Friday, October 29, 2010

Three Rights-Abusing Nations on Hillary Clinton’s Asia Itinerary

Upholding democracy and human rights is “an essential element of everything we do in U.S. foreign policy,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a major speech Thursday kicking off a tour of Asia. Read

Will Obama Administration Try to Keep Iran Off New U.N. Agency for Women?

Four months after the United Nations, with much fanfare, created a new agency to promote the equality of women worldwide, it looks set to install Iran and Saudi Arabia onto an executive board responsible for approving the agency’s projects and budgets. Read

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Investigators Attacked in Lebanon While Probing 2005 Hariri Assassination

An attack on international investigators probing the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri is seen as part of a campaign by Hezbollah to obstruct the inquiry before it indicts members of the Shi’ite terrorist group. Read

Tea Party Brews in Israel, Prompted by Concerns About Obama

Stand by for the kosher tea party. Inspired by the movement that is roiling politics in the United States this election season, conservative Israeli lawmakers plan to launch an Israeli version at the weekend, with their sights set firmly on President Obama. Read

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Campaign to Change U.S. Policy on Cuba May Face Hurdles After Midterm Election

Tuesday’s U.N. General Assembly vote condemning the U.S. embargo of Cuba serves as a reminder that those advocating an end to the policy introduced in 1962 can expect to face a tougher battle after next week’s congressional elections. Read

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Middle Eastern Bishops Criticize Treatment of Christians Under Islam, But Not in Written Document

A gathering of Catholic bishops from the Middle East at the Vatican this month produced strongly worded criticism of Islam from some participants. But a final communique released at the weekend largely skirted the plight of Christians under Islam, paying more attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead. Read

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Rise of China Looms Large as Hillary Clinton Heads for Meetings With Asian Allies

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton begins a visit to Asia this week, she will meet first with her Japanese counterpart, at a time when tensions between Japan and China show no sign of abating. Read

U.S. Navy Exercise in Waters Near China Reportedly Canceled

The U.S. and South Korea have called off plans for joint naval exercises in the coming days involving a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea, according to South Korean media reports. Read

Friday, October 22, 2010

Statistics Show Women Fare Badly in Muslim Countries, but U.N. Official Says Critics Are ‘Stereotyping’ Islam

The head of the U.N. Population Fund blames stereotyping for the perception that Islamic societies are “backward” when it comes to the treatment of women, but data released by other international agencies challenge that assertion. Read

The Reality of China’s One-Child Policy: A Forced Abortion at Eight Months

Critics of Beijing’s “one-child policy” say a televised clip showing a young mother enduring a forced abortion at eight months’ gestation calls for a worldwide response. Read

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Obama May Cancel Visit to Sikh Shrine Because of Head-Covering Requirement

Reports that President Obama has decided not to visit a historic Sikh temple during his visit to India next month are sure to upset adherents of one of the world’s largest religions. Read

UAE Official Tries to Explain Court Ruling Upholding Muslim Men’s Right to Beat Their Wives

A top judicial official in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday tried to allay concerns raised by a controversial ruling from the country’s highest court upholding the right of a Muslim to beat his wife and children. Read

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NASA Head’s Visit to China Makes Republican Lawmakers Uneasy

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is in China this week, on a five-day visit that has drawn opposition from some Republican members of Congress unhappy about the prospect of U.S.-Chinese cooperation in space. Read

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fight Looms Over ‘Religious Defamation’ Measure at the United Nations

Supporters and opponents of the annual United Nations’ “defamation of religion” resolution are gearing up for what may be the biggest battle yet, with Islamic states roused by recent controversies in the U.S. and critics energized by growing awareness about blasphemy laws. Read

Monday, October 18, 2010

Obama Administration Hails the OIC’s Growing Role in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Islamic nations – members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) -- are playing an increasingly important role in the international effort to support “democracy” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the Obama administration. Read

Turkey-U.S. Relations in the Spotlight As Conference Begins in Washington

An important conference on U.S.-Turkey ties is underway in Washington, D.C., on Monday, at a time when an apparent shift in Ankara’s foreign policy priorities has raised questions about the relationship between the longstanding NATO allies. Read

Friday, October 15, 2010

Iran Elected to Chair OPEC Next Year; Dismisses Western Energy Sanctions as Ineffective

For the first time since the Islamic revolution, Iran has been handed the rotating presidency of the OPEC cartel of oil-producing nations. The move comes at a time when Western governments are seeking to target Iran’s energy sector over its nuclear programs. Read

Warm Reception for Ahmadinejad Came From Lebanese Leaders As Well As Hezbollah

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s provocative visit to Lebanon made headlines for a second day Thursday, but less attention has been given to the warm reception he received from Lebanese leaders and groups beyond Hezbollah. Read

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Canada’s Failure to Win A U.N. Security Council Seat Follows Years of Sparring With Islamic States

Canada’s unprecedented failure to win a temporary seat on the U.N. Security Council triggered a wave of analysis and soul searching in the country, where many see it as payback by Islamic states and their allies for Ottawa’s strong pro-Israel stance in the world body. Read

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Obama Administration May Lift U.S. Arms Embargo Imposed on China After Tiananmen Crackdown

Twenty-one years after the violent Tiananmen Square crackdown prompted a U.S. embargo on arms sales to China, Beijing is welcoming signs that the Obama administration may be preparing to ease the restrictions. Read

New U.N. Security Council Makeup Could Pose Challenges for U.S.

The election on Tuesday of five new U.N. Security Council members sets up a challenging year ahead for the United States. The five new members begin their two-year terms next January. Read

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

U.N. Leader Skips Opportunity to Reproach China on Human Rights

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s guarded reaction to the awarding of this year’s Nobel peace prize to an imprisoned Chinese dissident has raised eyebrows. Read

Council on American-Islamic Relations Launches ‘Islamophobia’ Division

Spurred by the controversies over Quran-burning and the planned Ground Zero mosque, the most visible Islamic advocacy organization in the United States says it is launching a department to deal with “Islamophobia.” Read

Monday, October 11, 2010

China Seethes Over Nobel Decision, Clamps Down Again

The Nobel peace prize committee’s stated intention in awarding this year’s prize to an imprisoned Chinese dissident was to encourage reform and help to “set the agenda,” but Beijing’s response has been characteristically combative. Read

Karzai Confirms ‘Unofficial’ Talks With Taliban Have Been Underway for ‘Some Time’

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has confirmed that unofficial talks with the Taliban have been underway “for quite some time” and voiced the hope they would become more formal now that his new “peace council” is up and running. Read

Friday, October 08, 2010

Pakistan’s ‘New Rage Against America’ Casts Doubt on Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan Strategy

Three months ahead of the Obama administration’s planned evaluation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy it launched last December, an increasingly strained and complex Washington-Islamabad relationship is threatening to throw the policy into disarray. Read

Burma’s Upcoming Election Will ‘Lack Legitimacy,’ U.S. Says

As Burma readies for its first multi-party election in 20 years, critics are repeating what they said about the 1990 election -- that a flawed process aims to perpetuate the military’s grip on power under the cover of a move towards civilian rule. Read

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Obama Administration Supports Afghan-Taliban Reconciliation Under Certain Conditions, But Will Those Conditions Be Met?

As Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday convenes the first meeting of a new “peace council” designed to oversee peace talks with the Taliban, news reports indicate that some exchanges already are underway, and that important U.S. government criteria for reconciliation may be at risk. Read

Iran Is ‘Actively Undermining’ Lebanon’s Sovereignty, U.S. Says, As Ahmadinejad’s Upcoming Visit Stokes Tension

A looming visit to Lebanon by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has raised concern in Israel and the United States, while stoking controversy inside Lebanon itself, where political and sectarian tensions are once again running high. Read

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

U.S. Urged to Lift Immunity for Criminal Conduct at the U.N.

An American employee of the United Nations says she cannot understand how the U.S. court system can allow the U.N. to be “above the law.” The comment follows a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear her case alleging sexual harassment by a top U.N. official. Read

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Islamic Nations Fail to Weaken Women’s Rights Resolution at U.N. Human Rights Council

Islamic states at the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) failed in their attempt to water down a resolution creating a new mechanism to combat discrimination against women, and they are now reserving judgment on how to deal with the initiative. Read

Friday, October 01, 2010

Obama Administration Issues First Sanctions Under New Legislation Targeting Companies That Do Business With Iran

Advocates of tough energy sanctions against Iran are giving a lukewarm response to the first penalties imposed on a foreign company under legislation signed by President Obama on July 1. Read