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Wednesday Morning Coffee

Top Stories

>>Iraq – General Petreaus, testifying in front of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees yesterday, announced a pause in U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq that would be, at minimum, 45 days, but could last indefinitely. He also testified that “we haven’t turned any corners. We haven’t seen any lights at the end of the tunnel.” The three U.S. presidential candidates all questioned Petreaus. The lucky winner in November will now, because of the pause, be guaranteed of inheriting a 100,000-strong troop presence in Iraq.

>>Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s supreme court ruled yesterday that it would urgently address the opposition’s application for an immediate release of the presidential election results. Also yesterday, South African president Thabo Mbeki said he will meet
with opposition leader Tsvangirai, who met with ANC leader Jacob Zuma on Monday. The situation in Zimbabwe continues to grow more dire as the opposition has reported violent attacks on its supporters, organized gangs continue to drive
white farmers off their land
, and election officials have been arrested for allegedly “undercounting
Mugabe
.”

>>Korea – U.S. Envoy Christopher Hill announced that progress had been made in talks between the U.S. and North Korea regarding the latter’s delayed declaration of its nuclear activities. However, he cautioned that there had net yet been a “breakthrough.” Meanwhile, North Korea announced that their compensation from the U.S. for a satisfactory declaration had been agreed upon.

Yesterday in UN Dispatch
  • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/04/danger_in_kenya.php%0a">Danger
    in Kenya
  • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/04/the_greatest_si.php%0a">‘The
    Greatest Silence’ Premiering on HBO Tonight!
  • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/04/swearing_off_na.php%0a">Swearing
    Off Nation Building
  • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/04/the_benefits_of.php%0a">The
    Benefits of Female UN Peacekeepers
  • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/04/state_departmen.php%0a">State
    Department Wittingly Letting Terrorists onto US Soil?

The Rest of the Story

Africa

  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/worldNews/~3/266876444/idUSL0936259520080409">Egypt
    – Palestinians say Bush will meet Abbas in Egypt
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7338069.stm">Senegal
    – Senegal changes law to try Habre
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/business/7338206.stm">South
    Africa
    – SA power prices ‘should double’
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article3708849.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Niger
    – Former slave, Hadijatou Mani, is suing state
    of Niger over cruelty
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/worldNews/~3/266681863/idUSL0878334720080409">Kenya
    – Kenya opposition halts talks, protests flare
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/09/kenya?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Kenya
    – Street protests in Kenya after unity talks collapse

w:st="on">Americas

  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article3671320.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Venezuela
    – Bad Bart Simpson is banished for Baywatch in Venezuela
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3709146.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">U.S.
    – Italian bar helps ‘poor’ Americans
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/world/americas/09fbriefs-REBELSREJECT_BRF.html?ex=1365480000&en=cd77eefb2125a12e&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss"> style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Colombia - Rebels Reject French
    Mission for Hostage
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/world/americas/09fbriefs-BEESATTACKPO_BRF.html?ex=1365480000&en=a81482cbff53c0d6&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss"> style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Mexico - Bees Attack Police
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/worldNews/~3/266672249/idUSN0835816120080409">Haiti
    – Protests over food prices paralyze Haitian capital
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/09/drugstrade.brazil?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Colombia
    – Hordes flock to auction of jailed drugs lord’s possessions

Asia

  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7338154.stm">Russia
    – ‘Two dead’ in Russian cave siege
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7338034.stm">Pakistan
    – Rebel world cricket series starts
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7337939.stm">Pakistan
    – Leading Pakistan lawyer resigns
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/worldNews/~3/266997624/idUSISL12558720080409">Pakistan
    – Pakistan court acquits Bhutto’s widower in murder case
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/worldNews/~3/266815668/idUSDEL33632420080409">Nepal
    – Eight killed in violence ahead of Nepal polls
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7338258.stm">China
    – China stands firm on Tibet relay
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/world/asia/10tibet.html?ex=1365480000&en=1dc158ff44f52d26&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">China
    – Monks Disrupt Media Tour in China
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3711490.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">China
    – Australian PM Kevin Rudd warns China over human rights abuses in Tibet
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/worldNews/~3/266779323/idUSSEO16259520080409">S.
    Korea
    S.Korea votes for MPs, conservatives
    seek majority

Europe

  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9c7b3950-0589-11dd-a9e0-0000779fd2ac.html">Spain
    – Spain looks to rebuild after property crash
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/world/europe/09fbriefs-ARRESTSINVAN_BRF.html?ex=1365480000&en=d968e7cd9940e6ad&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss"> style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>France - Arrests in Vandalism of
    Muslim Graves in North
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/world/europe/09nazi.html?ex=1365480000&en=dfe1dbfee7757829&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Germany
    – Report Details Catholic Role in Nazi Abuses
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/apr/09/conservation.wildlife?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Germany
    – Zoo under fire over Flocke publicity effect
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/7337985.stm">Poland
    – Poland seeks to boost Israel ties
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/technology/techspecial/09town.html?ex=1365480000&en=b4e5117cc203c2cb&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Ireland
    – On the Irish Coast, Reconsidering Energy From the Town Up
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/worldNews/~3/266674155/idUSL0879374620080409">Lithuania
    – Suicides in Lithuania show social pains persist
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/apr/09/madeleinemccann?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Portugal
    McCanns ponder return to Praia class=SpellE>da Luz
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/relationships/article3708869.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Czech
    Republic
    – Vaclav Klaus admits having affair with airline attendant no
    3

Middle
East

  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/7338055.stm">Israel
    – ‘Three dead’ in Gaza border clash
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/world/middleeast/09katsav.html?ex=1365480000&en=5d759f1b4770e346&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Israel
    – Former Israeli President Drops Plea Deal
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/09/terrorism.law?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Jordan
    – Appeal court blocks deportation of terror suspects
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/worldNews/~3/266895905/idUSN0717902120080409">Iraq
    – Bush to press case against cutting Iraq force
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/audio/2008/apr/09/goldenberg.petraeus?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Iraq
    – Suzanne Goldenberg on the questioning of Gen. Petraeus
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/worldNews/~3/266738672/idUSL0434078820080409">Iraq
    – Iraq’s Sadr threatens to scrap ceasefire
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/~r/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/~3/266776941/AR2008040802849.html">Iraq
    – The Day’s Other Iraq Policy Event — The One With the Paparazzi
1 Comment

No, YOU’RE Indicted!

abdel-mahmood mohamed.jpg

What do you do if two of your countrymen — including one high-ranking minister — have been indicted for war crimes by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court? Well, if you are the Sudanese Ambassador to the UN, you indict the Chief Prosecutor right back.

In a gesture that cannot help but be compared to the childhood retort of “I know you are, but what am I?” Abdel-Mahmood Mohamad has called for Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the man leading the nearly yearlong crusade to bring some of the perpetrators of the Darfur genocide to justice, to “be tried in court,” branding him “politically bankrupt” and “enemy number one of peace in Darfur.”

moreno-ocampo.jpg

The absurd contention that Moreno-Ocampo is obstructing peace in Darfur naturally turns the problem exactly on its head. Mohamed, perhaps taking a page out of Joseph Kony’s book, is appealing to the (misplaced) notion that, if the ICC prosecutions in Sudan were dropped, the Sudanese government would offer greater compliance. Mohamed’s bluster is simply the latest — and probably bluntest — example of Sudan’s hard-headed obstruction of the ICC’s work in Darfur.

Darfur is not Northern Uganda, where an actual peace accord will, it seems, finally be signed in the next couple of days. The ICC’s work in Darfur, then, must now be used as a stick to enforce compliance — as well as, of course, to ensure justice and accountability. With such outright defiance of the UN, Sudan’s leaders cannot simply claim, at this stage in the conflict, that the pursuit of justice is in any way undermining their none-too-credible support for peace.

| 1 Comment

No, YOU’RE Indicted!

abdel-mahmood mohamed.jpg

What do you do if two of your countrymen — including one high-ranking minister — have been indicted for war crimes by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court? Well, if you are the Sudanese Ambassador to the UN, you indict the Chief Prosecutor right back.

In a gesture that cannot help but be compared to the childhood retort of “I know you are, but what am I?” Abdel-Mahmood Mohamad has called for Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the man leading the nearly yearlong crusade to bring some of the perpetrators of the Darfur genocide to justice, to “be tried in court,” branding him “politically bankrupt” and “enemy number one of peace in Darfur.”

moreno-ocampo.jpg

The absurd contention that Moreno-Ocampo is obstructing peace in Darfur naturally turns the problem exactly on its head. Mohamed, perhaps taking a page out of Joseph Kony’s book, is appealing to the (misplaced) notion that, if the ICC prosecutions in Sudan were dropped, the Sudanese government would offer greater compliance. Mohamed’s bluster is simply the latest — and probably bluntest — example of Sudan’s hard-headed obstruction of the ICC’s work in Darfur.

Darfur is not Northern Uganda, where an actual peace accord will, it seems, finally be signed in the next couple of days. The ICC’s work in Darfur, then, must now be used as a stick to enforce compliance — as well as, of course, to ensure justice and accountability. With such outright defiance of the UN, Sudan’s leaders cannot simply claim, at this stage in the conflict, that the pursuit of justice is in any way undermining their none-too-credible support for peace.

| Leave a comment

Danger in Kenya

Jeffrey Gettleman brings breaking news of renewed rioting in Kenya.

Thumbnail image for 08kenya-600.jpg

Riots erupted in Kenya on Tuesday as opposition leaders announced that they were suspending talks with the government over a stalled power sharing agreement.

According to witnesses, dozens of young men stormed into the streets of Kibera, a sprawling slum in the capital, Nairobi, lighting bonfires, ripping up railroad tracks and throwing rocks at police officers in a scene reminiscent of the violence that convulsed Kenya in the wake of the Dec. 27 election.

“No cabinet, no peace!” the protesters yelled, referring to the stillborn cabinet that has yet to be formed because of bitter divisions between the government and the opposition.

The spark behind the violence — the first such incident since Kofi Annan helped broker a shaky peace deal over a month ago — seems to be the question of assigning cabinet positions equitably between both sides. The elected president, Mwai Kibaki, is pushing for a larger cabinet, but is withholding the keys to the more powerful positions, such as the ministries of finance, foreign affairs, and internal security. The specific issue that plagued Annan’s mediations — the question of how much power to assign to the newly created position of prime minister, slated to go to opposition leader Raila Odinga — does not seem to have resurfaced yet, and, according to Gettleman, opposition leaders deny instigating the protests.

Assigning cabinet positions is no trivial matter, though, and opposition leaders will have to work together to come up with a proposal that reflects their parties’ near equal levels of support. A similar problem has persisted in Sudan, where one of the most frequently voiced complaints of previously marginalized Southerners is that, even with the signing of a major peace deal in January 2005, many of the most powerful ministries remain in the hands of Northern elites. Best for the international community to invest as much as it can in resolving this problem now, or else it will risk poisoning Kenya’s new government.

| Leave a comment

Danger in Kenya

Jeffrey Gettleman brings breaking news of renewed rioting in Kenya.

Thumbnail image for 08kenya-600.jpg

Riots erupted in Kenya on Tuesday as opposition leaders announced that they were suspending talks with the government over a stalled power sharing agreement.

According to witnesses, dozens of young men stormed into the streets of Kibera, a sprawling slum in the capital, Nairobi, lighting bonfires, ripping up railroad tracks and throwing rocks at police officers in a scene reminiscent of the violence that convulsed Kenya in the wake of the Dec. 27 election.

“No cabinet, no peace!” the protesters yelled, referring to the stillborn cabinet that has yet to be formed because of bitter divisions between the government and the opposition.

The spark behind the violence — the first such incident since Kofi Annan helped broker a shaky peace deal over a month ago — seems to be the question of assigning cabinet positions equitably between both sides. The elected president, Mwai Kibaki, is pushing for a larger cabinet, but is withholding the keys to the more powerful positions, such as the ministries of finance, foreign affairs, and internal security. The specific issue that plagued Annan’s mediations — the question of how much power to assign to the newly created position of prime minister, slated to go to opposition leader Raila Odinga — does not seem to have resurfaced yet, and, according to Gettleman, opposition leaders deny instigating the protests.

Assigning cabinet positions is no trivial matter, though, and opposition leaders will have to work together to come up with a proposal that reflects their parties’ near equal levels of support. A similar problem has persisted in Sudan, where one of the most frequently voiced complaints of previously marginalized Southerners is that, even with the signing of a major peace deal in January 2005, many of the most powerful ministries remain in the hands of Northern elites. Best for the international community to invest as much as it can in resolving this problem now, or else it will risk poisoning Kenya’s new government.

| Leave a comment

‘The Greatest Silence’ Premiering on HBO Tonight!

Be sure to catch the Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo which premiers tonight on HBO. To learn more about the crisis of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, visit the Enough Campaign and join a conference call about the film tomorrow night with the filmaker, Lisa Jackson; ENOUGH Co-chair John Prendergast; and the Director of Public Policy at the Family Violence Prevention Fund, Kiersten Stewart.

thegreatestsilence.jpg

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