Categories
Security Foreign policy

How United Is the Arab Front?

Arab stone design, courtesy of Eusebius@Commons/flickr

The Arab community has always publicly supported its Muslim counterparts. As a result there is an alliance among these states in opposition to Israel and the occupation of Palestine. However, it appears that behind the facade of Arab unity lies a game of dirty politics, where each state acts in self-interest often in contrast to the projected image of unity and loyalty.

A recent article by The Times publicized Saudi Arabia’s green light to Israel to use its air space to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.  This is surprising as it pits Muslim states against each other openly and brings the reality of Arab loyalty into question.

In order to attack Iran’s nuclear sites, Israel has the choice of three routes. The northern route involves passing the Syrian-Turkish border. The central route goes over Jordan and Iraq, while the third southern route goes through Saudi Arabia and Iraq or Kuwait. So let’s assess where these Middle Eastern states stand.

Categories
Development

Gender Equality Bearing Fruit

Image of village in Bihar, courtesy of Hyougushi/flickr

The BBC has an inspiring article on an alternative method to combatting gendercide in India: fruit trees.

Reporter Amaranth Tewary travels to Dharhara village in the state of Bihar, a place that sets a new precedent for areas that practice female infanticides.  For every daughter born, families plant a minimum of 10 mango and lychee trees.

This commercially viable initiative sustains the family on a day-to-day basis, whilst covering the cost of their daughters’ dowry. Thus, this practice achieves two goals: It meets the challenges associated with female foeticide as well as global warming.

The Economist also has an in-depth report on the issue of infanticide (subscription needed).

One can only hope that such a custom is recognized for its significance and is emulated in every other region affected by female infanticide norms.

Categories
Environment Foreign policy

Double Standards

Demonstrator at rally for Bhopal victims, courtesy of Ascanio Vitale/Flickr

The ongoing BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and and the 1984 Bhopal disaster have been hot topics in the news as of late. Both events have reproduced a popular debate regarding multinationals using and abusing their host countries, particularly within the environmental context. But rather than analyzing the power of the multinational companies in relation to the state, what appears more noteworthy is the conflicting attitude of the US. This in turn has influenced the hierarchy of states that exists on the world stage.

What I find interesting is how aggressively the US has condemned BP’s activities, even in the face of damaging trans-Atlantic relations. Yet, it has been so passive about the extensive damage done by American Union Carbide Chemicals, now Dow Chemicals, in Bhopal.