No Joke: U.N. Elects Saudi Arabia to Women’s Rights Commission, For 2018-2022 Term

Global Research, April 24, 2017
UN Watch 22 April 2017

The Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch condemned the U.N.’s election of Saudi Arabia, “the world’s most misogynistic regime,” to a 2018-2022 term on its Commission on the Status of Women, the U.N. agency “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”

“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “It’s absurd.”

“Every Saudi woman,” said Neuer, “must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia also bans women from driving cars.”

“I wish I could find the words to express how I feel right know. I’m ‘saudi’ and this feels like betrayal,” tweeted a self-described Saudi woman pursuing a doctorate in international human rights law in Australia.

Yet the fundamentalist monarchy is now one of 45 countries that, according to the U.N., will play an instrumental role in “promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.”

Saudi Arabia was elected by a secret ballot last week of the U.N.’s 54-nation Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Usually ECOSOC rubber-stamps nominations arranged behind closed doors by regional groups, however this time the U.S. forced an election, to China’s chagrin.

Saudi Arabia was also recently re-elected to the U.N. Human Rights Council where it enjoys the right to vote on, influence and oversee numerous mechanisms, resolutions and initiatives affecting the rights of women worldwide, including:

https://web.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fweb.facebook.com%2Funwatch%2Fvideos%2F10153872903866561%2F&show_text=0&width=690

The latest ECOSOC vote is reported in a U.N. press release:

Commission on the Status of WomenThe Council elected by secret ballot 13 members to four-year terms, beginning at the first meeting of the Commission’s sixty-third session in 2018 and expiring at the close of the sixty-sixth session in 2022:  Algeria, Comoros, Congo, Ghana and Kenya (African States); Iraq, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan (Asia-Pacific States); and Ecuador, Haiti and Nicaragua (Latin American and Caribbean States).

The only good news: thanks to the U.S. calling a vote — breaking with the Obama Administration policy which in 2014 allowed Iran to be elected by acclamation — Saudi Arabia was not elected by acclamation, but instead received the least votes of any other country: 47 out of 54 votes cast, even though there was no competition given that there was an equal amount of competitors for available seats.

Here were the results of the elections, with all 54 ECOSOC members voting:

African States
Algeria: 54
Comoros: 53
Congo: 53
Ghana: 53
Kenya: 53

Asian & Pacific States
Iraq: 54
Japan: 53
Republic of Korea: 54
Saudi Arabia: 47
Turkmenistan: 53

Latin American States
Ecuador: 54
Haiti: 54
Nicaragua: 52

*

It was a secret ballot, but the math tells us that at least 15 of the following democratic member states of the U.N. Economic and Social Council voted to elect Saudi Arabia to the U.N.’s women’s rights commission:

  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Norway
  • Republic of Korea
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • UK
  • USA

U.S. Ready For More Syria Strikes

Syrian War Report – April 11, 2017

Voiceover by Harold Hoover

The US does not rule out the possibility to conduct new missile strikes on Syria, White House spokesman Sean Spicer has said at a news conference on Monday. “The sight of people being gassed and blown away by barrel bombs ensures that if we see this kind of action again, we hold open the possibility of future action,” Spicer stated, adding that “Not just Syria, but the world saw a president who is going to act decisively.”

US Defense Secretary James Mattis claimed that the US missile strike on the Sha’irat military airfield led to the destruction of 20% of the Syrian Air Force’s aircraft.

Mattis added that the Syrian government “lost the ability to refuel or rearm aircraft at Sha’irat airfield and at this point, use of the runway is of idle military interest.”

Unfortunately, the mad dog forgot to check some videos on Youtube, which reveal the air base to be operational and Syrian warplanes using it to conduct airstrikes on militants. The destruction of 20% of the aircraft also appears to be an overestimation.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media continued their propaganda campaign against the Iranian-Syrian-Russian alliance. Now, some anonymous US official told Fox News that, “a Russian-operated drone flew over a hospital in Syria as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment. Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.” According to the media, the presence of the drone couldn’t have been a coincidence. Investigation is not required when an anonymous US official is always near to provide such hard evidence of any allegations.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies retook the town of Maardes and the village of Iskandariyah from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in northern Hamma. Then, government forces launched an advance on Souran.

In the Palmyra countryside, the SAA captured the Al Taj hill, a number of points in the Mazburad Mountain, and the Syriatel tower.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured the villages of Abbad and Ayid Qabir which had been controlled by ISIS in the province of Raqqah.

Both of the villages are located near the important ISIS-held town of Tabqa. Tabqa and the Tabqa dam are important ISIS defense sites in the western countryside of Raqqah. The SDF successfully isolated them and is now readying to storm them.

Meanwhile, the US Special Forces and their proxies repelled an ISIS attack at al Tanf in southern Syria. From 20 to 30 ISIS members had attacked the US-led forces after a VBIED attack. All terrorists were killed in the clashes according to the US Central Command.

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Hadiyeh Khalaf Abbas elected as First Woman Speaker of People’s Assembly

Local Editor

Hadiyeh Khalaf Abbas Hadiyeh Khalaf Abbas was elected as the Speaker of the People’s Assembly uncontested at the first ordinary round of the second legislative term held on Monday.

Abbas is the first woman to have held this position since 1919, when the first national parliament was formed- called the Syrian National Congress.

However in 2003, a woman was elected as the Secretary of the Assembly’s Office. Inaam Abbas represented the workers and farmers’ sector for Tartous province.

The 1953 Syrian constitution was the first to give the right of suffrage to women. The Syrian women were thus among the few women in the Arab countries to first be given the right to vote and run for legislative councils.

In the first legislative term of the People’s Assembly (1973-1977), there were only five women out of 186 members. This number rose to 31 women out of 250 members in the first legislative term of 2012-2016.

Hadiyeh Khalaf Abbas was born in 1958 in Deir Ezzor. She holds a PhD in Agricultural Engineering from Aleppo University. She held positions at the National Union of Syrian Students (Deir Ezzor-Raqqa branch) and she was a member of leadership of Deir Ezzor branch of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party (1988-1998).

Abbas was elected as a member of the People’s Assembly of the 8th legislative term (2003-2007) and has been a member of the Assembly’s National Reconciliation Committee representing Deir Ezzor.

Source: Agencies

06-06-2016 – 16:14 Last updated 06-06-2016 – 16:14

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Syria Elections 2016: US-NATO’s Failed Attempt to Deny the Will of the Syrian People

Global Research, April 14, 2016

“We declare our right on this earth…to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” ~ Malcolm X

Yesterday Parliamentary elections were held in Syria. 7000 polling booths were opened across the country. 11, 341 candidates were proposed from across Syria with 250 to be elected to Parliament, including a number of female candidates.

Candidates were spread out as follows: 988 in Damascus, 817 in Damascus countryside, Aleppo 1437, in Aleppo regions 1048, In Idleb 386, in Homs 1800, Hama 700, Lattakia 1653, Tartous 634, Deir Ezzor 311, Hasaka 546, Raqqa 197, Daraa 321, Sweida 263 and in Quneitra 240

Voting centres opened at 7.30 am and were obliged to extend their sessions by five hours to accommodate the high turn out of voters.

women
Some of the women candidates in Syrian Parliamentary elections.

“The voting centers include over 2,000 centers in Damascus, 17 in Deir Ezzor, 1,047 in Lattakia, 661 in Homs, 347 in Sweida, 741 in Hama, 368 in Hasaka, 816 in Tartous, and 347 in Sweida are receiving voters.

It should be noted that voting centers were opened in Damascus, Damascus Countryside, Hama, Lattakia, Aleppo, Tartous, Hasaka, and Deir Ezzor to receive voters staying in these provinces who are originally from other areas, namely the provinces of Idleb, Raqqa, Aleppo, Deir Ezzor, and Daraa.” ~ SANA

Med-School_Damascus-2
Students from Damascus University queueing to vote: SANA

So contrary to spurious claims from western governments and media, efforts were made to open the voting to all Syrian civilians including those who have fled terrorists held areas. We must also bear in mind that over 90% of IDPs [Internally displaced persons] have fled to Government controlled areas, thus further discrediting claims that these elections are non representative.

For a full photo report on the Syrian elections: Peoples Assembly Elections 2016

On an equally positive note, of course ignored in the western and gulf media, 1.7 million of these internally displaced refugees have been able to return home thanks not only to the SAA liberation of whole swathes of Syrian villages and towns from US NATO terrorist occupation but also due to the Syrian Governments laudable efforts to rebuild and restore infrastructure in these areas.

Small government loans are being given to impoverished families to enable them to re-establish their lives torn apart by the illegal war of aggression that has been waged against Syria by the US, NATO, GCC and Israel for the last five years.

It is guaranteed that none of these initiatives will be reported in the mainstream media, including the Syrian Higher Committee for Relief’s efforts to facilitate the delivery of Humanitarian aid to the remaining terrorist held civilian areas in Syria.

As Professor Tim Anderson [who is in Syria to observe the elections as indeed he was in 2014] said:

“Syrian democracy needs no outside approval. Repeated outside demands that ‘Assad must go’, or that a Washington-approved executive ‘transition government’ be formed, have become meaningless, since the military tide turned in the embattled country’s favour.”

The Syrian elections proceeded according to the Syrian constitution and law. We see this being enforced in Aleppo for example where it was decided that violations of the voting process had taken place and a re-election was called for.

UNSC [Security Council] resolution 2254 stated clearly that Syria’s future is in the hands of the Syrians and the Syrians are proving that they are doing just that with little fuss but a lot of enthusiasm and determination to deny foreign intervention in their sovereign affairs.

The Syrian “Dictator” goes to Vote

Now lets have a look at the President that western governments and their media minions would have us believe to be a bloodthirsty, butchering dictator as he and his wife Asma head for the polling booths with no security in sight.

Compare this if you will, to the protests being held across Britain demanding that David Cameron aka “Dodgy Dave” resign over the Panama papers scandal, the subsequent police clamp down and the manhandling of protestors.

Perhaps even more laughable in the face of the UK Government’s own deteriorating human rights record at home and abroad, is their statement on the Syrian elections:

Britain said Damascus’ decision to go ahead with the elections in the war-torn nation, where hundreds of thousands cannot take part, shows “how divorced (the government) is from reality.” 

With homelessness and child poverty reaching Victorian levels in Britain, legal cases pending for criminal arms sales to the genocidal Saudi coalition conducting wholesale slaughter of Yemeni civilians, and recent reports on the British government clandestine assassination programmes, one would be justified in saying the British government has not only divorced itself from reality but from Humanity in every feasible way.

“Reprieve highlights the fact that Britain conspired in a US-inspired Kill List soon after 9/11. It says quite categorically that “Starting in 2002, working closely with the Americans, Britain had played a leading role in the euphemistic Joint Prioritized Effective List. As with Yemen, the JPEL Kill List was not even limited to a war zone – it spanned over into Pakistan, which was an ally, not an enemy at war.”

What this effectively means is that not only has Britain brought back the death penalty it has done so without public or parliamentary consultation, and carried out these deadly deeds regularly without even a basic trial.” ~ Britain’s Secret Assassination Programme

 

France takes the hippocritic oath.

France has also hit the deck with cries of illegitimacy regarding the Syrian elections.

“The idea that there could be elections is not just provocative but totally unrealistic. It would be proof that there are no negotiations or discussions [in Geneva].”~ Francois Hollande

Legion of Honour

This statement comes from the man who crossed an executioners palm with silver to secure a multi billion dollar arms deal with Qatar.

In this photo Hollande is presenting France’s most prestigious award, the Legion D’Honneur to Saudi interior minister, Muhammed Bin Nayef.  Bin Nayef is personally responsible for choosing who of the many prisoners in Saudi jails is eligible for execution or crucifixion without trial and usually on trumped up charges.

So one is once more justified to ask, which leg is Hollande standing on when he denigrates Syrian elections while commending one of the world’s most renowned terrorists on his efforts to combat…terrorism.

The award for hypocrisy goes to..

US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said that the US “would view those elections as not legitimate in the sense that they don’t represent… the will of the Syrian people.

“So, to hold parliamentary elections now, given the current circumstances, given the current conditions in the country, we believe is at best premature and not representative of the Syrian people,” Toner said.

Early last week Toner said that “a political process that reflects the desires and will of the Syrian people is what should ultimately decide the future leadership and the future government of Syria.” ~ RT

Here is the answer of the Syrian people to Mr Toner’s comments:

Syrian

Mohammed Ali of Press TV reports from Damascus

Conclusions

The US, NATO, GCC and Israeli agenda has careered into the brick wall of Syrian resistance, integrity and unity.  The will of the Syrian people is being listened to by the Syrian government.

Ideologically and spiritually the Syrian people believe in their political and military victory.  The Syrian people have said “no” time and time again to foreign intervention. They have endured crippling economic sanctions, invasions by proxy terrorist armies, occupation by mass murderers funded and armed by the US and NATO alliance but their resilience will ensure their self determination against all odds.

To achieve their objectives in Syria, the US and NATO are reliant upon mercenaries, terrorists, rapists and felons who have no vested interest in victory other than lining their own pockets with drugs and oil revenue.

The US and NATO agenda in Syria has no basis in law or even sound ideology, it is based upon pure greed and power sustained by corruption and inhumanity.  It shall fail and Syria will emerge unbowed, stronger and ultimately victorious.  The Syrian people have redrawn the geopolitical map with strength of will alone.  This is the will you should be respecting Mr Toner, there is no other.

“The Syrian people are engaged in a war that has been going on for five years, through which terrorism managed to shed innocent blood and destroy much infrastructure, but it failed in achieving the primary goal it was assigned, which is destroying the principle structure in Syria, meaning the social structure of the national identity.” ~ President Bashar al Assad.

President-Assad_elections

Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.

Israelis Arrest Prominent Palestinian Activist on International Women’s Day

I wonder how Israel’s paid Internet trolls will spin this one? Manal Tamimi, mother and nonviolent activist for Palestinian human rights is arrested–on International Women’s Day, no less. Tamimi is from Nabi Saleh, the same West Bank village I highlighted in a post yesterday. Do check it out if you haven’t seen it.

That post focused on one of Nabi Saleh’s younger residents, Ahmed Tamimi, but Manal Tamimi, as you can see, is a bit older. Moreover, she has a nice habit of documenting events in Occupied Palestine, and particularly in her home village, on her Twitter page. In the video below, you can see her discussing the role of women in the Palestinian resistance.

So my question is–why would the Israelis arrest a woman like this, and on International Women’s Day, of all days of the year? Is it an expression of contempt? Are they trying to send a message? And could the news item below possibly have something to do with it?

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/209080#.Vt-DjvkrKUk

It seems the Israelis are mad at the UN again and throwing another tantrum. Let’s hope Ms. Tamimi is freed and that she makes it safely back to her home and family.

Ankara Blast: Catastrophe of Convenience

February 19, 2016 (Ulson Gunnar – NEO) – The fireball from this week’s blast in Ankara had barely begun to fade before the world begun bracing itself for the predictable accusation that Syria’s Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) were behind the blast. This is because Turkey has developed a transparently cynical strategy of staging blasts throughout its territory and behind to stoke fears, justify condemnation and retaliation and demonize not only it own enemies, but those of its partners in NATO and particularly, those of the United States.

Syria’s YPG was the obvious target of this blast and the barrage of accusations and threats that quickly followed because it is the YPG together with Syrian and Russian forces that now threaten to finally foil the US-NATO-GCC proxy by closing the Afrin-Jarabulus corridor, and specifically, the pivotal city of Azaz, located in Syria right along the Syrian-Turkish border.

For years Azaz has served as a nexus for foreign-backed militant operations not only in northern Syria, but as a logistical hub supplying terrorist operations all throughout the country. Its seizure by either Syria’s Kurdish YPG or the SAA (Syrian Arab Army) would effectively hobble US-NATO-GCC’s proxy war, at least in the north.

Tripping in a Tangled Web of Treachery

Over the past week, Turkey has been shelling Syrian territory, concentrating its firepower on a southwest road leading to the city of Azaz. Kurdish YPG forces have been advancing up the road, lined on both sides by small farmers and accompanying civilian houses in a bid to liberate the city long-held by both IS (Islamic State) and Al Qaeda affiliates including Jabhat al Nusra (a US State Department listed foreign terrorist organization).

Despite the bombardment, the fate of US-NATO-GCC backed terrorists held up there is inevitably doomed. Just after the blast and amid threats by Ankara to retaliate not only against the YPG, but he Syrian government itself, some 500 terrorists described as “Islamists” by the London Guardian crossed over the Turkish border and headed to Azaz as reinforcements.

Keen readers will notice the term “Islamist” is often used as a somewhat more ambiguous label to avoid accurately describing the fighters as either Al Qaeda affiliates or IS itself. Together with continued artillery fire from Turkey, what the world now sees is NATO openly fighting a combined arms battle against Syria alongside Al Qaeda shock troops.

Ankara’s threats against the YPG and the Syrian government is particularly ironic. The Washington Post in its report “Turkey accuses a Syrian Kurd of bombing Ankara and vows to retaliate,” claims:

[Turkish Prime Minister] Davutoglu said he also held embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responsible because Assad and his government have acknowledged on a number of occasions that they provide arms to the YPG.

However, this logic quickly breaks down when one considers the United States has also acknowledged on a number of occasions that it provided not only arms to the YPG, but also aircover.

Perhaps the United States and their junior partners in Ankara believe the public has forgotten such headlines as that in the Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Airdrops Weapons and Supplies to Besieged Syrian Kurds in Kobani,” which reported:

The U.S. dropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Syrian Kurds fighting Islamic State extremists in the embattled city of Kobani, U.S. officials said Sunday. Three U.S. C-130 cargo planes began dropping the weapons and supplies, provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq, on Sunday, the officials said. Over several hours, the U.S. dropped 27 bundles of small arms, ammunition and supplies.

The London Guardian’s “US-led air strikes hit key Isis targets amid battle with Kurdish forces,” points out that:

US-led coalition jets struck Islamic State positions in north-east Syria for the second day in a row on Saturday, in an area where the militants are battling Kurdish forces, a Kurdish official and a group monitoring the war said.

Despite the “logic” underpinning Ankara’s accusations and threats against both the YPG and Damascus, none should expect similar threats or retaliations to materialize against the United States, who has maintained a military presence for decades inside Turkey, itself a NATO member since the conclusion of the Second World War.

Instead, what we see is the total breakdown in the US-NATO-GCC narrative used to carry this conflict onward since 2011. The battle along Syria’s border is clearly not about any threat the YPG or the Syrian government pose to Turkey or any other NATO or GGC member. Instead, the battle along the border is clearly about the imminent strangulation of US-NATO-GCC supply lines that have fed what is now clearly appearing to be a foreign invasion, not a “civil war.”

When Syria’s borders are closed, and the “civil war” evaporates, it will be proof-positive of the ploy these foreign powers have attempted to play against Syria, and will ultimately derail similar conspiracies being organized and arrayed against other nations across the entire planet.

For the people of Turkey, with yet another blast tearing through their capital and spilling the blood of their brothers and sisters, once again coincidentally times to break a geopolitical impasse their current government faces amid its schemes abroad, they are surely taking stock of the increasing price they have so far paid for this conflict, and extrapolating the debt they will incur should it be allowed to continue on even a day further.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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Female Syrian Army Recruits Undergo Training

Defending their country from foreign-backed terrorists? Or propping up a brutal dictator who “kills his own people”? You decide.

The Syrian peace talks were set to begin tomorrow, but according to a Reuters report released earlier today, the talks have been “derailed” by an announcement from the “Syrian opposition” that they intend withdrawing. One opposition group says it will “certainly” not be in Geneva on Friday, while another says it might be in the city but would not attend the talks, so it’s hard to say really for sure what’s going to happen.

What seems clear, though, is that the West is applying a great deal of pressure for terrorists to be seated at the table, while Syria, Russia, and Iran are equally resisting that pressure. Why foreign-backed mercenaries should be included in discussions to determine Syria’s future is of course a question no one has adequately addressed.

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