Might Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s antics at the Durban Review Conference have helped Israel’s cause more than they hurt it? So argues Rasool Nafisi in, of all places, the Jerusalem Post.
Want a piece of the Berlin Wall? This guy‘s still the one to go to.
(image of the Berlin Wall, from flickr user siyublog under a Creative Commons license)
Three heavyweights — Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, and Lakhdar Brahimi — team up to focus attention on the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Now may be the last, best hope for reunification, they argue, which would bring, among other benefits, raised incomes, improved infrastructure, and the ability of Cypriots to send text messages across the dividing Green Line. Maybe even road signs in both Turkish and Greek?
To this propagandistic denunciation of the UN report on Israeli actions in Operation Cast Lead, I’ll add only this: the report does acknowledge the role of inexcusable Hamas tactics to endanger civilians; Israel has not fully cooperated with UN investigations, and Ban Ki-moon is not distancing himself from the entire report, even if he is regrettably not following up on one of its recommendations to create a further commission.
Senator Kerry and Rep. David Dreier explain how signing a free trade pact with Georgia will help improve relations with both Tbilisi and its larger neighbor to the north. Not sure Russia will see it that way, but this may be one of those things that Moscow will just have to get over.
Roger Cohen praises Barack Obama’s “mellow doctrine” — but don’t call him Mello Yello; he’s a “Kansan-Kenyan cat.”
The Wall Street Journal reports a positive “starting over” for Haiti — optimism tempered with problems, though I’m not as convinced that Bill Clinton is one of them.
UPDATE: Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger (a book recently read by me), has a great piece about the Tamil Tigers in The Daily Beast. Adiga gives a coherent summary of the evolution of Sri Lanka’s anti-terrorist/anti-Tiger campaign, and identifies an overlooked victim in the country’s military onslaught — journalists.
Good news for a baby gorilla in DR Congo’s dangerous Virunga National Park.
Motorbike ambulances are helping South Sudanese pregnant women, one of six out of whom tend to die during pregnancy from easily preventable causes.
And Tony Blair is impressed by the return of tourism to Sierra Leone.
UN expert Stephen Schlesinger zeroes in on the smaller foreign policy universe of Obama’s interactions with the United Nations and, citing accomplishments like paying back peacekeeping debt, restoring funding to UNFPA, and pushing to ratify important nuclear non-proliferation treaties, gives the Prez a solid A-.
And, the indefatigably anti-UN Anne Bayefsky has a nearly 2000-word anti-Durban screed (I know, the topic is surprising, huh?) in Forbes. Her attempts to capture the history of the conference seem to be growing ever more desperate and more personal, such that she needs to cite her own writings as a martyred example of the propaganda that the UN human rights commissioner praised the less partisan press for resisting. Hopefully this will be her last such tirade, though I seriously doubt it (my thoughts on the memorialization of the conference here and here).
Eugene Robinson argues that, instead of a handshake, a slap might have been more appropriate for an encounter that Hugo Chavez was clearly trying to use as a bit of theater. (A literal slap, of course, would only play right into Chavez’s hands face).
The Guardian editorializes in praise of airships (at least airships not named “Hindenburg”) as an efficient low-carbon method of transporting cargo.
Continuing in the vein that ignoring North Korea will be a much more prudent policy than taking the bait of its provocationg, Doug Bandown, of the Cato Institute, proposes “bored contempt” as the appropriate response to Pyongyang’s missile-waving attempts to attract attention.
And a couple good recent articles, in the Post and on RealClearWorld, on the fragile and uncertain Kurdish democracy. The UN is preparing reports on Kirkuk and other areas, and the decisions of where to grant greater Kurdish control — and, perhaps more importantly, of how Iraqi political parties will react — will determine whether or not the region continues to be a model, or ignites a new conflagration.
(image from flickr user Liqueur Felix under a Creative Commons license)
Iraq: The SG met with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki in Baghdad today as well as Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to review the ongoing security crisis. The SG congratulated Fouad Massoum on his election as Iraq’s new President and remarked that a new government “will strengthen the unity of the country, fight effectively against terrorism and ISIS, as well as uproot the seeds of sectarianism and division.”
SG: The SG met with Israeli President Peres in Jerusalem today to encourage dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. Speaking to the press with President Peres, he again underlined the need to stop violence and begin dialogue that addresses the root causes of the conflict.
SG: The SG briefed the SC today from Ramallah where he reiterated his message from today’s earlier press conference in Tel Aviv with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to: “Stop fighting. Start talking. And take on the root causes of the conflict.” The SG will continue travelling this week to Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
SG: The SG arrived in Cairo today where he will meet with the Foreign Minister, President el-Sisi and US Secretary of State Kerry to promote the Egypt-initiated ceasefire in the Middle East. Spokesman Dujarric told reporters today that “the overriding messages that [the SG] brings is, first, that the violence must stop, and needs to stop now.”