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Anger across the Muslim world and the Global South as US vetoes Gaza cease fire resolution for the 4th time

Anger across the Muslim world and the Global South as US vetoes Gaza cease fire resolution for the 4th time

Commentators and opinion shapers across the Muslim world and the global south on Wednesday (21 February) were unanimous in their condemnation of the American veto of an Algerian resolution in the UN Security Council which called for an immediate cease fire in Gaza. Many commentators in Western countries were similarly appalled after for the fourth time since the start of the war in Gaza, the US on Tuesday vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in the embattled territory. It said such a resolution would interfere with ongoing, “sensitive” negotiations, led by Washington, that are attempting to broker an end to the hostilities. Thirteen of the 15 council members voted in favor of the resolution, which was drafted by Algeria. The UK abstained. In addition to the call for an immediate ceasefire, the Arab-backed draft resolution did also demand the immediate release of all hostages. It also rejected the forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, called for the unrestricted flow of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, and reiterated council demands that both Israel and Hamas “scrupulously comply” with the rules of international law, especially in relation to the protection of civilians. It also condemned “all acts of terrorism,” without explicitly naming either side.
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News
Africa honours the memory of "Mwalimu" Julius Nyerere

Africa honours the memory of "Mwalimu" Julius Nyerere

Africa has honoured the memory of Julius Nyerere, founder and first president of Tanzania and an icon for Africa's quest for freedom from colonialism and apartheid. A statue of Nyrere has been unveiled outside the African Union offices in Addis Ababa. Known as Mwalimu, Swahili for teacher, he was a committed pan-Africanist and hosted independence fighters opposed to white minority rule in southern Africa. He played a key role in the creation of the Organisation of African Unity, which later became the African Union. Nyrere was president of Tanzania (initially called Tanganiyka) from 1961 to 1985. Unveiling the statue at a ceremony attended by numerous African heads of state, AU Commission leader Moussa Faki Mahamat said: "The legacy of this remarkable leader encapsulates the essence of Pan Africanism, profound wisdom, and service to Africa." He recalled Nyerere's own comments at the inaugural OAU summit in 1963. "Our continent is one, and we are all Africans." But when he became prime minister of what was then Tanganyika in 1961, his first task was to unite the new country, made up of more than 120 different ethnic groups, including Arab, Asian and European minorities. He managed to do this, by promoting the use of Swahili as a common language and through his vision of "African Socialism" or ujamaa (familyhood). In 1964, Tanganyika united with the Zanzibar archipelago to form Tanzania. Paying her tribute to Nyerere, Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan said: "To him, Africa's wellbeing came first, before popular approval, personal fortune or country wellbeing." He was a trained teacher and became the first person from Tanganyika to study at a British university, when he went to study in Edinburgh in 1949, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He died in 1999, aged 77, and the anniversary of his death, 14 October, is a public holiday.

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Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: The future of the China-US-Russia triangle after Pelosi's visit to Taiwan

Opinion: The future of the China-US-Russia triangle after Pelosi's visit to Taiwan

Since February 24, 2022, the international community's focus was concentrated entirely on the war in Ukraine and the growing Russia – West confrontation. It seemed that nothing could change the situation until the end of hostilities in Ukraine. However, on August 2 and 3, almost everyone’s attention shifted from Ukraine to Taiwan. As the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, stated her intention to visit Taiwan, up to half a million people were watching the trajectory of her plane on air flight tracking sites. The negative reaction of China, including the warning of President Xi during his conversation with President Biden that those who played with fire would be perished by it, created hype around this visit. Many were discussing the possibility of Chinese military jets closing the airspace over Taiwan and preventing Pelosi’s plane from landing in Taiwan, while some enthusiasts were even contemplating the possibility of a US-China direct military clash. As Pelosi landed in Taiwan and met with the Taiwanese President, the global social media was full of amateur assessments about the strategic victory of the US and the confirmation of the US global hegemony. However, as the dust settles down, and information noise and manipulation eventually decreases, a more serious assessment is needed to understand the real consequences of this visit.
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News
Anger across the Muslim world and the Global South as US vetoes Gaza cease fire resolution for the 4th time

Anger across the Muslim world and the Global South as US vetoes Gaza cease fire resolution for the 4th time

Commentators and opinion shapers across the Muslim world and the global south on Wednesday (21 February) were unanimous in their condemnation of the American veto of an Algerian resolution in the UN Security Council which called for an immediate cease fire in Gaza. Many commentators in Western countries were similarly appalled after for the fourth time since the start of the war in Gaza, the US on Tuesday vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in the embattled territory. It said such a resolution would interfere with ongoing, “sensitive” negotiations, led by Washington, that are attempting to broker an end to the hostilities. Thirteen of the 15 council members voted in favor of the resolution, which was drafted by Algeria. The UK abstained. In addition to the call for an immediate ceasefire, the Arab-backed draft resolution did also demand the immediate release of all hostages. It also rejected the forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, called for the unrestricted flow of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, and reiterated council demands that both Israel and Hamas “scrupulously comply” with the rules of international law, especially in relation to the protection of civilians. It also condemned “all acts of terrorism,” without explicitly naming either side.
Editor's choice
News
Africa honours the memory of "Mwalimu" Julius Nyerere

Africa honours the memory of "Mwalimu" Julius Nyerere

Africa has honoured the memory of Julius Nyerere, founder and first president of Tanzania and an icon for Africa's quest for freedom from colonialism and apartheid. A statue of Nyrere has been unveiled outside the African Union offices in Addis Ababa. Known as Mwalimu, Swahili for teacher, he was a committed pan-Africanist and hosted independence fighters opposed to white minority rule in southern Africa. He played a key role in the creation of the Organisation of African Unity, which later became the African Union. Nyrere was president of Tanzania (initially called Tanganiyka) from 1961 to 1985. Unveiling the statue at a ceremony attended by numerous African heads of state, AU Commission leader Moussa Faki Mahamat said: "The legacy of this remarkable leader encapsulates the essence of Pan Africanism, profound wisdom, and service to Africa." He recalled Nyerere's own comments at the inaugural OAU summit in 1963. "Our continent is one, and we are all Africans." But when he became prime minister of what was then Tanganyika in 1961, his first task was to unite the new country, made up of more than 120 different ethnic groups, including Arab, Asian and European minorities. He managed to do this, by promoting the use of Swahili as a common language and through his vision of "African Socialism" or ujamaa (familyhood). In 1964, Tanganyika united with the Zanzibar archipelago to form Tanzania. Paying her tribute to Nyerere, Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan said: "To him, Africa's wellbeing came first, before popular approval, personal fortune or country wellbeing." He was a trained teacher and became the first person from Tanganyika to study at a British university, when he went to study in Edinburgh in 1949, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He died in 1999, aged 77, and the anniversary of his death, 14 October, is a public holiday.
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News
Busy time for Aliyev and Pashinyan at the Munich Security Conference

Busy time for Aliyev and Pashinyan at the Munich Security Conference

Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, and Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev, are this weekend both attending the Munich Security Conference. On the margins of the big event the two leaders have held a series of bilateral meetings with world leaders and statesmen. Of special significance however was their own bilateral meeting, which followed a trilateral meeting hosted by the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz. In a short read out of the Aliyev-Pashinyan meeting, the website of the Azerbaijani president said "Negotiations on the peace treaty between the two countries, normalization of relations, border delimitation issues were discussed at the meeting. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs were instructed to hold a meeting on the peace agreement and a meeting of the border delimitation commission soon. The mutual compromises and progress achieved during COP29 between the two countries were positively evaluated." The website of the Armenian prime minister makes no mention of the bilateral meeting but highlights the meeting with Scholz, adding that "the process of regulating Armenia-Azerbaijan relations and steps aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the region were discussed. It was agreed to continue the work on the peace treaty." Both Aliyev and Pashinyan have also had bilateral meetings with the German Chancellor, as well as with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta Ian Borg. The meetings highlight the interest of the international community to support Armenia and Azerbaijan in their quest for peace, despite on-going problems and incidents on the ground. For Azerbaijan the meetings in Munich are also an opportunity to prepare for COP29 - the Climate Convention framework meeting which is scheduled to be held in Baku in November. Aliyev met with US Special Envoy on Climate, John Kerry, and also invited him for the Baku event.
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News
Oil markets jittery after Israel rejects Gaza ceasefire

Oil markets jittery after Israel rejects Gaza ceasefire

Oil prices were little changed on Friday, staying on track for weekly gains, but the markets remained jittery with tensions persisting in the Middle East after Israel rejected a ceasefire offer from Hamas, according to Reuters. Brent crude futures slipped 1 cent to $81.62 a barrel by 6:34 a.m. Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 3 cents to $76.25 a barrel. Both benchmarks rose about 3 percent in the previous session as Israeli forces bombed the southern border city of Rafah on Thursday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a proposal to end the war in the Palestinian enclave. The tensions have kept oil prices elevated, with Brent and WTI both set to gain more than 5 percent for the week. “The move yesterday seemed a bit excessive on the back of not very much at least in terms of fundamentals,” ING’s head of commodities research Warren Patterson said. “I still expect the rangebound trading that we have become accustomed to recently will continue given the comfortable oil balance.” US officials made their most pointed criticism so far of Israel’s civilian casualties in Gaza as it turned the focus of its offensive to Rafah. A Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo on Thursday for ceasefire talks with mediators Egypt and Qatar. While the conflict has propped up prices, there has been no impact on oil production. Non-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries output from Norway and Guyana is increasing while Russia is exporting more crude in February than it planned following a combination of drone attacks and technical outages at its refineries that could undermine its pledge to curb sales under a pact from OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+ Under the deal, Russia committed to capping crude output at 9.5 million barrels per day. It is also voluntarily cutting crude exports by 300,000 bpd and fuel exports by 200,000 bpd from the average May-June level.
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News
800 western officials say the policies of their governments on Gaza "are contributing to grave violations of international law, war crimes and even ethnic cleansing or genocide"

800 western officials say the policies of their governments on Gaza "are contributing to grave violations of international law, war crimes and even ethnic cleansing or genocide"

The BBC is reporting that more than 800 serving officials in the US and Europe have signed a statement warning that their own governments' policies on the Israel-Gaza war could amount to "grave violations of international law". Many are describing the statement as an unprecedented move that reflects great concern in official circles in western countries about the the position of their governments on the situation in Gaza. The "transatlantic statement", a copy of which was passed to the BBC, says their administrations risk being complicit in "one of the worst human catastrophes of this century" but that their expert advice has been sidelined. It is the latest sign of significant levels of dissent within the governments of some of Israel's key Western allies. One signatory to the statement, a US government official with more than 25 years' national security experience, told the BBC of the "continued dismissal" of their concerns. "The voices of those who understand the region and the dynamics were not listened to," said the official. "What's really different here is we're not failing to prevent something, we're actively complicit. That is fundamentally different from any other situation I can recall," added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The statement is signed by civil servants from the US, the EU and 11 European countries including the UK, France and Germany.
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Commentary
The work of UNRWA must be sustained

The work of UNRWA must be sustained

Israeli accusations that staff of the UN Humanitarian agency UNRWA which works in Gaza, were involved in the 7 October attacks on Israel need to be taken seriously, and the UN leadership must flash out any bad apples amongst the many, and restore the reputation of the organisation for professionalism. But the knee-jerk reaction of several Western governments in suspending funding to UNRWA is unacceptable, especially given the dire situation of millions of Palestinians, made much worse by the recent war in Gaza. Stopping the work of UNRWA will make an already significant humanitarian disaster much worse. In this regard, countries like Norway and Spain are to be commended. They kept a cool head and reiterated their commitment and support to UNRWA, whilst others were more hasty in halting or suspending support for the agency. There are two problems here: financial and political. The financial aspect is solvable. Gulf states need to step in and compensate for any shortfall in UNRWA’s budget. Other countries need also to step up. But the bigger problem is political. The support of Western countries for UNRWA gives it the necessary prestige that allows its leadership to negotiate the stormy waters of the Middle East. This should not be lost. Countries like UK, Netherlands, Germany and Italy, need to quickly reconsider their position and restore the funding to UNRWA. UNRWA was established in 1948 as a temporary measure to provide relief to the Palestinian people. That seventy-five years later it is still needed more than ever is a testimony of the failure of the international community to do justice to the Palestinians. From the tragedy and suffering of the last five months a new reality must emerge that must necessarily include the creation of a viable Palestinian state. It is time for the EU and European countries in particular, but also the US, to think strategically and act firmly.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: The ICJ ruling on the “South Africa v. Israel” case is a step in the right direction, but not decisive enough

Opinion: The ICJ ruling on the “South Africa v. Israel” case is a step in the right direction, but not decisive enough

On Friday (26 January) the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague ruled on whether emergency measures are required until a final decision is taken on the South Africa’s genocide case against Israel. The judges ruled that Israel must act to stop genocide in Gaza and allow the flow of humanitarian aid and basic services. Although this verdict is legally binding on the parties involved and a step in the right direction, the ICJ lacks enforcement power. The Court needs the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) to enforce its decision through mechanisms such as sanctions or even military intervention, however, the UNSC is unlikely to do so given the United States’ traditional shielding of Israel through the veto power. Moreover, the Court did not demand a ceasefire that would require Israel to stop its operation in the Gaza Strip. This disappointed many who consider an immediate ceasefire by all parties as being essential in order to end the suffering on civilians.