A Standing Islamic-Christian Conference in Lebanon to Meet the Region’s Challenges

By Fady Noun, AsiaNews, March 31, 2015

Christian and Muslim leaders yesterday agreed to establish such a structure in Bkerké. It will hold quarterly meetings. The failure to elect a new president and the Islamist threat are the main issues that require a solution. On the long run, the arrival of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, on top of existing Palestinian refugees, threatens the country’s very existence.

An interfaith meeting was held yesterday in Bkerké, See of the Patriarchate of Antioch of the Maronites. Lebanon’s Christian and Muslim religious leaders met to take stock of the region’s tragic developments, and understand the country’s predicament in the evolving situation.

Participants decided to make the meeting a permanent Islamic-Christian forum, convened at quarterly intervals. Although late, yesterday’s decision to make the meeting permanent is to be welcomed.

Read more

Four Years of Syrian Resistance to Imperialist Takeover

By Sara Flounders and Lamont Lilly, Workers World, March 17, 2015

U.S. efforts to overturn the government of Syria have now extended into a fifth year. It is increasingly clear that thousands of predictions reported in the corporate media by Western politicians, think tanks, diplomats and generals of a quick overturn and easy destruction of Syrian sovereignty have been overly optimistic, imperialist dreams. But four years of sabotage, bombings, assassinations and a mercenary invasion of more than 20,000 fighters recruited from over 60 countries have spread great ruin and loss of life.

The U.S. State Department has once again made its arrogant demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down. This demand confirms U.S. imperialism’s determination to overthrow the elected Syrian government. Washington intends to impose the chaos of feuding mercenaries and fanatical militias as seen today in Libya and Iraq.

A delegation from the International Action Center headed by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark traveled to Syria in late February to present a different message.
Read more...

Yemen - No Military Solution

By Chandra Muzaffar, March 30, 2015

There is no military solution to the Yemen crisis. It is essentially a tussle for power between various political actors. The solution has to be political.

Military air-strikes helmed by Saudi Arabia, and supported by most of the other Gulf monarchies and other governments in the region, notably Egypt, have exacerbated an already volatile situation. If these governments decide in the next few days to launch a ground offensive, the consequences will be horrendous.
Read more...

Statement by Gholamali Khoshroo in UN Security Council

Statement by H.E. Mr. Gholamali Khoshroo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in the Open Debate in the Security Council on the Victims of Attacks and Abuses on Ethnic or Religious Ground in the Middle East, March 27, 2015

In the name of God, the Compassionate and the Merciful

Mr. President,

Allow me to begin by expressing my appreciation to you and French Presidency for convening this meeting on the multifaceted challenges that we face in combating violence and extremism in the Middle East and beyond. I also thank the Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights and other briefers for their inputs to this debate.

Mr. President,

The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns widespread targeting and killing of ethnic and religious minorities by Daesh terrorists and all other extremist groups. We also condemn the destruction of Mosques, holy shrines, churches, temples as well as artifacts, and archeological treasures representing the rich cultural heritage of humanity.
Read more...

Hans Koechler: Saudi Assault on Yemen ‘Clear-Cut’ Breach of International Law

Sputnik, March 26, 2015

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia launched a series of airstrikes inside Yemen and reportedly deployed 150,000 troops supported by over 100 fighter aircraft targeting Shiite Houthi rebels who are embroiled in a vicious civil war with the majority-Sunni-run Yemeni Government.

EDINBURGH (Sputnik), Mark Hirst – A major Saudi Arabian military intervention in Yemen is an outright breach of international law that could have serious consequences for the entire region, Dr. Hans Koechler, President of the International Progress Organization (IPO) in Austria, told Sputnik on Thursday.
Read more...

Ours to Master

Our challenge is to see in technology both today’s instruments of employer control and the preconditions for a post-scarcity society.

By Peter Frase, Jacobin, March, 2015

Is Google making us stupid? Is Facebook making us lonely? Are robots going to steal our jobs? These, it seems, are the anxieties that afflict many today.

Capitalism is defined by the drive to maximize profits, and one of the surest paths to that goal has always been reducing the cost of wage labor. Hence, the constant push to increase productivity through new production techniques, automation, and now computerization and robotization.
Read more...

First Expert Meeting on the Implementation of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022)

UNESCO, Paris, France, March 24-25, 2015

The Action Plan for the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures was adopted by UNESCO's Executive Board in April 2014 and approved by the UN General Assembly in December 2014. Its implementation will be the focus of an Expert meeting at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 24 and 25 March 2015.

Being the lead agency of the United Nations system for the Decade, UNESCO is called upon to mobilize different actors to set the basis for promoting mutual understanding conducive to the harmonious coexistence between peoples and countries.

This expert meeting takes on a special meaning today, with international news crystallizing a significant rise of intolerance and extremism, based on tensions and challenges of the management of cultural diversity and intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
Read more...