outubro 30, 2009
outubro 29, 2009
‘Detidos dois homens que preparavam atentado contra o jornal Jyllands-Posten‘ in Courrier International
Grâce à l'efficacité de la police, deux hommes soupçonnés de préparer des actions terroristes contre Jyllands-Posten ont été arrêtés aux Etats-Unis. En attendant la décision judiciaire, il convient de rappeler le fond de cette affaire.
Les premières menaces de mort à l'encontre du quotidien danois Jyllands-Posten qui avait publié "les visages de Mahomet" datent de l'automne 2005. Elles ont continué en flux régulier pour culminer début 2006. Puis, en février 2008, un attentat projeté par trois musulmans contre Kurt Westergaard [l'un des caricaturistes] a été déjoué, tandis que, quelques mois plus tard, l'ambassade du Danemark au Pakistan faisait l'objet d'une attaque terroriste qui tua plusieurs personnes. Un groupe lié à Al-Qaida revendiqua cette action en déclarant qu'il s'agissait de représailles après la nouvelle publication du dessin de Kurt Westergaard dans les journaux danois et que, par ailleurs, les actes terroristes continueraient tant que le Danemark n'aurait pas puni les responsables et donné l'assurance que ce genre d'événement ne se reproduirait plus.
Terrorisme et intimidation se combinent ainsi pour inciter les gens à modifier leur comportement dans le sens souhaité par les auteurs de ces menaces. Cela s'est déjà vu sous l'Occupation. C'est ce qui se passe dans le monde musulman lorsque des minorités ethniques et religieuses sont persécutées ou partout ailleurs quand des opposants à tel ou tel régime sont menacés d'emprisonnement ou subissent la torture. Mais c'est aussi ce qui se passe lorsque des médias jugés trop critiques sont censurés, voire carrément interdits.
Les auteurs des menaces et des actions préparées contre Jyllands-Posten n'ont pas apprécié la publication des caricatures de Mahomet. Ils ont exigé leur interdiction et tenté d'intimider la population danoise. Malheureusement - mais il fallait s'y attendre -, certains ont pointé du doigt le journal comme étant responsable des menaces terroristes visant le Danemark. C'est une erreur. Et rien ne peut justifier le recours à la violence et aux menaces contre des citoyens exerçant les droits que leur garantit la Constitution. Il s'agit d'un principe qu'il nous faut absolument préserver au nom de la liberté et de la sécurité.
L'Histoire nous enseigne en effet que, si l'on commence à céder à la terreur et aux menaces, celles-ci ne vont pas diminuer. Bien au contraire, elles ne feront que redoubler car, lorsqu'un individu, un média ou une société cèdent à l'intimidation, cela prouve aux terroristes que leurs actes odieux et méprisables ont eu l'effet souhaité.
L'arme la plus efficace contre les menaces terroristes, c'est donc de montrer que nous ne sommes pas disposés à céder sur les principes qui assurent notre liberté et notre prospérité. Nous signifions ainsi clairement aux adversaires de la liberté d'expression qu'en dépit de leurs actes et de leurs tentatives d'intimidation nous continuerons d'agir comme nous l'avons toujours fait - voire nous pratiquerons la dérision et le mépris.
Certains n'approuvent pas cette attitude car nous vivons à une époque où une nouvelle forme de fondamentalisme menace la liberté. Il ne s'agit pas de fondamentalisme religieux ou politique. Non, ce qui constitue la plus grave menace contre la liberté, c'est le fondamentalisme de l'outrage. C'est un courant de pensée selon lequel quiconque a subi un outrage a le droit de réagir violemment. Ce fondamentalisme-là sert de fil conducteur aux nombreuses tentatives pour limiter la liberté d'expression dont nous sommes témoins ces temps-ci. Il est grand temps de tirer la sonnette d'alarme.
outubro 24, 2009
O regime de Teerão rejeitou hoje dar luz verde clara à proposta avançada pela Agência Internacional de Energia Atómica (AIEA), organismo das Nações Unidas, que visava uma acção concertada para reduzir a produção de urânio enriquecido no Irão. Em vez de aceitar a oferta de chamar Rússia e França a essa tarefa, os líderes iranianos vieram antes instar a que as potências mundiais respondam ao seu próprio plano para resolver a contenda sobre o seu polémico programa nuclear.
A proposta do organismo da ONU recebeu aprovação nas últimas horas de todas as outras partes envolvidas – Rússia, França e Estados Unidos. O Irão relançou à mesa a sua própria proposta, cujos pormenores não são conhecidos, no que indica a adopção da frequente estratégia iraniana de ganhar tempo para evitar um endurecimento de sanções internacionais.
As potências internacionais temem que o Irão desenvolva armamento nuclear a partir do programa de enriquecimento de urânio, que em Teerão é justificado com propósitos exclusivamente pacíficos de produção de energia.
“Agora estamos à espera de uma resposta positiva e construtiva à proposta do Irão vinda da outra parte o que toca ao fornecimento de combustível nuclear para o reactor de Teerão”, afirmou um dos negociadores iranianos que participou nas conversações desta semana em Viena. “Esperamos que a outra parte evite cometer os mesmos erros do passado, na violação dos termos de acordos... e que ganhe assim a confiança do Irão”, avançou a mesma fonte, citada mas não identificada pela televisão estatal do país.
Diplomatas ocidentais precisaram nos últimos dias que a proposta da AIEA determina que Teerão envie 1,2 toneladas de urânio enriquecido – das 1,5 toneladas que se sabe o país ter armazenadas – para a Rússia e França até ao final do ano para serem processadas a um nível superior de enriquecimento, em que se torna extremamente difícil que o material seja usado para a produção de ogivas nucleares.
outubro 18, 2009
‘Atentado suicida contra os guardas revolucionários iranianos provoca três dezenas de mortos‘ in Times
A suicide attack targeting Iran’s Revolutionary Guards killed about 31 people, including at least five senior commanders, Iranian state television said.
More than two dozen were wounded in the attack, which the local prosecutor blamed on a Sunni rebel group in Iran’s restless southeast region near the border with Pakistan.
The Jundollah, or Soldiers of God — ethnic Baluch Sunni insurgents who have been blamed for previous attacks in the region — have claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, a statement from the Guards has accused America and its allies, including Britain, of complicity.
“Surely foreign elements, particularly those linked to the global arrogance, were involved in this attack,” said the statement, reported on the English-language Press TV. Iran often uses the term “global arrogance” to refer to the United States.
The US rejected the accusation as "completely false", and condemned the bombing.
The state broadcaster IRIB said that the bombing happened this morning at the entrance to a sports complex in Sarbaz in Sistan-Baluchestan, a province that is the scene of frequent clashes between security forces, Sunni rebels and drug traffickers.
Guards representatives were due to meet local tribal leaders to promote unity between Sunnis and Shias.
Press TV said that the bomber approached the Guards on foot and detonated his suicide bomb vest. A number of civilians were among the dead.
News agencies named the most high-ranking casualties as the deputy head of the Guards’ ground forces, General Nourali Shoushtari, and the Guards’ commander in Sistan-Baluchestan province, General Mohammadzadeh. General Shoushtari was also a senior official of the Guard’s elite Qods Force, reports said.
It was the most severe attack on the Guards in recent years and underlined deepening instability in the southeastern region bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Revolutionary Guards is an elite and politically influential military conglomerate seen as fiercely loyal to the values of the 1979 Islamic revolution. Numbering 120,000 troops with its own ground, naval and air units, its duties include handling security in sensitive border areas and control of Iran’s missile system programme.
It also commands vast financial resources and has stakes in many sectors of the Iranian economy, ranging from oil and gas to telecoms and farming.
Jundollah has an escalating history of violence, claiming responsibility for a bomb attack on a Shia mosque in Sistan-Baluchestan province in May that killed 25 people. Thirteen members of the faction were convicted of the bombing and hanged in July.
In 2007 the group abducted nine Iranian soldiers in the same region, demanding that Tehran free 16 imprisoned members of the group.
Iran has accused the US of backing Jundollah in order to create instability in the country. Washington denies the charge. Jundollah says that it is fighting for the rights of the Islamic Republic’s minority Sunnis.
Iran, a predominantly Shia country, also claims that there are links between Jundollah and the al-Qaeda network. Most people in Sistan-Baluchestan are Sunnis and ethnic Baluchis. Iran rejects allegations by Western rights groups that it discriminates against ethnic and religious minorities.
The fresh outbreak of internal unrest comes at a time when the Islamic Republic is being tested politically by a reform movement that refuses to go away. Mir Hossein Mousavi, the Iran opposition leader, pledged today that Iran’s reform movement would continue, despite harsh judicial reprisals by the State, and made a fresh plea for prisoners to be released.
“Our people are not rioters. Reforms will continue as long as people’s demands are not met,” Mr Mousavi’s website quoted him as saying.
Mr Mousavi was defeated in the presidential elections on June 12. He and other moderates claim that the vote was rigged to secure the re-election of hardline President Ahmadinejad. Iranian authorities deny the allegation.
More than 100 people, including former senior officials, still remain in jail, and at least one reformist has been sentenced to death.
outubro 14, 2009
The European Commission on Wednesday (14 October) issued a series of assessments of countries hoping to join the EU and said enlargement should not be made a "scapegoat" of Europe's current economic problems.
The reports contained the usual Brussels mix of criticism interspersed with praise and rewards for progress towards EU norms.
The small republic of Macedonia was told that it was ready to start membership talks, a move that would put it on the same level as Croatia and Turkey in terms of EU relations.
EU commissioner Olli Rehn, in charge of enlargement, said the Macedonian government should see the move as "very strong encouragement" to "finally settle the name issue," however. The reference concerns an 18-year old dispute between Macedonia and neighbouring Greece about the use of the name Macedonia.
Croatia, hoping to join the EU in 2011, is "nearing the finishing line" after years of negotiations, said Mr Rehn, but needs to further tackle corruption and organised crime "before negotiations can be concluded."
The commission report urges Turkey to do more to ensure freedom of expression and freedom of religion as well as bolster the rights of women and trade unions.
Ankara has been lagging far behind Zagreb in its EU progress in part due to poor relations with EU member Cyprus, with whom it still has to fully implement a customs agreement. Progress is also slow due to a lack of enthusiasm on the part of several member states for Turkish membership and the pace of Turkish domestic reform.
But with Turkey itself lately taking a more bullish tone about what it can offer the EU in terms of energy security, Brussels was careful to stress the country's importance for "energy supplies" and "promoting dialogue with civilisations."
Of the remaining five entities - Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo - that want to join the EU, Mr Rehn had the most to say about Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The war-torn country was recently given an ultimatum by the EU and the US to sort out internal problems between Bosnian Muslims, Croats and Serbs by 20 October.
Defining the country as of "paramount importance for the region and for the European Union," Mr Rehn said that Bosnia and Herzegovina could only consider an application for EU membership once it "can stand on its own two feet."
"No quasi-protectorate can join the EU," he said, spelling out that the Office of High Representative would have to be closed down first. The post was created as part of the peace deal that ended the 1992-1995 war in the country, and can only be closed after a positive international assessment.
Meanwhile, the Serbian government, which is being pushed to arrest two war crimes suspects from the 1990s, was praised for being "stable" and "demonstrating" a high degree of consensus on EU integration as a strategic priority."
But even as the EU tries to bind all of the countries of the western Balkans and Turkey ever more closely through political and economic ties and the promise of eventual membership, there are continuous doubts about whether it has the political appetite to go through with another large round of expansion.
Apart from Croatia, strongly supported by Germany and where EU membership is virtually assured, internal EU question marks remain over the rest.
"It's important we don't scapegoat enlargement" for some "ills" that were not caused by enlargement, Mr Rehn said, adding that the current economic crisis was not made in the streets of Belgrade but rather on Wall Street.
outubro 09, 2009
The award of this year’s Nobel peace prize to President Obama will be met with widespread incredulity, consternation in many capitals and probably deep embarrassment by the President himself.
Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.
Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.
The pretext for the prize was Mr Obama’s decision to “strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples”. Many people will point out that, while the President has indeed promised to “reset” relations with Russia and offer a fresh start to relations with the Muslim world, there is little so far to show for his fine words.
East-West relations are little better than they were six months ago, and any change is probably due largely to the global economic downturn; and America’s vaunted determination to re-engage with the Muslim world has failed to make any concrete progress towards ending the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
There is a further irony in offering a peace prize to a president whose principal preoccupation at the moment is when and how to expand the war in Afghanistan.
The spectacle of Mr Obama mounting the podium in Oslo to accept a prize that once went to Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi and Mother Theresa would be all the more absurd if it follows a White House decision to send up to 40,000 more US troops to Afghanistan. However just such a war may be deemed in Western eyes, Muslims would not be the only group to complain that peace is hardly compatible with an escalation in hostilities.
The Nobel committee has made controversial awards before. Some have appeared to reward hope rather than achievement: the 1976 prize for the two peace campaigners in Northern Ireland, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan, was clearly intended to send a signal to the two battling communities in Ulster. But the political influence of the two winners turned out, sadly, to be negligible.
In the Middle East, the award to Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt in 1978 also looks, in retrospect, as naive as the later award to Yassir Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin — although it could be argued that both the Camp David and Oslo accords, while not bringing peace, were at least attempts to break the deadlock.
Mr Obama’s prize is more likely, however, to be compared with the most contentious prize of all: the 1973 prize to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho for their negotiations to end the Vietnam war. Dr Kissinger was branded a warmonger for his support for the bombing campaign in Cambodia; and the Vietnamese negotiator was subsequently seen as a liar whose government never intended to honour a peace deal but was waiting for the moment to attack South Vietnam.
Mr Obama becomes the third sitting US President to receive the prize. The committee said today that he had “captured the world’s attention”. It is certainly true that his energy and aspirations have dazzled many of his supporters. Sadly, it seems they have so bedazzled the Norwegians that they can no longer separate hopes from achievement. The achievements of all previous winners have been diminished.
Presidência do Conselho Europeu: Tratado de Lisboa abre a porta a um (ainda maior) domínio dos grandes países? in EU Observer
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has sided with smaller member states in trying to restrict the role of the proposed president of the European Council, a new post created by the Lisbon Treaty.
Addressing the European Parliament on Wednesday (7 October), Mr Barroso chastised MEPs for referring to the post as "president of Europe."
"I am sorry, there will not be a president of Europe. There will be, if we have Lisbon, the president of the European Council. It is important to understand that point because sometimes I think there are some ideas about certain derives institutionelles [institutional drifts]," he said.
Loosely defined in the treaty itself, talk about the nature of the president's role has become one of the main topics in Brussels in recent days, as national governments deliberate whether the post should go to a well-known personality from a big country or a more discreet politician.
The exact job description will be written by the first person holding the job, with ex British prime minister Tony Blair among the most-mentioned candidates for the post. It is widely agreed that a politician of Mr Blair's standing would take the post far beyond the largely administrative role foreseen in the treaty.
According to the treaty, which is still awaiting full ratification by all 27 member states, the president is supposed to chair the regular meetings of EU leaders - known as the European Council - and to drive forward their work.
Mr Barroso, who himself enjoys attending international summits on behalf of the EU, has a personal stake in the issue.
A powerful council president would upset the power balance in the EU and would likely see Mr Barroso relegated to a more much Brussels-based role.
The commission president has no formal powers in appointing the European Council president but he warned: "The European Commission will not accept the idea that the president of European Council is the president of Europe."
Mr Barroso's remarks came shortly after a leaked paper on the new Lisbon Treaty posts by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg underlined the importance of maintaining the "institutional balance" of the union. The paper has been interpreted in some quarters as an anti-Blair move.
Poland has also prepared a document on the role of the president of the European Council. Earlier this week, Polish Europe minister Mikolaj Dowgielewicz indicated to EUobserver the limited role that Warsaw foresees for the new president.
"We have to recognise that the Polish minister of finance or agriculture will only take instructions from his prime minister. He will not take instructions from the president of the council," he said.
Some member states, such as France, have indicated they want to create a major player with the presidential job by appointing someone who can open doors in the US and China and who can give the EU some gravitas on the world stage.
Mr Blair's is not the only name that has been put forward in connection to the job. Other possible contenders mooted include Dutch leader Jan-Peter Balkenende; Luxembourg leader Jean-Claude Juncker and Felipe Gonzalez, a former Spanish prime minister.