Sunday, July 31, 2011

Palestinians in Lebanon voice growing support for Syrian protesters

''The picture of the 24-year-old [Suleiman Ghanem] hangs from loose wires above the poor, crowded and densely populated predominantly Palestinian neighborhood, where many residents have long supported the Syrian government because of its hard line against Israel and the fact that living conditions there for Palestinians are relatively good compared to those in neighboring Lebanon. But today, such support seems to be waning.''

Iranian sentenced to blinding for acid attack pardoned

An Iranian man who was ordered to be blinded for carrying out an acid attack on a woman has been pardoned by his victim, state television has said.
“Ameneh Bahrami had demanded qisas, a rarely used retributive justice under Sharia law, but the report said she had forgone that right at the last minute.
A court had backed Ms Bahrami's demand in 2008 that Majid Movahedi be blinded.
He attacked Ms Bahrami in 2004 after she had refused his offer of marriage, leaving her severely disfigured.
Rights group Amnesty International had lobbied against the sentence, calling it "cruel and inhuman punishment amounting to torture".”

At least 136 people killed in Syria

'Scores dead' as Syrian tanks storm Hama city

At least 136 people reportedly killed in violence throughout the country, a day ahead of the start of Ramadan.

"Syrian security forces have launched a major assault on Hama, the country's third-largest city, a day before the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The National Organisation for Human Rights, a Syrian activist group, said 136 people were killed in Hama and three other centres across the country on Sunday. 
The activist group reported at least 100 deaths in Hama, after tanks and soldiers stormed the city and said that dozens of anti-government protesters died in Deir ez-Zor, Harak and Al Bukamal.
Al Jazeera's Rula Amin said that the number of deaths "are on the rise and the government seems adamant in wanting to crush the protests".

Dozens Killed as Syrian Forces Storm Restive Cities

Syrian military and security forces stormed Hama and other restive cities before dawn on Sunday, killing at least 75 people in what appeared to mark the fiercest crackdown yet by the government of President Bashar al-Assad on the four-month old uprising against his rule, activists and residents there said.
The simultaneous raids on several cities came a day before the holy month of Ramadan, during which activists had vowed to escalate their uprising with nightly protests. The scale of the assault and the mounting death toll underlined the government’s intention to crush the uprising by force, despite international condemnations and its own tentative and mostly illusory reforms ostensibly aimed at placating protesters’ demands.”


Syrian forces killed at least 121 civilians and wounded hundreds in major tank assaults on Hama and other cities that began at dawn on Sunday to crush pro-democracy demonstrations, activists said.
“The army and security forces launched an attack on Hama and opened fire on civilians, killing 95 people,” Ammar Qorabi, who heads the National Organization for Human Rights, told AFP.
He said that elsewhere, “19 people were killed in Deir Ezzor in the east, six more died in Harak in the south and one in Al Bukamal,” also in the east.
Several observers wondered if Mr. Assad was truly in charge of the situation. Some suggested that his brother, Maher, may be leading the assault against pro-democracy protesters. Maher Assad is known for his personal brutality and intolerance of dissent.”

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Turkey's top four military chiefs quit ahead of key meeting

Head of the armed forces says he quit over jailed officers, in a move that reflects a deep rift between military and government; new ground forces commander appointed.

“Turkey said on Friday its top four military chiefs were all seeking retirement, in moves that appeared to reflect a deep rift between the secularist military and a government with roots in political Islam.
State-run Anatolian news agency said the head of the armed forces General Isik Kosaner and the commanders of the ground, naval and air forces were all stepping down, in what some Turkish media initially described as resignations.

Kosaner said he was quitting his post in protest at the jailing of military officers in a variety of court cases which meant he could no longer defend the rights of his staff, the Hurriyet news website reported.”

Friday, July 29, 2011

Federal judge has ordered Richard Nixon's secret 1975 Watergate testimony unsealed

“A federal judge has ordered the government to unseal grand jury transcripts of testimony by former President Richard Nixon about the Watergate scandal.
Ruling in a lawsuit brought by a historian and several historical associations, Chief U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ordered the transcripts to be unsealed.
The testimony was taken near Nixon’s California home in 1975 – after he had resigned in the wake of the scandal.
The Watergate scandal, which began with a June 1972 burglary in Washington, eventually led to the President’s resignation after investigations linked the burglars to top White House operatives.
“The special circumstances presented here – namely, undisputed historical interest in the requested records – far outweigh the need to maintain the secrecy of the records,” Lamberth wrote. “The Court is confident that disclosure will greatly benefit the public and its understanding of Watergate without compromising the tradition and objectives of grand jury secrecy.”
The government is entitled to appeal the ruling.”

Gaza’s children defy raid on their UN camp to retake kite-flying record

"Defying intimidation, children in Gaza stood their ground to wrestle the world record for kite flying back from China, hours after their United Nations-run summer camp facility was attacked by unknown assailants.

According to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 10 men attacked and vandalized the facility in north-west Gaza early today. The attackers damaged a large billboard, burned a UN flag and torched part of the stage.
In the kite-flying event, the official tally of children flying flags was more than 13,000. The verified figure will be released tomorrow. But the result beats the previous record of 10,465, which had been claimed in April by the Kite Association of Weifang Binhai Economic Technological Development Area in Weifang City, Shandong Province, China.
“Taking on the might of China is a daunting feat for the children of Gaza,” said UNRWA acting director in Gaza, Christer Nordahl. “But they have risen brilliantly to the challenge as they have done three times already this year.”
The new kite-flying feat by the Gaza youngsters follows their breaking of three world records in the past several weeks – the highest number flying parachutes from the ground, the largest number of people dribbling footballs and creating the largest ever hand painting."

Appeals court rejects plea to stay execution of Delaware inmate set to die by lethal injection

“A panel of three federal judges has denied requests by Robert W. Jackson III’s attorneys this afternoon to delay the convicted murderer’s execution set for early Friday morning.
Jackson’s team were still holding hope, saying they still have motions before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The judges from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals heard the requests via telephone at 5 p.m. in the Philadelphia Federal Courthouse at Sixth and Market streets, said Jason Miller, spokesman for the Delaware Attorney General’s Office.
One of the main issues attorneys brought up is the use of pentobarbital, the lethal injection that is to be administered in Friday’s execution. It has been used 18 times but attorneys argued that it has had its problems.
A Florida court halted an execution this week because of concerns over the new death penalty drug.
A second issue raised by Jackson’s attorneys is whether he is even guilty of the 1992 killing of 47-year-old Elizabeth Girardi during a robbery at her Hockessin home.”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Norway's ambassador: Palestinian appeal to UN legitimate in lieu of treaty with Israel

Norway's ambassador to Israel told Haaretz Wednesday that in lieu of a negotiated peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians, it is legitimate for the Palestinians to appeal to the United Nations, but that his country supports Israel, and has always supported it.

The Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO were struck in Norway between 1993 and 1995, and are the legal framework for the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in matters including security, economy and infrastructure.

"The history of Norway vis-a-vis Israel is one of great support -- all the time: from the inception, through all these years, a lot of support," Norwegian Ambassador Svein Sevje told Haaretz on Wednesday, hours before boarding a flight back to Oslo.”

About Gaza

"About Gaza": documentary created and produced by Pietro Bellorini and Simone Camilli.

Israel announces full diplomatic ties with South Sudan

"The Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that Israel has established full diplomatic relations with the government of the newly UN-recognized South Sudan.

"The practical aspects of the relations such as accrediting ambassadors will soon be discussed through the diplomatic channels," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
In recent days, an Israeli delegation visited the South Sudan capital of Juba and held talks with senior government officials.

Earlier this month, the United Nations has welcomed South Sudan as its 193rd member, just six days after it had declared independence from the Arab-led northern part of Sudan following a decades-old conflict."

عريقات يعد دراسة تتضمن الملف القانوني والسياسي والاعلامي لأيلول

"انتهى الدكتور صائب عريقات رئيس الوفد الفلسطيني لمفاوضات المرحلة النهائية عضو اللجنة التنفيذية للمنظمة من اصدار الدراسة رقم 7 متضمنة مجموعة من الدراسات واوراق العمل المتعلقة بالمجالات القانونية والسياسية والاجرائية والاعلامية الخاصة بعضوية فلسطين على حدود الرابع من حزيران 1967 وعاصمتها القدس الشرقية اضافة الى ملفات تتعلق بالخروقات الاسرائيلية والنشاطات الاستيطانية منذ مطلع شهر كانون ثاني الى بداية شهر تموز 2011 .

وتتضمن الدراسة التي تقع في 106 صفحات من القطع الكبير باللغتين العربية والانجليزية خيار الاعتراف وخيار العضوية واجراءات ومراحل تقديم الطلب وما هو واجب عمله وكذلك النظام الداخلي المؤقت لمجلس الامن والنظام الداخلي للجمعية العامة للامم المتحدة وقبول اعضاء جدد في الامم المتحدة وطلبات العضوية".

House Democrats to Obama: Raise debt limit by invoking 14th Amendment if necessary

"A trio of House Democratic leaders is calling on President Obama to move unilaterally to raise the country’s debt ceiling next week if Congress passes anything less than a long-term extension of the federal borrowing limit.
House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (S.C.), Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) and Caucus Vice-Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) said after a closed-door caucus meeting Wednesday that they are calling on Obama both to veto a short-term deal and sign an executive order invoking the Constitution’s 14th Amendment to avert default on Aug. 2.
“I would say to the President that if that’s what lands on his desk – a short term lifting of the debt ceiling -- he should put it on his desk next to an executive order that he will have drawn up,” Clyburn told reporters at the Capitol. “And with the same pen that he vetoes that short term debt ceiling extension, he should sign an executive order invoking the Fourteenth Amendment.”
The notion of invoking the 14th Amendment in order to raise the debt ceiling has gained traction among some Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton, as a means of averting default in case Congress does not reach a debt-limit agreement by Aug. 2, when the Treasury Department says the U.S. faces default"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ما الذي قد نحصل عليه من الأمم المتحدة في أيلول؟

الأمر الوحيد الذي قد نحصل عليه في أيلول هو صدور قرار (توصية) من الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة بالاعتراف بدولة فلسطين. لكن لن يكون لهذا القرار سوى قيمة رمزية أو سياسية.
أما بخصوص عضوية الأمم المتحدة، فلا يمكن الحصول عليها في حال استخدام الولايات المتحدة الفيتو في مجلس الأمن ضد مشروع توصية بمنح فلسطين العضوية في الأمم المتحدة، هذا من ناحية. ومن ناحية أخرى، حتى قرار الجمعية العامة "الاتحاد من أجل السلام" لا يسعفنا في هذه الحالة لتجاوز أو الالتفاف حول الفيتو، ومن ثم التوجه للجمعية العامة لدراسة الأمر. مما يعني أن استخدام الفيتو يشكل نهاية الطريق نحو حصول فلسطين على عضوية الأمم المتحدة.

Abbas tells Palestinians: Step up Arab Spring-style protests against Israel

Abbas tells Palestinians: Step up Arab Spring-style protests against Israel

“President Mahmoud Abbas urged Palestinians on Wednesday to step up peaceful protests against Israel, urging "popular resistance" inspired by the Arab Spring to back a diplomatic offensive at the United Nations.

Abbas, addressing a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) meeting, reiterated his decision to seek full UN membership for Palestinian state alongside Israel, saying it was a diplomatic move resulting from paralysis in the U.S.-backed peace process.

"In this coming period, we want mass action, organized and coordinated in every place," Abbas said. "This is a chance to raise our voices in front of the world and say that we want our rights."

Though the United States is expected to block their quest for a full seat, the Palestinians expect to secure at least an upgrade in their UN status during September's General Assembly meeting in New York.”

Robert Serry, UN envoy warns of profound deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

“The political process to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in “profound and persistent” deadlock, a senior United Nations envoy warned today, calling on the parties to work towards a two-State solution and on the international community to help them find a credible way forward.

Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told a meeting of the Security Council that efforts to find the necessary common ground for resumed negotiations have proven extremely difficult, given the differences and lack of trust between the parties.
“Political leaders on both sides are frustrated, as are their publics,” he said at the start of a debate that was expected to hear from over 35 speakers. “This is particularly acute on the Palestinian side, in the absence of a credible political horizon for ending the occupation that began in 1967. Israelis remain concerned about achieving lasting security and end of conflict.”
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since late September following Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.
That decision prompted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which had only resumed a few weeks earlier after a two-year hiatus.
“The political process to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in profound and persistent deadlock,” stated Mr. Serry, who along with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been calling repeatedly on the parties to re-engage in direct talks.
“We continue to urge the parties to find a way forward at this sensitive and important time. We hope that the international community can help by shaping a legitimate and balanced framework,” he added.
The envoy noted that both Mr. Abbas and Mr. Netanyahu continue to reiterate their desire to negotiate. However, in the absence of a framework for meaningful talks, and with Israeli settlement activity continuing, the Palestinians are actively exploring approaching the UN.
“President Abbas states that he remains committed to negotiations, and that efforts in the United Nations would help to preserve the two-State solution. Israel opposes this course of action, stating that it will make negotiations for a two-State solution more difficult to achieve,” he said

Libyan diplomats expelled from Britain to make way for transitional council

“All Libyan embassy staff are to be expelled from Britain, the UK foreign office has announced.

"The move will pave the way for the opposition national transitional council (NTC) to establish a replacement embassy in London.

The renewed diplomatic offensive comes as British aircraft have stepped up the bombing against Muammar Gaddafi's security and intelligence apparatus before the arrival of Ramadan, on 1 August.

On Monday, there were signs that Britain was softening its position when the foreign secretary, William Hague, said that Gaddafi could stay in Libya if he agreed to relinquish his hold on power.

Hague will confirm details of the expulsion in a speech at the foreign office on Wednesday. A foreign office spokeswoman said that the charge d'affaires had been called into the foreign office and told that he and all remaining staff at the Libyan embassy were being expelled.”

122 UN Member States recognize Palestine

Why recognize Palestine?
"The right of the Palestinian people to an independent, sovereign state has awaited implementation for sixty-four years. It is a debt owed by the international community to the Palestinian People that is long-overdue".

الأمم المتحدة تعترف بوصول الطرفين الفلسطيني والاسرائيلي الى طريق مسدود

"اعترفت الأمم المتحدة اليوم الثلاثاء بوصول العملية السياسية لتسوية النزاع الإسرائيلي الفلسطيني الى حالة من الجمود العميق والتي دفعت الجانب الفلسطيني للتخطيط للذهاب للامم المتحدة للبحث عن بدائل.

وقال روبرت سيري، المنسق الخاص للامم المتحدة لعملية السلام في الشرق الأوسط، ان الجهود المبذولة لدفع الجانبين لاستئناف المفاوضات اصبحت صعبة للغاية.

واضاف "في غياب اطار عمل لمحادثات ذات مغزى، ومع استمرار النشاط الاستيطاني الإسرائيلي، فان الفلسطينيين ينوون الاقتراب من من الامم المتحدة منتصف سبتمر القادم".

فى وقت سابق اليوم، قال السفير الإسرائيلي لدى الأمم المتحدة ، رون بروسور، ان هذه الخطوة من جانب واحد لقيام الدولة الفلسطينية في ايلول لن تجلب السلام الى منطقتنا."

Israel’s illegal practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

Identical letters dated 19 July 2011 from the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council

"It is with grave concern that I draw your attention to the escalation of Israel’s illegal practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Since our last letter to you, dated 6 July 2011, the Israeli occupying forces have continued to use excessive and lethal force against Palestinian civilians, including via massive air strikes against the besieged Gaza Strip, causing civilian casualties as well as destruction to Palestinian homes and properties and natural resources, such as wells. At the same time, the occupying Power is recklessly continuing its massive and illegal colonial settlement campaign in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, gravely undermining the contiguity and integrity of the Territory and taking us farther away from realizing the two-State solution based on pre-June 1967 borders." (thanks Marguerite) 

In Shift, Britain Says Qaddafi Could Remain in Libya

"France appeared on Tuesday to have persuaded Britain to support a shift in attitude toward Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, suggesting that he could be allowed to remain in Libya in return for giving up power in a broader deal including a cease-fire.
In talks in London late Monday, the British foreign secretary, William Hague, met his French counterpart, Alain Juppé, who said last week that “one of the scenarios” to resolve the conflict in Libya “is that he stays in Libya on one condition, which I repeat: that he very clearly steps aside from Libyan political life.”
Previously, Britain had insisted that Colonel Qaddafi leave the country as part of a settlement. That could expose him to arrest under a warrant on war crimes charges issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Israeli, Palestinian envoys square off over UN recognition

Palestinian envoy says UN recognition of Palestinian statehood would not harm the peace process, while Israeli ambassador says unilateral move would not lead to peace.

Israeli and Palestinian envoys squared off on Tuesday over plans to seek UN recognition of a state of Palestine in September, which Israel rejected as an attempt to bypass direct peace talks.

''Speaking at a regular meeting of the UN Security Council on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Palestinian observer Riyad Mansour said seeking UN recognition would not hurt the peace process and would instead strengthen efforts to achieve a negotiated "two-state solution."
"The consecration of the two-state solution in bold resolutions -- including recognition of the state of Palestine…on the basis of the pre-1967 borders and its admission as a full member of the organization -- will help to make the two-state solution more inevitable," he said.''

''Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor made clear the Jewish state was strongly opposed to the Palestinian push at the UN. "Now is the time for the international community to tell the Palestinian leadership what it refuses to tell its own people -- there are no shortcuts to statehood," he told the 15-nation council. "You cannot bypass the only path to peace.
"The Palestinians will have to make compromises and make hard choices," Prosor said. "They will have to get off the bandwagon of unilateralism and back to the hard work of direct peacemaking."

The Dilemma of Humanitarian Intervention

"The crackdown by Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi on mass anti-regime protests in early 2011 resulted in strong condemnation by the international community. In a historic move, the UN Security Council invoked the principle of "responsibility to protect" and adopted Resolution 1973, endorsing a no-fly zone over Libya and authorizing member states to "take all necessary measures" to protect civilians under attack from Qaddafi's government. As a result, some Western countries, including the United States, began air strikes over Libya, which spurred a debate on whether forced intervention was warranted. Countries like Russia, China, Brazil, and India abstained from voting on the UN resolution, spotlighting the sensitive nature of the issue. Some states in Asia and Africa, especially former colonies, have long seen intervention of any kind as a threat to their sovereignty. This was evident in the divide that followed a devastating cyclone in Myanmar in May 2008. There have been some instances in the recent past where countries have opened up to outside aid in the aftermath of natural disasters, but sovereignty remains a sticking point". Click here to read the full text.

Former Israeli diplomats in Washington: 1967 borders are defensible

''A group of former Israeli army officials and diplomats visited Washington Monday, claiming that a peace agreement with the Palestinians is urgent in spite of, and because of, regional turmoil, and that contrary to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims, the 1967 borders are, in fact, defensible.

The group visited the White House on Monday and met with the National Security Council Director for Middle East and North Africa Steven Simon, and were to have meetings later in the evening with acting Middle East envoy David Hale and officials at the Pentagon.''

Monday, July 25, 2011

محمود شريف بسيوني يترأس اللجنة الدولية لتقصي الحقائق في البحرين

"عقدت اللجنة الدولية المستقلة لتقصي الحقائق في أحداث شهري فبراير ومارس (شباط وآذار) بالبحرين التي تم تشكيلها بأمر العاهل البحريني أولى جلساتها بحضور 300 شخصية تمثل الجمعيات السياسية وشخصيات حقوقية واجتماعية، ودشن خلال اللقاء موقع إلكتروني لتلقي الشكاوى والآراء التي بدأت بالانهمار بالمئات مباشرة.
وأوضح رئيس اللجنة محمود شريف بسيوني لـ"العربية.نت" أن اللجنة هي "الأولى من نوعها في تاريخ البلاد متمنيا أن "تكون سابقة خير"، وأشار إلى أنها تضم 5 أعضاء وسينضم لها عضو سادس في القادم من الأيام ليتم توزيعهم على محاور مختلفة لن تبحث في الآثار الاجتماعية والاقتصادية والنفسية للأحداث لأن مهامها سترتكز في تحري ما إذا كانت هناك انتهاكات لحقوق الإنسان قد وقعت في البلاد.

وشدد على أن اللجنة تتمتع بالاستقلالية والسرية وأن مهمتها سترتكز على توضيح الحقائق بكل دقة ومهنية وشفافية، موضحا أنها تضم شخصيات قانونية مرموقة تحظى باحترام وتقدير عالمي لما تملكه من دراية ومعرفة وخبرة معمقة في القانون الدولي الخاص بحقوق الإنسان وما تتمتع به من نزاهة وأمانة واستقلال، على حد قوله"

Palestine, the UN, and international law

"Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states," notes the UN Charter. The admission depends on "a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council", the Charter continues. The conditions sound feasible, but for Palestine the reality of international politics has been blocking its way into the world institution for decades.

Fearing a delegitimisation of Israel, the Obama administration has already indicated it will veto a decision of the Security Council to grant Palestine statehood. The US still hopes for a prior comprehensive peace agreement. An open debate on the Middle East is scheduled in the Security Council for July 26. From the angle of international law, it will be hard not to grant UN membership to Palestine”

Outcome of Brussels Summit: Europe Takes Step Closer to Economic Government

"With the new aid package for Greece, Europe's leaders have not ended the battle for the euro, but they have given Athens time. The new bailout also takes the euro zone a step closer to having an economic government"

Syria to allow political parties

The Syrian government has adopted a draft law that allows the formation of political parties other than the ruling Baath party, state media say.

"The Baath party has governed Syria for nearly half a century.
The law appears to prohibit parties founded on the basis of religion, or tribal or regional affiliation.
A multi-party political system is a key demand of anti-government protesters who have taken to the streets across Syria since March to demand reform.
The Baath party banned opposition groups in Syria after the military coup in 1963 that brought it to power.
Under the constitution, the Baath "leads society and state".
"The government adopted a draft law regarding political parties in Syria as part of a programme of reform aimed at enriching the political life, creating a new dynamic and allowing for a change in political power," the official news agency Sana said.
Political parties have to adhere to "democratic principles", the state agency said.
Syria has seen four months of protest against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
Human rights groups say that about 1,400 civilians and 350 security forces personnel have died in the four months of protest.
On Friday, tens of thousands of Syrians again took to the streets in protest across the country, in defiance of a widespread crackdown.
The government blames the unrest on "armed criminal gangs" backed by a foreign conspiracy."

U.E - Faut-il une Europe fédérale?

L'Union européenne n'en finit plus d'enchaîner plans d'aide et autres mesures de sauvetage en direction de certains pays endettés de la zone euro. A tel point que des voix s'élèvent pour demander des solutions durables sous la forme d'une intégration plus poussée. Mais si l'idée de la mort de la monnaie unique fait frémir, celle de la mise en place d'une Union fédérale européenne divise

"Grèce début 2010, Irlande fin 2010, Portugal en juin 2011, depuis un an et demi, les risques de faillite se succèdent dans une Europe frappée par la crise financière et économique mondiale.  Pour y remédier, les solutions de rafistolage adoptées tant bien que mal sous la forme principalement de prêts astronomiques ne résolvent rien à long terme. La semaine passée encore, l'accord trouvé in extremis pour voler au secours de la Grèce souligne si besoin était de la nécessité de faire prochainement des choix difficiles. Plus que jamais, l'Union européenne se retrouve à la croisée des chemins: doit-elle se résigner à enterrer la monnaie unique ou au contraire, doit-elle opter pour le grand bond en avant vers une gestion fédérale qui garantirait sa survie monétaire? Une question éminemment bien plus politique qu'économique ou financière."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

France to buy Israeli-made drones, ending 42-year weapons embargo

"The French Defense Ministry decided last week to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel, thereby bringing an end to a 42-year-old embargo on weapon purchases imposed by President Charles de Gaulle. The approved sale of Heron TP, or Eitan, will be the first time the drone is sold to a foreign country.

The Eitan is the largest and most sophisticated drone made in Israel. It is assembled by Israel Aerospace Industries, and went into operational service in the Israeli Air Force a year and a half ago. The Eitan has a wingspan of 26 meters – similar to that of a Boeing 737. It is capable of carrying out reconnaissance and intelligence missions in an altitude of up to 40,000 feet, and can remain airborne 36 hours. Eitan's large size allows it to carry a variety of equipment such as radars, sensors and camera, and, theoretically, missiles."

Justice Department declines request to reinvestigate Malcolm X assassination

Justice Department Declines to Reopen Malcolm X Case

“The Justice Department has declined a request to reinvestigate the Malcolm X assassination, saying that the statute of limitations has expired on any federal laws that might apply, like the National Firearms Act of 1934, according to a statement released Saturday.

Historians have long viewed the assassination as unsolved, as The Times reported Saturday. Several experts have argued that the Justice Department could take up the case under the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007, but the department, without elaborating, said the crime did not fit the parameters of that act.

Alvin Sykes, an advocate for justice in civil rights-era cold cases, has suggested that the department has the discretion to investigate even if no prosecution is possible, an authority that has been used in the past to examine the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But Malcolm X, the department said, does not rate similar treatment.”

UN points to possible crimes against humanity in Syria

“UN officials have said Syrian security forces may have committed crimes against humanity in their crackdown on protesters, as at least eight more civilians were killed in massive protests against President Bashar Al Assad’s rule.
The UN concerns were expressed in a statement late Friday by Francis Deng, special adviser to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations on the prevention of genocide, and Edward Luck, the special adviser on the responsibility to protect.
“Based on available information, the special advisers consider that the scale and gravity of the violations indicate a serious possibility that crimes against humanity may have been committed and continue to be committed in Syria,” the joint statement said.
The two called for an “independent, thorough, and objective investigation” of the events in Syria.

They echoed calls by Mr. Ban to the Syrian government to allow humanitarian access to areas affected by the unrest and to facilitate the visit of the UN Human Rights Council-mandated fact-finding mission to the country.
“Without these steps, it will be very difficult to defuse existing tensions and to prevent the escalation of violence,” they said.”

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rape in war: No more excuses

"Last month, the first woman ever was convicted of genocide. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, Rwanda's former minister for family and women's affairs, guilty of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including rape, for her role in planning and ordering others to carry out these crimes during the country's 1994 genocide.

Some, including some feminists, might find it uncomfortable to deal with the fact that women can plan and direct violence. But Nyiramasuhuko's conviction, in particular for rape, should be celebrated as a giant step forward for women's rights.There are two main reasons for this"

President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek on Norway attacks

The President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek condemns the bomb attack on government headquarters in Norway.

"President Buzek said:

On behalf of the European Parliament, I totally condemn the attack on government headquarters. I offer our deep and profound sympathy and condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and injured by this shocking act of violence. Norway has been providing good services for peace in the most volatile spots areas around the globe. The last thing Norway deserves is a terrorist attack on its soil. Terrorist attacks are never justified anywhere.

Terrorism will never succeed to change our values. Europe is united in its fight against terrorism of all kinds.

I want to express my solidarity with the Norwegian people and authorities in reacting promptly and managing swiftly such a regrettable and despicable acts."

Death Toll Rises to 91 in Norway Attacks

"The Norwegian police on Saturday charged a 32-year-old man, whom they identified as a Christian fundamentalist with right-wing connections, over the bombing of a government center here and a shooting attack on a nearby island that together left at least 91 people dead.

The police said they did not know if the man, identified in the Norwegian press as Anders Behring Breivik, was part of a larger conspiracy. He is being questioned under the country’s terrorism laws and is cooperating with the investigation, they said"

Friday, July 22, 2011

Verhofstadt: Action is long over due, but still not complete

Euro area Summit: Action is long over due, but still not complete

Following yesterday's Euro area Summit conclusions, ALDE Leader Guy Verhofstadt said:

"Yesterday EU Heads of government and state did what was necessary. Only a reduction of the interest rates and extended repayment periods for Greece, Portugal and Ireland could mitigate the crisis and foster stability in the eurozone. It was the right decision.  We also welcome the decision to make the EFSF more flexible, especially by empowering it to "preventively" act and to buy in the secondary market. It is a step toward its "de facto" conversion into a real European Monetary Fund. It was long over due."

"If an improvement to the current system must be acknowledged, a solution for the long term is still missing. They have not delivered the much needed fiscal and economic union. We also regret that Member States did not again show the courage to take the longer term step to meet the inevitable, namely to create a Eurobond market." he added

Referring to the pending agreement between the Council and the EP on economic governance mentioned in the Summit conclusions, Verhofstadt added: "We hope that the call for reaching an agreement in the specific case of the voting rules in the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact means supporting the Parliament's position."

OCHA Humanitarian Fact Sheet on Area C of the West Bank, July 2011

The OCHA Humanitarian Fact Sheet on Area C of the West Bank, July 2011.

OCHA Report “Protection of Civilians Weekly Report”, 13 – 19 July 2011

OCHA Report “Protection of Civilians Weekly Report”, 13 – 19 July 2011.

ICJ: Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal)

Questions relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal) 

ICC International justice - First generation tribunals

"Following the Second World War, the victorious Allied Forces tried over 200 prominent Nazi leaders for war crimes in international tribunals established specifically for that purpose. Headed by judges representing the four Allied powers, the trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany from 1945 to 1949. While the tribunals’ jurisdiction was limited to violations of the laws of war and to crimes committed during the Second World War, the Nuremberg trials were a watershed in international criminal law, recognising individual responsibility for crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
A similar tribunal was established in Tokyo, Japan. The International Military Tribunal to the Far East (‘the Tokyo Tribunal’) was constituted by judges representing 11 different nations and was in operation from 1946 to 1948. The Tokyo Tribunal heard cases against 28 Japanese military and political leaders and thousands of Japanese nationals for crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Nuremberg and Tokyo trials therefore contributed extensively to the creation and development of international criminal law and responsibility. Perhaps most significantly, the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials established the principle of individual responsibility for serious violations of international law, notwithstanding that the individual may have acted under orders from his or her superiors. However, the achievements of the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials were undermined by criticisms of the application of ex post facto law and victor’s justice"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Syrian political activist George Sabra detained and at risk of torture

Amnesty International:

Syrian political activist George Sabra has been detained incommunicado at an unknown location since 20 July as part of mass arrests by the Syrian army and security forces in the town of Qatana, south-west of the capital, Damascus. He is at serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

"Tanks and armed men moved into Qatana, south-west of the capital, on 16July, opening fire on unarmed residents and carrying out raids, randomly arresting dozens of men between the ages of 18 and 40. Political activist George Sabra, aged 64, is among those held incommunicado at unknown locations. Amnesty International is particularly concerned for his safety given reports of widespread torture across Syria"