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Important News, Belangrijke nieuws, Nouvelles importantes, Wichtige News, Fontos hírek, Importanti novit, Pomembne novice, Importante Notícias, Viktiga nyheter



Ing. Salih CAVKIC
Editor
by ORBUS.ONE
info@orbus.one
www.orbus.one


Prof. dr. Murray Hunter
University Malaysia Perlis


Eva

20 Years to Trade Economic Independence for Political Sovereignty - Eva MAURINA

IN MEMORIAM

Aleš Debeljak +
In Defense of Cross-Fertilization: Europe and Its Identity Contradictions - Aleš Debeljak

ALEŠ DEBELJAK - ABECEDA DJETINJSTVA

ALEŠ DEBEJAK - INTERVJU; PROSVJEDI, POEZIJA, DRŽAVA


Rattana Lao
Rattana Lao holds a doctorate in Comparative and International Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and is currently teaching in Bangkok.



Bakhtyar Aljaf
Director of Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana, Slovenia



Rakesh Krishnan Simha
Géométrie variable of a love triangle – India, Russia and the US



Amna Whiston
Amna Whiston is a London-based writer specialising in moral philosophy. As a PhD candidate at Reading University, UK, her main research interests are in ethics, rationality, and moral psychology.



Eirini Patsea 
Eirini Patsea is a Guest Editor in Modern Diplomacy, and specialist in Cultural Diplomacy and Faith-based Mediation
.


Belmir Selimovic
Can we trust the government to do the right thing, are they really care about essential things such as environmental conditions and education in our life?



Manal Saadi
Postgraduate researcher in International Relations and Diplomacy at the Geneva-based UMEF University


doc.dr.Jasna Cosabic
professor of IT law and EU law at Banja Luka College,
Bosnia and Herzegovina


Aleksandra Krstic
Studied in Belgrade (Political Science) and in Moscow (Plekhanov’s IBS). Currently, a post-doctoral researcher at the Kent University in Brussels (Intl. Relations). Specialist for the MENA-Balkans frozen and controlled conflicts.
Contact: alex-alex@gmail.com



Dr. Swaleha Sindhi is Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Administration, the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India. Decorated educational practitioner Dr. Sindhi is a frequent columnist on related topics, too. She is the Vice President of Indian Ocean Comparative Education Society (IOCES). Contact: swalehasindhi@gmail.com


Barçın Yinanç
 It is an Ankara-based journalist and notable author. She is engaged with the leading Turkish dailies and weeklies for nearly three decades as a columnist, intervieweer and editor. Her words are prolifically published and quoted in Turkish, French an English.


 By İLNUR ÇEVIK
Modified from the original: They killed 1 Saddam and created 1,000 others (Daily Sabah)


Aine O’Mahony
Aine O'Mahony has a bachelor in Law and Political Science at the Catholic Institute of Paris and is currently a master's student of Leiden University in the International Studies programme.Contact: aine-claire.nini@hotmail.fr


Elodie Pichon

  Elodie Pichon has a  bachelor in Law and Political Science at the Catholic Institute of Paris and is currently doing a MA in Geopolitics, territory and Security at King's College London. Contact : elodie.pichon@gmail.com


Qi Lin

Qi Lin, a MA candidate of the George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs. Her research focus is on cross-Pacific security and Asian studies, particularly on the Sino-U.S. relations and on the foreign policy and politics of these two.


ALESSANDRO CIPRI
Born in Chile and raised in Rome, Alessandro Cipri has just finished his postgraduate studies at the department of War Studies of King's College London, graduating with distinction from the Master's Degree in "Intelligence and International Security".


Ms. Lingbo ZHAO
is a candidate of the Hong Kong Baptist University, Department of Government and International Studies. Her research interest includes Sino-world, Asia and cross-Pacific.
Contact: harryzhaolin@gmail.com
 

Hannes Grassegger
Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus are investigative journalists attached to the Swiss-based Das Magazin specialized journal.
 

Mikael Krogerus

Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus are investigative journalists attached to the Swiss-based Das Magazin specialized journal.
 

Michal Kosinski

Scientific analysis
 

Elodie Pichon,
Ms. Elodie Pichon, Research Fellow of the IFIMES Institute, DeSSA Department. This native Parisian is a Master in Geopolitics, Territory and Security from the King’s College, London, UK.



Djoeke Altena

Muhamed Sacirbey
Muhamed Sacirbey
Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey currently lectures on Digital-Diplomacy. "Mo" has benefited from a diverse career in investment banking & diplomacy, but his passion has been the new avenues of communication. He was Bosnia & Herzegovina's first Ambassador to the United Nations



Amanda Janoo
Amanda Janoo is an Alternative Economic Policy Adviser to governments and development organizations. Graduate from Cambridge University with an MPhil in Development Studies, Amanda worked at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)


Michael dr. Logies,

Germany


Endy Bayuni

The writer, editor-in-chief of The Jakarta Post, took part in the Bali Civil Society and Media Forum, organized by the Institute for Peace and Democracy and the Press Council, on Dec.5-6.


Élie Bellevrat
Élie Bellevrat is the WEO Energy Analysts


 Kira West
 Kira West is the WEO Energy Analysts


Victor Davis Hanson NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.


Alexander Savelyev - Chief Research Fellow at the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (Moscow, Russia). In 1989-1991 was a member of Soviet negotiating team at START-1 negotiations (Defense and Space Talks).


Ingrid Stephanie Noriega
Ingrid Stephanie Noriega is junior specialist in International Relations, Latina of an immense passion for human rights, democratic accountability, and conflict resolution studies as it relates to international development for the Latin America and Middle East – regions of her professional focus.


Syeda Dhanak Fatima Hashmi
Author is a Foreign Policy Analyst and Research Head at a think tank based in Islamabad. She has done Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Governance and Public Policy. Her areas of research include both regional as well as global issues of contemporary international relations.



Pia Victoria Poppenreiter
Davos: The Other Side of the Mirror
An “inventor, startup guru, conceptualist and CEO” hangs out at the world’s four-day power lunch



Jomo Kwame Sundaram,
a former economics professor, was United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.


Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe. Earlier version published by the GeterstoneInstitute under the title France Slowly Sinking into Chaos


Mr. Masato Abe, specialist at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific


Corneliu PIVARIU is highly decorated two star general of the Romanina army (ret.).
For the past two decades, he successfully led one of the most infuential magazines on geopolitics and internatinal relations in Eastern Europe – bilingual journal ‚Geostrategic Pulse’.




Malik Ayub Sumbal is an award winning journalist, co-founder of the CCSIS (Caucasus Center for Strategic and International Studies), and a presenter for the Beijing-based CGTN (former CCTV)


Tanvi Chauhan is a m the US-based Troy University. She is specialist on the MENA and Eurasia politico-military and security theaters.


Giorgio Cafiero 140


 
Ambassador (ret.) Dr. Haim Koren
is a former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt and South Sudan and Member of IFIMES Advisory Board


Elizabeth Deheza is a founder and CEO of the London-based, independent strategic intelligence entity DEHEZA,focused on Latin America and Caribbean.

Nora Wolf


Audrey Beaulieu



Cristina Semeraro
is anem Analyst with the Rome-based Vision & Global Trends, International Institute for Global Analyses of Italy.


Tereza Neuwirthová, of Leiden University,
International Studies program is the EU and IOs affairs specialist that monitors the EU Commission affairs from Brussels.
 




English

 
Important News


 


NOVEMBER 2020

 

International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES)[1] from Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East, Balkans and around the world. Viola Christian is a Program Officer at Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, Vienna, Austria. In her text entitled “To Achieve the SDGs, We Must Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls” she is presenting the Orange the World campaign to eliminate violence against women and girls in all its forms. 
 

Viola Christian
Program Officer, Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, Vienna, Austria

To Achieve the SDGs, We Must 
Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls


During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence from the 25th of November to the 10th of December, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens contributes to the Orange the World Campaign globally and in Austria, calling for the elimination of violence against women and girls.

Five years ago, in 2015, the member states of the United Nations (UN) agreed on 17 global goals to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Since then, these Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have evolved into a guiding roadmap for finding long term solutions to global challenges. “Leaving No One Behind” has become the key message of this agenda, as the global community emphasised that the SDGs can only be achieved if peace and prosperity holds true for everyone.

Women make up half of the world’s population, but they still struggle to even exercise their fundamental human rights. A staggering one in three women experiences physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.[2] Violence against women and girls is, thus, one of the most pervasive human rights violations and perhaps the most obvious manifestation of the deeply rooted imbalances in power in our societies. How will we ever reach the SDGs if such inequalities still exist?

In 2008, the UN, under the leadership of its 8th Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, pushed for a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world, called UNiTE to End Violence against Women.  

The campaign called on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women and girls. It has, for example, worked to adopt and enforce national laws to address and punish all forms of violence against women and girls, in line with international human rights standards.[3]  

In 2015 UN Women became the agency entrusted to lead the UN’s efforts to advocate the elimination of violence against women and girls. To strengthen UNiTE, UN Women announced the “Orange the World” campaign, to take place annually during the period between the 25th of November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the 10th of December, Human Rights Day. During these 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the world’s most prominent monuments and buildings are illuminated in orange, representing a future free from violence against women and girls. 

Hosting the United Nations and located in the heart of Europe, Austria plays a key role in boosting the campaign on a local and international level. UN Women Austria, Soroptimist International Austria, HeForShe Austria and the Ban Ki-moon Centre are working in close partnership on the Austrian contribution to Orange the World. In 2019, the partners counted over 130 Austrian buildings in monuments illuminated in orange during the 16 Days of Activism. In 2020, the aim is to surpass this number and to shed light on current challenges regarding gender-based violence with the support of the Austrian actress Ursula Strauss as the campaign’s spokesperson. 

2020 has been rattled by the Covid-19 pandemic and emerging data has shown that the lock-down measures around the world were accompanied by a spike in reported domestic violence cases. This alarming development demonstrates that action must be taken to prevent the aggravation and contribute to the elimination of what UN Women has named ‘The Shadow Pandemic’.[4]
 
Image Reference: https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2020/issue-brief-covid-19-and-ending-violence-against-women-and-girls-en.pdf?la=en&vs=5006 

To spread the message of the campaign to a wider audience and discuss the issues of the Shadow Pandemic with high-level actors, two online events will take place during the Orange the World timeframe.

At a virtual high-level roundtable on November 26th titled “Tackling the Shadow Pandemic – Violence Against Women During COVID-19 Times”, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, Regional Director of UN Women Asia and Pacific Mohammad Naciri, CEO of Avon Angela Cretu, and women’s rights activist Trisha Shetty will discuss what steps can be taken to address the spike in violence against women during Covid-19. The event will be hosted by the Co-chairs of the Ban Ki-moon Centre, 8th UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and 11th President of Austria Heinz Fischer

On December 1st, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Ban Ki-moon Centre will host a Virtual Expo called “Education, Empowerment, and Effective Policies: Innovative Initiatives Preventing Gender-Based Violence”. As part of UNODC’s Education for Justice Global Dialogue Series, changemakers from around the world will come together and present how they take action to prevent violence against women and girls.

To make the world a safer and better place for all, we must all do our part to eliminate violence against women and girls in all its forms. We encourage you to get active in the Orange the World campaign by hosting an event, sharing its messages, and becoming part of this global movement! 

About the Ban Ki-moon Centre:
In 2018, Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens (BKMC), to empower women and youth to become global citizens within the framework of the SDGs. Acknowledging that gender-based violence restricts, if not prevents individuals to be a part of and contribute to the 2030 Agenda, the BKMC, based in Vienna, Austria, also advocates for the elimination of violence against women and girls. The Ban Ki-moon Centre has been an active contributor to the Orange the World Campaign in Austria since 2018. (www.bankimooncentre.org).

Ljubljana/Vienna, 20 November 2020

Footnotes:
[1] IFIMES – International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN, New York, since 2018.
[2] https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures
[3] https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/unite
[4] https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2020/issue-brief-covid-19-and-ending-violence-against-women-and-girls-en.pdf?la=en&vs=5006




November 23, 2020


OCTOBER 2020

Where is a Will – there is Brazil

Society 2020, despite the Pandemics


Photo by E. Dos Santos-Duisenberg : Labirinto de David, Búzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

After a century, the world population faced a new pandemic that fast spread globally, affecting individuals both physically and mentally. Covid-19 started in late 2019 in Asia, spreading so fast that despite the global connectivity and highly sophisticated information technology and communication systems, the interconnected society of the 21st century was incapable to fast react in order to avoid contagion and prevent the worst. Gradually, the pandemic is making a tour around the globe contaminating citizens even in rural communities from all continents. Worldwide, there have been 32 million confirmed cases with over 1 million deaths during the first 9 months of this year[1].

From this universal pandemic we learned that the interdependent globalized world of 2020 is connected but not synchronized – or as earlier in crisis, prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic well-noted ‘world on autopilot’[2]. All scientific, technological and digital knowledge accumulated over centuries remains inept to protect our civilization from an invisible virus that, ironically, can be eliminated with just soap and water. Obviously, the magnitude and the economic, social and cultural impact of this pandemic took humanity by surprise.

Society was already undergoing a deep process of transformation on all fronts. Debates were focused on the fragility of democracy, climate change and sustainability, inequality and inclusion, gender and race, social media and fake news, virtual payments and crypto currencies, artificial intelligence and blockchain. Science, knowledge and technology were advancing at a fast rate in all fields including genetics, neuroscience and biotechnology. Nevertheless, health-care was not a top priority for public investments or national budgets. Yet, with the eruption of the pandemic, priorities had to be immediately revisited.  A human-centred and inclusive approach became imperative in every corner of the planet. Incontestably, the 2020s is bringing irreversible disruptions.

Lockdown measures and social isolation deprived individuals of free movements, restricting social gatherings and citizen’s mobility. The home-office dismantled solid organizational structures of daily work conviviality. Closure of schools prevented children from accessing formal in-person education, creating a childcare crisis for working parents.  Crowded metropolis became empty urban centres, no shopping, no restaurants and no city life. Cultural festivities and spaces such as theatres, cinemas, and museums had their activities suspended leaving artists, cultural and creative professionals as well as street-vendors out of jobs. Parks and sportive centres became inactive and international tourism ceased.

Conversely, family life became the heart of social order. Parents that were extremely busy with their jobs had to juggle between work and the education of their children. People became less egocentric and started showing more empathy with the needed ones. Solidarity has been manifested in donations and collective assistance by civil society. Companies engaged with social responsibility.  Artists, cultural and creative workers were defied to work even harder at home to find new niches in the virtual domain. The confined society had to rediscover its ethical values, principles and priorities.


 Free-time and leisure at present

Paradoxically, this shift in human behaviour brought us back to a theory of economics that emerged a century ago (Ruskin, 1900) “There is no wealth but life”. In this new-old context, free-time, leisure, well-being and culture are closely associated. Usually, we use our free-time to carry out activities that are not directly related to work, duties or domestic occupations. May be free-time is an illusion because only in exceptional occasions our time is completely free. Leisure, however, is a subjective concept which varies depending on the society which we belong. It is connected with our participation in cultural life, reflecting the values and characteristics of a nation. Thus, it can be considered a human right according to the UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and in particular the International Convention on the Economic, Social and Cultural rights (1967).

Despite some divergent definitions of leisure there is convergence around three distinctions: (i) leisure as time; (ii) leisure as activity; and (iii) leisure as a state of mind. Firstly, it is defined as the constructive use of available time. Leisure as a variety of activities includes the practice of sports or actions related to intellectual and human development like reading, painting, gardening etc. and those can be leisure for ones and work for others. Understanding leisure as a state of mind is complex since it depends on individual perceptions about concepts such as freedom, motivation, competency etc. Certain skills can be considered leisure depending on the degree of satisfaction, emotion or happiness it causes. Yet, the most important is the possibility of free will.

Time available for leisure also varies according to cultural, social and even climate considerations. The notion of time can be different in Africa, Asia, Latin America or Europe. Usually people who live in areas of hot climate enjoy outdoor activities and sports while Nordic people whose habitat is in cold weather prefer indoors socialization and hobbies like playing chess, classic music etc. Social leisure embraces communitarian happenings such as going to the beach, practicing sports in a club etc. Behavioural studies indicate the benefits of social leisure for the well-being of individuals, self-esteem and cultural identity[3].

Moments of leisure are essential in all phases of our life. During childhood and adolescence most of our time is devoted to study and sports while at adulthood our time is mostly consumed with work and family. Indeed, it is at senior age that retired people generally have extra free-time to enjoy cultural events, leisure and tourism.  Globally people are living longer and a new age structure is taking shape: the young senior (65-74 years), the middle senior (75-84 years) and the older senior as from 85 years old. According to the United Nations,[4] in 2018 for the first time in history, persons aged 65 years or over outnumbered children under age five. This partially explains the vast number of people in the group of risk requiring quarantine protection throughout the pandemic period.


Well-being and spirituality in pandemic times


Photo by E. Dos Santos-Duisenberg : Pirâmide Sinética, Búzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
 

During the pandemic, reflections about well-being and spirituality gained space in our minds. It is undeniable that the constraints brought about by lock-down measures and social distancing, offered us more free-time but very limited leisure options. We gained additional time to be closer to loved ones and to do things we like most at home. Enjoying family life, including eating and even cooking together became a shared pleasure and a new leisure style. Individuals had to optimize the quality of their temporarily sedentary lives.

Global pandemics affect our collective mental health. Given the prevailing health and economic insecurity, the focus of our attention has been on well-being, strengthening friendships, expanding social network, practicing solidarity, improving self-esteem as well as reflecting on spirituality and religion. Suddenly the exuberant society of 2020 is afraid of the unknown virus and its long-term harmful consequences on day-to-day life. Well-being and happiness became the essence of achievable goals.

People are emotionally fragile in this moment of anxiety. Individuals are suffering losses that will persist long after the pandemic will be over.  Some feel stressed or depressed while others react by searching for relief in exercising, relaxation, meditation, yoga or mindfulness training.  Individuals are finding new ways to overcome solitude and boost mental resilience. Current philosophical thinking (Harari, 2018) is reminding us that homo sapiens have bodies but technology is distancing us from our bodies[5].

Inspirational talks in likeminded groups have been helpful for reconnecting people dealing with an uncertain future. Social engagement and advocacy for health causes are used for promoting social change. Thus, besides upgrading healthcare systems and putting in place special measures for accelerating economic and cultural recovery, targeted governmental support will be needed to improve mental well-being and raise the overall level of satisfaction and happiness of citizens in the post-crisis.


Culture and e-learning nowadays

In a short period of time, many went from an exciting social and cultural lifestyle to a simple life. People had to assume the role of protagonists of their actions. Due to open-air limitations, free-time activities had to be less physically-intensive (no bike, tennis, jogging etc.), and more creative-oriented such as designing, playing music, writing. Much time has also been spent watching TV series, surfing the internet, viewing live music concerts, video-gaming, attending video-conferences as well as socializing in virtual chats. Equally, there are growing concerns about the ethics of consumer technology and internet addiction “time well spent” (Tristan, 2015)[6].

 A recent study[7] carried out in the UK to track digital cultural consumption during the pandemic, indicates that the median time spent daily watching TV are 4 hours, while listening to music, watching films and playing video games each day are 3 hours respectively. Understanding human behaviour, in particular youth habits can help to indicate new cultural trends and consolidate social cohesion in post-pandemic times. Moreover, policy-makers could consider engaging cultural institutions and employing artists and creatives to help facilitate a collective healing process and kick-start recovery.

It is widely recognized that the arts, culture and creative sectors were hit hard by the pandemic. Whist digital cultural and creative products for home consumption were in high demand, others tangible creative goods like arts, crafts, fashion and design products sharply contracted. Many artists and creatives had no option than to experiment on work in digital spaces, since they had to go global from home.

Despite the fact that 4.5 billion people (60% the global population) use internet[8], the availability of affordable broadband access is a pre-condition to use and benefit from the opportunities provided by digital tools. This applies to both producers and consumers of cultural and creative digital content. Currently, videos account for 80-90% of global digital data circulation, but at the same time Latin America, the Middle East and Africa together represent only around 10% of world data traffic[9]. This evidence points to digital asymmetries that are being aggravated. Creativity only is not enough to transform ideas into marketable creative goods or services if digital tools and infrastructure will not be available.

The pandemic also had a b impact on education and learning.  Re-thinking education was already a topic on the agenda of many countries in order to respond to the realities of the jobs market in the 2020s.  Besides the need to adapt methodology and pedagogical practices, many believe it is necessary to bring an interdisciplinary and applied approach to curricula with focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)[10], preferably also integrating arts (STEAM). In any case, the education system has been forced to quickly adjust to remote learning. Globally over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom in 186 countries[11]. In Latin America schools are closed and around 154 million children between the ages of 5 and 18 are at home instead of in class[12]. Furthermore, access to school-related inputs is distributed in an unbalanced manner; wealthier students have access to internet and home-schooling while the poorer have not. Young people are losing months of learning and this will have long-lasting effects. The loss for human capital is enormous.

On the positive side, continuous e-learning became a trend and a necessity.  Innovation and digital adaption gave rise to a wide-range of on-line courses. Millions of learners are upgrading their knowledge and skills in different domains through distance learning, whether through language and music apps, video conferences or software learning.  Some are free others have to be paid for, but what is absolutely transformative is that access to knowledge became more democratic.  Independently of age or field of interest, learners from different parts of the world can have access to prestigious universities or practical training.  E-learning, where teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms already existed, but demand has sharply increased during pandemic and this might be a point of no return.

Over these critical 9 months, there are growing signs that the 2020s will face a new set of challenges and life will not be back as usual. The future will be very different when compared to the recent past.  Hope and fear are likely to co-exist for a certain time. There are new values, new lifestyles, new social behaviour, new consumption standards, and new ways of working and studying.  The pandemic has imposed a deep ethical and moral re-assessment on society. This turning point is leading to a deep socio-economic renovation and hopefully to a more inclusive and sustainable society.


About the author:


*Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg is an economist renowned for her pioneering work in research and international policies on creative economy and its development dimension.  She set-up and leaded the UNCTAD Creative Economy Program launching the UN Creative Economy Reports (2008 and 2010). Advisor associated with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Member of the International Council of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC, London) led by NESTA (UK National Endowment for Science, Technology and Arts).  She also serves as Vice President of the International Federation of Internet and Multimedia (FIAM, Montreal). Advises governments and international institutions and collaborates with universities in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the United States. 


OCTOBER 21, 2020


International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES)[1] from Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East and the Balkans. General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu is a member of IFIMES Advisory Board and founder and former CEO at Ingepo Consulting. In his comprehensive analysis entitled “Lebanon 2020: From “The Pearl of the Orient” to failed state?” he is analysing the economic and social situation in Lebanon – can Lebanon become again a democratic and modern country of the Middle East.


General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu 
Member of IFIMES Advisory Board and 
Founder and the former CEO of the INGEPO Consulting

Lebanon 2020: From “The Pearl of the Orient” to failed state?

We will not allow for Lebanon to become a compromise 
card between nations that want to rebuild ties amongst themselves.
Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai – August 15, 2020
 

Before the explosion of the Port of Beirut (the biggest one in an urban area in the last decades), on August 4, 2020, the situation in Lebanon was circumscribed to the regional focus only while the disaster caused by the blast (around 200 dead, more than 6,000 wounded and damages estimated to 11/15 billion-dollar) brought again the small country of the cedars to the international focus as it happens in fact with any other country where an event of such proportions takes place. Yet Lebanon is in a peculiar situation since the developments in this country represent, as I presented on numerous occasions, a signal concerning possible future evolutions in the Middle East and even in a more extended area.

The present analysis is prepared at a time when the echoes and international emotions after the devastating blast of August, 4 have not gone out and tries to show not only the importance for the area of the developments in Lebanon but also in order to emphasize that what unfolded in Lebanon during the last decades and today is perfectly valid for another numerous countries everywhere in the world, countries which have no resources of their own, endure a multitude of foreign political influences, are confronted with a massive emigration as a result of a dire domestic situation and are worn out by corruption. 


Short chronology and considerations on the political evolution before August, 4

On September, 1st, 1920 France, through the voice of General Henri Gourand declared, in Beirut (surrounded by political and religious leaders), the emergence of Greater Lebanon, after centuries of Ottoman occupation and, on November, 22, 1943, Lebanon proclaimed its independence and the end of the French Mandate, a day that became since then the country’s National Day. After the independence, the Lebanese state was founded on the basis of an unwritten agreement between the two prominent leaders of the time: Béchara el-Khoury and Riad el-Solh, a Christian and a Muslim, called later on the National Pact[2] (al Mithaq al Watani), having a capital importance even today.

In the 1950s under the presidency of Camille Chamoun, the economy grew as the international tourism exploded and the banking sector developed as a result of the operations made by the Arab oil exporting countries and of their deposits with the Lebanese banks. However, the first civil war which lasts a few months breaks out in 1958 and the US send troops to assist president Chamoun. The 1960s and the beginning of 1970s witness the consolidation of Lebanon’s place as a regional center for the rich people of the Gulf and of the world who were coming to gamble at the Casino du Liban or to attend the famous Baalbek concerts and festivals.

The Palestinian presence in Lebanon and the attacks launched from the Lebanese territory on Israel led to dissensions on the domestic political scene and represent an important factor for triggering the civil war in 1975, a sectarian war which lasted 15 years and 6 months (more exactly between April 13, 1975 and October 13, 1990 – the forced departure in exile of general Michel Aoun). The war resulted in more than 150.000 dead, more than 300.000 wounded and in immeasurable destruction. Other sources consider the end of the war when the first parliamentary elections took place in the summer of 1992, after 20 years. During the same period Israel launched two invasions, in 1978 and 1982, and the latter resulted in the departure from Lebanon of Yasser Arafat, the president of the Palestine Liberation Organization and part of the Palestinian fighters. In 1982, too, two other important events took place, the massacres of civilians in Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps (450 and, respectively 3.600 dead) and the assassination of the newly elected president Bashir Gemayel.

In 1983 two bomb attacks resulted in the death of 241 US marines in their barracks on the Beirut shore and, in the same day, of 58 French paratroops, a few kilometers away; consequently, in the spring of next year the multinational forces withdrew from Lebanon. The 1982 Israeli invasion and the aforementioned bomb attacks marked the emergence and expansion of Hezbollah which begun to gradually play an ever-important role in the country’s political, economic and social life. 

In 1988, when the mandate of president Amine Gemayel expired and in the absence of an elected successor, he designated General Michel Aoun as a caretaker prime minister who, on March 14, declares war against the Syrian presence in Lebanon. After seven months of fighting a ceasefire was reached which was followed by international negotiations that secured the signing of The Taif Agreement on October 22, 1989, ratified by the Lebanese parliament on November 5 of the same year. Fights among different factions broke out again at the beginning of 1990 and after a Syrian offensive bly backed by the air force; General Michel Aoun left the Baabda Presidential Palace and took refuge at the French Embassy from where ten months later he was evacuated by sea to Paris.

After Israel’s withdrawal from the south of Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah maintains its military power and declares itself Lebanon’s defender (especially in the south).

On April 26, 2005 the complete withdrawal of the Syrian army from the Lebanon’s entire territory was over, including the closure of the Syrian intelligence offices opened in the country. After more than 29 years of occupation, almost 30.000 Syrian troops left the Lebanese territory in less than two months, a withdrawal that took place under the circumstances of the Cedar Revolution that was unfolding in Lebanon, of the international pressures to withdraw and the b echo of the assassination, on February 14, 2005 of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri[3].

During July-August 2006 a new conflict with Israel took place (or, better said, the confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel in Lebanon) from which we can assess that the winner was Hezbollah, it strengthened its position domestically from all standpoints until today and represents the power without which no political agreement for the governance can be reached. Not only did Hezbollah effectively exploit domestically the 2005 conflict with Israel but it also posed Israel military problems by proving ingeniosity and creativity in conducting the conflict. Its 2006 success was media exploited by setting up an open-air museum presenting the military bravery during the fights, a museum (The Resistance Museum in Jibchit – inaugurated in 2010) which receives yearly a great number of visitors, as a valuable propaganda for the organization’s military as well as political components.

Syria’s civil war which started in 2011 represented another important challenge for Lebanon. The numbers of the Syrian refugees in the small cedars country varied in the course of time in accordance with the intensity of the conflict and is at present around 1 million (it is estimated that the peak was reached in October 2016 when the number of refugees came to 1.5 million). It is a major challenge for a country of 6.8 million inhabitants (2016 est.) already hosting 400,000 Palestinians.

On October 31st, 2016 the Lebanese parliament brought to an end the longest period of the country’s history with no president (29 months since the end of president’s Michel Suleiman mandate – May 2014) after 45 parliamentary sessions in which no candidate had the necessary quorum for being elected. The new president General Michel Aoun could be considered a Lebanon’s legendary personality[4].  His mandate ends in 2022. Nevertheless, the way the Lebanese political stage is conceived and works does not allow the president to take measures short of a wide political accord, something history proved to be extremely difficult to reach in Lebanon. In fact, the difficulties the country went through since 2016, with numerous demonstrations and popular protest manifestations: 2015-2016 - “The Garbage Crisis”, 2019-2020 – protests against the decision to increase the prices of liquid fuels, tobacco and tariffs for on-line communications which later on expanded to other popular discontents such as lack of electricity, of running water, unemployment, economic stagnation, rapid devaluation of national currency, corruption. The economic crisis led to the resignation of the Saad Hariri cabinet and the appointment, on December 19, 2019 of a new prime minister, Hassan Diab – the minister of education in the preceding cabinet.


Short overview of the economic evolution until the August 4

After witnessing a flourishing economic situation in the 1960s and the beginning of the 70s following the development of the banking system, the expansion of tourism and the fact that the Lebanese banks were preferred by the Gulf monarchies for carrying out financial operations resulted from the oil exports and gaining nicknames such as The Switzerland of the Orient or The Pearl of the Orient which caused great envy in the area, Lebanon went through a difficult period which it has not overcome until now. The causes are multiple and this is not the place for an exhaustive approach. The Lebanese diaspora is more numerous than Lebanon’s population and it is estimated at 8-10 million people of whom 1.2 million have Lebanese citizenship and has at its roots the evolution of the country’s political and economic situation over the years. At its beginnings, the diaspora was predominantly Christian yet the situation changed gradually and the percentage of Muslim emigrants grew. The Lebanese diaspora represents a force that the succeeding governments over the years did not succeed in mobilizing enough to contribute to the country’s economic recovery (in 2014 the remittances of the Lebanese ex-pats amounted to 8.9 billion dollar or around 18% of the GDP).

The evolution of the Lebanese economy after the beginning of the civil war until now represented nevertheless a particular situation as a result of the Lebanese’s entrepreneurial spirit and their extraordinary desire of survival and national renaissance[5]. It seems that this spirit has gradually been exhausted to a certain extent and the much sought-after recovery has been delayed beyond the hopes of the majority of citizens. 

The difficulties the Lebanese economy has been confronted with were exacerbated by the lack of natural [6], the dependence on imports and by the change in the structure of the GDP, mainly by the decrease of the banking and tourism industries’ share of the GDP; nevertheless, services provide 83% of the GDP.

Lebanon’s external debt amounts now to around 170% of the GDP and the country, due to failure to repay a 1.2 billion Eurobond outstanding in the spring of 2020, witnessed a massive devaluation of the national currency being the first country in the Middle East and North Africa where the inflation rate exceeds 50% for 30 consecutive days[7]. The situation impacted the common citizen who was subject to numerous restrictions including the withdrawal of foreign currency from his account (for a period it was restricted to 200$/week) or the outside transfers which were limited to 10.000$/year starting with August 2020.


The current political, economic and social situation and the outlook to the end of 2020

On August 4, 2020 an extremely powerful explosion occurred in a warehouse of the Port of Beirut, considered by the expert as the most powerful blast of the last decades in an urban area as a result of the ignition of a quantity of around 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate[8]. The blast resulted in more than 200 dead and around 6,000 wounded, more than 300,000 inhabitants experienced important damages of their homes and the windows in Beirut were broken on a radius of 10 km. 15,000 tons of grains stored in a nearby silo were destroyed (cca. one month of the country’s needs), the port activity was suspended, the electricity crisis amplified, several important hospitals of Beirut were seriously harmed, under the circumstances of Covid-19 pandemic which affected Lebanon, too.

I will not insist on the causes and the possibilities that led to the disaster as it is investigated by a commission with the participation of international experts, yet I am not the adherent of occurrences or coincidences in case of such events[9]. 

The event brought about the resignation of Hassan Diab on August, 10 and the president Michel Aoun appointed on August 31st, Mustafa Adib[10] as new prime minister.

The French president Emmanuel Macron remembered that his country had an important influence in Lebanon and paid immediately (August, 6) a visit to Beirut which triggered a less than expected reaction of the population that was exasperated by the incapacity of the authorities and initiated, on August 7, a petition requesting that Lebanon revert under French authority; the petition was signed during the first days by more than 60,000 persons[11].

France proposed immediately the draft of an action plan whereby reforms (which were to be made through a permanent consultation with the civil society) have a prominent place (reforms in the economic – electricity field; financial, governance, justice, fighting corruption, etc.). The September 15, deadline set by France for forming a new government has already passed as a result of dissensions for assigning certain portfolios, especially the finance portfolio which is sought after by the Shia parties – Hezbollah and Amal. The last compromise suggested was that the portfolio be taken over by an independent Shia politician. Even that was not enough and the nominated prime minister tendered his resignation on September 26. Thus, the Lebanese crisis goes on at its own pace known at least during the latest years. The existing sectarian algorithm for which no replacement has been found yet[12] continues to play an essential role on the Lebanese political stage.

Emmanuel Macron returned to Beirut on September 1st, for marking the anniversary of 100 years since the end of the Ottoman dominance but especially for discussing the evolution of the political and economic situation. He promised to organize an international conference in Paris in order to secure new assistance for Lebanon. As always, there were voices in Beirut that denounced the French president’s acts as neocolonial. Nevertheless, a great part of the Lebanese political forces continue to back the French initiative according to the latest declarations of the Sunni leader Saad Hariri and Nabih Berri – the leader of Amal and president of the parliament.

Lebanon’s importance on the international arena is proved by the numerous delegations who paid visits to Beirut immediately after the blast and in this regard we mention: the visit of the Turkish vice-president Fuat Oktay together with the minister of foreign affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu on August 8; the Iranian minister of foreign affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif on August 14; the American assistant secretaries David Hale (former ambassador to Lebanon) in August and David Schenker on September 4 (the latter discussed with the leaders of the demonstrates only); the President of the European Council Charles Michel on August 8. It is worth mentioning the appeal made by the latter in his statement: „The local political forces must use this opportunity and unite in a national effort in order to address the immediate needs and moreover the challenges the country is confronted with. It is of utmost importance for Lebanon to implement fundamental structural reforms. Lebanon can count in its efforts on the European Union – but the internal unity is the key”. 

I don’t think, from previous experience, that the repeated appeal to unity was heard and internalized by all Lebanese political forces and the latest example in this regard was the resignation of the appointed Prime Minister Mustafa Adib nominated to form a new government. He wanted to form a government run by the technocrats which was to find solutions for overcoming the crisis and had, in this respect, the French president’s backing.

The sectarian and group interest to which foreign influences should be added (France, Iran, Turkey, the US, Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries) and Russia, too (the Russian minister of foreign affairs Sergei Lavrov arrived in Damascus on September 5 and joined the delegation headed by the vice-prime minister Yuri Borisov who arrived a day before and whose last visit there was in 2012). We mention that president Vladimir Putin paid a visit to Damascus on January 7, 2020. Russia was always a discrete presence in Lebanon but that does not mean it was less interested in expanding its influence in the country and used to that purpose not only its relations with the Palestinian groups in Lebanon, with political formations of socialist orientation but also with Hezbollah. 

Under the circumstances, a new wave of migration emerged and there are more and more Lebanese who lost hope that the domestic situation can recover and are searching for a solution abroad. Unfortunately, those who will leave will be especially the well prepared professionals and with a financial position that can secure them a new beginning in another country, with work capacity and determination. Thus, the Lebanon’s possibilities of recovery will further diminish. A people who for a long period of time went through severe crises and his fiber was weakened by numerous waves of emigration, was subject to immigrants’ pressures and foreign interests is not an inexhaustible reservoir and can be severely affected by these events. How could we otherwise explain Beirut’s revival after the civil war or even the optimism during the civil war when artillery bombardments took place in an area and building was raised in a nearby one? Presently, around 20 hours a day the centralized state network does not supply electricity and the situation is considered to be determined by the mafia of generators and fuel traffickers.

It is not likely that Lebanon’s political and economic situation will witness a significant improvement by the end of the year. Most likely a new government will be formed under renewed international pressures, as it happened in the past but no durable solution and no recovery of the country’s economic and social situation are in sight in this short time horizon.


What are Lebanon’s prospects?

A forecast on a longer period of the evolutions of the Middle East is a risky shot and of the Lebanon’s situation is more than hazard a guess. Given the intertwining of numerous interests and conflicts in Lebanon, the country of the cedars fully deserves the characterization of being a barometer of the geopolitical evolutions in the area and even on a more extensive level. Unfortunately for the Lebanese, when they have fallen prey to those interests[13] they themselves brought the country to the present situation. 

The discovery of great oil and gas deposits in Eastern Mediterranean gave Lebanon hopes that it could escape the difficult economic and financial situation. Exploration operations were launched in February 2020 with the ship Tungsten Explorer by a consortium made up of Total (France), ENI (Italy) and Novatek (Russia) and president Michel Aoun stated that the beginning of drilling operations is an opportunity for “the country’s coming back from the abyss”. It was most probably a statement intended to boost the population’s morale.

In 2022 Lebanon should organize both parliamentary (every four years, the last ones took place in 2018 after more than four years – namely in 2009) and presidential elections (the president was elected in 2016 and cannot run for another mandate). It would be in the sense of the Lebanese tradition that the elections be postponed with no clearly defined time horizon while the surprise would be that elections be carried out and finalized in time. The issue here is not the timing but the conditions in which the elections takes place and especially the replacement of the current sectarian political system which met the needs of the middle of the XX-th century but proved later on its limits.

I’d like to hope and to think that Lebanon will not be stationed in the position of a failed state and will find the resources to become again a democratic and modern country of the Middle East. A position the Lebanese people should prove it deserves it in spite of all outside dangers it is confronted with. It depends first and foremost on the Lebanese! I still trust the descendants of the Phoenicians!

About the author: 
Corneliu Pivariu is a highly decorated two-star general of the Romanian army (Rtd). He has founded and led for two decades one of the most influential magazines on geopolitics and international relations in Eastern Europe, the bilingual journal Geostrategic Pulse. General Pivariu is member of IFIMES Advisory Board.

Ljubljana/Bucharest, 6 October 2020

Footnotes:
IFIMES – International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN, New York, since 2018.
[2] The four principles of the Pact are:
Lebanon is a completely independent state. The Christian community will cease to identify with the West and, in exchange, the Muslim Community will protect Lebanon’s independence and will prevent the union with any other Arab state;
Although Lebanon is an Arab state having the Arabic as official language, it will not severe the spiritual and intellectual ties with the West to allow for its development in the future;
Lebanon, as a member of the family of the Arab states, will cooperate with the other Arab states and, in case of a conflict among the latter it will remain neutral;
Public positions will be distributed proportionally among the recognized religious groups while the technical positions and the appointments will be made first of all based on the competencies, without taking into account sectarian considerations. The first three positions in the state will be distributed as follows: the president of the republic must be a Maronite Christian; the Prime Minister – a Sunni Muslim; the president of the parliament – a Shia Muslim. The distribution of deputies will be 6 Christians to 5 Muslims.
[3] He was prime minister as well during 1992-1998 and 2000-2004. In 1995 I had the honor of being received by him three times in Beirut.
[4] Corneliu Pivariu – Important Moves on the Geopolitical Chessboard 2014-2017, pp.353-355.
[5] If, during the 1982 Israeli invasion we witnessed powerful artillery bombardments while we were invited to bars and restaurants in Jounieh (on the outskirts of Beirut) that were all open, the quiet periods after the end of the civil war were characterized by extensive reconstruction programs, predominantly in real estate and especially in Beirut, where the traces of war disappeared almost completely.
[6] Lebanon imports around 80% of its consumption needs.
[7] As compared to the official rate of exchange of 1,507.5 Lebanese Pounds (LBP)/dollar ever since 1997, on the parallel market the dollar was sold against 3,000 LBP  in April 2020 and 4,200 LBP/$ in May 2020. On September 11, 2020 the parallel rate of exchange was 7,700 LBP/$.
[8] Ammonium nitrate is used mainly as agricultural fertilizer but in combination with other substances and an ignition explosive it can detonate. Since it is very stable and not expensive, it is used as well at civil constructions works.
[9] For an analysis of the causes one should see which the best answer to the well-known question is: Qui prodest? (Who benefits?). A latest public variant/speculation is that the explosion was triggered from space by using a system of  Fresnel lens type. Probably the reality is less complicated from a technical point of view.
[10] Aged 48, Adib (a career diplomat, ambassador to Berlin 2013-2020) was backed in his nomination by The Future Movement and a group of former Lebanese prime ministers and got the votes of 90 parliamentarians out of the total of 120. His nomination took place a few hours before the deadline of September 1st, set by president Emmanuel Macron.
[11] “With a failed political system, affected by corruption, terrorism, with paramilitary formations, the country drew its last breath. We believe Lebanon must be placed under French mandate in order to acheve a clear and durable governance” – the text of the petition mentions among others.
[12] The last official census in Lebanon took place in 1932 when the Christian population held a slight majority (51%). According to different researches and documents of late the share of the Christians decreased to around 40% (even 33% according to certain sources), while the Sunni and Shia Muslims represents around 55%.
[13] A curator at the Lebanon’s National Museum in Beirut, where the history stops at 1920 was saying that the Lebanese were ashamed of continuing its presentation taking into account what they have done to their country. Probably the situation is quite different, namely that not even in what history is concerned the Lebanese politicians could not agree upon the way it is presented.

Copyright:
Printed texts, analyses, studies, researches, photographies, phono and video reports which are available on this web site and which are provided by the IFIMES International Institute can be transmitted and published by all media and individuals on condition that they use the mark (C) 2004 IFIMES or state the source of the whole text or a part of it. For other information contact: ifimes@ifimes.org

OCTOBER 8, 2020


ENOUGH OF DOUBLE STANDARDS!

Dr. Zlatko Hadžidedić

Deutsche Welle recently published a comment on Bosnia-Herzegovina written by Stefan Schwarz, a renowned German politician. In this text, the author advocates a revision of the German policy towards Bosnia, proposing a change of the country's constitution, which needs to be jointly supported by Germany and the US. According to Schwarz, the current Bosnian constitution, imposed on the Bosnians by the American 'peacemaker' Richard Holbrooke in 1995, amputated the country's territory and destroyed its soul. The Dayton operation formally saved the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but has dimantled its vital functions. Moreover, it has rewarded the convicted war criminals with huge parts of its territory, which is now controlled by these corrupt oligarchies as their private property, absolutely guaranteed by the international contract signed in Dayton. Therefore, says Schwarz, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, commonly considered the most powerful woman in the world, has a great responsibility to use her power to press for a constituional order that would make Bosnia compatible with other European countries.

A systematic dissolution, from Lisbon to Dayton

It is difficult not to agree with Mr. Schwartz in his diagnosis of the Bosnian problems. It is also difficult not to agree about the need for constitutional changes, although the author does not go into specifics. Simply, there is no doubt that the current constitution must be changed if the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina is ever going to start functioning. For, the Bosnian state institutions are, first and formost, blocked by the existing constitutional structure, and only then by the will of the local ethno-nationalist leaders, who only take advantage of it. Yet, the point at which we, as Bosnians who remember the country's recent past, have to disagree with Mr. Schwarz is the thesis that Bosnia's ethnic partition was simply a result of the US-sponsored Dayton Peace Agreement.

For, Dayton was only the concluding part in the process of systematic dissolution of the country's sovereignty, launched and sponsored by the European Union and the United Nations, and carried out by their nominated representatives, Lord Carrington, Jose Cutileiro, Cyrus Vance, Lord Owen, Thorvald Stoltenberg. This process began at the Lisbon Conference, in February 1992, several months before the outbreak of the war, having resulted with the Carrington-Cutileiro Plan, the first internationally sponsored plan for ethnic partition of Bosnia. The very existence of this pre-war plan shows that ethnic partition was not proposed as a provisional solution for the ongoing war, as has been repeated many times ever since, including the comment by Mr. Schwarz. Rather, the war itself, with ethnic cleansing as a tool in the creation of ethnically homogenous territories out of the single territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, served as an instrument in the physical implementation of the concept of ethnic partition. This concept was first prescribed by Carrington and Cutileiro in 1992, and then adopted in all subsequent 'peace plans': Vance-Owen Plan in 1992, Owen-Stoltenberg Plan in 1993, the Washington Agreement in 1994, the Contact Group Plan in 1994, and the Dayton Agreement in 1995. Interestingly, the only concept that has been on the table in all these plans was the concept of Bosnia's ethnic partition. No EU, UN, American or Contact Group initiatives have ever tried to consider any other option: Bosnia-Herzegovina's ethnic partition has always been a must. Even those rare individuals who attempted to challenge the concept itself have even more rarely noticed that it had had a history that did not start in Dayton and that no alternative solution has ever been proposed. Therefore, ethnic partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina was not a clumsy mistake made by Holbrooke and the Americans in Dayton; it has been a strategy adopted by the UN, the EU, and all relevant global powers, a strategy that has not been abandoned to the present day.  

A division of non-divisible, a transfer of non-transferable

This prolonged international consensus about the concept of Bosnia's ethnic partition craves for identification of its authors and explanation of its broad acceptance among the most relevant global powers (which includes not only the EU and the UN, but also all individual members of the Contact Group: United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia). However, let us first take a look at the concept from a theoretical point of view. Political and constitutional theory claims that sovereignty is, above all, non-divisible and non-transferable. What was being proposed as a 'solution' for Bosnia-Herzegovina, from Lisbon to Dayton, was exactly the opposite: a division of the state's sovereignty, with a transfer of sovereignty to its three ethno-religious groups, so as to assign them parts of its territory over which they would gain sovereign control. Under these conditions, these groups have been labelled as 'constituent peoples' – a category otherwise non-existent in political and constitutional theory – as if they posses the primary sovereignty and thereby constitute the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose sovereignty is a secondary one, derived from theirs and divided by implication. According to the Dayton Constitution, even the last remnants of Bosnia's divided sovereignty have eventually been transferred to the so-called Office of the High Representative, so that the High Representative has remained the only level at which sovereign decisions can be made. At all other levels, including the level of the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, all decisions can be blocked by leaders of the three ethno-religious groups, which practically makes these leaders sovereign. Yet, the current High Representative has abandoned even these, very limited constitutional powers, so that in reality no sovereign decisions can be made above the level of ethno-religious leaders. In other words, as noticed by Mr. Schwarz, it is not their irrational nationalism that creates their blockages on the level of the state; it is the constitutional structure which deprives the state of its sovereignty.

The British 'solution' 

Yet, who was powerful enough to reverse the universally valid constitutional principles, and why has this reversal been applied to Bosnia-Herzegovina, of all the countries in the world? After all, why this has encountered such approval by the most powerful global structures, such as the EU and the UN, as well as the most relevant individual powers, although the principles applied to Bosnia-Herzegovina are exactly the opposite from the principles upon which they are all built? Given the presence of British diplomats in all 'mediating' combinations before and during the war in Bosnia, and given the fact that the concept of ethno-religious partition is a concept the British diplomacy had previously applied in the process of decolonization of India, with the consequent creation of India and Pakistan (including the secession of Bangladesh), and also in Palestine and Cyprus, one may only speculate why the British Foreign Office put the ethnic partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina among its geopolitical priorities. In a broader perspective, it is certain that such partitions have never produced any degree of stability, as its advocates tend to claim; quite the contrary, all these parts of the world have become permanently unstable after application of the British 'solution' in the form of their ethnic or ethno-religious partition. Whether permanent instability along or around particular geopolitical points is one of the pillars of British geopolitics or not, remains to be more broadly explained by its historians; this is not a proper place for that. However, a more fundamental question is, why such a 'solution' applied to Bosnia has been acceptable to so many relevant global players, including the US, Germany and the entire EU? Probably we can never reach a clear and comprehensive answer to this question, either. However, in this very context, a clear response is required to Chancellor Merkel's recent claim that „Bosnia needs more empathy“: Bosnia does not need any degree of empathy – empathy is to be offered to the powerless. What Bosnia needs is that the global powers simply cease with application of double standards, and start applying to Bosnia the same principles, concepts and values they apply to themselves. Above all, that these powers give Bosnia back its innate right to sovereignty.    

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_plans_proposed_before_and_during_the_Bosnian_War





Dr. Zlatko Hadzidedic is the founder and director of the Center for Nationalism Studies, in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (www.nationalismstudies.org).


OCTOBER 8, 2020


International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES)[1] from Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East, Balkans and around the world. Tereza Neuwirthová of Leiden University, International Studies program is the EU and IOs affairs specialist that monitors the EU Commission affairs from Brussels. In her text entitled “How to Spend it: An Austro-Franco-German Proposal for a European Covid-19 Recovery Programme” she is summarizing the speech of Dr. Mario Holzner, the director of WIIW Institute, at the July Conference held at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. 


  ● Tereza Neuwirthová
Leiden University, International Studies program is the EU
and IOs affairs specialist that monitors the EU Commission affairs from Brussels

How to Spend it: 
An Austro-Franco-German Proposal for a European Covid-19 Recovery Programme


The conference named “75 years of Europe’s Collective Security and Human Rights System”, which took place on the 1st of July at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, brought together experts related to the reality of the Old Continent and its Union over the course of the past 75 years of its post-WWII anti-fascist existence. It was jointly organized by four different entities (the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies IFIMES, Media Platform Modern Diplomacy, International Scientific Journal European Perspectives, and Action Platform Culture for Peace) with the support of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, numerous academia supporting and media partners). 

The conference gathered over twenty high ranking speakers from Canada to Australia, and audience physically in the venue while many others attended online – from Chile to Far East. The day was filled by three panels focusing on the legacy of WWII, Nuremberg Trials, the European Human Rights Charter and their relevance in the 21st century; on the importance of culture for peace and culture of peace – culture, science, arts, sports – as a way to reinforce a collective identity in Europe; on the importance of accelerating on universalism and pan-European Multilateralism while integrating further the Euro-MED within Europe, or as the Romano Prodi’s EU Commission coined it back in 2000s – “from Morocco to Russia – everything but the institutions”. 

The event itself was probably the largest physical gathering past the early spring lock down to this very day in this part of Europe. No wonder that it marked a launch of the political rethink and recalibration named – Vienna Process

The panel under the name “Future to Europe: Is there any alternative to universal and pan-European Multilateralism? Revisiting and recalibrating the Euro-MED and cross-continental affairs”, was focused on discussing the determinants of Europe’s relations with its strategic Euro-MED and Eurasian neighbourhood, the possible pan-European political architecture as well as on the forthcoming post-crisis recovery.
    
On the latter topic, the panellist Dr. Mario Holzner, who is the Executive Director of the WIIW Austria, outlined the policy proposal on the post-pandemic European recovery programme, elaborated by his Viennese Institute in collaboration with the Paris-based research institute OFCE and the German IMK Macroeconomic Policy Institute. The Recovery Fund recently proposed by the European Commission represents a benchmark in the era of stalled European integration, and during the unstable and precarious post-pandemic times it holds a crucial role for overcoming the immense political and economic crisis of 2020. Following on much public debate about the recovery financing, which however has heretofore lacked the proposals for concrete projects that the EU should allocate the funds into, it is now urgently needed to come up with these.

 
WIIW Director Dr. Mario Holzner addressing the Conference

WIIW, OFCE and IMK, three research tanks dealing with economic topics, suggested two main pillars - an EU one, and a national one- for the spending of the Commission’s recovery programme that reaches the amount of €2tn and is to allotted over a 10-year horizon. The spending of the EU pillar is to be channelled into the area of healthcare, eventually giving rise to a pan-European health project under the name Health4EU. Not least, another efficient allocation of the funds located in the programme’s EU pillar is to projects helping to mitigate the risks resulting from climate change, as well as to develop an EU-wide rail infrastructure that would substantively contribute to achieving the Commission’s goals of carbon-neutrality at the continent.

Among other, the proposal introduces two ambitious transport projects- a European high-speed rail infrastructure called Ultra-Rapid-Train, which would cut the travel time between Europe’s capitals, as well as disparate regions of the Union. Another suggested initiative is an integrated European Silk Road which would combine transport modes according to the equally-named Chinese undertaking. 

Dr. Holzner’s experts team put forward the idea to “electrify” the European Commission’s Green Deal. Such electrification is feasible through the realisation of an integrated electricity grid for 100%-renewable energy transmission (e-highway), the support for complementary battery and green-hydrogen projects, as well as a programme of co-financing member states’ decarbonisation and Just Transition policies. Together, the suggested policy proposals provide the basis for creating a truly sustainable European energy infrastructure. 

From the national pillar, it should be the member states themselves who benefit from the funding allocation in the overall amount of €500bn. According to the experts from WIIW, these resources should be focused on the hardest-hit countries and regions, whereas it is imperative that they are front-loaded (over the timespan of three years). 

The overall architecture of the programme’s spending, involving the largest part of the budget, needs to be focused on long-term projects and investment opportunities that would serve as a value added for the European integration, while also allowing to build resilience against the major challenges that the EU currently faces. The proposed sectors for the initiatives which could be launched from the EU’s funding programme are public health, transport infrastructure, as well as energy/decarbonisation scheme. Accordingly, it is needed that the funding programme is primarily focused on the structural and increasingly alarming threat of climate change. 

As stated in the closing remarks, to make this memorable event a long-lasting process, the organisers as well as the participants of this unique conference initiated an action plan named “Vienna Process: Common Future – One Europe.” In the framework of this enterprise, the contributing policy-makers and academics will continue to engage in meaningful activities to reflect on the trends and developments forming the European reality while simultaneously affecting the lives of millions. The European system, formed over centuries and having spanned to a political and economic Union comprising 27 states, is currently being reconfigured as a result of numerous external factors such as Brexit, the pandemic, as well as the dynamics in neighbouring regions. All of these are engendering the conditions for a novel modus operandi on the continent, whereby it is in the best intention of those partaking at this conference to contribute to a more just, secure, and peaceful European future. 


About the author:



Tereza Neuwirthová, of Leiden University,
International Studies program is the EU and IOs affairs specialist that monitors the EU Commission affairs from Brussels.  


Ljubljana/Vienna/Brussels, 29 September 2020

Footnotes:
[1] IFIMES – International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN, New York, since 2018.


OCTOBER 1, 2020




2020


PUBLICATIONS DECEMBER 2020,   PUBLICATIONS NOVEMBER 2020,  PUBLICATIONS OCTOBER 2020,
PUBLICATIONS SEPTEMBER 2020, PUBLICATIONS AUGUSTUS 2020, PUBLICATIONS JUNE 2020,
PUBLICATIONS MAY 2020, PUBLICATIONS APRIL 2020, PUBLICATIONS MARCH 2020, PUBLICATIONS FEBRUARY 2020



PUBLICATIONS NOVEMBER 2020

  To Achieve the SDGs, We Must Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls - Viola Christian


PUBLICATIONS OCTOBER 2020

  Where is a Will – there is Brazil  - Society 2020, despite the Pandemics - Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg
  Lebanon 2020: From “The Pearl of the Orient” to failed state? - General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu 
 ENOUGH OF DOUBLE STANDARDS! - Dr. Zlatko Hadzidedic
 How to Spend it: An Austro-Franco-German Proposal for a European Covid-19 Recovery Programme - Tereza Neuwirthová
 Triangularity of Nuclear Arms Control - Possible Implications of China’s Involvement in Nuclear Arms Talks - Alexander G. Savelyev


PUBLICATIONS SEPTEMBER 2020

  Political will is needed to foster multilateralism in Europe – Dr. Franz Fischler says
 Europe and the world at 75: An occasion for the EU to reaffirm its standing on Security policies and Human Rights
  Legacy of antifascism for the common pan-European future - Manfred Nowak
  
AI (ARTIFICAL INTELLIGENCE): THE ITALIAN NATIONAL STRATEGY REVISITED - Cristina Semeraro
  Of Privacy, EU and of Human Rights – 75 years After - By Nora Wolf
 
Security in the Shadow of Climate Change in the Sahel



PUBLICATIONS AUGUST 20
20

  All for Global Citizens: President Fischer on 75 years of triumph of antifascism - Audrey Beaulieu
 
Throwback to a powerful and timely HR message addressed to the citizens of the world -Nora Wolf
 The future of Europe depends on its neighborhood – UfM’s Nasser Kamel says - By Guido Lanfranchi
  What will the future look like? - General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu 


PUBLICATIONS JULY 2020

   Where do we go from here? – revisiting words of Steve Clemons - Anna Kassai
   From Culture for Peace to Culture of Peace - Anastasiia Pachina
 Towards the pan-European Recalibration - Chloé Bernadaux


PUBLICATIONS JUNE 2020

ASEAN, C-19 and the Vietnam’s Chairmanship - Bich T Tran
Iron Fist for Pacific East - Stephen R. Nagy

Postponing an Oil Production Catastrophe - Dr. Antonia Colibasanu


PUBLICATIONS MAY 2020

The OIC World for a Safer Planet - Ali Goutali and Anis H. Bajrektarevic


PUBLICATIONS APRIL 2020

Leadership for Thought: Non-Permanent members lead the Security Council through COVID-19 - Elizabeth Deheza



PUBLICATIONS MARCH 2020

The Corona Crisis and Israel’s National Security - Itai BRUN and Yael GAT 
Thoughts of Romania’s Foreign Policy on the Background of the European Foreign Policy [1]
Israel-Egypt Cooperation in 2019: Strategic Warming, Civilian Coolness?
The Name of the Rose - De-evolution of Europe - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarević


PUBLICATIONS FEBRUARY 2020

 
 Ur-Fascism: Of Silence and EU Rush -  The equation of Communism with Nazism - Anis H. Bajrektarevic
 
 What is more disruptive with AI: Its dark potentials or our (anti-Intellectual) Ignorance?
   Why Turkey is sending troops to Libya - Giorgio Cafiero
 
 ALL THOSE CROATIAN PRESIDENTS - By: Tomislav Jakić
 
Turkey-Erdogan seeks to achieve the dream of the empire’s rebirth - General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu


PUBLICATIONS FEBRUARY 2020

   What is more disruptive with AI: Its dark potentials or our (anti-Intellectual) Ignorance?
   Why Turkey is sending troops to Libya - Giorgio Cafiero
   ALL THOSE CROATIAN PRESIDENTS - By: Tomislav Jakić
 
Turkey-Erdogan seeks to achieve the dream of the empire’s rebirth - General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu


PUBLICATIONS JANUARY 2020

   Research-Emmy Latifah&Sara Al-Dhahri - Responding to new challenges: OIC in the international Arena
   Revisiting the Ukraine-Russia-EU triangular dynamics - Tanvi Chauhan
   Give me religion that does not polarise society! - Julia Suryakusuma
   De-evolution of Europe - The equation of Communism with Nazism
  Soleimani’s assassination triggers US-Iran standoff -Malik Ayub Sumbal  

  The Sino-US Trade War – Why China can’t win it - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic
 



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BALKAN AREA
BALKAN AREA


prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

Editor - Geopolitics, History, International Relations (GHIR) Addleton Academic Publishers - New YorK
Senior Advisory board member, geopolitics of energy Canadian energy research institute - ceri, Ottawa/Calgary
Advisory Board Chairman Modern Diplomacy & the md Tomorrow's people platform originator
Head of mission and department head - strategic studies on Asia
Professor and Chairperson Intl. law & global pol. studies

Critical Similarities and Differences in SS of Asia and Europe - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic

MENA Saga and Lady Gaga - (Same dilemma from the MENA) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic


Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Assos. Prof.[1] Nguyen Linh[2]
HE ONGOING PUBLIC DEBT CRISIS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: IMPACTS ON AND LESSONS FOR VIETNAM - Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Assos. Prof.[1] Nguyen Linh[2]


Carla BAUMER
Climate Change and Re Insurance: The Human Security Issue SC-SEA Prof. Anis Bajrektarevic & Carla Baumer

 
Igor Dirgantara
(Researcher and Lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Politics, University of Jayabaya)


Peny Sotiropoulou

Is the ‘crisis of secularism’ in Western Europe the result of multiculturalism?


Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella
A Modest “Australian” Proposal to Resolve our Geo-Political Problems

Were the Crusades Justified? A Revisiting - Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella


Alisa Fazleeva
Earned an MA in International Relations from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom in 2013. Her research interests include foreign policy decision-making, realism and constructivism, and social psychology and constructivism.

 
Corinna Metz
She is an independent researcher specialized in International Politics and Peace & Conflict Studies with a regional focus on the Balkans and the Middle East.


Patricia Galves Derolle
Founder of Internacionalista
São Paulo, Brazil
Brazil – New Age



Dimitra Karantzeni
The political character of Social Media: How do Greek Internet users perceive and use social networks?
 

Michael Akerib
Vice-Rector
SWISS UMEF UNIVERSITY


  

Petra Posega
is a master`s degree student on the University for Criminal justice and Security in Ljubljana. She obtained her bachelor`s degree in Political Science- Defense studies.


Contact: posegap@live.com





Samantha Brletich,
 George Mason University School of Policy, Government, and Intl. Relations She focuses on Russia and Central Asia. Ms. Brletich is an employee of the US Department of Defense.

Interview on HRT-Radio

Prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarević



Dr Filippo ROMEO,



Julia Suryakusuma is the outspoken Indonesian thinker, social-cause fighter and trendsetter. She is the author of Julia’s Jihad.
Contact: jsuryakusuma@gmail.com 


Gerald Knaus


Mads Jacobsen
Mads is an intern at PCRC. Mads Jacobsen is from Denmark and is currently pursuing his Master's degree in 'Development and International Relations' at Aalborg University...


Dzalila Osmanovic-Muharemagic
University of Bihac, Faculty of Education, Department of English Language and Literature - undergraduate
University of Banja Luka, Faculty of Philology, Department of English Language and Literature - graduate study


Rakesh Krishnan Simha

New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst. According to him, he writes on stuff the media distorts, misses or ignores.

Rakesh started his career in 1995 with New Delhi-based Business World magazine, and later worked in a string of positions at other leading media houses such as India Today, Hindustan Times, Business Standard and the Financial Express, where he was the news editor.

He is the Senior Advisory Board member of one of the fastest growing Europe’s foreign policy platforms: Modern Diplomacy.



Damiel Scalea
Daniele Scalea, geopolitical analyst, is Director-general of IsAG (Rome Institute of Geopolitics) and Ph.D. Candidate in Political studies at the Sapienza University, Rome. Author of three books, is frequent contributor and columnist to various Tv-channels and newspapers. E-mail: daniele.scalea@gmail.com


Alessio Stilo,
 
Research Associate at Institute of High Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences (IsAG), Rome, Italy, and Ph.D. researcher at University of Padova, is IMN Country Representative in Italy.


Tomislav Jakić
Foreign Policy Advisor to former Croatian President Stjepan Mesić



Zlatko Hadžidedić
Graduate of the London School of Economics, prof. Zlatko Hadžidedić is a prominent thinker, prolific author of numerous books, and indispensable political figure of the former Yugoslav socio-political space in 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.


Mr. Nicola Bilotta
Nicola Bilotta has a BA and a MA in History from Università degli Studi di Milano and a MSc in Economic History from the London School of Economics. He works as a Global Finance Research Assistant at The Banker (Financial Times) and collaborates as an external researcher at ISAG (Istituto di Alti Studi di Geopolitica e Scienze Ausiliari) N_bilotta@lse.ac.uk



Markus Wauran

Date and Place of Birth: April 22, 1943 – Amurang, North Sulawesi, IndonesiaEducation: Bachelor in Public Administration.
Writer was a member of the House of Representatives of Indonesia (DPR/MPR-RI) period of 1987-1999, and Chairman of Committee X, cover Science and Technology, Environment and National Development Planning (1988-1997).
Currently as Obsever of Nuclear for peace
.


Sooyoung Hu

Attached to the US-based Berkeley University, Sooyoung Hu is a scholar at its Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies Department. Miss Hu focuses on international relations, international organizations and its instruments.




Senahid LAVIĆ



Nizar Visram
 
Nizar Visram is a Ottawa-based free-lance writer from Zanzibar, Tanzania. Recently retired Senior lecturer on Development studies, he extensively publishes in over 50 countries on 4 continents. He can be reached at
nizar1941(at)gmail.com .


Robert Leonard Rope
He studied at the University of Michigan,
He lives in: San Francisco, California: San Francisco, California, USA


Dragan Bursac,
Journalist


Dr. Enis OMEROVIĆ


Max Hess
Max Hess is a senior political risk analyst with the London-based AEK international, specializing in Europe and Eurasia.


Ananya Bordoloi
Ananya Bordoloi is a Malaysia based researcher in the fields of international relations, global governance and human rights. Author has previously worked with Amnesty International in research and data collection capacity, and for a publishing company as a pre-editor.



Robert J. Burrowes
 has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of Why Violence?’ His email address is flametree@riseup.net and his website is here.


Amel Ouchenane is a member of the organization of Security and Strategic studies in Algeria. She is also Research Assistant at the Idrak Research Center for Studies and Consultations.
Ms. Ouchenane was researcher at Algiers University from 2011 to 2018. (Department of International relations and African studies).


Dr. Nafees Ahmad
Ph. D., LL.M, Faculty of Legal Studies, South Asian University (SAARC)-New Delhi, Nafees Ahmad is an Indian national who holds a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in International Refugee Law and Human Rights. Author teaches and writes on International Forced Migrations, Climate Change Refugees & Human Displacement Refugee, Policy, Asylum, Durable Solutions and Extradition issues.



Sinta Stepani
International relations specialists based in São Paulo, Brazil.


Gilles-Emmanuel JACQUET
Assistant Professor of the World History at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations. He is also senior anlaysit at the Geneva International Peace Research Institute (GIPRI)


Juan Martin González Cabañas
 Juan Martin González Cabañas
is a senior researcher and analyst at the Dossier Geopolitico



Dr. Andrew Sheng is distinguished fellow of the Asia Global Institute at the University of Hong Kong and a member of the UNEP Advisory Council on Sustainable Finance.


Srdja Trifkovic, Ph.D., is foreign affairs editor for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is a professor of international relations at the University of Banja Luka in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the author of several books. Earlier version of this text appeared in the Chronicles, under the title: “Greta the Swede, or Gretinizing the Global Media”

Yuan T. Lee 1-1.jpg
Wan T. Lee
He is a Hong Kong based scholar and researcher.

Julia Suryakusuma
Julia Suryakusuma
The writer is the author of Julia’s Jihad
Early version published by Jakarta Post under the title:
Cover men's eyes, not women's hair!


Emmy_Latifah

Responding to new challenges: OIC in the international Arena


Sara_Al_Dhahri

Responding to new challenges: OIC in the international Arena


● Itai BRUN 
- Deputy Director of INSS,
Research and Analysis VP


● Yael GAT 
- Research Assist. to Deputy Director for 
Research and Analysis at INSS  


Bich T Tran
is a PhD candidate at the University of Antwerp and a Researcher at the Global Affairs Research Center, Ryukoku University.


Anastasiia Pachina,
Sociologist – Charles University, Prague. She is a Program manager – with the Culture for Peace Action Platform, and a marketing researcher in IPSOS CZ.




Chloé Bernadaux is an International Security specialist (Sciences Po Paris), prolifically writing on the neighbourhood policy, Euro-MED relations, and disarmament affairs. She is the IFIMES newly appointed representative in Paris (UNESCO).


Dr.Antonia Colibasanu is Geopolitical Futures’ Chief Operating Officer. She is responsible for overseeing all departments and marketing operations for the company. Dr. Colibasanu joined Geopolitical Futures as a senior analyst in 2016 and frequently speaks on international economics and security topics in Europe.



Viola Christian
Program Officer, Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, Vienna, Austria





 

 

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