Why is the International Criminal Court picking only on Africa?

That earthly court is now rooted. Its glassy headquarters on the outskirts of the Hague houses more than 1,000 lawyers, investigators and staff members from dozens of countries. Judges hail from all regions of the world.

But for an institution with a global mission and an international staff, its focus has been very specific: After more than a decade, all eight investigations the court has opened have been in Africa. All the individuals indicted by the court — more than two dozen — have been African. Annan’s proclamation notwithstanding, some very powerful people in other parts of the world have avoided investigation.

David Bosco

The Washington Post, United States

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Strengthening the I.M.F.

Let’s face it: the International Monetary Fund is not widely loved. It has forced countries in financial distress to adopt counterproductive austerity policies, and it failed to anticipate the financial crisis. But in recent years the I.M.F. has helped stabilize the global economy, most recently by providing loans to troubled European countries like Greece and Ireland. That is why Congress needs to strengthen its governance and bolster its resources by ratifying reforms to the organization that were agreed to in 2010 by its 188 member countries.

The New York Times, United States

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BRICS go over the wall

Reports on the premature death of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have been greatly exaggerated. Western corporate media is flooded with such nonsense, perpetrated in this particular case by the head of Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

Reality spells otherwise. The BRICS meet in Durban, South Africa, this Tuesday to, among other steps, create their own credit rating agency, sidelining the dictatorship – or at least “biased agendas”, in New Delhi’s diplomatic take – of the Moody’s/Standard & Poor’s variety. They will also further advance the idea of the BRICS Development Bank, with a seed capital of US$50 billion (only structural details need to be finalized), helping infrastructure and sustainable development projects.

Pepe Escobar

Asia Times Online, Hong Kong

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The Syrianization of Syria rolls on

Perhaps years from now, a new term along the lines of “Syrianization” will take over the significance of the sweeping (and some say inaccurate) concept of Balkanization. The northern Levant is quickly overtaking every other part of the world as the paradigm of complete fragmentation of a geographic and political entity.

Victor Kotsev

Asia Times Online, Hong Kong

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Obama and America’s “Imperial Temptation” in the Middle East

Following President Obama’s address to an audience of Israeli students in Jerusalem last week, progressive commentators in the United States hailed the speech as “a passionate appeal for peace” that “placed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict squarely back on his agenda.” But those intoxicated by Obama’s rhetoric will soon experience a painful hangover.  For the President’s Israel speech and the rest of his Middle East trip were focused, first and foremost, on domestic politics here in the United States. And Obama’s Middle East strategy is marked by a growing discrepancy between the arrogance of America’s regional agenda and its declining capacity to realise this agenda.

Hillary Mann Leverett and Flynt Leverett

Al Jazeera, Qatar

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Mending Israel-Turkey ties

I was in Israel last week, right after Israel’s apology for any wrongdoing during the Mavi Marmara incident. Indeed, Turkey deserved an apology for the incident long ago, but ultimately it was the Obama factor that made it come through. It was under the watchful eyes of President Obama himself that Prime Minister Netanyahu finally read the text to Prime Minister Erdoğan over the telephone. His voice did not sound happy, but he finally did the right thing. The apology text was agreed on over a year ago but only now, after the Israeli elections, did Netanyahu finally give in and read it. There was a sense of relief; not only in political but also in business circles, not only in Israel and the U.S. but also in Turkey and Palestine. However, without Obama in action, I believe that we would not have gotten the apology.

GÜVEN SAK

Hurriyet Daily News, Istanbul

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