This illustrates that the regime recognized they can’t completely turn their nose up at the Arab League and they actually do have some leverage over them. It doesn’t necessarily mean that if and when they do allow the observers in that they will give them the full, unrestricted access that they demand.Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Chris Phillips • Discussing the decision by Syria to allow the Arab League to place monitors in the country — a move seen as an attempt by Syria to fend off United Nations intervention in the country. The UN totally has a reason to show up, too: Months of crackdowns on dissidents have led to thousands of deaths in the country, and Syria essentially ignored a prior agreement with the Arab League. The real question, of course, is whether Syria will follow through this time. source (via • follow)
» An accelerating rate: In the first five months of the conflict — between March and August — roughly 2,000 people died fighting the Assad regime. In the four months since, more than 3,000 more have died. Another 18 people died today, as a general strike continued in the country.
A step forward for Palestine? Today, the United Nations agency UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) admitted Palestine as a full member. In response, the United States is cutting off all funding to the agency. This will effectively gut one-fourth of UNESCO’s budget. The move is in accordance with US law, which prohibits the government from funding any organization that includes Palestine as a member, prior to the reaching of an Israeli-Palestine peace agreement. Nevertheless, both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas hailed the decision. source
She will be remembered as a committed champion of the environment, sustainable development, women’s rights, and democracy.Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan • Speaking about Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai, who died Sunday of ovarian cancer at age 71. Maathai, a Kenyan, founded the Green Belt Movement, an organization that encouraged methods of sustainable development. Her work with the Green Belt Movement, which spanned over 30 years, led to her winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. “We need people who love Africa so much that they want to protect her from destructive processes,” she noted in a 2005 speech. “There are simple actions we can take. Start by planting 10 trees we each need to absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale. Get involved in local initiatives and volunteer your time for services in your community.” This world needs more people like her, not less. Based on the strong response on Twitter today, lots of people agree. source (via • follow)
We have told the world that there is the Arab Spring, but the Palestinian Spring has been born. A popular spring, a populist spring, a spring of peaceful struggle that will reach its goal.Palestinians President Mahmoud Abbas • Drawing a comparison between his push for a Palestinian role in the United Nations and the Arab Spring movement. Abbas’ popularity has leaped in his home country after he boldly submitted an application to the United Nations for membership, despite loud protests by the U.S. and Israel. The U.S. has promised to veto any opportunity for Palestine to gain full UN membership, but Palestine would be willing to settle for lesser observer status in the general assembly, which would still give them a way to continue to push for their agenda in the United Nations. source (via • follow)
Sex exploitation by UN peacekeepers: A 2010 UN embassy cable released by Wikileaks indicates that U.N. peacekeepers traded food and basic supplies (mobile phones, as well) for sex with destitute underage girls in the Ivory Coast. The cable concerns the actions of Beninese peacekeepers in the town of Toulepleu, sixteen of whom a UN spokesman has now acknowledged were barred from UN service following a year-long investigation. Said a protection officer with Save The Children: “…sexual exploitation and abuse problem among (United Nations) personnel is more extensive than is recognized.” source