Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Libya, Iran Accuse Israel of ‘Genocide’ at U.N. Human Rights Council

Israel was in the dock at the U.N. Human Rights Council Tuesday, as nation after nation praised as “balanced” and “objective” a report accusing the Jewish state of war crimes during its offensive against Hamas in Gaza last winter. Read

Reported Death Toll in Pacific Tsunami Rises, Fears Recede in New Zealand

Sirens sounded to warn residents of eastern coastal areas of New Zealand to move to higher ground early Wednesday, amid fears that a tsunami generated by a massive earthquake near American Samoa could endanger lives. Read

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Regimes Arising From Coups Should Be Barred From U.N. Institutions, African Official Says

An African foreign minister told the United Nations General Assembly on Monday that governments arising from coups should be denied recognition and banned from participating in any U.N. institutions. Read

United Nations Human Rights Body Considers Divisive Report on Israel and Gaza

A showdown is looming in Geneva as the United Nation's main human rights institution grapples with an explosive report accusing Israel of war crimes and laying the groundwork for its possible referral to the International Criminal Court. Read

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pledging ‘Prompt and Crushing Response,’ Iran Launches Missiles

Striking a defiant pose after being confronted by the West about more clandestine nuclear activity and just days before important international talks, Iran on Sunday began a series of fresh missile launches. Read

Key European Union Treaty Faces Big Test

The decades-old dream of creating an integrated European Union with clout to match that of the United States faces a critical test this week, with the fate of a key treaty in the hands of Irish voters and Czech judges. Read

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mideast Quartet Challenges Key Policy Position of Israel’s Prime Minister

Ratcheting up international pressure on Israel, the powerful entity known as the Mideast Quartet on Thursday confronted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on a key policy position – the insistence on “reciprocity” in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Read

Human Rights Not High on Agenda As Clinton Meets With Leader of Repressive Regime

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met this week with the leader of one of the world’s most repressive regimes but human rights abuses were not high on the agenda. Read

Thursday, September 24, 2009

U.S., Jewish ‘Conspiracy’ and ‘Islamophobia’ Blamed for Arab’s Defeat in U.N. Election

In a rare victory for Western democracies at the United Nations, a controversial Egyptian favored to win the top post at UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural agency, lost his bid to a European candidate, despite having been endorsed by the Arab, Islamic and African blocs. Read

‘African King of Kings’ Makes Waves in New York, Offers to Move U.N. to Libya

It took 40 years in power before Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi decided to address the U.N. General Assembly, and he made up for it on Wednesday, delivering a seemingly interminable address in which he tore up the U.N. Charter and laid out his vision for revolutionizing the Security Council. Read

Ahmadinejad Ignores Nuclear Dispute, Rails Against Israel and U.S. at United Nations

Largely upstaged by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s earlier diatribe, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s fifth annual address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday evening was a relatively low-key affair, punctuated by religious terminology and his trademark attacks against the U.S. and Israel. Read

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bush Blamed for Strained Ties as Obama Takes Center Stage at United Nations

As President Obama prepares to address the United Nations for the first time on Wednesday, the tone has been set by top administration officials who are blaming a disengaged Bush administration for cool relations between the U.S. and the international community. Read

Obama’s First Middle East Summit Yields Little Progress

President Obama on Tuesday told the protagonists in one of the most intractable conflicts of the last century to “disentangle” themselves from history and “take risks for peace.” Read

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

U.S. Counsels ‘Strategic Patience’ in Caucasus, But Skeptics Question What That Means

The Obama administration wants Georgia to exercise “strategic patience” in the face of Russia’s regional policies, a senior State Department official said Monday. But that official insisted the concept was not a new doctrine and should not be read as counseling acquiescence or “doing nothing.” Read

Honduras on Edge After Ousted President Slips Back Into Country

Honduras was on a political knife-edge overnight Monday after ousted president Manuel Zelaya slipped back into the country, took refuge at the Brazilian embassy and said he would seek talks with the interim government to “restore democracy.” Read

Monday, September 21, 2009

Harsh Realities Await as Obama Heads to United Nations

President Barack Obama’s appearance in New York on Monday for a packed program of international meetings promises to be more of a test than his previous outings onto the global stage. Read

Arab Who Vowed to Burn Israeli Books Still Leads Race to Head U.N. Culture Agency

An election for the top post in a key United Nations agency will go into a fourth round of voting on Monday. The four remaining candidates include a controversial Egyptian who has the backing of the Islamic, Arab and African blocs. Read

Friday, September 18, 2009

Coup de Disgrace: The Pluckiest Little Nation Won’t Be at the U.N. This Year

Here’s a quick quiz: name a small democracy in a neighborhood where much bigger nations – most of them significantly less democratic – are leading efforts to isolate it in the international community. Read commentary

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Democracies That Side With Repressive Regimes at U.N. Human Rights Council Pose Challenge for U.S.

If the United States is to have an impact on the workings of the U.N. Human Rights Council -- which it finally joined this week -- its diplomatic efforts will have to target a small group of non-Western democracies that consistently have sided with repressive regimes. Read

Obama to Abandon European Missile Defense, Media Reports Say

The Obama administration is on the verge of abandoning proposals to build a missile defense shield in Europe which caused a major rift between the U.S. and Russia, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Read

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Britain’s Government-Run Health-Care System Under Fire

As Britain’s government-run National Health Service continues to draw flak over the treatment of elderly and dying hospital patients, some NHS doctors are fighting back, disputing claims that have been raised as part of the U.S. debate over health-care reform. Read

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One of Africa’s Top Terrorists Killed After Several Unsuccessful Attempts

The reported death of a leading African al-Qaeda terrorist is another success in a long-running campaign to capture or kill top suspects in deadly attacks on U.S. and Israeli targets in East Africa. Read

Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama Administration Wants to Talk to Iran, Despite Its Refusal to Discuss Its Nuclear Program

The Obama administration is ready to hold unprecedented, formal talks with Iran despite the fact that the regime’s leaders are adamant that the nuclear issue will not be up for negotiation. Read

U.S. Takes Its Seat at U.N. Rights Council, With Fresh Controversy Brewing Over Israel

The United States on Monday took its seat on the U.N.’s three year-old Human Rights Council for the first time, for a session that once again promises controversy over the council’s single most focused-upon topic – Israel. Read

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years After Terror Attacks, Threat Remains Real and Evolving

Despite counter-terrorism successes and the absence of a major and dramatic attack in the West, the security threat posed by radical Islamists remains real and dynamic, as al-Qaeda mutates into an increasingly unstructured but no less dangerous entity, according to experts monitoring the organization. Read

Support for Suicide Bombings and Bin Laden Still High Among Some Muslims

A new survey gauging Muslim attitudes indicates that backing for suicide bombings against civilians, while generally down from earlier years, remains significant in some Islamic countries – challenging the assertion that Muslims supporting terrorism constitute a “tiny minority.” Read

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Deepening Venezuela-Iran Alliance Stokes Concern

The United States watches closely and follows links between Iran and Venezuela “very seriously,” the State Department said in response to fresh claims of a deepening collaboration between the two governments hostile to the U.S. Read

U.S. Envoy Warns Iran Is Almost Capable of Building Atomic Bomb

With a deadline to cooperate or face tougher sanctions fast approaching, Iran has presented a new “proposal” relating to its nuclear program to a group of leading governments. Read

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Test-Ban Treaty Advocates See ‘Window of Opportunity’ Opened by Obama

Proponents of a global ban on nuclear weapons testing are optimistic that President Obama’s support for ratifying the pact will encourage other holdouts to follow suit, speeding up its entry into force. Read

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Defiant Over Nuclear Issue, Iran Wins Sanctions-Busting Pledge from Chavez

As the first of a series of crucial meetings on nuclear issues began Monday, Iran’s government reiterated its defiance of the international community, saying that as far as it was concerned, the question was settled. Read

Controversy Surrounds Frontrunner in Race to Head Major U.N. Agency

A major United Nations agency will choose a new director-general in the coming days, and although promoting freedom of expression is among its key functions, the leading candidate is backed by some of the world’s most repressive governments. Read

Friday, September 04, 2009

Terror Suspect Endorsed As Iran’s Defense Minister; Pledges ‘Clenched Fist’

Responding to international criticism over the nomination of a wanted terror suspect as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s next defense minister, Iranian lawmakers on Thursday gave him the strongest endorsement out of the 21 cabinet nominees under consideration. Read

Still Angry Over Treatment of His Son, Gaddafi Wants Switzerland Abolished

Ahead of his first visit ever to the United Nations, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has signaled how he expects to be treated in the international community by calling for the dismemberment of Switzerland. Read

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Another Iranian Nuclear Deadline Looms in September, As U.S. ‘Urges’ Iran to Respond

Seven years after Iran’s clandestine nuclear program was first exposed, a meeting of leading powers on Wednesday gave Tehran three weeks to return to talks on the matter – the latest in a series of deadlines that have so far failed to resolve the standoff. Read

Timeline of Iran Nuclear Standoff

The dispute over Iran’s nuclear program has been dragging on for seven years, and despite three rounds of sanctions, multiple U.N. reports, and several proposals put to Iran by the international community, it shows little sign of resolution. Read

Hamas Complains, So U.N. School Will Not Teach Gaza Students About Holocaust

The United Nations’ refugee agency for Palestinians does not intend to include the Holocaust in the curriculum at schools it runs in the Gaza Strip, a U.N. spokesman said following criticism by Hamas about the purported plan. Read

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Parade of Despots Heading For New York

The usual September parade of world leaders descending on New York City for the opening of the annual United Nations General Assembly will be characterized this year by the presence of some of the world’s most controversial leaders. Read

U.S. Death Toll at Record Low in Iraq, at Record High in Afghanistan

Fewer American troops died in Iraq during August than in any previous month since the U.S. invaded in March 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein. That is in stark contrast to the situation in Afghanistan, which saw its deadliest month since Operation Enduring Freedom began after 9/11. Read

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Little Western Support As Libya Marks 40 Years of Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi on Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of the coup that brought him to power, but with the row still brewing over the release of the man convicted in the Lockerbie bombing, the event will not be the showpiece of Libya’s return to international standing that he had hoped. Read