diplomacy

As Sweden's government intensifies the campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council 2017-2018 the rights-based foreign policy the government claims it wants to carry out will be put to the test. The diplomatic entanglements with Saudi Arabia and the Arab League show clear differences between the nations of the world when it comes to their view of human rights, not least the rights of girls and women. Sweden must continue to make its voice heard.

Although the Saudis like to emphasize their independence from U.S. policy, Western analysts say their actions thus far have not seriously challenged Western strategic interests in the region. The airstrikes in Yemen, for example, have not jeopardized the multinational nuclear talks.

In 2002, Benjamin Netanyahu declared during a US congressional hearing that "there is no doubt" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that the way to solve the Iraqi threat was by toppling Saddam Hussein's regime. Toppling the Saddam regime, Netanyahu predicted, would have tremendous positive regional consequences: The region's nations would rise up against their tyrannical rulers and the Iranian regime would be undermined or would collapse.As we all know, what ended up happening was different.

The U.N. Security Council draft on Yemen last week was issued as a result of the exceptional diplomatic efforts of the ambassadors of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Jordanian presidency of the U.N.

Last week’s unanimous vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on legislation allowing congressional oversight of a potential nuclear deal with Iran has been interpreted by some as a setback to President Obama. The opposite is the case. The fact is that the president’s patient and intricate diplomatic approach, along with other major world powers, to negotiating this historic agreement has gained real traction and it now seems highly unlikely that opponents of the deal could sabotage it through congressional action.

When people talk about the resumption of relations between the United States and Cuba, as they did over the weekend as President Obama and President Raúl Castro sat down for the first meeting between leaders of their two countries in more than 50 years, they talk mostly about history and diplomacy and influence, and what it could mean for the future in terms of trade and travel, not to mention human rights. What they do not generally talk about, however, is fashion.

The examples of Iraq and Syria, not to mention NATO’s 2011 campaign in Libya, should be enough to make us stop and think. Bombardment alone cannot replace a political strategy, even if in Libya - a country with Sunni majority - ISIS cannot feed off the same sectarian claims that helped it in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey and Pakistan have turned to political dialogue in an attempt to resolve tensions surrounding the conflict in Yemen between Houthi militias and Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries. Turkey has been in close contact with regional and international powers to seek a solution in Yemen which includes all the country's parties, while not overshadowing its territorial integrity.

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