Ed: 42: February/2017
The future of US and United Nations relations was discussed following Donald Trump's outrage that the Obama Administration abstained on UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and Republican party threats to withhold funding to the world body.
A Washington Post analysis by Josh Rogin in the Age/Sydney Morning Herald (Jan. 1) noted that 2334 "has opened up a Pandora's box in Washington, allowing anyone with a grievance against the world body to their day in the sun."
Support from Malaysia and Indonesia for the United Nations Security Council's Resolution 2334 - which condemned Israeli settlement construction - came as no surprise, given both nations' longstanding sympathy for the Palestinian cause and concordant refusal to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
To make a real difference, our next president needs to understand how the United Nations' hostility to the Jewish state is rooted in perverse institutions that have been abetted by previous US administrations. The most glaring example of this is the inaptly named United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Bernard-Henri Lévy, France's leading public intellectual, has a new book, The Genius of Judaism - perhaps the fullest expression yet of his commitment to the Jewish faith, Jewish culture, and the continued flourishing of the State of Israel. Newly-returned from the Iraqi city of Mosul, where he accompanied Kurdish peshmerga fighters combating ISIS, Lévy spoke by phone with Ben Cohen, senior editor of The Tower magazine.
On Jan. 8, a Palestinian drove his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers getting off a bus on the Armon Hanatziv Boulevard in Jerusalem and then backed over them. He killed four soldiers and injured 15 others, some critically. The attacker was shot dead at the scene and the Palestinian Authority subsequently awarded his family a lifetime pension.
Amid the controversy over the highly flawed UNSC Resolution 2334's passage, support for Israel in Australia was remarkably strong.
The whitewashing of Rafsanjani's record is akin to praising Pol Pot for improved statistics on eyesight in Cambodia, Fidel Castro for free health care, or Jim Jones for raising the prominence of the Kool-Aid brand.
Despite the fact that, during his campaign, new US President Donald Trump stressed his intention to resolutely fight terrorism in general, and the Islamic State in particular, neither he nor his advisers have presented a clearly formulated strategy outlining how he intends to achieve these objectives. The only clue to be gleaned from his statements is that Trump's counter-terrorism doctrine will be different to that of President Obama.
The direction of events in Syria raises a number of questions about the current diplomacy of the Syrian war which have potential implications far beyond Syria itself. These relate primarily to the intentions of Russia in the Syrian conflict, and also to the stance that the new US Administration will take.
Regarding Russia, the question is what Putin is looking for in Syria - how do the Russians see the endgame?
There is no doubt that France was an enthusiastic player in the colonial era... There are few signs that France has found a role for itself in the new international environment. Or that it has learned to cope with its five-million-strong Muslim population. Little wonder, then, that it has resorted to the role of serial organiser of "Middle East Peace Conferences".