The UN's War on the War on Terrorism - September 11, 2008
Seven years after 9/11 the UN still cannot identify what counts as terrorism. On September 9, 2008 the President of the UN General Assembly Srgjan Kerim had this to say about the ongoing impasse. He congratulated
states for their ability to "rise above ongoing debates on the definition of terrorism and agree on practical, operational steps that needed to be taken." This is a fairly accurate summary of the UN of the 21st century - no matter if you don't know who the enemy is or what principles you are fighting for, as long as we're all working together.
In the very midst of the city traumatized by 9/11, the United Nations continues to provide a global platform for terrorism rather than serve as an agent capable and willing to defeat it. The troubling nature of the UN's "anti-terrorism" performance is a stark reminder that democracies must look far beyond the UN to realize the lessons-learned from that terrible day.
The UN's anti-terrorism fašade is a remarkable ruse. The essential missing link of a lack of a definition rots UN operations in this context across the board.
On September 4-5, 2008, in one more effort to pretend to take a leading role in ending terrorism, the UN held a so-called review of its "Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy." It was an opportunity for pro-terrorism advocates to encourage more of the same - under the guise of distinguishing terrorism from murdering their preferred targets and redirecting criticism of terrorism to worrying about the welfare of the terrorists themselves. Here is a sampling of UN "counter-terrorism" strategizing:
Kuwait on behalf of the Arab Group: "...a specific definition of international terrorism and state, terrorism, and distinguishes between terrorism and the legitimate right of peoples to resist occupation..."
Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference: "The [OIC] Group supports a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism that must address the root causes of terrorism including unlawful use of force, aggression, foreign occupation, festering international disputes, denial of the right of people living under foreign occupation to self-determination, political and economic injustices and political marginalization and alienation. The Group reiterates the need to make a distinction between terrorism and the exercise of legitimate right of people to resist foreign occupation..."
Cuba: "Cuba fully rejects the use of the fight against terrorism as a pretext to justify the interference in the internal affairs of other States, the aggression, and the breach of the States' national sovereignty."
United Arab Emirates: "...there is no in-depth review of the phenomenon of terrorism and there is no legal definition of terrorism that would distinguish between the rights of peoples, on the one hand, to fight against aggression and occupation and terrorism per se."
Syria: "Syria was always a pioneer in calling, since 1986,...to distinguish between terrorism and the right to peoples for self-determination and the struggle to achieve their independence...[A] definition of terrorism which...distinguishes from the just and legitimate right of people to resist occupation and to liberate their lands....one of the most important root causes is the matter of foreign occupation."
Iran: "...we reiterate...'the inalienable right to self-determination and independence of all peoples living under colonial and racist regimes and other forms of alien domination and foreign occupation and upholds the legitimacy of their struggle in particular the struggle of national liberation movements...'"
Lebanon: "The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism strategy...should have consolidated differentiation between terrorism and the legitimate right of people to resist foreign occupation."
Libya: "Our unanimity in rejecting any justification whatever for terrorism must not work to the detriment of the objective reasons for terrorism - the occupation, the accusation by civilizations and cultures that deny the legitimacy of resistance, double standards regarding the implementation of international legitimacy..."
The Palestinian UN mission is especially adept at capitalizing on the UN's inability to define terrorism. On September 9, 2008 the UN's "Secretary-General's Symposium on Supporting Victims of Terrorism" heard UN Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour accuse Israelis of deliberately murdering little children. Referring to the discredited story of the alleged Israeli killing of Mohamed al-Dura, Mansour said he was murdered "by some people who do not cherish the value of life, especially children." A favorite activity of the Palestinians is to use UN funds to circulate documents at the Security Council and General Assembly objecting to the deaths of terrorists and glorifying them as martyrs
Despite having committed the UN to producing a Comprehensive Convention Against Terrorism in 1996, and recommitted to a final conclusion by 2006, the stand-off continues. The reason? The powerful Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) wants to exclude
"the activities of the parties during an armed conflict...in situations of foreign occupation" from the purview of the draft Convention. Activities, of course, is a euphemism for murder, torture, kidnapping and so on. Iran is a special champion of the right to commit terrorist acts of its choosing; in the words
of its UN representative: "a distinction ought to be made between the heinous acts of terror...on the one hand, and the internationally recognized and legally legitimate struggle of peoples deprived of their fundamental right of self determination, on the other." "Fast-forward" and the UN General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism met in March 2008 and agreed
to meet again to discuss the matter seven months later in the fall of 2008.
September 28, 2001 the UN created a body to lead the battle against terrorism - the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC)
. The Committee is composed of the members of the Security Council wearing another hat. Since that time, the CTC has never managed to name a single terrorist, terrorist organization or state sponsor of terrorism. On the contrary, US-designated states sponsors of terrorism, like Syria, have actually served on the Committee. For its first few years of operation the CTC elicited hundreds of reports from UN member states on their counter-terrorism activities. The reports from the many states that harbor and support terrorists made for entertaining reading, but not much else. States, however, complained about the reporting burden. The questions and comments of the CTC's hired experts - which were made on the state reports - were kept confidential. The CTC and its staff also conducted some 25 country visits - and claims to transparency notwithstanding - have never made the reports of those visits public either. A year ago, the CTC introduced a new procedure called the "Preliminary Implementation Assessments". The CTC, with input from the state concerned, now drafts its own reports on the implementation of counter-terrorism measures on all UN members and sends them to each state for comment. Surprise! None of the PIA's have been made public.
Not only does the UN provide
a global platform for state enthusiasts of terrorism, it also accredits and associates with NGOs that condone or justify terrorism - especially against Jews. This takes various forms: the reference to killers as martyrs, support for armed or violent struggle or resistance, and the effort to redirect attention away from the violence and justify it by focusing on alleged "causes" of terrorism. In many cases, the UN website
- constantly used by millions worldwide - links directly to the websites of these UN-accredited NGOs. In these cases, a benign description of the NGO, which often fails to mirror the contents of the NGO site, is provided on the UN site along with a generic disclaimer. The only way to be listed on the UN site, however, is by approval
of UN officials.
The UN-based counter counter-terrorism activities have adopted the mantra of human rights. The latest pro-active strategy is to excuse terrorism as a justifiable response to disrespect for religion. Here is what Kuwait, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, had to say
at the recent review of the UN Global Counter-terrorism Strategy on September 4, 2008: "...the Arab Group calls for...making disrespect of religions, their defamation or violating their symbols a crime, since this is an incitement for hate, which could lead to terrorism." No one objected.
Seven years after 9/11 the UN remains part of the problem - not part of the solution.