Israel Appoints Negotiator For Peace Talks With Palestinians – Will It Work?


TYT Network

The Huffington Post writes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – under pressure from President Barack Obama to prove his commitment to a two-state solution – is likely to name a new top negotiator for talks with the Palestinians. However, Netanyahu’s choice – Silvan Shalom – is not particularly pro-peace.

Nigeria’s Presidential Candidates Sign ‘Peace Agreement,’ Promise Not To Fight After Election

The top contenders in the forthcoming March 28 Presidential election, President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Genenral Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), have signed another peace accord in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Less than 48 hours before Nigeria holds its Presidential elections, the top candidates President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), have signed a peace accord in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), according to tv360nigeria.com.

Some 800 people were killed after the disputed 2011 elections, states GBC.

The meeting was put together Thursday by the National Peace Committee for the 2015 General Elections, led by Nigeria’s former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar.

The Peace Committee raised concerns on Monday that campaigning had been marred by hate speech.

This is the second Peace accord both candidates are signing in a bid to ensure the March 28 Presidential elections are violence-free.

The agreement, just like one they signed on January 14, contained provisions by the parties to avoid actions that could promote violence during and after the polls.

The highly-contested election will take place on Saturday.

Mr Jonathan is facing a strong challenge from Gen Buhari, with some analysts predicting a photo-finish.

In 2011, official figures said Mr Jonathan won by a wide margin.  Gen Buhari said those results were fraudulent, and violence broke out in certain areas of the country.

Possible Peace Deal In Mali


euronews

The Malian government has signed a peace agreement with some northern rebel groups, but the main armed coalition – Taureg – asked for more time to consult its grassroots, according to Aljazeera.

Talks Produce Ukraine Peace Deal: Will The U.S. Scuttle The Agreement?

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gestures as he …

In exchange for a ceasefire and pullback of heavy weapons, Ukraine would trade broad autonomy in the east in a new agreement worked out in Minsk Thursday.  Kiev would get back control of its Russian border by the end of 2015 under a the peace deal worked out in all-night negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, according to the AP.

The deal was full of issues that could derail its implementation, however.

When they announced the plan, Russia and Ukraine differed over what exactly they had agreed to in the talks, including the status of Debaltseve, a key town now under rebel siege.  Putin said the rebels consider the Ukrainian forces there surrounded and expect them to surrender, while Ukraine says its troops have not been blocked.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said there was no agreement on full autonomy or federalization for eastern Ukraine, a longtime demand of Russia, which wants that to maintain its leverage over Ukraine and prevent its neighbor from ever joining NATO.

The deal also requires the Ukrainian parliament to give wide powers to the eastern regions as a condition for restoring Ukraine’s full control over its border with Russia — a provision certain to trigger heated debate in Kiev.

Uncertainty remained even on the cease-fire, as Putin admitted he and Poroshenko disagreed on the situation at the government-held town of Debaltseve, Debaltseve is a key transport hub between the rebels’ two main cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The new deal envisions a 50- to 140-kilometer (31- to 87-mile) wide buffer zone as both parties pull back heavy artillery and rocket systems from the front line, depending on their caliber.

The withdrawal should begin no later than the second day after the cease-fire becomes effective and should be completed within two weeks.

The rebel regions, which held their own elections last fall that Ukraine and the West declared a sham, are obliged to hold a new local vote under the Ukrainian law.

In a key concession to Russia, the deal says the restoration of Ukrainian control over its eastern border with Russia could be completed only by the end of 2015 and on the condition that Ukraine conducts constitutional reform granting wide powers to the eastern regions, including the right to form their own police and to trade freely with Russia.

“It was not the best night in my life. But the morning, I think, is good, because we have managed to agree on the main things despite all the difficulties of the negotiations,” Putin told reporters.

Hollande said he and Merkel are committed to helping verify the cease-fire in Ukraine, hailing the deal as a “relief to Europe.”

In Kiev, Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said despite the peace talks, Russia sent 50 tanks and a dozen heavy weapons overnight into Ukraine.

“We will see whether there will be a cease-fire or not,” Tatyana Griedzheva said in Donetsk. “You have seen it with your own eyes, the kind of cease-fire that we have already had.”

Poroshenko stressed that the agreement contains “a clear commitment to withdraw all foreign troops, all mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine,” a reference to the Russian soldiers and weapons that Ukraine and the West say Russia has sent into eastern Ukraine to back the rebels.

Moscow has denied the accusations, saying any Russia fighters were volunteers, but the sheer number of sophisticated heavy weapons in the rebels’ possession belies the denial.

Merkel said Putin had exerted pressure on the separatists to get them to agree to the cease-fire.

In Brussels, European Union President Donald Tusk said the test of the Minsk agreement will be whether the weekend cease-fire holds in eastern Ukraine.

The French-German diplomatic offensive came as President Barack Obama considered sending U.S. lethal weapons to Ukraine, a move that European nations feared would only widen the hostilities.

The move could potentially scuttle the agreement.

Obama met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday but announced no decision on weapons, despite several senior officials in his administration coming out last week in favor of sending arms.

European countries have opposed sending arms to Kiev, arguing that would escalate the war, according to Al Jazeera.

The Russian leader said the peace deal also determines a division line from which heavy weapons will be pulled back. The line of division and other key provisions were in a document endorsed by rebel chiefs and the representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. That agreement was endorsed by the four European leaders, who issued a separate declaration.

“We were presented with various unacceptable conditions of withdrawal and surrender,” Poroshenko said. “We did not agree to any ultimatums and stated firmly that the cease-fire that is announced is unconditional.”

Rebel leaders lauded the agreement and said they’re willing to give Kiev another chance.

Israel Warns Of Action Against Iran

Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz threatened Thursday that Israel could act unilaterally against Iran over its nuclear ambitions, saying Tehran has failed to make concessions in talks with world powers, according to AFP.

“I won’t be too specific but all options are still on the table,” Steinitz said.  “We never limited Israel’s right of self-defense because of some diplomatic constraints,” he said.

Gaps remain between Iran and the P5+1 world powers on specific measures to end a 12-year standoff on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Two deadlines for a permanent agreement have already been missed, since an interim accord was struck in November 2013.

The P5+1 — Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany — have now set a March 31 deadline for a political agreement.

It would be followed by a final deal setting out all the technical points of what would be a complex accord by June 30.

Americans Don’t Know How The World Views Them: Secular Talk


Secular Talk

Americans don’t know how the world views them. This is the conclusion of a massive world opinion poll conducted by Win/Gallup International and released at the close of 2013.

The poll asked over 66,000 thousand people across 65 countries a variety of questions about the world, including which country they would most like to call home, whether or not the world is becoming a generally better place, and which country poses the greatest threat to world peace.

The World Independent Network and Gallup International conducted the poll at the end of 2013, It found that, worldwide, people think that the U.S. is by far the biggest threat to world peace today.

Israel Rejects Palestine Peace Deal

According to the BBC, US Secretary of State John Kerry met the chief Palestinian negotiator in London over moves to set a timetable for an end to the Israeli occupation.

The European parliament settled on a compromise resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution in principle as long as peace talks progress on Wednesday.

Rivaling the Europeans, Kerry was expected to urge the Palestinians not to push for a UN Security Council vote on a draft resolution calling for Israel to leave the occupied territories by November 2016.

A separate draft would set a two-year deadline for a final peace treaty.

Israel looked for reassurance from the US that it would veto both resolutions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he saw no reason why Washington would not “stand by its position for the past 47 years that a solution to the conflict will be achieved through negotiations”.

Secular Talk video.

John McCain Compares Obama To Carter…

…and nobody died.

Clip from the Friday, November 21st 2014 edition of The Kyle Kulinski Show.

MSNBC Video: Interview With President Of KKK At Ferguson, Missouri

Chris Hayes interviews the imperial wizard and president of the traditionalist American knights of the Ku Klux Klan at Ferguson, Missouri. The interview comes as a grand jury nears its decision whether to charge the Ferguson police officer who shot the unarmed teenager.

Hayes also interviews a St. Louis newspaper columnist and the St. Louis chief of police.

According to RT:

“The grand jury weighing whether to bring criminal charges against the police officer who shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri is reportedly nearing its end, and tension in the area is rising over the possible outcome.

“Following the testimony of a private pathologist hired by the family of Michael Brown – the 18-year-old teenager shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson – the grand jury is likely exhausting its set of witnesses. If true, it means a decision on charges could come as soon as this weekend.”

Chris Hayes video.