Posted tagged ‘United Nations’

Condemnation will not stop Assad’s chemical war

April 5, 2017

Condemnation will not stop Assad’s chemical war, DEBKAfile, April 5, 2017

The task of locating destroying Assad’s stocks of pernicious weapon of war can only be performed by troops on the ground. And that is unlikely to happen.

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Seven nations maintain elite military units in Syria – the US, Russia, Britain, Germany, France, Jordan and Israel. American, Russian and Turkish troops are backed by air support. Had those powers decided to destroy the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s poison chemical arsenal, they could have combined to do so and finished the job in a few days – and this week’s horrific tragedy possibly been averted.

The death toll from the Syrian chemical warfare bombardment of the rebel-held town of Kkhan Sheikhoun Monday, April 3, is now estimated at 150 with several hundred injured, cared for in totally inadequate medical facilities. The number of child victims has raised the pitch of world condemnation  The total figure fluctuates according to source.

But the most tragic truth of all is that no one in Moscow, Washington or Ankara is ready go ahead with this operation, any more than they are focused on ending the six-year old Syrian war, which has claimed a death toll of more than 600,000 – most civilians – and the displacement of 12 million refugees. Instead, they are calling the UN Security Council into another emergency (useless) session.

The most cynical aspect of this international wringing of hands is the sorry record of the way Assad’s toxic warfare record has been handled.

On May 3, 2014, the US military reported that efforts to bring about the dismantling of the Syrian army’s chemical weapons had come to naught after Bashar Assad refused to hand over the 27 tons of sarin precursor chemicals, so long as the UN disarmament agency (OPCW) insisted on his destroying their underground storage sites..

According to DEBKAfile’s sources, 12 of those bunker facilities are still operational and barred to access by UN inspectors.

Five months later, OPCW reported that Assad’s chemical weapons stocks had been liquidated. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shook hands in Geneva to flashing cameras to celebrate the successful outcome of their negotiations on the subject.

This turned out to a charade, staged to cover up President Barack Obama’s decision to dodge his own red lines and abstain from action against the Assad regime if he resorted to chemical warfare.

Careful reading of the final OPCW report gives the game away: “To date, nearly 95 percent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by the possessor states have been destroyed under OPCW verification.” For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.

So 5 percent of the poisonous substances remained intact. In the interim four years, the Syrian ruler was able to substantially build up his depleted stocks of poison gas, the use of which also spread to the war in Iraq. The Syrian air force meanwhile began unbridled air strikes with chlorine bombs. They were replenished by Iranian freight planes landing at the Damascus military airfield and the T4 military air base near Palmyra with fresh consignments of chlorine bombs custom-made at Iran’s military industry factories.

Neither the Obama administration in Washington nor the Kremlin in Moscow lifted a finger to stop these deliveries. In the opposition camp, certain Syrian rebel groups, ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front branch started tests on homemade chemical weapons, some of them successfully building up stocks of primitive poison weapons. Other rebel groups simply purchased Syrian chemical weapons from Syrian army officers.

Today, no international inquiry commissions would be able to establish beyond doubt the source of the chemical substances that poisoned hundreds of people in Idlib this week or determine who was ultimately responsible for this atrocity. It must be said that only the Syrian military had the ability to carry out an aerial attack like the one that struck the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. The Russians will certainly try to use as a pretext for vetoing a condemnatory UN Security Council resolution the claim that Syrian warplanes had only struck an insurgent storehouse containing toxic substances.

The task of locating destroying Assad’s stocks of pernicious weapon of war can only be performed by troops on the ground. And that is unlikely to happen.

Ahead of International Day, UN rights chief urges governments to target hate speech, crimes

March 22, 2017

On the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations human rights chief today reminded Governments around the world that they have a legal obligation to stop hate speech and hate crimes, and called on people everywhere to “stand up for someone’s rights.”

20 March 2017

Source: United Nations News Centre – Ahead of International Day, UN rights chief urges governments to target hate speech, crimes

Students watch a performance by their peers at Barros Barreto School, in Salvador, Brazil. The performance tackled social issues such as racism and gender discrimination.. Photo: UNICEF/Claudio Versiani

20 March 2017 – On the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations human rights chief today reminded Governments around the world that they have a legal obligation to stop hate speech and hate crimes, and called on people everywhere to “stand up for someone’s rights.”

“Politics of division and the rhetoric of intolerance are targeting racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, and migrants and refugees. Words of fear and loathing can, and do, have real consequences,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said.

The UN High Commissioner’s statement comes ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, marked annually on 21 March. The theme for this year is ending racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including as it relates to people’s attitudes and actions towards migration.

“Words of fear and loathing can, and do, have real consequences”

At the Summit for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016, UN Member States adopted a Declaration strongly condemning acts and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The Summit also sparked the UN’s Together initiative to change negative perceptions and attitudes aimed at refugees and migrants.

In his statement, Mr. Zeid said that States do not have any excuse to allow racism and xenophobia to fester.

States “have the legal obligation to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination, to guarantee the right of everyone, no matter their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law,” the senior UN official said.

He urged Governments to adopt legislation expressly prohibiting racist hate speech, including the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, and threats or incitement to violence.

“It is not an attack on free speech or the silencing of controversial ideas or criticism, but a recognition that the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities,” Mr. Zeid said.

To promote human rights, the UN High Commissioner’s office, known by its acronym OHCHR, is asking people around the world to , “Stand up for Someone’s Rights Today”. The campaign urges people to take practical steps in their own communities to take a stand for humanity.

Bravo to Ambassador Haley, for Blocking UN Ploy on ‘Palestine’

February 12, 2017

Bravo to Ambassador Haley, for Blocking UN Ploy on ‘Palestine’, PJ Media,  Claudia Rosett, February 11, 2017

(Please see also, US blocks former Palestinian prime minister from senior UN role in Libya ‘out of support for Israel’.  Thought experiment: what would the reactions, noted in the article linked in the preceding sentence, have been if a “right-wing” former Israeli cabinet minister had been named to the post?– DM)

nikkiUnited Nations, New York, USA, 27 January, 2017 – Nikki R. Haley, new United States Permanent Representative to the UN Presents Credentials to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. (Photo by Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire) (Sipa via AP Images)

Haley’s statement is important not only for its broad message — that President Trump’s administration will steer by his pledges of support to Israel — but also for calling out Guterres on his not-so-subtle attempt to abet the UN’s long push to confer by increments on the Palestinian Authority a legitimacy it has not earned.

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On Thursday United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sent the Security Council a letter nominating as the new head of the UN’s mission to Libya a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad —  who was described in the letter as “Salam Fayyad (Palestine).”

America’s new ambassador, Nikki Haley, said no. Having thus blocked Fayyad’s appointment, Haley then put out a statement explaining why:

For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel. The United States does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations, however, we encourage the two sides to come together directly on a solution. Going forward the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies.

Haley’s statement is important not only for its broad message — that President Trump’s administration will steer by his pledges of support to Israel — but also for calling out Guterres on his not-so-subtle attempt to abet the UN’s long push to confer by increments on the Palestinian Authority a legitimacy it has not earned.

The UN spokesman’s office responded by Haley’s objection by sending out a statement that:

The proposal for Salam Fayyad to serve as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Libya was solely based on Mr. Fayyad’s recognized personal qualities and his competence for that position.

United Nations staff serve strictly in their personal capacity. They do not represent any government or country.

This UN claim is disingenuous in the extreme, as the UN spokesman’s office itself then underscored, in the rest of the same statement quoted just above, by saying:

The Secretary-General reiterates his pledge to recruit qualified individuals, respecting regional diversity, and notes that, among others no Israeli and no Palestinian have served in a post of high responsibility at the United Nations. This is a situation that the Secretary-General feels should be corrected, always based on personal merit and competencies of potential candidates for specific posts.

In other words, Secretary-General Guterres, while disavowing any interest in the origins or potential loyalties of any candidate for a UN post, is simultaneously claiming a special interest in appointing — specifically — Israelis and Palestinians. And — lo and behold — Guterres just happens to have kicked off this erstwhile neutral campaign by nominating to a high-level post not an Israeli, but a Palestinian.

On a related note, to which Haley and her colleagues in the Trump administration might want to pay serious attention, there’s some news broken by Inner-City Press and further reported by veteran UN reporter Benny Avni, writing in the New York Sun (sources that often provide a lot more insight into the UN than you’re likely to find in, say, the New York Times; with further disclosure that the New York Sun has published many of my own articles on the UN). According to both Inner-City Press and the Sun, it appears that an influential voice behind Guterres’s nomination of Fayyad was that of the UN’s undersecretary general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman.

Feltman is an American, a former U.S. diplomat, who was appointed to his UN post in mid-2012, during President Obama’s first term in office. The UN fiction, as in the case of Fayyad’s nomination, is that such appointments have nothing to do with where a person comes from. That’s malarkey. Behind the scenes, a U.S. administration has plenty of say in such appointments.

In Feltman’s case, the longer he remains at the UN, the more opportunity he will have to try to inveigle more ground for Obama’s pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel policies, while undermining Trump’s agenda for decent treatment of Israel. According to Inner-City Press, Feltman has plenty of incentive to stay on at the UN “until July 4 so that his UN pension vests.” I have no direct confirmation of this situation, and Inner-City attributes its information to unnamed sources. But at the very least, Haley and her team should be in a position to find out what’s going on with Feltman’s continued presence as the UN’s senior official for political affairs, and do something about it. The UN’s chronic efforts to undermine Israel and confer undeserved legitimacy on the Palestinians are quite bad enough, without being driven by qualifying dates for UN pension packages.

For the U.S. to pressure the UN to replace Feltman immediately would be an excellent move. If Guterres — with his paradoxical prerequisites for UN staff —  still wants to place not only Palestinians but Israelis in high-level UN posts, surely to replace Feltman he could find an Israeli nominee who would be entirely acceptable to the U.S., not least on grounds of his or her personal qualities and competence.

BREAKING NYT REPORT: Trump Admin Prepares Exec Order to End Funding for UN Agencies Giving Full Membership to PA, PLO

January 25, 2017

The Trump administration is preparing two executive orders that are likely to cause an earthquake in the Middle East.

Source: BREAKING NYT REPORT: Trump Admin Prepares Exec Order to End Funding for UN Agencies Giving Full Membership to PA, PLO | Hana Levi Julian | Wednesday, January 25, 2017 | JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: President Donald Trump / POTUS

The New York Times reported Wednesday in a breaking story that the staff of U.S. President Donald J. Trump is preparing an executive order that would terminate funding for any United Nations agency or other international organization that gives full membership to the Palestinian Authority or the Palestine Liberation Organization.

In addition, the order terminates funding for programs or activities that fund abortion or circumvent sanctions against Iran or North Korea.

According to the report, the draft order also calls for terminating funding for any organization that is “controlled or substantially influenced by any state that sponsors terrorism” or is held responsible for persecution of marginalized groups, or systematic violation of human rights.

Moreover, the order calls for a minimum 40 percent cut across the board in remaining U.S. funding of international organizations, and establishes a committee to make recommendations as to where the cuts should be made.

The list of potential targets includes funding for peacekeeping operations, the International Criminal Court at The Hague, aid to nations who “oppose important United States policies” and the United Nations Population Fund.

A second executive order calls for a review of all current and pending treaties with more than one other nation – applicable only to those not “directly related to national security, extradition or international trade”– and asks for recommendations on which to retain.

PA threatens to cut US ties, turn to UN if US embassy moves to Jerusalem

January 24, 2017

PA threatens to cut US ties, turn to UN if US embassy moves to Jerusalem, Jihad Watch

Appeasement of jihadists and jihadist states does not work. It strengthens their resolve against the House of War and weakens democratic interests and those of human rights.

History and hard archeological evidence proves Israel’s full right to its land. History also reveals Israel’s need to defend itself against obliteration by jihadist thugs and the necessity of ignoring and rejecting the global voices that strengthen jihadists against it.

As much as every Westerner wants peace, jihadists do not. It’s time that the West stops appeasing jihadists while hoping for peace in return. The Arab Muslim states that surround Israel have repeatedly tried to destroy Israel militarily. Nor is the jihad imperative limited to Israel. “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people” is an accurate description of jihadist ambitions. Thus the news that Nasser al-Kidwa, a Fatah central committee member, has threatened to downgrade US ties if America moves its embassy to Jerusalem, should come as no surprise. America can, in fact, expect more conflict with jihad entities now that Obama’s policy of appeasement has ended. But appeasement leads only to full surrender.

President Mahmoud Abbas, added that the Palestinian leadership should also declare, in the event that US President Donald Trump follows through with his campaign promise to move the embassy, that the US is no longer a broker in the Middle East peace process and turn to the UN.

us-embassy-israel

“Fatah official: Palestinian leadership should downgrade US ties if embassy moved”, by Adam Rasgon, Jerusalem Post, January 23, 2017:

The Palestinian leadership should downgrade its diplomatic ties with the United States if the American embassy is relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a top Fatah official said on Monday.

“If that [the relocation of the embassy] takes place, the Palestinian side would have to sever its ties with the official staff of the illegal US Embassy in Jerusalem. In addition to that, there is the issue of the Palestinian political representative’s office in Washington; it would also be necessary to close [it],” Nasser al-Kidwa, a Fatah central committee member, told Al-Quds, a Palestinian daily newspaper, clarifying that the relocation the of the US Embassy would leave the Palestinians with “no other choice.”

The Palestinian leadership and the US have had a close relationship since the establishment of the PA in the early 1990s, to which the US has sent hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.

Kidwa, who is considered a contender to succeed PA President Mahmoud Abbas, added that the Palestinian leadership should also declare, in the event that US President Donald Trump follows through with his campaign promise to move the embassy, that the US is no longer a broker in the Middle East peace process and turn to the UN.

“It would be necessary for the Palestinian side to make clear that it no longer officially considers the United States an interlocutor and that it cannot cooperate with it directly or through the Quartet,” Kidwa stated, adding that it would also be imperative “to go to the Security Council to raise a complaint against the United States of America.”

In every round of bilateral negotiations, including the most recent talks mediated by former secretary of state John Kerry, the US has been the primary peace broker between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams.

The Palestinian leadership launched a campaign two weeks ago to mobilize the international community against the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Abbas sent a letter to Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and many other world leaders, warning that moving the embassy would have “destructive” consequences for the region’s stability and the two-state solution.

Abbas also met with King Abdullah in Jordan on Sunday to discuss the possible relocation of the American embassy.

According to Wafa, the official PA news site, Abbas said that he and Abdullah agreed to take a series of coordinated steps if the US relocates its embassy…

Has the Time Come for Amexit From the UN?

January 24, 2017

Has the Time Come for Amexit From the UN? AlgemeinerKenneth L Marcus, January 23, 2017

(The UN is rotten to the core. But what effect would a UN Security Council resolution have on America and her allies if America were no longer a member of the UN, hence of the Security Council and hence unable to veto the resolution? — DM)

unhrc1The United Nations Human Rights Council, in the Palace of Nations (Geneva). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Governor Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador-nominee, recently observed, “The United States is the indispensable voice of freedom. It is time that we once again find that voice.” When we do find that voice, we may need to find a better venue in which it should be heard.

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As British Prime Minister Theresa May plans a Brexit from the EU, Americans may soon ask what kind of exit we want from another international institution.

In our case, the organization is not the European Union, but the United Nations. Earlier this month, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a bill to block taxpayer dollars from going to the UN. These senators, like many Americans, are incensed by a recent anti-Israel resolution adopted by the world body. But the US’ problems with the UN run deeper than one bad resolution. They are endemic to the institution. At some point, our elected leaders will ask whether the time has come not just to defund, but also to depart — and then replace the UN with something better.

That point may come sooner rather than later.

Today — Monday, January 23 — journalist Edwin Black is launching a national conversation about United Nations reform. At a major noon-time event in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, I will be pleased to join Black, US Representative Trent Franks and other concerned leaders in the launch of a new project called “The Covenant of Democratic Nations” (CDN). The event coincides with the first full workday of a new presidential administration. Additional events are planned for New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin, London, Ottawa and many other cities.

More of a conversation than an institution or a treaty, the CDN asks us to consider whether the time has arrived to fundamentally rethink our involvement with international institutions.

The United Nations was established seven decades ago, in the aftermath of the Nazi horrors, to free the world from the scourge of war, to promote social progress, to encourage treaty compliance and, in the language of the United Nations Charter, “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”

Yet, in the ensuing years, this corrupt, ineffective and biased body has failed at all of these goals  — but none more sadly than its pursuit of fundamental human rights.

In retrospect, the UN’s basic problems were probably unavoidable from the start, given that the institution is by design primarily a congress of undemocratic, corrupt and ineffective nations. Consider that the 2017 elected membership of the UN Human Rights Council includes Burundi, China, Cuba, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates.

In its one-sided obsession with Israel, the United Nations has largely disregarded serious human rights violations the world over. The UN, founded with such high hopes, has responded year after year with silence and indifference to persecution, torture and violence. It has done little to nothing to respond to global brutalities and genocides. From the Cambodian genocide to the bloodbath in Syria, the United Nations has proven peculiarly unfit to the task for which it was founded.

The problem with the United Nations is not just its abject failure to accomplish its mission, but also its affirmative wrongdoing. It has condemned one single state in resolution upon resolution. That state is democratic Israel. And through it all, tyrants throughout the rest of the world continue to go ignored.

To paraphrase Hillel Neuer, the UN has become the forum at which those who condone rape lament the rights of Palestinian women; the occupiers of Tibet bemoan the disputed territories West of the Jordan River; the bombers of Yemen castigate the treatment of Gaza; and the murderers of Muslims in Syria claim to care about Muslims in little Israel.

The UN’s failings were on display last month with passage of Security Council Resolution 2334, just as those failings were previously on display when the UN passed the infamous 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism. As then-US Ambassador to the UN Daniel Patrick Moynihan said at the time, “If there were no General Assembly, this could never have happened.”

Even the UN’s boldest critics agree that the UN does some important work. The question is whether other institutions could do it better. In Black’s vision, the CDN will review all of the United Nations’ treaties and actions. Some could be repealed, others continued and still others strengthened. The result could be a long-overdue rethinking of international law.

This doesn’t need to happen all at once. In England, Prime Minister May has chosen a “hard Brexit.” When it comes to the UN, we may have other options, and we may be well-advised to put strong new institutions in place before we withdraw from the old ones. The key however is that we should permit ourselves to think boldly and not feel imprisoned by the international status quo.

Governor Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador-nominee, recently observed, “The United States is the indispensable voice of freedom. It is time that we once again find that voice.” When we do find that voice, we may need to find a better venue in which it should be heard.

The United Nations Gets KRAUTHAMMERED: Trump Should ‘Turn It Into Condos

December 28, 2016

The United Nations Gets KRAUTHAMMERED: Trump Should ‘Turn It Into Condos, Fox News via Buzzfeed via YouTube, December 27, 2016