession), bioweapons, ” yellow-cake “uranium, Scud-B missiles, or if he with help of foreign mercenaries starts ethnic cleaning of demonstrating tribes. Information from the field is, again, so contradictory that I do not know if my later criteria realized. In addition, if military option will be used so I think that it should be implemented by Arab League or African union forces not by western powers to avoid operation to be colonialist in character.

The intervention – or better to say bombings – are implemented mainly by French, British or U.S. Forces. I hoped that the implementation – at least formally – had be done by the Arab League. Now I can not avoid the impression that the purpose of operation is only to take possession the Libyan oilrecerves, seizing The National Oil Corporation (NOC seems to be the world’s top 25 in business rankings), the potential privatization of NOC and distribution its wealth to new foreign owners. Still unclear is how much of the company will receive Yankee, French and British companies, will China be played out out and whether there is anything left for Italians. If Libya’s financial institutions are dismantled and billions located in Western banks will be confiscated so Libyans will be permanently blocked out from further development of their natural resources. Did I forgot the humanitarian side – so what, who cares?




Active role of France in the war can be well understood not so much of its the historical dominance in region but more reflecting the coming French presidential election and the extremely low support figures of Sarcozy.

Implementation of no-fly zone began when French fighters destroyed four tanks. Unconfirmed reports claim that the airstrikes and cruise missiles have hit also civilian targets and that missiles have had also depleted uranium in their warheads. If this is true one can only ask whether Western powers have learned anything from the Balkan wars, from Iraq and Afghanistan.


Yesterday, I doubted if I understood the no-fly zone completely wrong after following the practice of its implementation. Maybe I’m not the only one done so or what one could imagine the Arab League’s views:

The Arab League chief said on Sunday that Arabs did not want military strikes by Western powers that hit civilians when the League called for a no-fly zone over Libya. In comments carried by Egypt’s official state news agency, Secretary-General Amr Moussa also said he was calling for an emergency Arab League meeting to discuss the situation in the Arab world and particularly Libya. “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians,” he said. “He requested official reports about what happened in Libya in terms of aerial and marine bombardment that led to the deaths and injuries of many Libyan civilians.”

I think in this situation, the NATO bombing against on ground targets should immediately be stopped, as neutral as possible information from the field should be get and the Arab League should take a leading role in the implementation of UN resolution. In addition, the international community might consider if there is already is some R2P cause to intervene to Yemen, Bahrain and maybe to Syria too in coming days.

Some of my recent articles over MENA region:


Support for Iranian Opposition

March 4, 2011

While Libya has become the focal point in international media covering the events on Arab St. one should not forget Iran either. DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources reveal that the two prominent opposition leaders, Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, were secretly hauled out of their homes in sacks Thursday, Feb. 24 and taken to the infamous Parchin prison in Tehran. Their wives have also disappeared. Their families deny official claim the two leaders are at home.


Organization of Iranian People’s Fadaian (Majority) has send a letter to EU leadership to intervene more actively to pressurize the Iranian government so that it respects human rights in Iran. As the letter includes in my opinion good background information as well a draft for action plan of this possible intervention I hereby publish the letter mentioned below:



سازمان فدائیان خلق ایران(اکثریت)

Organization of Iranian People’s Fadaian (Majority)

http://www.fadai.org/english.htm international-relations@fadai.org

 

R.nr 138 1st March, 2011
I.G.e.v
PB 260268
50515 Cologne
Germany

Tel:0049/221/37770

Behruz.khaligh@fadai.org

 

Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council

Mr. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

Mr. Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament

Ms. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Dear Sirs,
Dear Madam,

 

According to family members of two Iranian opposition leaders, Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, and some other reports, the above-named persons have been arrested and jailed on the eve of a nationwide protest on 1 March 2011. Their children have not seen in public or the two, since just before the Feb. 14 protests which they had called for. The reports indicate that both men and their wives, Mrs. Zahra Rahnavard and Mrs. Fatemeh Karroubi, are now incarcerated at Heshmatieh prison in Tehran. Today, Mr. Mehmanparast, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declared the issue to be an internal affair, which only confirms the arrest and nothing more.

We, the Organisation of Iranian People’s Fadaian (Majority), are concerned about the latest developments in the attitude of the Iranian regime to the symbolic figures of the “Green movement”. A violent escalation against them could degenerate into a more widespread bloodbath of political opponents and civil society activists in Iran. Only today, there were demonstrations and protest actions in Teheran and some another cities in Iran, resulting in more killings and arrests. The need for action is urgent.

We now ask the European institutions to intervene more actively to pressurise the Iranian government so that it respects human rights in Iran. We call in particular for an urgent and concerted diplomatic initiative aimed at the immediate release of Messrs. Moussavi and Karroubi and their wives and the lifting of contact restrictions imposed on them; aimed also at confirmation that their physical integrity, which seems now seriously threatened, is being safeguarded.

This initiative could include in particular:

– Summoning simultaneously Ambassadors of the Islamic Republic of Iran accredited to the countries of the European Union to demand the immediate release of Messrs. Moussavi and Karroubi and their wives and the lifting of contact restrictions imposed on them; also, to protest strongly against violations of human rights in Iran;

– Demarche by European Union Ambassadors accredited to Iran along the same lines;

– Announcement of a visit to Iran by the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iran and / or the Sub-Commission on Human Rights of the European Parliament including a request to visit Messrs. Moussavi and Karroubi;

– A proposal by the European Union addressed to UN bodies, including the Council for Human Rights, which is meeting in Geneva in March 2011, to appoint a Special Reporter for Human Rights in Iran;

– A proposal by the European Union to the Security Council of the United Nations to adopt targeted sanctions against members of Iranian security forces responsible for violations of human rights, including the Basij;

– Adoption by the EU of autonomous sanctions along the same lines.

The human rights situation in Iran is more dangerous today than at any time since June 12, 2009. The people of Iran expect the international community, including the European Union, to support them in preventing a surge of violence by the regime and to ensure that human rights and the demands of justice and freedom are respected at last.

Yours sincerely,

 

Behruz Khaligh

Head of the Political and Executive Committee

Organization of Iranian People’s Fadaïan (Majority)

 

Note (AR)

The Organization of Iranian People’s Fedai Guerrillas (OIPFG سازمان چريکهای فدايي خلق ايران) was originally a radical Marxist-Leninist movement in Iran in 1971. The group fought against the Shah regime and later after the 1979 revolution, against the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. OIPFG has had many internal divisions, e.g. in 1979 some separatist formed sc Iranian People’s Fedai Guerrillas while former OIPFG cadres formed the Organization of Revolutionary Workers of Iran. Majority of the organization members did not believe in armed struggle any more and at the new political atmosphere recognized the Islamic Republic as an anti-Imperialist state. OIPFG was divided into OIPFG (Majority) and Organization of Iranian People’s Fedai Guerrillas (Minority). OIPFG (Minority), which broke away from the main organization, was pursuing a more radical line. On 1981OIPFG (Majority) supporters announced that the group would cease to conduct guerrilla warfare and was renamed Organization of Iranian People’s Fedaian (Majority).

Some of my earlier Iran articles:

 

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