The West continues its strong political and military support to one of its longstanding allies in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia –- despite withering criticism of the kingdom’s battlefield excesses in the ongoing war in neighbouring Yemen.
Taiwan may soon be the first nation in Asia to resolve to become a nuclear free nation after four decades of reliance on nuclear power.
The “big five” – i.e., the most military powerful states on earth (US, UK, France, Russia and China) have just agreed that it would be about time to end the Syrian five-year long human tragedy.
On 21 November 2015, during ACCORD’s 2015 Africa Peace Award celebration, I made a call for the United Nations to convene the first ever UN Global Conference on Peace.
Details of a secret detention center, where serious human rights abuses took place, deep inside the sprawling Tricomalee Naval base in the east of Sri Lanka are slowly emerging.
South Asian integration remains a distant dream as some member countries like Nepal resent India’s big brotherly dominance in the region. They perceive that they have no stakes in India’s rise as an economic power. Ensuring unrestricted market access perhaps would have made a big difference in this regard. Their resentment has only deepened as this hasn’t happened. Instead they have registered growing trade deficits with India! The on-going travails of the Himalayan kingdom vis-a-vis India exemplify the problematic nature of integration in a region that accounts for 44 per cent of the world’s poor and one-fourth of its’ population.
While the war in Syria continues to draw in more outside forces, the work towards finding a political solution to this five-year old conflict carries on. In the past week, no less than three separate conferences were organized by different clusters of opposition groups. Conferences were held in three places: Damascus, Dêrîk – a city in the Kurdish-controlled northern part of Syria – and Riyadh, the Saudi capital, respectively.
A new public opinion survey undertaken in six Arab countries, Iran, and Turkey finds that people are more likely to blame “corrupt, repressive, and unrepresentative governments” and “religious figures and groups promoting extremist ideas and/or incorrect religious interpretations” for the rise of violent groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State than they are to blame “anger at the United States.”
Thavarasa Utharai’s most treasured belongings are stuck inside several plastic bags and tucked within old traveling bags.
As in most countries, in Iran too there are hardliners and moderates. All polls show that a large majority of Iranians support the nuclear deal (or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA) between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, France and Germany), while a small but powerful group of hardliners opposes it. The Iranian parliament has finally approved the deal, but after a great deal of controversy and with some reservations.
This week, the United Nations Security Council is holding an open debate to undertake its High Level Review of the 15 years of implementation of the landmark Resolution 1325 on “Women and Peace and Security.”
Although some regional countries initially opposed the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany), once the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the two sides in July 2015, practically all regional countries welcomed it. After the initial agreement in Lausanne, U.S. President Barack Obama invited all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders to a Camp David summit in May and all of them expressed support for the deal.
Relations between Iran and Israel go back almost to the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948. Iran was the second Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel as a sovereign state, following Turkey, and the two countries had very close diplomatic and even military cooperation for many decades.
Speaking about the framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme that was reached between Iran, the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States plus Germany) and the European Union, Joseph Cirincione, a leading nuclear expert and president of Ploughshares Fund, said:
As the United Nations commemorates its 70th anniversary, the world body is re-assessing and re-evaluating its 16 peacekeeping missions costing a staggering 8.3 billion dollars in 2015-2016 – even as military conflicts and domestic insurgencies continue to spread, mostly in Africa, including the Central African Republic, Mali, South Sudan, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).