Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Tardy Obama plays second fiddle to Swiss at UN

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It happens every year. When the U.S. president arrives at the United Nations for the General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders, the east side of midtown Manhattan goes into lockdown mode. You can’t cross the streets before he arrives and until well after the most powerful man in the world has safely arrived inside the headquarters of world diplomacy.

President Barack Obama was a little late this year and unable to keep his prestigious spot as the second speaker in the annual marathon of speeches. When Obama failed to show, the Swiss president of the General Assembly Joseph Deiss announced that the president of his homeland, Doris Leuthard, would take Obama’s place and give Switzerland’s address.

Deiss assured the delegations from the United Nations’ 192 members that this was not because the Swiss had ambitions of becoming a world power, but in order to keep things moving. Of course, Leuthard enjoyed a standing-room only audience at the assembly hall, a rare opportunity for the small but wealthy Alpine nation.

After Leuthard finished, Obama stepped up to the iconic dark green podium. Wearing a dark suit and a U.N.-blue tie, he paid homage to the 65-year world organization.

from Tales from the Trail:

Mideast peace veterans and handshake diplomacy

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly referred to them as "veterans" of the Middle East peace process.

That description is probably one thing everyone can agree on. The process to bring Israelis and Palestinians to a lasting peace agreement has been going on for decades and every U.S. president hopes he's the one who will finally achieve what those before him tried and failed. PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/

from Tales from the Trail:

U.S. lawmakers wonder, where did our love go? with Turkey

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It almost sounded as if U.S. lawmakers felt jilted by Washington's long-time NATO ally Turkey.

"How do we get Turkey back?" demanded Representative Gary Ackerman at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing exploring "Turkey's New Foreign Policy Direction."

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

Writing on the walls

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09062010185aPalestinians in the Gaza Strip may just feel a little less isolated today. Israel is bowing to international pressure and rejigging its embargo on the  enclave in the wake of the bloodshed 3 weeks ago when it enforced a longstanding maritime blockade.

But earlier this month, taking my leave at the end of a 3-year assignment,  I reflected while walking the half-mile (700-metre) cage  (picture, right) that separates Gaza from Israel on  how the barriers that surround and divide this region have, if anything, grown higher, deepening the isolation of the rival parties. That may make any kind of reconciliation more difficult as time goes on. I wrote about this earlier today.

Did I hear ‘freedom fries’? – France says Iran is no Iraq

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French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud briefs reporters at the United Nations in New York. UN photo

French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud briefs reporters at the United Nations in New York. UN photo

February 2003. Anti-French sentiment sweeps across the United States. President George W. Bush and his top aides can barely contain their irritation at the French government for undermining U.S.-led efforts to get the U.N. Security Council to authorize the impending invasion of Iraq. With the aid of Germany and Russia, France torpedoes the drive for a new resolution authorizing war. Frustration erupts into anger. Bottles of French wine and champagne are emptied into toilets and some restaurants rename French fries “freedom fries.”

Berlusconi charms Israel with EU talk

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Berlusconi and Netanyahu shake hands during a meeting in Italy last year

Berlusconi and Netanyahu shake hands during a meeting in Italy last year

Silvio Berlusconi is seldom shy about making headlines, and he’s also known to turn on the charm when he meets foreign leaders.

So it was hardly surprising the Italian prime minister kicked off a three-day visit to Israel on Monday by declaring his hope that Israel might one day become a member of the European Union.

Other rumbles in the Iran nuclear storm

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In the sound and fury following the U.N. nuclear governors’ censure of Iran last week for its cover-up of a second uranium enrichment site, and Tehran’s rejection of a nuclear cooperation deal with world powers, a broader, festering issue was obscured.

 

That is the question of “alleged military dimensions” to Iran’s nuclear programme — that is, whether Tehran illicitly coordinated projects to process uranium, test high explosives and revamp the cone of a missile to fit a nuclear payload.

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

Gridlock in the Mideast

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JamWant to know how it feels to be George Mitchell, President Obama's special envoy to the Middle East? Try getting from Jerusalem to Ramallah on a typical weekday at the rush hour. And experience stalemate, frustration, competitive selfishness, blind fury and an absence of movement that even the most stubborn and blinkered of West Bank bus drivers might see as a metaphor for the peace process that is going nowhere fast right now.

It took me 2 full hours to drive the 100 metres (yards) or so from the Israeli military checkpoint in the West Bank barrier around Jerusalem to reach the relatively open main street through Qalandiya refugee camp, the gateway to Ramallah. The reason? Well, at its simplest it's traffic chaos caused by anarchy, a vacuum of law and order. Look further, as with much else in the Middle East, and you get a conflicting and contrasting range of explanations.

from Commentaries:

West raises stakes over Iran nuclear programme

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big-3President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain have deliberately raised the stakes in the confrontation over Iran's nuclear programme by dramatising the disclosure that it is building a second uranium enrichment plant. Their shoulder-to-shoulder statements of resolve, less than a week before Iran opens talks with six major powers in Geneva, raised more questions than they answer.

It turns out that the United States has known for a long time (how long?) that Iran had been building the still incomplete plant near Qom. Did it share that intelligence with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, and if not, why not? Why did it wait until now, in the middle of a G20 summit in Pittsburgh, to make the announcement -- after Iran had notified the International Atomic Energy Authority of the plant's existence on Monday, after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had delivered a defiant speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday and after the Security Council had adopted a unanimous resolution calling for an end to the spread of nuclear weapons on Thursday?

IAEA nations, but not Israel, fete El Baradei in sendoff

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Some nations who once criticised Mohamed ElBaradei over his approach to Iran’s disputed nuclear programme joined a roomful of effusive tributes to the outgoing chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency on Thursday.

But Israel, ElBaradei’s most public and caustic critic, left its seat empty to sidestep the succession of delegations hailing the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, participants in the closed-door meeting said.

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