Thursday, March 31, 2011

‘Defecting’ Libyan Foreign Minister and Ex-Spy Chief Has Terror-Tainted History

Mussa Kussa, the Libyan foreign minister who flew to Britain Wednesday and said he was defecting from the Tripoli regime, is described as a “master of international terrorism” and the man responsible for exporting Muammar Gaddafi’s revolution. Read

U.S. Membership in Human Rights Council Brought Progress, But Major Flaws Remain

The Obama administration’s announcement that it will seek a second term on the U.N. Human Rights Council raises the question of whether its membership has achieved the stated goal of improving the body. The verdict is mixed. Read

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

U.N. Religious ‘Defamation’ Resolution is Not Dead, Says Islamic Bloc

A U.N. Human Rights Council decision last week to pass a resolution on combating intolerance based on religion dropped Muslim states’ cherished concept of “defamation” of religion, drawing widespread praise. But the Islamic bloc has made it clear that its controversial defamation resolutions passed in earlier years remain valid. Read

Al-Qaeda Tries to Link Itself to Libyan Rebellion

Regardless of whether al-Qaeda turns out to have a role in the Western-backed anti-Gaddafi opposition in Libya, the terrorist network certainly appears to be trying to associate itself with the rebellion. Read

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Russia, China Accuse West of Exceeding UN Resolution, Making Libyan Crisis Worse

Having chosen neither to endorse nor block the Security Council resolution authorizing military intervention in Libya, Russia and China are continuing to snipe from the sidelines, voicing growing frustration over a mission they say has overstepped its mandate. Read

Argentina Reportedly Dropping Its Probe Into Iranian-Linked Terror Attacks to Improve Trade With Iran

Five years after judicial authorities in Argentina issued arrest warrants for senior Iranians suspected of links to two deadly bombings in Buenos Aires, controversy has erupted over claims that the South American country has quietly offered to drop the case in order to improve economic ties with Tehran. Read

Monday, March 28, 2011

Syrian President Assad Regarded As a ‘Reformer,’ Clinton Says

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday drew a contrast between Syrian President Bashir Assad and his late father and predecessor, and said U.S. lawmakers who recently have visited Damascus regarded him as a “reformer.” Read

Friday, March 25, 2011

Islamic Solidarity Disappears As U.N. Human Rights Council Appoints Investigator for Iran

The Islamic solidarity usually so evident at the U.N. Human Rights Council melted on Thursday as the body adopted a resolution setting up an expert to investigate and report on human rights abuses in Iran. Read

U.N. Human Rights Council Moves Away From ‘Dangerous’ Defamation of Religion Concept

Revulsion at Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the murder this year of two leading opponents of those laws may have dealt a final blow to the Islamic world’s controversial “religious defamation” campaign at the United Nations. Read

Confusion, Contradiction Follow Announcement of ‘Deal’ on NATO and Libya

Even after Thursday’s announcement of a “deal” to hand over command of the Libya military operation to NATO, confusion remains over exactly what this will mean in practice. Read

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Iran, Syria Benefit From U.N. Nuclear Assistance Program, Which the State Dep’t Insists on Funding in Full

The United States is the biggest funder of a U.N. program that helps countries to develop civilian nuclear technologies. Despite “dual-use” proliferation concerns, the program’s beneficiaries include Iran and Syria. Read

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

After Libya Intervention, Some ‘Responsibility to Protect’ Advocates Want to Turn Spotlight on Israel

As the United Nations-backed concept known as “responsibility to protect” enjoys renewed prominence because of the crisis in Libya, a critic of Israel has launched a fresh bid to make a case for outside intervention on behalf of the Palestinians. Read

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Egyptian Vote Brings Concerns About Sectarianism, Rise of Muslim Brotherhood

Egypt’s controversial Muslim Brotherhood edged closer to a dominant role in the Arab world’s biggest country this week, with victory in a referendum on a package of constitutional reforms backed by the Islamist group, but opposed by Egypt’s emerging pro-democracy opposition. Read

House Foreign Affairs Chairman: U.S. Must Withdraw from U.N. Human Rights Council

The chair of the U.S House Foreign Affairs Committee said Monday she will introduce legislation that makes U.S. funding for the United Nations contingent on reform. It also calls for the U.S. to withdraw from the Human Rights Council. Read

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wave of Political Unrest Hits Syria

The political unrest rippling across the Middle East jolted Syria at the weekend, with several deaths reported amid the violence and protesters setting fire to buildings, including a regional office of the ruling party. Read

Military Operation in Libya Sees Little Sign of ‘Crucial’ Arab Participation

Two consistent themes running through the Obama administration’s public statements on Libya last week were that the Arab League endorsement of international action was pivotal, and that Arab “participation” – not just support – was vital. What happened? Read

Friday, March 18, 2011

Despite Crises in Japan and Libya, Obama Heads to Latin America to ‘Grow’ the U.S. Economy

Neither the ongoing nuclear emergency in Japan nor the conflict in Libya and looming outside military intervention there will prevent President Obama from embarking on a five-day trip to Latin America on Friday. Read

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Security Council Authorizes Military Intervention in Libya

As fears mount that it may already be too late to rescue the faltering anti-Gaddafi rebellion, the U.N. Security Council on Thursday evening narrowly passed a resolution authorizing countries to take “all necessary measures” short of foreign occupation to protect civilians under threat of attack by the Libyan regime. Read

U.S. Military Personnel Play Key Role in Response to Japan Crisis

Amid the continuing uncertainty about the safety of Japan’s nuclear plants and radiation health risks, more than 17,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are helping Japan deal with the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. Read

Clinton Denies Obama Administration Is Dragging Its Feet While Gaddafi Crushes Rebels

As the son of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi crowed Wednesday that government forces would defeat rebels in their Benghazi base “within 48 hours,” the head of a U.S.-based group promoting democracy in Libya voiced frustration and regret at the international response to the crisis. Read

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Prospect of Gaddafi Victory Over Rebels Raises Concerns About Return to Terror, WMD

Amid warnings that time is running out for the anti-Gaddafi rebellion in Libya, the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday morning will begin debating a draft resolution authorizing steps that proponents hope may yet avert a rebel defeat. Read

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Deepens With Third Reactor Explosion, Radiation Leak

Japan’s earthquake-induced nuclear emergency worsened Tuesday after a third explosion at a stricken power plant appeared to have caused some damage to the reinforced container around a reactor core. Raised radiation levels were soon being detected in Tokyo, some 150 miles to the south. Read

Iran Accuses U.S. of Approving Saudi ‘Invasion’ of Bahrain

Iran condemned what official media called the “invasion” of Bahrain by Saudi forces Monday, after the small island nation invited neighboring Gulf States to send troops to help secure the monarchy in the face of rebellion led by majority Shi’ites. Read

Monday, March 14, 2011

As Libyan Rebels Lose Ground, Arab League’s Call for ‘No-Fly’ Zone Adds to Pressure on U.S.

A call by the Arab League for the international community to enforce a “no-fly” zone in Libya will add to the pressure on already divided major powers this week. The Arab call comes as anti-government rebels continue to retreat under fire -- their revolt looking headed for defeat. Read

Nuclear Disaster in Japan Prompts Calls for U.S. Reactor Review

Fears of a severe nuclear accident in Japan escalated Monday, after a second hydrogen explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A similar explosion rocked a different reactor at the same plant two days ago, following Friday’s huge earthquake and devastating tsunami. Read

Friday, March 11, 2011

Administration Urged to State Its Libya Stance Clearly

The Obama administration is being showered from all sides with often conflicting advice on the crisis in Libya, but one common thread running through much of the counsel is that the U.S. should lay out a plan and a goal, and then follow through. Read

Gulf States Close Ranks Ahead of Anticipated Saudi Protests

Amid ongoing civil unrest and jitters about protests spreading to regional mainstay and oil giant Saudi Arabia, the six governments comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council agreed Thursday on a $20-billion financial package aimed at defusing public discontent in its most vulnerable members. Read

Thursday, March 10, 2011

United Nations, NATO Divided Over Libya ‘No-Fly Zone’ Proposal

NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels Thursday to discuss proposals for a “no-fly zone” over Libyan territory, amid continuing debate in the U.S. and elsewhere on whether U.N. Security Council approval is needed for such a step. Read

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

U.N. Body Condemns Israel’s Treatment of Palestinian Women, but Ignores Plight of Women in Iran and Libya

A U.N. policy-making body dedicated to “gender equality and the advancement of women” adopted a resolution accusing Israel of holding back the advancement of Palestinian women, but it took no action on the emergency in Libya or the legally enshrined discrimination faced by women in Iran. Read

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Obama Administration Responding to 228 Proposals -- Including Some From Libya, Cuba, North Korea -- on Human Rights in the U.S.

The United States’ human rights record will be back in the spotlight at the U.N. Human Rights Council next week, when the U.S. delegation provides its response to more than 200 recommendations made by other governments, ranging from liberal democracies to the repressive regimes ruling Libya, Iran, Cuba, North Korea and China. Read

Pakistan Not Expected to Challenge Blasphemy Laws Prized by Radicals

Almost a week after Pakistan’s only Christian government minister was shot dead by Islamists angered by his opposition to national blasphemy laws, the U.S.-backed government has given no indication that it is willing to confront radicals determined to keep the laws in place. Read

Monday, March 07, 2011

U.S. Taxpayers on the Hook As Obama Joins a New International Renewable Energy Agency

At a time when congressional Republicans are looking for ways to reduce U.S. funding to the United Nations, the Obama administration has formalized its membership in a new international body – and American taxpayers will provide more than one-fifth of its budget. Read

Friday, March 04, 2011

Islamist Rally at White House ‘Postponed’; Radical Accuses West of Interfering With Mideast Embrace of Shari’a

An Islamic radical called off a pro-shari’a (Islamic law) demonstration at the White House on Thursday, saying he did not want it to divert attention from the “urgent” situation in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East. Read

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Islamist Leader Blames CIA for Murder of Pakistan’s Only Christian Government Minister

An Islamist party leading a campaign in support of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws is blaming the CIA for the murder of the country’s only Christian government minister, who had angered extremists by calling for an end to the strict and repressive laws. Read

Organizers of ‘Shari’a for America’ Rally Anticipate Fatwa on ‘U.S. Interference’ in Islamic Lands

A Lebanese-based radical cleric notorious for his fiery sermons and support for jihad soon will deliver a fatwa regarding “U.S. intervention in Muslim lands,” according to a controversial Islamist group that says it plans to hold a pro-shari’a demonstration at the White House on Thursday. Read

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

U.K. Becomes Latest Donor Country to Withdraw from U.N. Development Agency

Britain has decided to withdraw from a United Nations agency it says provides poor value for its aid money, making it the latest Western donor to abandon an organization which Washington once recommended be shut down altogether. Read

China, Russia Insist Libya’s Suspension From U.N. Human Rights Council ‘Not a Precedent’

Tuesday’s decision to suspend Libya from the United Nations Human Rights Council was widely praised, but the move does nothing to ensure that membership criteria for the top human rights body will be tightened in the future. Read

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Review of British Aid Spending Turns Spotlight on ‘Poor-Performing’ U.N. Agencies

As Republican lawmakers seek ways to trim U.S. funding to the United Nations, a far-reaching review of British development aid spending due for release on Tuesday will make for interesting reading. Read

U.N. Human Rights Council Set to Retain Its Obsessive Focus on Israel

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday that it “cannot continue to single out and devote disproportionate attention to any one country.” However, a five-year review of how the council functions is set to reaffirm that Israel will remain the only country subject to a permanent agenda item. Read