World Politics News

4 December 2017

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Last month, Saudi Arabia claimed that it had shot down a missile fired by Yemeni rebels what had targeted the Riyadh airport.  New evidence suggests that the claim was unfounded.  The missile apparently flew unimpeded and landed close enough to the airport to frighten people at the airport.  The new evidence suggests that the Houthi rebels in Yemen are well-armed, but it also undermines the claims of the effectiveness of anti-missile systems.  The US has made anti-missile systems a centerpiece of its ability to defend, not only Saudi Arabia but also Eastern European countries and South Korea, against Iranian and North Korean missiles.  It also calls into question the billions of dollars that have been spent on such systems.  The New York Times has published a meticulously researched article on the evidence that indicates that the Saudi and US claims were not justified.  The issue’s importance was heightened after there were reports that the Yemeni rebels fired a cruise missile at a nuclear reactor being built in Abu Dhabi.

 

There are some things that happen in world politics that are very difficult to explain.  Today we learned that Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former leader of Yemen, was killed.  Saleh was a ruthless dictator in Yemen who was overthrown in the Arab Spring in 2012.  Ever the opportunist, Saleh joined forces with the Houthi forces who rebelled against the Saudi-backed regime of his successor, Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.  But last week he blasted the Houthi rebels and was apparently assassinated by them for his treachery.  It now seems likely that his supporters will open a new front against the Houthi rebels with support from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  A solution to the war in Yemen, which has devastated one of the poorest countries in the world for the last five years, appears even more remote than it was yesterday.

Ali Abdullah Saleh

 

There is a growing movement in the world to recognize the legal rights of the natural world.  The movement has been described in this way:

“Rights of Nature is the recognition and honoring that Nature has rights.  It is the recognition that our ecosystems – including trees, oceans, animals, mountains – have rights just as human beings have rights. Rights of Nature is about balancing what is good for human beings against what is good for other species, what is good for the planet as a world.  It is the holistic recognition that all life, all ecosystems on our planet are deeply intertwined.

“Rather than treating nature as property under the law, rights of nature acknowledges that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.

“And we – the people – have the legal authority and responsibility to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems. The ecosystem itself can be named as the injured party, with its own legal standing rights, in cases alleging rights violations.”

The movement was first spearheaded in Ecuador  and New Zealand followed suit by designating the Whanganui River, a river revered by the Maori, as a legal person.  Perhaps the movement should attach itself to the protection of the Bears’ Ears area in the US state of Utah.

Whanganui River

 

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