Blog Roundup #93

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Democracy Arsenal: Guest Blogger: Jon B. Wolfsthal, Nonproliferation Fellow — International Security Program, CSIS: “For three years the United States has been trying to bring Iran’s violations of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons to the UN Security Council. The International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors reported Iran’s behavior to the UN in early February and gave Iran one month to clear up lingering concerns about its program, after having previously found Iran in violation of its inspection obligations. Nobel Laureate and IAEA Director General reported to the IAEA Board last week that Iran is still obstructing inspection requests by the Agency, and advancing its uranium enrichment program and despite last minute diplomatic efforts by the EU and Russia, the matter is now headed directly for New York and the UN Security Council.”

RCP Blog: “In widely reported remarks this weeked at the AIPAC conference U.S. Ambassador John Bolton warned of “tangible and painful consequences” for Iran if tit doesn’t acquiesce to international demands. Today The Guardian reports that Bolton offered an even more frank assessment of the situation with Iran to a delegation of British MPs visiting Washington last week.”Agonist: “Iran, the IAEA and the UN Thread: Iran’s Khatami Says Islam Is the Enemy West Needs – WaPo – “Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, whose foreign policy was defined by a quest for what he called a “dialogue between civilizations,” warned Saturday that tensions between the Islamic world and the West are taking the shape of a new Cold War.” Iran Maintains Defiant Stance as Atomic Agency Takes Case – NYT – Iran on Sunday reiterated its warning that it would begin making nuclear fuel on an industrial scale if the United Nations nuclear agency decided to send its case to the Security Council in its meeting on Monday.”

Democracy Arsenal (Suzanne Nossel): “[D]espite the intensive focus on the Iranian threat in recent months, every realistic policy option has major drawbacks. The problems I outlined here remain unsolved. Diplomatic sanctions may cut down even further visibility on Iran’s nuclear activities. Economic sanctions will be difficult to target at the government. A ban on Iranian oil is predicted to send prices spiking, potentially hurting the world more than it does Iran.”

Modern Tribalist: “Systematic rape in eastern Congo continues despite pleas for intervention – Dennis Bueckert: Eric Schiller has visited some of the world’s most notorious trouble spots, from Gaza to Haiti, but nothing prepared him for what he saw in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Schiller, who spent six weeks in eastern Congo as a volunteer with Christian Peacemaker Teams, says the distinguishing feature of the conflict is the systematic use of rape to control the population. UN agencies estimate Congo’s tragedy has claimed far more casualties than the Rwandan genocide – some four million lives since 1996, making the Congo hostilities the deadliest since the Second World War.”

TPM Cafe (Mark Leon Goldberg): For the record. A couple days ago, I posted about the “Washington Post’s Wednesday editorial on the human rights council which misrepresented a key fact about Jan Eliasson’s proposal. I sent my concerns to the ombudsman and it seems that wrongs have been righted: “Correction – A Feb. 28 editorial misrepresented the proposal for a United Nations human rights council put forward by Jan Eliasson, president of the U.N. General Assembly. Mr. Eliasson proposes that countries seeking a seat on the council must win votes from a majority of U.N. member states, not from a majority of the states that vote on their candidacy. Because of the possibility of abstentions, Mr. Eliasson’s proposal sets a higher bar than the one we described.”