Monday, July 30, 2007
Read the whole article here.
The nations of "Pacific Rim" should define the dominant center of a forward looking US foreign policy. It is a great relief, and greatly to the credit of Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, who fought stiff and dogged opposition to bring about the establishment of a human rights commission. The charter still has to be ratified, so we should pray for this.
Singapre Foreign Minister George Yeo gestures as he assumes the chairmanship of the SEANWFZ (Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone) in Manila, 30 Jul 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
America plans $20bn arms deals for allies in the GulfPaul Harris in New York
Sunday July 29, 2007
Read the whole article here.
This is terrible news. The US has already greatly de-stabilized the region by failing to establish Afghanistan following the legitimate disassembling of Taliban rule following 9-11, and so leaving the Taliban in place. The US has already brought half a trillion in military spending into Iraq. And now Pakistan teeters on a fragile brink. If you care to read about just one of the time-bombs ticking in Afghanistan due to the US failure to pay attention to re-construction needs there, read this article in the New Yorker entitled "Taliban's Opium War."
Now, instead of being a source of upliftment, embodied compassion, and life giving investment, this administration instead itches to pump 20 billion dollars worth of high tech arms into this needy, unstable tinderbox. In our name US chooses to become gun runners in the most volatile place in human history. The Observer article notes:
The flow of arms to Saudi Arabia is of particular concern. Not only are some Saudi factions suspected of being supporters of Sunni insurgents in neighbouring Iraq, there is also a fear that the Saudi royal family could one day fall prey to an Islamist revolution.
If that happens, the new weapons could end up being used by radicals against Western interests. Israeli officials and their supporters in Washington are reportedly lobbying against the Gulf deal but they have been overruled by an administration that has made countering Iranian interests its highest priority.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The Associated Press
July 25, 2007
JERUSALEM: The Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers met Israeli leaders Wednesday to discuss an Arab League peace plan, originally presented in 2002 and recently revived. Here are the main points and Israel's responses:
_ Arab League: Israel must withdraw from all the territories it captured in 1967 war — the West Bank, Golan Heights and east Jerusalem (Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005).
Israel: Insists on border adjustments to reflect its security needs and Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank. Opposes division of Jerusalem. Peace talks with Syria broke down in 2000 though Israel offered withdrawal from the Golan to the international boundary.
_ Arab League: In return for total withdrawal, Israel would receive "full normalization" of relations with all Arab states.
Israel: Welcomes peaceful relations with Arab states but insists on formal peace treaties with its neighbors.
_ Arab League: An "agreed solution" to the Palestinian refugee issue would be negotiated, based on U.N. General Assembly Resolution 191.
Israel: Fears that the reference to the U.N. resolution is a code for the "right of return," the long-standing Palestinian demand that the 700,000 refugees from the 1948-49 war that followed Israel's creation, and their 3 million descendants, have the right to reclaim their original homes in Israel, flooding the Jewish state with Arabs. Israel believes refugees should receive compensation and be resettled where they are now or in the new Palestinian state.
_ Arab League: An independent Palestinian state should be created with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Israel: Accepts creation of a Palestinian state but opposes handing over any part of Jerusalem. A past government offered to cede Arab sections of the city to the new state, but talks broke down.
By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM - The foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan began a historic visit to Israel on Wednesday to formally present an Arab peace plan, saying they were extending "a hand of peace" on behalf of the region.
The ministers arrived as representatives of the Arab League, the first time the 22-member group has sent a delegation to the Jewish state. The Arab League peace plan envisions full recognition of Israel in return for evacuation of lands captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Israel's President Shimon Peres (C), Jordan's Foreign Minister Abdelelah al-Khatib (L) and Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit meet in Jerusalem July 25, 2007, in this picture released by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO). Egyptian and Jordanian envoys opened the first talks in Israel over a landmark Arab League land-for-peace plan on Wednesday, saying they hoped to create conditions that will lead to a Palestinian state. REUTERS/Amos
This is wonderful news. The dialogue will be a very hard sell. There may be setbacks along the way, but we should all pray for the principals in this dialogue, and pray for the success of these and future talks.
Monday, July 23, 2007
By KIM GAMEL
The Associated Press
BAGHDAD — The United States and Iran have set a date for ambassador-level talks in Baghdad on the deteriorating security situation in Iraq — the first such meeting since late May, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Sunday.
Read this article (<-- Click)
These have to be enormously difficult talks. It is good that the players are trying to define clearly the parameters of the talks. It is unfortunate, due to the respective sets of detainees, that the talks are likely to take on a bartering, and posturing tenor, but that aside, whenever a community arises in which "enemy" people develop personal knowledge and personal relationships, this is a vital and precious resource for progress. I pray for success and progress to come of these talks.
U.S. soldiers question a man in Baghdad after their platoon was shot at by a mortar Sunday. Deteriorating security in Iraq is to be discussed Tuesday by U.S. and Iranian representatives.
The man might be guilty, might know something, might be innocent. Does the man need to be interrogated? Yes. Are the soldiers doing anything wrong? No. Are any members of the man's family nearby? Are there any children nearby? If you are a school child, this is what Americans look like. This is what Americans do.
In these years and months we are building a stable pro-American democracy in Iraq? We need until September or until November to get the answer to this question?
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
American voters should be calling for and looking for leaders who can bring the US to lead and engage the world with a broader grasp of the complexities and multiple fronts that define contemporary international relations.
Russia's decision here is very serious.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Surges don't come in "lengths" that's why they're called surges.
Iraq war report implies longer US surgeIraq war report implies longer US surgeBy extending troop deployments in Iraq from 12 months to 15 months, the Army has made it possible for Bush to maintain the troop buildup until about April 2008. But if he wanted to go beyond that it would require some even more painful moves by the Army, at the risk of reaching a breaking point.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Following the mid term collapse of the president's party, the president announced (after having already begun) the "troop surge."
Now, with the collapse of Republican support for the invasion, the president has ordered up a belligerent naval presence there not seen since the dawn of the Iraq invasion.
The US today increased its naval presence in the Gulf by sending a third aircraft carrier to the area because of what it said was "coercive" behaviour by some countries.
The entire article is very much worth the read!
Wind forward two years and the story has changed.
Muslim activists and imams from across the country gathered in London to consider what could be done to tackle extremism.
Britain's Muslims have launched their most concerted attempt yet to win the hearts and minds of the public and distance themselves from the activities of violent extremists who claim to act in the name of their faith.
Monday, July 9, 2007