Blog Roundup #97

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Paper Chase: “UN Legal Counsel Nicolas Michel said Thursday that the UN is ready to begin final negotiations on the establishment of an international tribunal to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Michel said that a mixed tribunal with both Lebanese and international support, similar to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, would produce the best outcome. He said that it is unlikely that the tribunal will be established inside Lebanon and that factors such as impartiality and safety of witnesses and judges will determine its location. Michel’s comments follow a recommendation of a mixed tribunal from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan earlier this week.”Political Animal: “Knight Ridder quotes three anonymous officials about Iran’s nuclear program: “Based on the IAEA data, U.S. experts have concluded that “Iran could be as little as two to three years away from having nuclear weapons, with all the necessary caveats and assumptions and extrapolations about them overcoming technical hurdles,” said one U.S. official. “Admittedly, those are significant assumptions.”

TPM Cafe (Scott T. Paul): “Bolton Lobbying Against U.S. Membership on Human Rights Council – Bolton believes that if the U.S. declares its candidacy for membership, it will be seen as an endorsement of the Council that he has so emphatically denounced. The Council would benefit from U.S. membership. It would be more credible and more effective with the U.S. on board. That being said, it might (and I emphasize, might) be better to heed Bolton’s advice on this one – not for his articulated reason, but because there is no assurance that the U.S. would be voted on. Abuse in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, U.S. foreign policy, and Bolton’s heavy-handed diplomacy have left the U.S. more isolated in the UN than perhaps ever before.”

Washington Note: “Last Thursday morning, I sent a couple of questions to the “Ask the State Department” site that was planning an online session with John Bolton. I sent two questions, clearly identified myself, received confirmations from the State Department that my queries of Ambassador Bolton were received. If you read the transcript of carefully crafted blandness in Bolton’s responses during his on-line forum, there is no reference to the questions I posted early. That’s OK. They can’t answer everyone — and I felt that I was just accidentally ignored — UNTIL I got this email…”