Ing. Salih CAVKIC
Editor in Chief
Paris nor Brussels!
We want to live in peace with all
regardless of their religion, color and origin.
Therefore, we condemn any
kind of terrorism!
Ne više Pariz ni Brisel!
Mi želimo živjeti u miru sa svim našim
bez obzira koje su vjere, boje kože i porijekla.
Zato mi osuđujemo svaku vrstu terorizma!
Prof. dr. Murray Hunter
University Malaysia Perlis
Years to Trade Economic Independence for Political Sovereignty -
Aleš Debeljak +
Defense of Cross-Fertilization: Europe and Its Identity
Contradictions - Aleš Debeljak
DEBELJAK - ABECEDA DJETINJSTVA
- INTERVJU; PROSVJEDI, POEZIJA, DRŽAVA
Rattana Lao holds a doctorate in Comparative and International
Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and is
currently teaching in Bangkok.
Director of Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana,
Rakesh Krishnan Simha
Géométrie variable of a love triangle – India, Russia and the US
Amna Whiston is a London-based writer specialising in moral philosophy. As a
PhD candidate at Reading University, UK, her main research interests
are in ethics, rationality, and moral psychology.
Eirini Patsea is a Guest Editor in Modern Diplomacy, and
specialist in Cultural Diplomacy and Faith-based Mediation.
Can we trust the government to do the right thing, are they really
care about essential things such as environmental conditions and
education in our life?
Univ. prof. Dubravko Lovrenović is one of the leading
European Medievalist specialized in the Balkans, pre-modern and
modern political history.
Postgraduate researcher in International Relations and Diplomacy at
the Geneva-based UMEF University
professor of IT law
and EU law at Banja Luka College,
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Studied in Belgrade (Political Science) and in Moscow
(Plekhanov’s IBS). Currently, a post-doctoral researcher at the Kent
University in Brussels (Intl. Relations). Specialist for the
MENA-Balkans frozen and controlled conflicts.
Dr.Swaleha Sindhi is
Assistant Professor in the Department
of Educational Administration, the Maharaja Sayajirao University of
Baroda, India. Decorated educational practitioner Dr. Sindhi is a
frequent columnist on related topics, too. She is the Vice President
of Indian Ocean Comparative Education Society (IOCES). Contact:
It is an Ankara-based
journalist and notable author.
She is engaged with the leading Turkish dailies and weeklies for
nearly three decades as a columnist, intervieweer and editor.
Her words are prolifically published and quoted in Turkish,
French an English.
By İLNUR ÇEVIK
Modified from the original: They killed 1
Saddam and created 1,000 others (Daily Sabah)
Aine O'Mahony has a bachelor in Law and Political Science at
the Catholic Institute of Paris and is currently a master's student
of Leiden University in the International Studies programme.Contact:
Elodie Pichon has a
bachelor in Law and Political Science at the Catholic Institute of
Paris and is currently doing a MA in Geopolitics, territory and
Security at King's College London. Contact :
a MA candidate of the George
Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs. Her
research focus is on cross-Pacific security and Asian studies,
particularly on the Sino-U.S. relations and on the foreign policy
and politics of these two.
Born in Chile and raised in Rome, Alessandro
Cipri has just finished his postgraduate studies at the department
of War Studies of King's College London, graduating with distinction
from the Master's Degree in "Intelligence and International
Security". Having served in the Italian Army's "Alpini" mountain
troops, he has a keen interest in national security, military
strategy, insurgency theory, and terrorism studies. His Master's
dissertation was on the impact of drug trafficking on the evolution
of the Colombian FARC.
Ms. Lingbo ZHAO
is a candidate of the Hong Kong Baptist
University, Department of Government and International Studies. Her
research interest includes Sino-world, Asia and cross-Pacific.
Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus are investigative
journalists attached to the Swiss-based Das Magazin specialized
Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus are investigative
journalists attached to the Swiss-based Das Magazin
Ms. Elodie Pichon, Research Fellow of the IFIMES Institute, DeSSA
Department. This native Parisian is a Master in Geopolitics,
Territory and Security from the King’s College, London, UK.
Dutch - Nederlands
French - Français
German - Deutsch
Pimp my s/ride
Ms. Elodie Pichon
commodity exporter trying to escape the “Banana republic” position
in the world economy
The rent-based economy in Saudi Arabia has shown its
limits since the drop of oil prices in 2014. Indeed, the country is
potentially explosive: the current fiscal model is not sustainable,
the geopolitical environment is increasingly hostile and the country
has a rapidly growing population, of which 30% of 16-24 year olds
find themselves unemployed. The economic choices in the years to
come, and the success of the reforms announced by the government
will be decisive for the survival of the regime.
For too long, Saudi Arabia’s economy has
relied solely on oil for its revenues. Until 2014, oil exploitation
was responsible for 90% of Saudi Arabia’s public revenues, 80% of
its exports revenues and 40% of its GDP. But from 2014 to 2015, oil
revenues dropped by 50%, and represented only 73% of the total
revenues compared to 87% the year before. In the meantime, the
government didn’t reduce its expenses, because of its military
interventions in Yemen and Syria, but also because of the
outstanding individual premiums given by the government. Following
the Arab Spring, the government has increased its social expenses in
order to buy social peace.
To tackle the economic difficulties,
Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has announced, on the 26th of April 2016,
an ambitious set of reforms, titled «Vision 2030» which aimed at
weaning the kingdom off oil by curbing public spending, diversifying
the economy and attracting foreign investment. The government is
conscious of the necessity to reform the economic system, but will
it be able to do it without causing social turmoil? With a decline
in social spending and a reduction in subsidies comes the risk of
rising domestic turmoil, as highlighted by the Arab Spring in 2011.
The risk is increased by the fact that half of the population is
under 25, and 30% of young people are unemployed. This inactive
youth is also among the most active in the world on the social media
and might show their frustration through media outlets. Will the
government be able to take the gamble of social change?
Saudi Arabia has shown pragmatism when it
promised a 4,6% cut in production on November 30th,
2016. This measure was necessary since its plan to modernise the
economy and privatise Saudi Aramco, the state oil company, depends
on oil prices. Paradoxically, Saudi Arabia needs higher oil prices
to become less dependent on oil on the long term. Other measures
taken by the government include slashing salaries, and cutting
benefits for public sectors employees. It has also cut huge
subsidies for fuel, water and electricity that encourage
overconsumption. However, the sudden jump of water bills spurred
national dissatisfaction and an outcry on social media. Indeed, the
minister of water and electricity was fired after telling customers
to dig their own wells if they were unhappy with prices. The
government also abruptly cut construction projects forcing
contractors to fire workers who didn’t hesitate to set fire on buses
in protests demanding months of back pay. Despite these incidents,
most austerity measures have been taken according to Capital
Economics, a consultancy.
However, investors are waiting for more
meaningful changes, which imply conjectural reforms and a
transformation of the social structures. In order to increase the
presence of Saudi nationals in the labour market, the government
implements a politics of Saudisation particularly in the private
sector. For now, only 45% of jobs in Saudi Arabia are occupied by
Saudis, and only 22% in the private sectors versus 67% in the public
sector. Including them in the private sector is necessary to reduce
unemployment but also to cut public spending, since salaries in the
public sector constitute the most expensive expenses of the State. A
“Saudisation” of the labour market is necessary, but needs a
complete transformation of student’s trainings. For now, most of
them study humanities and social sciences and focus primarily on the
study of the Koran. But it doesn’t bring them the necessary skills
to work in a commercial environment. The politics of Saudisation has
vexed businesses who are forced to employ Saudi nationals, who often
lack the skills that employers want. Consequently, to meet the
government quotas, some companies simply pay locals to stay at home.
Moreover, the increase of the population
presents new challenges. Six million people are going to join the
labour market from now until 2040. Thus, job creation in the private
sector is necessary, to prevent a rise of unemployment and the
subsequent risk of social tensions. For now, the private sector does
not offer enough good opportunities for the estimated 300,000 young
people entering the work force each year, especially women. If
nothing is done, the situation will become even more critical
because of the important rise of the population.
“Vision 2030” shows that Saudi Arabia is
conscious about the necessity to reform the country’s economy. Its
cut in social spending, the plan to introduce a tax on expenses by
2018, and –more importantly- its plan to privatise the state oil
company Saudi Aramco are very positive. However, too many measures,
such as the plan to attract foreign investments, are still under
study and lack details. The success of Saudi Arabia’s economic
reforms is crucial to the West, who needs a stable Saudi Arabia in
an already chaotic Middle East.
About the author :
Ms. Elodie Pichon, Research Fellow of the
IFIMES Institute, DeSSA Department. This native Parisian is a Master
in Geopolitics, Territory and Security from the King’s College,
April 28, 2017
SPIRITUALITY AND THE ECONOMY OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Anis H. Bajrektarevic
We falsely believed, throughout the 20th century,
that the nuclear holocaust will put an end to the entire human race.
No! It will be a slow, nearly-unnoticed, gradual but steady
construction of the global gas chamber.
Has the human race already passed the point of no
return of its survival?
Frankly, we do not know. Very sincerely, we do not
The way we extract, produce, transport, distribute
and consume, the way we keep all this running on a blind obedience
to hydrocarbons, and finally the way how we do reflect, contemplate
and study on all that, inevitably takes us right into the
Speaking in Paris on December 7, 2015 – only a
morning after the landslide victory of the far right French
political party, the UN Secretary General again reminded the world
leaders that: “More than 1 billion people worldwide live without
electricity. Nearly 3 billion people depend on smoky, dangerous
traditional fuels for cooking and heating. Access to modern,
reliable, affordable clean energy is equally important for ending
extreme poverty and reducing inequality…The clock is ticking toward
climate catastrophe.” Politely ignoring the domestic French
politics, as much as the climate change hard-evidence, all
international nihilists, professional optimists and other status quo
conservators would call it ‘environmental alarmism’…or
political alarmism – the same… What is really the state of our
* * *
Galileo famously said:
“The universe is a grand book written in the language of
mathe-matics“. However, what we now know is that revealing the
cosmic Esperanto is not the most fascinating part. This grand book
of universe, we are reading and writing at the same time...
Back in 1990s, there was a legendary debate between
two eminent scientists; Carl Sagan, astrophysicist and Ernst Mayr,
evolutionary biologist. The issue was the question of all questions
– is there any intelligent life out there? Sagan – closer to
mathematics, and the counting of starts and worlds attached to it –
argued that out of all the innumerable planets like ours, life must
flourish at many of them. Quite a few of them, he claimed, must have
developed advanced forms of living beings. Mayr – on the other hand
– argued the opposite. His pessimism was coming from his profession,
not from his character that was as vivid and optimistic as Sagan’s:
What biology is for the natural sciences, that is what a history is
for human sciences – a spacetime-lined story of the past with a
predicament, or sometimes an inevitable consequences, for our
future. As prof. Naom Chomski beautifully reminds us of this great
episode, Ernst Mayr took our mother planet as an example to
illustrate his claim.
All organisms share the same evolutionary mandate: to
promulgate their own life. No wonder, as similar codes reside within
all species – the intricate self-actualizing chemo-electrical
tapestry, known as genes.1 However, the
so-called ultimate biological success of species could be measure by
their number, configuration and durability. Hence, by all three
parameters, prof. Mayr stressed, the most adaptive systems are those
conducting fast (non-cognitive) mutations caused/triggered by any
environmental stress (e.g., varieties of bacteria, creatures stuck
in a fixed ecological niches, like beetles or some sea biotas), and
surviving even larger crisis including the cataclysmic events. But,
as we go up the scale of what we assume as intelligence, the systems
become less adaptive and scarcer by number, configuration and
durability. Arriving to the top (as we classified a tip of the
intelligence pyramid), from low mammals to higher primates, apes and
Homo sapiens, the species tend to image a rarifying picture –
by all three biological success parameters. By Mayr’s account, the
average lifespan of upper-intelligence echelons is only around
100,000 years. Out of billions of spices that have inhabited (and
quite some still inhabiting) our planet, we – along with other
higher primates – are late arrival and temporal ‘accidents’. He
attributes this to our intelligence, labeling it as a ‘lethal
mutation’ – not a blessing but a curse. Mayr’s finding is
intriguing: The higher the intelligence, the more likely to end up
in self-destruction, past the transitioning on a curve of initial
development. If so, that would mean that humans are unable to deploy
their vast neuroplasticity, and that the mechanical solidarity of
non-cognitive creatures gives far better results in preservation
(even enhancement) of the environmental equilibrium.
Indeed, our environmental, financial and
politico-economic policies and practices are creating the global
stress for us and all other species. Deep and structural, this must
be a crisis of our cognitivity. Do we want to prove Mayr right with
our global Jihad against a cognitive mind?
COGNITIVE DEFICIT CRISIS
From Copenhagen, Durban, Rio+20 to the Paris COP 21
and beyond, our conclusion remains the same: We need principles and
accorded actions, as this is the only way to tackle the grave
problems of this planet. We are lacking the elementary consensus
in/on the Bretton Woods institutions, on the Tobin tax initiative,
in the WTO Doha Development round, on nuclear non-proliferation (and
NPT), on migrations, on the Middle East and ‘regime change mantra’,
in the IPCC, on the post-Kyoto negotiations, and finally on the
alarming state of environment. Ergo, on a global scale we
fundamentally disagree on the realities of this planet and the ways
we can address them.2
I am neither moralizing, idealizing nor agonizing.
The world based on agreed principles and commonly willing actions is
not a better place. It is the only way for the human race to
Clearly, our crisis is real, but neither sudden nor
recent. Simply, our much-celebrated globali-sation deprived from
environmental concerns can only cage us into the ecological
CLIMATE CHANGE – A BRUTAL TERROR
We place ourselves in a centre of materialistic world
– this, of what we perceive as a universe of dead (and linear)
matter. Therefore, what we euphemistically call (anthropogenic)
Climate Change is actually a brutal war against (living) nature.
It is a covert armed conflict, since we are predominantly using the
so-called monetizing-potent ‘technologies’, instead of firearms in
our hands. (For this purpose hereby, the army units are replaced by
the demolition-man of other name; ‘transnational
corporations’.) This armed regime-change insurgency is waged
against most of what is beautiful and unique on Earth – on the
planet that gave us time and space enough to survive as species and
to evolve as cognitive life. Thus, the known sustainability matrix
of 3 maximums (of good, of species, and of time) becomes the
minimum species, minimum time with a maximum
Intentionally or not, it is a synchronized attack: We
are steadily and passionately polluting our public sphere with the
diverting banalities manufactured by the so-call social networks,
reality shows, ‘celebrities’ and the like – trivializing the
contents of our lives. At the same time, we are massively
contaminating our biosphere (waters, lands, air and near outer
space) with non-degradable and/or toxic, solid or aerosol, particles
radiation and noise – irreversibly harming our habitat. We pollute
the time as well, turning it into cross-generation warfare’s
battlefield: Our dangerous patterns might seal off the fate for
untold number of generations and sorts of species to come.3
No wonder, our corrosive assertiveness has (time-space) parallels:
acidifying of oceans and brutalization of our human interactions, as
well as over-noising both of them, are just two sides of a same
coin. What is the social sphere for society that is the biosphere
for the very life on earth: the (space/time – content/form) frame we
all live in.
Seems we pay our space (linear possessions) by our
time (future). Therefore, our crisis cannot be environmental, as it
was never a financial or security (war on terror) – our
crisis must be a moral one. This is a cognitive deficit crisis,
which we eagerly tend to spend in a limbo of denial!
ΠΆΝΤΑ ΡΕΙ (PANTA RHEI)
Nature does not change. Change (as a cosmic constant)
is a nature itself. Still, even Heraclitus understood, this force is
never eruptive or destructive (explosive, combusting and polarising),
but eternally gradual and constructive (holistic, inclusive and
implosive). Look up the skies that will be the exact way how entire
We are drifting, dissolving and retreating on all
levels and within each and every organic (marine and continental
biota) or inorganic (soil, glaciers, water, polar caps, etc.)
system. For the grave, burning (hydrocarbon) planetary problems, our
human race needs an urgent and lasting consensus which presupposes
bravery, virtue, vision and creativity. All this will not result
from fear of coercion (social haircut, austerity, financial
straitjacket), from a further militarization of our societies
caused by the accelerated confrontations called ‘war on terror’, but
from the universally shared willingness to accord our common
planetary cause. Cognitive mind can do it all.
Let’s start our global war on terror – but this time
– on the terror of a global environmental holocaust caused by our
cognitive deficit crisis.
• Ki-moon, B. (2015), Remarks to the opening of the
High-Level session of the COP21, December 7, 2015, UNIS (Office of
the Spokesperson of the UN SG).
• Chomsky, N. (2010), Human Intelligence and the
Environment, University of North Caroline, Chapel Hill (Paper).
• Sagan, C. (1980), Cosmos Random House, NY /Carl
Sagan Productions Inc. (page: 109).
• Dresner, S. (2002), The Principle of
Sustainability, EarthScan London.
• Smith, L.C. (2010), The World in 2050 – Four Forces
Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future, Dutton (by Penguin group).
1. Still, this recipe book
for life – genes, are not performing in a strict chemical
determinism. Self-actualization is a core of process. Even if
applying a strict Darwinian stance, the evolution of species was not
(solely) a selection through competition, but rather a
well-calibrated interplay of both – cooperation and competition.
Much like universe itself: (re-)creation and its maintenance.
2. Additionally, we
fundamentally disagree on a role to be played by technology, even on
a very definition of what should be considered as technology.
Technology is not a state-of-art of science; technology is a state
of mind! It is not a linear progression in mastering the natural
science disciplines, but a cognitive, emphatic cluster–mastering of
the critical insight.
3. In his highly intriguing
but illuminating findings, Stephen Jay Gould reveals than in other
mammalian species, the ‘murder’ rate is considerably higher than in
human communities. If evidences of this historian of science and
evolutionary biologist are accurate, that would mean that humans are
genetically better off, but that are civilizationally wrong. No
other but human species has ever represented a global threat on
entire planetary life!!
(Anthropo-) biology is only the outer layer in our comprehensive
scientific grasp. In its core, resides physics. And the backbone of
physics is mathematics – this universal language of cosmos.
Anis H. Bajrektarevic
Vienna, 25 APR 2017
About the author:
Anis H. Bajrektarevic
Author is chairperson and professor
in international law and global political studies, Vienna, Austria.
He authored three books:
FB – Geopolitics of Technology
(published by the New York’s Addleton Academic Publishers);
Europe 100 years
later (DB, Europe),
and the just released
Geopolitics – Energy – Technology
by the German publisher LAP.
No Asian century
is his forthcoming book, scheduled for later this year.
April 26, 2017
Who Needs Dysfunction
in the Balkans?
Affairs, a respected American foreign policy magazine, published
in December 2016 an article under the title Dysfunction in the
Balkans, written by Timothy Less. In this article the
author offers his advice to the new American Administration,
suggesting it to abandon the policy of support to the territorial
integrity of the states created in the process of dissolution of the
former Yugoslavia. Timothy Less advocates a total redesign of the
existing state boundaries in the Balkans, on the basis of a dubious
assumption that the multiethnic states in the Balkans (such as
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia) are to be regarded as inherently
dysfunctional, whereas the ethnically homogenous states (such as
Serbia, Albania and Croatia) are to be regarded as far more
successful. Also, the author advances the claim that the peoples in
the Balkans, having lost any enthusiasm for the multiethnic
status quo, predominantly strive to finally accomplish the
imagined monoethnic greater state projects – so-called Greater
Serbia, Greater Croatia and Greater Albania. According to Less's
design, the imagined Greater Serbia should embrace the existing Serb
entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina (that is, 49% of the Bosnian
territory), but also the entire internationally recognized Republic
of Montenegro; the Greater Croatia should embrace a future Croatian
entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina; the Greater Albania should embrace
both Kosovo and the western part of Macedonia. All these territorial
redesigns, claims Less, would eventually bring about a lasting peace
and stability in the region.
Although Less pretends to act as a neutral observer who only
promotes a rational, common-sense approach to the area portrayed as
a source of irrationality, common sense first leads us to pose the
question of his personal links to the Balkans whose geopolitical
rearrangement he so zealously advocates. According to his official
biographies, Timothy Less was the head of the British diplomatic
office in Banja Luka, the capital of the Serb entity in
Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was also the political secretary of the
British Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia. Thus he served as a diplomat
precisely in those two states which are, according to his proposal,
the most likely candidates for dismemberment. So the first question
to ask is whether this diplomat, having served exactly in Banja Luka
and Skopje, was directly involved in providing support to those very
political forces, such as the Serbian and Albanian separatists, who
are the most active participants in the projected dismemberment of
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia and the realization of such greater
state projects. Mr. Less now runs a consulting agency called Nova
Europa, which claims on its
that it is „helping investors and international organizations to
understand the impact of politics on their interests in Central
Europe, the Balkans and the Former Soviet Union“. So, let us take a
look at what this agency offers as advice to potential clients
interested in investing in Eastern Europe. Under the title
„Political Risks in Eastern Europe“,Nova Europa
provides the following list of risks:
1. The Collapse of the European Union: There is a growing risk that
the process of European integration will unravel, with far-reaching
implications for economic and political stability in Eastern Europe;
2. The New Cold War: Russia and the West are engaged in a
multi-dimensional conflict over the boundary between them which is
destabilising regional politics and causing significant economic
damage; 3. The Migrant Crisis: A wave of immigration from Africa and
Asia into Eastern Europe poses a significant risk to civil order,
governmental stability and the integrity of supply lines; 4.
Economic Patriotism: There is a growing trend for governments to
reassert national control over strategic sectors to enforce
conformity with their political objectives; 5. State Capture and
Corruption: Eastern Europe has a serious problem with corruption and
the capture of the state by oligarchical elites, posing risks to the
viability of investments and to political stability; 6. Civil
Unrest: There is an elevated risk of strikes and demonstrations
leading to institutional paralysis, a slowdown in economic activity,
and breaches in supply lines; 7. Terrorism: There is an increased
danger of terrorist attack, especially in the Balkans, linked to the
rise and fall of Islamic State; 8. State Disintegration: There is a
growing risk that multi-ethnic states in the Western Balkans will
disintegrate, reigniting conflict in the region; 9. State Failure in
Ukraine: Eastern Europe's largest country is under severe political
and economic stress, with negative consequences for much of the
region; 10. The Arrival of China: China is becoming a major direct
investor in Eastern Europe, diluting the political influence of the
EU and US in the region, and exposing the region (to) a variety of
long-term economic risks.
Such an exhaustive list of potential catastrophies was obviously
written by a typical doomsday prophet intent not on encouraging but
dissuading any possible investing, building up an atmosphere of
overall paranoia around the region and within it. An artificially
created shortage of investments may well result in destabilization.
In this respect, Less's post-diplomatic efforts clearly serve the
purpose of orchestrated angst induction, targeting specifically the
area of Eastern Europe and multi-ethnic and multi-religious
societies within it, just as his diplomatic activity is likely to
have served a similar purpose in the multi-ethnic societies of
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.
Of course, it is easy to claim that Timothy Less is now only a
freelancer whose activity has nothing to do with his former
employers' policies. However, the problem is that certain radical
circles within the British foreign policy establishment, in their
numerous initiatives from 1990s onwards, have repeatedly advocated
the very same ideas that can be found in his article, such as the
creation of the imagined monoethnic greater states – Greater Serbia,
Greater Croatia and Greater Albania – as an alleged path towards
lasting stability in the Balkans, with Bosnia's and Macedonia's
disappearance as a collateral damage. Also, history books are full
of references that these circles, ever since the appearance of their
fundamental geopolitical doctrine, The Geographical Pivot of
History by Halford Mackinder, perceive
destabilization of the territorial belt between Germany and Russia
as one of their primary geopolitical goals, which is exactly the
territory (including the Balkans) whose destabilization Nova
Europa seeks to induce. Therefore, it
seems that Mr. Less has never interrupted his diplomatic career,
having permanently served the very same radical diplomatic circles,
either as an operative or as a spokesperson.
Just as the previous greater-state initiatives, his initiative
relies on the assumption that the multiethnic states are the main
impediments to stability in the Balkans. Such a claim is rooted in
the presupposition that, as long as the existing nationalist
greater-state projects remain unaccomplished, the nationalist
resentment will always generate ever-increasing instability.
However, the history has clearly demonstrated, both in the Balkans
and other parts of the world, that such a presupposition is nothing
but a simple fallacy. For, the very concept of completed
ethnonational states is a concept that has always led towards
perpetual instability wherever applied, because such ethnonational
territories cannot be created without projection of extreme coercion
and violence over particular 'inappropriate' populations, including
the activities which have become known as ethnic cleansing. The
logic of 'solving national issues' through creation of ethnically
cleansed greater states has always led towards permanent
instability, never towards long-term stability.
What is particularly interesting when it comes to 'solving national
issues' in the Balkans is the flexibility (i.e. arbitrariness) of
the proposed and realized 'solutions'. The winners in the World War
I, among whom the aforementioned radical circles within the British
foreign policy establishment played a major role, first advocated
the creation of the common national state of the Southern Slavs
(subsequently named Yugoslavia) at the Peace Conference in
Versailles. Then, more than seventy years later, a prominent member
of these circles, Lord Carrington, chaired another international
conference in The Hague where he oversaw the partition of that very
state in the name of 'solving national issues' between ethnonational
states which constituted it (since all of them, with the exception
of Bosnia-Herzegovina, had already been defined as ethnonational
states within the multinational federation). Together with the
Portuguese diplomat, Jose Cutileiro, Lord Carrington then also
introduced the first, pre-war plan for ethnic partition of
Bosnia-Herzegovina (the Carrington-Cutileiro Plan), again in the
name of 'solving national issues' between the ethnic groups living
in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was eventually sealed, with some minor
changes, at the international conference in Dayton. And now, here is
yet another plan to make the Balkan states even more fragmented and
powerless, again in order to 'solve national issues'. What is needed
in addition is yet another international conference to implement and
verify such a plan, and thus turn the Balkans upside-down one more
Therefore it comes as no surprise that such a conference on the
Western Balkans, according to diplomatic sources in the region, has
already been scheduled for 2018 in London. Given its timing and
content, the geopolitical manifesto published in Foreign Affairs
looks like an announcement of the conference's
agenda. Yet, how the proposed dismemberment of Bosnia-Herzegovina
and Macedonia, as well as the absorption of Montenegro into Greater
Serbia, can be made politically acceptable to the population of the
Balkans and the entire international community?
What is required to accomplish such a task is a scenario that would
make an alternative to dismemberment and absorbtion of sovereign
states even less acceptable. It is not difficult to imagine that
only a war, or a threat of war, would be such an alternative.
However, its feasibility is limited by the fact that no state in the
Balkans has the capacities and resources – military, financial, or
demographic – to wage a full-scale war, and their leaders are too
aware of this to even try to actually launch it. The alternative is
to create an atmosphere that would simulate an immediate threat of
war, by constantly raising nationalist tensions between, and within,
the states in the region. Of course, such tensions do exist since
1990, but it would be necessary to accumulate them in a long-term
campaign so as to create an illusion of imminence of regional war.
Significantly, simultaneously with the appearance of Less's article,
the tensions – first between Serbia and Kosovo, then between Serbia
and Croatia, then within Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia – have
begun to rise. This growth of tensions can hardly be disregarded as
accidental, given the fact that the Balkan leaders can easily be
played one against another whenever they receive signals, no matter
whether fake or true, that a new geopolitical reshuffle of the
region is being reconsidered by major global players. Since they are
already well-accustomed to raising inter-state and intra-state
tensions as a means of their own political survival, it is very
likely that they will be able to accumulate such tensions to such a
level as to gradually generate a mirage of imminent regional war. A
part of that campaign is also the systematic spread of rumours, all
over Europe, that a war in the Balkans is inevitable and will
certainly take place during 2017.
Under such circumstances, a radical geopolitical reconfiguration of
the entire Balkans, including dismemberment of the existing states
proclaimed as dysfunctional and their eventual absorbtion into the
imagined greater states, may well become politically acceptable in
all corners of the world. All that is needed is to juxtapose this
'peaceful' option and the fabricated projection of imminent war as
the only available alternatives, and offer to implement the former
at a particular conference, such as the one scheduled for 2018 in
London. It does not matter that the option of real full-scale war is
not available at all, due to the Balkan states' incapacity to
actually wage it; what is required for implementation of the
proposed geopolitical rearrangement of the Balkans is to spread the
perception that the permanent rise of political conflicts in the
region inevitably leads to a renewed armed conflict. In that
context, all the fallacies proposed in the article Dysfunction in
the Balkans may easily acquire a degree of
legitimacy, so as to be finally implemented and verified at the 2018
London conference on the Western Balkans. Of course, if that
happens, it can only lead to further resentment and lasting
instability in the region and Eastern Europe, and that can only lead
to growing instability in the entire Europe. One can only wonder, is
that a desired ultimate outcome for those who promote greater state
projects in the Balkans as an alleged path towards its stability?
About the author:
is Assistant Professor at the Sarajevo School of
Science and Technology, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He received his PhD from
the University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Political Science, his MPhil
from the London School of Economics and Political Science and MA
from the Central European University, Budapest. He served as
political adviser to several Bosnian ministers and political
leaders. His book Forced to be Free. The Paradoxes of Liberalism and
Nationalism was published in
2012 by Deutscher Wissenschafts-Verlag (DWV).
April 26, 2017
FATAL SPIRALE OF SENSLESNESS
By: Tomislav Jakic
a whole day of long awaited negotiations in Moscow, one thing is
absolutely clear. Result is: zero. Surprise? Not at all, despite the
fact that Donald Trump successfully cheated the whole world with
his, for more than half a year repeated, mantra of the “new American
foreign policy”, of abandoning imposing regimes and the American way
of life. So, whoever expected any positive results from the meetings
between ministers Lavrov and Tillerson and between President Putin
and the guest form the US, proved to me, to say the least, naive.
Because, acting – only days before this meeting - in the manner of
the “Lone Ranger”, characteristic to those who preceded him, the new
American President made a personal U-turn and provoked another.
Launching 59 cruise missiles Tomahawk to bombard a Syrian air force
base, Trump – first of all – did what he for months was promising
not to do. Not only once in the election campaign and especially in
his inaugural address Donald Trump solemnly promised that the United
States will no more impose regimes, that they will not take part in
senseless wars (like the one in Syria), that they will stop acting
as the world policeman. Moreover he “forgot” his messages to Barack
Obama, years ago, that he cannot act militarily against Syria
without Congressional consent and that such an action would be a
Let us go a step further. Trump even did not bother to “produce” an
excuse for the attack. And let us be crystal clear. Nobody with a
clear mind would “buy” the story that Assad’s forces launched a
chemical attack against rebels, especially if one has in mind two
key elements. First, Assad’s forces are gaining ground (so why would
he risk such an attack, provoking a possible American reaction) and,
second, the Syrian chemical weaponry, handed over some years ago at
the Russian initiative, was destroyed by – the Americans. It is
worth mentioning that staging false pretexts for military
interventions abroad is a long-term tradition of the American
foreign policy. We do not need to go back to Teddy Roosevelt and
Panama. Let us just remember the fake accident in the Gulf of
Tonkin, which marked the beginning of the Vietnam war and let us not
forget the – equally fake – story about Sadam Hussein’s weapons of
mass destruction, which marked the start for the invasion of Iraq.
At that time the American policy at least tried to stage a more or
less plausible story (a full month of political-propagandistic
preparations before Iraq was attacked). Nothing of that sort was
needed by Trump. Without any solid evidence, without findings of any
investigators on the spot, he “knew” (and the leaders of many
European counties repeated after him, like reciting a poem) that the
only person responsible for the use of chemical weapons can and is
– Assad (after that there where attempts to construct, indirectly
though, a Russian responsibility too). And Donald Trump attacked.
By doing so, he demonstrated two things. First, that he knows
nothing about politics, because he completely forgot the Russian
component of which he will be remembered one day after the attack on
Syria by the Russian prime minister Medvedev who quite clearly
stated that “the US are on the verge of war with Russia”. Alas, that
he is a political amateur was a very well known fact, even to those
who voted for him. But, he demonstrated something that the majority
of his supporters did not expect – because all of them did not vote
for Trump just to express their support for building the wall along
the border with Mexico. He demonstrated that he is ready, without
hesitating, to abandon the concept of the new American foreign
policy, most probably the product of some of his staff members,
maybe General Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign. So, this is
Trump’s U-turn. The other U-turn he provoked was in the attitude of
almost all who until yesterday could not stop attacking him. And
they, so called liberals, political analysts, columnists, mainstream
media, neo-cons like Senator John McCain and all like him, they are
now more than happy with Trump. Not only that they accept him, they
even glorify him, which is – for example – reflected in the
statement that “on the day he bombarded Syria, Trump became
President”. In Europe old-style politicians and their media
followers are delighted that the American foreign policy is finally
returning where it should be, that nothing is going to change and
that the US will not allow anybody else to become Number 1 in the
Both U-turns show that the world is again entering the fatale spiral
of senselessness, that was guaranteed by Hillary Clinton and that
could have been interrupted, as many hoped, thanks to Trump and his
collaborators. And there is another indication that supports this
way of thinking, an indication for the continued policy of
“inventing” enemies, so desperately needed both by the military –
industrial complex and the deep state. A member of the US Congress,
a Democrat (and they are traditionally more open if not closer to
the left side of the political spectrum, than the Republicans)
proposed the reactivation of the law against Nazi-propaganda from
the Roosevelt days before WW2. If she had in mind the necessity to
prevent the more and more present anti-Semitism, intolerance and
racism – which is a characteristic not only of the US, but of the US
too, it would be OK. But no, she proposed the reactivation of the
law that should have prevented Nazi-propaganda in order to “defend”
the US from Russian propaganda which is “undermining the very basis
of democracy”. Only yesterday, did you forget, this propaganda was
accused of making Trump the President of the US and Trump was called
“Putin’s usefull idiot”. But who is interested in such details any
more? Now, after the bombardment of Syria, after America emerged
again as it always was? Nobody! The very fact that there is an
initiative to apply to today’s Russia (formally democratic, although
with clear authoritarian tendencies) an old law intended to prevent
Nazi-propaganda, and Nazism is in its essence, in theory and
practice, the very negation of democracy, proves that he West really
desperately needs an enemy. If there is not a real one, than a fake
And for what purpose is such an enemy needed? With an enemy on the
horizon it is much easier to unite the voting machine in one’s own
country, as well as those in the allied countries, not to say: in
the satellite countries. On the other hand, and this is even more
important, with an enemy “in sight” one can create conditions if not
for waging war, than for sure for preparing for war. And it is no
secret that in such conditions good money can be made. The whole
policy of “containing Russia”, waged for years by encircling Russia
with NATO members, the whole propaganda campaign aimed at projecting
Russia as tomorrow’s aggressor – according to prominent and in the
past reliable media in the West – all of this is aimed at one goal:
to make the public opinion prepared and ready to accept growing
expenses for defense (or even substituting the professional armed
forced with the mandatory serving in the army for every citizen).
All of this is aimed at convincing citizens/voters that “our” media
(and “our” politicians too) are telling the truth, while the
Russians, both media and policy makers, are lying. And finally, all
of this is aimed at making the public opinion understand why
whistleblowers from the intelligence structures, people who at one
point listen to their own conscience and tell openly what they are
doing, should be treated – and punished accordingly – as “inner
danger” for the national security.
Initiatives such as the one for applying the law meant to prevent
Nazi-propaganda to what is described as Russian propaganda (although
it is not seldom more accurate and objective than what is being
served by the mainstream media in the West), as well as further
escalation of the war in Syria lead only to one conclusion:
seemingly senseless, but at the same time quite logical. In order to
survive the liberal capitalism which is ruling the greatest part of
the world, needs a new, great war. The fatale spiral of
senselessness which we have entered is, without any doubt, leading
us in that direction.
The author is a Croatian journalist (TV and
press), who served for almost a decade as foreign policy advisor to
the second President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Stjepan Mesic.
April 16, 2017
Neo-religionism of the post
(Refeudalisation of Europe – I Part)
(US) vs. the bear of the
permafrost (Russia), with
the world’s last
cosmopolite (EU) in
between. Is the ongoing calamity at the eastern flank of the EU a
imperialism in hurry,
exaggerated anti-Russian xenophobia or last gasp of
Just 20 years
ago, the distance between Moscow and NATO troops stationed in
Central Europe (e.g., Berlin) was more than 1.600 km. Today, it is
only 120 km from St. Petersburg. Is this a time to sleep or to
worry? ‘Russia no longer represents anything that appeals to anyone
other than ethnic Russians, and as a result, the geopolitical
troubles it can cause will remain on Europe’s periphery, without
touching the continent’s core’ – was the line of argumentation
recently used by Richard N. Haass, President of the US Council of
Foreign Relations. Is it really so?
Is there any
intellectually appealing call originating from Russia?
Russia is a legal, not an
ideological, successor of the late Soviet Union. Many in Greece,
Latin America and elsewhere in the world mingled the two.
Does it still
today represent a lonely champion of antifascism and (pan-)Slavism?
Is the Slavism,
identity, secularism and antifascism, while abandoned in Eastern
Europe, confused perhaps by the mixed signals from the
austerity-tired Atlantic Europe and
For the EU,
Ukraine is (though important) an item of the Neighborhood Policy and
for the US it is a geopolitical pivot. However, for Russia, it is
all this plus emotional attachment. Without Ukraine, to what extent
is Russia Christian and European?
Is the EU a
subject or a hostage (like Ukraine) of the mega-geopolitical drama
whose main and final stage is in the Asia-Pacific theater? What is
the objective here – the ultimate score (territorial gain) or an
altered style of the game (new emotional charge of confrontation
added to the international relations)? What is a road map, an exit,
a future perspective – relaxation or escalation?
or a global (post-dollar) honeymoon?
New religionism: Powerful
Without a socio-political cohesion via integralism, it is rather
impossible to reverse the socio-economic decomposition of Russophone
and Eastern Europe. Unity for cohesion does not mean a (rigid
communist) unanimity. But, Europe’s East is still mixing the two.
Consequently, all three cohesive forces of Eastern Europe have
disappeared: (i) atheistic elites (irrespectively from their ethnic,
religious, social and linguistic background); (ii) antifascism; and
(iii) Slavism. How to reinvigorate overall societal passions and
drives for the enhancement of nation without unifying ideological
the secularism of Atlantists increases the intellectual appeal of
their indigenous ideology – that of neoliberalism,
transcontinentally; the newly discovered neo-clericalism of Eastern
and Russophone Europe plays, not an emancipating, but a powerful
self-restraining role. At home, it only polarizes, fragments and
undermines vital social consensus, and for abroad it serves as a
Simply, beyond its narrow ethnic frames or national borders such
motivates none to nothing. In the 21st
century, dominated by the socially mobilized, secularized and
knowledge-based nations across the world,
of East (static and rigid like its retrograde MENA sibling) only
further alienates, isolates and marginalizes that region. It easily
ends up in ethno-chauvinistic overtones that are not only isolating
its proprietor, but also antagonizing or radically mobilizing its
Globally, it means that while East remains entrenched in its ‘newly
only one ideology remains unchallenged and uncontested – that of
Logically, East neither controls its own narrative nor
(interpretation of) history: Due to a massive penetration of Central
Europe, East grossly relativized, trivialized and silenced its own
past and present anti-fascism. Additionally, this region does not
effectively control its media space. Media there (of too-often
dubious orientation and unspecified ownership) is distracting vital
public debates: discouraging, disorienting and silencing any sense
of national pride, influence over destiny direction and to it
related calls for self-(re) assessment.
Today, Eastern Europe is not even sure, if its anti-fascism should
be a question of choice or a matter of pure survival. Its mental de-territorialisation
is corrosive and deep.
Pauperised masses – empowered lumpen
combination with above, the speed and dimensions of criminal
redistribution of national wealth and cruel pauperisation of masses
(euphemistically called ‘western style privatisation’ of 1990s)
deeply transformed the East, turning many into a re-feudalized
society. By the end of Yeltsin dizzy rule, even the biggest critics
of the Soviet era were horrified by the post-Soviet destruction of
2000, much quoted Alexander Solzhenitsyn screamed out loudly: "Will
we continue looting and destroying Russia until nothing is left? …
God forbid these ‘reforms’ should continue.” For that, he was of
course, silenced and marginalized, and never quoted.
Indeed, as elsewhere in
Eastern Europe, the severity, frequency and tempo of that social
re-engineering via criminal redistribution of national wealth had no
parallel historic example. Seems as if the region was left to choose
between genocide (ex-YU) and its evil twin – social apartheid
(elsewhere in the East)? Where were the famous dissidents from East?
Why didn’t the academia of Eastern Europe debate about it?
while famous East intelligentsia remains mute, answers are streaming
from the dominant narrative, that of West. Moreover, describing who
these new elites of the East are, western authors are breaking
another Eastern taboo – quoting Karl Marx.
Number of quotation of Karl Marx in e.g. the New York Times, FAM,
Economist, Wall Street Journal or other western neoliberal
opinion-makers per annum is higher than all cumulative quotations of
Karl Marx in Eastern Europe for the past two decades.
Thinkers of the East expulsed Marx and Engels to (intellectual)
Hence, discussing the new emerging class on both sides of Atlantic
Useful Idiots of Euro-Med
theatre – a power-base of the so-called
Daniel Henninger does not hesitate to consider them a retrograde
force of ‘lumpen proletariat’, outcasts turned professional
dissidents, a fake class of ‘social scam’.
Writing in the WSJ (Trumpen
Proletariat, July 06
2016), to support his argument, he states: “Karl Marx, in a
particularly dyspeptic moment, offered this description of what he
dismissed as the lumpen proletariat: ‘Alongside decayed roués with
dubious means of subsistence and of dubious origin, alongside ruined
and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie, were vagabonds,
discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves,
swindlers, mountebanks, lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters,
gamblers, pimps, brothel keepers, porters, literati, organ grinders,
ragpickers, knife grinders, tinkers, beggars—in short, the whole
indefinite, disintegrated mass, thrown hither and thither, which the
French call la bohčme.’”
elites of neo-feudalism?! European dream refeudalised …
Anis H. Bajrektarevic
Vienna, 31 MAR 2017
Author is chairperson and professor
in international law and global political studies, Vienna, Austria.
He authored three books:
FB – Geopolitics of Technology
(published by the New York’s Addleton Academic Publishers);
Europe 100 years
later (DB, Europe),
and the just released
Geopolitics – Energy – Technology
by the German publisher LAP.
No Asian century
is his forthcoming book, scheduled for later this year.
April 14, 2017
Saudi king’s “Clash of Civilizations,
convergence with Indonesia's hypocrisy and opportunism
my older sister who lives in Germany came to Indonesia recently, we
gave her the royal treatment. Well, she’s family after all, and had
not visited in 12 years.
So if a family member hadn’t visited in 47 years, the
royal treatment would be quadrupled, right? Well, that’s how long it
had been since a Saudi monarch had come to Indonesia. The last time
was the visit of King Faisal in 1970, so when King Salman of Saudia
Arabia came in February the reception was pretty over the top.
Family member? Yes, being Muslims, we are all members
of the ummah (community of Muslims), which for some is even
more meaningful than being connected by blood. Our qibla
(direction Muslims face when praying) is toward Mecca, but more than
that, lately Saudia Arabia is our qibla for many things we
consider to be part of our Muslim identity. Arabic-style attire is
one example, but more importantly is the adoption of a more rigid
and literal interpretation of the Quran than the moderate Islam
Nusantara (Islam of the archipelago) that Indonesia is famous
King Salman is one of the richest world leaders and,
boy, did he ever show it! An entourage of 1,500 in eight wide-bodied
jets, a few limousines and two gold-plated escalators — because of
course, one isn’t enough, right? We lapped it all up and various
Indonesian dignitaries and political leaders were falling over
themselves to pay obeisance to the custodian of the holy cities of
Mecca and Medina that Muslims make pilgrimages to. Well, at least we
got the extra haj quota we were hoping for.
So why did he come after all this time, and at the
age of 80, when most octogenarians would be ensconced in rocking
chairs, especially after a stroke he had recently? Is it simply “the
ties of Islam?” In economic terms, the visit to Indonesia did not do
much to boost the relationship, which has never been fast and
furious in any case (see “Saudi King Salman’s visit to Indonesia:
Bound by ties of Islam,” The Jakarta Post, March 18 2017).
For almost 40 years, Saudi Arabia has imposed a kind
of cultural imperialism in Indonesia by pouring in money which
essentially has been exporting their brand of Salafism, a strict and
dogmatic version of Islam. Millions of dollars produced hundreds of
mosques, schools, a free university, provided teachers, scholarships
and much, much more. Will this now change? Whatever the case, the
investments have already made an impact.
Despite the ostentatious display of wealth because of
falling oil prices, Saudi Arabia is going through a recession. Hence
the ambitious one-month tour, not just to Indonesia, but also to
Malaysia, Brunei, Japan, China, the Maldives and Jordan. Obviously,
the trips to China and Japan have nothing to do with Islam, but are
an attempt to look for partners and investors in the Asia-Pacific
region to lessen Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil revenues.
Besides China overtaking the United States as a big
net importer of crude oil in 2016, there are also geopolitical
considerations. With the uncertainty that comes with the Donald
Trump presidency, China can certainly be seen as a counterweight to
the US for Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy.
What about terrorism? That was mentioned too in King
Salman’s underwhelming two-minute speech at the House of
Representatives — which sounded more like the speech of a Miss World
contestant — to stand united against global challenges, in
particular against the “clash of civilizations”, terrorism and to
work together to achieve world peace.
Funny that. Is decimating Yemen a way to achieve
world peace? Saudi Arabia committed crimes in Yemen as evidenced by
the destruction of infrastructure and the killing of thousands of
innocent civilians, including children.
Addressing visiting members of the Supreme
Revolutionary Council of Yemen, Ali Larijani, the Iranian
parliamentary speaker, said, “The scope of destruction is
unprecedented in history and this clearly shows that Saudi Arabia is
a rogue state in the region.”
As for the clash of civilizations, it’s more like a
clash of ignorance, which is the title of the essay that Edward Said
wrote to debunk Samuel P. Huntington’s 1993 Foreign Affairs article
entitled “The Clash of Civilizations.” The hypothesis is that
people’s cultural and religious identities will be the primary
source of conflict in the post-Cold War world.
Oh really? Is that why the US and the United Kingdom
provide the arms used by Saudi Arabia to crush Yemen? Because, of
course, Saudi Arabia is the US’ ally in the Middle East, maybe a bit
less so after the US betrayed them by making deals with Iran, Saudi
Arabia’s main rival.
But even if King Salman repeatedly listened to Paul
Simon’s “Fifty ways to leave your lover,” Saudi Arabia could not
break up with the US because it still provides them with the best
weaponry and spare parts too.
But, Saudi Arabia is not all it appears to be. It’s
not by any means revolutionizing, but it is evolutionizing, as
Ameera al Taweel said.
The 33-year-old drop-dead gorgeous US-educated
princess, businesswoman, high-profile women’s advocate and
humanitarian philanthropist is the ex-wife of Prince Al-Waleed bin
Talal, 60. He’s one of the more progressive of the thousands of
princes of the Saud family and one of richest men in the world, who
is planning to give away his US$33 billion to charity when he dies.
And would you believe that there’s a vegan Saudi
prince who wants to veganize the Middle East? Meet Khaled bin
Alwaleed (son of Al-Waleed bin Talal), 38, handsome and a fervent
environmentalist who believes that “Climate change and the
unjustified consumption of energy are two of the most serious issues
we face today at the macro-level.”
Hope he’s saying this to his gas-guzzling compatriots
as Saudia Arabia is the world’s largest oil producer, but also the
world’s sixth-largest consumer.
Then there’s Ahmed Qassim al-Ghamdi, formerly an
employee of the Saudia Arabia’s religious police who had a
life-altering experience when he turned to the Quran to study the
stories of the prophet Muhammad and came up with the conclusion that
being Islamic is about being more liberal. No need to close shops
for prayers, to cover women up, or to ban women from driving.
Unsurprisingly, death-threats dogged him after he made these
Like Indonesia, Saudi Arabia has a demographic bonus:
Sixty percent of the population is under 30. Like Ameera and Khaled,
they are connected to a globalized world and they will rebel against
the strictures of the Islam espoused by their forbearers.
Change in Saudi Arabia seems inevitable, as it is
becoming more progressive, climate-conscious and is espousing
“Western” notions of rights (which the US under Trump seems to be
abandoning), while Islam in Indonesia is becoming more Arabized and
Ironic or what?
(First published by the JP)
*The writer is a public-intellectual, social-critic,
columnist, researcher, author of “Julia’s Jihad” (2013) and several
other books. She is based in Jakarta.
March 29, 2017
World’s Last Colony:
occupation of Western Sahara, in defiance of UN
ABEBA: At the 28th Summit meeting of the African Union (AU) held in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 30 January 2017, Morocco’s readmission to
the continental body generated heated discussion. At the end of the
day the Kingdom of Morocco managed to win over sufficient member
states on its side and it was allowed to join the fold
Morocco left the
Organization of African Unity (OAU), precursor to the AU, in 1984
after the OAU recognized the right to self-determination and
independence for the people of the Western Sahara and admitted the
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) that was proclaimed in 1976
by the Sahrawi people’s Polisario Front.
It was in keeping with the OAU principle not to recognize the
occupation of any part of the continent that it admitted the SADR to
its membership. While SADR claimed sovereignty over the Western
Sahara territory, Morocco saw it as an integral part of its own
territory. Thus, rather than accept SADR’s independence, Morocco
left the OAU.
Since then Morocco has
refused to join the AU unless the organization withdraws the
membership of SADR.
The Occupation of
The area of Western
Sahara has been occupied by Morocco since 1976 when Spain pulled out
and relinquished its claim as a colonial power over the territory.
This former Spanish colony was then annexed by Morocco. Sahrawi
people, who fought Spanish colonial oppression, were now forced to
fight Moroccan occupation. They conducted resistance struggle under
the leadership of Polisario Front until 1991 when the United Nations
(UN) brokered a truce.
A UN-supervised referendum on
independence of Western Sahara was promised in 1992 but it was
aborted by Morocco. A UN peacekeeping mission that was to organize
the referendum has remained in the territory ever since, while
Morocco built a 2,700km-long sand wall, with landmines.
SADR, headed by the
Polisario Front, has been recognized by the AU as the legitimate
government in exile. For decades Morocco made futile attempts to
delegitimize SADR and Polisario. Eventually it applied to rejoin AU
AU member states argued
that Morocco should not be readmitted unless it accepts the 1960 UN
Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries
and Peoples, which states that, “All peoples have the right to
self-determination; and by virtue of that right they freely
determine their political status.”
Morocco was also asked
to accept unconditionally the OAU/AU African Charter on Human and
Peoples’ Rights which provides that:
Nothing shall justify
the domination of a people by another. All peoples shall have the
unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination. They
shall freely determine their political status.
readmission Morocco should have accepted all the 33 Articles of the
Constitutive Act of the AU with Western Sahara as a founding member.
Morocco should also accept the AU Act which recognizes African
colonial boundaries, thus making its continued occupation of Western
All this was thrust
aside and Morocco was readmitted to the AU when 39 out of the 54
African member states voted for Morocco. They tacitly endorsed the
longstanding occupation of Western Sahara, while Morocco refuses to
comply with the successive UN resolutions on the holding of a
referendum on self-determination.
Western Sahara thus
remains the continent’s last colonial outpost, occupied by another
African state. It is an albatross on the African Union’s conscience,
since it was a departure from its founding principles.
The notable US
professor Stephen Zunes (a professor of politics and international
studies at the University of San Francisco, the co-author (along
with Jacob Mundy) of the illuminating book Western Sahara: War,
Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University
“For those of us who
have actually been to Western Sahara, there is no question that it
is an occupation. Any verbal or visual expression of support for
self-determination is savagely suppressed. Even calls for social and
economic justice can be dangerous. The young sociologist Brahim
Saika, a leader of a movement of unemployed Sahrawi professionals
demanding greater economic justice, was tortured to death while in
Moroccan detention in April 2016. Freedom House has ranked Western
Sahara as among the dozen least free nations in the world, along
with Tibet, Uzbekistan, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan.
Indeed, of the more than 70 countries I have visited -- including
Iraq under Saddam Hussein and Indonesia under Suharto -- Western
Sahara is the most repressive police state I have ever seen.”
was reportedly influenced by Morocco’s King Mohammad’s affluence.
This became evident when he demonstrated his largesse while touring
the continent, lobbying for support from African heads.
It is said he will now
bankroll the AU in line with what Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi used to
do. The two are, of course, poles apart. Gaddafi, arguably, had a
pan-Africanist and anti-imperialist vision, while the King aims at
continued annexation of Western Sahara.
That is why prior to
the AU vote the King embarked on a charm offensive by touring
African countries, seeking support for his AU bid. In February 2014
he set off on a tour of Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Gabon. This
was his second regional trip in less than five months. He took with
him a contingent of advisors and business executives who negotiated
a pile of agreements covering practically everything – from
religious training to agriculture and mining projects.
In December 2016, the
King concluded the second leg of a nearly two-month, six-country
Africa tour, resulting in some 50 bilateral agreements. The visits
came on the heels of trips to Rwanda, Tanzania, and Senegal in
October, when more than 40 bilateral agreements were signed.
This is how the monarch
wound up his whirlwind tour of Africa prior to the AU Summit meeting
in January 2017. For those who say the royal expeditions to African
countries had altruistic motive, suffice it to quote his official
Aside from west and
central Africa we must open up to east Africa and that is what is
under way. The context of Morocco’s return to the African Union is
there too of course, and these are important countries in the AU.
The tour of east Africa
“is also a way to get closer to countries which historically had
positions which were hostile to Morocco’s interests,” said the
In some circles it is
argued that Morocco’s readmission was a ‘positive’ step in that, as
full member of the AU, it will now have to recognize the
independence and sovereignty of SADR. If that is so then the
readmission should have been conditional.
In any case, Morocco
has no intention to give in on its occupation. Its return to the
union is intended to eventually push for the removal of Western
Sahara out of the AU, thus silencing the voice of the Sahrawi people
in connivance with ‘friendly’ member states.
Yet while the AU fails
to stand by such principles, the kingdom of Morocco is under
pressure in the international diplomatic arena where Polisario is
gaining global support. In fact, on 21 December 2016, a few days
before the Addis Ababa Summit, the European Court of Justice (ECJ)
dismissed Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara. The ruling means the
European Union’s trade deals with Morocco do not apply to the
occupied territory of Western Sahara which is endowed with its fish
stocks, mineral deposits, agricultural produce and oil reserves.
The UN and the
The ECJ ruled that
Western Sahara cannot be treated as a part of Morocco, meaning no
EU-Morocco trade deals can apply to the territory. The ruling
confirms the long-established legal status of Western Sahara as a
non-self-governing territory, and upholds existing international
law. The EU member states and institutions have been asked to comply
with the ruling and immediately cease all agreements, funding and
projects reinforcing Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara.
The Court also ruled
that a trade deal between the EU and Morocco should be scrapped
because it included products from Western Sahara. Morocco had to
accept that any free trade deal would have to exclude Western
Sahara. This includes the fruits and vegetables grown by companies
such as Les Domaines Agricoles, which is partly owned by King
On top of this there
have been more than 100 UN resolutions calling for
self-determination for the Western Sahara. In March 2016, the then
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the situation in Western
Sahara as an “occupation.” The UN, however, has to go beyond
rhetoric by enforcing its resolutions. It formally recognizes the
occupation of Western Sahara as illegal, and has maintained a
peacekeeping mission (MINURSO) commissioned to hold a referendum in
Sahara since 1991. But it has a skeleton staff, with no mandate to
even monitor human rights abuses, thanks to France’s Security
And so the French oil
company Total is active in Western Sahara, while others have pulled
out. Also big investors such as the Norwegian government’s pension
fund avoid any deals which involve Western Sahara. And the EFTA free
trade association, a group of non-EU countries including Norway,
Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, excludes Western Sahara
goods from its free trade deal with Morocco.
Morocco’s return to the
AU is an affront not only to the people of Western Sahara but to
African people, for Morocco is a country that once refused to host
the African Cup of Nations on flimsy grounds that Moroccans would be
infected by African teams bringing in Ebola virus.
Some African heads
claim that the admission of Morocco will now resolve the question of
Western Sahara’s occupation. Such argument is always pushed with
some foreign machination. In fact Morocco is now emboldened. That is
why those who voted for readmission of Morocco should have demanded
an end to the illegal occupation as a precondition.
That did not happen at
the AU Summit meeting in Addis Ababa. Instead we see the AU
blatantly violating its own Constitutive Act, and the principle for
African countries to respect each other’s territorial boundaries.
We witness a violation
of both the AU and the UN declarations on the inalienable right of
the people of Western Sahara to independence and self-determination.
Meanwhile, hundreds of
thousands of Sahrawi people are disenfranchized. It is estimated
that up to 200,000 have fled to refugee camps in the neighbouring
Algeria and Mauritania. They are separated by a 2,700km-long wall
going through Western Sahara, surrounded by landmines. •
is a Ottawa-based
free-lance writer from Zanzibar, Tanzania. Recently retired Senior
lecturer on Development studies, he extensively publishes in over 50
countries on 4 continents. He can be reached at
MARCH 24, 2017
SPECIAL REPORTS MODERN DIPLOMATIE
FEBRUARY 2017 ISSUE 18
The World’s Last Colony: Morocco continues occupation of Western
Sahara, in defiance of UN - Nizar Visram
'Schindler List' for Southeast Europe - Pakistanisation as the Final Solution for the Balkans? - Prof.
Brazil in the short Strikes – the ultimate price
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SPIRITUALITY AND THE ECONOMY OF CLIMATE CHANGE - Anis H.
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Editor - Geopolitics, History, International Relations (GHIR) Addleton Academic
Publishers - New YorK
Senior Advisory board member, geopolitics of energy Canadian energy research
institute - ceri, Ottawa/Calgary
Advisory Board Chairman Modern Diplomacy & the md Tomorrow's people platform
Head of mission and department head - strategic studies on Asia
Professor and Chairperson Intl. law & global pol. studies
Critical Similarities and Differences in SS of Asia and Europe - Prof.
Anis H. Bajrektarevic
MENA Saga and Lady Gaga - (Same dilemma from the MENA) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic
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FOR VIETNAM - Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Assos. Prof. Nguyen Linh
Change and Re Insurance: The Human Security Issue SC-SEA Prof. Anis
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the ‘crisis of secularism’ in Western Europe the result of multiculturalism?
Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella
A Modest “Australian” Proposal to Resolve our Geo-Political Problems
Were the Crusades Justified? A Revisiting - Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella
Earned an MA in International Relations from the University of East
Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom in 2013. Her research interests include
foreign policy decision-making, realism and constructivism, and social
psychology and constructivism.
is an independent researcher specialized in International Politics and Peace
& Conflict Studies with a regional focus on the Balkans and the Middle East.
Founder of Internacionalista
Săo Paulo, Brazil
Brazil – New Age
political character of Social Media: How do Greek Internet users perceive and
use social networks?
SWISS UMEF UNIVERSITY
is a master`s degree student on the University for Criminal justice and Security
in Ljubljana. She obtained her bachelor`s degree in Political Science- Defense
George Mason University School of Policy, Government, and
Intl. Relations She focuses on Russia and Central Asia. Ms. Brletich is an
employee of the US Department of Defense.
Interview on HRT-Radio
Prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarević
Dr Filippo ROMEO,
is the outspoken Indonesian thinker,
social-cause fighter and trendsetter. She is the author of Julia’s Jihad.
Mads is an intern at PCRC. Mads Jacobsen is from Denmark and is currently
pursuing his Master's degree in 'Development and International Relations' at
University of Bihac, Faculty of Education,
Department of English Language and Literature - undergraduate
University of Banja Luka, Faculty of Philology, Department of English Language
and Literature - graduate study
Rakesh Krishnan Simha
New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst. According to him, he
writes on stuff the media distorts, misses or ignores.
Rakesh started his career in 1995 with New Delhi-based Business World magazine,
and later worked in a string of positions at other leading media houses such as
India Today, Hindustan Times, Business Standard and the Financial Express, where
he was the news editor.
He is the Senior Advisory Board member of one of the fastest growing Europe’s
foreign policy platforms: Modern Diplomacy.
Daniele Scalea, geopolitical
analyst, is Director-general of IsAG (Rome Institute of Geopolitics) and Ph.D.
Candidate in Political studies at the Sapienza University, Rome. Author of three
books, is frequent contributor and columnist to various Tv-channels and
Research Associate at Institute of High
Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences (IsAG), Rome, Italy, and Ph.D.
researcher at University of Padova, is IMN Country Representative in Italy.
Foreign Policy Advisor to former Croatian
President Stjepan Mesić
Graduate of the London School of Economics,
prof. Zlatko Hadžidedić is a prominent thinker,
prolific author of numerous books, and indispensable political figure of the
former Yugoslav socio-political space in 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.
Mr. Nicola Bilotta
Nicola Bilotta has a BA and a MA
in History from Universitŕ degli Studi di Milano and a MSc in Economic History
from the London School of Economics. He works as a Global Finance Research
Assistant at The Banker (Financial Times) and collaborates as an external
researcher at ISAG (Istituto di Alti Studi di Geopolitica e Scienze Ausiliari)
Date and Place of Birth: April 22, 1943 – Amurang,
North Sulawesi, IndonesiaEducation: Bachelor in Public
Writer was a member of the House of Representatives
of Indonesia (DPR/MPR-RI) period of 1987-1999, and Chairman of
Committee X, cover Science and Technology, Environment and National
Development Planning (1988-1997).
Currently as Obsever of Nuclear for peace.
Attached to the US-based Berkeley University,
Sooyoung Hu is a scholar at its Political Science and Peace and Conflict
Studies Department. Miss Hu focuses on international relations, international
organizations and its instruments.
is a Ottawa-based free-lance writer from Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Recently retired Senior lecturer on Development studies, he extensively
publishes in over 50 countries on 4 continents. He can be reached at