Friday, January 13, 2006

Syria Heading Back to Security Council

Five UN resolutions are already being ignored by Syria, and it appears that a sixth resolution may be added to the mix. The US is considering whether or not to raise in the Security Council the issue of Syria's lack of cooperation in the Hariri probe. (Al Bawaba: US sends stern message to Syria).

In a statement issued yesterday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, "Syria must cease obstructing the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Hariri and instead co-operate fully and unconditionally, as required by UN Security Council resolutions. We call upon the Syrian regime to respond positively to the requests of UN Independent International Investigation (UNIIIC). We intend to refer this matter back to the Security Council if Syrian obstruction continues."

Prepare the draft, Madam Secretary, because Syria has no intention of cooperating with this or any other probe. Consider well how that UN referral is worded, however. The previous five are essentially worthless, and on the surface, the sixth resolution will be equally useless. None of the prior resolutions include any threats or punishments for non-compliance. Without some teeth, these resolutions are a waste of time.

The Secretary of State also took issue with Syria's support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah. "Continuing assassinations in Lebanon of opponents of Syrian domination, including most recently the murder of journalist and Member of Parliament Gebran Tueni on Dec 12, 2005, create an atmosphere of fear that Syria uses to intimidate Lebanon," she stated.

2006 looks to be a busy year for the UN Security Council, at least so far as the Middle East is concerned. Iran is about to start its own UN Resolutions collection, and Syria appears eager to add to its collection. The outstanding question surrounds the willingness of the world body to enforce those resolutions. Every resolution passed that goes ignored and unenforced further weakens the credibility of the UN. It has reached the point now where UN resolutions are laughable and are typically ignored.

There are only two methods available to the UN for resolution enforcement: sanctions and military force. The former has proven ineffective time and time again. Not only does it require a tremendous amount of time to have any impact at all, but it also requires the cooperation of member nations. That cooperation is rarely available, and all too often member nations seize the financial opportunity and sell banned goods and services to the nation under sanction. It's like providing an underground bread and water concession to a castle under siege. It prolongs the effort and renders the sanctions effectively useless.

Hollow threats are worthless and only undermine the UN's already tarnished credibility. It's no wonder both Iran and Syria continue to thumb their noses at the rest of the world and at the UN in particular. They are both well aware that time is on their side. They are both well aware that consensus for military action is hardly likely (although in the case of Iran I doubt the US and Israel will wait for that consensus) and they are both well aware that sanctions will be ineffective against them.

So prepare yourselves for another round of useless discussions in the UN Security Council. Meanwhile, it will be business as usual in Iran and Syria. When - or rather if - any resolution does pass against those nations, just put it in the pile in the corner with the rest of them. Six resolutions are as easy to ignore as five.


1 comment :

Alan Fraser said...

Doesn't matter who's to blame but the UN, once the proud hope of most of the planet for the end to war, is now nothing more than a bureaucratic shell of the dream. Silly humans. Perhaps after the Holy War, the survivors can try again.

If there's anything I've learned over these many years, it's that there's no reasoning a diplomatic solution with religious folk as they will keep pushing and pushing until you either flame out or join them. The only way to deal with them is to shoot them so, in this respect, I have to shelve the pacifist garb and say that nothing is going to work in Syria except bullets just as nothing will work in Iran other than bunker buster bombs. It seems that the Muslims think they're more vicious than Christians and will therefore win but they just haven't studied the history.

The thing I really don't understand about any of this is how the world's religions will live with their shame for letting any of this happen.