Skall vi föra USA:s krig i Arktis?


Expressen (23/7) kunde meddela att Sverige befinner sig i samtal med USA om att utöka militärövningarna runt Arktis. Detta för att kunna möta den ryska upprustningen i området.

Försvarsminister Peter Hultqvist berättade för tidningen, att han dagen innan suttit i samtal med det amerikanska flygvapnet. Anledningen var att stormakten västerut vill utveckla samarbetet med allierade stater runt Arktis, vilket bland annat innefattar samtliga nordiska länder. Hultqvist sade att bakgrunden är den ryska upprustningen i Arktisområdet. ”Vi har under lång tid kunnat följa den ryska uppbyggnaden i det området”, sade Hultqvist på pressträffen.

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The Sahel programme,

Many states in the greater Sahel region, such as Mali, Niger and Libya, fail to deliver essential public goods and services to substantial parts of their populations. Individuals therefore often look outside of the state for their security and survival. In this sense, joining armed (Islamist) organisations or criminal groups, illicit cross-border trading (including human smuggling), migration, and the use of customary law structures all serve a similar purpose: they foresee in people’s direct needs. This research programme focuses on how development and stabilisation programmes could contribute to a situation in which

a) exclusionary and/or ineffective governance structures are opened up and strengthened so that larger parts of the population have access to the goods and services that the state is formally expected to supply;

b) the ability of criminal and/or armed (extremist) groups to provide alternative goods and services is weakened; while

c) ensuring that the inevitable conflict that will ensue over the alteration of this status quo can be resolved in as non-violent a manner as possible. Läs programmet

Den kalejdoskopiske Meinander

Anders Björnsson

Lagom till sin 60-årsdag i maj gav Helsingforsprofessorn Henrik Meinander ut en samling historiografiska essäer, Kalejdoskopet. Studier i Finlands historia (Schildts & Söderströms, 345 s.). Meinander får sägas vara sitt lands ledande modernhistoriker, och det är han som mer än någon annan genom flera magistrala arbeten har präglat bilden av Finlands 1900-tal. Han kallar seklet ”det långa 1900-talet”, i en implicit polemik med den brittiske historikern Eric J. Hobsbawms tes om ”det korta 1900-talet” (1917–1991). För Finlands och även för Sveriges del sträcker sig det långa seklet, enligt Meinander, från 1890 ungefär, då elektrifieringen sätter fart på ett antal dynamiska utvecklingsblock i bägge länderna, fram till 2010-talet, när digitaliseringen har kommit att styra eller understödja praktiskt taget all samhällelig verksamhet.

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Writer who caught the reality of war,

From August 1941 until 1945, Vasily Grossman was a correspondent for Red Star, a daily military newspaper as important during those years as Pravda and Izvestia, the official newspapers of the Communist Party and the Supreme Soviet. Many of the best writers of the time wrote for Red Star and it was read by both soldiers and civilians.

According to David Ortenberg, its chief editor, Grossman’s 12 long articles about the Battle of Stalingrad not only won him personal acclaim but also helped to make Red Star itself more popular. Red Army soldiers saw Grossman as one of them — someone who chose to share their lives rather than merely to praise Stalin’s military strategy from the safety of an army headquarters far from the front line.

Grossman’s articles remain of interest for two reasons. First, they provide the basis for several sections of Stalingrad, the great novel that is the prequel to Life and Fate. Second, they are a model of vivid, thoughtful and truthful journalism. I am not aware of any English-language equivalent to them. Läs artikel

NATO’s at war with itself,

Mark Almond, Director of the Crisis Research Institute, Oxford

[…] In recent months, key members of the NATO alliance have been involved in an increasingly sharp war of words with each other over their role in the Libyan civil war. Their hardly concealed backing for different sides there has split France and Greece on the one hand from Turkey and Italy on the other.

Turkey’s President Erdogan is mercurial and bombastic at the best of times, but the French President has not let his own rhetoric fall below the bar set in Ankara. Macron warned Erdogan, “I consider Turkey is playing a dangerous game in Libya”, adding France “won’t tolerate the role that Turkey is playing.”

These harsh words followed a standoff at sea between French warships enforcing both a UN and EU arms embargo on Libya and Turkish vessels escorting a merchant ship conveying weapons to Tripoli, the seat of the internationally-recognised government. The fact that the Turkish naval vessels locked their weapons-guidance radars on the French navy’s Courbet to deter it from stopping the cargo ship was the closest that two NATO members have come to blows in decades – if we except fairly routine buzzing of each other by Greek and Turkish airplanes in the Aegean.

The Atlantic Alliance was on the brink of going to war with itself, or at least several members were. Läs artikel

Crack Brit troops to join UN in Sahara desert to battle jihadis and armed gangs,

In an exclusive interview with The Sun on Sunday, Lt Gen Dennis Gyllensporre, the UN peacekeepers commander, said the new British unit would transform his 13,000-strong force. […]

  • The British troops will be part of a new UN strike force that takes the fight to terrorists and armed groups.
  • They will deploy under a UN banner but with orders to launch pre-emptive assaults.
  • The troops live in the desert for weeks at a stretch and only come back to replenish […]

The biggest challenge for the soldiers will be knowing who to trust. Hundreds of rival armed groups roam the badlands of northern Mali including Isis and Al Qaeda, corrupt local militias and mafia gangs smuggling drugs, people, gold and guns. Mali has been gripped by conflict since a failed coup in 2012.

The government is propped up by Lt Gen Gyllensporre’s force, but last week protestors burned the parliament and stormed the state TV station, because of anger over corruption. Violence has surged in the last few months as jihadis flee Syria and the civil war in Libya. Gen Gyllensporre said attacks were getting bigger and more complex. Malian troops must be vetted for human rights abuses. Some have and joined militias, while other groups have reconciled and are fighting on the UN side.

British troops will work alongside Swedish light infantry, a German intelligence unit, and 400 Chinese soldiers who guard the main camp at Gao run a field hospital. An elite French paratrooper was killed by a roadside bomb on Thursday bringing the country’s death toll to 43 since 2013. The UN have lost 129 killed and 358 wounded in the same period. Läs artikel

Läs även kommentar på den här sajten till Sveriges deltagande i Minusma och i den nya franskledda Takuba.

Mali’s current crisis political, not religious, Catholic Relief Services’s rep says,

The West African nation of Mali is suffering a political crisis as thousands of people are calling for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who still has three years left in his final term.

The country held legislative elections in March, which the opposition says were rigged to benefit the ruling party. Mali is in the volatile Sahel region of Africa, which divides North Africa from sub-Saharan Africa. The area has recently been plagued by different Islamist insurgencies as well as a food crisis.

The head of the UN Mission to Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, had suggested that the rising insecurity in Mali has been triggered by jihadists who  have fled places like Iraq and Syria.

However, Moussa Dominique Bangre – the Mali country representative for Catholic Relief Services, the international development arm of the U.S. bishops – says the crisis is more political in nature.

“It’s actually a result of inequality, poverty, and a growing mistrust of government. Like most people anywhere in the world, Malians want good governance, security, justice, and improved living conditions. These are things that protestors say the current government does not seem to be able to adequately provide,” he told Crux. Läs artikel

Patriotic Dissent: How a Working-Class Soldier Turned Against “Forever Wars”,

Patriotic Dissent is a short volume, just 141 pages, but it packs the same kind of punch as Howard Zinn’s classic 1967 polemic, Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal. Like Zinn, who became a popular historian after his service in World War II, Sjursen skillfully debunks the conventional wisdom of the foreign policy establishment, and the military’s own current generation of “yes men for another war power hungry president.” His appeal to the conscience of fellow soldiers, veterans, and civilians is rooted in the unusual arc of an eighteen-year military career. His powerful voice, political insights, and painful personal reflections offer a timely reminder of how costly, wasteful, and disastrous our post 9/11 wars have been.

Sjursen’s initial experience in combat—vividly described in his first book, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of The Surge (University Press of New England)—“occurred at the statistical height of sectarian strife” in Iraq.  “The horror, the futility, the farce of that war was the turning point in my life,” Sjursen writes in Patriotic Dissent. When he returned, at age 24, from his “brutal, ghastly deployment” as a platoon leader, he “knew that the war was built on lies, ill-advised, illegal, and immoral.” This “unexpected, undesired realization generated profound doubts about the course and nature of the entire American enterprise in the Greater Middle East—what was then unapologetically labeled the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).” Läs artikel

Försvarsmakten övade med bl a Ukraina i Svarta havet,

[…] Nu senast, 9-21 juli, genomfördes Seabreeze 18 vid Svarta havet (i Odessa- och Mykolaiv-regionerna m fl områden i nordväst) som engagerade stridskrafter ur samtliga element – luft, land, sjö och amfibie.
Seabreeze är ett årligen återkommande samarrangemang mellan Ukraina och USA med ca 3 000 deltagare från flera nationer där även vi, Partnerskap för fred-landet Sverige, ska ha varit med enligt flera utländska källor! Här är 2018 års deltagarländer i bokstavsordning: Bulgarien, Danmark, Estland, Georgien, Grekland, Italien, Kanada, Litauen, Moldavien, Nederländerna, Norge, Polen, Rumänien, Storbritannien, Sverige, Turkiet, Ukraina och USA. […]

Enligt just inkomna uppgifter från Försvarsmakten har Sverige sedan 2001 ett samarbetsavtal med Ukraina och vi har deltagit i den här övningen, med stabspersonal, även tidigare år. ”Huvudsyftet är att stärka Sveriges internationella samarbete med Ukraina i allmänhet och ur ett marint perspektiv i synnerhet”.
Vi bugar oss. Läs artikel

Will Nato still be relevant in the future?

[…]Yet China, not Russia, is the real threat today, argued John Mearsheimer, a political science professor at the University of Chicago, and Dr. Sara Moller, an assistant professor of international security at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. […]

Mearsheimer, however, argued that Putin, aggressive as he may be, is not Washington’s biggest headache at the moment. “It boils down to whether or not the United States should remain militarily committed to NATO, whether we should keep large-scale military forces in Europe,” said Mearsheimer. “My answer to that is no.” The professor, who has published six books on international affairs, said the Pentagon’s chief priority right now is containing China.

“Three areas of the world matter strategically to the United States: Europe, East Asia, and the Persian Gulf. For the United States, the key question is whether or not there’s a potential hegemon in one of those regions,” Mearsheimer said. “One of the reasons we stayed in Europe during the Cold War was because the Soviet threat was concentrated in Europe. The fact is, there is no regional hegemon in Europe today—or on the horizon, and indeed there is a regional hegemon: China. That means the US should concentrate all its military might in East Asia. That is what really matters. Europe does not matter very much at all.” Mearsheimer further argued that “the US and its allies—and specifically NATO—created the Russian threat” in the first place, and that NATO, which was formed in 1949, “has pushed Russia into the arms of the Chinese.” Läs artikel

”Oacceptabel risk om inte försvarsförmågan säkras”,

Tomas Bertelman, tidigare ambassadör i Ryssland och kanslichef iutrikesutskottet och Sven Hirdman, tidigare ambassadör i Ryssland och statssekreterare i försvarsdepartementet

[…] Sedan försvarsberedningen lämnade sin slutrapport ”Värnkraft” i maj 2019 har det framkommit nya finansieringsbehov i det militära försvaret, behov som försvarsberedningen inte hade kännedom om när rapporterna skrevs. Ansenliga delar av de ekonomiska tillskott som försvarsberedningen utgick från har visat sig vara intecknade. Det handlar om så mycket som hälften under perioden 2021–2025 och mer än en fjärdedel i den därefter följande femårsperioden. För att den helhet som försvarsberedningen var enig om faktiskt skall kunna genomföras krävs ytterligare tillskott om totalt cirka 50 miljarder kronor under tioårsperioden 2021–2030.

Det går inte att blunda för att det sedan många år finns en strukturell underfinansiering av försvaret. I grunden beror denna på en diskrepans mellan de mål politiken satt upp för försvaret, inklusive beställningar av svenskproducerade materielsystem i korta serier, och hur mycket pengar man faktiskt varit beredd att tillskjuta. De tillskott som nu krävs handlar även om att kompensera för konsekvenserna av reduceringen av försvarsbudgeten sedan 1990-talet, som ledde till att över 90 procent av armén lades ner och att hela det civila försvaret avvecklades.[…]

Om en stormaktskonflikt skulle bryta ut i Europa vore det förödande för Sverige. Europa har återigen blivit en allvarlig konfliktzon med tre kritiska områden där en stormaktskonflikt skulle kunna bryta ut: Nordkalotten med Nordnorge och Kolahalvön; södra Östersjöområdet med Polen, Baltikum och Kaliningrad; södra Ukraina med Svartahavskusten. I dessa områden finns insatsberedda styrkor som kan få en militär konflikt att eskalera till en större konfrontation. Vår säkerhetspolitik, stödd på ett trovärdigt och krigsavhållande folkförsvar, bör därför inriktas på att i möjligaste mån och i samarbete med andra länder minska riskerna för ett nytt stormaktskrig i Europa. Läs artikel

A Near-Miss Over Syria And Our Illegal Military Presence,

Daniel Larison, senior editor at TAC

There was a dangerous incident on Thursday over Syria involving two U.S. jets and an Iranian passenger plane bound for Beirut:

An Iranian passenger plane en route from Iran to Beirut swerved and dropped abruptly to avoid two fighter jets, injuring several passengers before landing in Beirut, Iranian and Lebanese television stations reported on Thursday evening. […]

Centcom confirmed that U.S. jets were involved, and claimed that they were conducting a routine patrol in connection with the al-Tanf base in southeastern Syria. This latest incident is another reminder that the U.S. military presence in Syria is unauthorized and illegal. U.S. jets have no business operating in Syrian airspace, and U.S. troops have no business being on Syrian territory. The jets were operating illegally to safeguard an illegal base, and in the process they nearly caused a terrible accident. U.S. jets shouldn’t be interfering with civilian flights over Syria. They shouldn’t be there at all. Just imagine how the U.S. would respond if the positions were reversed and a U.S. passenger plane were harassed in a similar fashion by fighters from a hostile government in another country’s airspace. This incident is bound to increase tensions between Iran and the U.S., which were already quite high following the acts of war that been carried out inside Iran in recent weeks. Läs artikel