United Nations General Assembly

The Decline of U.S. Global – and Israeli Regional – Influence.

On Nov. 29, 138 member states of the United Nations General Assembly voted in favour of giving Palestine “non-member observer state” status. Only nine voted no, 41 abstained. Beyond Middle East politics, the vote also mirrors the limits of the U.S. global, and the Israeli regional, empires: 138 defy their grip and favour change, 41+9=50 do not for various reasons. Who wants what?

India Reaffirms Death Penalty

One day after voting against a United Nations General Assembly draft resolution seeking to abolish the death penalty, India executed Pakistani national Mohammad Ajmal Kasab for the November 2008 terror rampage in Mumbai that left 166 people dead.

People Speak Up Over Disputed Islands

While the 40th anniversary of the normalisation of Japan-China relations passed under a dark shadow of rising tensions and bitter territorial disputes in East Asia, a strand of citizen-based diplomacy at the grassroots level is emerging in Japan as a path towards regional reconciliation.

Al-Nasser of Qatar Named High Representative for Alliance of Civilizations

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week  designated Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, President of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, as High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, replacing Jorge Sampaio.