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-->DAYBOOK updated on 21 November 2015










Our 34th year of publishing The International Observer

The Latest Issue



Situations of Concern


Afghanistan: Taliban attacks on northern districts are undermining confidence in government.

Burkina Faso: Post-coup violence and completed disarmament of presidential guard.

Central African Republic: Renewed sectarian violence and inter-communal tensions.

Syria: Escalation of Iranian and Russian military involvement in civil war.

Turkey: Widening of Kurdish-Turkish confrontation and air attacks on PKK in Iraq.

[October 2015]

Noticed and Noted

UN General Assembly picks new Security Council members

The General Assembly of the United Nations by a two-thirds vote in one round elected five nations as non-permanent members of the Security Council on 15 October. The following will serve a term of two years starting on 1 January 2016 and ending on 31 December 2017:

            Egypt, five previous terms;

            Japan, ten prior terms;

Senegal, two prior terms;

Ukraine, one prior term (also one term as Ukrainian SSR/USSR);

Uruguay, two prior terms.

They will replace Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania and Lithuania, when their terms end on 31 December.

Besides its primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, the Security Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary General and the admission of new UN members. Together with the General Assembly, it elects the

judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). (Although the Security Council can refer cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the court is not part of the United Nations and its judges and prosecutors are chosen by the Assembly of States Parties to the 1998 Rome Statute.) [October 2015]


India is vigorously pressing its case    to obtain the support of at least 129 United Nations (UN) members for permanent membership in the Security Council. Also on the agenda is recognition of Hindi as one of the six official languages of the UN.


Burundi’s security is of concern, the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) told the country’s president in early August. The assassination of a former intelligence chief, an attempt to kill a prominent human rights defender, and the continuing vociferous political opposition call for resumption of the political dialog and cooperation with facilitation efforts by the East African Community (EAC). In mid-August, the UN again warned that the situation continues to deteriorate amid ongoing killings, arrests and detentions.


Rwanda’s president may serve another seven years when his second term ends in 2017 although he opposes lifting the two-term ban. Legislators have voted to support a change of Article 101 allowing a third term. The president has said he is open to staying if people convince him.


Selection of a new Emir of the Taliban Islamic Militia of Afghanistan is not ending division among its leadership. Although he pledged to continue jihad and attacks have increased in some areas, there are continuing reports of dissension. In early August the head of the political office in Qatar disagreed and stepped down.


The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is not likely to suffer in 2018 national elections from the presence of new parties. The Khmer Power Party (KPP) and the Grassroots Democracy Party (GDP), both minor groups, will find it hard to win even one seat, a political analyst predicted, according to Xinhua.


Communist party control over Tibet and Xinjiang will become tighter in the name of stabilizing the two non-Han regions. Any effort to express ethnic and cultural identity that is not compatible with socialist society is regarded as separatism, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the country’s president told the Politburo at a meeting on Tibet on 24-25 August. Among tasks for the region are efforts to increase a sense of identity with "the motherland, Chinese nationality, Chinese culture, the CPC and socialism with Chinese characteristics,” reported Xinhua.                             


Warning North Korea and reassuring the Republic of Korea (ROK), the visiting top US military official, on 21 August, pledged “unwavering commitment of the United States to Korea’s defense.”

The Jordanian king and his government are always trying to manage political Islam in their country. The record of success is uneven. Dividing the main opposition grouping, the Muslim Brotherhood, is helped by existing divisions between those supporting the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) and the pro-Jordanian faction. The Brotherhood has steadfastly backed the monarchy although it promotes creation of an Islamic state. At times it has been represented in the government and the Islamic Action Front (IAF), formed in 1992 by Brotherhood members, is recognized as a legal party. Lately the movement is even further split by the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood Society in March. The group is seen by many as having the government’s backing, reported Al Jazeera, a view strengthened when in July authorities ordered the transfer of seven valuable Brotherhood properties to the new Society and for the first time banned MB from organizing public prayers during Ramadan (MBS was set up by a small group of members who were expelled for advocating greater distance to prohibited Brotherhood movements in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).)

Cook Islands are not seen as soon joining the United Nations (UN). Although its prime minister is continuing to promote the idea, the New Zealand government finds it not practical. The 15 islands with a population of about 15,000 are self-governing, freely associated with New Zealand which is responsible for island foreign affairs. The British monarch is the chief of state represented by an appointed New Zealand High Commissioner. Cook Islands nationals are entitled to New Zealand passports which many islanders would be reluctant to lose if granted sovereign representation in the UN. There are also some 58,000 people living in New Zealand who claim being of Cook Islands Maori descent.

[September 2015]


UN Security Council endorses Iran nuclear freeze

Six days after successful conclusion of the P5+1 talks with Iran on its nuclear energy program, the UN Security Council on 20 July endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  Resolution 2231, a 104-page document details international and UN member state obligations and tasks to carry out the plan. Specifically, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is requested to reach a “Broader Conclusion” on whether all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities. Once the Council receives the affirmative report, its nuclear non-proliferation controls and sanctions will end. Ten years after formal adoption of the JCPOA, Security Council resolutions concerning the Iranian nuclear issue will be terminated. Talks with Iran aimed at stopping any nuclear arms activities and limiting non-military nuclear energy began in Geneva in October 2009. They were conducted by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council― China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States of America―plus Germany and the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (P5+1). [August 2015]                                      



National security threat or power ploy?

Turkey’s belated military involvement in the Syrian civil war is worrying a growing number of governments, politicians, and people in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Even among members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which supports the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) there is disagreement about Turkey’s renewed attack against the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). Critics of the Turkish government and especially of its President Reccep Tayyip Erdoĝan see the move as a political maneuver aimed at adoption of a presidential system.  By recreating an external enemy―and the PKK foolishly is playing into its opponent’s hands by resuming some fighting―portraying the new and growing People’s Democratic Party (HDP) as siding with the enemies and attempting to criminalize its leadership, and making it hard for a new government to form, the president hopes to call for new elections in November and by sidelining HDP obtain an overwhelming majority of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Once achieved, it will unhesitatingly oblige Erdoĝan and give him the coveted presidential executive powers. [July 2015]




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