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Global Peace and Security: Why Wars on Humanity? By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

Editor’s Note
Dr. Khawaja makes a reasoned and impassioned argument for international organizations oriented towards peace, primarily the United Nations Organization (UNO), and humanity to step forward and change direction. Clearly, we live in a time of hardening lines and increasing extremism that perpetuates destruction and chaos; primarily to deliver the “rewards” to the hands of a powerful few. Organizations oriented towards peace, order, and the protection of humanity seem either incapable or unwilling to perform the roles for which they were created.

 

 

 

It is noted that most of the organizations were created to resolve the chaos of WWII and prevent such atrocity from swamping the world in the future. Herein lies the basic flaw. These organizations are not partnerships of equals where participating nations have equal voice and power. They reflect the power of the few with the United States being the “most equal” of all in a “Lord of the Flies” world. Whether we look at the UN, NATO, OECD, or IMF, we find that the power of the United States not only overrules the voices of many but silences them as well. In fact, the Security Council of the UN has had the effect (intentional or not) to enhance the power of the US in the UN’s ability (or lack thereof) to protect populations from the predation by others. When that fails, time after time the United States has acted unilaterally in direct violation of UN dictates and rulings. Further, the US has hamstrung efforts from basic UN operation to humanitarian response by withholding its dues – a critical amount in any budget.

Adding insult to injury, the United States has determined that it will not recognize, nor be bound by, the International Criminal Court – another critical component in addressing international crimes against populations and humanity.

It is clear that if there is to be an institution where the world comes together to promote peace and justice and work towards resolving conflicts and averting disasters, it needs to either be an organization of true equals with the ability to enforce decisions, or current institutions must restructure themselves so that the collective has more power than any individual nation. There is another viable option –

Mass non-cooperation by the people to participate and support our own destruction – a rolling global strike of sorts.

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”  (Albert Einstein)

 

Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

The global systems of political governance are dominated by the power politics of the few and are fast becoming irrelevant and unrepresentative of the primary concerns and priorities of the vast majority of global humanity. Neither the UNO  or superpowers take preventive measures to protect mankind in critical situations like Myanmar-Burma (Rohingyas), Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Yemen and Palestine; global governance tends to be a fantasy than a reality under these challenges.  You wonder if the UNO has lived up to its role and the Charter-based responsibility to safeguard the people of the world from the ‘scourge of wars’, horrors of planned violence, and the resulting devastation to human cultures and habitats. All in all, it is humanity which is subjected to untold miseries, bloodbaths and catastrophic consequences that linger on for generations. There are a few who are the source of evil driving mankind to unrestrained tyranny. The Statute of the International Criminal Court states “planning and waging a war of aggression is a crime against humanity.”

The Global War Agenda against Reason

The author intends to share a critical analysis of some of the contemporary issues and to inspire global rethinking for a navigational change in the redundant structures and role of the international institutions, inept leadership, obsolete systems of power politics and approaches to peacemaking, security and conflict management. The perpetuation of fear and political chaos overwhelms the obsolete global political governance. The war-agenda has shifted actions from the Western industrialized societies to the oil-producing Arab world. The Middle East is in ruins by the ongoing sectarian warfare; indiscriminate bombing; terrorism; and destruction of life, habitats and the natural environment. Nobody can rebuild what has been destroyed by the war agenda that repeatedly sweeps through the same regions.

To us – the living and conscientious humanity- time and accountability make it clear that global systems are operating contrary to reason. Amongst all the creations on Planet Earth, humans are the only one equipped with thinking, language and intelligence to claim morality as an attribute of life and value. This reality emphasizes and differentiates us from the other creations of God. If we propel uncertainty in our thoughts and behaviour, nothing can stop us from surpassing the limit of immorality and insanity. With knowledge-based 21st-century human communications improving the possibility of global collaboration, we are not moving in a direction where human logic and truth spell out for our conduct in peaceful relationships. The impulse and actions for cruelty and sadistic behaviour are increasingly propelling alarming trends for present and future generations to be shaped by our implicit wickedness and resulting failure in global affairs. As humans, we are not thinking or moving for the unity of mankind to be at peace and harmony being the chief creation of God. Staying on this destructive path will make us something much less than our God-given potential for unity and peace.

We the People of the Universe and Tyranny of the Few

The 21st-century knowledge-based critical thought highlights unilateral absolutism as the cornerstone of superpower’s policies and practices.  David Armstrong(“Dick Cheney’s Songs of America”: Information Clearing House: 09/19/2011), points out how the US politicians view the world to be governed by the American strategic dictates:

It was published as Defense Strategy for the 1990’s…. The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful.

The Plan is disturbing in many ways, and ultimately unworkable. Yet it is being sold now as an answer to the “new realities” of the post-September 11 world, even as it was sold previously as the answer to the new realities of the post-Cold War world. For Cheney, the Plan has always been the right answer, no matter how different the questions….

Another new theme was the use of preemptive military force. The options, the DPG noted, ranged from taking preemptive military action to head off a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack to “punishing” or “threatening punishment of” aggressors “through a variety of means,” including strikes against weapons-manufacturing facilities.

Under the George W. Bush administration, America continued to pursue this approach to global affairs. Reasoned politics and safeguard of global humanity were not the purposes of such a belligerent plan. The USSR was already dismantled as a challenger and the US politicians saw the opportunity to determine the future of global mankind through militarization and occupation of the poor and vulnerable nations. Its first victim was Afghanistan, then Iraq and Libya, and onward to the whole of the Arab world. Under NATO, America continued its influential role to destabilize the USSR and former allies of Eastern Europe. There was no balancing of reason.

Where power beyond human capacity is entrusted to the few, the chances are high it will be misused against the people. The political tensions of the militarization of the globe led to oppression and miseries for the people of the world. We have not seen any tangible movement in political behaviour to lessen the unstable clash of fanaticism and evil imposed on the innocent victims of this devastating political agenda. The UNO was overwhelmed by the same scenarios of inept outcomes in situations that warranted urgent and swift humanitarian action to safeguard the civilian population in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Palestine and Kashmir. Why is the prevention of man-made tyranny, oppression and conflicts fast becoming unacceptable norms in global systems of governance?  Should the contemporary leaders of the world answer this vital question, or should it be left to the impulse of history to explain it to future generations?

To Imagine Change in the Working of the Global Institutions

The global institutions were aligned and shaped by the historical at the end of the 2nd WW, not to knowledge-based proactive 21st century of technological innovation, reason and change. Global leadership and systematic working of international political affairs are managed by wrong thinking, wrong people and wrong priorities. None seem to have the capacity to further the cause of global humanity, peace, conflict resolution and security. Humanity looks for change, but there seems to be no systematic mechanism for integrated change to ensure continuity of encompassed human thoughts, hopes and ideals for tomorrow, whether near future or distant future. Despite the sketchy illusions of freedom, democracy, human rights, liberty and justice, we are encroached, stuffed and at terrible risk of annihilation more accidental and by an error of judgment than a planned scheme of things by Man against Man. The Western political mythology enflames hatred against Islam and blames Muslim as being “terrorists.” The raging wars in the Arab Middle East are a net outcome of ignorance and lack of wisdom against Islam. Western installed puppets Arab leaders do not represent the masses. Often false propaganda, deception and prejudice are combined in a trajectory of plans to sell weapons and console the egoistic leaders as allies of the Western military alliance. This political delusion is full of inherent inconsistencies. Gary Wills (What the Qur’an Meant and What It Matters. Viking, NY, 2017), a leading American scholar explains the reality in his new book:

Our enemy in this war is far less localizable than it was in the World War 2 or the Cold War. Terror is a tool, not a country. Declaring a war on it is less like normal warfare, country versus country, there is No VE Day or VJ Day in such wars… living with fear is corrosive…the less we know about the reality of Islam, the more we will fight shadows and false emanations from our apprehension. Ignorance is the natural ally of fear. It is time for us to learn about the real Islam beginning with its source book – The Qur’an.

Global Leadership and Its Moral and Intellectual Decadence and Humanity

That conscious realization is absent from global thinking and observations of the outcomes of the major international institutions is obvious. None of the global institutions seems to reflect the sacred nature of life and the role of Man (human beings) in preserving life and its encompassing standards as the pivotal role and obligations to the planet. What is the cure to the raging indifference and emboldened cruelty toward the interests of the people of Syria, Iraq, the United States and Western Europe, and for that matter to the whole of mankind?

Remember that civilizations and humanity are not developed by the political-military-industrial complexes led by economies, or IMF operative bankers, ruling elite, speculatory stock markets, legal judgments, kings and queens, morally and spiritually decadent generations and crime-riddled authoritarian ruler. Rather, thriving civilizations are the tangible progressive outcomes of proactive intellectual and moral visions of the societal thinkers, poets, philosophers, knowledge, truth, compassion and continuous movement by man to support humanity and its natural striving for new thinking, change and progress. Politics is problematic and increasingly becoming irrational and a burden on man’s conscience. Now, it is up to the focused mind of Man and Spirit of Humanity to assume the new-age responsible leadership for a navigational change.  We the People, We the Humanity, are capable of envisaging a navigational change towards reasoned dialogue for change and a sustainable future – new proactive visions and new reformed global systems; working international institutions to unite humanity and contribute to peace, harmony, security and respect amongst the diverse fabrics of mankind.

 

All material is under a Creative Common share with attribution license unless otherwise noted.

Posted April 9, 2019, by Rowan Wolf in category “Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.“, “Militarism“, “Peace

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‘Drone strikes killed more civilians than publicly acknowledged’ – UN investigator

‘Drone strikes killed more civilians than publicly acknowledged’ – UN investigator

Published time: October 18, 2013 12:50 
Edited time: October 20, 2013 19:35

 
 
Pakistani protesters belonging to United Citizen Action march behind a burning US flag during a protest in Multan on September 30, 2013, against the US drone attacks in Pakistani tribal areas (AFP Photo / S.S Mirza)

Pakistani protesters belonging to United Citizen Action march behind a burning US flag during a protest in Multan on September 30, 2013, against the US drone attacks in Pakistani tribal areas (AFP Photo / S.S Mirza)

A UN report accuses the United States of downplaying the number of civilians killed in anti-terrorist drone operations, while failing to assist in the investigation by releasing its own figures.

With the increased use of remotely piloted aircraft in military operations in a number of countries, the nagging question of civilian “collateral damage” as a consequence of these deadly technologies is a growing concern for the United Nations and human right groups.

In Afghanistan, for example, the number of aerial drone strikes surged from 294 in 2011 to 447 during the first 11 months of 2012, according to data released by the US Air Force in November 2012, UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson noted in his interim report.

Pakistan officials confirmed that out of 2,200 deaths “at least 400 civilians had been killed as a result of remotely piloted aircraft strikes and a further 200 individuals were regarded as probable non-combatants.”

Although the first missile test-fired from a drone occurred in February 2001, it wasn’t until the end of 2012 that the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released data showing that 16 civilians had been killed and 5 injured due to drone strikes during the course of the year.

In its latest published figures, covering the first six months of 2013, UNAMA documented 15 civilian deaths and 7 injuries in seven separate attacks by drone aircraft.

Emmerson’s 24-page document, which is due to be presented to the UN General Assembly next Friday, mentions a report by a US military advisor that contradicted official US claims that drone attacks were responsible for fewer civilian deaths compared with other aerial platforms, for example, fighter jets.

He pointed to research by Larry Lewis, a research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, who examined aerial strikes in Afghanistan from mid-2010 to mid-2011. With the help of classified military data, Lewis found that the missile strikes conducted by drones were “10 times more deadly to Afghan civilians” than those performed by fighter jets, according to a report by The Guardian newspaper.

 

Northrop Grumman / Chad Slattery / Handout via Reuters

Northrop Grumman / Chad Slattery / Handout via Reuters

 

Lots of targets, little transparency 

The United States and the United Kingdom have been reluctant to hand over information regarding drone strikes of any sort, including those that result in civilian deaths. For example, on February 21, 2010, 23 civilians were killed and 12 wounded in a Predator strike in southern Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province.

The US military released partially declassified information on the incident, suggesting “administrative and disciplinary sanctions” against the crew for providing misleading “situational information” as well as “a predisposition to engage in kinetic activity (the release of a missile).”

Emmerson said the US, which has attracted a lot of scorn in Afghanistan over the drone attacks, had created “an almost insurmountable obstacle to transparency.”

“The Special Rapporteur does not accept that considerations of national security justify withholding statistical and basic methodological data of this kind,” Emmerson wrote in the report.

The United Kingdom, which also figured into the report, has officially admitted to one civilian casualty incident, in which four civilians were killed and two civilians injured in a remotely piloted aircraft strike by the Royal Air Force in Afghanistan on March 25, 2011.

However, that figure remains open to speculation given that the United Kingdom’s ‘Reaper’ drone has flown more than 46,000 hours in Afghanistan, averaging three sorties per day, with a total of 405 weapons discharged. 

Pakistan hunting ground 

Emmerson also reported that Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided him with statistics on drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, where the US military has targeted members of Al-Qaeda since 2004.

The government noted the difficulties in determining the exact number of civilian deaths due to particular“topographical and institutional obstacles” of the Tribal Areas, including the tradition of immediately burying the bodies of the dead. So the figures are likely to be an underestimate.

The highest amount of civilian casualties, Emmerson noted, came when the CIA dramatically increased drone attacks in Pakistan between 2008 and 2010. Following intense criticism from Islamabad, however, drone strikes in Pakistan have steadily declined and “the number of civilian deaths has dropped dramatically.”

 

Pakistani schoolgirls walk along a path after school in Mingora, a town in Swat valley (AFP Photo / A Majeed)

Pakistani schoolgirls walk along a path after school in Mingora, a town in Swat valley (AFP Photo / A Majeed)

 

In September, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), a non-profit organization launched a project,“Naming the Dead,” to record properly the names and numbers of people who are killed by US drone airstrikes in Pakistan. 

Civilian fatalities attributed to US drone strikes have occurred beyond the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, including in Yemen, where the figure is 12-58, according to Emmerson. Statistics are not yet available from Iraq or the Nato operation in Libya in 2011. 

Who’s a target? 

Meanwhile, with America’s arch-enemy Al-Qaeda looking increasingly fractured, especially with the death of its terror mastermind, Osama bin Laden, the question as to who now qualifies as a legitimate target of US strikes is becoming more pertinent. More importantly, perhaps, are the limitations that the United States and other countries must recognize as the battle against ‘terrorism’ goes global.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has noted the absence of a clear international consensus on the issue, Emmerson noted. But one thing that is generally accepted, however, is that“international humanitarian law does not permit the targeting of persons directly participating in hostilities who are located in non-belligerent States, given that, otherwise, the whole world is potentially a battlefield,” the report emphasized.

In Washington, the report got a lukewarm reception with White House spokesperson Laura Magnuson saying, “We are aware that this report has been released and are reviewing it carefully.”

She noted that at the National Defense University on May 23, “[T]he President spoke at length about the policy and legal rationale for how the United States takes action against Al-Qaeda and its associated forces. As the President emphasized, the use of lethal force, including from remotely piloted aircraft, commands the highest level of attention and care.”

The Special Rapporteur intends to submit a final report on the subject of robotic aircraft in counter-terrorism operations to the Human Rights Council in 2014. 

 Reference

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