MH 17: Who Stands to Gain?

By Chandra Muzaffar, President, International Movement for a Just World (JUST), July 26, 2014

From Tonkin to Ghouta there is a discernible pattern when it comes to the fabrication of evidence to justify some nefarious agenda or other. As soon as the event occurs before any proper investigation has begun, blame is apportioned upon the targeted party. This is done wilfully to divert attention from the real culprit whose act of evil remains concealed and camouflaged.


Europe Awake!

Fred Dallmayr, Co-Chairman, World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”

In this year, 2014, we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, that ferocious war in which “Old Europe” - the Europe of the “Belle Epoque”, the Europe of traditional monarchies and dynasties - was destroyed. For the peoples of Europe it was an immense bloodletting, epitomized by trench warfare and the battle of Verdun. The war also laid the foundation for subsequent catastrophes. While dubbed “the war to end all wars”, the concluding treaties of Versailles and Trianon ushered in a “peace to end all peace.” The conditions imposed on the vanquished in these treaties were so harsh and ill-conceived that resentment was bound to flare up and, after barely two decades, erupted in an unprecedented paroxysm of mayhem and destruction on a global scale.

The commemoration of the great European war should not be the occasion for finger-pointing and posthumous recriminations - an exercise which, although dear to some historians, can only stir up nationalistic resentments. The much more fruitful and beneficial outcome of the commemoration is (or should be) the determination to keep Europe in the future free from warfare on its soil. This is the basic purpose of the European Union and the Council of Europe and of the whole process of European integration during the past half century. This means that Europe should be a zone of peace.

Unfortunately, there are developments which threaten to undermine the role of Europa as a peace zone. The greatest danger is that Europe might become the victim of "great power" rivalry. There are ominous danger signals in the present crisis in the Ukraine. Although the solution of the crisis is patently simple and obvious - the “federalization” of the country (which has repeatedly been proposed) - there are forces at work seemingly opposed to a peaceful solution and bent on pushing the country into civil war, and even into an all-out war between West and East. Given the latter horizon, the crisis takes on the character of another “proxy war” between big powers - similar to the proxy war which has raged in Syria, but now much closer to the European heartland. In some political circles, one already talks about a possible war between America and Russia, even though this may result in nuclear war (a possibility that is now openly accepted in the same quarters).

In this situation, one has to ask: who is going to be the most likely and most immediate victim? Given its location between America and Russia, Europe is bound to be the site of the most direct and immediate nuclear devastation. This means: it is time for Europe to wake up from its slumber and from its pliant submission to great power politics. As Juergen Habermas rightly pleaded some time ago: Europe has to develop its own foreign policy. The first step should be to bring pressure to bear on all sides to stop the proxy war in Ukraine. Europe should do everything possible to induce contestants in the Ukraine to assemble around a table and to negotiate fair terms of peace. This would be the proper European way to commemorate 1914.

Endorsed by:

Vladimir Yakunin, Founding President, World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”
Chandra Muzaffar, President, International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia
Vladimir Kulikov, Executive Director, World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”
Hans Köchler, President, International Progress Organization, Austria
Paolo Raimondi, Economist, Editorialist of the Economic Daily ItaliaOggi, Rome
Yasien Mohamed, Professor, University of the Western Cape
Dimitri Kitsikis, Honorary President, The Dimitri Kitsikis Public Foundation; Professor Emeritus, University of Ottawa, Canada

War in Ukraine / Tragedy of Flight MH 17: Urgent Call for Independent International Investigation

International Progress Organization
Information Service
Chisinau / Vienna, 26 July 2014

In a statement issued today, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, who is presently on a fact-finding visit to Eastern Europe, has called for the establishment of an impartial and independent investigation of the circumstances of the crash of Malaysian Airlines 17 over rebel-controlled territory in Eastern Ukraine. Between 2000 and 2002, Dr. Koechler served as international observer of the criminal trial following the destruction of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. He was nominated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the basis of a binding resolution of the UN Security Council.

The former UN observer explained that, because of the ongoing civil war in the eastern part of the country, the Government of Ukraine, itself a party in the conflict, is not only effectively unable to conduct an investigation, but cannot guarantee its independence and objectivity. Under these circumstances, Article 5.1 of Annex 13 (“Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation”) of the Convention on International Civil Aviation – which obliges the “State of Occurrence” to institute an investigation – is not applicable.

An investigation has to be international, Dr. Koechler explained, and it must be ensured that no party to the conflict in Ukraine is in a position to influence its outcome.

Click here to read the full text

War in Gaza: Agreement on Ceasefire Must Address Root Causes of Conflict

Statement of the International Progress Organization

Vienna, 24 July 2014

The international community, represented by the United Nations Organization, has a joint responsibility to stop the ongoing armed conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people in Gaza. The situation constitutes a serious threat to peace and security according to Article 39 of the UN Charter. Due to their political paralysis resulting from disputes among member states, neither the League of Arab States nor the Organization of Islamic Cooperation can play any constructive role for the ending of hostilities.

The Gaza Massacre - the Underlying Motives

By Chandra Muzaffar, President, International Movement for a Just World (JUST), July 21, 2014

Massacre has become a habit. Every two or three years, Israel launches a massive military assault upon largely unarmed Palestinians in Gaza. It did this in December 2008 to January 2009. It did it again in November 2012. On each occasion hundreds of Palestinians are murdered and thousands more maimed.

Every time, Israel claims the moral high ground for its brutal, barbaric action. It blames Hamas, an important component of the Palestinian liberation movement, for the present cycle of violence. It alleges, without an iota of proof, that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens on 12 June 2014. Hamas has denied any involvement. The death of the teens - a despicable act - provided the justification for a large-scale operation against Hamas and other so-called militants. Israeli authorities arrested a number of activists including those who were released earlier.

The World We've Constructed is far beyond George Orwell's Worst Nightmare

An Article by John Pilger published at AlterNet on July 11, 2014

The other night, I saw George Orwell’s 1984 performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”


The Iraq Crisis Puts India's 'Strategic Partnership' with America into Question

An Article by Kanwal Sibal, former Foreign Secretary of India, published at Daily Mail on July 8, 2014

Current developments in Iraq expose further the failure of US policies in West Asia.

With all the resources at its command, of information, analysis and technical expertise, and the sense of responsibility that must accompany the overwhelming power it possesses, the US should not be committing egregious mistakes in dealing with an unstable region like West Asia, riven with historical enmities, issues of nationhood, religious extremism, sectarian conflict and terrorism.

Instead of stabilising the region and releasing forces that would bring about real improvements in governance, participatory politics, institution building and social modernisation, US policies have largely done the opposite.

The Dialogue of Civilization in Central Asia and the Ethno-religious Policy of Independent Kazakhstan

A Speech by Dr. Alessandro Lundini, IsAG Associate Researcher, “Eurasia” Programme, delivered at the Conference “Minorities at the Time of the Clash of Civilizations. Models of Multiculturalism and Dialogue”, Rome, June 4, 2014

The Conference was organized by the Institute of Advanced Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences (IsAG) under the patronage of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”, the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the Italian National Research Council (CNR).

Click here to read the Speech