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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Security Council’

Guardian’s Cartoon of Powerful Jews Manipulating Western Leaders

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Last November we posted about a political cartoon at the Guardian by Steve Bell depicting British foreign minister William Hague and Tony Blair as puppets being controlled by Binyamin Netanyahu, in the context of expressions of support by these leaders during the war in Gaza.  Bell’s image evoked the canard of powerful Jews controlling western politicians for their own nefarious purposes and was hauntingly similar to more explicitly antisemitic cartoons routinely found in Arab and Islamist world.

The Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, addressed the row a couple of weeks later, and actually rebuked Bell for ‘unintentionally’ using the visual language of antisemitic stereotypes.

While such cartoons often have more of an immediate impact in reinforcing negative stereotypes about Jews than lengthy essays, the damage done by such toxic ideas regarding ‘Jewish control’, in any form, should be taken seriously.  The Guardian narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, in news reports and commentaries, often includes passages with the unmistakable  suggestion that Israel (and the pro-Israeli lobby) wields enormous power over ineffectual Western leaders – a theme present in a report by Harriet Sherwood and Julian Borger titled ‘Iran nuclear programme deal in danger of unravelling’, Nov. 11.  The story centered on nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) which ultimately unraveled largely due to concerns that the agreement would have eased sanctions on Iran without requiring that it cease enriching uranium.

The report by Sherwood and Borger included the following:

In a bid to contain the danger, the lead US negotiator, Wendy Sherman, flew straight from the talks in Geneva to Israel to reassure Binyamin Netanyahu’s government that the intended deal would not harm his country’s national interests.

The hastily arranged trip represented an acknowledgement of Netanyahu’s power to block a deal through his influence in the US Congress and in Europe. Egged on by the Israelis, the US Senate is poised to pass new sanctions that threaten to derail the talks before they get to their planned next round in 10 days’ time.

More immediately, Netanyahu demonstrated over the weekend that he could sway the Geneva talks from the inside through his relationship with Paris.

These passages of course strongly suggest that US congressional leaders take their marching orders from Jerusalem and that the French government’s position was not motivated by what it saw as its own national interests but, rather, as a result of the influence of the Israeli prime minister.

However, the deal was fatally flawed, according to many experts, due in part because it would have fallen short of the requirements in six resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council over the years which called on Iran to suspend ALL uranium enrichment – resolutions passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, rendering them binding under international law.

As Adam Chandler observed in an essay published at Tablet about the superficial analysis by Sherwood and Borger:

[Their argument] smacks of that paranoid, evergreen charge that all wars and international campaigns are waged on behalf of Israel, a claim that devolves from Israel into “the Jews” as it goes through portal after conspiratorial portal.

You don’t even need to believe that antisemitism is at play to nonetheless be contemptuous of the extraordinary myopia displayed in the Guardian report.  As Walter Russell Mead observed recently about the broader intellectual dynamic which unites antisemitism with anti-Zionism:

Weak minds…are easily seduced by attractive but empty generalizations. The comment attributed to August Bebel that anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools can be extended to many other kinds of cheap and superficial errors that people make. The baffled, frustrated and the bewildered seek a grand, simplifying hypothesis that can bring some kind of ordered explanation to a confusing world.

Guardian “journalists” may fancy themselves sophisticated, erudite and worldly, but their frequent ‘Zionist root cause’ explanations betray both their ideological bias and the extraordinarily facile nature of their reasoning.

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US Losing Middle East Coalition

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Ever since the seventies, the world has become accustomed to the split in the Middle East, between those countries that support the West – Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Israel, and we might add Turkey to this list as well, and those countries that were members of the opposing, Soviet, coalition: Syria, Libya, Iraq and South Yemen. Lebanon was then between the democratic hammer and the Syrian anvil.

Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of the eighties, there were no big shifts in political orientation, and the countries that were faithful to the Western bloc led by the United States remained faithful to it until recently, mainly because a new hostile bloc was formed, led by Iran and supported by Russia and China. The stronger the Iranian threat became, the more the pro-Western countries depended on America for support.

Lately, however, the pro-Western coalition has begun to crumble, and two key countries – Saudi Arabia and Egypt – are searching for a new political crutch, ever since it became clear to them that the American crutch is nothing but “a broken reed” (Isaiah, 36:6). A few more countries can be added to this list, mainly Turkey and the Gulf Emirates.

Saudi Arabia

In an unprecedented move, the Saudi kingdom has refused to become a member of the most powerful body in the world, the Security Council of the UN, a body authorized to deal with the world’s security problems and, with the power of the authority vested in it, can even declare war as a world body on a country that violates its resolutions. The question that immediately arises is: why did Saudi Arabia refuse to become a member of the body that is perhaps the only one capable of dealing with Iran’s military nuclear project? Why did Saudi Arabia reject the opportunity to influence events in Syria from within the Security Council? Why doesn’t Saudi Arabia take advantage of the most important stage in international policy in order to take action against Israel?

The superficial reason is that which the Saudi foreign office published, expressing an ethical position: the kingdom will not agree to enter the Security Council until the Council undergoes reforms that will enable it to fulfill its role, which is to maintain world peace. The obsolete apparatus, the wasteful practices, and double standards used by the Security Council all prevent it from fulfilling its role. There are many examples of this: the Palestinian problem has not been solved despite it having been created 65 years ago, and despite the fact that the wars stemming from it have threatened the peace of the entire region and the world several times. The Council allows the Syrian dictator continue slaughtering his citizens for almost three years without imposing effective sanctions, and the Council has failed to achieve the goal of turning the Middle East into an area free of weapons of mass destruction because it has not managed to create an effective method of oversight for military nuclear projects.

Despite the fact that the Saudis do not speak specifically about Iran in their official announcement, it is clear that their reference is not to Israel, from whom they fear no danger, but to Iran, whose nuclear plans do keep them awake at night. However, it is specifically the Iranian nuclear issue which should have pushed Saudi Arabia to become a member the Council; membership could have granted them an active role in making decisions against Iran, so why not join?

In part, the reasons relate to the way that the Saudis see the international alignment of countries recently but is also connected to the customary culture of honor in the Middle East, without which it would be impossible to understand the behavior of the Saudis, proud sons of the desert.

First of all, a person of honor does not join a club where he is considered a class ‘B’ member. In the Security Council there are class ‘A’ members – the five permanent members (the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China) who have nuclear weapons and veto power, and there are class ‘B’ members – the ten countries with temporary membership, who are not allowed to attain nuclear weapons and do not have veto power. Saudi Arabia would in no way agree to be a class ‘B’ member of any organization, and would prefer not to join because honor is more important to it than anything else.

Saudi Arabia Says No to UN Security Council Seat

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Just a day after having won a seat (for which it had lobbied) for the first time on the United Nations Security Council, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejected the coveted seat.

The reason?

Saudi Arabia … is refraining from taking membership of the U.N. Security Council until it has reformed so it can effectively and practically perform its duties and discharge its responsibilities in maintaining international security and peace,”it said in a Foreign Ministry statement.

What is really going on seems to be that someone at the highest level in the kingdom is furious over international relations with respect to the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia is particularly disgusted by U.S. failure to halt Iran’s move towards hegemony in the region. Close second and third concerns are the failures, in its view, of the U.S. to support the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt and to conclude the ongoing civil war in Syria.  Both of the latter two conflicts are also seen as proxy wars for Iranian control.

Although nearly every nation expressed some level of surprise over the Saudi Security Council seat rejection, the kingdom had sent a strong signal of displeasure last month when the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal cancelled his speech at the U.N. General Assembly. The reason given at the time was displeasure over the body’s inaction on vital matters in the Middle East.

The only other time anyone can recall that a member nation of the U.N. rejected a seat on the Security Council is back in 195o, when the Soviet Union boycotted its permanent seat for half a year in protest at Taiwan’s occupation of the Chinese seat instead of Beijing.

Is it the UN or Azkaban? Saudi Arabia Now on the Security Council

Friday, October 18th, 2013

It had to happen.  You knew it was going to happen.

What with Iran getting a lead role on the Disarmament and International Security Committee, and Syria having been selected to serve on UNESCO’s Human Rights Committee, it had to happen.  Saudi Arabia, the bottom feeder of human rights, especially for women’s rights, has received the nod and now gets to sit at the big table.

On Thursday, October 17, Saudia Arabia was one of five countries to “easily win seats on the UN Security Council,” according to the AP. Two of the other three newly elected members also have horrific human rights records, so apparently that is no bar to a position on the most elite grouping of the global forum.

Well, is it such a problem if known human rights abusers are selected to serve on the Security Council? Why yes, because the mandate for the group includes giving members leading voices in matters of international security and providing oversight to UN peacekeeping forces.

Chad – notorious for its use of child soldiers, and Nigeria – have we not heard enough about the delightful Boko Haram to know that any place that group is comfortable should not be on the UN Security Council, are the other two controversial seat winners.

The two non-controversial choices for the elite seats were Lithuania and Chile.

Regional groups nominate members and the selections are made to ensure that all the regional groups are represented.

There are about 60 member countries of the U.N. which have never been chosen to sit on the Security Council.  Israel is one of those.

Israel Seeks UN Security Council Seat; Will Power Proffer Power?

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Late last week the Jewish State publicly announced that it plans to run for one of the ten rotating positions on the Security Council of the United Nations for the 2019-2020 year. Virtually everyone agrees it will be a tough battle for Israel to land a seat on the Security Council, but this year Israel has a special weapon it has not had in the past: US power. Or, more accurately, U. S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.

This past July, when Power appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her vetting in advance of being appointed U.S. Ambassador to the U.N, Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) bluntly asked Power whether she would assist Israel if the Jewish State seeks to fill one of the ten rotating seats on the U.N. Security Council.

“Absolutely, sir,” Power responded. “The Security Council seat is one that has eluded Israel, despite its many contributions across the years, and I commit to you wholeheartedly to go on offense, as well as playing defense on the legitimation of Israel, and we’ll make every effort to secure greater integration of Israeli public servants in the U.N. system.”

Now for a little background information: in order to win one of those ten rotating seats, two-thirds of the 193 member states of the U.N. General Assembly must vote to support a country’s bid.  In the 64 plus years during which Israel has been a member state of the U.N., it has never been approved for a seat on the U.N.’s Security Council.

Israel never has, but every one of its’ neighbors has had a seat on the Security Council several times: Egypt, four times; Jordan, twice; Syria, three times and Lebanon, twice.  Even Iraq and Iran have been voted on to the Security Council. But not Israel.

The Security Council can make policy decisions which have binding authority.  It can impose sanctions or authorize the use of the military. In contrast, the General Assembly can only pass resolutions, which are non-binding statements.

The ten rotating spots for the Security Council are chosen from within the five regional groups into which the U.N. is divided: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin American and the Caribbean, and the Western Europe and Others group (WEOG).

Although geographically – which is exactly how the groups are organized – Israel would naturally fall within the Asia Pacific group.  But the Islamic countries refused to permit Israel to be a member of that group. Sounds impossible, or at least impermissible, but it is what happened. And it was permitted.

So for years Israel was a U.N. member nation without a regional group home.  This meant that it was unable to participate in certain U.N. activities, one of which was being considered for a position on the Security Council.  But in 2000 the semi-magnanimous members of the WEOG permitted Israel to become a partial member of their regional group.

And then, in 2004, Israel was made a permanent member of WEOG. With that decision, after 55 years as a U.N. vagabond nation, Israel had a home in a regional group and became eligible for a seat on the Security Council. Israel will be running against Germany and Belgium for two seats available to members of WEOG.

Israel’s U.N. ambassador Ron Prosor said that “We’re going all out to win” because “it’s about time.” But going “all out” may not be enough, given that 120 of the U.N.’s 193 member states belong to the “Non-Aligned Movement,” the vast majority of which are decidedly hostile to Israel.

All eyes should be on Power to see how she plays offense – and defense – on behalf of Israel. As promised.

Ex Powell Aide: US Can Attack without UN Mandate

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

The 15-nation UN security council is not, traditionally, a place where decision are made based on morality and ethics. The august body has been split on the civil war in Syria since ir began, in 2011, with Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s ally and chief arms dealer, and China, eager for the Syrian oil, vetoing three resolutions condemning Assad and urging punitive measures to make him stop.

It is virtually certain that the same UN council will reject a call for moving troops against Assad’s army, even if the Syrian president is caught splashing anti-American graffiti with a spray can of sarin on the walls of Damascus.

“The experts in Syria have the mandate to determine if chemical weapons were used, and if so, which ones, but not who unleashed this attack” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated that point for reporters in Moscow on Monday.

But the U.S. has intervened in at least one conflict in the recent past without security council support—when President Clinton threw the Airforce into the Kosovo War in 1999, some suggesting in order to divert attention from his troubles with a pesky special prosecutor.

U.S. and European officials have been referring to the Kosovo bombing campaign, which pressured Serb President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his troops from Kosovo. The beleaguered Clinton ignored the security council to avoid letting the Russians cast a veto, and got his backing from NATO, or, in other words, from himself.

It’s been done, and it can be done again, is the message in Washington this week.

Richard Haas

Richard Haas

Richard Haas, president of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations who served in the GW Bush administration, rejected the Russian argument that a Western attack on Syria would require UN approval, Reuters reported.

“The UN Security Council is not the sole or unique custodian about what is legal and what is legitimate, and, as many have pointed out, it was bypassed at the time of Kosovo,” Haas told reporters in a conference call, possibly while loading bullets into his personal firearm.

“To say only the UN Security Council can make something legitimate seems to me to be a position that cannot be supported because it would allow in this case a country like Russia to be the arbiter of international law and, more broadly, international relations,” said Haas, who probably recalls the time, in 2003, when he was a close advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell under President GW Bush, and his boss offered a shamefully deceitful presentation to the security council regarding the grounds for launching another war.

Will President Barack Obama want to associate himself with the unilateral strategies of both his predecessors? Barack the multilateralist, champion of the Arab Spring – resorting to hiring the services of an adviser straight out of the GW war room? Incidentally, Haas has had second thoughts on the invasion of Iraq, and in an interview with the Huff Post he said it was a wrong war and a war of choice.

Nevertheless, it looks like you can take the foreign policy expert out of the GW White House, but you can’t extract the GW White House out of expert:

Legitimacy for a strike on Syria, Haas said, could come from a “coalition of the willing” (when have we heard that one before?) of individual countries supporting retaliation against Assad, to demonstrate that the use of weapons of mass destruction (wait, that one is familiar, too!) will not be tolerated.

A furious Russia could launch the general assembly in an attempt to humiliate the U.S. and force it to abandon its attack on Syria, should Obama opt to strike.

Israel could only benefit from an American attack: for one thing, it is sure to wipe out the Syrian WMD reserves (which, unlike Saddam’s Iraq, the Syrians do possess, and then some); and then, once the U.S. is mired in international condemnations – it might go easy on the Netanyahu government when it issues a permit—as comedian Jacky mason put it so aptly—to add a toilet to some settlement.

Stay tuned…

Russian FM Condemns ‘Hysteria’ around Chemical Attack

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Following last week’s chemical attack, the West has engineered a media campaign to facilitate a military incursion, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in “an emergency press conference” Monday, RT reported. The minister also cast doubts on the American and European charges regarding President Assad’s being behind the chemical attacks on his own citizens.

“Official Washington, London and Paris say they have incontrovertible evidence that the Syrian government is behind the chemical attack in Damascus, but they have not yet presented this evidence. Yet, they keep saying that the ‘red line’ has been crossed,” Lavrov told reporters. “Now, we are hearing calls for a military campaign against Bashar Assad.”

Lavrov said that the U.S., Britain and others have assembled a “powerful force” and are “readying their ships and planes” for an invasion o Syria.

He cautioned that the development is setting the world on a “perilous path” and warned that “repeating the Iraqi and Libyan scenario” by bringing in outside forces would be a “terrible mistake that will lead to more blood being spilled.”

Minister Lavrov expressed outrage over the possibility of a NATO strike on Syrian chemical storage facilities without a mandate from the UN.

Asked if Russia was going to join in the potential conflict on either side, Lavrov said “We have no plans to go to war, but we hope that others think of long-term interests.”

Lavrov also questioned the rebel version of events: “There is information that videos were posted on the Internet hours before the purported attack, and [there are] other reasons to doubt the rebel narrative.”

“Those involved with the incident wanted to sabotage the upcoming Geneva peace talks,” Lavrov charged. “Maybe that was the motivation of those who created this story. The opposition obviously does not want to negotiate peacefully.”

Lavrov reminded reporters that the UN expert team currently investigating the attack sites in Syria “does not have the mandate” to produce an official ruling on who was responsible for the chemical release.

Of course, the FM did not add the fact that it was the Russian and Chinese delegation to the Security Council who fought to clip the talons on that eagle.

“The experts in Syria have the mandate to determine if chemical weapons were used, and if so, which ones, but not who unleashed this attack” Lavrov told the gathered media—in a manner reminiscent of the guy who killed both his parents and asked for the court’s leniency on account of his being an orphan.

“The UN security council will make the final decision about the perpetrator based on this evidence and all the analytical and factual materials available on the internet and in other media.”

Or, in Russian Newspeak: we’re planning to keep this puppy underwater until it stops breathing.

Now, that’s three metaphors for one Russian foreign policy. The NATO bombs are starting to drop in 3… 2…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russian-fm-condemns-hysteria-around-chemical-attack/2013/08/27/

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