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UN Climate Conference Opens in Marrakech

 The 22nd UN climate change conference, known as COP22, opened in Marrakech, Morocco today.

The conference will last until November 18th, and will be attended by hundreds of global leaders. It will discuss the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Montreal Protocol.

United Nations Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espionsa announced that the number of countries which ratified the Paris Agreement has increased to 100 over the weekend prior to the conference.       

Morocco’s foreign minister, Salahedinne Mezouar, stressed that ratifying the Paris Agreement became urgent, in order to prevent the collapse of the agreement should Donald Trump win the U.S. Presidential elections and seek to pull out of them. “There is no turning back,” said Mezouar.

The UN warned last week, however, that the Paris climate pact is not enough to prevent the planet temperature’s from rising by 3 degrees, which will have catastrophic results. This casts doubt over whether the COP22 conference can contribute to averting a climate disaster.

EU Committee Asks for Compensation from Israel

 The European Union committee for Middle East affairs has recommended that Israel be made to compensate the EU for the destruction of buildings and infrastructure in Palestine.

Israeli authorities regularly demolish Palestinian property in the West Bank, especially in Area C which covers about 61 percent of the West Bank. The West Bank and other areas have been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

The UN reports that demolitions of humanitarian projects has increased by 150 percent since 2015. Most of the humanitarian buildings and infrastructure are funded by the EU.           

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor estimated that Israel has already destroyed EU-funded projects worth over 72 million dollars. The EU has thus far never demanded compensation from Israel.

The committee more critical members wanted the EU to demand the compensations from Israel for the destruction of EU-funded projects, but due to strong resistance by Germany, the EU committee chose to merely “recommend” compensations, rather than demand them.

Nevertheless, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is furious at the decision. Today the ministry announced that it opposes the French initiative to hold a peace summit, and will not send a delegation to negotiate with the Palestinian counterparts.

President Daniel Ortega Wins Third Consecutive Term in Nicaragua

Daniel Ortega, the leader of the Sandinista Revolution and the President of Nicaragua, won a third consecutive term in office on Sunday. He won with an overwhelming 72% of the vote and a relatively low turnout of 66% of registered voters. Opposition leaders accuse Ortega of steering the country towards authoritarianism because pro-Sandinista courts disqualified several opposition leaders from running. However, relatively low crime rates and steady economic growth in the past few years have contributed to Ortega’s popularity. Ortega won with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as his vice-presidential running mate.
 

UK Parliamentary Report Blasts Current Treatment of Political Islam in UK Policy, and Challenges ‘Counter-Radicalisation’ Strategy

The UK Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Committee has published a report today entitled ‘Political Islam’ and the Muslim Brotherhood Review, which repudiates much of the established positions of the British and American governments on their treatment of ‘Political Islam’ and their theories of ‘radicalisation’. According to the cross-party report the phrase ‘political Islam’ is too vague; has no universally-accepted meaning, and is used by the British government to include a very wide variety of groups including those which support “democratic principles” and those that hold “intolerant” and “extremist views”. 

The report blasts what it considers serious failings of a previous governmental inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood, led by then British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins.  Significantly, the report also directly challenges the founding concept behind the theory of radicalisation, known as the “conveyor belt” theory, upon which most – if not all – western ‘counter radicalisation’ and ‘counter-extremist’ strategies are based. 

In his article published today, “Common sense returns: MPs rip apart UK policy towards political Islam ” veteran UK journalist, Peter Oborne, endorsed many of the report’s findings, and went as far as to declare that it:

“amounts to an outright repudiation of the neo-conservative ideology which has dominated British and American thinking about Islam and the Middle East ever since Tony Blair was elected prime minister” and should “oblige [the] Foreign Office to reassess [the] way it interprets political Islam”.

To learn more about UK ‘counter-extremist’ and counter-radicalisation’ strategies click here and here.