The “Karma Year” and Current Conflicts

EDITORIAL, 6 Mar 2017

#471 | Johan Galtung

Winter Conference, The Inland University, Rena, Norway, 16 Feb 2017

          An Unstable World: Analysis, Forecasting, Solutions

Take current deep conflicts in our unstable world and go back in time, aided by dialogue with the parties about “when did it go wrong”.  Chances are a year will emerge.  There was a basic event, or process, polarizing something that used to be more cohesive. A faultline had emerged that can last for centuries, more or less polarized, up till today, and beyond, if there is no intervention.

The faultlines function like tectonic plates.  Nothing may happen for long periods. Then they shock against each other, with earthquakes geo-physically; Norway-, Euro-, World-quakes socially.

The tern “karma year” is used. Not destiny-Schicksal-skjebne; too deterministic. Karma is destiny that can be changed through awareness.

The reader will find on the next page a Table with seven “current conflicts” and their Karma year(s) as hypotheses.  And analysis, forecasting, solutions, here called diagnosis, prognosis, therapy.  That table, or matrix, is a two-dimensional discourse for karma years.  The table can be read in several ways.

Horizontally it reads like the   TRANSCEND approach to conflicts: get a hold on the basic incompatibility, make a prognosis of what will happen without intervention; if unacceptable, intervene with therapy.

Vertically the first column is a study of karma years, the second of (alarming) forecasting, the third column a repertory of solutions. Our focus being on the karma years we shall read vertically.

The first impression is that the years are by and large unknown. And yet they set the tone, or throw the shadows, for centuries.  How can we allow ourselves the arrogance of such ignorance?

Take Libya.  How many in Italy were aware of the horrendous 1911 crime of bombing oases, the open spaces for women-young-old-infirm? Given the general rule that perpetrators forget easily, victims never?

A Discourse for Karma Years and Current Conflicts

Diagnosis Prognosis Therapy
 0 Libya Bombing 1911

State terrorism


Liberation 1969

Apology 2011

Silviu Berlusconi

 1 Afghanistan Durand line 1893 Pashtun split`

Taliban fight

Drop Durand

Central Asian Community

2 Iraq-Syria Baghdad 1258

Sykes-Picot 1916

Four colonies

Osman collapse

UK-French rule

Fight for independence

Fight for Shia

Sunni Kurdish communities

Regenerate some unity

Loose federalism

based on provinces

Double identities

3 Islamic State Sykes-Picot 1916

NATO 1949

European Community 1958

European Union 1992

Islam as new enemy 1992

Remove states

Balance NATO

Islamic State

Caliphate for Mecca

Retribution with moderation

Western warfare

Military defense against threats,

not attack-killing

Negotiate Riyadh space for Israel

Compensation for state terrorism

4 Ukraine “at the border” West-East 395

Schism 1054
1 state 2 nations Ukrainian-Uniate


Crimea 1954 gift recovered

Not unitary;

Not president from one nation

Internal anti-Russians war;

External inter- ventions.

Ukraine federation with two nations;

Cabinet with 3, 5, 7 members;

President rotating;


5 Israel-Palestine Genesis 15:18 as geopolitics

Chosen People, Promised Land.

Divine mandate

“Peace through security”

Conquest, colonialism,

Terrorism, State terrorism,


US full cooperation

1 Palestine fully recognized by all

2 states together

6 states community

20 states OSCWA

“Security through peace”

6 USA-

all over

Divine mandate New Canaan 1620

Chosen People, promised land: Exceptionalism beyond law with promised world.

Imperial global structure

World currency

US empire decline and fall by 2020 (only UK-Dk-N fight US wars);

USA warfare alone to keep empire;

US$ declining, Currency baskets;

China passing USA; Rise of East, South

Secularization, Enlightenment as normal country;


Stop wars, military interventionism;

Lifting the bottom 70% into the economy

Working for a basket with US$

The key karma years are bold faced.

For the Islamic State, there are Western escalations to killing 100,000 in Afghanistan from 2001 and one million in Iraq from 2003.

For Israel, there is none as it is unclear exactly when Yahweh approached Abraham; hence a verse in the Tora’h-Old Testament-Qur’an.

Understanding karma years is not sufficient, but necessary; being the key to prognosis and therapy.  Something created faultlines with much direct and structural violence. Undo them, and solutions may be possible. Ignore them, and whatever you do will be unsuccessful.

Take Libya.  Berlusconi apologized, and there has been no Islamic State terrorism in Italy, or from Libya, only massive migration.

Take Afghanistan. There is no claim that all fighting is due to dividing the Pashtun nation, but it is a key factor. Undo it, open the border, and more borders, for a wealthy Central Asian Community.  Or build a border wall (the USA right now) and worsen the conflict.

Take Iraq-Syria, two of the four colonies from the Sykes-Picot treason; a lesson in what a Western promise is worth. The Ottomans brutally conquered the area in 1516, but ruled peacefully for four centuries. Generate something similar, province-based federations.

Take the Islamic State and acknowledge that it was generated by escalating Western–“US-led coalition”–warfare.  Kill them, and get more effect from that same cause over time.  Instead, use Western military defensively to protect exposed sites, try to understand their Mecca-Medina spiritual mission against the Saudi kingdom, negotiate.

Take Ukraine with a karma year 1,600 years back. Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill declared their Christianities one and the same, with regional conflicts to solve–like the 1812 and 1941 karma years when Russia was invaded by Napoleon and Stalin–and go for Swiss solutions.

Take Israel-Palestine, and invite Jews to live all over in that land (as they did, being people of “The Book”), but not as a big state for Jews only.  Go for a modest Israeli state–like in 1-2-6-20.

Take the USA, that now may take care of themselves; soldiers and politicians denounce foreign wars and focus inward, “buying American-hiring American”. Trump is ambiguous, but may not last even 100 days.

Undo the karma years.  Or ignore them, at considerable risk.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. Prof. Galtung has published 1670 articles and book chapters, over 470 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and 167 books on peace and related issues, of which 41 have been translated into 35 languages, for a total of 135 book translations, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

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16 Responses to “The “Karma Year” and Current Conflicts”

  1. Thomas Krogh says:


    “Crimea 1954 gift recovered”

    What you mean is “Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, will the full approval of Johan Galtung for this war crime”.

    There. Fixed it for you.

    “US$ declining,”

    This has been prognosed by you for years. How did that prognosis spell out:


    Go and get some rest Galtung. The world doesn’t work the way you think.


    • Steve Moort says:

      Mr Krogh

      I don’t think you are supposed to disagree with Mr Galtung. At least not on this site.. ;)

      • Thomas Krogh says:


        Oh no! You are supposed to say “Gee Galtung – you are sooo wise”. If not Antonio will scream and cry that you’re a “troll”. Wait and see. :-D

    • Internet Troll:
      A person, usually operating under a pseudonym, who posts deliberately provocative messages to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of provoking maximum disruption and argument. They are often paid by nefarious sources but sometime are motivated to do so for their own amusement. They often try to provoke dissension and doubt by writing dis-informational comments to the editor and/or other participants in a given discussion.

    • Steve Moort says:

      Mr Krogh

      One thing more. I don’t disagree with the implied point that Mr Galtung’s US collapse theories are pure nonsense (they are!) but the appreciation of the US$ vs Yuan is also a result of the slowdown of the Chinese economy and the looming problems for Beijing.

      • Thomas Krogh says:


        “One thing more. I don’t disagree with the implied point that Mr Galtung’s US collapse theories are pure nonsense (they are!) but the appreciation of the US$ vs Yuan is also a result of the slowdown of the Chinese economy and the looming problems for Beijing.”

        Fair point. The similar 5-year plots against the € has the same trend – but less pronounced.

  2. Gary Corseri says:

    Mr. Krogh: You seem to be an Old Testament kind of guy. Have you considered Proverbs: “Be not wise in thine own eyes.” Or perhaps this one: “Seest a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” Try to wrap up your conceits in the little envelope of yourself. Your insults are the very stuffing of conceit and foolishness that have created this world of dissension and violence and war and suffering.

    Professor Galtung: Thank you for many good decades of hard, dedicated, enlightened work to help create a better world. You touch on many interesting ideas in this short perspective: the need to recognize “karma years” or “fault-lines” when everything can change–and too often for the worst. The need to understand the inexorable developments arising from those “karma years” or fault-lines. And, the need for “therapy” to reverse course, to heal. The examples you cite–“Sykes-Picot” or “Chosen People/Promised Land”; or, USA “exceptionalism”–and the crimes resulting from these catastrophic misconceptions, and your “therapies” for such, are all worthy of further study and development.

    I especially like your noting Berlusconi’s apology in 2011 for Italy’s crimes against Libya, and the idea of negotiating “Riyadh space for Israel” (And why not? Aren’t the Wahabi state of Saudi Arabia and the Zionist state virtual allies now? If Israel could “make the desert bloom” in the cramped space of Palestine, why not make it bloom in the much greater space of Arabia–and work with the Arabs to make it happen? Enlarge the “divine mandate concept” to a “6 states community,” embracing Palestinians, Jews and Arabs. Visionary? Of course! And what have we now–except the dark, corrupt “visions” of despots and fools and megalomaniacs? Those who doubt that Jews and Arabs can ever work together should read “The Ornament of the World” by Maria Rosa Menocal, about the Andalusian Caliphate… or consider the last words of Frost’s poem, “A Tuft of Flowers”: “Men work together, I told him from the heart; Whether they work together or apart.”

    Teetering on the brink of eco-catastrophes and global, endless wars, and endless terrorism and dissolution and decadence, we need unifying visions more than ever in this crowded world of 7.3 billion souls, with something like 9 people possessing as much wealth as 3.65 billion others! Truly, a world out of balance! (And those insisting on Old Testament justifications for modern avarice and boundaries based on ancient conquests and massacres might also consider the Book of Proverbs again: “A false balance is abomination…to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.”

    I thank you for your perseverance, your steadiness, your sacrifices, and wish you continued health, energy and vision in your 87th year.

    • Bravo! Thank you, Gary.

      I was going to spam krogh (for the nth time), but I’ll leave it for the whole world to see (yes, the whole world reads TMS). There are still destructive asses like him around, unfortunately–for them.

      Actually, I thank the Troll for triggering such wonderful comment of yours about Johan’s Editorial. Cheers!

    • Steve Moort says:

      Mr Corseri

      I may be that I don’t get it, but what is your understanding of a “Riyadh space for Israel”?

    • Thomas Krogh says:


      “Mr. Krogh: You seem to be an Old Testament kind of guy. Have you considered Proverbs: “Be not wise in thine own eyes.” Or perhaps this one: “Seest a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” Try to wrap up your conceits in the little envelope of yourself.”

      Uhm, did you ever think that it might be possible that it was actually Galtung you should challenge in that way? Or is that too scary a thought for you? No, you don’t need to answer it. I know what you are supposed to say here.

      “Your insults are the very stuffing of conceit and foolishness that have created this world of dissension and violence and war and suffering.”

      You don’t believe that Galtung’s lies, support for Russia’s invasion and war crimes in the Crimea cause suffering?

      You don’t believe that conspiracy theories – eagerly promoted by Galtung and others here – are a tool of people wishing to cause suffering? Why do you think the Nazis were so keen on conspiracy theories as a media tool?

      You don’t believe that the anti-vax industry – supported by the numerous links and publicity their sites get here at Transcend – cause suffering?


  3. Gary Corseri says:

    Mr Moort: Thanks for your query. I think of Dr. Galtung’s article in terms of an overview of possibilities rather than a blueprint: a map, rather than the voyage. Undertaking the voyage will be difficult, but without a decent map/goals/chart probably impossible and disastrous.

    “Eretz Yisrael” (or “Greater Israel”), stretching to the borders of Iraq’s Tigris-Euphrates was a fantasy of early Jewish settlers after the UN-creation of the modern state of Israel. That was the vision of those who proudly called themselves “Zionists,” established “kibbutzes” (which embraced Socialist ideals for their exclusively Jewish members). With negotiations, with cooperation with Palestinians and other Arabs, modern Israel could have extended its influence, but not its borders, in the Arab world. (The migration crisis now embroiling parts of Western Europe, and various US states and regions, should alert us all: we cannot assist “chosen people” or “chosen groups” while displacing other people, other groups. As Dr. G. notes in his article, there will be festering resentments that can last for centuries.)

    Israel and Saudi Arabia have used repression and militarism to crush resistance to their expansionary designs, and “Western powers” have played a major role in that expansion of military power, with both Israel and Saudi Arabia being major purchasers (or “beneficiaries”–as with Israel) of US (and European) arms; and, both nations/”entities” have reciprocated–with Israeli/Jewish support (up-front and “behind the scenes) of the American political system and media, and, of course, with Saudi Arabian oil. These nations have “cooperated” with each other in the expansion of their empires, while displacing (as the Romans and others before them) those in their aggressive, self-aggrandizing paths. (A good example of what Israel might have been–in terms of influence and localized wealth might be Singapore with its varied population–mostly Chinese, but with Malaysian, Indian, even European mixtures. Dr. Galtung notes the Ottoman Empire as one historic example of a 400-year accommodation and integration.)

    My main point (and, I do not speak for Dr. Galtung, but I infer this): if we have the courage and imagination to rise above historical “facts” (which very often are not “facts” but the “fake news” and “fake history” of the day), we may be able to rescue this planet from the horrors that threaten its imminent destruction. Can we liberate ourselves from our fears, pettiness, misconceptions–what English poet/artist/visionary William Blake called “mind-forged manacles”?

    • Thomas Krogh says:


      “Eretz Yisrael” (or “Greater Israel”), stretching to the borders of Iraq’s Tigris-Euphrates was a fantasy of early Jewish settlers after the UN-creation of the modern state of Israel.”

      Such as whom? Galtung last year – here at Transcend – claimed that Netanyahu was a proponent of that view, but refused to provide any documentation. And – in true Galtung-style – had so little integrity that he couldn’t even issue an apology for his lie.

    • Steve Moort says:

      Dr Mr Corseri

      I apologize for not being more clear, but my question was about the interpretation of the wording “Riyadh space for Israel”. I have seen this (in different contexts) used for two completely different approaches: one being using Saudi Arabia as a mediator and facilitator for an Arab-Israeli peace with Riyadh money being the “space” that would “oil” (pardon the pun..) the process. The other approach a literal space in Saudi territory for a new Israel and the implied relocation of the entire state of Israel. And in my opinion the frist approach being difficult and fraught with risks, but the other one frankly idiotic. For much the same reason as Avnery stated in his brilliant piece on this site.

  4. Per-Stian says:

    Thank you for a very good article, Johan
    (and for the nth time, please stop replying to the troll – it’s a broken record)

    I echo Gary Corseri’s mention of Berlusconi’s apology as important. Same with Zapatero’s Spain. These are real-world examples that dialogue will get you farther than bombs. Pretty absurd to praise Berlusconi for that, but there you go. A broken clock is right twice a day.

    Thanks for the matrix, this is a good tool for analysis, and there is a lot of work behind it. Like today’s strange coverage in Norwegian media about North Korea, you’re not going to get a good understanding of the underlying factors, the incompatibility if you wish, by removing context and picking and choosing events and only looking at one set of them — even managing to ignore the massive months-long(!) war exercise going on between USA and South Korea. You may as well be trying to enjoy a boiled egg with just some salt and the shell.

    But I digress. If picking up a different conflict, that recently got a reward of some sort… the Ignoble? No, that’s not it…

    There are reports of paramilitaries killing human rights activists and labour leaders, and increased attacks on (former) FARC people. There could also be a power vacuum in areas formerly controlled by FARC. So far the process has only included FARC and the state, and both carried out relatively few murders compared to the paramilitaries++. How to deal with this conflict in a more sensible and wholesome manner?

    Maybe it could be a topic for another article, and I’d be greatly interested in what you have to say about it.

    (And kind of similar mechanic in Sri Lanka.)

    Too early to be all doom and gloom over Colombia to be fair, I’m just worried it will all fall apart again. Having said that…

    Sri Lanka

    Norway a ‘mediator’ in all three. Not a great track record.

    Very difficult conflicts, of course, but it wouldn’t hurt (kill?) to realise that conflicts can have more than two parties.

    • Steve Moort says:

      Re Berlusconi’s “apology”.

      It was in 2008, not in 2011 (in 2011 Libya was engulfed in a civil war).

      And the “apology” was a part of a bigger package, including cash and promised engineering support, in exchange for Ghadaffi’s thugs hitting hard down on poor African immigrants using Libya as a port to Italy/Europe.

      Not exactly the kind of apologies and agreements that should be celebrated.

  5. Rainer Krummenacher says:

    The rulers today rule with “money under control”. The rulers in the past ruled with “army under control”. These are already two different systems but “money under control” additionally rules today’s “human being values”. Never before in the past existed a system which united “control” and “value” on a worldwide basis. And this is – as I see it – the reason why Dr. Galtung’s livetime work (values, analysis, experience and network) c a n n o t earn its merits. I would be very grateful if Dr. Galtung could share with us when the “money control and value system” collapses and what will come next? Then the US hegemonial prediction is on it’s way and the “group of 8 powers” will come, however, will today’s human beings then be any further?