Take Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations, former director of Harvard’s Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy and self-described ‘genocide chick’, who advocated war in Libya and Syria, and argued for new ways to arm-twist US allies into providing more troops for Obama’s escalated but unsuccessful war in Afghanistan. This last argument wasn’t successful in 2012, though she was at it again recently when interviewed on Charlie Rose. Or there’s Sarah Sewall, another former director of the Carr Centre, who was responsible for the material on human rights in the reworked US Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. Or Michael Posner, the founder of Human Rights First, now a business professor at NYU, who, as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour in Obama’s first term, helped bury the Goldstone Report, commissioned by the United Nations to investigate atrocities committed during Israel’s 2008-9 assault on Gaza. Or John Prendergast, a former Human Rights Watch researcher and co-founder of Enough, an anti-genocide group affiliated with the Centre for American Progress, who has called for military intervention to oust Robert Mugabe.’
‘Harold Koh is the former dean of Yale Law School and an expert in human rights law. As the State Department’s senior lawyer between 2009 and 2013, he provided the Obama administration with the legal basis for assassination carried out by drones. And despite having written academic papers backing a powerful and restrictive War Powers Act, he made the legal case for the Obama administration’s right to make war on Libya without bothering to get congressional approval. Koh, who has now returned to teaching human rights law, is not the only human rights advocate to call for the use of lethal violence. Indeed, the weaponisation of human rights – its doctrines, its institutions and, above all, its grandees – has been going on in the US for more than a decade.
‘Gaza reconstruction is moving at a “snail’s pace” and at this rate, it would likely take 30 years to rebuild the extensive damage from last summer’s Israel-Hamas war, a senior UN official said. Roberto Valent, the incoming area chief of a UN agency involved in reconstruction, blamed the delays on the slow flow of promised foreign aid and continued Israeli curbs on the entry of building material to Gaza.
Speaking in the Gaza City office of the UN Development Programme, he said his tour of destroyed neighbourhoods this week was “very, very disheartening”.
Israel and Egypt have severely restricted access to Gaza since the militant Hamas seized the territory in 2007.
After last year’s 50-day war, Israel allowed the import of some cement and steel under UN supervision to ensure the materials would not be diverted by Hamas for military use.
Mr Valent said on Wednesday that the system is too slow and Israel must open Gaza’s borders to allow for the speedy rebuilding or repair of 141,000 homes he said suffered minor to severe damage or were destroyed.’
- UN Report: Israel Committed Unprecedented Devastation and Killings in 2014 Gaza War
- Israel’s Ravagement Of Gaza
- ‘People are losing hope’ – Gaza’s slow recovery from the war
- Gaza’s unemployment rate highest in world, World Bank says
- World Bank: Gaza facing ‘dangerous fiscal crisis’
- Egypt reports 521 tunnel openings destroyed on Gaza border
- Israel doubles water supplies to Gaza
- Gaza: Children in crisis
- How Israel’s war on Gaza blitzed 17,000 jobs
- ‘Gaza Reconstruction Could Take 30 Years’
- Palestinians to Seek War Crimes Charges Against Israel at Hague Court
- US Slams Palestinians’ Israel War Crimes Suit
- UN Gaza Report: Five Palestinians’ Harrowing Stories From the Horror of the IDF Bombardment of 2014
- Israel’s Ravagement Of Gaza
- UN: Possible war crimes by both sides in Gaza
- UN Gaza War Crimes Report May Bolster Palestine’s ICC Case, Experts Say
- Head of UN Gaza Probe Tells Haaretz: Main Message Is Israel Can’t Drop One-Ton Bomb on a Neighborhood
- Gaza ‘war crimes': Israeli spokesman Mark Regev responds to UN allegations
- UN report blasts Gaza war tactics Israel has defended
- Israel Furious that UN Report on Israel Mentions Israel So Much
- Israeli Officer: Attacking Gaza Medical Clinic ‘Boosted Morale’
- Israel Insists Only 56% of Those Killed in Gaza War Were Civilians
- Hamas blasts ‘unfair’ Amnesty report alleging war crimes in Gaza
- “Kill Anything”: Israeli Soldiers Say Gaza Atrocities Came from Orders for Indiscriminate Fire
‘Twenty million Yemenis, nearly 80% of the population, are in urgent need of food, water and medical aid, in a humanitarian disaster that aid agencies say has been dramatically worsened by a naval blockade imposed by an Arab coalition with US and British backing.
Washington and London have quietly tried to persuade the Saudis, who are leading the coalition, to moderate its tactics, and in particular to ease the naval embargo, but to little effect. A small number of aid ships is being allowed to unload but the bulk of commercial shipping, on which the desperately poor country depends, are being blocked.
Despite western and UN entreaties, Riyadh has also failed to disburse any of the $274m it promised in funding for humanitarian relief. According to UN estimates due to be released next week 78% of the population is in need of emergency aid, an increase of 4 million over the past three months.
The desperate shortage of food, water and medical supplies raises urgent questions over US and UK support for the Arab coalition’s intervention in the Yemeni civil war since March. Washington provides logistical and intelligence support through a joint planning cell established with the Saudi military, who are leading the campaign. London has offered to help the Saudi military effort in “every practical way short of engaging in combat”.’
- Yemenis struggle as treasured city deteriorates
- Yemen Peace Talks Collapse as Pro-Saudi Faction Withdraws
- Yemen mediator optimistic as humanitarian crisis worsens
- Yemen’s Main City Of Aden Ravaged By Malaria And Dengue
- UN launches fresh Yemen aid appeal as WHO confirms dengue fever outbreak
- Seeds of destruction: Yemen civil war ripping society apart
- Rare Look At The Humanitarian Toll Of Yemen’s Civil War
- Yemen ‘Hangs In The Balance’ As War Rages
- Ban Ki-Moon Calls for Immediate Humanitarian Truce in Yemen
‘The Moroccan government intercepted United Nations communications and used “unethical tactics” in a “House of Cards”-style operation designed to get the organisation to turn a blind eye to the humanitarian situation in Western Sahara, according to a leaked UN report.
The leaked report is a UN analysis of correspondence between the Moroccan government and the country’s permanent ambassador to the UN in Geneva and later New York, Omar Hilale, in the period from January 2012 to September 2014. The Moroccan correspondence was made public last year by an anonymous source using the @chris_coleman24 Twitter handle.
The Moroccan correspondence appears to show that the north African country intercepted internal UN communications; made significant donations to the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) with the expressed intention of influencing the body; lobbied to cancel fact-finding missions to the area by senior officials; and attempted to stop a mandate to monitor human rights abuses being given to the UN peacekeeping mission in the territory.’
- Western Sahara Is Still Bleeding Under the Complicit Silence of the UN and Spain
- Shadow of Impunity: Torture in Morocco and Western Sahara
- Western Sahara’s ‘conflict tomatoes’ highlight a forgotten occupation
- Western Sahara: Africa’s last colony
- U.N. renews Western Sahara mission, but without rights monitors
- Obama Ignores Morocco’s Illegal Occupation and Human Rights Abuses
- The EU is supporting a brutal military occupation in Western Sahara
- Morocco/Western Sahara – Human Rights Watch
- Western Sahara conflict – Wikipedia
- Western Sahara profile – BBC
‘Conflicts around the world cost $14.3tn (£9.1tn) last year, 13% of world GDP, says a survey on global peace.
That amount is equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, the report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said.
The divide between the most peaceful and the least peaceful nations was deepening, the annual report added.
Iceland is the world’s most peaceful nation, whilst Syria is the least.
Libya saw the most severe deterioration over the course of 2014, according to the Australia-based IEP says.
The Middle East and North Africa now ranks as the world’s most violent region, overtaking South Asia which received that ranking for 2013.’
- Global conflicts on the rise
- Global cost of conflict reaches $14.3tn, says report
- Report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)
- Global Conflict Tracker – Council on Foreign Relations
- Unworthy victims: Western wars have killed four million Muslims since 1990
- Hailed as a Model for Successful Intervention, Libya Proves to be the Exact Opposite
- Human Rights Watch: Rise in Extremisim Linked to War on Terror
- What the Pentagon Wants in a New AUMF: Perpetual Warfare
- If the war on terror fuels terrorism, how does terrorism actually end?
- Eritrea: “Rule of Fear, Not Law”
- Eritrea, Human Rights, and Neocolonial Propaganda
- The brutal dictatorship the world keeps ignoring
- Home Office weighs bleak UN report on rights abuses by Eritrea government
- Eritrea: Last in the World Press Freedom Index for the past eight years
- Eritrea accuses UN of ‘vile slander’ over torture report
- Big Lie Behind the Eritrean Exodus Across the Mediterranean: Interview w/ Glen Ford
- Eritrea: Scathing UN Report
- Eritrea human rights abuses may be crimes against humanity, says UN
- Eritrea: Most Censored Countries
- Eritrea – Wikipedia
Israeli Report Finds 2014 Gaza War “Lawful” and “Legitimate” Ahead of Critical U.N. Investigation: Interview with Yousef Munayyer and Gideon Levy
‘The Israeli government has released a report that concludes its military actions in the 2014 war in Gaza were “lawful” and “legitimate.” The findings come ahead of what is expected to be a critical United Nations investigation into the 50-day conflict that Israel has dismissed as biased and refused to cooperate with. More than 2,200 Palestinians died in what was called “Operation Protective Edge,” the vast majority civilians. On Israel’s side, 73 people were killed, all but six of them soldiers. In its report, Israel says it made “substantial efforts” to avoid civilian deaths, insisting Hamas was to blame for the high number of civilian casualties and accusing Hamas militants of disguising themselves as civilians and of converting civilian buildings into military centers. We are joined by Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the former executive director of The Jerusalem Fund. We also go to Tel Aviv to speak with Gideon Levy, Haaretz columnist, whose latest piece is “Israel washed itself clean of Gaza’s dead beach children.”‘ (Democracy Now!)
- Israeli military kills Palestinian kids, United Nations whitewashes it
- Israel washed itself clean of Gaza’s dead beach children
- On the Most Moral Army In the World (Sic) Washing Itself Clean of Dead Children, Again
- Israel Accused of ‘War Crime’ Over Bulldozing of Palestinian Olive Groves
- Netanyahu: UN Inquiry Commission’s Report on 2014 Gaza War Is ‘Waste of Time’
- Israel Insists Only 56% of Those Killed in Gaza Were Civilians
- Israel Issues Its Own Gaza War Report, Pre-Empting UN Inquiry
- Israel Defends Gaza Conflict as ‘Moral War’
- Israel ‘Exceeded Legal Standards’ in Gaza Conflict, Military Group Tells UN
‘Leonce Ndikumana, director of the African Policy Program at the Political Economy Research Institute says while poverty, inequality, weak institutions, and low development in general are the outcome of fragility, they also undermine efforts to accelerate economic development in these countries. He also says aid and timing coupled with a national economic development strategy by sector is required for success.’ (The Real News)
- The World’s 25 Most Fragile States
- Foreign Policy’s Fragile States Index 2014
- South Sudan ‘most fragile state’ in world
- Fragile states need new form of development aid, OECD report says
- ‘Thieves Of State’ Reveals Tremendous Power Of Global Corruption
- State-Building In Central Africa: A Fragile Strategy for Fragile States
‘Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to make a bid to head the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, in a move that has been described as the “final nail in the coffin for the credibility” of the HRC.
Reports of the bid come just days after Saudi Arabia posted a job advertisement for eight new executioners. This year it has already put 85 people to death in what has been branded by Amnesty International a “macabre spike” from the 87 people it killed in total last year.
The country will move to assume lead control over the HRC after 2016 when the presidency is awarded to a new nation.
UN Watch, a non-profit human rights group that monitors the international body, disclosed Saudi Arabia’s intentions in a recent report and urged the United States to fight against it.’
- Saudi Arabia Seeking to Head the UN Human Rights Council (Yes, Really)
- Saudi Arabia hiring eight new executioners as part of ‘unprecedented spike’ in killings
- Who beheads more people: Isis or the government of Saudi Arabia?
- Human Rights Watch World Report 2015: Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Arabia – Amnesty International
- Human rights in Saudi Arabia – Wikipedia
E.U. Seeks U.N. Backing for Military Action to Stop Wave of Migrants Fleeing Horrific Abuse in Libya: Interview with Magda Mughrabi
‘The European Union is expected to ask the United Nations Security Council today to permit military action against human traffickers operating out of Libya. The U.N. estimates more than 60,000 people have already tried to cross the Mediterranean from Libya into Europe this year. Over 1,800 migrants have died in the attempt, 20 times more than the same period last year. Meanwhile, the European Commission is due to make a proposal that member countries take in refugees under an E.U. quota system. The European Commission’s migration policy will also propose organizing legal means for migrants to come to Europe so they don’t turn to traffickers. This comes as a new report by Amnesty International reveals how migrants are forced to flee Libya because of “horrific abuse.” The report is based on interviews with refugees and migrants across Libya who face “rape, torture and abductions for ransom by traffickers and smugglers, as well as systematic exploitation by their employers, religious persecution and other abuses by armed groups and criminal gangs.” We are joined by the report’s author, Magda Mughrabi, Libya Researcher at Amnesty International.’ (Democracy Now!)
- Amnesty Report: Libya is full of cruelty
- Amnesty reports abduction, torture and rape of migrants in Libya
- Libya: “Rejoicing our bloody democracy”
- Libya’s people smugglers: military action won’t stop this multifaceted trade
- U.N. Wants to Let Europe Use Military Force to Stop Migrant Smuggling Boats
- Mediterranean migrants: Libya rejects EU military plans
- EU is keeping Tripoli in the dark about military action, says Libya’s UN ambassador
- Mediterranean migrant crisis: EU refugee quotas to be proposed
- Libyans urge Europe to help stem migrant flow
- Libya’s human traffickers operate freely amid chaos
- A Man-Made Crisis and Illusion: The European Migration Crisis
- EU triples fund to address migrant crisis
- EU summit to offer resettlement to only 5,000 refugees
- EU Leaders Urged to Look at Libya Mistakes as More Migrants Perish at Sea
- Italy seeks military intervention, other steps to handle migrant crisis
- Facing death for lure of better life in Europe
- Europe’s war on migrants
- Libya’s coast is often the end of a painful road to despair (2013)
‘Starting Monday, the United States’ human rights record will be subject to international scrutiny by the U.N. Human Rights Council. It may just be the perfect catalyst for the Obama administration to make good on past and present wrongs that should never be associated with a liberal democracy predicated on respect for human rights.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is part of a regular examination of the human rights records of all 193 U.N. member countries and will be the second review of its kind for the U.S. since 2010. The review comes at a critical time when the U.S. human rights record has been criticized for falling short of meeting international human rights standards. From racially biased policing and excessive use of force by law enforcement to the expansion of migrant family detention and from the lack of accountability for the CIA torture program to the use of armed drones abroad, the U.S. has a lot to answer for.’
- UN Rights Review to Expose U.S. Failings
- UNHR Universal Periodic Review Second Cycle – United States of America
- IACHR Wraps Up Visit to the United States of America
- Human Rights Bodies Respond to Killings by Police in U.S.
- ACLU Response to Revised DOJ Guidance on the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies
- U.N. Criticizes U.S. on Torture and Array of Human Rights Issues
- ACLU files new lawsuit over Obama administration drone ‘kill list’
- UN rights experts welcome US review of lethal drone attacks, urge transparency and accountability
- The Senate Committee’s Report on the C.I.A.’s Use of Torture
- The United States is Obligated to Compensate Victims of Torture
- Retired Justice Stevens says some Guantanamo captives may deserve reparations
- US to Answer for Surveillance Practices on Global Stage
- ACLU: Immigrant Family Detention in the United States
- ACLU Fact Sheet on Alternatives to Immigration Detention (ATD)
- Spies Among Us: How Community Outreach Programs to Muslims Blur Lines between Outreach and Intelligence
- SNCC/ACLU – Securing the Southwest Border: Perspectives from Beyond the Beltway
‘Conflicts and violence in places like Syria and Ukraine have displaced a record 38 million people in their countries — equivalent to the total populations of New York, London and Beijing, a watchdog group said Wednesday.
Nearly one-third of them — 11 million people — were displaced last year alone, with an average of 30,000 people fleeing their homes every day, the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) said in a report.
“These are the worst figures for forced displacement in a generation, signaling our complete failure to protect innocent civilians,” said Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which is behind the IDMC.
Internally displaced people (IDPs) have been forced to leave their homes but remain in their country, as opposed to refugees, who flee across borders.’
- Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre: Global Overview 2015
- World neglects displaced as 30000 a day forced to flee
- 2.2 Million Iraqis Displaced by Islamic State Group
- 1.9 million internally displaced by violence in Pakistan
- Nigeria accounts for fourth of new internally displaced population in the world
- 100,000 displaced by fighting in S. Sudan
- Over 33.3 million people internally displaced in 2013
- Internally displaced person – Wikipedia
Joe Lauria is the Wall Street Journal’s UN correspondent. He discusses how a former UN envoy came forward with details of a power-sharing deal in Yemen and why Saudi Arabia would want to prevent that deal from becoming a reality. (The Real News)
‘Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz was speaking at the five-year review conference of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Diplomats from the 159 countries supporting the ban, presented ahead of the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atom bombs dropped on Japan, said the initiative was modelled on successful campaigns to ban land mines and other weapons and could take years to move forward.
The initiative has virtually no support among NPT nuclear weapons states and veto-wielding Security Council members – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – or the countries of NATO, an alliance that provides a kind of “nuclear umbrella” security guarantee for its members.
But most of the 193 U.N. members back it.’
‘U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Thursday that Saudi Arabian air strikes and combat between Yemen’s warring sides that target civilian and United Nations facilities are having a devastating impact on humanitarian aid efforts and are in violation of the laws of war.
In a statement, Ban said the attacks included bombardment of hospitals, humanitarian warehouses and U.N. compounds, and that civilians in Aden, Yemen’s second largest city, had been targeted by snipers. He called the attacks “unacceptable and in violation of international humanitarian law.”
U.N. officials have cited both the air campaign and fighting between Houthi rebels and supporters of the government of exiled Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in statements denouncing the growing civilian toll. But they’ve been particularly critical of the Saudi air strikes, which they say have all but halted any effort to evacuate civilians by air or deliver humanitarian aid. The United States is providing aerial refueling and intelligence to the Saudi-led campaign.
On Thursday, Ban said more than 1,200 people have been killed in the past six weeks of fighting and that 300,000 have fled their homes.’
- Yemenis in Desperate Need of Food and Fuel After Weeks of Airstrikes
- Saudis Bomb Yemen Airport, Assuring End to Aid Flights
- ISIS Issues Video Showing Execution of 15 Soldiers in Yemen
- Dozens Killed as Houthis, Saudi Forces Fight Along Yemen Border
- Pakistan wants peaceful solution of Yemen, says PM
- Video Claims the Islamic State Has Established a New Branch in Yemen
- Over 550 Civilians Killed So Far in Saudi War on Yemen
- 115 Children Killed: Saudi Arabia’s War on Yemen by the Numbers
- Saudi bombing in Yemen still claiming civilian casualties, UN says
- Saudis Increase Airstrikes Against Yemen, Strikes Reported Nationwide
- Fighting Prompts an Exodus From Yemen, Often on Boats
- The Saudi prince who offered Bentleys to bombers
- Saudi Arabia to deploy ground troops in Yemen
- US Naval Deployment to Yemen Targets Iran
- Why Is the U.S. Backing a War That’s Helping al-Qaida?
- Under Bombardment in Yemen, Civilians Voice Terror and Despair Online
- No power, no fuel, no water, no food. That’s Yemen right now
- US Increases Involvement in Saudi War Against Yemen
‘Here on Techdirt, we’ve had plenty of posts looking at the major trade agreements currently being negotiated. As we’ve noted, criticism of TPP and TAFTA/TTIP has come from many quarters, particularly for the corporate sovereignty provisions, which are seen as problematic both on the left and right wings of the political spectrum. Intellectual Property Watch carries a fascinating statement criticizing key aspects of trade negotiations, which looks at things from quite a different angle. It’s written by Alfred de Zayas, who is the “Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order” — apparently an honorary and unpaid position. In his statement, he expresses:
his deep concern over the general lack of awareness on the adverse effects that existing, or under negotiations, bilateral and multilateral free trade and investment agreements have on the enjoyment of human rights in many countries, particularly in the developing world.
Specifically, he is concerned about the secrecy of trade talks, and the fact that key stakeholders like trade unions, environmental protection grups and health professionals are excluded — something that we’ve commented on many times here on Techdirt. He also thinks that fast-tracking the adoption of treaties — as is currently being attempted in the US — has a “detrimental impact on the promotion of a democratic and equitable world order.”‘
‘The latest quarterly report out of the UN shows 521 civilian casualties in the first quarter of 2015, including 136 deaths. This is an 8% increase over the same period in 2014, which was itself the deadliest since the UN began keeping track.
UN officials warn that as the spring thaw begins the tolls are likely to start soaring again, setting the stage for another terrible year for civilians trapped 14 years deep into a NATO occupation.’
‘Sometimes I’m challenged over my linking belligerent neoconservatives with “liberal interventionists” who justify U.S. military invasions under the “humanitarian” banner of “responsibility to protect” – or R2P – meaning to intervene in war-torn countries to stop the killing of civilians, like the 1994 slaughter in Rwanda.
And, most people would agree that there are extraordinary situations in which the timely arrival of an external military force might prevent genocide or other atrocities, which was one of the intended functions of the United Nations. But my overall impression of R2Pers is that many are careerist hypocrites who voice selective outrage that provides cover for the U.S. and its allies to do pretty much whatever they wish.
Though one can’t generalize about an entire group – since some R2Pers act much more consistently than others – many of the most prominent ones operate opportunistically, depending how the dominant narrative is going and where the power interests lie.’
- The Dangerous Neocon-R2P Alliance
- The untold story of the Maidan massacre
- Seeing No Neo-Nazi Militias in Ukraine
- Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions
- The ethics of the responsibility to protect
- Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton?
- Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon-Lite?
- A New Neocon Push for Syrian War
- Top 10 warning signs of ‘liberal imperialism’
- Selective Use of R2P to Secure Regime Change, Says India at UN
- Libya, ‘R2P’ and the selective business of ‘accountability’
- What intervention in Libya tells us about the neocon-liberal alliance
- Not All Interventions Are the Same
- Responsibility to protect – Wikipedia
‘Those of us who work on foreign policy like to think of ourselves as hard-headed, rational people who don’t easily succumb to myths, fables, or delusions. If only that were true! In fact, foreign-policy mavens as just as vulnerable to blindered thinking as any other human beings, and our community has its own set of odd beliefs and practices that are rarely questioned or criticized.
In fact, if one moves outside the bubble of mainstream discourse and takes a hard look at some familiar elements of contemporary world politics, they begin to look rather peculiar, even absurd. What do I mean by that? I mean an unusual, bizarre, risible, and hard-to-justify state of affairs whose dubious nature is no longer questioned, mostly because we’ve grown accustomed to it and no longer notice how weird it really is. These situations are like the discarded oddities of a bygone era — like phrenology, corsets, powdered wigs, binding feet, etc. — or like the bad habits that we sometimes acquire without noticing how strange or damaging they might be.
Some of these absurdities persist because they’ve been around a long time, or because powerful interests defend them vigorously, or because they align with broader social prejudices. Some of them may in fact be defensible, but we should still bring such oddities out into the open air on occasion and ask ourselves if they really make sense.’
‘While Americans recognize China’s rapid rise as an economic powerhouse, the implications remain murky. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, most people unfavorably view China as the world’s leading economic power. Indeed, twenty percent of Americans viewed China, not Iran, as America’s top enemy in 2014. When discussing China, Americans think of its 13.39 trillion GDP (2013 est.), expansion into the South China Sea or human rights abuses.
Yet China’s global influence is expanding in surprising ways. China is the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations of all the permanent members of the UN Security Council. China’s rise in peacekeeping operations is indicative of China’s rise in global prominence by both expanding its role in foreign affairs and protecting its own economic interests.’
‘A massive campaign in support of foreign intervention against Syria is underway. The goal is to prepare the public for a “No Fly Zone” enforced by US and other military powers. This is how the invasion of Iraq began. This is how the public was prepared for the US/NATO air attack on Libya.
The results of western ‘regime change’ in Iraq and Libya have been disastrous. Both actions have dramatically reduced the security, health, education and living standards of the populations, created anarchy and mayhem, and resulted in the explosion of sectarianism and violence in the region. Now the Western/NATO/Israeli and Gulf powers, supported by major intervention-inclined humanitarian organizations, want to do the same in Syria. Is this positive or a repeat of past disasters?’
- Avaaz call for a ‘no-fly zone’ in Syria
- Donors pledge $4bn in humanitarian aid for Syrians
- Call for no-fly zone in Syria after ‘fresh war crime’ by Assad forces
- As Syria crisis enters fifth year, UN humanitarian leaders urge end to conflict
- After four years of conflict, Syria is ‘entering the dark ages’
- Humanitarian Organizations Criticized The U.N For Failing To Help Syrian War Victims
- Obama admin: US ‘will protect’ Syrian rebel forces, no-fly zone “under consideration”
- Hailed as a Model for Successful Intervention, Libya Proves to be the Exact Opposite
- What Happened to the Humanitarians Who Wanted to Save Libyans With Bombs and Drones?
- The Humantarian War: The Lies That Led Us Into Libya (Documentary)
‘The United Nations has loaded the last of its staff in Yemen quietly onto airplanes, sending them to safety in Ethiopia, and capping their failed effort to start peace talks in the war-torn country.
There is no room for peace talks now, it seems, with Saudi Arabia and its allies so decidedly in favor of a full-scale war against the Shi’ite Houthis, and leaving no room open for a settlement.
For the Saudis, there is no middle ground, and democratic reform is not the goal. The only goal for the war is to reinstall General Hadi, Yemen’s dictator from early 2012 until his resignation in January, back into power.’
- Arabs vow to pound Yemen rebels until they surrender
- Yemen strikes will continue until Hadi can rule – Saudi spokesman
- Saudi Airstrikes Destroy Yemeni Air Force, Officials Brag of Destroying ‘Rebel Planes’
- Fighting and air strikes across Yemen; dialogue remains distant
- Arab States Already Planning to Extend Attack on Yemen
- Houthis threaten Saudi Arabia with suicide bombings
- Houthis told to ‘surrender’ at Arab League summit
- 38 Killed as Yemen’s Houthis Clash with Tribesmen in Oil Rich South
- Questions and answers about the Arab peacekeeping force
- Yemen Invasion Could Define Saudi Policy for Years to Come
- Ex-Yemeni Leader Urges Truce and Successor’s Ouster
- Yemen’s president calls Houthis ‘stooges of Iran’
- U.N. pulls out of Yemen, ending hopes of brokered peace
- Yemen crisis: Warships pave the way for a ground invasion
- Yemen president fires predecessor’s son, escalating power struggle
- Yemen says Saudi-led campaign stopped Iran flights supplying Houthis
- Who’s fighting for whom in Yemen’s proxy war?
Israel’s activities in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem resulted in the deaths of 2,314 Palestinians and 17,125 injuries, compared with 39 deaths and 3,964 injuries in 2013, according to the annual report (pdf) by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The conflict in Gaza in July and August was largely responsible for the dramatic increase in fatalities. It claimed the lives of 2,220 Gazans, of whom 1,492 were civilians, 605 militants and 123 unverified.’
U.S. Closes Key Drone Base and Withdraws Forces as U.N. Warns of Civil War in Yemen: Interview with Iona Craig
‘After touting its “successful” counterterrorism model in Yemen, the United States has evacuated its remaining personnel, including 100 special operations forces from a military base seen as key in the drone war against al-Qaeda. This comes amidst worsening violence between government forces and Shia Houthi rebels, and an attack claimed by the Islamic State that killed dozens of worshipers at two mosques. The United Nations has warned Yemen is on the brink of an “Iraq-Libya-Syria”-type civil war. We are joined by Iona Craig, a journalist who was based in Sana’a for four years as the Yemen correspondent for The Times of London.’ (Democracy Now!)
- Yemen Combatants Court International Allies for Proxy War
- Yemen urges GCC military intervention against Houthis
- Pullout Won’t Stop Strikes in Yemen, White House Says
- White House stands by Yemen as a counterterrorism model
- Once Obama’s model for fighting extremists, US counterterrorism strategy collapses
- Britain evacuates special forces from Yemen over worsening security
- UN Warns Yemen Is At ‘Edge Of Civil War’
- Rebels Seize Yemen’s Third Largest City
- Yemen’s Houthi rebels move on strategic Gulf waterway
- Factbox: Leading factions in Yemen’s crisis
- Yemen risks: separatism, sea lanes, Qaeda, poverty, sectarianism
- Yemeni implosion pushes southern Sunnis into arms of al-Qaida and Isis
- U.N. Security Council condemns Houthi actions in Yemen, threatens further measures
- President Hadi: Suicide bombings seek to drag Yemen into ‘chaos’
- US Withdraws Last 100 Ground Troops From Yemen
- 142 Killed in Bombings of Shi’ite Mosques in Yemen
- Prominent Yemeni journalist and Houthi activist killed
- U.S. Lost $500M in Weapons in Yemen
- Yemen’s collapse is a taste of things to come
- Did Obama’s Drone War Help Cause Yemen’s Collapse?
- Hailed as U.S. Counterterrorism Model in Middle East, Yemen Teeters on the Brink of Collapse: Interview with Iona Craig
‘At least 4,134 people were killed during the short month of February. Another 2,280 were wounded. These numbers combine figures released by the United Nations and various media outlets. The number of fatalities dropped considerably from January’s count of 6,106 dead. That may be due to the shorter month. The number of those injured increased slightly, however, by forty wounded.
In this column, Antiwar.com found that 1,097 civilians and security personnel were killed, and 3,031 militants were reported killed, for a total of 4,128. At least 1,381 were wounded, including 199 militants. Our figures are compiled from news reports, but they should be considered estimates, particularly those of militant deaths.
The United Nations also released their figures, which are complied by their associates in Iraq. They found that 1,103 civilians and security personnel were killed, but they do not count militant deaths. Although that is close to what the media has reported, they found 2,280 who were wounded. That number is much higher. They warn that these are the bare minimum numbers. It is likely that the figures are much higher.’
‘The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a Russian-drafted resolution that endorses the new ceasefire agreement on Ukraine as battle rages between pro-Moscow rebels and Ukrainian forces for the control of a key town.
The vote on Tuesday came as Russian President Vladimir Putin told Kiev to let its soldiers surrender to the separatists who fought their way into the town of Debaltseve, encircling thousands of government troops.
The UN resolution was not expected to have a significant impact on the peace deal that was reached in the Belarusian capital Minsk last week with both sides failing to begin pulling back heavy weapons as required.
[…] The United States and other council members supported the resolution, but spoke with scorn.’
- UN Backs Russian Resolution Endorsing Ukraine Ceasefire
- Ukraine Starts Troop Withdrawal From Key Town of Debaltseve
- Putin Urges Ukraine Military to Cede Contested Town
- U.S. says ‘proxy war’ with Russia not in Ukraine’s interest
- Ukraine soldiers taken prisoner in fighting for railway hub
- Horrific Images Capture The Sheer Brutality Of War In Ukraine
- Pro-Kiev Commander: ‘We Will Burn Down Crimea, With All Its Residents’
- Ukrainian gov’t presents ‘Kremlin’s Black Book’ highlighting costs of Russian war
- Moscow condemns Lithuania’s provocative actions related to arms supplies to Kiev
- Donetsk Residents Without Water, Electricity As Fight Goes On
- Gas Pipeline Blast Caught On Video, Hit By Shell In Eastern Ukraine
- Amid Ukraine Ceasefire Struggles, Both Sides Refuse Artillery Pullout
- VICE News Inside Rebel-Held Uglegorsk: Russian Roulette
- Kremlin says accords underpinning Ukraine truce must be ‘unconditionally observed’
- General Sir Richard Dannatt condemns armoured vehicle transfer to Ukraine
- Ukrainian forces have decimated the civilian population: Interview with Patrick Lancaster
- As Ukraine Ceasefire Begins, Threats From the Margins
- Ukraine Ultranationalists Spurn Ceasefire, Will Continue ‘Active Fighting’
- Chicago Neighborhood Supplies Ukranian Army
- Warlords and armed groups threaten Ukraine’s rebuilding
- And Now, The Race To Begin Moon Colonization Begins…
- The US government is getting ready for the commercialization of the moon
- Should We Colonize the Moon? And How Much Would It Cost?
- 15 Ambitious Plans to Colonize the Moon
- Colonization of the Moon – Wikipedia
- 1967 Outer Space Treaty – Wikipedia
- ‘A World in the Moon': Wilkins and his Lunar Voyage of 1640
‘The United Nations says the drug war’s rationale is to build “a drug-free world — we can do it!” U.S. government officials agree, stressing that “there is no such thing as recreational drug use.” So this isn’t a war to stop addiction, like that in my family, or teenage drug use. It is a war to stop drug use among all humans, everywhere. All these prohibited chemicals need to be rounded up and removed from the earth. That is what we are fighting for.
I began to see this goal differently after I learned the story of the drunk elephants, the stoned water buffalo, and the grieving mongoose. They were all taught to me by a remarkable scientist in Los Angeles named Professor Ronald K. Siegel.’
- Intoxication: The Universal Drive for Mind-Altering Substances (Book)
- Graham Hancock: The War on Consciousness
- Citing Failed War on Drugs, World Leaders Call for Widespread Decriminalization
- How the War on Drugs and the War on Terror Merged Into One Disastrous War on All Americans
- ‘It is time to end the war on drugs’, says top UK police chief
‘The US State Department said on Friday that the Palestinian application to join the International Criminal Court will have “implications” for US aid to the Palestinian Authority.
“It should come as no surprise that there will be implications for this step, but we continue to review,” the official told Reuters.
“US assistance to the Palestinian Authority has played a valuable role in promoting stability and prosperity not just for the Palestinians, but also for Israel as well,” the official added.
Washington sends about $400 million in economic support aid to the Palestinians every year. Under US law, that aid would be cut off if the Palestinians used membership in the International Criminal Court to make claims against Israel.’