United Nations Finds Itself Relevant Again

The Washington Post’s Max Fisher lays out eight reasons why the actions of the United Nations General Assembly actually matter – this time.

Four of the eight reasons pertain to how individual nations, primarily the United States and Israel choose to address the thorny issue of Iran. For example, will President Obama actually meet whether formally or informally with Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and how Israel will react to Rouhani’s “charm offensive.”

He also says it will be important to watch relations between the US and Brazil, specifically, how they handle the issue of National Security Agency spying on Brazil.

Along similar lines, Michael Hirsh writes that the issues of Iran’s nuclear program and the lingering matter of Syria have made the UN relevant.

“It is also clear that previous U.N. Security Council resolutions dating back to 2006 and demanding that Tehran suspend uranium enrichment will, more than anything else, put Rouhani’s sincerity and internationalism to the test. On Syria — an issue on which Obama has looked consistently weak for two years — it is also a U.N. Security Council resolution that will enforce the deus-ex-machina deal that Moscow and Washington suddenly already agreed upon to dismantle Bashar al–Assad’s chemical weapons,” says Hirsh in the National Journal.

Syria will remain in the spotlight at this week’s meeting of the UN – even more in light of a new UN report that asserts the crisis is harming development across the Arab world.

According to the report researched by the UN Development Group (UNDG) along with the League of Arab States and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the crisis in Syria has caused three million Syrians to fall into poverty, while the country’s extreme poverty rate has climbed at least back to 8 per cent.

“Also, the report stated that the overall climate of instability and insecurity in the Arab region is dragging on progress more broadly across the region. Economic activity has been slowed in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen – countries which since 2011 have been pursuing complex political transitions. Over five million people across the Arab region have been pushed into unemployment since 2010,” reports the United Nations News Centre.

As central a role as the United Nations will play this week, there was another reminder of some of the unsavory issues which continue to dog the institution. According to its own report, allegations of sexual abuse were made against individuals dispatched with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.

 

 

 

 

 

Video Extra: Frank Dikotter, the author of “The Tragedy of Liberation”, exposes China’s liberation and says the period between 1949 and 1957 was a “period of broken promises, systematic violence and calculated terror.” He says Mao promised everything to every group in China, and then broke every one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

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