By Zak Rose* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
DETROIT (IDN) - During the period of strict economic sanctions and export bans that Western countries levied against Myanmar through the 1990s and 2000s, the military government had little choice but to turn to China. China, with its deep pockets and a strategic focus on the periphery, was more than happy to invest in the isolated state, increasing Myanmar’s dependence and furthering Beijing’s own military and economic interests by tapping into the poorer state’s promising energy reserves and vying for coastal access to the Indian Ocean.
By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TORONTO (IDN) – The United Nations finds great favour with publics in Asia-Pacific and enjoys considerable backing in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America but has the lowest rating in the Middle East, according to a new survey, which also finds that the UN is generally liked in Europe and relishes robust support in Canada and the U.S.
The survey, conducted before Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack and the proposed UN role in eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, was carried out by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project (GAP) in 39 countries among 37,653 respondents from March 2 to May 1, 2013. Results for the survey are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International.
By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
GENEVA (IDN) - A new report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) faults both State and non-State actors for stopping journalists and other media professionals from documenting and disseminating information on human rights violations, environmental issues, corruption, organized crime, drug trafficking, public crises, emergencies or public demonstrations – and this with impunity.
Journalists are subject to abduction, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, expulsion, harassment, surveillance, search and seizure, torture and threats and acts of other forms of violence. Female journalists face additional risks, including being subjected to forms of sexual violence while covering public events or when in detention, says the report that the United Nations Human Rights Council debated on September 13, 2013.
By Steven Borowiec* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
SEOUL (IDN | Yale Global) - Near South Korea’s main international airport, the national government is constructing a type of building never seen before in the country – a large complex capable of accommodating more than 1,000 refugee applicants. As South Korea becomes a more developed and better known country, with its TV shows and pop music appreciated around the world, the country is receiving more refugee applicants, and the government is still figuring out how to handle them. South Korea also receives many escapees from North Korea – more than 1,000 per year, which complicates relations with Pyongyang and Beijing.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
GENEVA (IDN) - Though at pains not to transgress political correctness, a new UN report unveils the highhandedness characterising Israeli economic policies towards the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), which are denting the authority of the Palestinian government.
Israel is not only depriving the OPT of about US$300 million every year but also buttressing Palestinian dependence on Israel, and gravely undermining its competitiveness by refusing to transfer to the Palestinian treasury revenues from taxes on direct and indirect imports and on smuggled goods into the OPT from or via Israel, says a new report by UNCTAD.
By Ramzy Baroud* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WASHINGTON (IDN | CounterCurrents.org) - The distance between Gaza and Ramallah in sheer miles is hardly significant. But in actuality, both cities represent two different political realities, with inescapable cultural and socioeconomic dimensions. Their geopolitical horizons are vastly different as well – Gaza is situated within its immediate Arab surroundings and turmoil, while Ramallah is westernized in too many aspects to count. In recent years, the gap has widened like never before.
Of course, Gaza and Ramallah were always, in some ways, unalike. Demographics, size, topography and geographic proximity to Arab countries with different political priorities have always made them separate and distinctive. But the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 had decisively removed Ramallah from its Jordanian element, and Gaza from its Egyptian political milieu.
By Thibaud Lesueur* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
NAIROBI (IDN | Crisis Group Blogs) - “With two hundred men, we could get rid of most of the LRA in DRC,” a foreign security official told me in August when I was touring the Uele district, in the far north east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Lord’s Resistance Army has been abusing the population there since at least 2008. But in contrast to the foreign official’s confidence, the striking fact was that the fight against what remains of the LRA is at a standstill. It needs fresh impetus, because the LRA has demonstrated repeatedly its capacity to go underground then surge again more violent than before.
By Reza Hojjat Shamami* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) - Without a doubt, during these days that the international community is grappling with the Syria crisis, a new sensitive and determining chapter is being opened for the international world order. Of course, the ongoing developments inside Syria do not constitute the main reason for this situation, but it is more a result of a complicated power game, especially between the United States and Russia.
As a result, continuation of this trend can lead to the stabilization or change of the existing structure of international world system. Since August 21, when a chemical weapons attack was carried out in Ghouta, an eastern suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus, the type of position taken by the American officials as well as some of their allies such as the UK, has practically pushed the world to the brink of a new war in the Middle East.
By Ismail Serageldin* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
ALEXANDIRA (IDN) - Violence is about in the land. The young, the idealists and the dutiful, along with the fanatics, are dying in the streets and the hamlets of Egypt. Hatred and attacks on the Christian minority have reared their ugly head again. Differences of opinion escalate into confrontation, and the declaration of a state of emergency and the imposition of a curfew have formally underlined the gravity of the situation.
By Bernhard Schell | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BEIRUT (IDN) - While the focus of international attention has shifted to Syria, interest in Egypt is on the wane, despite the fact that political stalemate continues there and the country is reeling under the impact of one of the bloodiest events epitomized, among others, by the government crack-down on protests organized by the Muslim Brotherhood outside Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque and at Nahda Square in Cairo.
By Kalinga Seneviratne | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
SINGAPORE (IDN) - Giving a press conference at the end of seven-day visit to Sri Lanka, United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) head Navi Pillay, a South African, said that she was highly offended by comments in the Sri Lankan media accusing her of bias because of her Indian Tamil ethnicity.
“Some media, ministers, bloggers and various propagandists in Sri Lanka have, for several years now, on the basis of my Indian Tamil heritage, described me as a tool of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). They have claimed I was in their pay, the ‘Tamil Tigress in the UN’. This is not only wildly incorrect, it is deeply offensive,” said Pillay at the beginning of the press conference on August 31, 2013.