• Middle East

    Gas Discovery Could Solidify UN-Led Cypriot Peace Talks

    by  • January 25, 2017 • Asia, Geopolitics, Middle East • 1 Comment

    As Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have returned this month to try to settle their 42-year conflict once and for all, a powerful new economic incentive — a significant natural gas discovery — could provide the decisive chance for success to the peace talks on Cyprus. The background to the natural gas discovery and...

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    Top Sellers of Weapons to the Developing World in 2015? US and France

    by  • January 18, 2017 • Disarmament, Geopolitics, Middle East • 

    Sanaa Yemen families the day after an airstrike

    A responsibility to promote worldwide cooperation toward peace and security is not the only role that the permanent-five veto-wielding powers in the United Nations Security Council have in common. Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are also the world’s largest exporters of conventional weapons to developing countries. The export of weapons by...

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    In a Single Day, US Congress Castigates Both the UN and Obama Over Israeli Vote

    by  • January 6, 2017 • Health and Population, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East, Security Council, UN Agencies • 

    While Washington is caught up in the unfolding drama about the extent and motives of Russian hacking and possible attempted manipulation of the 2016 American presidential election, another story is playing out around threats to “punish” the United Nations. On Jan.5, the United States House of Representatives voted to repudiate the Security Council resolution...

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    Defying Trump in Momentous Vote, UN Security Council Condemns Israeli Settlements

    by  • December 23, 2016 • Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East, Security Council, US Foreign Relations, US-UN Relations • 

      In last-minute drama before the Christmas holiday, a vote by the United Nations Security Council on a resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements boiled down to one country’s tacit approval: the United States. In an intensely watched vote on Dec. 23 at the UN, 14 elected and permanent members of the council voted yes...

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    The Syrian War and the Refugee Crisis: Spawning the Rise of the Far Right

    by  • December 21, 2016 • Middle East, Peace and Security, Security Council, Syria, US Foreign Relations, WORLDVIEWS • 

    The butterfly effect teaches us that seemingly insignificant actions can have enormous future consequences. A tiny pair of fluttering wings can disturb the air in a way that helps trigger a hurricane halfway around the world. Witness Syria, where the Arab Spring made its debut in 2011 in the form of a tame wave...

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    A Poverty-Easing Plan to Help Displaced People and Their Host Countries

    by  • December 9, 2016 • Development, Humanitarian Aid, Middle East, Migration, Refugees, World Bank • 

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — One year ago, almost 1 percent of the world’s population, about 65 million people, had been forcibly displaced from their homes. That is a population size that would constitute a nation larger than Britain or would be the world’s 21st-largest country. But instead of creating their own country, the majority of the...

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    Cloaked in Secrecy: How the Saudis’ $110 Million Gift to UN Counterterrorism Is Being Spent

    by  • November 21, 2016 • Middle East, Peace and Security, Security Council, Terrorism • 

    The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center was set up in 2011 with money from Saudi Arabia to combat terrorism worldwide. Some experts, however, now question the center’s ability to eliminate terrorist threats. There are also questions about whether the money that the Saudis donated, a whopping $110 million, is being spent effectively. The Saudi donation...

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    In Iraqi Kurdistan, It’s a Life of Harsh Contrasts for Women and Girls

    by  • July 9, 2016 • Gender-Based Violence, Middle East, Terrorism, Women • 

    ERBIL, Iraq — Despite the war crimes being committed against women and girls in northern Iraq since the extremist group ISIS invaded two years ago, rejection of entrenched violence and discrimination against females may be taking root among pockets of the autonomous Kurdish region here. Yet in many ways, life for women and girls...

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    Advocates for Besieged Children Say Collaboration Is Essential

    by  • May 1, 2016 • Africa, Asia, Child Soldiers, Middle East • 

    Grim images from the small world of children are multiplying. Little bodies adrift in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Uncomprehending faces pressed against wire fences and barricades in Europe from the Balkans to the French port of Calais. At least 17 Syrian children and their pediatrician slaughtered by a bomb apparently targeting a hospital...

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    Fleeing Violence, Syrian Women Try to Cope in Turkey and Lebanon

    by  • April 6, 2016 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Middle East, Refugees, Syria, Women • 1 Comment

    GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Amima and Fatima Jebari are Syrian sisters who fled last year to the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, after the Free Syrian Army entered their village in the north, they said, and violence ensued between the rebel group and the government forces of Bashar al-Assad in the...

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    There Is No Military Solution for Syria

    by  • March 20, 2016 • Middle East, Syria • 

    Only close cooperation between the United States and Russia can end the “terrible tragedy” in Syria, says Lakhdar Brahimi, the highly respected international mediator in the Middle East for more than two decades. Brahimi, who led United Nations missions in Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq before becoming the special joint envoy of the Arab League...

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    Syrian Women Are Ready to Participate in UN-Led Geneva Peace Talks

    by  • January 20, 2016 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Middle East, Syria • 1 Comment

    While new Syrian peace talks organized by the United Nations remain tentatively scheduled to begin on Jan. 25 in Switzerland, a substantial group of Syrian women is preparing to convene in Geneva starting that day to demand an equal place at the negotiations table. Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria, who...

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    As Syrian Peace Talks Take Shape, How Will Women Take Part?

    by  • December 26, 2015 • Gender-Based Violence, Middle East, Peace and Security, Security Council, Syria, Women • 2 Comments

    When the United Nations Security Council recently approved timelines to begin peace talks and institute a national cease-fire in Syria, the language in the resolution gave no hint of the magnitude of such undertakings, nor did the congratulatory speeches afterward by diplomats delve into the details. That means the nitty-gritty work is left to...

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    For Female Syrian Refugees Settling Into New Jersey, a Quiet Struggle

    by  • December 16, 2015 • Middle East, Migration, Refugees, Women • 

    SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — For some Syrian refugees, “home” is no longer the plains of war-torn Syria but the densely populated cities of northern New Jersey. Since January this year, 86 refugees have arrived in the state, according to recent data from the Refugee Processing Center, and they have been resettled primarily in Paterson,...

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    At Vienna Talks on Syria’s Future, the UN Finds Several Roles to Play

    by  • November 15, 2015 • Middle East, Peace and Security, Refugees, Security Council, Terrorism • 

    The United Nations has wedged its way into playing a monitoring role in a possible cease-fire in Syria and a convening role in gathering the Syrian government and opposition parties to try to meet for formal talks by Jan. 1. The goal is to begin negotiating an end to the prolonged war there, which has...

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    The UN’s Demands to Stop the Violence in Yemen Fall on Deaf Ears

    by  • October 26, 2015 • Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Middle East, Secretary-General, Security Council • 

    While the regional coalition led by Saudi Arabia continues its aerial bombardment against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and as ground troops — from Bahrain, Sudan and United Arab Emirates — join the Saudis in the fray, the pain dealt to civilians, especially children, has been rising ever since the war began in March....

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    More Refugees Destined for Europe, Further Testing Its Ability to Respond

    by  • October 4, 2015 • Middle East, Migration, Refugees • 1 Comment

    With an astounding 12 million people in Syria displaced from their homes in a population that numbered about 23 million before its civil war began in full fledge in 2012, the questions that inevitably arise are: Why isn’t the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees more actively involved on the ground in Europe, the...

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