Archive for the ‘peacekeepers’ Category

Israel faces threat of Gaza conflict spreading to northern frontier with Lebanon

December 29, 2008

Palestinian fighters based in southern Lebanon may be preparing to retaliate for the assault on Gaza by striking across the border and opening a second front against Israel.

By Andrew Wander in Beirut
The Telegraph (UK)
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This would mark a major escalation, possibly provoking an Israeli invasion of Lebanon and a regional war.

The UN peacekeeping force in the country, UNIFIL, and the Lebanese Army have stepped up their patrols amid rising tension along the frontier.

“The usual measures have been fortified along the border,” said a senior Lebanese military official.

At least five Israeli warplanes have already conducted “mock air raids” over towns in southern Lebanon, according to the national news agency.

Unmanned reconnaissance drones carried out extensive surveillance of the area on Saturday night.

Lebanon's Hezbollah supporters watch their leader Nasrallah on a television screen during a religious gathering in Beirut.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah supporters watch their leader Nasrallah on a television screen during a religious gathering in Beirut. Photo: REUTERS

The Israeli Air Force flies regular reconnaissance missions over Lebanon, in violation of UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah, the radical Shia movement, in 2006.

Hizbollah, which controls most of southern Lebanon, has amassed perhaps as many as 40,000 missiles for use against Israel. But this arsenal, largely supplied by Iran, is probably being held in reserve to retaliate for any future Israeli or American assault on Tehran.

Palestinian fighters could, however, open a second front against Israel without Hizbollah’s direct involvement.

The question is whether this would reignite the war between Hizbollah and Israel.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/isr
ael/4013913/Israel-faces-threat-of-Gaza-conflict-spreading
-to-northern-frontier-with-Lebanon.html

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Who Should Govern Americans? United Nations or U.S. Congress?

December 11, 2008

Several news stories recently served as reminders that the United Nations has no special corner on the wisdom market.

And more often than not the U.N. takes down an anti-American and an anti-Israel path.

No matter how troubled, divided and worrisome the U.S. Congress may be, we at Peace and Freedom have much more trust and confidence in the Congress than in the United Nations.

In fact, many trumped up and just plain stupid accusations, decrees, positions and opinions emerge from the great deliberative body in New York.

And though we have our disagreements and problems with the U.S. Congress, we can vote for the members of the House and Senate and our free press and legal system holds them accountable: just ask William Jefferson or Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who are both in the slammer for corruption while elected members of the U.S. Congress.

Rod Blagojevich is playing out his corruption cards on the state level.

But even these American rascals are preferable to some of the world’s “diplomats.”

The Ambassador to the U.N. from Zimbabwe, Uganda, Iran, North Korea and a host of other nations has your American best interest at heart?  Really?  Hardly.

And who pays for the U.N. ?  You do.  As an American, you pay for more U.N. projects, reports, trips, vacations, boondoggles and corruption than any other group of citizens on earth.

If the U.S. agrees to even more U.N. say in the world — expect to pay even more.

Israel recently was taken to task by a UN body on the issue of human rights.

The Human Rights Council, in its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), raised concerns about Israel’s security wall, its detention of young Palestinians, and what they called ‘illegal’ Jewish settlements.

The most vocal members of the Human Rights group critical of Israel in the UN?  Syria, Egypt and Iran.

In November, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Israel said that Israel had made a final decision not to participate in a U.N. forum on racism and urged other countries to boycott what she termed an “anti-Israel tribunal.”

Israel and the United States walked out of the first conference in protest over draft texts branding Israel as a racist and apartheid state — language that was later dropped.

Then we have the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)  — a UN group headed currently by its director-general, Egyptian-born Mohamed ElBaradei.

On the possibility of a nuclear weapon program in Iran, Mr. El Baradei said Iran had failed to “provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities.”
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Mr. ElBaradei also said that he cannot exclude the possibility that there are “military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.” He’s complained – well, “complain” may be too harsh a characterization; he’s noted – that Iran has not been transparent to “the extent to which information contained in the relevant documentation is factually correct….”

 But the IAEA refuses to codemn Iran or come to any really concete conclusions on Iran’s nuclear progam.

Then we have widely reported abuses by the “peacekeepers” from the United Nations, usually in Africa.  The Blue Helmets of the UN have committed rape and other atrocities while on paid UN “peacekeeping” missions.  These horrible acts almost eliminate the good that UN peacekeepers so often do around the globe.

UN Peacekeepers or “Blue Helmets”

The leader at the United Nations just now is Ban Ki-moon from South Korea.  He is an admirable and gentle man who is easily run over by leaders who will promise him anything and deliver nothing.  This was his fate after the typhoon destroyed Myanmar: the junta promised to allow all aid and assisance into the country and as soon as the U.N. Secretary-General departed the deal was off.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has called on China to continue ... 
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon.(AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

No; we find no special wisdom at the United Nations, and little fortitude, strength and honesty, despite a lot of good the international body can do.  In fact, we have great hope for the promise of a better UN.  But we do see now a lot of mumbo jumbo, doublespeak, gobledegook, corruption, lies and playing fast and loose with the facts and other people’s money at the UN.

And the UN’s own inability to end wrongdoing and corruption, which runs to its core, is also well documented.

So when 650 scientists recently disputed UN claims on global warming, Al Gore may have been shocked and appalled.  We at Peace and Freedom weren’t even tickled with the slightest bit of dismay.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore listens during a ceremony ... 
Al Gore  (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

In his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” Mr. Obama wrote, “When the world’s sole superpower willingly restrains its power and abides by internationally agreed-upon standards of conduct, it sends a message that these rules are worth following.”

Really? 
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Our best wishes to Susan Rice, President-elect Obama’s choice to represent the United States at the UN.  But Susan Rice should know two things: she is going into a land of corruption even greater than that found in Illinois and the U.S. Congress.  And the real power players in the Obama Administration will be in Washington DC near the White House  and not in New York at the UN — if history is any guide.

But we don’t know if history is any guide for how the U.S. will interact with the U.N. for the next four years.  Because Mr. Obama and Ms. Rice haven’t exactly said, have they?

Related:
U.N.: Mexico Will Cut Emissions 10% By 2050 If U.S., Japan Pay

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Susan Rice listens ... 
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Susan Rice listens as U.S. President-elect Barack Obama announces his national security team during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES)
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Susan Rice Starts Her Own Transition
Team at the State Department

From Fox News

President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations — Susan Rice — reportedly has plans to install her own transition team within the State Department.  

The first sign of cracks in President-elect Barack Obama’s foreign policy team of rivals emerged on Monday as his choices for secretary of state and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations visited the State Department.

As Secretary of State-pick Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.N. envoy-choice Susan Rice separately visited the diplomatic agency’s headquarters in Washington’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood, persons familiar with the transition said that Rice wants to install her own transition team inside the department.

Such a move by an incoming U.N. ambassador is rare, if not unprecedented, because the job is based at the United Nations in New York, where Rice already has a small transition staff, the sources familiar with the incoming administration.

The push by Rice, an early Obama supporter whose position the President-elect wants to elevate to a cabinet post, is also a signal that she intends to use her influence with the new president to play a more significant role than previous U.N. envoys, they said. The transition sources spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Officials with Clinton’s transition team declined to comment on the matter, and aides to Rice could not immediately be reached. State Department officials declined to comment on issues related to the transition.

It was not clear if Clinton and Rice — who had strained relations during the Democratic primaries because of Rice’s steadfast backing of Obama — saw each other at the State Department as Clinton left the building shortly after Rice arrived.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/12/09
/sources-rice-install-transition-team-state-de
partment/

Massacre Unfurls in Congo, Despite Nearby Support

December 11, 2008

At last the bullets had stopped, and François Kambere Siviri made a dash for the door. After hiding all night from firefights between rebels and a government-allied militia over this small but strategic town, he was desperate to get to the latrine a few feet away.

 

Michael Kamber for The New York Times

Muwavita Mukangusi’s husband was suspected by rebels of being part of a different militia. He was beaten and shot in the head.

“Pow, pow, pow,” said his widowed mother, Ludia Kavira Nzuva, recounting how the rebels killed her 25-year-old son just outside her front door. As they abandoned his bloodied corpse, she said, one turned to her and declared, “Voilà, here is your gift.”

In little more than 24 hours, at least 150 people would be dead, most of them young men, summarily executed by the rebels last month as they tightened their grip over parts of eastern Congo, according to witnesses and human-rights investigators.

And yet, as the killings took place, a contingent of about 100 United Nations peacekeepers was less than a mile away, struggling to understand what was happening outside the gates of its base. The peacekeepers were short of equipment and men, United Nations officials said, and they were focusing on evacuating frightened aid workers and searching for a foreign journalist who had been kidnapped. Already overwhelmed, officials said, they had no intelligence capabilities or even an interpreter who could speak the necessary languages.

The peacekeepers said they had no idea that the killings were taking place until it was all over.

The executions in Kiwanja are a study in the unfettered cruelty meted out by the armed groups fighting for power and resources in eastern Congo. But the events are also a textbook example of the continuing failure of the world’s largest international peacekeeping force, which has a mandate to protect the Congolese people from brutality.