US policy toward Iran, International Criminal Court fairness, OPEC efficacy, human trafficking in Thailand, jihadi citizenship

A round-up of global commentary for the July 6&13, 2015 weekly magazine

Ronald Zak/AP
Secretary General of OPEC Abdalla Salem El-Badri of Libya speaks during a news conference after a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at their headquarters in Vienna, Austria on Friday, June 5.

The Jerusalem Post / Jerusalem
Consistency needed in US policy toward Iran
“Like a cacophonous symphony or a badly coordinated sports team, US foreign policy-makers seem to be working at cross purposes vis-à-vis Tehran’s nuclear weapons program,” states an editorial. “On the one hand, the Obama administration appears to be bent on cutting a deal with the Iranians even if it is bad.... [On the other hand,] the US State Department, in its annual report on terrorism ..., has a very different message to relay. Iran, it turns out, is one of the world’s biggest state supporters of terrorism.... How are we to understand these conflicting messages?... Harmony and consistency must be brought to US foreign policy. This will only happen when Congress, on a bipartisan basis, insists that Iran stops supporting international terrorism and ... reassesses the merits of the nuclear arms agreement currently being negotiated....” 

Ottawa Citizen / Ottawa
International Criminal Court isn’t promoting universal justice
“[Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir] remains free not just because South Africa let him go, but because many in Africa have lost confidence in the ICC as a just arbiter of international law...,” writes Mohammed Adam. “[The] ICC ... was sworn to the pursuit of universal justice at birth, but has since pursued selective justice.... It [has a] single-minded focus on Africa, acting as if war crimes are only taking place on that continent. In the 12 years the court has been operating, it has indicted some 32 individuals, all African.... The principle of universal justice is important to uphold.... But you lose credibility when you indict one leader for war crimes and ignore another for similar offences. For universal justice to mean anything ... it must be applied fairly and evenly across the world, not focused on one region.”

Iran Daily / Tehran, Iran
Is OPEC effective?
“Market Realist reported recently that ‘OPEC members have been producing more than the group’s target of 30 million barrels of oil per day for the last 12 months in a row,’ ” writes Heshmatollah Razavi. “Frequent violation of the targets set by OPEC members in their meetings has raised the question ... how can we name an entity as an ‘organization’ at a time when it violates its targets repeatedly?... At a time when OPEC members act in a manner that does not comply with the decisions they make, it seems 12 oil exporting countries are members of an entity that could be named PEC, a loose gathering of Petroleum Exporting Countries instead of OPEC that as an organization requires coordinated behavior.” 

Bangkok Post / Bangkok, Thailand 
Stopping trafficking should be a national priority
“It won’t be long before we will find out the assessment on Thailand’s [efforts] this past year in tackling human trafficking when the United States releases its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report...,” writes Pichai Chuensuksawadi. “[But] the TIP report should not even matter. The only issue that matters is whether we as a people and our government are serious about treating fellow human beings – Thai or foreign – with the dignity and respect they fully deserve. It should not take another government to tell us we are not treating our people, and others, properly.” 

The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia
Stripping citizenship from jihadi fighters won’t help
“New powers to strip [Australian] citizenship from dual national jihadis have little value as national security policy and risk damaging the campaign to combat violent extremism,” writes Tom Allard. “The government’s policy rationale ... is that it will stop hardened fighters ...  from returning home to plot terrorist attacks and inspire others to follow the extremist doctrine of Islamic State.... [However], the former dual nationals will become the problem of the country for which they still hold citizenship. In most cases, those will be countries such as Lebanon and Turkey, fragile states dealing with millions of refugees ... and not as well ... equipped as Australia to defuse the threat.” 

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