Senior Research Associate
Phone: 202-546-3950 x 102
Recent Blog Posts
The violent protests against a U.S.-based film that started in Egypt last Tuesday continue to spread throughout the Arab world. The most notable of these occurred outside the U.S. embassy in Libya, where four American diplomats lost their lives. Anti-American demonstrations have also been reported in Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, and Gaza City.
Among the four Americans lost, was the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. Ambassador Stevens was a career diplomat who was committed to working with the Libyan people. He was the American envoy to the revolutionaries during the uprising in Libya, and helped bring down Moammar Gadhafi. Ambassador Stevens embodied what it truly means to be a diplomat. He was passionate about building a relationship between the United States and Libya, and cared about the people, not just the politics. He helped free the Libyan people, and his death is a tragedy for American diplomacy.
Among those killed, was also U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Smith was assigned to Libya on a temporary mission. Our diplomats overseas are more than just our representatives or negotiators; they are our peacemakers, our community builders, our innovators, and our trailblazers. They commit their lives to serving the greater good.
Last Friday over 100 people were killed in the predominantly Sunni Muslim region of Houla, including 49 children. Following this horrific event, the United Nations Security Council will meet today to discuss possible action in Syria. Previously, Russia and China have used their veto to block resolutions that called for stronger action, but recent events have increased hopes for tougher consequences for Syria.
The President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, claimed that terrorist were responsible for the mass killing. Witness from the event said that the murders were committed by the Shabiha, a group previously implicated in violence against government protestors. The Shabiha is a Syrian gang, whose loyalties and identities are uncertain. While it is unclear who the Shabiha are working for, it is suspected by many that they are employed by the Syrian government. The group is known for killing innocent people, especially government protestors, and was responsible for killing and maiming protestors during the March 2011 demonstrations. Many believe that the Shabiha commits the crimes that the government cannot do without international condemnation and severe repercussions.
It all started with a bar of soap in a Pennsylvania hotel room. Derreck Kayongo was spending his first night in an American hotel room when he became aware of the careless custom of replenishing bars of soap every day. Derreck is a native of Uganda and has seen hardship and illness. He thought of the millions of people that all these barely used bars of soap could help, and had the idea to recycle the discarded bars. Thus, in 2009, the Global Soap Project was born.