At the recent summit meeting in Ufa, BRICS members— India, Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa – have agreed not to have any “selective application” in dealing with terrorism. The BRICS Declaration has said terrorist threats can be “effectively addressed through a comprehensive implementation by states and the international community of all their commitments and obligations arising from all relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
The Declaration calls upon all states and the international community “to adhere to their commitments and obligations in this regard.” It strongly condemns “ terrorism in all its forms and manifestations” and stresses no acts of terrorism can have “ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic, or any other justification.” The Declaration also condemns “the continued, widespread and grave abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law committed by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Al-Nusrah Front and associated terrorist groups, and in particular the persecution of individuals and communities on the basis of their religion or ethnicity, as well all forms of violence against civilians, particularly women and children.”
Through this Declaration the member states of the BRICS have expressed their determination to “consistently strengthen our cooperation in preventing and countering international terrorism.” They have accorded the United Nations “a central role in coordinating international action against terrorism, which must be conducted in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter, international refugee and humanitarian law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.” BRICS members have emphasized “the need for universal adherence to principles and rules of international law in their interrelation and integrity.”
I am, however, not sure if, and to what extent, the BRICS Declaration would help New Delhi contain the Islamist terror it has been confronted with since long. India, China and other BRICS members would have to work hard to make antiterrorism cooperation among them really meaningful. Despite the growing maturity in their relations over the last two decades or so, doubts still persist on the issue counter-terrorism cooperation between the two nations.
Reports are that at a recent meeting of the UN sanctions committee , New Delhi had sought action against Islamabad for its release of Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Zak-ur Rahman Lakhvi facing the 26/11 trial. Beijing blocked the move on the ground that New Delhi had not provided it sufficient information. Earlier, Beijing put a technical hold on New Delhi’s demand that the UN Security Council take action against Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and LeT leader Hafeez Sayed under the UNSC resolution (1267).
I am not optimistic the BRICS Declaration’s call for the entire international community to oppose “ terrorism in all its forms and manifestations” would come to deter Islamist terror in general. The pattern of the behavior of most of the United Nations member-states has been very disappointing. In the post-9/11 landscape there have been similar international declarations. Most of the nations have hardly cooperated with each other to contain terrorism. They have at best confined themselves to eliminating whom they have determined to be specific to their own nations.
The international community has done little to stop states like Iran which indulges in acts of terrorism overtly as well as covertly. Since the fall of the authoritarian Shah regime in Tehran , the successive fanatical dispensations there have been calling to wipe off the map Israel, the only truly democratic state in the region. Tehran’s terror proxies have perpetrated acts of violence against the United States, killing hundreds of US soldiers in Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
Reports are that millions of Iranians celebrated al-Quds Day this Friday. This was orchestrated by the current leadership in Tehran. At the demonstrations Israeli and American flags were burned. There were the chants of ‘Death to America.’ A few days earlier, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps reiterated the destruction of Israel “is Muslims’ first priority.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani emphasized Iran would “shout its hatred for the Zionists on the Quds Day.” Former Iranian President Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani declared that Israel was an artificial, temporary and alien entity to be wiped off the map.
The insincerity of the international community in regard to containing all forms of terrorism can be seen in the approach of most of the states in the United Nations Human Rights Council. The other day forty-one countries voted in favor of a Rights Council resolution condemning Israel for its rights violations allegedly committed during the 2014 Israeli strikes on Gaza. The United States alone voted against it. India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Macedonia abstained from voting.
The pro- HRC resolution states were dead to the fact that the motion in question amounted to equating the state of Israel with the terrorist, non-state actor Hamas. They ignored that the casualties whatever during the Israeli military action were the result of the terrorist Hamas using civilian assets as human shield.
The backers of the Council resolution overlooked also what Israel’s own report ,submitted by a delegation of high-ranking former military officers to the United Nations, on its 2014 Gaza operation says . The Israeli reports says that during its 2014 Operation ‘Protective Edge’ Jerusalem “not only met a reasonable international standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict but, in many cases, significantly exceeded that standard.” The Israel Defense Forces “repeatedly warned residents to evacuate,” dropping leaflets and delivering text messages and phone calls, “indicating when IDF forces would be operating in the area-– putting Israeli soldiers at greater risk to protect the lives of Palestinian civilians.” The report adds, “Hamas militants stored weapons and operated in mosques, UN facilities, schools, and hospitals. Hamas explicitly urged its fighters to take advantage of Israel’s careful tactics and also illustrated the benefits that would accrue to the organization in the event of the destruction of civilian’s homes: ‘This increases the hatred of the citizens towards the attackers and increases their gathering [support] around the city defenders [Hamas].’ ”
The backers of the resolution glossed over the Hamas charter. The charter preaches the politics of hatred and violence not only against Israel but against the entire civilized world . It does not spare even progressive liberal Palestinians . They never cared they should not conduct in a way that would impart some kind of legitimacy to such an organization (Hamas) and embolden it to proceed with its violent activities in the Middle East and beyond.