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UN: Syria has removed 80 percent of chemical weapons arsenal

Sigrid Kaag.  /Xinhua

Special to LONDON — Syria was said to have removed most of its chemical weapons arsenal. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has determined that the regime of President Bashar Assad destroyed or removed up to 80 percent of Syria’s CW arsenal. Officials said the regime accelerated the removal process in cooperation [...]

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Afghan countdown: As April elections near, only Karzai opposes U.S. security agreement

UN special envoy for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš at the UN Security Council on March 17.

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — The clock is ticking and the calendar counting down for Afghanistan as the embattled South Asian country heads for presidential elections in April and the pullout of foreign security forces by the end of the year. A credible electoral process would go a long way in paving a peaceful [...]

Posted in Afghanistan,BB Columnists,Columnists,COMMENTARY,Exclusives,John Metzler,Mideast,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Military,United Nations | Read More »

Overlooked in the press coverage of the Syrian crisis: 4.3 million children

A Syrian woman with children in Aleppo on Dec. 15.  /CNN/AFP/ Getty

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — The powerful polar vortex causing the “big freeze” in parts of the USA has confronted tens of millions of Americans with record cold winter temperatures. While waiting for the bus in the icy New York winds we were all complaining; then I reflected on a report I picked up [...]

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IAEA: Iran has maintained uranium enrichment in violation of UN resolutions

Natanz nuclear facility in central Iran.

Special to LONDON — The International Atomic Energy Agency has reported that Iran was maintaining its nuclear program. In a report, IAEA said the Teheran regime has refrained from accelerating its nuclear program over the last three months. The United Nations agency said Iran has maintained the pace of uranium enrichment in violation of [...]

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The UN’s Human Rights Council farce: U.S. silent as brutal regimes take seats

Chen Guangcheng: “China wants to join the UNHRC not to promote human rights, but rather to prevent democracies from questioning their human rights record.” /South China Morning Post/Reuters

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — You can’t make this up. In recent elections for the UN’s 47 member Human Rights Council, (UNHRC) some of the winners of the coveted seats are ironically the countries who are among the major global human rights transgressors. This hypocrisy ironically evokes the old adage of the foxes guarding [...]

Posted in Americas,BB Columnists,China,Columnists,COMMENTARY,Cuba,Exclusives,John Metzler,Life,Mideast,NE Asia,Recent Hits,Top Stories,United Nations,United Nations | Read More »

Syrian Winter: Only advance from intractable conflict is in human suffering

Syrian refugees at Al-Zaatri refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan on Sept. 1.  /Muhammaad Hamaed/Reuters

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — As civil war, political stalemate, and the tragic humanitarian hemorrhage of refugees continues, Syria approaches its third winter of conflict. With over 120,000 people killed and large parts of this ancient land in ruins or chaos from the conflict between the Assad Family dictatorship and a fractious collection of [...]

Posted in BB Middle East,Columnists,COMMENTARY,Exclusives,John Metzler,Life,Mideast,Syria,Top Stories,United Nations | Read More »

Iran’s horrific rights abuses must be on the table at nuclear talks with West


John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — A host of “systemic and systematic violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights” continue to plague Iran despite the election of the purportedly reformist President Hassan Rouhani. That’s part of a stinging assessment of the current human rights landscape according to Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s Special Rapporteur [...]

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Saudi King believed to have ordered rejection of Security Council seat

Saudi deputy foreign minister Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 28.  /Reuters

Special to WASHINGTON — Saudi King Abdullah was preparing to replace his longtime foreign minister, a report said. The Gulf Institute asserted that Abdullah was preparing to replace longtime Foreign Minister Saudi Bin Faisal, struck with Parkinson’s Disease. In a report, the opposition institute said the king was intent on appointing his son [...]

Posted in BB Middle East,Exclusives,Intel Brief,Mideast,Saudi Arabia,Top Stories,United Nations | Read More »

Diplomatic shock and awe: Saudis snub UN Security Council seat

The fateful UN security council vote on Syria handing over its chemical weapons in September.  /Craig Ruttle/AP

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — Recent elections for the new non-permanent members of the UN Security Council went off with a predictable yawn. Countries representing regional groups gained the coveted two year rotating membership without opposition and basically by acclimation. A secret ballot was set; vote for one out of one. So when the [...]

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Report: Netanyhau moving closer to ordering strike on Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the 68th United Nations General Assembly on Oct. 1.  /Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Special to WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dismayed by a U.S. reconciliation drive, has moved closer to ordering air strikes on Iran, a report said. The Gatestone Institute asserted that Netanyahu has placed the international community on notice that Israel was preparing a military option to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program. In a [...]

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