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Monday, March 21, 2011

'Responsibility to protect'

Purim is a lot of fun but exhausting. When most of your friends don't own cars and you do, if you want to see people, the onus to take the initiative to them falls on you. And aside from everything else, Mrs. Carl and I (since Mrs. Carl started going along instead of the younger girls) take the opportunity of Purim to see friends we don't see so much during the year. So like I said, it's fun but exhausting.

I see that the earlier post about the possibility of the no-fly zone against Libya being used against Israel has aroused a lot of comments, so I'd like to throw two other posts into the mix.

Omri Ceren notes a reference to a 'new doctrine' in UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's announcement of the use of force against Muammar Gadhafi.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also said on Thursday that the justification for the use of force was based on humanitarian grounds, and referred to the principle known as Responsibility to Protect (R2P), “a new international security and human rights norm to address the international community’s failure to prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”
Omri suggests that the doctrine is not new, but what is new is the context in which it's being used. Until now, it was used mainly against African countries where there were real humanitarian concerns (think Darfur or Rwanda) that justified intervention.

But Omri notes that in 2009, the UN created something called the International Coalition For The Responsibility To Protect. That 'coalition' is principally being funded by anti-Israel NGO's and, as you might suspect by the date, it was created in response to Operation Cast Lead. The fact that the Libyan operation has now been tied to the 'responsibility to protect' makes for an even more dangerous precedent to 'protect' the 'Palestinians' against Israel. In fact, the following statement, issued during Operation Cast Lead, makes the connection even clearer:
The recent escalation of violence in Gaza has raised serious questions about the use of the Responsibility to Protect to urge international action to protect civilians in the conflict. The Responsibility to Protect has been referred to, notably by Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but also others who claim that crimes committed in Gaza by Israeli forces have reached the threshold of R2P crimes.
We have exhaustively proven that most of the 'crimes' committed by Israeli forces in Gaza were not crimes at all, and we have proven that the manner in which Hamas waged war exposed citizens to danger in a manner in which they lost their protection under the Fourth Geneva Convention (sorry - no time to look for links now. Will try later if people ask). But that wouldn't stop the UN from calling for intervention.

Read the whole thing.

The other post I wanted to show you is a direct response to the commenters who said that the US 'would never treat Israel like Gadhafi' and that the American people would take to the streets if Obama ever did. J.E. Dyer (who is a former US Naval Intelligence Officer) argues that the United States would not need to act.
Obama’s abdication of U.S. leadership puts the implications of “Responsibility to Protect” in a new light. The question now is whether U.S. participation is needed for the declaration and enforcement of a no-fly zone on the R2P principle. For a target country the size of Libya, our forces represent a convenience. But even for a nation with extensive territory, it’s not clear that U.S. capabilities are a necessity. It would have taken France and Britain longer to disable the Libyan air defense system, but they could certainly have done it themselves.

We still hold a veto on the UN Security Council; we could prevent the UN from authorizing a bumper crop of no-fly zones around the globe. We must hope Obama would use the veto to do so – and that regional coalitions would, like Obama and the other Western leaders, regard the imprimatur of the UN as indispensable. But they may not. France and Britain aren’t the only nations that will come up with reasons to use armed force abroad in the absence of American policy leadership.

The question about using R2P to “protect” Gaza (or other provinces in other disputed areas of the world) may not be whether the U.S. will agree to it and participate in it – Frank Gaffney’s question – but whether we are willing to actively prevent others from undertaking it.
Again, read the whole thing.

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