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When these 5 personalities won the Nobel peace prize, even satire died.


In October of each year, the Nobel Prize committee announces who has excelled in the fields of chemistry, physics, literature, economics, medicine and peace.

The Peace Prize is to be awarded to individuals and institutions that “have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses,”  according to Alfred Nobel’s will.

While meant to recognize those whose work has greatly benefited or contributed to the advancement and unity of mankind, the Nobel Peace Prize has sometimes been given to those with violent pasts, those whose award-winning work contains factual errors, or those whose accomplishments do not quiet bear up under close examination. It may be a rare occasion that the committee’s choices were short-sighted, or even worse, naive, but a number of poor decisions have been made. Here are the five most controversial Nobel Peace Prize winners of all time.

1.Henry Kissinger, the American Butcher. (1973)

HENRY KISSINGERThe illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

These, WikiLeaks revealed, were the words Kissinger once uttered to Turkey’s foreign minister, and they could almost serve as a mission statement for Kissinger in his role as the principal architect of U.S. foreign policy from 1969 to 1977.

Easily one of the most controversial Nobel Peace Prize winners of all time (if not the most) is Henry Kissinger. The U.S. Secretary of State during both the Nixon and Ford administrations was a joint winner in 1973 with North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho. Le Duc Tho rejected the award, given for the pair’s peace work in South Vietnam, because he felt that peace had not yet been achieved in the area — and doubly, didn’t want to share the award with Kissinger.  Of course, the war would not end for another two years, and it was Kissinger who fundamentally supervised the slaughter, in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Kissinger accepted the award “with humility,” but many felt that it should never have been offered to him in the first place. There were two reasons for this controversy. Kissinger was accused of war crimes for his alleged role in America’s secret bombing of Cambodia between 1969 and 1975. His win was also called premature since North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam two years after the prize was awarded, voiding his work. Two Norwegian Nobel Committee members resigned to protest Kissinger’s win.

Kissinger was also behind Operation Condor, the U.S.-orchestrated campaign of murder, torture, and disappearances in Latin America, including, most notably, his pivotal his support of the military coup that ousted the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende. In the years that followed, Kissinger and Chile’s brutal dictator Augusto Pinochet would become thick-as-thieves, so-to-speak.

Elsewhere on the continent, Kissinger extended massive U.S. support to Argentina’s right-wing military, who in March of 1976 launched the “Dirty War”, a massacre against leftists that left as many as 30,000 dead and disappeared.

In Cambodia, Kissinger’s carpet-bombing led directly to the takeover of Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. Also, documents released in 2014 revealed that in 1976, Kissinger planned to launch airstrikes against Havana, strike ports and military installations in Cuba and send Marine battalions to the U.S. Naval Base at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay.

Most noteworthy is the involvement of Henry Kissinger in giving the green light to Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus.The links between Kissinger and Turkey formed a long lasting relationship between Kissinger and the Israeli Lobby in the United States, particularly the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Turks.

2. Shimon Peres “for his efforts to create peace in the Middle East” (1994)

shimon peres

His pivotal role in realising the Oslo Accords through a back channel in the early 1990s earned him – after frantic lobbying on his own behalf – the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, alongside Israel’s prime minister of the time, Yitzhak Rabin, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

As prime minister in 1996, Peres ordered and oversaw “Operation Grapes of Wrath” when Israeli armed forces killed some 154 civilians in Lebanon and injured another 351. The operation, widely believed to have been a pre-election show of strength, saw Lebanese civilians intentionally targeted.

Peres’ most important task, to which he was entrusted by Ben-Gurion, was developing in secret – and over United States opposition – Israel’s nuclear weapons programme through the 1950s and 60s. To that end, he recruited the assistance of France, Britain and Norway.In 1975, as secret minutes have since revealed, Peres met with South African Defence Minister PW Botha and “offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime.”

In April 1996, Peres faced a significant right-wing backlash at home over his peace deal with the Palestinians, for which he was awarded the prize two years earlier alongside Israel’s late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. In the midst of this pressure, he unleashed the operation, forcing 400,000 Lebanese to flee their homes.

Another one of Peres’ responsibilities in his capacity as director general of the defence ministry was to “Judaise” the Galilee; that is to say, to pursue policies aimed at reducing the region’s proportion of Palestinian citizens compared to Jewish ones.

In 2005, as Vice Premier in the cabinet of Ariel Sharon, Peres renewed his attack on Palestinian citizens with plans to encourage Jewish Israelis to move to the Galilee. His “development” plan covered 104 communities – 100 of them Jewish.

Nonetheless, much of Peres’ political legacy – as heir to Ben-Gurion – is currently being discarded by Netanyahu and the Israeli right. They prefer the politics of confrontation – at home and abroad – over the back-slapping niceties of the diplomacy Peres excelled in.A few years ago, Peres described the Palestinians as “self-victimising.” He went on: “They victimise themselves. They are a victim of their own mistakes unnecessarily.”

3. Madame Aung San Suu Kyi (1991)

aung san suu kyiThis is the most recent controversy. Aung San Suu Kyi won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her campaign for democracy in Burma. At the time, it wasn’t clear if she even knew she had won the prize: Suu Kyi had been placed under strict house arrest by the country’s military dictatorship, as she would be for a total of 15 years.

As of today, But more than 405,000 people have now signed a petition on Change.org demanding the Nobel Committee withdraw the award from Ms Suu Kyi, who has been widely accused of failing to protect Burma’s Rohingya population.

Thousands of houses and dozens of villages have been burned to the ground in Rakhine State, sending nearly 300,000 fleeing for their lives in a period of just two weeks. The Burmese military, which says it has been conducting clearance operations following attacks by Rohingya insurgents at the end of August, has denied any allegations of indiscriminate killing – blaming the insurgents for killing civilians. Ms Suu Kyi also blamed the violence on “terrorists” and claimed the controversy has been caused by “a huge iceberg of misinformation”.

4. Barack Obama or Barry O’Bomber (2009)

barack obamaIn a move called “a stunning surprise” by the New York Times, Barack Obama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize only 12 days after he took office in 2009. When he actually won the prize only months into his first term in office, many accused the Nobel Peace Prize Committee of being politically motivated since the president was chosen to receive the award for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” rather than any concrete achievements.

At the time, America’s first black president said he didn’t deserve the award. President Obama’s was given the prize in 2009, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Later however, in the fight against terrorism, Obama has greatly stepped up the use of aerial drones without sufficient clarity about the legal framework for targeted killing. In places where the United States is involved in armed conflict — such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria — drones can reduce the danger of civilian casualties because they are exceptionally accurate, have a small blast radius, and can safely linger before firing until no or few civilians are nearby.

But the justification for their use is more fraught in countries such as Yemen and Somalia, where the United States has not considered itself in armed conflict. Official documents obtained by Reuters news agency showed government lawyers advised the US it might be considered a co-belligerent under international law.The Obama administration  continued to authorise weapons sales to Saudi Arabia despite the warnings during the year before.

5. European Union (2012):For budget cuts and for the weapons they sell to other countries?

european union flagsThe Peace committee claimed EU deserved the award “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.”

In 2012 the committee awarded the prize to the European Union, although the bloc was mired in recession and some of its members were involved in military interventions in North Africa and the Middle East especially France and the United Kingdom.

The award was also widely criticized because it came at a time when social rights were suffering greatly due to discord between member states resulting from economic crisis.

  • The prize never awarded
    The fact that Mahatma Gandhi never got the Nobel Peace Prize is considered one of the great blunders in the history of the Nobel Peace Prizes.

It’s hard to think of anyone in modern history who symbolizes non-violent struggle better than the Indian independence leader.Gandhi was nominated five times but never won.

Maybe soon this prize will go to Donald Trump and Kim-Jong Un probably for “peace and stability in the world”

 

 

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Erdogan: The Sultan Of An Illusionary Ottoman Empire


Opinion -Analysis 

In many conversations and encounters I had over the years with former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, he emphatically echoed his boss President Erdogan’s grandiose vision that by 2023 (the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic), Turkey will become as powerful and influential as the Ottoman Empire was during its heyday. Under the best of circumstances, Turkey cannot realize Erdogan’s far-fetched dream. Had he stayed the course, however, with his socio-political and judiciary reforms and economic developments, as he had during his first nine years in power, Turkey could have become a major player on the global stage and a regional powerhouse.

Sadly, Erdogan abandoned much of the impressive democratic reforms he championed, and embarked upon a systematic Islamization of the country while dismantling the pillars of democracy. He amassed unprecedented powers and transformed Turkey from a democratic to an autocratic country, ensuring that he has the last word on all matters of state.

In retrospect, it appears that Erdogan had never committed himself to a democratic form of government. The reforms he undertook during his first nine years in power were largely induced by the European Union’s requirements from any country seeking membership, which he exploited as a means by which to propel himself toward his ultimate goal. A quote attributed to him in 1999 describes precisely what his real intentions were from the day he rose to power. “Democracy” he said, “is like a bus, when you arrive at your destination, you step off.”

His role model is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (meaning “Father of the Turks”), who founded the Turkish Republic in 1923.  Both share similar personal attributes as they sought to lead the nation with an iron fist while disregarding any separation of power. However, Atatürk was determined to establish a Westernized secular democratic state while Erdogan went in the opposite direction.

Erdogan steadily moved to create a theocracy where Islamic tradition and values reign supreme while assuming Atatürk’s image, which is revered by most Turks. Erdogan presents himself as one who leads with determination and purpose, generating power from his popular support, ultimately seeking to replace Atatürk; with the new amendments to the constitution, he will be endowed with powers even greater than Atatürk ever held.

With his growing popularity and most impressive economic growth, Erdogan successfully created the status of a strong and resolute leader—the “father” of a new Turkish Republic—and artfully penetrated the consciousness of the Turkish public while using Islam as the undisputed pathway that will lead Turkey to greatness. He is determined to preside at the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic over a powerful nation among the top ten largest global economies and that extends its influence East and West, akin to the prodigious influence that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed.

To realize his grand vision, Erdogan took several measures to consolidate his absolute power.

  • First, clearing the way:

Erdogan embarked on the complete marginalization or elimination of anyone, in and outside the ruling AK Party, that challenged his authority or advanced new ideas for solving the country’s problems. Those who did not support his policies and dared to question his judgment were not spared. He resorted to conspiracy theories, accusing his political opponents of being enemies of the state aiming to topple his government, in order to continue unopposed to realize his vision for the country, analogous to the influence and outreach of the Ottoman Empire. He even fired his long-time friend and confidant Davutoglu because Davutoglu differed from him in connection with the Kurdish problem, and especially because of Davutoglu’s reluctance to support the constitutional amendments that will grant the president sweeping and unprecedented powers.

  • Second, the need for a culprit:

Erdogan needed a scapegoat to blame for any of his shortcomings, and found the Gulen movement to be the perfect culprit that would provide him with the cover to overshadow the massive corruption that has swept his government. This also provided him with the “justification” to crack down on many social, political, and institutional entities, silencing the media, controlling the judiciary, and subordinating the military.

The aftermath of the attempted military coup in July 2016 gave him the ammunition to conduct a society-wide witch-hunt, providing him with the excuse to purge tens of thousands of people from academia, civil society, judiciary, military, and internal security. This has allowed him to assume total control of all departments in the government and private sector. He described his purge as a necessary evil to cleanse the public of the ‘cancer’ that has gripped the country. In so doing, he ensured that the political system revolves around the presidency, leaving him completely unchallenged to pursue his imperial dream to resurrect the stature of the Ottoman Empire as the country prepares to vote in the constitutional referendum on April 16.

  • Third, the creation of Ottoman symbolism:

To project his grandiose vision, Erdogan needed to instill Ottoman images into the public consciousness, including the building of a 1,100-room ‘White Palace’ as his residence at a prohibitive cost to taxpayers. His most recent project was the Çamlica Mosque, the now-largest mosque in Istanbul, standing on the eponymous hill that overlooks the entire city.

Recently, Erdogan started the construction of another mosque in Taksim Square—once the site of the fiercest protests against Erdogan in his career—with all the style of the Ottoman era. Erdogan has even instructed that the national anthem be played on modified drums and brass instruments to make the music sound as if it were being played by bands of the Ottoman period. His purpose is to indoctrinate the public in a subliminal way to his perspective of the glorious Ottoman period.

Fourth, foreign policy assertiveness: Under Erdogan, Turkey has become increasingly assertive and forceful in the region. In Cyprus, he is determined to strike a deal largely on his terms. In Iraq, he placed Turkish troops over the objections of the Iraqi government to maintain his ruthless war against the Kurds. In Syria, he allowed thousands of foreign fighters, including many who have joined ISIS, to cross the border to strengthen the anti-Assad fight, while fighting the Syrian Kurds to prevent them from establishing their own autonomous rule, fearing that the Turkish Kurds would also demand autonomous rule of their own.

Erdogan further promoted the policy of “zero problem with neighbors,” and although presently Turkey has problems with just about every neighbor (and its prospective EU membership has completely diminished), he continues to claim that Turkey enjoys good relations internationally. Erdogan still uses Turkey’s membership in NATO as a sign of greatness; the fact that Turkey has the second-largest number of ground troops in  NATO reinforces his illusion that Ankara enjoys unrivaled military prowess in the region and commands the respect and attention of the international community that the Ottoman Empire was accorded.

Fifth, promoting Islam as a powerful tool: Erdogan is also using Sunni Islam to promote the country as a republic with Islamic ideals supported by a loyal state apparatus. He portrays himself as the leader of the Sunni world that would restore the Ottoman era of influence while cementing his authoritarian rule in the form of a neo-Sultan. To be sure, Erdogan is vigorously promoting – with the support of his party – Islamic nationalism systematically and meticulously. Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish analyst of politics and culture and author of the new book The Islamic Jesus says that “political propaganda is in your face every day, every single moment. If you turn on TV, if you open newspapers…”

Former Prime Minister Davutoglu said in 2015 that Turkey “will re-found the Ottoman state.” Although Davutoglu was fired, he—like most Turkish officials—depicts the government as the rightful heir of the Ottoman legacy. To that end, Erdogan uses Islam as the unifying theme that would propel Turkey to the greatness that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed. In fact, Turkish religious leaders have always thought of themselves as the standard-bearer of Islamic civilization, and though this failed with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, to them it must now be corrected. As they would have it, “Turks once again should lead the ummah [Islamic community] as the new Ottomans.”

Sadly, Erdogan, who is still seen as a hero by nearly half of the Turkish population, is leading the country on a treacherous path. Turkey and its people have the resources, creativity, and institutions to make Turkey a significant power. Erdogan, who demonstrated an uncanny ability to harness his country’s natural and human resources, could have made Turkey such a power on the global stage. Indeed, he would have been the Atatürk of the new era had he simply continued with his historic reforms while protecting the rights of every individual and creating a real model of Islamic democracy.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was largely precipitated, among other things, by its internal political decadence, the arbitrary exercising of power, and gross violations of human rights that dramatically eroded the foundation on which the empire was built.

In whichever form Erdogan wants to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, he will fail because no country can survive, let alone become great, as long as the government walks on the backs of the people and stifles their freedom to act, speak, and dream.

There is where the greatness of any nation rests and endures—the Ottoman Empire never provided a model worthy of such emulation.