The WPF Statement on Downing of Russian Military Plane by Turkey

November 25, 2015

The international community must be called upon to undertake responsible and careful action after the shooting down of a Russian military jet by Turkish air force. The tragic casualty must be investigated in an objective way. It has to be taken into account that Russian pilots were fighting against IS terrorism. The murder of one Russian pilot after his parachute jump by militia men is a clear crime against humanity. It cannot be tolerated and those responsible for that crime must be punished. This is also a task for the international community and must be fostered by everybody who is on the side of humanity's future.

It demonstrates once again how dangerous the ongoing civil war in Syria is for global peace and stability and how important are the efforts of the international community to find a peaceful and long-lasting solution as well as to intensify the public effort to prevent other clashes. This overreaction by one of the too many players in the Syrian crisis could easily lead to military escalation and confrontation which involves the danger of a World War III. So the incident underlines the urgent need of an immediate cease fire among the non-jihadist parties in the Syrian civil war followed by serious and unbiased attempts for a political solution. We also reiterate our previous demand that IS has to be cut off from its financial resources and supply of weapons.


Palestine, the Rule of Law and Global Power Politics

A Speech by Hans Köchler, President of the International Progress Organization, at the Special Meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People convened under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, United Nations Office at Vienna, November 24, 2015

It is sad to state on this solemn occasion that, in the year when the United Nations Organization celebrates the 70th anniversary of its foundation, a just and comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict still appears to be elusive. The UN General Assembly’s recommendation of 1947 has yet to be implemented in full. The political and legal reality is exactly the opposite of what that resolution had envisaged, namely the creation of two sovereign states living peacefully side by side. In fact, talk of peace has become virtually meaningless in the face of continuing occupation of Palestinian and Arab land for almost half a century, and of an ever more determined strategy of the occupying power to expand control over and possession of territory acquired by force – in contravention of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

This policy has not been reversed, or even softened, in all the years since – in fact a quarter century after the end of the Cold War – a so-called “peace process” was initiated and the “Oslo agreement” was signed, which has never been acted upon in good faith anyway. Over decades, subsequent Israeli governments have followed a strategy, and worked out corresponding legislation, to create ever-new “facts on the ground.” The absence of a global balance of power – since the end of the Cold War – has made the Palestinian and Arab position even more precarious and has limited the space for independent diplomatic action by concerned regional states and their intergovernmental structures.

Read more

ISIS Thrives on the Disunity of Its Enemies

By Patrick Cockburn, CounterPunch, November 23, 2015

The aftermath of terrorist attacks such as the massacre in Paris are a bad time to produce new policies, but they provide ideal political conditions for a government to take radical, if ill-thought-out, initiatives. Leaders are carried away by a heady sense of empowerment as a worried or frightened public demands that something be done in response to calamity and to prevent it happening again. The moment of greatest risk is not when the bombs explode or the guns fire, but when governments react to these atrocities.

Terrorism is, in the first instance, aimed at showing defiance, exacting revenge and demonstrating strength. But, to be truly successful, it needs to provoke a poorly considered overreaction by those targeted. This has always been true. The greatest success of the 9/11 hijackers was not destroying the World Trade Center, but tempting the US government into launching wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in which it failed to achieve its ends and which are still going on.

The French Affliction

By Come Carpentier de Gourdon, Sunday Guardian Live, November 21, 2015

The man sitting in front of me on a Parisian café terrace stared sombrely at the busy street and waved his hand at the crowd.

“We are slowly drifting towards a chasm,” he said, shaking his head. “The country will fall into civil strife in a decade or two but the authorities refuse to look at the problem yet. Neither our army nor our law enforcement agencies will be able to control the chaos.”

The other person at our table, a high ranking retired police officer nodded silently. His friend, who had uttered the gloomy prediction, was a well known journalist from what is usually called the right wing of the political spectrum.

This was in the mid-1990s. That conversation has remained in my ears ever since but it rang much louder when I saw in horror, but not in disbelief, the scenes of carnage and panic in Paris on 13 November, hardly two hours after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at Wembley stadium and his urgent warning about the threat posed by terrorism. I was not surprised either when it appeared that Saint Denis, the millennial heart of the French Christian monarchy and the mausoleum of its kings, now mostly inhabited by non-European Muslim populations and long ruled by the communist party, was the hub of the terrorist plots.

Terrorism and the Politics of Hegemony

By Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST)

There has been a massive outpouring of sympathy for the victims of the dastardly, heinous massacre in Paris on 13 November 2015. Once again, with the help of the media, the whole of the human family has come together to grieve with the bereaved in France.

I only wish there was a fraction of that sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of victims of acts of terrorism right across West Asia and North Africa (WANA) in the last few decades. In many instances these innocent men, women and children were also the targets of the terrorist group, the Islamic State (IS), the alleged mastermind behind the Paris carnage, and other equally vicious perpetrators of violence. But IS terrorism in WANA is seldom analyzed to its roots in the mainstream global media because it would reveal the ugly truth about the hidden hands that manipulate so much of the murder and mayhem in that region.

Ambassador Mousavian on Iranian Foreign Policy and Its Challenges

An Interview with Seyed Hossein Mousavian at Foreign Policy Concepts, November 12, 2015

Devising foreign policy in the Middle East today largely involves taking into consideration sectarian politics. What were the key dynamics that led to the current sectarian politics in the region?

In order to trace down the current state of affairs in the Middle East—where a whole host of menaces ranging from terrorism, civil wars, and unrepresentative regimes are hallmarks of its politics—we need to have a thorough observation of the historical intricacies that have brought about this situation.

To understand the root causes of sectarianism in the Middle East, I believe we need to consider the politics that were conducive to the development of a fertile ground for sectarian mindset in the region. The disintegration of the Levant region under the auspices of the “Sykes-Picot Agreement”, the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel backed by western powers and the whole Israel-Palestine conflict, western support of unrepresentative and corrupt regimes in many Arab states, and the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan in more recent years have all led to the current sectarian quagmire that we are facing in the Middle East.

Reflections on Paris, Beirut, and the Russian Airliner

A Letter from Nader El-Bizri, Professor of the American University of Beirut to Fred Dallmayr, Co-Chairman, WPF “Dialogue of Civilizations”, November 14, 2015

Dear Fred,

These are very sad days of mourning for us all, but they also offer us in the midst of sorrow a lucid and concrete situational context to aspire for going even beyond the “dialogue” between civilisations in view of accentuating the fact that we all face the same threat and the same enemy. The savage attacks of ISIS in Paris yesterday were preceded the day before by the horrific violence of ISIS against innocent civilians in Beirut, and just a few days before by the senseless ISIS terrorist act against the Russian civilian airliner. Many other episodes of the brutality of ISIS were witnessed across Syria and Iraq, and in the MENA region, and not only against minorities, but also directed towards the vast bulk of Muslims, by blasting worshipers in mosques and mausoleums, beheadings, etc. ISIS worships the nihil even if it claims with deceit to be “Islamic”. The Godhead of ISIS carries the name “Allah” but is unlike what the Qur’anic “Beautiful Names of Allah” actually mean across the various denominations of Islam.

Iranian Ex-diplomat Highlights Iranian, French, Russian Plan on Syria

Berlin, November 11, IRNA - Former Iranian deputy foreign minister Sadegh Kharrazi highlighted a joint Iranian, French and Russian initiative aimed at settling the Syrian conflict.

Speaking at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum on the future of the Middle East, Kharrazi said this plan was the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis.

Referring to the upcoming visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to France, Kharrazi said Paris could be the venue for unveiling this trilateral initiative.

He added unlike Europe and the US, France and Russia did know the Middle East rather well and could therefore help find a solution to the Syrian conflict.

The Empire of Chaos: An Interview With Noam Chomsky

By C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout, November 5, 2015

US foreign policy in the 21st century has little to offer other than massive military power. Indeed, gone are the days when military might was used in order to "recreate the world in America's image." In the post-Cold War era, US military interventions take place in the absence of an overall strategic vision and with ideological justifications lacking force and conviction even among the United States' traditional allies. Little wonder then that military interventions, always illegal and unjustifiable, end up accomplishing nothing more than the creation of black holes, while giving rise in turn to new and ever increasing violent terrorist organizations bent on spreading their own vision of social and political order.

In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Noam Chomsky reflects on the dynamics of US foreign policy in the 21st century and the implications of the policy of raining down destruction for world order. Chomsky also assesses the role of Russia's involvement in Syria, the rise of the Islamic State and the apparent attraction it holds for many young Muslims from Europe, and offers a grim view about the future of US foreign policy.