Blog Roundup #63

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Overthrow: “The main objective of the United Nations conference World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to be held this month in Tunisia is to ensure affordable internet access to all the poor countries and to get the full benefits that new information and communication technologies can bring to economic and social development. In all probability this will take the back seat and the summit will turn in to an acrimonious showdown between the United States and the challengers of its monopoly over internet, including the European Union.”

Scaramouche: “It’s looking a bit precarious for Syrian despot Bashar Assad. Not only does he have the UN on his back — big tsuris for any leader — he has to find a way to strike a balance between co-operating with the international body while showing his own people he’s still the commanding, authoritative strongman they’ve come to know, love, and cower in front of. Or at least, to remind them he’s the son of a commanding, authoritative strongman. With that in mind, he’s making some loud, macho noises: From the Globe and Mail: “President Bashar Assad said Thursday his country will co-operate with a U.N. investigation implicating the military in the killing of a Lebanese politician … Mr. Assad, while maintaining Syria’s innocence during a speech at Damascus University, also disclosed that a U.N. investigator has rejected Syria’s conditions for co-operating with investigators.”

PSoTD: “From Canada.com: “A treaty aimed at reducing deaths from smoking has been ratified by 106 countries who can now vote at the first meeting of the anti-tobacco convention, the United Nations said. The treaty, known as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, was finalized in May 2003 and came into force earlier this year.”

Diplomatic Times Review: “UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sought Tuesday in Cairo to assuage Arab fears over possible action against Syria but urged Damascus to cooperate fully with the international probe into the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri,” according to an Agence France Presse report in the Daily Times of Pakistan.”

Patridiot Watch: “Saddam Hussein should burn in hell, but he shouldn’t have to face trial with his lawyers getting death threats all the time, and murdered twice. “Lawyers for Saddam Hussein and his aides severed all contact with the court trying the former Iraqi president on Wednesday after the second murder of a member of the defense team since the trial began last month. Attorneys representing Saddam and seven co-accused on charges of crimes against humanity considered a second day of hearings set for November 28 to be “canceled and illegitimate,” lead counsel Khalil al-Dulaimi told Reuters. Interviewed in the Sunni Arab rebel stronghold of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, he said he felt personally threatened and renewed demands for the United Nations to intervene to stop the trial following Tuesday’s killing of lawyer Adil al-Zubeidi.”

War in Context: “The Security Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a one-year renewal of the United Nations mandate for the United States-led multinational force in Iraq. The resolution, sponsored by Britain, Denmark, Japan, Romania and the United States, extends the mandate until Dec. 31, 2006, but calls for a review of the decision by June 15 and allows for the ending of the mandate at any point if Iraq requests it. The review clause was added as a compromise with the demands of France and Russia, which initially asked that the term be extended for only six months.”

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