A road map for Syria

palmyra

Rebuilding a nation in the midst or after a civil war, terror and largescale destruction of physical infrastructure and housing is not an easy thing. But it´s doable, it isn´t mission impossible.

Before the project is attempted, any lessons in the history book? A number of them, ofcourse, though one of them is of particular interest in this context, the 30 years war in what is now Germany.

Quite a large percentage of the populations perished, to some extent in warfare but mostly in pests and famines. There was no outright victor, some countries, like Sweden, made territorial gains but from the present Syrian perspective the most interesting feature of the ensuing peace treaty at Westphalia was that it allowed for a degree of religious freedom, each souvereign had the right to decide whether his country should be catholic or protestant, it was up to the prince, the subjects had to follow or emigrate. This rather crude variant of religious freedom seems preposterous in the modern world but was actually quite a leap forward in the 17th century.

However, for the German populations, this war was probably a larger catstrophy than both the first and the second world war .

Still against this terrible backdrop the warring parties succeeded in negotiating a peace treaty. If a peace treaty could be negotiated after this devastating war 370 years ago, why should it not be possible to negotiate a peacetreaty in Syria today in the year of 2015?

Though given the trackrecord concerning religious animosities in the Middle East region there has to be very robust guaranties for religious freedom in a peacetreaty for Syria. A peacedeal should contain the following.

All waring parties should be invited to a peaceconference at a suitable location.

A waring party that chooses not to participate in a peacetreaty and who does not comply with the decisions of the treaty could/should be forced into compliance by military means.

  1. A constitution should be agreed upon and adopted. This constitution should be guaranteed by outside powers and should, in its´ main components, be non amendable, meaning foremost that it should not be possible at a later stage to abolish its’ main tenents including religious freedom and the multiparty parliamentary system or to introduce religious discrimination through means of parliamentary majority or otherwise.
  2. Provisions should be made for the nonpartisan administration, possibly by the United Nations, possibly by some other entity, of the country for a considerable period of time, probably at least five years.
  3. Provisions should be made for a multiparty system, when the period of outside administration has elapsed, elections, including a fixed date for the first parliamentary elections,  state and communal governing bodies, human rights and a legal system based on the rule of law.
  4. Provisions should be made for putting in place a large scale system of basic income for all adult individuals living in the Syria. The basic incomes should be payed directly to each registered person by the international community through some apropriate mechanisms thereby leapfrogging domstic corruption.
  5. Provisions should be made for  large scale reconstruction of infrastructure and housing and for the financing of such projects by the international community.
  6. Persons who have comitted war crimes should be granted amnesty provided that they do not participate in warfare or terror after the coming into force of the treaty.
  7. Provisions should be made for the setting up of truth committees that will give some transparancy to war crimes committed during the conflict. Such truth committees should faciliate the healing of the wounds of war.

Copyright of Mats Jacobsson

Ideology and the Ukraine

When living in Tallinn in the nineties I quite often heard my acquaintancies say that ”just you wait, when Gorbatjov and Jeltsin are gone the old russians will be back”. I was sceptical and saw things a little bit more rosy with a pluralistic democratic development in Russia as the most likely scenario for the future. I was wrong.

GolodomorKharkiv (1)So today what are the components of the cleavage between Russia and the Ukraine? Is it only about geopolitics, sphers of influence, natural gas pipes and money not to mention the catastrophic, by Stalinist policies created, famine in the early thirties in the Urkraine or is there a real ideological core in the conflict that calls for closer examination. Has the Russian state, inheritor of the Soviet system, completely and irrevocably morfed into kleptocracy?

What was the Soviet system? Well on the positive side and something which is not totally lacking of interest in todays world of mass unemployment, is the fact that the Soviet Union was a society of full employment, albeit with manpower allocated very inefficently.

If people had skills and higher education they were expected to contribute to society and if unwilling to work were put under some preasure to do so.

On the negative side you were supposed to shut up when it came to critizing the regime. If one did not adhere to the principle of shutting up, death, imprisonment, ostracization or exile could follow.

The blueprint of the Soviet union can be traced back to Lenins, in 1920, stipulated criteria for allowing socialist organizations to join the Comintern. Among these criteria was the acceptance of Democratic Centralism which meant handing over very farreaching powers to a small communist elite, doing away with what we consider fair democratic procedures, accepting the complete subservience of media to the communist party and abolishing free speach.

Marxism leninism was supposed to be the guiding star. In everyday conversations in our time this concept of Marxism Leninism is often treated as an integral concept. As I remember, the difference between Marxism and Leninism, Marxim being a tool for analyzing capital accumulation and Leninism being a political ideology, was sometimes pointed out by my leftwing inclined fellow students at the Stockholm School of Economics in the early seventies. This ”fine point” was however not something that, at that time, lingered on my mind it probably quickly bounced of , there were other concerns.

So how should one look on Russia today, mainly as a caretaker of Marxist ideas or as a derailed leninist kleptocracy? My gutfeeling says that it is mostly the latter reality that calls the shots but I can also hear a feeble voice wispering that the Marxist legacy is not completely dead. When this feeble voice meets fresh statistics about accelerating and worrysome inequalities in the West, including Sweden ground for some interesting conversations materializes.

Ideology and the Ukraine

When living in Tallinn in the ninties I quite often heard my acquaintancies  say that ”just you wait, when Gorbatjov and Jeltsin are gone the old russians will be back”. I was sceptical and saw things a little bit more rosy with a pluralistic democratic development in Russia as the most likely scenario for the future. I was wrong.

GolodomorKharkiv (1)So today what are the components of the cleavage between Russia and the Ukraine? Is it only about geopolitics, sphers of influence, natural gas pipes and money not to mention the catastrophic,  by Stalinist policies created, famine in the early thirties in the Urkraine or is there a real  ideological core in the conflict that calls for closer examination. Has the Russian state, inheritor of the Soviet system, completely and irrevocably morfed into kleptocracy?

What was the Soviet system? Well on the positive side and something which is not totally lacking of interest in todays world of mass unemployment, is the fact that the Soviet Union was a society of full employment, albeit with manpower  allocated very inefficently.

If people had skills and higher education they were expected to contribute to society and if unwilling to work were put under some preasure to do so.

On the negative side you were supposed to shut up when it came to critizing the regime. If one did not adhere to the principle of shutting up, death, imprisonment, ostracization or exile could follow.

The blueprint of the Soviet union can be traced back to Lenins, in 1920, stipulated criteria for allowing socialist organizations to join the Comintern. Among these criteria was the acceptance of Democratic Centralism which  meant handing over very farreaching powers to a small communist elite, doing away with what we consider fair democratic procedures, accepting the complete subservience of media to the communist party and abolishing free speach.

Marxism leninism was supposed to be the guiding star. In everyday conversations in our time this concept of Marxism Leninism is often treated as an integral concept. As I remember, the difference between Marxism and Leninism, Marxim being a tool for analyzing capital accumulation and Leninism being a political ideology, was sometimes pointed out  by my leftwing inclined fellow students at the Stockholm School of Economics in the early seventies. This ”fine point” was however not something that, at that time, lingered on my mind  it probably quickly bounced of , there were other concerns.

So how should one look on Russia today, mainly as a caretaker of Marxist ideas or as a derailed leninist klepocracy? My gutfeeling says that it is mostly the latter reality that calls the shots but I can also hear a feeble voice wispering that the Marxist legacy is not completely dead. When this feeble voice meets fresh statistics about accelerating and worrysome inequalities in the West, including Sweden ground for some interesting conversations materializes.

Islamiska statens grymheter

islamiska staten2

Marwan Bishara, politisk analytiker hos Al Jazeera har en del intressanta saker att säga om IS, Islamiska statens, uppmärksammade grymheter, halshuggningar m.m. Bishara ser extremvåldet inom IS som en direkt följd av brutaliserande terrorbekämpning i Irak och Syrien och andra länder.

Grymma och förnedrande övergrepp i kända och okända ”terrorfängelser” som inte uppmärksammas i media har brutaliserat tillfångatagna rebeller. Det är enl Bishara inte konstigt att vi fått se spektakulära grymheter begångna av IS då t.ex många av de 500 fångar som fritogs från det ökända Abu Ghraib fängelset i juli 2013 anslutit sig till IS och kan förmodas ha haft ett stort inflytande i brutaliserande riktning.


Bishara ser dock inte IS grymheter utan rörelsens snabba erövring av territorier som skälet till varför USA nu agerar militärt och politiskt. Händelseutvecklingen har på ett kraftfullt sätt spelat USA i händerna men USAs reaktion inger ändå betänkligheter om man begrundar att rötterna till islamisternas övervåld kan hittas i de regionala regimernas ständigt pågående våld, bl a i så kallade ”terrorfängelser” vilket inte tillnärmelsevis får samma mediala uppmärksamhet som IS övergrepp.


Jag kan inte undgå reflektionen att här finns stora likheter med den våldsdynamik som präglade både den franska och den ryska revolutionen. I den franska revolutionen mördades, avrättades och halshöggs cirka 20 tusen adelsmän. Omvärlden förfasade sig, men inte många ger sig tid att sätta sig in i de extrema standardskillnader som rådde mellan de fattiga, mer eller mindre livegna bondebefolkningarna och kung och adel och de grymheter som under sekler begåtts mot de fattiga befolkningarna. Även mycket små förseelser renderade grymma straff och avrättningar.


Som exempel kan nämnas att en betjänt vid hovet hos Ludvig den XVe i Frankrike på något sätt kände sig kränkt av kungen och tog sig för att stöta en trubbig bordskniv i låret på kungen. Straffet blev sönderslitning mellan fyra hästar.


Att det sprang omkring kärringar från Paris fattigkvarter med avhuggna adelshuvuden uppsatta på käppar i den franska revolutionens mest våldsamma skeenden är egentligen inte ägnat att förvåna när man betänker den brutaliserande inverkan som sekler av grymheter och extrem materiell nöd måste ha haft på de fattiga skikten av befolkningarna.