Tag Archives: United Nations

Not too late to bomb Iran..

 On September 11, 2015 – a fateful date for America – Congress failed to gather the 60 Senate votes required to pass a Resolution of Disapproval of the Iran nuclear deal, thus giving a green light to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as agreed to in Vienna on July 14.

A few days later, U.S. congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) informed Secretary of State John Kerry that “the copies provided to Congress of the JCPOA are not signed by the parties,” thus making the binding character of “an international agreement of this magnitude” questionable.

Actually, the absence of signatures in the JCPOA document is not as pivotal as it seems.  Article 18 of the JCPOA anticipates the passing of a U.N. Security Council resolution that should promptly “endorse” the full text of the JCPOA and, therefore, make it binding on all U.N. member-states.

True to form, UNSC Resolution 2231 was effectively passed unanimously on July 20 under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter.  Compared to other resolutions of the Security Council, Resolution 2231 is unusual in many respects:

– It was passed “under silence,” a rather coercive procedure where the raising of an objection might be regarded as obstructionist and could isolate the objecting state.  It should also be noted that Congress had no prior input whatsoever in the drafting of this resolution.

– It is exceedingly long (104 pages), as it includes virtually the full text of the JCPOA in Annex A and a special “Statement” in Annex B that outlines inter alia the time restrictions governing the acquisition by Iran of conventional weapons and ballistic missiles and makes these activities subject to prior approval by the Security Council on a case-by-case basis.

– It underscores its binding reach on “all States without exception” by referring specifically to Article 25 of the Charter and to Article 41 – no fewer than 10 times – which reflects the most drastic enforcement mechanism under Chapter VII of the Charter, short of military intervention.

So the document that no one has signed (the JCPOA) is now an act of international law binding on all the 193 U.N. member-states, including Iran.  UNSC Res. 2231 provided the JCPOA an armor-plated protection that no missile from Congress could penetrate, unless one could convincingly demonstrate that the U.S. administration acted ultra vires in bypassing Congress.

The JCPOA will be officially adopted before the end of October (“Adoption Day” is scheduled 90 days after the UNSC Resolution is passed).  “Implementation Day,” to occur upon the confirmation by the IAEA that Iran has complied with its nuclear-related measures, will trigger the lifting of most sanctions applied by the EU and the U.S. and of all those enacted under previous UNSC Resolutions between 2006 and 2010, through the adoption of a new Security Council resolution in due time.  But these U.N. sanctions could be reinstated, according to Articles 11-12 of UNSC Resolution 2231, if a JCPOA participant State (U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany, the EU, and Iran) raises an issue that “constitutes significant non-performance of commitments under the JCPOA.”

This is where it gets interesting.

On September 22, 2015, the respected MEMRI reported that “Iran openly declares that it intends to violate UNSC Resolution 2231 that endorses the JCPOA.”  Three top Iranian leaders – President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi – stated that they will abide by the provisions of only the JCPOA and they will violate Resolution 2231.  Zarif and Araghchi see “no consequences” for violating Resolution 2231, in the same way as Iran “refrained from complying with UN Security Council resolutions … 10 years ago … and nothing happened.”

The reason for this Iranian gambit is obvious: they want to have a free hand on the acquisition of conventional weapons and the development of ballistic missiles.  Restrictions on these items were first suggested in the Lausanne Parameters of April 2, 2015.  They were later removed from the JCPOA and eventually reappeared in great detail in Annex B of Resolution 2231.  The Iranian position on this issue was reiterated on October 5 by Air Force Commander Ali Hajizadeh: “Iran will not slow down developing ballistic missiles and did not recognize the UN Security Council resolution [2231] that bans Iran from doing so.”

Iranian leaders brag about their willingness to violate the provisions of Resolution 2231, which is an act of international law, while they declare their compliance with the JCPOA.  Beyond the obvious arrogance of such declarations, the inconsistencies of the Iranian position should be stressed:

A footnote in the JCPOA – mentioned twice in the document and often invoked by Iranian leaders – states that “the provisions of this Resolution [2231] do not constitute provisions of the JCPOA.”  And yet the lifting of all U.N. sanctions, which is of paramount importance to the Iranians, is contingent upon Resolution 2231, as clearly indicated in Article 18 of the JCPOA.  Also, as stated above, Adoption Day is linked to Resolution 2231, and it makes the commitments in the JCPOA to come into effect.  Moreover, the Preamble of the JCPOA recalls that “The E3/EU+3 and Iran reaffirm their commitment to the purpose and principles of the United Nations as set out in the UN Charter,” thus implying an unwavering respect for binding Security Council resolutions.  The JCPOA and Resolution 2231 are so closely intertwined that it is inconceivable to abide by the former while resolutely intending to violate the latter.

This brings us back to Articles 11-12 of resolution 2231: if a JCPOA participant State raises an issue that “constitutes significant non-performance of commitments under the JCPOA,” the U.N. sanctions could be reinstated within 30 days.  What could be more significant of non-performance than Iran’s declared intent to violate a binding UNSC resolution that endorsed the JCPOA and is central to its official adoption?

The blatant Iranian disregard of the U.N. Charter should disqualify Iran from being a party to the international agreement that the JCPOA represents.  This is not the first Iranian violation of the principles of the U.N. Charter.  For the past 15 years, Iranian leaders have repeatedly called for the annihilation of Israel, in violation of Article 2[4] of the Charter.  This is the point that Israeli prime minister Netanyahu emphatically brought to light in his “deafening silence” speech at the U.N. General Assembly on October 1.  While Israel has been selectively targeted and shamelessly delegitimized by U.N. bodies for years, isn’t it time to point a finger to the glaring violations of Iran?

Finally, the interconnection between the JCPOA and the binding Resolution 2231 shows that the JCPOA is actually an international agreement akin to a treaty and not merely the kind of executive agreement that the Obama administration promoted, against the more sensible position of Congress.  Even though Congress was bypassed through the whole preparation of the JCPOA, perhaps it could take advantage of the latest Iranian maneuvers to invoke Article 11 of UNSC Resolution 2231.

UN Human Rights Chair Saudi Arabia to Behead,Crucify Protester


Saudi Arabia's King Salman

By Ari Soffer//Saudi Arabia is set to imminently behead and crucify a protester who was arrested while he was still a minor, even as it takes up a position as chair of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Ali al-Nimr is member of Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority, and nephew of an outspoken Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who has also been sentenced to death for anti-government activities.

Ali was arrested in 2012 at the age of 17 in the predominantly Shia province of Qatif, during a protest inspired by so-called “Arab Spring” protest movements elsewhere in the Arab world.

He was convicted of numerous charges including belonging to a terrorist cell, incitement, stoking sectarianism and attacking police with molotov cocktails, Saudi state media reported.

His final appeal was rejected last week, the state-controlled Okaz website added.

The sentence is a particularly harsh one; not only will he be beheaded, but his body will be displayed on a crucifix in a practice mandated by Islamic law (Sharia) as a way of publicizing his fate and deterring others from following his example.

Human rights groups have appealed for the sentence to be commuted, and others have called for the gulf kingdom to pardon him as a gesture for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, which began Wednesday.

Activists say he was tortured into issuing a confession, and note that according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – to which Riyadh is a signatory – it is illegal to execute a child under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed.

UN Watch head Hillel Neurer branded Saudi Arabia’s appointment to the UNHRC “scandalous.”

“It is scandalous that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key human rights panel,” Neuer said. “Petro-dollars and politics have trumped human rights.”

Incredibly, however, the US government has welcomed the appointment, with State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark C. Toner claiming to have no knowledge of al-Nimr’s impending death sentence.

“I mean, frankly, it’s – we would welcome it. We’re close allies,” he said in response to questions at a Tuesday press conference.

The Saudi government has yet to respond to the controversy.

The useless UN Obsession with Israel by the Numbers

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The latest United Nations indictment by its so-called Human Rights Council of the Israeli Defense Force for its self-defense in the summer 2014 should not surprise. The record of the United Nations on the world’s only Jewish state, expressed in simple numbers, convicts the UN itself of suffering from a serious obsession with that tiny country.

In 1991, following the Gulf War, known in Israel as the “Scud War,” this writer was hired by the Office of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to do a statistical analysis of voting patterns at the UN some of whose discoveries were jaw-dropping.

The background to the project was as follows: After America’s successful ousting of Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait, President George Bush, 41, delivered a victory speech to a joint session of Congress in which he resolved to create a new world order in the Middle East starting with peace between Israel and the “Palestinians.” Proposed was a peace conference between Israel and this phantom nation under UN auspices, which idea Jerusalem adamantly opposed.

The Bush-Baker administration dismissed Israel’s objections as so much Jewish paranoia, so one of the Shamir government’s tactics was to commission this writer to illustrate in simple numbers just how hostile the UN is to Israel and thus no conference under its auspices would be acceptable to it.

The study took three months. It entailed reading and categorizing 870 UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on Israel since the UN’s founding in 1945 through 1989 (the last year whose records had become publicly available.)

In this period, 26% of all Security Council resolutions focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Forty-two percent were neutral. Among the remainder, 4% were critical of an Arab state or states; 96% criticized Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was never criticized.

During the UN’s first forty-five years, at least one Arab state sat on the Council in thirty-nine of them. Israel never sat on the Council.

The Security Council “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested,” etc. Israel to “comply, desist, refrain,” etc. from some action twice as often as the Arabs. In these requests, Israel was explicitly named 105 times; an Arab country was named only twelve times. The PLO was never named.

The Security Council expressed its “concern,” “grave concern,” “regret,” “deep regrets, “shock,” etc. over Israeli actions thirty-one times; about Arab states or the PLO, the Council never expressed any negative sentiments.

The Security Council “condemned,” “censured,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored,” etc. Israel forty-nine times. Regarding the Arab states and the PLO, the Council never “condemned,” “censured,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored” any of them.

In the General Assembly, where resolutions are nothing more than toothless recommendations, the numbers skyrocket. Of the 690 votes, 30% were neutral, commonly over procedural re-authorizations of budgets for peacekeeping forces. Of the remaining 485 votes, 8% (56) opposed Arab desires, commonly in opposition to fresh funding for peacekeeping efforts; 429 votes (62%) went against Israel.

The General Assembly “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested,” etc. Israel to “comply, desist, refrain” from some action four times. Israel was “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested” to “comply, desist, refrain” 305 times.

The General Assembly expressed its “concern,” “grave concern,” “regret,” “deep regrets, “shock,” etc. over Israeli actions 179 times. Regarding Arab actions, never.

The General Assembly “condemned,” “vigorously condemned,” “strongly condemned,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored,” “censured” or “denounced” Israel 321 times. No Arab state and the PLO were ever condemned.

In sum, the number of General Assembly votes by member-states cast with or for Israel’s position was 7,938, versus a cumulative 55,642 votes against Israel. Although there were only 690 numbered resolutions, many called for separate ballots internally on different parts. For example, with today’s 193 member-states, a typical tally on a resolution requiring five separate votes could mean a score of 150 ayes, 2 nays and 33 abstentions multiplied by five. Thus, one resolution in one day could result in 750 anti-Israel country-votes. Ergo, the colossal figure of 55,642 anti-Israel votes over forty-six years.

Now, as a thought experiment, imagine the General Assembly chamber before the advent of electronic voting from one’s desk. That would mean over 1,200 fists with thumbs pointing down shooting up in the air against Israel every month without letup for forty-six years.

This behavior has a kind of ritual flavor to it, sort of like a routine, spiritual exercise, like daily mass. In George Orwell’s satire of the Soviet state, 1984, government bureaucrats were required every workday to watch a film clip of Big Brother’s Public Enemy No. 1, the Jew Goldstein in what was call the “Two-Minutes of Hate.” The one at the UN might be called “Damning the Jews.”

After the Six-Day War, the pace of Israel-bashing increased from roughly a quarter of all resolutions to almost a third. Moreover, the above record does not take into account anti-Israel votes cast in other UN agencies and departments in which the PLO had a representative who ensured that whatever the issue the suffering of the Arabs at the hands of Israel was voted on. If, for example, the agenda concerned women’s rights around the world, the suffering of women under Israeli oppression would merit a separate vote; if the issue was desertification, Israel’s alleged destruction of the environment in the OPT (UN shorthand for the “Occupied Palestinian Territories”) was also singled out for special rebuke.

In the end, the Shamir government was able to resist President Bush and Secretary of State Baker’s desire to subject Israel to a UN administered “peace” conference. Under no circumstances would Israel subject itself to such a kangaroo court. Hence, 1991’s historic round table talks were held not in New York City or Geneva but under U.S. and Russian sponsorship in Madrid.

To this day, Israel remains the only member-state in the UN prevented from sitting on the Security Council, which — the bright side of this story — at least fulfills the Biblical prophecy of thousands of years ago spoken by the gentile prophet Balaam (Numbers 23:9) who said, “This is a people that will dwell alone and not be counted among the nations.”

Sha’i ben-Tekoa’s PHANTOM NATION: Inventing the “Palestinians” as the Obstacle to Peace is available at Amazon.com and www.deprogramprogram.com.