Thursday, October 11, 2018 9:46:43 AM
Nikkie Haley: US Envoy in UN Who Increased Oppression of Human Rights

A former governor of South Carolina and the daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley, 46, will resign her post as the US ambassador to the United Nations after two years often spent serving as the face of US foreign policy for defending Israel and rallying international powers against Iran.

Nikki Haley announced on Tuesday that she will resign from her post by the end of the year.

“I think you have to be selfless enough to know when to step aside and let someone else do the job,” she said.

“Look at what has happened in two years with the United States on foreign policy,” Haley said Tuesday in the Oval Office, seated beside Trump. “Now the United States is respected; countries may not like what we do, but they respect what we do. They know that if we say we’re going to do something, we follow it through.”

“I can tell you that it the U.S. is strong again,” Haley said. “And the U.S. is strong in a way that should make all Americans very proud.”

While there aren’t any surveys that directly measure respect for the United States, there are polls that have measured overall approval of the U.S. and confidence in its leaders, and they don’t back up her assertion.

Median global approval of U.S. leadership plummeted between 2016 (48%) and 2017 (30%), when Trump took office, reaching a new low, according to a Gallup poll of people aged 15 and older across 134 countries and areas.

The poll’s previous low was a median approval rating of 34% in 2008, under former President George W. Bush.

A Pew Research Center survey of 25 countries, released earlier this month, found that a median of just 27% of respondents said they had confidence in Trump, while a median of 70% had no confidence. That’s a significant change from the final years of the Obama Administration, when a median of 64% had confidence in the president, and just 23% had no confidence.

But surveys still show that global opinion of the U.S. differs from the image often promoted by Trump, who sparked laughter at the United Nations last month when he boasted that his administration has “accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” Time mentioned.

Here are the key moments during Haley’s tenure that generated headlines during the past two years.

Withdrawing US from UN Human Rights Council

She has played a leading role in withdrawing Washington from the UN’s cultural agency, UNESCO, and the UN Human Rights Council, both decisions aimed at shielding the Israeli government from international criticism.

Rejecting Salam Fayyad because he is Palestinian

Last year, Haley blocked the appointment of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad as the UN envoy to Libya solely because he is Palestinian.

“The United States does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations,” she said in a statement at the time.

Haley accused Iran to support Yemen’s Houthi rebels

In December 2017, Haley presented pieces of shrapnel and weapon fragments as evidence that Iran was illegally supplying Yemen’s Houthi rebels with ballistic missiles.

“You will see us build a coalition to really push back against Iran and what they’re doing,” Haley told a news conference at the time, as a charred, rusty cylinder that she said was from an Iranian missile fired by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia.

“This is not just about the nuclear program. This is about everything else they’re doing,” she said, calling for international measures against Iran.

Tehran dismissed the presentation as a distraction from the US-backed Saudi abuses in Yemen.

“These accusations seek also to cover up for the Saudi war crimes in Yemen, with US complicity, and divert international and regional attention from the stalemate war of aggression against the Yemenis,” the Iranian mission to the UN said in a statement at the time.

US stands alone as world condemns embassy move to Jerusalem at UN

On 21 December 2017, 128 states voted to condemn the US for recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Only nine countries, including the US itself, Israel and four tiny islands in the Pacific, sided with Washington.

The emergency UN Security Council session has ended with the majority of members siding with Palestine as America continues to stand alone in its decision to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

US ambassador Nikki Haley described Trump’s decision to move the embassy as “common sense” and that “change is hard.”

Promising rewards and threatening potential punishment are not uncommon tactics in international relations, but they are seldom made public.

However, before the UN General Assembly moved to overwhelmingly denounce Washington’s decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Haley warned foreign nations – via Twitter – against voting for the resolution.

“To its shame, the United Nations has long been a hostile place for the state of Israel,” she said at the General Assembly meeting.

Earlier in December, Haley vetoed a Security Council resolution criticizing the embassy move.

“What we witnessed here today in the Security Council is an insult. It won’t be forgotten. It’s one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” she said then, Middle East Eye reported.

Alleged chemical attacks in Syria (2017 and 2018)

Despite his professed scepticism towards military interventions, Trump ordered two sets of strikes against Syrian government targets in 2017 and 2018, respectively, over accusations of chemical weapon use.

On both occasions, Haley led the charge against President Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian and Russian backers at the UN.

In April 2017, Haley displayed photos of dead children, alleged victims of the chemical attack in Syria, at the Security Council chamber.

A year later, after a supposed chemical attack in Ghouta near Damascus, Haley did not bring photos of victims, but she said: “The monster who was responsible for these attacks has no conscience to be shocked by pictures of dead children… The Russian regime, whose hands are also covered in the blood of Syrian children, cannot be shamed by pictures of its victims.”

Damascus and Russia deny using chemical weapons and accuse the United States of backing hardline rebels that they describe as “terrorists”.

Trump’s strikes in Syria had a negligible effect on the war in Syria, but the president’s detractors pointed to the “double standard” of aiming defending Syrians from their own governments while dehumanising and rejecting Syrian refugees fleeing the war.

Right of return for Palestinians should be reviewed

Recently, Haley suggested the right of return for Palestinian refugees could be removed from any eventual peace settlement with Israel. She also accused the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) of exaggerating the number of Palestinian refugees it currently provides aid to and services for. Last month, the US said it was stopping its funding for UNRWA, Al Jazeera reported.

Reactions to her resignation

Donald Trump called Haley “a very special” person “who gets it”, adding that she told him six months ago that she might want to “take some time off”.

While New York Times quoting Trump claimed together, they had “solved a lot of problems”, Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute (AAI), told Middle East Eye about Haley performance “I think she executed Trump’s policies in a way that cleansed them from the reality that they represent, which regrettably, during her tenure, meant increased oppression of human rights abroad and decreased our standing in the world”.

Berry added that Haley had “particular disdain for Palestinian human rights”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also thanked Haley for her support for Israel, saying in a statement that she had “led an uncompromising fight against the United Nations’ hypocrisy and for truth and justice in our country”.

Many others had a less favorable view of Haley’s tenure at the UN, however.

Amnesty International said it hoped her resignation would “bring an end to the current low point in relations between NGOs and the US mission to the UN”.

“Under her tenure,” the group tweeted, organisations like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch “were singled out by her simply for having a different opinion, including on the importance of the Human Rights Council”.

CODEPINK, a US-based anti-war group, also said Haley had “made the US less respected in the eyes of the global community, not more”.

“War mongering & the abuse of human rights does not equal strength,” the group tweeted.

Who will replace Nikki Haley as U.N. ambassador?

Dina Powell, Ivanka Trump and Joe Lieberman are likely people who could potentially replace Haley. Powell appears to be a leading contender in the unofficial race to replace Haley. Trump told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he was considering Powell for the job. Powell already has a connection to the president that could be a decisive factor. Although she served in the administration for less than a year, Powell was critical in crafting Middle Eastern policy, particularly with regard to building a friendlier relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, have been key advisers during his time in office.  Mr. Trump floated the idea that he was considering his daughter as Haley’s replacement Tuesday afternoon, telling reporters that she would be an “incredible” and “dynamite” ambassador to the UN. However, he also conceded that if he nominated her, it would be seen as nepotism.

Joe Lieberman, The former Democratic and independent senator from Connecticut and Al Gore’s 2000 running mate may not seem like a typical choice for the Trump administration, but CBS News‘ Major Garrett reports that Lieberman is being considered because he would support Mr. Trump’s pro-Israel approach to issues related to settlements and security, lending bipartisan credibility to the president’s hardline stance. As a former senator, Lieberman might have a relatively smooth confirmation process as well.

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