NATO launches exercise near Belarusian border,

NATO exercises “Iron Wolf – 2021 II” begin at the training ground in the Lithuanian city of Pabrade near the border with Belarus, they will last about two weeks, Sputnik Lithuania reports with reference to the press service of the republic’s army.

“In Lithuania, the international exercises” Iron Wolf – 2021 II “(Geležinis vilkas 2021 II) will begin, which will last about two weeks… It is reported that the mechanized infantry brigade of the Lithuanian armed forces” Iron Wolf “announced an increase in combat readiness,” writes Sputnik. […]

“The exercise will last about two weeks, it will be attended by 3,000 soldiers and a thousand pieces of military equipment that are already on their way to Pabrade. The exercises will be attended by servicemen from Lithuania and other NATO countries – Belgium, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Spain, USA, Latvia, Poland, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands and Germany, as well as soldiers from Ukraine. The main operations that the soldiers will be trained in are attack and defense,” adds Sputnik. Läs artikel

Finland deltar i övningen Steadfast Jupiter 2021,

Finland deltar i den Natoledda stabsövningen Steadfast Jupiter 2021 under tiden 19 – 28.10.2021.

Stabsövningen Steadfast Jupiter 2021 (STJU21) leds av Nordatlantiska försvarsorganisationens (Natos) styrkor Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) 19 – 28.10.2021. Från Försvarsmakten deltar ca 30 stabsofficerare i övningen, av vilka ca en tredjedel arbetar i Norge, i Stavanger och resten som förbindelseofficerare i olika stabsstrukturer inom Nato.

Finland deltar i övningen i rollen som kompanjonsland. STJU21 erbjuder Finland en möjlighet att öva samverkan mellan staber med Nato i störningssituationer under normala förhållanden och utvecklar samtidigt samarbetet med flera för Finland viktiga kompanjonsländer och organisationer som deltar i övningen.

Statsrådets försvarsredogörelse ”Finland stärker försvarssamarbetet och utvecklar samverkansförmågan med de mest centrala partnerna för alla säkerhetssituationer som påverkar Finland. Finland bör ha en förmåga att agera tillsammans med sina viktigaste partner, då särskilt beslut om det fattas, även i krissituationer.” Läs pressmeddelande

Afghanistan and Great Power Interventionism as Self-Defense,

Prof. Dr. Jochen von Bernstorff, professor of Constitutional, Public International and Human Rights Law at the University of Tübingen.

[…] A significant legal problem faced by the US-administration after the September 11th attacks, as well as by previous US administrations, was that policing risks and punishing wrongdoings unilaterally in the periphery had been outlawed by the UN Charter. The UN Charter had deliberately closed legal loopholes for unilateral great power interventions by setting out a broad prohibition of the use of force in Art. 2 (4) and by restricting exceptions to collective action authorized by the Security Council and to a narrowly worded right to self-defense.

Ironically, it was the US delegation which at the San Francisco Conference in 1945 insisted that Art. 51 UN Charter should be constructed as restrictively as possible. […]

In other words, the endless post-9/11 debates about whether or not Art. 51 UN Charter allows for measures of self-defense against terrorists obscured that the re-interpretation of Art. 51 UN Charter in this context was just another attempt to re-introduce legal justifications for outlawed forms of great power interventionism in the periphery, whenever vital interests of a great power were at stake. Accordingly, subsequent US interventions in the Middle East, including the 2018 missile strikes punishing the Syrian government for chemical attacks in Douma, and the more recent US killing of the high ranking Iranian general Soleimani in Iraq proved that the application of the new cored self-defense doctrine was by no means limited to threats created by non-state actors. Unfortunately, this claimed right to police und punish in the periphery on the basis of undisclosed intelligence information about potential threats as “self-defense” would bring back the old “measures short of war”, at a time when great powers like the Russian Federation and China have begun to assert regional prerogatives in a much more robust fashion. Without a concerted rejection of a right of unilateral military self-help, retaliation and punishment as “self-defense”, the 2001 US intervention in Afghanistan could eventually go down in history as the beginning of the end of the assertion of a broad UN-Charter based prohibition of the use of force. Läs artikel

Non-aligned summit opens in Belgrade with call for multilateralism amid pandemic,

Over 100 state delegations attended a ceremony here on Monday marking the 60th anniversary of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), issuing a joint call for multilateralism in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and in international relations in general.

The event, co-organized by Serbia and Azerbaijan, opened at the Belgrade Fair complex on Monday in front of the presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers of the NAM member countries, representatives of the observer countries and nine international organizations.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who is the current chair of the NAM, addressed the participants via a video link. He said that his country ”will spare no effort” to strengthen the NAM’s role in ”addressing global challenges in international relations and defend justice and international law,” especially when it affects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the NAM member states.

”Unfortunately, double standards and selective approaches applied in respect to the norms and principles of international law and the decisions of international organizations have been negatively affecting the just and fair settlement of conflicts throughout the world,” he said. […]

The Non-Aligned Movement, which today includes 120 member states and 18 observer states, was established in Belgrade in 1961. Läs artikel

Afghanistan: US and Taliban discuss aid in first direct talks since US exit,

The US has agreed to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, the country’s Taliban rulers say.

The statement came at the end of their first direct talks, in Qatar, since US troops left Afghanistan in August. Aside from aid, the talks focused on containing extremist groups and the evacuation of US citizens.

US officials described the discussions as candid and professional, but added that the Taliban would be judged by their actions. The US insisted the meeting did not amount to recognition of the Taliban.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, the Taliban said: ”US representatives stated that they will give humanitarian assistance to Afghans and will provide facilities for other humanitarian organisations to deliver aid.” Läs artikel

Stalin’s blunder that made Turkey a NATO member, rbth.comr

Boris Egorov, graduate historian with a specialization in Russian and Swedish history

In June 1945, the Soviet Union was at the peak of its power: Nazi Germany had been defeated, the whole of Eastern Europe was firmly inside Moscow’s sphere of influence, and the Red Army, the strongest in the world at the time, was preparing to enter the war against Japan and deliver a decisive blow.

In these circumstances, the Soviet leadership believed it was high time to exert diplomatic pressure on Turkey, with which it had a number of important military, political and territorial disputes. The Soviets’ newfound authority and enormous influence, as well as the fact that the Western allies desperately needed Soviet help in the war against the Japanese, convinced Stalin that dealing with Ankara would be like taking candy from a baby. Subsequent events proved otherwise. Läs artikel

Ban Ki-moon, fel man på svår plats

Rolf Andersson

Ban Ki-moon, FN:s förre generalsekreterare, skriver i sin nyligen utkomna bok Resolved. Uniting Nations in a Divided World att han under sin diplomatiska karriär inspirerats av vatten. Tydligen ville han sprida sina tankar om denna inspirationskälla till andra. Han skriver rart i boken:

“This teaching – that ‘the highest virtue is like water’ – is so important to me that I carefully drew a Chinese calligraphy of it for U.S. President Barack Obama for his birthday.”

Om födelsedagspresenten gjorde intryck på Obama framgår inte. Ett tack för gåvan fick väl Ban! Det kan dock noteras att Obama i sina memoarer A Promised Land som kom ut föra året nedlåtande refererar till Ban som en “nerdy kid who’s too nice to reject”.

Obama förekommer på flera ställen i Resolved. På ett ställe handlar det om Syrien, som gång på gång av den amerikanske presidenten varslades om hot om aggressionskrig, ofta kopplat till påståenden om användning av kemiska vapen. Detta avsnitt i boken som är upplysande förtjänar att återges.

Läs mer

China Is Not Yesterday’s Enemies,

Peter Van Burenis, author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People,

Joe Biden’s China policy is unnecessarily adversarial. It is impractical and dangerous. It plays out as if it is being run by WWII reenactors.

China was artificially reimagined as an enemy-in-a-box as the wars of terror sputtered out and America needed a new villain. Biden envisions China as an autocratic foil for democracy to wage a global struggle against. “On my watch,” Joe said, “China will not achieve its goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world.” Biden went on to claim the world was at an inflection point to determine “whether or not democracy can function in the 21st century.” In Biden’s neo-Churchillian view, the U.S. and, what the hell, the whole free world he believes he is president of, are in a death match with China. […]

China and Taiwan make sport out of lofting rhetoric at each other, all the while maintaining a robust economic relationship that defines modus vivendi. Between 1991 and March 2020, Taiwan’s investment in China totaled $188.5 billion, more than China’s investment in the United States. In 2019, the value of cross-strait trade was $149.2 billion. Pre-Covid, travelers from China made 2.68 million visits to Taiwan. China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner. China might one day buy Taiwan, but until then what incentive would it have to drop bombs on one of its best customers? […]

In an end run timed to mock the American submarine deal with Australia, China applied in September to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. A week later, with no opposition voiced by Beijing, Taiwan applied to join as well. Radio silence on both applications from Washington, who, as a non-participant in the group, doesn’t even have a vote on the matter. And Biden has made clear he has no plans to join in the future. Läs artikel

Får slakt: – Unødvendig,

Med et stort glis, og norske og amerikanske flagg i både for- og bakgrunnen, undertegnet forsvarsminister Frank Bakke-Jensen i april en kritisert og omstridt militæravtale med USA.

Av regjeringen blir avtalen beskrevet som en «modernisering» av Norges forsvarssamarbeid med USA. Av kritikerne blir den beskrevet som et knefall for verdens største militærmakt.

Nå vedgår også regjeringen, ved Forsvarsdepartementet, at det kan være problematiske sider ved avtalen. […]

Pensjonert flaggkommandør i Sjøforsvaret, Jacob Børresen, er kritisk til avtalen av flere årsaker.

– Amerikanerne skal etablere banker, postvesen og egne butikker her. De skal ikke lenger være omfattet av krav om diplomatisk klarering og de slipper visumplikt. Samtidig får de rett til å bygge bygninger i henhold til amerikanske byggeforskrifter, som vi seinere kan overta, men neppe kan bruke fordi de ikke overholder norske krav, sier Børresen. Han legger til:

– Nei, jeg liker ikke dette, og synes avtalen går altfor langt i møte med amerikanernes krav.

Først og fremst er den tidligere flaggkommandøren kritisk til avtalen fordi den kan ses på som et brudd med en av hovedlinjene i norsk sikkerhetspolitikk de siste 70 åra: Den norske basepolitikken. Läs artikel

Regeringen smög ut hårt kritiserad spionlag under största möjliga tystnad,

Oisín Cantwell

Det finns alltid skäl att bli misstänksam då regeringen en fredag smyger ut ett pressmeddelande.

Inte minst gäller det då det inte framgår av rökpuffarna från justitiedepartementet att den nya spionerilagen, strimlad av remissinstanser, efter några års tystnad plötsligt ska träda i kraft. En lag som innehåller inskränkningar i grundlagen och som mycket väl kan göra det svårare för tidningar, radio och tv att avslöja grova förbrytelser som begås i andra länder.

För att förstå varför regeringen använder sig av denna sluga hysch-hysch-taktik behöver vi först bege oss tillbaka till februari 2018.

Det var då utredningen om det nya brottet utlandsspioneri presenterades. En nykriminalisering som säkerligen är behövlig, då det handlar om att skydda internationella samarbeten om fred och säkerhet mot figurer som är lika ljusskygga som snokande. Men enligt förslaget skulle också nyhetsrapportering som allvarligt skadar Sveriges relation med andra länder kunna leda till upp till åtta års fängelse.

Detta gällde även avslöjanden om insatser utförda av organisationer som EU, Nato eller FN. Läs artikel

Maktkritikk i søkelyset,

Sissel Henriksen og Yohan Shanmugaratnam

Lovordene satt løst fra pressefrihetsforkjempere etter nyheten om at Nobels fredspris 2021 går til Maria Ressa fra Filippinene og Dmitrij Muratov fra Russland. […]

NUJP skriver i en pressemelding at de gratulerer Ressa og Muratov med prisen:

«Denne prisen er ikke bare en anerkjennelse av deres arbeid, men også av pressefrihetens og ytringsfrihetens betydning, ikke bare i deres land, men i hele verden», skriver NUJP, og roser Ressa og Muratov for å forsvare disse frihetene under stadig mer utfordrende forhold. […]

– Vinnerne fortjener all den støtta de kan få. Ressa har med store omkostninger opponert mot et voldelig regime, mens Muratov blant annet har skrevet kritisk om Vladimir Putins krigføring i Tsjetsjenia, sier Rune Ottosen, professor emeritus ved Institutt for journalistikk og mediefag på Oslomet.

– De er begge verdige vinnere, slår han fast.

Samtidig legger ikke Ottosen skjul på at han også er skuffet. I januar nominerte han og kollega Elisabeth Eide Wikileaks-grunnlegger Julian Assange til årets fredspris.

I nominasjonsteksten skrev Ottosen og Eide blant annet følgende: «Julian Assange har ved å publisere dokumenter om krigsforbrytelser fra USA og alliertes side bidratt til en global offentlig debatt om deres krigføring, med spesiell vekt på krigene i Afghanistan og Irak.»

– Assange hadde fortjent prisen enda mer. Han er også en publisist som har risikert mye og avdekket viktige krigsforbrytelser og betalt en stor pris for det, sier Ottosen. Läs artikel

Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, New York, September 23, 2021,

1. We, representatives of Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nicaragua, the State of Palestine, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria, and Venezuela, met at the ministerial level, in New York, on the sidelines of the High-Level Week of the 76th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, in order to undertake an assessment of recent developments in the international arena, including of challenges and threats to the Charter of the United Nations, which underpins multilateralism, and to exchange views on existing, new, and emerging issues of collective concern and common interest.

2. We recall the declaration adopted on 06 July 2021, in New York, at the ambassadorial level, and reaffirm that the Charter of the United Nations and its purposes and principles remain timeless, universal, and that they are all indispensable not only for preserving and promoting international peace and security, the rule of law, economic development and social progress, as well as all human rights for all, but also for achieving a more peaceful, prosperous, just and equitable world, and a system based, precisely, on the rules contained in that universal and legally binding instrument that constitutes an exceptional achievement for humankind and a true act of faith on the best of humanity. Läs deklarationen