World Wrap

U.N. Security Council seeks aid for Syria

The U.N. Security Council delivers statement on humanitarian aid in Syria, Rouhani’s nuclear stance could be driven by financial turmoil, and Berlusconi meets with lawmakers after shoving Italy’s government over the brink. Today is Monday, September 30, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.

Abboud, 12, plays with a cat while holding his weapon in Aleppo’s Sheikh Saeed neighborhood, September 28, 2013. Abboud and his brother Deeb, 14, both school-going children before the civil war, joined the Free Syrian Army after the deaths of two of their brothers and an uncle in the conflict. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

Switching gears on Syria. Following Friday’s unanimous adoption of a resolution for the eradication of Syria’s chemical arms at the U.N. General Assembly, the U.N. Security Council shifted its efforts towards solving the country’s humanitarian crisis:

The Security Council is considering a statement to try to boost aid access in Syria by urging Syrian authorities to allow cross-border deliveries from neighboring countries and asking parties to the conflict to hold humanitarian pauses in the fighting… Deputy U.N. council envoys are due to meet to discuss the proposed Security Council presidential statement on Monday, said diplomats, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Unlike a resolution, a presidential statement is not legally binding. The draft text, obtained by Reuters, urges all parties to “agree on the modalities to implement humanitarian pauses, as well as key routes to enable promptly – upon notification from relief agencies – the safe and unhindered passage of humanitarian convoys along these routes.”

Syria’s two-and-a-half year civil war has displaced over one million people and left roughly 100,000 dead. Some diplomats said that Russia has been constructively engaged in drafting the aid statement but others warned the country would be reluctant to back a council declaration that called for cross-border assistance in the region. Friday’s declaration marked the culmination of weeks of debate over the details of a Syrian chemical disarmament plan, during which the U.S. and Russia clashed over the option of military force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The resolution removes the option of automatic punishment under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which allows the council to use military force or sanctions to punish a breach. Experts from a world chemical watchdog will head to Syria on Tuesday, and the U.N. chemical inspectors depart today. On Sunday, Assad said he would respect the resolution.

Hezbollah’s big bet on Syria poses risks at home

Hezbollah rolls the dice on Syria, court upholds war criminal’s conviction, and Sudan’s Bashir may not come to NYC after all. Today is Thursday, September 26, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

Protesters loyal to the Shi’ite Muslim Al-Houthi group, also known as Ansarullah, hold posters of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (R) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during a demonstration to show their support to al-Assad, in Sanaa, September 13, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Syrian roulette.  After a discreet meeting between Iran’s Supreme Leader and Hezbollah head Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, highly trained members of the Lebanese Shi’ite paramilitary group entered the fray in Syria and helped turn the tide against Sunni rebels. A Reuters special report reveals how intervention in Syria has put Hezbollah at the forefront of a regional sectarian conflict. Lebanon’s involvement in its neighbor’s war was met with some resistance within Hezbollah ranks:

Syria and Iran top agenda as world leaders meet in New York

U.S.-Iran handshake a no go at the U.N., Kenya combs through mall wreckage, and Egypt shutters Brotherhood newspaper. Today is Wednesday, September 25, and this the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

United States President Barack Obama addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 24, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Burton/Pool

Hands tied. President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani each spoke of warming ties between the nations during speeches at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, but did not shake hands – a move that would have given credence to friendly overtures. The two leaders exchanged cordial letters recently, and some speculated that more open dialogue could lead to an impromptu meeting during the General Assembly:

Gunmen hold hostages in third day of Nairobi mall siege

Kenyan officials claim progress in al Shabaab siege, Merkel wins big in weekend elections, and crises take center stage at this week’s U.N. General Assembly. Today is Monday, September 23, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

Kenyan police officers take position during the ongoing military operation at the Westgate Shopping Center in the capital Nairobi, September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Nairobi nightmare continues. Some hostages remain trapped in a Nairobi mall on Monday, after al Shabaab operatives took hold of the shopping center on Saturday in a violent siege that has left nearly 70 dead so far. The Somalia-based militant group demanded Kenya withdraw troops from Somalia, where it has worked to push out al Shabaab as part of an African Union-backed peacekeeping mission, but Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Sunday he won’t end the mission:

Syria’s opposition risks losing West’s support

Insulted Syrian opposition could lose West’s ear, U.N. General Assembly offers a chance for U.S.-Iran relations, and Hezbollah looks to Africa for cash. Today is Friday, September 20, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

Female members of the “Mother Aisha” battalion sit together along a street in Aleppo’s Salaheddine district, September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Loubna Mrie

Insult could mean injury. Syria’s opposition feels betrayed by Washington’s agreement to work on a chemical weapons disarmament deal with Moscow, but diplomats warn they must adapt to the new realities or risk losing Western support:

Egypt security forces battle Islamists in Cairo outskirts

Egyptian forces try to regain control of Islamist town, Greek anti-racism rapper stabbed to death, and NATO investigates civilian drone strike casualties. Today is Thursday, September 19, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

Police officers stand in front of a police station damaged after being set ablaze last month by supporters of former president Mohamed Mursi in Kerdasa, a town 9 miles from Cairo, September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Government grapples for control. Egyptian security forces clashed with Islamist militants in Kerdasa, a town 9 miles outside of Cairo, in an attempt to regain control of the area. Islamists seized the town last month in an attack that killed 11 police officers after police killed hundreds of pro-Mursi supporters in Cairo protest camps:

Obama swaps letters with Iran’s new president

Iran and U.S. open a rare line of communication, U.N. report reveals unspeakable atrocities in North Korea, Muslim guerrillas flee Philippine battle. Today is Tuesday, September 17, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani gestures to the media during a news conference in Tehran, June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Fars News/Majid Hagdost

Letters from Tehran.  Iran’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday that recently-elected President Hassan Rouhani has been exchanging letters with President Obama, opening communication channels that have been closed since Washington cut off diplomatic ties after the Iranian hostage crisis of 1980:

Syria’s chemical attacks reopen sensitive debate in Iran

Syria’s ally laments its own chemical attack victims, engineers begin Costa Concordia salvage effort, and North and South Korea reopen their joint industrial complex. Today is Monday, September 16, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

Fayegh Fallahi, who was injured in an Iraqi chemical attack during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, uses oxygen as he rests at his home in Nowdesheh in Kermanshah province 425 miles southwest of Tehran, July 5, 2008. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

In Hussein’s shadow. Still suffering from the effects of chemical weapons used during the Iraq-Iran war more than thirty years ago, Iranians grow uncomfortable with the possibility their ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was responsible for a chemical attack that killed roughly 1,400 Syrians last month:

Arms deal could bolster Syria peace talks

Putin pays for U.S. PR, Delhi rapists sentenced to death, and the Taliban claim deadly strike on U.S. consulate. Today is Friday, September 13, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) sits with U.N. Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi (C) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as they each make a statement to the press after a meeting discussing the ongoing problems in Syria at the United Nations offices in Geneva, September 13, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Back on track. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed to reconvene later this month in another effort to revive a long-stalled international peace conference on Syria’s civil war:

Kerry to hear Russia’s surprise Syria plan

Kerry to discuss Syria disarmament deal with Russia, white smoke rises at North Korean nuclear reactor, and officials peg peace hopes on former Taliban leader. Today is Thursday, September 12, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) leaves the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva on September 12, 2013, before his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the ongoing problems in Syria. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Putin pens public appeal. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Geneva today to discuss Russia’s surprise proposal for international oversight of Syria’s chemical weapons, one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against a U.S. strike in a New York Times op-ed. Syria appears to have agreed to Russia’s plan, potentially paving the way for a non-interventionist Western approach after the U.S. seemed on the brink of military action in response to last month’s chemical attack.

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