In 2013, IAPCS and its journal Peacebuilding decided to inaugurate the NOB (Notorious Belligerent) Prize, as a gentle way of mocking the Nobel Peace Prize. Over the years, the Nobel Peace Prize (began by the inventor of dynamite) has been awarded to some very questionable winners; Henry Kissinger and Menachem Begin come to mind. President Obama was has continued his unrestricted drone warfare campaign despite being a Peace Prize laureate. While the Nobel Peace Prize comes with a hefty cheque attached, the NOB Prize only brings ignominy. Nominations for the NOB Prize were sought via social media, with a committee of peace and conflict scholars making the final decision. For more information, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For 2013, The NOB Prize is awarded to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. President Assad is embroiled in a bloody civil war that is of his own making. As part of a ruling dynasty, he has placed his own power before the lives of his citizens. In July 2013, the United Nations estimated that the war had cost over 100,000 lives, while up to six million people are thought to have been displaced. There are also persistent reports of arrests, torture, and disappearances carried out by state forces. The destruction caused by Assad’s regime has been enormous, with many urban areas razed to the ground by the indiscriminate use of weapons.
President Assad has constructed a political system that only he can lead. He has created a situation in which there can be no legitimate political opposition to his rule. As a result, when people began to protest against his autocratic rule, his first instinct was to have a security-led crack-down on opposition. This has escalated into a full-scale civil war that has caused instability and suffering across the region. He deserves the Nob Peace Prize for his spectacular obtuseness and refusal to put anything or anyone before his personalised rule.
The NOB Prize Committee reached a unanimous decision in relation President Assad, although Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony was given a dishonourable mention.