Any hope that 2016 would bring some degree of peace to the Middle East has been shattered by the events of the past few days.
Saudi Arabia’s announcement on Saturday that it had executed 47 people, including the well-known Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, has led to a further deterioration in Saudi-Iranian relations — and a widening of the chasm between Sunni and Shia Muslims throughout the region.
Demonstrations in Tehran over the executions led to the sacking of the Saudi Embassy by some protesters on Saturday, and, 24 hours later, the breaking of diplomatic relations by Saudi Arabia. The Saudi announcement was followed by two other Arab countries, Bahrain and Sudan, likewise breaking diplomatic relations with Iran.… Seguir leyendo »
As talks in Geneva between Russia and the United States enter a third day, the chances of an agreement on securing inspection and control of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, one of the largest in the world, are growing. This would mean that further use of this horrific weaponry, first banned in 1925, will not recur. Syria has already taken the first step by signing the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Although any agreement is welcome, in itself it will do little to end the Syrian conflict and could well enhance President Assad’s diplomatic and political status and further diminish that of the opposition Syrian National Council.… Seguir leyendo »
It is often forgotten that the very first meeting of the United Nations Security Council took place in London on Jan. 17, 1946, at Church House, Westminster, the headquarters of the Church of England. The General Assembly met in the nearby Methodist Central Hall. Both buildings lay just a stone’s throw from the two houses of Parliament.
Then, as now, nearly 70 years later, the Security Council had five permanent members: the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France. These countries were the major political, economic and military powers in the world at the time, with the British economy being second only to that of the United States.… Seguir leyendo »