Global News Journal

Smoke-filled cafe diplomacy at the United Nations

January 9, 2009

UNITED NATIONS – High-level diplomacy usually occurs behind closed doors, but at the United Nations on Thursday, a smoke-filled basement cafe was where Arab ministers at one point haggled over the final text of a ceasefire resolution for Gaza.
 
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa puffed on a chunky cigar in the modest Vienna Cafe, joined at the table by foreign ministers of Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia and a few other Arab countries trying to stop Israel’s incursion into Gaza. 
 
At one point late in the afternoon, a British diplomat joined the ministers at the table, showing them proposed amendments to the resolution while the Arab diplomats chewed in public view on a late lunch of sandwiches and muffins and sipped espresso.
 
Mindful of journalists’ eavesdropping on their conversations, the ministers then moved back to their private conference room to talk further and await answers from the British, French and U.S. foreign ministers to changes to the text.

Is Sri Lanka’s long civil war nearing an end?

January 9, 2009

By C. Bryson Hull

Sri Lanka’s army has the Tamil Tigers on the run with a string of convincing military victories. Many people are asking if one of Asia’s longest-running civil wars is near its end after 25 years.

The rise and fall of George Alogoskoufis

January 7, 2009

Just a year ago, Greek Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis was riding high as the man who rescued his conservative New Democracy party from election defeat with his handling of forest fires so deadly and devastating that they could have toppled any other European government. His star rose and he was seen even as a possible successor to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

Iraq: Let History Judge

January 7, 2009
  As Iraq and the United States looked ahead to a new era of bilateral relations this week with the inauguration of the new U.S. embassy in Baghdad, it was history, not the future, that seemed to dominate the minds of Iraqi and U.S. officials.

    It was a beautiful, sunny winter day in the Iraqi capital when dignitaries from the Iraqi government mingled with American officers and diplomats outside the embassy, a sprawling collection of boxy, coral-coloured buildings by the Tigris.

from Africa News blog:

Which way will Somalia go?

January 7, 2009

The withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia has left a nation beset by conflict for nearly two decades at a crossroads.

from India Insight:

Is India playing its hand well over Mumbai?

January 7, 2009

It has been a tense game of poker between India and Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks. On the face of it, India had the much stronger hand -- not least because it captured one of the attackers alive and got him to confess to being trained in Pakistan.

from MacroScope:

Political poster child?

January 7, 2009

George Alogoskoufis is a hardly a household name outside Greece and EU financial circles. But the newly sacked Greek finance minister could yet become a poster child for politicans struggling to fight off economic decline and banking industry collapse. His demise was in large part due to a public perception that he was helping out the banks but ignoring rising joblessness.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

What price Russian cooperation on Afghanistan?

January 6, 2009

According to the Washington Post, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sees opportunities for the United States to cooperate with Russia on Afghanistan. The newspaper says Gates, a longtime Russia analyst during his years with the CIA, sees Moscow as less of a threat than do many inside and outside the U.S. military establishment. "Russia is very worried about the drugs coming out of Afghanistan and has been supportive in terms of providing alternative routes for Europeans in particular to get equipment and supplies into Afghanistan," it quoted him as saying.

Russia-Ukraine row: up close and personal

January 4, 2009

Could it be that the gas dispute between Moscow and Kiev broke out because Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin felt personally slighted by his Ukrainian opposite number, Yulia Tymoshenko?
It may seem far-fetched that two countries would risk leaving half of Europe without gas over something so apparently petty. But a look at the sequence of events that led up to this crisis suggests there just might be something in it.

Samson in Gaza

January 4, 2009

Gaza was the place where, in Biblical times, the Jewish hero Samson took up with a harlot. That was before he met Delilah and, succumbing at last to her charms and tricks, revealed the secret of his strength. Shorn of his curly locks while he slept, Samson lost his superhuman strength. He was taken to Gaza and blinded by the Philistines with a white-hot poker. But his hair, and his strength, gradually grew back unnoticed, and at last Samson pushed over a pillar in their temple and brought the building down upon them, killing many. Or so the Bible story goes.