Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hot night at the Security Council

There was almost a rumble last night at the UN Security Council as a routine debate on terrorism degenerated into a round of insults between the Syrian and Iranian ambassadors to the UN, and Israeli ambassador Danny Gillerman.

The meeting was aimed at assessing the progress and work of the Security Council's three anti-terror committees, the Committees on Nuclear non-proliferation, Counter-terrorism, Al-Qaida and Taliban.

According to a UN Security Council News release:

DAN GILLERMAN ( Israel) said that terrorism was World War Three. No country was immune from international terrorism. It lurked in dark corners and struck with a blow of destruction, death, indiscrimination, and chaos. Terrorists had executed horrific attacks in Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Terror had struck in Jordan, Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uzbekistan and Yemen. It had devastated Algeria, Argentina, Colombia, Great Britain, Philippines, Spain and the United States. It continued to strike brutally, ruthlessly, and daily in Israel. Many, many more States were targeted, and yet foreigners, targeted in terrorist attacks, represented an even wider circle of victims. They were Australians. They were Dutch. They were from each and every corner of the globe. They were just unlucky to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. “We are all linked. We are all in this together.”

He said that the world was no longer divided between rich and poor, and North and South. It was divided between those who joined in that fight and those who did not. It was divided between those who spread evil and those who did good; between those who incited violence and those who preached tolerance. Those who stood idly and did not fight that plague were, in effect, joining in collaboration with it. Unfortunately, even in this Council, there were members who, despite being victims of terror themselves, did not always show the courage and determination to condemn terrorism strongly and unequivocally. He had called the Council to arms and sounded a wake-up call three months ago. Yet, progress had been too slow and too little. “We must join together and win this war. We must mobilize in a unified, concerted effort.”

There could never be any justification for terror, no matter the motive -- period, he said. He, therefore, supported the statement in the 2005 World Summit Outcome strongly condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as that constituted one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. The work of the Council’s counter-terrorism Committees was a welcome part of the international fight. Hopefully, their efforts would lead to a significant reduction of global terror. The people of Israel, unfortunately, had an intimate awareness of the need to fight international terrorism. The “axis of terror” represented an unholy alliance of Iran, the greatest State sponsor of terrorism and the largest threat to international peace and security; Syria, which hosted the headquarters of terrorist organizations that had decided to wreak havoc in the streets of Israel; and murdered as many individuals as possible; and the terror organizations themselves.

He said that a dark cloud was looming over the Middle East. Iran, Syria, and the terrorist organizations they financed, harboured, nurtured, and supported, did not discriminate between their victims, targeting innocents wherever they were. It was a sad reality that the Palestinians who went to the polls seeking a better life and an end to corruption found themselves in the grip of a terrorist organization that was turning their dreams into nightmares. Unfortunately, there were still elements that believed that terrorism was a tool to fulfil political aims. To that suggestion, the international community should respond with a resounding “no!”. That fanatic outlook was anathema to the principles of peace and human dignity, and all that the United Nations stood for. The “axis of terror” was alive and active. Leaders of Hamas met regularly with, and had been offered financial assistance by, the President of Iran -- the very same President who called for the annihilation of a United Nations Member State, denied the Holocaust, and was attempting to develop the nuclear capabilities to perpetrate the next holocaust. As a result of the active collaboration between Iran, Syria, and “their terrorist cronies”, thousands of innocent people had died and many more lives had been changed forever as a result of wounds sustained from terror attacks. More than 24,500 terrorist attacks had been perpetrated against the Israeli people during the current period. The terrorism threat was real and pressing, and the Israeli people felt it every day, in every community.

AHMAD ALHARIR ( Syria) stressed his condemnation of international terrorism, including State terrorism. Syria had been a victim of horrific acts of terrorism, and had been one of the first to warn of that looming danger. It had called for national and international strategies to combat terrorism, and it had shared its experience in that regard with many countries of the world, helping to save the lives of many and breaking up several global terror cells. Syria was implementing its commitments in terms of the Consolidated List. The relevant authorities had included the names on the list in Syria’s electronic entry control systems at its borders, in addition to distribution in hard copy. He appreciated the great efforts being made by the 1267 Committee to implement its mandate. Despite those endeavours, however, the Council had yet to take seriously the reference made in the September Summit outcome for the need for fairness in the process of listing and delisting, and amending the Consolidated List. In addition, there were numerous gaps in identifying the names on the list; many were similar, and the spelling was not standardized around the world.

He said that the time had come for a comprehensive review and update of the list, in order to eliminate all doubt about the information that contained. Syria noted the efforts being made by the CTED in dealing with the backlog of State reports and called for further efforts to reduce that. His country would soon present its fifth report to the Counter-Terrorism Committee, including its latest legislative developments aimed at combating terrorism and terrorist financing. The reporting burden faced by States, including his own, should also be addressed. Meanwhile, the work of the 1540 Committee was in no way a substitute for other disarmament mechanisms. He had presented his report under the resolution and had responded to requests made by the Committee for clarification. Syria was committed to cooperating with the various Council bodies on terrorism and was continuing its various efforts to update its national legislation. He, meanwhile, called on the Committees, while implementing their mandates, to avoid duplication and streamline the reporting requirements. He called on the Council, when dealing with global terrorism, to avoid intervening in matters that fell strictly under the Assembly’s jurisdiction.

The Arab region had suffered from terrorism, in general, and State terrorism, in particular, by Israel, which continued to occupy Arab lands and was perpetuating a never-ending practice of killing, property destruction, and construction of the separation wall, he said. Member States of the Council should avoid double standards when combating terrorism. Their efforts in that regard must be based on strict, legal criteria, and not on any “flimsy political” considerations. Israel was duty-bound to cease its “cheap blackmail” against the United Nations. It was well aware that the international community knew of the terrorist activities it had perpetrated in the region. Israeli gangs had also assassinated many international personalities, including some sent by the United Nations to investigate the situation in the region in the past. [This is unbelieveable! CiJ]

He said that everyone was aware that the source of terrorism in the region was the continued Israeli occupation of Arab lands, confiscation of that land, as well as continued Israeli aggression against Arabs and the denial of their fundamental rights. [Arabs have more rights in Israel than they do in Syria! CiJ] The representative of Israel had insisted on implementation of only a few Security Council resolutions, while it had failed to mention Israel’s huge nuclear arsenal. Perhaps he should read the United Nations Charter, which had been drafted to save generations from the scourge of war and foreign occupation. Perhaps those who were ignorant of such facts could not read, and perhaps they should not be here at the United Nations. Israeli terrorism was known; it was known to all. Israel could fool some of the people some of the time, but it could not fool all of the people all of the time.

MANSOUR SADEGHI ( Iran) said that, as a victim of terrorism, his country had always strongly condemned it in all its forms and manifestations. Iran had demonstrated its strong conviction in fighting terrorism by all means, including through the arrest of one of the greatest numbers of Al-Qaida members apprehended by any single State and handing them over to the authorities in their respective countries. In that context, Iran had intensified control over and security on its borders with a view to preventing entry into, or transit through, its territory by terrorists.

He said that, while the decisive stage in the war against terrorism was one of capturing hearts and minds, the abuse of that fight by some demagogues, in order to spread hatred and bigotry among various cultures and religions, and their efforts to demonize and define certain religions and cultures by unfair and unfounded attribution of terrorism, might prove to be no less serious than terrorism itself. In its endeavours to fight terrorism, the United Nations should also consider proper mechanisms to rescue the much-abused term “terrorism” from those countries that unfairly and baselessly used it as a pejorative term for any other country that dissented from their policies.

Emphasizing the need to recognize the application of double standards in dealing with terrorism and terrorist groups was yet another important matter of grave concern, which seriously undermined the international community’s collective campaign against terrorism. In the past 25 years, Iran had been the subject of different acts of terrorism by various terrorist groups. A particular reference should be made to a terrorist group that had long been stationed in Iraq and which planned, financed and supervised terrorist operations in Iran, resulting in the killing of many civilians and officials, as well as damaging private and government property. That terrorist group had long been supported and sheltered by the regime of Saddam Hussein and, ironically, continued to enjoy the protection of occupying forces in Iraq today. During that period, it had staged more than 612 terrorist operations in Iran or against Iranian interests outside the country, including hijackings, abductions, bombings and indiscriminate terrorist attacks against civilians.

Referring to the allegations raised by Israel’s representative, he said that ever since its inception, that country had been suffering from a lack of legitimacy. It was, therefore, not surprising that the representative of such a regime, ruled constantly by the perpetrators of various crimes against humanity and war crimes, would make such baseless and fabricated propaganda as a remedy for its own illegitimacy. It had been an open secret that the Israeli regime had continuously and purposely violated many international laws and norms, let alone dozens of United Nations resolutions about which the response of that irresponsible regime had been complete defiance.

In that context, a particular reference could be made to the mischievous Israeli policy on nuclear issues, which was a showcase of its concealment and unabated pursuit of a nuclear arsenal during the past decade, he said. [The funny thing is that Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal dates to the 1960's. But keep in mind here who has been threatening whom. CiJ] Indisputably, that ill-intentioned policy had been threatening the peace and security of the volatile Middle East region and beyond for years. In fact, Israeli’s missile capability, coupled with its wicked behaviour, presented a real threat not only to regional peace and security, but also to the whole world. The only obstacle to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was Israel’s non-adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its continued clandestine operation of nuclear facilities with the help and technological assistance of a certain State. [Gee, I wonder who that could be. CiJ]

Here's where the 'fun' starts:

Statements in Right of Reply

The representative of Israel, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the Syrian and Iranian delegates were not supposed to speak during today’s meeting. However, he thanked them for their “lectures” on international terrorism from “two of the world’s greatest experts”.

The representative of Syria said in response that by saying that he and the Iranian delegate were not supposed to have addressed the Council, he had shown his complete arrogance because they had spoken under Rule 37, which was clear to all. As for expertise in terrorism, everyone knows that Israel was the expert and that the country had been established on the very basis of terrorism.

The representative of Iran added that, while his initial statement had not been a response to Israel’s delegate, the second one was. The Israeli representative had uttered “a big lie” because the Security Council Secretariat had received Iran’s request to make a statement on Friday.

Just another day at the office....


Post a Comment

<< Home