Pompeo Finds Little Appetite at the UN for His Iran Strategy

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

In the middle of a muggy August afternoon in New York, the United Nations Security Council gathered once more to figure out how to “maintain peace and security” in the Middle East. But the recurring topic always leaves conversations wide open for interpretation by the Council’s 15 members. The concept by Poland as Council president … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Why Poland Could Master Mideast Issues in the UN Security Council

Joanna Wronecka, Poland's ambassador to the UN

Even though many people think of August as vacation time, Joanna Wronecka, Poland’s ambassador to the United Nations, is not taking off anytime soon, as she is presiding over the Security Council for the month. As the Security Council is going to tackle issues affecting the Middle East and other parts of the world, the … Read more

The UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Is in Hot Water, Again

Pierre Krahenbuhl

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has been undermined by a sharp cut in United States contributions, has been embroiled in a scandal that threatens to jeopardize its very future. A report from the agency’s Ethics Office has found “credible and corroborated” evidence that the senior management of Unrwa engaged in “sexual misconduct, … Read more

President Trump’s Goal for Financing Palestinians Is a Guessing Game

The United Nations refugee agency for Palestinians is vastly short of funds for 5.4 million people, while the Trump administration is doing its best to shut down the program and initiate new, albeit controversial financing. At issue was a “workshop” in Bahrain, held last week and organized by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Trump, … Read more

 

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Kuwait’s Priority for the UN Security Council Presidency: Iraq and the Mideast

Still, this small oil-rich Arab country has an agenda of its own that it wants to fulfill as it ends its last presidency on the Council — in probably decades — on a strong note. For June, Kuwait plans to work on the topic of missing persons in armed conflict, an issue that touches its own … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Gains of LGBTQ Rights in Some Mideast-North African Nations May Be a Game-Changer

Progress in recognizing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people at the United Nations in New York and in Geneva may seem detached from the realities faced by LGBTQ people in the Middle East and North Africa, or Mena, region. Activists there, however, are navigating the UN human-rights system as part … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Trump Nominates the Current UN Envoy as Ambassador to Egypt

Jonathan R Cohen

Just days after President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt met with President Trump in the White House, receiving an effusive reception, Trump nominated Jonathan R. Cohen, the acting permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations, as ambassador to Egypt. Cohen, who has been a Foreign Service officer since 1986, is from Southern … Read more

In Numbers, Africa May Be a Force in the Christian World by 2060

Schoolgirls in Sierra Leone

New projections from a leading American research group suggest that the number of Christians in various denominations and sects is steadily rising in Africa and could dominate the faith numerically worldwide for decades to come. In 2015, according to the Pew Research Center, only three African countries were included in the top 10 in numbers … Read more

 

For These Muslim-Americans, the ‘Siege’ Has Not Lifted

CLEVELAND, Ohio — In this city of immigrants, as one Moroccan-American called his hometown, the Muslim community keeps a low profile amid the Islamophobia that has reared its head in the United States in recent times. As one of the largest Muslim communities in the country, including a large Palestinian component, the repercussions against Muslims … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

As His Country Wages War, President Hadi of Yemen Still Travels to US for Health Care

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi of Yemen

CLEVELAND, Ohio — On the main drag of Euclid Avenue in this Midwestern city sprawls the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic, the renowned hospital that attracts an estimated 2.5 million patients nationwide and abroad, including from the Middle East. That includes President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi of Yemen, who has heart troubles and whose … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The US, Reversing Course on Cluster Bombs, Is Testing New Ones in Israel

TEL AVIV — Every day in some provinces of Vietnam, the simple act of walking can be deadly, as people risk stepping on unexploded ordnances, remnants from America’s war there that ended more than 40 years ago. The United States dropped 14 million tons of explosive devices during the war in Vietnam as well as … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Where Does the UN Security Council Stand on Yemen?

BEIRUT — A Yemeni father’s voice, proudly telling us about his son, was nevertheless infused with sorrow: Ahmed was about 12 and smart. He lived with his father, his mother and his eight siblings until “the war came.” The Saudi-led coalition bombed their home about a year ago. The Houthi armed group that had terrorized … Read more

 

GEOPOLITICS

Europe and Others Help Fund the UN Palestinian Agency, Filling US Void

The European Union, Germany, Norway, Ireland and Kuwait stepped in this week to donate a total of $118 million in financing to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (Unrwa), after the United States cut $304 million of its annual support to the agency for this year. The … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Mission in Lebanon, Saved From the US Ax for Another Year

BEIRUT — In late August, the United Nations Security Council unanimously renewed its peacekeeping operation in southern Lebanon, called Unifil. The less confrontational tone around the negotiation of Resolution 2433, contrasting with the heated debate on the renewal a year ago, can be read as a positive sign for Lebanon and the UN. It represents … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The US vs. Unrwa: Who Really Loses?

It is entirely the United States’ prerogative to cut off its voluntary contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or Unrwa. In her statements about why the Trump administration has decided to do so, however, Ambassador Nikki Haley misses the mark on who should be grateful for … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

In Hodeidah, the Norwegian Refugee Council Hangs On to Save Yemenis

As the attack on Hodeidah, a major port in western Yemen on the Red Sea, moves into its second week, led by the coalition of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the rest of the world seems to be sitting and watching the destruction. The Norwegian Refugee Council, an independent nongovernmental organization, has been … Read more

 

GEOPOLITICS

Why Israel Dropped Out of the UN Security Council Race: Not Enough Votes

From the start, it was a closely watched contest pitting Germany, Belgium and Israel against one another for their regional bloc’s two seats in the next term on the United Nations Security Council. Israel has never held a seat on the Council, and as it celebrates its 70-year membership in the UN in 2018, the country … Read more

P5 MONITOR

The Sanctions War Heats Up: US vs. the World

Mike Pompeo, in his first speech as Donald Trump’s new secretary of state, threatened United States’ allies: “You should know that we will hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account.” Pompeo, speaking at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., on May 21, is actually pitting the US against the United Nations, specifically … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

In Year 2 of Trump Presidency, the US Is Still Eroding Both the UN and Women’s Rights

After a year of bombast and threats by Ambassador Nikki Haley and the ever-evolving Donald Trump administration, the tone appears to be turned down a few notches in the second year of the Trump presidency. But efforts to undermine the United Nations and what it stands for have not stopped, at least for now, even … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

John Bolton Cracks the Whip on the UN Mission in Western Sahara

The message was blunt and judgmental as the United States delivered its ultimatum on the future of the United Nations mission in Western Sahara: “MINURSO is a peacekeeping mission that should have finished its job a long time ago. This is a mission that began 27 years ago almost to the day. This was a … Read more

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