BalkanBlog, crisis management

R2P vs Facades of Interventions

The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a relatively new international security and human rights norm to address international community’s failure to prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.  When and where to intervene has came more and more actual question during last decades in western foreign policy.  The wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have been claimed to be justified attacks in name of humanitarian intervention or recently due the R2P norm. On the other hand there is questions why the same nor has not been applied in Syria, Somalia, Burma, Sudan etc.  Official high-flown statements are normally dealing R2P issue from perspective of humanitarian need or to build a democratic state in intervention region. In my opinion an opposite approach is more dominating on the ground – approach where intervention logic is traced from needs and motivations of intervener not from those in mission theatre.

From my point of view the key question is whom the interventions are protecting. The answer may be related to three issues:

  1. Does the implementing power have economical, military and/or political interests in the intervention region?
  2. Is the possible intervention region on border zone of sphere of economical, military and/or political influence?
  3. Is some party in possible intervention region enough rich or skilful to manipulate public opinion in intervener countries to get them on their side?

Looking interventions during last twenty years most of the mentioned three issues have been driving force for attacks. Balkans draw new lines in sphere of influence between great powers, same with Afghanistan in addition that country has also raw materials, in Libya and Iraq oil and gas fields were good motivation as they are also with possible attack to Iran in near future. In all cases the biggest beneficiary has been U.S. military-industrial complex. One could estimate that humanitarian interventions in Africa will start immediately when enough big oilfield will be discovered in conflict region.

Excerpt

R2P – Responsibility To Protect

The term Responsibility To Protect (“RtoP” or “R2P”) was first presented in the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in December 2001. As the UN debated major reforms of its human rights system, the idea of committing to an international R2P gained support from many governments and civil society organizations from all regions. UN Security Council’s Resolution 1674 on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict includes the first official Security Council reference to the Responsibility to Protect. On January 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a report entitled Implementing the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). The report outlines measures and actors involved in implementing the three-pillar approach as follows:

Pillar One stresses that States have the primary responsibility to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

– Pillar Two addresses the commitment of the international community to provide assistance to States in building capacity to protect their populations related to issues mentioned in 1st pillar.

– Pillar Three focuses on the responsibility of international community to take timely and decisive action to prevent and halt issues mentioned in 1st pillar.

Creating the facade

Manipulation of public opinion is effective way to get wider support for wars – and their huge costs – abroad. Terrorist and criminal organizations transform without delay into allies and/or freedom fighters (al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Bosnia, KLA in Kosovo, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, al-Qaedea figures now power in Tripoli) while the enemy will be demonized (Serbs, Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda). Number game with deaths is easy way to get attention in nearby regions. So in Bosnia the numbers needed were planned already some two years before Srebrenica, in case of Kosovo U.S. officials claimed that from 100,000 up to 500,000 Albanians had been massacred. When the figure later was near 10.000 from all ethnic groups together the bombings were already over.

With cases more far away from western civilization other fabrications – than number game – have been useful such as WMD’s in case of Iraq, safe haven for terrorists in Afghanistan and probably possible bombings against Iran will be justified with nuclear thread. One should also note that interventions can (secretly) begin before any public decisions (e.g. in Bosnia with operation “Storm” and in Libya special forces operated months before UN decisions).

The used operational chart with last big conflicts has been following:

1st creating imaginary thread (Iraq/WMD, Afghanistan/Taliban, Balkan Wars/ethnic cleansing…),

2nd destroying the enemy by cluster bombs, depleted uranium war heads, contract killing, torture etc.,

3rd bringing democracy and stability in form of puppet governments and ousting local more or less selected authorities.

Official high flown statement of course are speaking humanitarian intervention, R2P, peace enforcement, defending democracy etc to hide real motivations.

Not even the foggiest idea what’s next

One problem is that intervention plans cover only the first stage concentrating to get justification for attack and to get fast tactical military win and forgetting what to do after military success (or especially without it). In my opinion most of the problems in Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan are based to poor planning before intervention. For example in Bosnia despite international community’s state building efforts the country is splitting parts. Since war 15 years ago foreign aid has exceed USD 80 bn for artificial creature designed in Dayton agreement aiming multi-ethnic state with EU perspective. As a result Bosnia is now even more divided, with less national identity, 20 percent of population living under the poverty line, with a nightmare triple administration plus international supervising governor.

In Kosovo since intervention international community has worked over ten years with capacity building of Kosovo administration. First idea was to develop standards (of democratic state) before status (after being UN protectorate), then after couple of years the slogan transformed to “standards and status” and again after a couple of years “status before standards”; now after unilateral declaration of independence the standards have not been any significant issue in Kosovo and the outcome I have summarized as follows:

as Serbian province, occupied and now international protectorate administrated by UN Kosovo mission; as quasi-independent pseudo-state has good change to become next “failed” or “captured” state; today’s Kosovo is already safe-heaven for war criminals, drug traffickers, international money laundry and radical Wahhabists – unfortunately all are also allies of western powers”.

What will be the result with last intervention to Libya remains to seen but something tells the situation now in Tripoli where members of the Al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – LIFG, are now in control. Their commander Abd Al-Hakim Belhadj, an al Qaeda veteran from Afghanistan, now calls himself “Commander of the Tripoli Military Council.” So when U.S in the name of “war on terror” just killed al-Qaeda leader OBL it now helps radical Islam groups gain power In Libya in the name of humanitarian intervention.

One reason for failures of R2P might be poor situation analysis due lack of reliable information or as an intentional practice to avoid unwanted deductions.

Intervener problem

My conclusion is that the great powers implement interventions whenever and wherever they see it beneficial for their military, economical and/or political interests with or without UN approval while humanitarian and legal aspects are serving only nothing but a facade. One of the main problems with implementation of R2P is – in my opinion – that so far U.S and NATO have been the main actors with or without UN authorization. Public missions included e.g. the Implementation Force (IFOR) and Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia from 1995 to 2004, Operation Allied Force in Kosovo from March to June 1999 , the Kosovo Force (KFOR) from June 1999, and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan since 2001 and the latest one is Operation Unified Protector in Libya which began on 27 March 2011. In this framework R2P has reduced to one extension of U.S foreign policy and its needs and interests.

For increasing credibility of R2P principle the role of NATO should be minimized by strengthening capabilities of some wider organizations. The most important actor should be UN with its related bodies.

From European perspective the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) forms good base to develop R2P capacity; OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization and the most inclusive playing an essential non-military role in promoting peace and stability and advancing democracy and human rights in Europe. The OSCE offers a forum for political negotiations and decision-making in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.

It is sad that EU has outsourced its foreign policy to U.S., it is blindly following U.S. military suspicious strategies and cowboy policy only to have good transatlantic relations – this keeps EU always as bystander in international politics. However despite this the fact is that the EU already belongs to the world’s largest providers of international assistance so it could have a great role to play in responding more effectively to protect civilians from mass atrocities and in assisting other states and institutions to develop the capacity to do so.

Intervention logic should be applied

 From my perspective developing R2P from slogan to practice an intervention logic should be obligatory and it should be transparent as only through outside critics it can be justified as meaningful tool. I have some doubts if intervention logic even exists related (humanitarian) interventions during last decades.

In my opinion R2P is similar like other development programs or projects. There is identified crisis, problem that should be solved; objectives are defined, outputs, activities, resources (inputs) are planned to achieve immediate and finally overall objectives. This both ways vertical logic should be checked at each level by the horizontal logic specifying result indicators, control methods for achieving results, and the assumptions and risks which will affect outcomes. This procedure and its further developed forms – called as Logical Framework matrix or LogFrame – is normal practice e.g. while channeling international aid into field.

The core problem from my perspective with R2P is that the slogan is serving as facade of interventions not as principle supposed applied on the ground. The logic will be thrown away when real aims of activities are hidden. When the implementing power has economical, military and/or political interests in the intervention region – in the operational theatre – the problems and needs of supposed beneficiaries are minor points similar way than collateral damages are only regrettable side-effects during main mission. By applying logical framework approach to R2P it is possible achieve more comprehensive approach to conflicts including not only immediate intervention but also life after that. 

LogFrame for R2P figure can be found below and from LogFrameR2P

Intervention Logic for R2P by Ari Rusila

Ari Rusila’s BalkanBloghttp://arirusila.wordpress.com

Intervention Logic Horizontal logic

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a

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Vertical levels
Overall objective: wider goal, a project is steered to its attainment. At all levels ►►►►
1. Narrative description2. Indicators of achievement
3. Verification methods
4. Assumptions and risks
Immediate objective: a desired situation after completion of a project. It should be SMART (specific, measurable, accurate, realistic and time related)
Outputs are items of value developed by the project for the beneficiaries. With the aid of output resources, the beneficiaries should to achieve their immediate objectives.
Activities: to produce the outputs it is necessary to implement a number of certain activities ( tasks and actions)
Inputs are the material, human or financial resources for the completion of the activities

Creative Commons License
LogFrameR2P by Ari Rusila is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at arirusila.files.wordpress.com.
More e.g. in my related articles:

Interventions in general: Multifaceted Intervention Practices , Is Peace more than absence of the War? and Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?

U.S. practising intervention first in the Bosnian War 1992-95 and selecting terrorist/OC-groups to U.S. allies (More e.g. Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre? and Krajina – Victory with Ethnic Cleansing and the outcome Bosnia on the road to the EU, sorry to Dissolution )

Racak fabrication and “humanitarian intervention” aka since WWII first ever full scale bombing operation in center of Europe 1999 ( High pressure to fabricate Racak reports and 10th anniversary of Nato’s attack on Serbia)

About U.S. strategy in Afghanistan: Will COIN work in Afghanistan?

Other related articles: Libya Intervention is creating problems instead of solving them and Some framework to Syrian crisis

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Arab St., crisis management, MENA, Middle-East

Some framework to Syrian crisis

From June 10 the Syrian army began a siege on Jisr-al Shughour, NW Syria; local residents expected a massacre, proportional to the Hama massacre and in one week nearly 10.000 Syrians have escaped to Turkey. International media and public diplomacy is giving its high-flown statements about humanitarian crisis, some states may even demand to activate R2P principles – again. These are normal cover ups to hide de facto inactivity of international community. United Nations Security Council is facing immense international pressure to condemn Syria how it is copying protests at home.

Humanitarian aspect is however a minor point for international community, the key question is how events in Syria will affect on regional stability, what will be the outcome related to Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel as Syria is a key player in this context. Any destabilization of Syria in the fall of al-Assad will change the geopolitical map of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Some background

Last year, the United Nations Development Program released its Human Development Report for Arab states with the assistance of Arab scholars and researchers. The report stated that the Arab world is lacking in all areas of human development, such as freedom, empowerment of women and education. In addition, nearly 50 percent of the Arab world lives below the international poverty line. For the Arab world to merely maintain its current position, which is at the lowest rung on the development ladder, it will need to create 51 million jobs in the next 10 years. This socio-economic situation might be a common background for Arab Spring.

Syria has similar problems than the rest of Arab world. Several of the modern states of the Middle East were built on a mosaic of ancient religions, sects, and ethnic groups held uneasily and sometimes uncomfortably together by central government. Syria is a multi-cultural, multi-religious, secular and relatively tolerant country with a predominantly Muslim population (90%) and multi-racial background (Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Turkmen).

In Syria, the Baath Party has been in power since 1963. A state of emergency, which was imposed at that time remains in force. The president’s sources of power are the army and the security forces, which maintain a grip on the country. The Syrian police and security services are dreadfully effective and efficient, and that is why Syria has mostly been a stable and happy place to live for the past 50 years – the place to which Iraqi Christian and Muslim refugees have fled for safety.

When the wave of protests on the Arab Street started there was some demonstrations in Syria too. However, the Syrian regime managed to suppress the protest e.g. giving economic benefits, establishing a social relief fund with nearly 12 billion Syrian liras annual budget, increasing subsidies for state workers, creating a university graduate employment program and reducing some taxes. Same time the regime implemented firm suppression of all attempts of demonstrations as it has done years by attacking and squelching all opposition forces. The regime also tightened its control of the media and deployed more people to security forces. Opponents to Assad were using social media to prepare for a mass rallies using proxy servers to get around government restrictions on Facebook. Using of internet cafés is possible but users must register their names and police have the authority to confiscate the lists.

The Syrian government and non-government press openly supported the protests in Egypt and Tunisia, and did not hide its satisfaction over the ousting of presidents Mubarak and Ben Ali. The Syrian Democratic League called for a general strike and for civil disobedience against the authorities. There is big differences between Syrian revolt and the other Arab Spring events. In Syria the Dera’a street protests started with Sunni Muslims demanding that girls attending school should wear veils. The government refused, since veils are not compulsory under secular Syrian law. When the protests grew, the government gave in: girls in Dera’a are now forced to wear the veil.

During ongoing information war it might be wise some times to check also Syrian official position on issues. Real-time view of Syria’s regime can be checked from The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)

Real-time opposition view can be found e.g. from Facebook group “Syrian Upraising 2011 Information Centre”

Fragmented Opposition

The unions are strictly under the control of the state and, unlike Egypt, there has been no strike movement in Syria for decades. There are definitely people who want al-Assad and his regime to go: radical Saudi Wahhabites, Iranian Shia extremists; and the Muslim Brotherhood. Also the peasantry, the public sector working class, and the small and medium petite bourgeoisie in the towns and cities have been harshly hit by the so-called liberalization of the economy and are the ones on the streets.

Many Sunni Muslims in Syria and throughout the region feel that Assad’s Syria has unduly favoured the Alawites, a sect of Shiite Islam, who constitute some 12 percent of the population but control a vastly greater percentage of the country’s wealth.

Al Jazeera provided analysis of the largest opposition parties in Syria that might have great political influence in any change of power: Syrian People’s Democratic Party, Muslim Brotherhood, National Salvation Front, Movement for Justice and Development, Reform Party, Arab Socialist Movement, Arab Socialist Union, Workers Revolutionary Party and Communist Party of Labour. There is almost no national wide organization inside Syria among the protesters, however at local level some cooperation has took place. In the Governorate of Darr’a there has been signs of the organized working class beginning to move, with the trade unions severing all their links with the Ba’ath party.

There is not so much reliable information from the field but it seems that e.g. in Darr’a the intelligence forces were giving orders to the army units but at a certain point some officers refused to carry out the orders and turned their guns on the intelligence officers. Also in Facebook has been separate reports of a mutiny within the Syrian army but how widespread this has been is questionable.

 

Al-Assad has also supporters

Protests get head lines but speaking about revolt is overestimation; there should be at least ten times more people on the streets that one could call real uprising. The Assad’s regime has also its supporters as well those who keep neutral position to demonstrations. So far is the affluent middle class living in Syria’s biggest towns, Damascus and Aleppo, stood aside from the uprising. The Druze community which obeyed its leaders to stay out of it on orders coming from the Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. Syria’s Christians who are the backbone of the country’s business community actively supported the Syrian ruler. More than 100 Iranian and Hizballah officers placed their active experience in crushing opponents at Assad’s disposal. They brought with them a whole range of manpower and equipment for breaking up demonstrations against which the popular demonstrators were helpless.


The nascent bourgeoisie and the upper layers of the petite bourgeoisie (especially the merchants) have been accumulating immense wealth in the recent years at the expense of the masses and thus are coming out fiercely against the movement.

On religious side Syria has a variety of minorities such as the Protestants, the Chaldeans, the Armenians, the Roman Catholics, the Maronite Catholics, the Greek Catholics, the Greek Orthodox, the Russian Orthodox etc. Indeed Syria has been a safe haven to many minorities surpressed elsewhere. So one can estimate that these religious groups are more afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood or any radical or fanatic group leading the country towards theocracy, better them to keep the current Syrian regime in place.

Outside factors

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice has stated that there is evidence of active Iranian support for the Syrian government’s crackdown on demonstrators. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are being accused of suppressing the Syrian protesters at the orders of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Iran has denied any involvement in suppressing the protests. On the other hand, in mid-April, WikiLeaks revealed that the US has secretly been funding Syrian opposition groups with millions of dollars.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is also using foreign cards to divert attention from country’s unrest by creating drama on Syrian-Israeli border. On June 5th he allowed Palestinian demonstrators attack in Golan Heights over the border to Israel. For Nakba Day or 3rd Intifada events a nice story was created how Palestinian “refugees” are attempting to return to their “former homes”; however a Syrian opposition group published details of Syrian government payments to those involved in the border riots and infiltrations. Indeed according DEBKAfile Assad’s security machine even paid $1,000 for every demonstrator who cut a piece of razor wire from the Israeli border fence and $10,000 for the families of volunteers shot by Israeli troops before they reached their goal.

The Palestinians in the refugee camps in Syria have been one of the President’s most loyal populations. However after Nakba Day al-Assad can not any more count on them. There was some causalities among Palestinians who tried march over the border and when the young killed ones were returned to the Yarmuk refugee camp, the camp erupted in riots, the anger of which, “was not directed against Israel, but against those who dispatched these young Palestinians to the Israeli border”.

Turkish military intervention?

“If the crisis is spreading to the city of Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria, which are unique in terms of demographic mix of Islamic and Christian in Kurdish, as they may affect any security imbalance in Turkey directly.” (journalist in Al-Akhbar Ernest Khoury)

Turkey is deeply concerned by the Syrian disturbances and not only due humanitarian crisis on the border. Few years ago Turkey had warm relationship and various cooperation with Israel but Gaza flotilla changed the situation. Since then Turkey-Syria relations became deeper. One idea has been the creation of an economic bloc comprising Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, visa requirements are practically removed, cooperation with investments and technology know-how are rising. With Syria, this brought impressive results. Trade between Turkey and Syria reached last year $2,270bn. Cities close to the border like Gaziantep and Aleppo have enjoyed racing economic growth, thanks to this trade and an influx of Syrian and Turkish visitors taking advantage of visa-free travel.

Now there is rumours that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has secretly ordered his government officials to dump Ankara’s ties with Damascus with all speed; the fact is that he allowed Syrian opposition leaders to meet in Antalya on May 31-June 2 on ways to topple Bashar Assad. The turn is even more drastic as, according Debkafile at least, Turkish PM Erdogan on June 10, decided to move his army into northern Syria border and his government is considering defining its mission as the protection of civilian lives against a barbaric ruler citing the UN Security Council resolution on Libya. There is also plans that refugee camps will also go up on the Syrian side of the border to stem the flow into Turkey and rumours even limited Turkish military intervention in Syria and the establishment of a buffer zone.

The Turkey-Syria common border amounts more than eight hundred kilometers. Ankara has accepted nearly 10.000 refugees from Jisr al-Shughour and it is not prepared to take on tens or possible hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing from larger towns like Idlib, Maarat al-Numaana and the Kurdish regions abutting the Turkish border. Meanwhile President Assad has offered Syrian Kurds autonomy, and he invited Kurdish leaders for a meeting in Damascus right after the opposition meeting in Antalya.

Turkey is estimating that humanitarian crisis on the border can worse soon. One sign of this is that the Turkish organization IHH (Humanitarian Relief Foundation) is considering the cancellation of the Gaza flotilla due to the tensions along the Syrian-Turkish border. 22 different ships are ready to rendezvous in international waters south of Cyprus, and sail to Gaza. (Source: Haarez )

International inactivity

United Nations Security Council is struggling with its Syria resolution, this like previous EU statements are anyway empty symbolic acts of condemnation and will not prevent Assad to crack down the unrest. One of the obstacles with UNSC Syria resolution is the experience got from ongoing Libya operation. Eric Walton (Green International Affairs Critic/Canada)hits the nail on head as saying that “The intent of the R2P resolution around Libya was to protect civilians in imminent danger, and not escalate the conflict into a regime-change-by-bombing-into-submission exercise. This creates a bad precedent that will undermine the appropriate application of R2P by the UN Security Council in other crisis situations.” (Source: Green Party of Canada )

The problem in Syria is similar than in Libya. Related to ongoing operation it is estimated that the NATO attacks had not disabled a single one of Qaddafi’s five brigades. This could be true also in Syria with similar intervention. Also thinking situation after intervention the problem in Syria could be the same as in Libya. It looks like there is no one in the Libyan rebel political or military leadership capable of taking over the reins of power in Tripoli and it is therefore assumed that a member of the Qaddafi clan will be chosen as Libya’s interim ruler.

According unconfirmed reports President Barak Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev Friday, May 27, came to an reciprocal understanding on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Deauville about the fate of the Syrian and Libyan rulers. Obama is reported to have promised Medvedev to let Assad finish off the uprising against him without too much pressure from the US and the West. In return, the Russian president undertook to help the US draw the Libyan war to a close by means of an effort to bring about Muammar Qaddafi’s exit from power – in a word, the two big powers traded Qaddafi for Assad.

Energy aspect

Speaking about events and their effects on Arab Street, the energy aspect can not be ignored. Syria is in the middle of two important energy corridors: It links Turkey and the Caspian See to Israel and the Red Sea and it links Iraq to the Mediterranean. The Eastern Mediterranean gas fields have been the subject of negotiations between the E.U., Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. Aside from the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline, the existence of the Levantine natural gas fields is also the reason why the Kremlin has created a military foothold in Syria for the Russian Federation. This has been done by upgrading Soviet-era naval facilities in Syria. Moreover, it has been Iran that has agreed to explore and help develop these natural gas fields off the Levantine coast for Beirut and Damascus.

There is also new huge energy sources in Eastern Mediterranean – first Leviathan and Tamar fields some 90 kilometres west of Haifa/Israel with estimated 24 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 4.3 billion barrels of oil and second a bid north from Leviathan/Tamar fields Syria is seeking foreign investment for three offshore oil and gas concessions. If the present regime in Syria falls the question is who would control these energy routes. If western powers are taking more firm grip from Syria it would also mean that the large natural gas fields off the Lebanese and Syrian coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean would be out of reach for China and instead go to the E.U., Israel, and Washington.


Besides gas and oil also use of nuclear energy is actual in Syria as it is also in Iran. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has decided to refer Syria to the U.N. Security Council after the country failed to declare its covert nuclear reactor, which was discovered and destroyed by Israel four years ago.”Syria’s apparent attempt at constructing a covert, undeclared plutonium production reactor, a reactor with no credible peaceful purpose, represents one of the most serious safeguards violations possible,” said U.S. Ambassador Glyn Davies. (Source: Arcamax

Bottom line

If the Syrian army’s middle and lower ranks, drawn mainly from the country’s Sunni majority, which comprises some 75% of the population, begin to turn against the senior ranks where the Alawite minority (10%, including the Assad family) predominates, the regime could begin to fall apart. So the core question is whether the security forces, on which the regime was founded when al-Assad’s father took over in 1970, will stay loyal.

So far the upraising has been weak and took place rural areas or smaller towns. If the unrest will spread to Damascus and Aleppo and if revolt gets more popular support the change of regime can be a reality; whether the outcome afterwards will be a civil war remains to seen.

If the Syrian regime were to be severely weakened by popular dissent, Iran’s influence in Arab affairs would almost certainly be reduced – in both Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Open conflict between Sunnis and Alawites in Syria would profoundly disturb the whole region.

What is really happening in Syria is unclear and lot of disinformation is spreading. There might also be some biased campaign launched by some international mass media against Syria. The positive aspect could be that Nato’s “mission creep” in Libya undermines R2P in Syria and so may prevent international community to make new mistakes soon.

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Some of my other Middle East articles:

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Afghanistan, MENA

Multifaceted Intervention Practices

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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