By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) – In run-up to the four-week-long quinquennial review of the landmark Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the goal of a Middle East free of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery remains a distant dream. And so does the Helsinki Conference that should have been convened in December 2012.
All indications are that also the Foreign Ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) influential countries of the world – Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and the United States – do not see a silver lining on the horizon. They met ahead of G7 summit June 7-8.
By Mel Frykberg | IDN-InDepth NewsFeature
This news feature tells the story of how groups of Israelis and Palestinians are empowering communities at daggers drawn to consider themselves as part of a solution, rising above parochial interests and swimming against prevailing political tide, thus lending a vibrant local dimension to the broader concept of global citizenship.
HEBRON, West Bank (IDN) – The ancient biblical city of Hebron, in the southern West Bank, is holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam and is steeped in historical, archaeological and religious treasures.
By Jutta Wolf | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
BERLIN (IDN) - Violations of rights in Egypt are becoming increasingly evident in the aftermath of the country’s Ministry of Social Solidarity proposing a new law, which would constitute a dangerous escalation in the framework of systematic targeting of civil society activists and increasing restrictions imposed upon them, according to the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND).
By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - After an earlier eruption of one-sided warfare in Gaza, I wrote a piece titled “Eyeless in Gaza” in December 2012 referring appropriately to an Old Testament story in the Bible, resonant with both the Jewish Israeli and the Christian Palestinian, and recalling Mahatma Gandhi’s warning that an eye for an eye will make us all blind. I concluded that, “A peaceful settlement of the illegal occupation of Gaza by Israel and an end to the scandalous conditions of its 1.7 million citizens is still very far away.”
Of course no peaceful settlement has taken place. Instead we have had brutal and relentless ground and air attacks by Israel and exchanges of fire finally ending after 50 days of suffering and destruction with a ceasefire on August 27. There is no guarantee that this will be a sustainable ceasefire unless the root causes are addressed.
By UN News | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
NEW YORK (IDN) - The United Nations refugee agency said August 18 it had, for the first time, begun sending aid into western Libya from Tunisia to help some of the tens of thousands of people displaced by weeks of fighting in Tripoli.
A first convoy carrying urgently needed medical supplies and relief items from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was organized by the International Medical Corps (IMC) on August 16.
The two trucks set off from Medinine and crossed the border at Ras Ajdir before heading to the town of Zawiya, where some 12,000 people have sought shelter from the fighting in Libya’s capital.
By Julio Godoy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - Once a year, the German government reports the amounts of weapons the country’s military industry exported to the world during the previous 12 months. Once a year, German society pretends to be scandalised by the numbers and particularly the recipients of the weapons. Once a year, the German government explains why the military exports are important for the country (jobs, jobs, jobs!) and why the importing regimes, many of them undemocratic, should continue benefiting from the German high tech weapons. And never something changes.
By Baher Kamal* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
MADRID (IDN) - In spite of social, economic and political instability in Egypt and other Arab countries, Cairo has lastly intensified its efforts aimed at eliminating, as soon as possible, all weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East.
Egyptian diplomacy fears that further delays in taking specific actions to declare the Middle East a nuclear free zone, may lead to a nuclear armament race in the region, in view warnings that some major countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, might decide to go nuclear to face Israeli and Iranian nuclear threat. | READ JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF
By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth Viewpoint
KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - In marked contrast to the vibrant exercise of democracy in India last month, a military coup toppled a controversial but democratically elected government in Thailand – an Asian Buddhist country with which Sri Lanka has ancient bonds and shared traditions. Worse still an election was held from May 26-28 in Egypt – a founder member of the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) – resulting in recently retired Army Commander Abdul Fattah al-Sisi securing an incredible fairy-tale 96.9% of the vote in which only 47.45% of the voters cast their vote.
This column wrote in an analysis of the July 3, 2013 coup, which deposed the democratically elected Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood: “Much now depends on the interim Government and their ability to pave the way for fresh elections when a genuinely representative Government will emerge. The Muslim Brotherhood must also change and settle for a compromise and for reconciliation in the larger interests of the stability and prosperity of Egypt and her people.”
By Arch Roberts* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WASHINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) - The new round of talks opened on April 8 marks another step in the race against time to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. The powers have given Iran until July 20 to reach comprehensive agreement on denuclearization. But what if Iran believes it has enough nuclear potential and the time has come for a strategic pause in its nuclear program? From a technological standpoint, Iran is in much the same class – in the sense of possessing the technical ability to build nuclear weapons – as Germany, Brazil, Japan, Korea and some 10 other nations. Iran grabbed the golden ring against fierce opposition, with a lot of help from A.Q. Khan of Pakistan, and is hardly likely to relinquish its nuclear gains after investing an estimated $100 billion.
By Jaya Ramachandran
NEW YORK (IDN | UN News) - A group of eight United Nations human rights independent experts have urged the Egyptian authorities to quash the 529 death sentences announced in Egypt and give the defendants new and fair trials, in line with international human rights law.
“The right to life is a fundamental right, not a toy to be played with. If the death penalty is to be used at all in countries which have not abolished it, international law requires the most stringent respect of a number of fundamental standards,” the experts said in a news statement.
By Joergen Oerstroem Moeller*
SINGAPORE (IDN | YaleGlobal) - Shale oil and gas has been labeled a game changer. Statistics would suggest that, yes, the new technologies and discoveries associated with hydraulic fracking change the energy picture and economic outlook, in particular for the United States, but less so than predictions would have it a year or two go.
The greater impact won’t be on the US economy, but rather US-Saudi relations and stability for the Middle East. President Barack Obama met King Abdullah March 28, and both leaders recognize that the geopolitical ground shaped by their common interest in stable oil prices has shifted, creating a new imbalance that could spill over into Mideast security policy.