Clinton on Mideast peace: ‘Please don’t give up’ (P.J. Aroon – Foreign Policy)
When it comes to Mideast peace, Secretary Clinton appealed yesterday to all who care about the issue: “Please don’t give up in the face of difficulty.” She made the remark last night in a keynote speech at a gala event hosted by the American Task Force on Palestine. She acknowledged that moving forward with peace talks is tough and that there’s no “magic formula” to overcoming obstacles. Clinton also acknowledged that coming to peace is tough psychologically for the parties involved because it requires moving past so much historical animosity. To rounds of applause, she quoted Palestinian poet Naomi Shihab Nye as saying, “I’m not interested in who suffered the most. I’m interested in people getting over it”; then after the applause, Clinton went on to say, “And that is the biggest obstacle of them all. I know people cannot forget. I know most people cannot forgive. But I do know also that the future holds the possibility of progress, if not in our lifetimes then certainly in our children’s.”
John Kerry is on his way to Sudan (Josh Rogin – Foreign Policy)
Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA) is on his way to Sudan now and will be there throughout the weekend, where he will hold high-level meetings with government officials representing both the North and South in Khartoum and Juba. Kerry previously traveled to Khartoum and Darfur in April 2009. “Sudan is at a pivotal moment. Every reliable source indicates that Southern Sudan will vote for separation, dividing Africa’s largest country and taking with it some 80 percent of known Sudanese oil reserves,” Kerry said in a statement. “The Sudanese in the North and the South must seize this moment and address the difficult issues that could seriously disrupt the fulfillment of the landmark Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which included provision for the referendum, and lead to unnecessary violence. America must help North and South Sudan find a peaceful path forward.”
U.N. Doubts Fairness of Election in Myanmar (Neil MacFarquhar – New York Times)
With just over two weeks until the first elections in Myanmar in 20 years, a United Nations envoy on Thursday questioned the fairness of the vote. At the same time, the ruling junta, which has shown itself supremely unconcerned by criticism from the world body, pressed ahead with its military-to-civilian government makeover, unveiling a new flag, name and national anthem at a date and time apparently divined by astrologers. Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, has failed in his attempts to engage in any kind of dialogue with the government, which even denied his request to meet with its most famous prisoner during his visit in July 2009. He has repeatedly said that the elections will be neither free nor fair unless Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, the long-detained Nobel Peace laureate, is released. The generals who run the country annulled the results of the last election, in 1990, when her party triumphed.
Pakistani Troops Linked to Abuses Will Lose Aid (Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger – New York Times)
The Obama administration will refuse to train or equip about a half-dozen Pakistani Army units that are believed to have killed unarmed prisoners and civilians during recent offensives against the Taliban. The Leahy Amendment, a law that stretches back more than a decade, requires the United States to cut off aid to foreign military units that are found to have committed gross violations of human rights. The cutoff of funds is an unusual rebuke to a wartime ally, and it illustrates the growing tensions with a country that is seen as a pivotal partner, and sometimes impediment, in a campaign to root out Al Qaeda and other militant groups. The United States spends about $2 billion a year on the Pakistani military, including money specifically designated for counterterrorism operations. The administration has briefed a few senior members of Congress, but it has not given them details about which Pakistani units will be affected by the suspension.
Is There Any Way to Fix Pakistan? (Foreign Policy Magazine)
An integral part of not only securing peace within Afghanistan, but also in the war against al Qaeda, Pakistan has proven itself to be a valuable asset in both causes. However, due to recent natural disasters, and general instability in their northern provinces, Pakistan is on the brink of becoming a failed state. In order for Pakistan to remain a solvent state, it is important that aid and development be provided in a manner that not only directly helps those who need it, but also to strengthen the state as a whole.