Rumbles of discontent, erupting into public protests, are nothing new in Iran. They predate the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which swept the Shah from the throne and Ayatollah Khomeini into power. Today, among the slogans being chanted in the mass demonstrations bursting out all over Iran and threatening the very stability of the regime, are: “Reza Shah, God bless your soul.” In short, the regime of the ayatollahs has long outlived its honeymoon period.
Author Archive: Neville Teller
A rumour is circulating in the British press to the effect that the UK is about to designate Hezbollah, lock, stock and barrel, as a terrorist organization. It would not be before time. The UK first proscribed Hezbollah’s terrorist wing in 2001, and added the military wing in 2008 after the organization targeted British soldiers in Iraq, but it has reserved judgment on the organization as a whole because of its political activities. Any such distinction, which the EU has copied from the UK, is illusory. Hezbollah is a unified organization, and its jihadist purpose is basic to its existence. Even Hezbollah’s…
On 15 June 2018 senior US administration officials met with UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in New York to discuss US efforts “to promote peace in the Middle East and to meet humanitarian needs in Gaza.” Joining the meeting were Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, two of the three envoys (the third is David Friedman, US ambassador to Israel) who are leading Trump’s Middle East peace effort. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, was also present. Reports had already indicated that the US’s carefully crafted peace plan was virtually complete.
Reaching the age of 83 is no big deal these days. Centenarians abound. But Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is 83 with a long history of health problems. Some twenty years ago he underwent an operation for prostate cancer. Subsequently, as a heavy smoker, he has struggled against a succession of health issues, many connected with his heart.
Why did Syrian president Bashar al-Assad meet with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on May 17, 2018? “Quite comprehensive negotiations took place,“ was the explanation offered by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
That the current Iranian regime poses a problem for the free world is a fact of life. It even poses a problem for Russia, its de facto ally in the Syrian conflict. But the Iranian dilemma comes into even sharper focus following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, and the escalation of long-standing tensions between Iran and Israel into open military skirmishes.
Comparatively speaking, the UN Human Rights Council is still in its infancy. Set up only twelve years ago by the UN General Assembly, it had one over-riding purpose – to rectify the egregious faults of its predecessor body, the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The UNCHR had been a working body of the United Nations virtually from its foundation in 1946, but over its 60 years of existence it had accrued a raft of objectionable practices which finally made the organization totally unacceptable to many governments, activists and eventually to the UN itself.
On April 4, 2018 three national presidents met in the Turkish capital of Ankara. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan greeted his Russian and Iranian counterparts − Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani − to discuss a way forward in Syria. In the statement that followed, the three leaders claimed to be working closely to bring about a lasting peace in Syria.
The biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting opened on April 16, 2018 in London. Most of the world’s media, except perhaps those of the Commonwealth nations, gave the event less attention than it deserves – but that has been the fate of the Commonwealth itself for many years.
Once upon a time Turkey and Israel were the greatest of friends. In March 1949 Turkey was the first Islamic nation to recognize the new state of Israel. Over the next fifty years, despite some ups and downs, the relationship flourished. In the Cold War Turkey was a key ally of the Western camp and in the 1990s, under the aegis of the United States, Israel and Turkey established bilateral defense, security and economic partnerships which burgeoned into strong social and cultural ties.