Weekly update: 1 August – 7 August 2022 The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 1 August to 7 August 2022.
Guernica 37 will provide weekly media updates from the International Criminal Court, European Court of Human Rights, United Nations, European Union and other sources. Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Ned Vucijak at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Ukraine – 1 August 2022
A ship carrying Ukrainian grain left the port of Odesa destined for Lebanon, the first since the start of the Russian invasion, according to Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry. The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni, carrying 26,000 tons of corn, finally set sail after weeks of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, led by Turkey and the United Nations. Russia has been blockading Ukraine’s ports since the start of the war, stoking a worldwide grain shortage that has caused the UN to warn of looming hunger catastrophe.
Iran – 1 August 2022
Iran's atomic energy chief says the country has the ability to build a nuclear weapon but has no plan to, an Iranian news agency reports. Mohammad Eslami's comments echo a similar recent statement by a senior adviser to Iran's supreme leader. Such public claims by top officials are rare and are likely to intensify concerns over the nature of Iran's nuclear programme It has advanced its nuclear activities since a deal limiting them faltered. The 2015 agreement began to unravel when the US pulled out and reinstated crippling economic sanctions. Iran has repeatedly claimed its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful purposes but Western powers and the global nuclear watchdog say they are not convinced.
United Kingdom (UK) / Russia – 2 August 2022
Three British men accused of being mercenaries are to stand trial in a Russian proxy court in eastern Ukraine. John Harding, Dylan Healy, and Andrew Hill will be tried in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic, a breakaway region of Ukraine, Russian media said. The court, which is not internationally recognised, sentenced two British men to death recently. The Foreign Office said it condemned the exploitation of civilian detainees for political purposes.
United States (US) / Afghanistan – 2 August 2022
President Joe Biden has confirmed that the US has killed the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a drone strike in Afghanistan. He was killed in a counter-terrorism operation carried out by the CIA in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday. He and Osama Bin Laden plotted the 9/11 attacks together, and he was one of America's most wanted terrorists. Mr Biden said al-Zawahiri had "carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens".
Ukraine / Russia – 3 August 2022
Russia has accused the US of direct involvement in the war in Ukraine for the first time. A spokesperson for Moscow's defence ministry alleged the US was approving targets for American-made Himars artillery used by Kyiv's forces. Lt Gen Igor Konashenkov said intercepted calls between Ukrainian officials revealed the link. The BBC could not independently verify this. Russia previously accused Washington of fighting a "proxy war" in Ukraine. A spokesperson for the Pentagon said it provided the Ukrainians with "detailed, time-sensitive information to help them understand the threats they face and defend their country against Russian aggression".
European Court of Human Rights – 3 August 2022
The parents of Archie Battersbee have submitted an application to the European court of human rights (ECHR) in an attempt to postpone the withdrawal of his life support. Lawyers acting for Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, had been given a deadline of 9am on Wednesday to submit the application. On Tuesday evening, Ms. Dance said Barts Health NHS trust would begin to withdraw Archie’s life support at 11am on Wednesday unless the family submitted the application to the Strasbourg-based court by 9am.
Yemen – 4 August 2022
The United Nations has announced that the warring sides in Yemen have agreed to extend the current ceasefire for a further two months. The government and the Houthi rebels committed to intensify efforts on negotiations, said Hans Grundberg, special envoy for the country. The news will bring some relief for citizens who had been bracing for war to return after what has already been an uneasy four-month truce. The UN-sponsored break in fighting and the extension agreed this week has been the longest respite Yemen has seen in the seven-year conflict, which pitted the internationally recognised government, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who control most of Yemen’s north.
Ukraine – 4 August 2022
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for oil and gas companies to face special taxes. His comments come as surging energy prices sparked by the war in Ukraine push industry profits to new highs. Mr Guterres said it was "immoral" for firms to be profiting from the crisis. Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February has worsened a global shortage of oil and gas, disrupting access to oil and gas from Russia - a major supplier - and driving prices higher. While households are grappling with higher energy bills, companies are reaping the benefits.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – 5 August 2022
Fears of a new wave of violence in the restive east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are growing after weeks of deadly protests against UN peacekeepers and rising regional tensions. Thirty-six people, including four UN peacekeepers, have died in the past two weeks as hundreds of protesters vandalised and set fire to UN buildings in several cities in eastern frontier provinces.
Venezuela – 5 August 2022
Venezuelan opposition politician Juan Requesens has been sentenced to eight years in jail, his lawyer says. He was arrested three days after a drone carrying explosives blew up at a military parade attended by President Nicolás Maduro on 4 August 2018. Mr Maduro was not hurt in the attack. Juan Requesens has denied any involvement in the incident and his family say he was targeted because he is an outspoken critic of the Maduro government.