Tag: <span>Antony Blinken</span>

Gaza Conflict Appeals

Preventing the Expansion of the Gaza Conflict: Are Peace…

Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, has been again in the Middle East working to prevent the violence of the Gaza Strip of spreading to much of the area.  The Gaza Strip conflict has already spread to the West Bank with increased violence between Jewish settlers and Palestinian inhabitants.  There is increased violence along the frontier of Lebanon with the activities of the armed faction Hezbollah and the displacement of Israeli villages.  Negotiations in good faith seem far off, and political speeches grow more conflictual.  Could there be a role for unarmed, non-governmental peace brigades to monitor frontiers and lessen tensions?

    One possibility, inspired by the efforts of Shanti Sena (Peace Army) developed by followers of Mahatma Gandhi in India to deal with Hindu-Muslim violence is to place some nongovernmental teams on the frontier between antagonists in order to provide an opportunity for all parties to “cool off” and negotiate.

Antony J. Blinken, 71st U.S. Secretary of State. By U.S. Department of State, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

    Friends of Humanity.

One such effort in which I was directly involved was an effort to place a peace team on the Nicaraguan-Honduras frontier in 1981. At the time, it was thought that the 400 strong U.S. troops stationed in Honduras might cross the frontier to attack the Saddinista-leftest government in Nicaragua or to help actively the anti-Sandinista “Contras” to do so.  A group of persons associated with the Santa Cruz Resouce Center for Nonviolence in California and affiliated to the organization Peace Brigades International were able to put a team together and move to the Nicaragua-Honduras frontier on short notice.  The group called itself “The Jalapa Brigade” after the small Nicaraguan city near the Honduran frontier where it was posted.

    When the Jalapa Brigade was being put into place, the Ambassador of Nicaragua to the United Nations in Geneva was a former student of mine, and his brother, also a former student of mine, was the legal advisor to the President of Nicaragua.  In fact, when the team arrived, Daniel Ortega, the President, introduced the team as “Friends of Humanity.”

The Gulf Peace Team.

    Through the Ambassador, I was able to inform all the Central American Missions to the U.N. as to the aims and role of the Peace Brigade.  In the end, the U.S. military did not cross the frontier.  Perhaps it never intended to do so. It may also have been that the interposition of U.S. citizens with good organizational contacts helped to weigh in the U.S. military decision-making process.  When the team left, the leader of the Protestant “Evangelical Committee for Development Aid” said:

“The proof of your triumph lies in the fact that no attacks were made while you were in the Jalapa area.”

    There have been other such interposition efforts.  One was the Gulf Peace Team created at the time of the 1990 Iraqi annexation of Kuwait.  The aim of the 73-member Peace Team was to be an “international multicultural team working for peace and opposing any form of armed aggression by setting up one or more international peace camps between the opposing armed forces.  Our object will be to withstand nonviolently any armed aggression by any party to the present Gulf dispute.”  However, on 27 January 1991, the peace camp was closed by Iraq because the authorities had:

“decided that the continued presence of the camp was a security risk.”

Peace Team a Possibility?.   

Likewise a January 2022 proposal of the Association of World CitizensUkraine-Donbas-Russian Frontier: Is a Nongovernmental Interposition Peace Team a Possibility?” was followed three weeks later by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    Thus the creation of interposition peace teams in the Israel-Palestine conflict would not be easy to create for political and logistic reasons.  There are economic and logistic resources required and, more importantly, there is the need to raise enough volunteers who are mature, culturally sensitive, and analystically-minded to achieve a critical mass that would make a difference in the decision-making of the conflicting parties.  There is also the need to keep the unity of purpose within the teams if they have not worked together before.

However, the current situation is very dangerous.  The dangers are widely recognized.  Therefore all forms of conflict reduction need to be explored.

Image: The famous Independence Square in Kiev on a sunny day. Photo by Euan Cameron on Unsplash.

Ukraine-Donbas-Russia: Can the Normandy Format Be Reactivated? 

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

tensions among China Japan and U.S.A Appeals

When will we meet again?

Featured Image: Picture By Boris Ulzibat: https://www.pexels.com/es-es/foto/arquitectura-china-la-gran-muralla-china-lugares-de-interes-3262994/

In an article “Tensions in the Asian Trinity: China, Japan, U.S.A.” I noted that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was to visit Beijine for talks on 5-6 February 2023 and then set out some of the issues that might be discussed:

After five years of growing tensions among China Japan and the U.S.A., U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will make an official visit to Beijing on 5-6 February 2023.

There is a long list of possible issues to discuss although the list of common actions may be much shorter.  Probably at the head of the list is the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its geopolitical and economic impact.  There follows the status of Taiwan.  Some have made a parallel between the Russian intervention in Ukraine  and a possible attack on Taiwan. Russian difficulties in Ukraine have no doubt been discussed in Beijing, and the parallel discarded. 

The role of North Korea and its military potential is a concern to China, to the U.S.A. and also Japan.  The economic ties of North Korea to China as well as relations between North and South Korea is as aspect of the same Korean issue.  The dramatic growth of Japanese government investment in the military and security sector, no doubt related to its view of Chinese power, will be an aspect of the China-U.S.A. talks. A full two days is ahead of the delegations.

Until there are better conditions.  The reason given for the “postponment”.

Now, as an illustration of the tensions, the mission of Antony Blinken has been put off “until there are better conditions.  The reason given for the “postponment” by the U.S. officials was that there was a Chinese observation balloon floating over U.S. air space in the Western states – a violation of U.S. sovereignty.  The U.S. government officials put the focus on the fact that the balloon could observe military installations.  The Chinese officials replied that the balloon was a weather observation instrument (and implied but did not say that the Chinese had other methods to observe U.S. military installations).

Antony Blinken

This is the official State Department photo for Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, taken at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 9, 2021. [State Department Photo by Ronny Przysucha/ Public Domain]. By U.S. Department of State, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Weather Balloon.

One does not know what is behind the sending of the “weather balloon” at this time, the weather observations could wait.  From the U.S. side, the postponment may come as a relief since there was likely to be little progress on the key political issues.

The need to advance U.S. – China dialogue remains.  As mentioned earlier, it may be up to non-governmental representatives to take the lead.

 

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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Democratic Republic of Congo - tensions Appeals

Democratic Republic of Congo: Increasing Tensions and Danger of…

Featured Image: Movement militiamen M23 and Type 85 heavy machine gun. By Al Jazeera English, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Despite the presence of some 14,000 United Nations peacekeepers (Monusco) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC), instability continues to grow, especially in the North Kivu area at the frontiers with Rwanda and Uganda.

Le Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23).

Recently, there have been violent demonstrations against the U.N. forces accused by some of an unwillingness to fight actively against anti-government armed militias especially Le Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23) in North Kivu.  The governmental authorities of the RDC have accused the government of Rwanda of giving support to the M23.  Rwandan army personnel are said to be active in raids along with M23 troops.  There have been reports by both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch making the same accusations based on interviews with witnesses and victims.  Tensions between the governments of RDC and Rwanda are growing, and there is a danger of a spillover impact with people using violence on their own.  The RDC government has been  creating its own armed militias in North Kivu but with little control over their activities.

The situation in RDC.

The United Nations Security Council is to take up a report of U.N. experts on the situation in RDC, but it is difficult to see what more can be done.  The Security Council has no operational control over the Monusco peacekeepers. The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in both RDC and Rwanda from 10 to 12 August 2022 and no doubt urged calm and cooperation.  It is unclear what else the U.S.A. may have proposed or be willing to do.

Antony Blinken

This is the official State Department photo for Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, taken at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 9, 2021. [State Department Photo by Ronny Przysucha/ Public Domain]. By U.S. Department of State, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Now is the time for concerted action among non-governmental organizations and the U.N. system.

The already unstable and complex situation is likely to become more unstable unless there are strong measures by civil society organizations in RDC, Rwanda, and Uganda.  Such civil society action has been weak or lacking in the past.  Now is the time for concerted action among non-governmental organizations and the U.N. system.  Churches and other religious-based groups are probably the only civil society organizations structured to act relatively quickly  before the wave of disorder grows.

 

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12