The summit meeting in Tehran of the Nonaligned Movement—yes, it still exists—was supposed to be Iran’s opportunity to cackle at the West. After all, how much of a pariah can a place really be if delegations fly in from 120 countries? As Newsweek went to press, however, the Iranian mood at the jamboree was far from jaunty. Egypt’s president, Mohamed Morsi, used the podium to express impassioned support for the uprising in Syria, painting the Assad regime—with which Iran has intimate ties—as “oppressive,” one “that has lost its moral legitimacy.” (Syria’s foreign minister walked out in protest.) To make matters worse for the hosts, Ban Ki-moon, the normally tepid and emollient U.N. secretary-general, censured Iran in his speech for threatening to destroy Israel and for its “outrageous attempts to deny historical facts, such as the Holocaust.”
Lysistrata in Togo
Isabelle Ameganvi, a prominent civil-rights lawyer, has sown consternation among the menfolk of her country by calling on her fellow Togolese women to withhold conjugal sex for a week. The object of her scorn is one man in particular, President Faure Gnassingbé, who took power in a fraud-ridden election in 2005 after the death of his father (who had ruled the country for nearly four decades). Ameganvi has said that an end to the sex strike is conditional on Togo’s men launching protests in demand of the president’s resignation. Ominously, she told a rally of many thousands of women that “if men refuse to hear our cries we will hold other demos that will be more powerful than a sex strike.” Not everyone in Togo is impressed. A local journalist told the Associated Press that Ameganvi’s rallying cry was “not serious at all. It is easy for her to say because she is not married herself. She does not live with a man at home.”
Chinese defense ministers do not, normally, pay visits to India, a country with which China fought a brief and bloody war in 1962, and with which it has a full quiver of seemingly intractable territorial disputes. So why exactly is Gen. Liang Guanglie going to Delhi this week? The Indian government has emitted a somewhat platitudinous statement about the need to promote “peace and tranquility,” as well as “defence cooperation.” China-watchers close to this column, however, are of the view that Guang-lie’s trip to India springs from a need to ensure that there are no flare-ups on China’s southern borders while Beijing turns the screws on Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and others in its numerous maritime confrontations in the South China and East China seas.
Full Marks for Audacity
When devastating floods hit cash-strapped Senegal, paralyzing the capital, Dakar, and rendering thousands homeless, Macky Sall searched deep in his soul for a way to pay for his country’s version of R&R: rescue and rehabilitation. Sall, the president, hit upon a radical idea: abolish the Senate and the upper house of the Senegalese Parliament, and use the $15 million thus saved for humanitarian efforts. The Spanish news agency EFE quoted Sall as saying, “The relief of the suffering of the people is more important than the Senate.” Initial reports from Dakar indicate that The People concur.
The rogue nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, the “father of the Pakistani bomb,” is entering politics. Announcing the formation of a new party, the Movement for the Protection of Pakistan, Khan declared that his goal was not to run for office but to prevent “robbers” from winning election. He has trained his righteous guns at President Asif Ali Zardari and Imran Khan, the former cricketer turned politician who marshals his own movement against corruption. “I will,” promised Khan, “go to colleges and universities and tell youths that they should reject the candidates of incompetent and corrupt political leadership.” An adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister was ready with a riposte: “I want to remind [him] that at least no politician has sold uranium or nuclear technology to other countries.” (Khan is also the father of the North Korean bomb.)
With Luke Kerr-Dineen