Posts Tagged ‘UN General Assembly’

Can the outside world intervene to stop the slaughter in Syria?

February 17, 2012

Last March a few young Syrian boys— all under 17 — wrote on a wall in the farm town of Dara’a in southern Syria, a slogan that had appeared first in Tunisia, then quickly in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya:  “The people want the regime to fall.”

The local governor threw the boys in jail, and so the Syrian revolution started.

Thirty years ago Syria’s brutal president, Hafez al-Assad, put down an anti-government demonstration in the city of Hama by killing 20,000-40,000 residents. His son and successor, Bashar al-Assad, appears to be made of the same stuff. His forces have killed 5,000-7,000* in towns all over Syria, and his killing machine seems to be gaining momentum.

The Arab League and the UN General Assembly have called for an end to the killing and for Assad to leave power. Assad’s answer has been to double down.

It’s anguishing to watch the newscasts or read about the slaughter of innocents and feel helpless to stop it. Until the past few weeks outside help was impossible: unlike Libya, where the rebels controlled large chunks of territory and could be supplied and aided easily, in Syria the opposition was scattered and controlled no territory.

Now that’s changing. CNN’s Ivan Watson is reporting that militants in northern Syria hold substantial territory (more…)

Israel whistles, the United States comes running. No matter what’s right

September 23, 2011

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, told a cheering UN General Assembly today, “I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for full admission to the United Nations.”

Who can disagree? The government of Israel, for one. And if the GOI objects, the American right will come right along. And so, sadly, will President Obama. Conscience takes a back seat when votes are about to be counted.

Obama’s speech to the UN was a craven surrender to the Israeli government’s demand that we oppose the Palestinian request. This is an ethical disaster, as well as a realpolitik one. It will wipe out the good will Obama earned with his earlier calls for honorable treatment of the Palestinians and his once-brave insistence on a halt to Israeli expansion into the West Bank. Forgotten, too, will be his siding with the Arab Spring, outweighed as it is among most Muslims and young people everywhere (including in Israel) by his opposition to Palestinian rights.

Obama did have support for his position. To Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Obama’s speech was a “badge of honor.” This is the same Netanyahu that President Clinton blamed, as recently as yesterday, for preventing a peace deal.

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman liked the speech even more, telling a news conference, “I congratulate President Obama, and I am ready to sign on this speech with both hands.” Lieberman is widely despised in Israel as a racist for his proposal to rid Israel of its Arab citizens by “redrawing its map to ‘exchange’ part of the Arab population and create a more ‘homogenous Jewish state,’ as a solution to Israel’s Arab minority ‘problem.’ ”

Having sabotaged Israel’s own relations with Turkey over Israeli refusal to apologize for killing nine Turkish activists running the Gaza blockade, Israel is now sabotaging American relations with the entire Muslim world, which will have a hard time accepting that America preaches freedom for all, but not for occupied Palestine.


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