Blog Roundup #75

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Rob’s House: “The sturgeon in the Caspian Sea are almost gone. That means extinct, never to be seen again. The reason? Caviar. It is therefore good news that the United Nations has declared that there is no longer any legal international trade in caviar from wild fish. Henceforth, only farmed caviar is allowed.”

Ace of Spades HQ: “UN Investigators Seek Assad Q&A – Go, UN, go!: “A spokeswoman for the United Nations inquiry, Nasrat Hassan, told wire services that investigators had requested interviews with Mr. Assad and with Syria’s foreign minister, Farouq Shara, along with others. She said the investigators were awaiting a reply. A preliminary report by the United Nations panel had concluded that the bombing was a terrorist act carried out by high-ranking Syrian and Lebanese intelligence officers.” They’ll also be interviewing the Syrian ex-VP Khaddam.”

Bogosity: “Gwynne Dyer writes great analysis of world news. Here’s his 2005 wrapup. 2005 Year Ender – Gwynne Dyer: “First, the good news. In October, a comprehensive three-year study led by Andrew Mack, former director of the Strategic Planning Unit in the office of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, concluded that there have been major declines in armed conflicts, genocides, human rights abuses, military coups and international crises worldwide.”

Sudan Watch: UN warns of growing catastrophe in Sudan – UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned on Thursday that the security situation in Darfur continued to deteriorate. In his latest monthly report on Darfur, he called it a “deeply disturbing trend” with “devastating effects on the civilian population.” “Civilians continue to pay an intolerably high price as a result of recurrent fighting by warring parties, the renewal of the scorched earth tactics by militia and massive military action by the government,” he said in the report released on 29 December.”

Coalition for Darfur: “From IRIN – via POTP: “An enormous humanitarian crisis is emerging in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga Province, with tens of thousands of people being displaced, but so far the government and the international community are doing little. … “The number of displaced in central and northern Katanga now exceeds 100,000,” said Anne Edgerton, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the town of Kalemie on Lake Tanganyika. “We know of at least 39,000 people who were recently displaced — they do not include 72,000 displaced earlier in 2005.” Edgerton said there might be tens of thousands more people displaced in the north and centre of Katanga Province – people whom aid agencies are unable to reach because of conflict.”

Mark A. Kilmer: “The Iraqi Shi’ites, Kurds, and Sunnis want a government. The Kurds had all parties up North for a meeting Tuesday, and the parties are talking and plan will keep discussing matters. A sticking point is still the accusation that the Shi’ites stuffed the ballot boxes: “Though some Sunni Arab leaders say they will protest and reject talks on government roles unless the foreign monitors uphold their claims of fraud, the United Nations has already called the election largely fair and other Sunni politicians are staking their claims to a share of power in negotiations.”

Stygius: “The domestic and international power-plays in Syria seem to be further fusing into one big chaotic ball, as both the United Nations requests to interview President Assad himself in the Hariri inquiry, and Syria’s former vice president (now in exile) does his best on al-Arabiya to imply official approval of Hariri’s assassination, breaking with the Baathist regime.”