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The United Nations and Israel

UN Insecurity Council

By Arnold Beichman - September 16, 2002

Never was an international institution more misnamed. It should be called the United Nations Insecurity Council. For what President Bush did last Thursday in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly was to show how ineffectual and duplicitous this institution of the Big and Little Powers has been not merely in the matter of Iraq but in so much of the council's history.

But, then, what can you expect of an institution where the U.N. Commission of Human Rights (CHR) elects the representative of Libya as its chairman? Libya, if you please, with the lowest Freedom House ranking in political rights and civil liberties. Other CHR members include such paragons of human rights as China, Cuba, Sudan. This is the same CHR which last year dropped the United States from membership.

"There is no substitute for the unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations," Secretary-General Kofi Annan declared last week to the U.N. General Assembly. Libya chairing the U.N. Commission of Human Rights? Rather, it's a unique illegitimacy.

But back to the Insecurity — oops — Security Council, the members of which have been badgering Mr. Bush not to invade Iraq ever since he said in his State of the Union address Jan. 29, 2002, "I will not wait on events while dangers gather." Well, the president of the United States shamed the Security Council by listing the major resolutions, 686, 687 and 1373, passed by the U.N. after the Gulf war and which Saddam Hussein has flouted with little concern for the fact that he had agreed to them as part of the armistice agreement in 1991.

You ask yourself how could major countries like France, England, Russia, democracies all, let this monstrous dictator get away with it and allow the United States to be pilloried as an aggressor, as a plotter against world peace, as a power-seeking, selfish imperialist country, one which suffered 3,000 deaths by Islamic terrorism a year ago. Is there no shame among these permanent members of the Security Council?

Let us face it: This is the history of the Security Council. When the Soviet Union invaded a democratic Hungary — democratic for one week — following overthrow of the communist dictatorship in October 1956 and wiped out some 50,000 freedom fighters, the Security Council could do nothing. That same week there was the attempt by Britain, France and Israel to retake the Suez Canal and lo the U.N. acted with hitherto invisible moral passion.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1373, which I have before me, was passed Sept. 28, 2001, or 17 days after the ruin of the World Trade Center. The resolution runs for some 2,000 words and is stuffed with such preambular participles like "reaffirming," "acting," "deciding," "recognizing." If only one-quarter of the "resolves" had been fulfilled, al Qaeda would be a vague memory. But it didn't happen, and we live on the razor's edge one year later.

Israel's prime minister must have anticipated President Bush in thinking "I will not wait on events while dangers gather," when he ordered on June 7, 1981, Israeli fighter planes pre-emptively to destroy Iraq's French-built Osirak nuclear facility — without anybody's permission and earning everybody's condemnation, including the Security Council's. Osirak was two weeks from going online. Had Israel not acted pre-emptively, Security Council or not, Kuwait would be a forgotten entity and Saddam Hussein would today be ruler of the Mideast.

Not much time remains before Saddam Hussein goes online again. No U.N. teams have been inside Iraq since 1998. There is still time for the Security Council to act in a manner that will give it the unique legitimacy that it supposedly possesses. If not, the Insecurity Council it is and will so remain.

©2002 - News World Communications, Inc.

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