web analytics
July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Security Council’

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…

Minister Steinitz: Intelligence Says Assad Army Used Chemical Weapons

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Minister of International Relations and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz told Kol Israel Thursday morning that Israel’s Intelligence service estimates that the Assad army indeed attacked its own civilians using chemical weapons, adding that it was not the first time the Syrian army has done this.

Steinitz said the worldwide condemnation of Assad’s war crimes have been mere lip service, since no concrete steps have so far been taken to stop Assad’s ongoing massacre of his countrymen.

The minister called the UN inspection just begun in Syria “a joke.”

“The UN isn’t inspecting yesterday’s events, but events that took place half a year ago. Moreover, the designation of the investigation, to find out whether or not chemical weapons were used—without investigating who used them—is outright ridiculous,” the minister said.

Last night, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon did call for an investigation of Wednesday’s gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus, where as many as 1,300 people are said to have been killed. It is not clear, however, if his call is heeded by the Security Council.

Labor MK Benjamin Ben Eliezer, who is considered a leading candidate to become the next president of Israel, said that what goes on in Syria is nothing less than a holocaust and a genocide, and the world—which condemns Israel for every tiny misstep—is standing by without doing anything.

Ben Eliezer emphasized that the red line drawn by President Obama has long since been crossed, and that Israel must remain on alert to prevent any of the Syrian chemical weapons from falling into Hezbollah or al-Qaeda hands.

The Syrian government is denying any involvement in the attack, accusing the rebels of staging a propaganda ploy. And Assad’s traditional patron, Russia, is not flinching in its unabashed defense of its man.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Wednesday that a homemade rocket carrying unidentified chemical substances had been launched from an area controlled by the opposition, Reuters reported.

“All this cannot but suggest that once again we are dealing with a pre-planned provocation,” Lukashevich said. “This is supported by the fact that the criminal act was committed near Damascus at the very moment when a mission of UN experts had successfully started their work of investigating allegations of the possible use of chemical weapons there.”

Thirty-five member countries have called for the UN inspection team which has just arrived in Damascus to be allowed to investigate the newest attack.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said, “This represents, no matter what the consequences are, a serious escalation with grave humanitarian consequences and human consequences. We very much hope that we will be able to conduct the investigation. Dr. Sellstrom and his team are in place in Damascus. We hope that they will be given access to the area by the government.”

The UN Security Council met in an emergency session over the incident, with protesters demonstrating outside its headquarters. When it ended, Argentina’s UN ambassador, Maria Cristina Perceval, told reporters: “There is a strong concern among council members about the allegations and a general sense that there must be clarity on what happened and the situation must be followed closely after a closed-door emergency meeting of the council.”

Which means the council is not explicitly calling the inspection team to investigate, it only welcomed Ban Ki-moon’s calls for one.

“The members of the Security Council also welcomed the determination of the Secretary-General to ensure a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation,” said Perceval, who is president of the council this month.

In other words, Russia said Nyet, and the new incident will remain outside the purview of the inspectors.

Prosor Urges UN to Condemn Syrian Fire on Golan on Tisha B’Av

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor told the U.N. Security Council, “ I urge you to condemn the incident and the Syrian government’s grave violation of the Separation of Forces Agreement” in which Syrian mortar hit the Golan Heights on Tuesday, Tisha B’Av. “The fasting and prayers of thousands of Israelis commemorating the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av were interrupted by a barrage of mortar shells fired from Syria,” Prosor stated.

“At the same time, and in a grave violation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement, tanks, trucks and armored vehicles belonging to Syrian government forces entered the buffer zone.

“Israel is an island of stability in a region steeped in violence, blood and destruction, and we expect that the Security Council will do everything in its power in order to maintain stability,” Prosor  added.

Have We Been Overlooking Southern Lebanon?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

It’s relatively quiet on Israel’s Lebanon border for the moment and a good time to pay attention to the things going on their that don’t get reported outside of Israel.

Things like this matter of explosions in rural villages that have the grim misfortune of being occupied by the Hizbullah terrorist forces.

In the early morning of 17 December, a loud explosion was heard in the town of Tair Harfa in southern Lebanon… 2.5 kilometers from the Israeli border. Lebanese media did not report any injuries, and this was confirmed by the mayor of Tair Harfa…

The explosion occurred in a munitions depot belonging to Hizbullah. The building where the munitions were stored is located on the outskirts of the town near residential dwellings. There is a school about 300 meters from the munitions depot.

Immediately following the explosion, dozens of Hizbullah men sealed off the area and proceeded to erase all evidence of the incident, flattening the warehouse and removing what was left of the arms and explosives that had been stored there.

UNIFIL soldiers arrived in the area, but access to the actual site of the blast was blocked by Hizbullah. Lebanese army soldiers were also denied access to the site. This is the fourth explosion that has occurred in the last few years in Hizbullah munitions depots in South Lebanon…

UN Security Council Resolution 1701… calls for the disarmament of the Hizbullah and prohibits the storage of arms near the border with Israel. The Hizbullah’s military network in southern Lebanon includes munitions depots as well as military outposts. Most of the military infrastructure is located in populated areas, in dozens of Shiite villages in the south

The arms, missiles and explosives are stored near residential homes and other civilian buildings such as schools and mosques. Hizbullah is endangering innocent Lebanese civilians, in order to conceal its military activity in southern Lebanon, in direct contravention of UN Resolution 1701.[more]

Experience tells us no one in the international news media is going to pay any attention to yet another series of Arab-on-Arab attacks. They will rouse themselves only when Hizbullah’s well-entrenched and armed-up-the-wazoo irregulars open fire on Israel villages, towns and cities whereupon Israel will hit back.

The presence of Iran-funded and Iran-inspired Hizbullah is hardly new. A bevy of UN conventions, multilateral agreements and Lebanese undertakings mean nothing if we are thinking of disarmament and supervision (the UN’s soldiers are told by the Hizbullah that they can’t look in – and no one does anything about it).

When Hizbullah decides it’s time to open fire, there will be war, and Israel – which cannot absorb the mass damage that will follow from the firing of even parts of the vast Hizbullah arsenal of south-pointing rockets (an astounding 50,000 of them, according to a report this week) will have no military or political option other than to deliver devastation to the places from which Hizbullah is firing.

Israel’s preoccupation with the existential threat that Hizbullah poses is not widely shared in Europe. Here’s an extract from a long analysis published in the New York Times this past August:

Washington and Jerusalem insist that Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed terrorist organization with bloody hands, and that it is working closely with Tehran to train, arm and finance the Syrian military’s lethal repression of the uprising there.

Yet, the European Union continues to treat it foremost as a Lebanese political and social movement… Israeli and American officials have attributed the Bulgarian bus bombing [July 2012] that killed six people, including five Israeli tourists, to Hezbollah and Iran…

While the group is believed to operate all over the Continent, Germany is a center of activity, with 950 members and supporters last year, up from 900 in 2010 [according to] Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said in its annual threat report…

Hezbollah has maintained a low profile in Europe since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, quietly holding meetings and raising money that goes to Lebanon, where officials use it for an array of activities — building schools and clinics, delivering social services and, Western intelligence agencies say, carrying out terrorist attacks. European security services keep tabs on the group’s political supporters, but experts say they are ineffective when it comes to tracking the sleeper cells that pose the most danger…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/this-ongoing-war/have-we-been-overlooking-southern-lebanon/2012/12/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: