Palestinians vote for first time at UN Assembly

The Palestinians voted for the first time at the UN General Assembly Monday and claimed the moment as a new step in its quest for full recognition by the global body.
Most of the 193 members of the General Assembly stood in applause when Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour cast a vote for a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The Palestinians became observer members of the United Nations on November 29 last year. It cannot vote on UN resolutions, but under UN rules, it and other observers such as the Vatican can vote in elections for judges on international courts.

“This is an important step in our march for freedom and independence and full membership of the United Nations,” Mansour told the assembly. But afterwards, Mansour told reporters: “I think that this is a very, very special moment in the history of the struggle of the Palestinian people at the United Nations.” “It is another step for strengthening the pillars of the state of Palestine in the international arena,” he added.
Mansour acknowledged it was a “symbolic” vote, but said: “It is an important one because it reflects that the international community, particularly the General Assembly, is hungry and waiting for the state of Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations.”

Asked whether the United States or Israel had objected to their vote in the UN assembly, Mansour said: “They can’t. This is a very crystal clear case.”

The Palestinians have sought to become an observer member of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, which organizes the International Criminal Court. The assembly is to meet in The Hague this week.
The United States blocked the move even though it is not a a formal member of the court, diplomats said.
“The United States said this was not acceptable — they refused,” according to one UN diplomat.
“It would have been a step too far for the Americans. They can cause problems even though they are not members,” added a second diplomat who confirmed the move.

Source: http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/19-Nov-2013/palestinians-vote-for-first-time-at-un-assembly?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online%2F24hours-news+(The+Nation+%3A+Latest+News)

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Peace talks hinder prosecution of Israel for its crimes, says Palestinian official

The Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) has said that the ongoing peace talks hinder the prosecution of Israel for its crimes, especially through the International Criminal Court for the assassination of Yasser Arafat. “The Palestinian Authority is the only official body to demand the formation of an international commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the assassination of President Arafat and to prosecute those involved,” he pointed out. The PA’s demand was put to US Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent visit to the occupied territories. “However,” added Khreisheh, “the Palestinian leadership is not serious about an international investigation into Arafat’s death because then it would have to stop the negotiations with Israel and go to the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli leaders as war criminals.

Reason for sharing is to see how international community works. Even though they claim to know the perpetrator and want him/them to be punished, they are not going straight for it.

Source: http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/8415-peace-talks-hinder-prosecution-of-israel-for-its-crimes-says-palestinian-official

Syria opposition accepts peace talks, says Assad must go

Syria’s Western-backed opposition agreed on Monday to attend planned peace talks in Geneva but said President Bashar al-Assad could play no part in a transitional government aimed at ending the 2-1/2-year-old civil war.

The Syrian National Coalition also demanded the release of women and children from Syrian jails and an easing of military sieges of rebel-held areas as a precondition for going to Geneva.

The coalition statement said the Geneva talks should be based an international accord agreed in the Swiss city on June 30, 2012, which endorsed the idea of a transitional government.

Assad himself, after months of steady gains on the battlefield, has given no suggestion that he is ready to step down and his ministers have repeatedly said that the government would not show up in Geneva simply to surrender power.

He has also refused to talk to rebels viewed by Damascus as terrorists and said no one who backs foreign political or military intervention in Syria can sit at the negotiating table.

source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/11/us-syria-crisis-opposition-idUSBRE9A905720131111

Congo-Kinshasa: Congo, M23 Rebels Set to Sign Peace Deal

The Democratic Republic of Congo is set to sign a peace deal Monday with M23 rebels, a week after the group announced it was halting its fighting to pursue its goals through political means.

The Congolese army is backed by a 3,000-soldier U.N. “intervention brigade,” authorized to undertake offensive operations against the rebels. They seized the last of M23’s strongholds in North Kivu province last week, leading to the group announcing the end of the rebellion it launched in April 2012.

M23 consists of fighters who joined the Congolese army in a 2009 peace deal but later defected after complaining of poor treatment. Congo has accused neighboring Rwanda and Uganda of supporting M23, an allegation both countries deny.

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201311111066.html?aa_source=mf-hdlns

Some Links

So here I am posting some of the link i came across recently, so that i can open them later on. All these relates to aspects of humanitarian intervention in syria and libya and authorization by american congress. i am actually trying to write a project on humanitarian intervention and comparative analysis of two situations i.e. Libya and Syria. If you come across any useful link, do post it.

1. http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2011/05/president-obamas-illegal-war/

2. http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/319251-congress-sharpens-legal-argument-that-syria-attack-violates-war-powers-resolution

3. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/05/white-house-on-war-powers-deadline-limited-us-role-in-libya-means-no-need-to-get-congressional-autho/

4. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/3/bipartisan-congress-rebuffs-obama-libya-mission/

5. http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/08/the-war-powers-resolution-and-using-force-in-syria/

U.S., Russia fail to agree on Syria peace talks date

The United States and Russia failed on Tuesday to agree on a date for a Syrian peace conference, remaining divided over what role Iran might play in talks to end the civil war and over who would represent Syria’s opposition.

The proposed peace conference is meant to build on a June 2012 agreement among world powers in Geneva that called for a transitional authority with full executive powers, but did not explicitly say Assad should step down.

Damascus reiterated on Monday that Assad would stay in power come what may, casting doubt on the political transition that is the main focus of the proposed “Geneva 2” conference.

“Syria – the state, the nation and the people – will remain and … Assad will be president of this country all the time they are dreaming that he isn’t,” the Syrian state news agency quoted Information Minister Omran Zoabi as saying on Monday.

Russia said Iran, Assad’s main sponsor, must be invited to any peace talks, after the main Syrian political opposition leader said his coalition would not attend if Tehran took part.

The U.S. official said Washington recognized Iran was going to play a role in the region and wanted to ensure it was not a negative one. “But … the United States believes everybody who comes to the Geneva conference should subscribe to the Geneva communique, have made that commitment before they come. Iran has not chosen to do that.”

Saudi Arabia and the United States oppose any invitation for Iran.

Mohammad Javad Zarif told France 24. “We are prepared for everybody with influence to push for (the) withdrawal of all non-Syrians from the Syrian soil.

source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/05/us-syria-crisis-talks-idUSBRE9A40G920131105

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/05/iran-syria-withdrawal_n_4219977.html

Syria and the Demise of the Responsibility to Protect

The first lesson is that states still react very differently to violations of humanitarian norms than they do to violations of security-related norms: they are much more likely to assume an aggressive and possibly interventionist posture when it comes to security norms.

The reactions to Syria show this explicitly: there was little talk of outside intervention into the conflict even after tens of thousands of civilians were killed in Mr. Assad’s ruthless response to the uprisings that began in spring 2011. Sincere intervention talk only emerged with the advent of the regime’s use of poison gas in 2013, which violated longstanding norms prohibiting the use of chemical weapons. Though chemical weapons use contains a humanitarian component, it is mostly a security concern: unpunished use of chemical weapons may set a dangerous precedent for further spread and use of such “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD)

another lesson is simply putting a new humanitarian or moral doctrine like R2P in place cannot solve the problem of parochial world politics.

source: http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/syria-the-demise-the-responsibility-protect-9360