Thursday, June 30, 2011

North Korea Leading Disarmament Body is Just Another of Many Questionable UN Appointments

North Korea’s appointment to the rotating presidency of the U.N.-linked Conference on Disarmament raised eyebrows Wednesday, but it is just the latest in a series of jarring appointments at the United Nation’s various agencies. Read

New Name, Same Old Focus for Islamic Bloc

The bloc of mostly Muslim-majority states has a new name and logo but, despite the momentous upheavals across the Arab world, “Palestine” and religious “defamation” continue to top its agenda. Read

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

African Leaders Discuss the Future of One Dictator While Hosted by Another

As calls for freedom roil the north of the continent, Africa’s leaders are meeting this week to discuss Libya. They’re being hosted by a despot, who – like Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi -- seized power in a coup and has been labeled one of Africa’s worst dictators. Read

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Int’l Criminal Court Warrants May Not Bring Gaddafi Closer to Justice

As the Libyan regime shrugged off International Criminal Court arrest warrants issued for Muammar Gaddafi and two others, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s arrival in Beijing Tuesday underlined the difficulties faced by the ICC in enforcing its authority. Read

U.N. Chief Hails ‘Important’ Anti-Terror Conference Hosted by Iran

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman has confirmed that Ban sent a message of support to an Iranian government-hosted “counter-terrorism conference” in Tehran, where the U.S. and Israel were repeatedly vilified and 9/11 conspiracy theories were aired. Read

Monday, June 27, 2011

U.N. Chief Endorses U.S.-Bashing ‘Anti-Terror’ Conference Hosted by Iran

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has come under fire for apparently endorsing an “anti-terrorism conference” hosted by Iran, at which the United States and Israel repeatedly were attacked and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reprised his 9/11 conspiracy claims. Read

Friday, June 24, 2011

Syria Crisis Offers U.S. Opportunity to Break Axis with Iran, Expert Says

The United States should see the political turmoil in Syria, not as a “confounding problem,” but as an opportunity to break at its weakest point the enduring and dangerous partnership between Syria and Iran, a Mideast expert told lawmakers on Thursday. Read

Vindication? John Bolton Returns to Capitol Hill to Discuss Syrian WMDs

Six years after his nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations ran into strong opposition in Senate, partly over claims that he had exaggerated assessments of Syria’s attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, John Bolton was back on Capitol Hill Thursday, testifying on Syria’s WMD efforts. Read

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Obama Signals Shift Away From Petraeus’ Strategy

Gen. David Petraeus, whose view on the speed of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan reportedly was overruled by President Obama, is set to relinquish his command as early as mid-July, Stars and Stripes reported. Read

Hezbollah’s Political Rise in Lebanon A Boon for Syria, Iran

Lebanon’s opposition movement accuses Syrian President Bashar Assad of having a hand in the formation of the new Hezbollah-dominated government in Beirut, timed to his advantage as he confronts an anti-government rebellion at home. Read

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clinton Finally Expresses ‘Support’ for Saudi Women Drivers

Although Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has championed women’s rights from Azerbaijan to Zambia, it took her weeks to respond to an appeal to publicly support a campaign by Saudi women to be permitted to drive. Read

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

U.N. Human Rights Council Rejects U.S. Attempts to ‘Improve It From Within’

The Obama administration highlighted its “accomplishments” at the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday – the same day as the world body’s General Assembly rubber-stamped a five-year “review” of HRC practices that rejected key U.S. recommendations aimed at fixing its flaws. Read

Monday, June 20, 2011

Syria’s Violent Crackdown on Protesters Deepens Rift With Turkey

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s violent crackdown on anti-government rebels is threatening to unravel several years of historic rapprochement between his regime and neighboring Turkey, a development likely to be welcomed in the West. Read

Don't Call Us Occupiers When We're Dying for Your Country, U.S. Tells Karzai

The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan warned Sunday that the American people are growing weary of being viewed as “occupiers” by the leaders of a country where so much American blood has been spilled. Read

Friday, June 17, 2011

Saudi Women Driven to Defiance

One of the Islamic world’s strictest regimes faces a new challenge Friday when women in Saudi Arabia, inspired by the “Arab spring” and galvanized by a social media campaign, risk beatings and arrest by defying a taboo on women driving. Read

U.N. Human Rights Council Retaining Its Bias Against Israel

The U.N. General Assembly is set to pass a resolution on Friday afternoon that will retain Israel as the only country out of 192 member-states to be the target of a dedicated permanent item on the agenda of the U.N. Human Rights Council. Read

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pakistan Nudges Afghanistan Away From U.S. Towards Asian Bloc

Pakistan on Wednesday lobbied for membership in a Eurasian security and economic bloc sometimes described as a regional counterweight to the U.S. and NATO. It also welcomed Afghanistan’s interest in closer cooperation with the group, which includes China and Russia. Read

We Must Pay Our U.N. Bills, Obama Administration Insists

Amid continuing calls to reduce U.S. funding of the United Nations, two senior Obama administration officials this week gave speeches asserting the importance of full – and fully-paid up – engagement with the world body. Read

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

U.S. Credibility at Stake in South China Sea, Senator Says

If the United States is not more assertive in responding to China’s handling of deepening territorial disputes in the South China Sea, it will have no credibility with countries in the region that are at odds with their giant neighbor, a U.S. senator has warned. Read

Syria Standoff at U.N. Shows How Expanded Security Council Could Undermine U.S. Interests

A European-led initiative to secure U.N. Security Council condemnation of Syria is faltering, as opposition from Russia and China is bolstered by the stance of three emerging powers that want permanent seats on the Security Council. Read

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Russia Fumes Over U.S. Missile Defense Ship

Three months after the United States deployed the first asset in its new European missile defense architecture – a guided missile cruiser equipped to track and destroy ballistic missiles in flight – Russia is bristling at the ship’s presence in its neighborhood. Read

Iran Cheers Political Developments in Turkey and Lebanon, Reaches Out to Asian Bloc

Far from isolated in the international community, the Iranian regime looks set to benefit from political developments in Turkey and Lebanon this week, even as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joins Asia’s most powerful leaders for a summit in Central Asia. Read

Monday, June 13, 2011

So Much for 'Engagement': Syrian Regime Freezes Out U.S. Envoy

Five months after the Obama administration sent a new envoy to Damascus, Ambassador Robert Ford’s lack of access to Syrian leaders shows the limitations of Obama’s policy of seeking to engage hostile regimes. Read

Turkey’s Ruling Party Wins Third Term, But Not Overwhelmingly

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), whose foreign policies have troubled some Western officials, sailed to a third term victor in elections Sunday, as expected. Read

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pakistan Pressed to Repeal Blasphemy Laws, End ‘Vigilante Violence’

A Pakistani think tank has called on the international community to press the government to repeal notorious blasphemy laws and take steps to protect the country’s vulnerable non-Muslim minorities amid a “rising tide of vigilante violence.” Read

WH Praises as 'Global Leader' Gabonese President Accused of Corruption

The White House justified President Obama’s decision Thursday to host in the Oval Office an African leader facing a low-level revolt at home and accused of serious corruption, on the basis of reforms he has introduced and his voting record at the United Nations. Read

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Concerns About Turkey’s Direction at Home and Abroad as Election Nears

Turkish voters are set to hand a third term to the Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP) this weekend, but the size of its victory will determine how freely Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be able to amend the constitution. Read

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

U.N. Chief Careful Not to Offend China, Other Powerful Nations

When U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Beijing late last year, advocacy groups accused him of playing down human rights concerns to avoid losing China’s support in his bid for a second term. This week China confirmed that it would back Ban for another five years at the helm of the world body. Read

British Gov’t to Tackle ‘Non-Violent Islamic Extremism’

Islamists and other Muslims in Britain are crying foul over the Conservative-led coalition government’s unveiling of sweeping changes to anti-terrorism policies designed to tackle home-grown extremism. Read

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Obama Again Chooses Friday Afternoon to Renew the Jerusalem Embassy Waiver

When President Obama last week invoked the regular six-month waiver to bypass U.S. law mandating that the American Embassy in Israel be moved to Jerusalem, the notice was released on Friday afternoon, a common time for the White House to “dump” material that ends up drawing little media attention. Read

Monday, June 06, 2011

China’s Turn to Be Hacked

China, which frequently is accused of hacking Western government and corporate Web sites, may be getting a taste of its own medicine. Read

Gates Foresees ‘Modest’ Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan in July

Amid reports that the Obama administration may be considering an accelerated troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday highlighted his views on the timing and nature of the coming reduction. Read

Friday, June 03, 2011

Three of ‘World’s Worst’ Regimes Sit on U.N. Human Rights Council

Three of the world’s 17 most repressive regimes, as identified in a new report released this week, have been members of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council since its inception and have never been censured by that body. Read

Muslim Group Offends Some Christians With Jesus Advertisements

“Jesus: A prophet of Islam” states the provocative tagline in a “public awareness” advertising campaign launched by a Muslim group in Australia’s largest city. Read

Thursday, June 02, 2011

U.S. Pulls Out of Latest United Nations ‘Racism’ Conference

Five months after a bipartisan group of lawmakers urged the Obama administration to announce immediately its intention to stay away from a United Nations racism conference to be held in September, the State Department announced Wednesday that it would not attend the event. Read

Call to Ban the Bible Troubles Pakistan’s Embattled Christians

Pakistani Christians reacted with dismay Thursday to campaign by radical Muslim clerics to have the Bible declared blasphemous and banned, but some said the community should respond calmly, without fear, trusting God to protect His word. Read

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Pakistani Muslim Clerics: Ban the Bible

A group of radical clerics in Pakistan wants the country’s Supreme Court to declare certain passages in the Bible blasphemous – because they depict as flawed certain biblical characters whom Muslims regard as Islamic prophets. Read

Iran's Defense Minister Kicked Out of Bolivia Over Long-Ago Terror Attack

Allegations of involvement in a terrorist attack 17 years ago caught up with Iran’s defense minister on Tuesday, when the government of Bolivia expelled him to calm a diplomatic row with Argentina, the country where the attack took place. Read