Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Can Obama erode built up hostility in the Middle East?

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 The last time I stayed up all night was in Baghdad when U.S. warplanes bombed the city in an overnight raid that announced the start of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Last night I was up all night by choice.  I wasn’t covering the U.S. presidential elections but I joined the millions of people across the world who were anxious to know who will be taking charge of America — and whether they really would presage change. For anyone from and involved in the Middle East this is no small question.

The Americans have cast their vote for change all right; they have voted clearly for a new America, for a change of direction. People across the Middle East have been eager to see change in America, not just a change of personality but a real change of policy and vision.

Many countries, particularly emerging countries, have many misgivings about the United States. They have been longing for a new U.S. administration that reaches out to them through dialogue and engagement, understanding and the pursuit of common interests rather than the exercise of supremacy and hegemony.

The policies of outgoing President George W. Bush had a depressing and often violent impact on the Middle East, especially in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, where antagonism toward Washington is widespread and deeply felt.

Will Obama’s “change” anthem profit Africa?

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    Barack Obama’s campaign for U.S. president was followed around the world, but perhaps nowhere more closely than in the tiny hamlet of Kogelo in remote western Kenya.

    Obama’s late father hailed from here — and that brought a media circus that rivalled any an African village has seen.

Gaddafi and Lukashenko – coming in from the cold?

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Posted by Andrei Makhovsky and Salah Sarrar

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko and Libyan leader
Muammar Gaddafi found they had plenty in common when they met in
Minsk this week.

Both their  countries have started to come in from the cold after years of
international isolation and sanctions that were imposed on their
countries because of their policies.

They also share a vision of a multi-polar world to
counterbalance U.S. influence.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan’s “American Dream”

Pakistan cropped up with uncomfortable regularity during the U.S. presidential campaign, but listening to Barack Obama and John McCain it was difficult to discern how different their approach would be in dealing with one of America’s most complicated and conflicted allies.
  

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari met leaders of both the Democrat and Republican camps just weeks after his own election in September, but unfortunately the controversy stirred by his unguarded compliment for Sarah Palin earned more comment than the substance of those meetings.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Obama’s Kashmir comments hit a raw nerve in India

Barack Obama has hit a raw nerve in India by suggesting the United States should try to help resolve the Kashmir dispute so that Pakistan can focus on hunting down Islamist militants on its north-western frontier -- who in turn threaten stability in Afghanistan -- rather than worrying about tensions with India on its eastern border. India is extremely sensitive to any suggestion of outside interference in Kashmir, which it sees as a bilateral dispute, though Pakistan itself has long chafed against this position.

"The most important thing we're going to have to do with respect to Afghanistan, is actually deal with Pakistan," Obama said in an interview last week with MSNBC. "And we've got work with the newly elected government there in a coherent way that says, terrorism is now a threat to you. Extremism is a threat to you. We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on India, but on the situation with those militants."

Peace process? What peace process?

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This is a common phrase used by both Israelis and Palestinians when asked about the negotiations process that was launched by U.S. President George W. Bush at Annapolis last year and which, according to Bush’s timeline, should have produced a Palestinian state by the end of his presidency in January.

Since the signing of the Oslo provisional peace deal 15 years ago, Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals, professionals, and politicians have held hundreds of meetings in Israel and in most European cities to promote dialogue and coexistence, in the hope that eventually Palestinians will have the state the accords outlined for them, living in peace alongside Israel.

The unsettling story that “hits you in the face”

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 Sometimes we journalists speak of stories that are so compelling, so important to tell that they “hit you in the face”. In the West Bank these days, we’ve begun to take that literally. In the past couple of weeks, Palestinian journalists working for international media, including Reuters, have become the targets of Jewish settlers in a way that has highlighted what many see as a violent trend among that community which has caused alarm not only among ordinary Palestinians but among Israeli leaders and their international allies, most recently the European Union . The EU noted an upsurge in violence during the annual harvest of olives, a key crop in the hills of the West Bank. The statement came out just hours after settlers had again attacked journalists, as well as Israeli police.  

 

A couple of weeks ago, one of my colleagues, photographer Nayef Hashlamoun, was among journalists hurt when young Jewish religious settlers set about them in Hebron as they tried to cover efforts by local Palestinians and Israeli and foreign activists to pick olives. Israeli troops stepped in disperse the attackers and to offer medical aid to the journalists. But the soldiers’ actions were not enough to spare them criticism from fellow Israelis in the media. The incident led major television news bulletins in Israel that evening, with the channels questioning why the soldiers, part of the conscript army Israel deploys across the West Bank to protect some 300,000 settlers, had not arrested the assailants. 

What should the world do to help Congo?

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Another bout of bloody clashes between Congolese Tutsi rebels and government forces, accompanied by vicious looting has sent the hapless civilians of eastern Congo’s North Kivu province once again running for their lives. Tens of thousands of people have fled the fighting, bringing to nearly 1 million the number of people displaced by fighting in North Kivu alone since Congo’s first ever democratic elections two years ago.

The fighting on the border between Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda has triggered the usual round of recriminations between the two countries’ governments. Foreign envoys are jetting back and forth between Kinshasa and Kigali. The United Nations and European Union are both considering sending in extra troops to help the U.N. peacekeeping force, already the world’s biggest at 17,000-strong.

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