LOGOYACHAY WASI

A Great Unknown Lady: The United Nations

by Eliane LACROIX-HOPSON

(from Yachay Wasip ‘Simin’ Summer 2003)

Under this title, in Yachay Wasip ‘Simin, Winter 1996-97 issue, we attempted to inform our membership and readers on the world-wide work of the United Nations largely ignored in the United States.

This ignorance displayed in the media was ever more amazing during the debates in the UN Security Council on the situation in Iraq, October 2002-March 2003.

More than ignorance, some magazine articles were plain hateful and the attack on France encouraged by the current administration, was not only ridiculous, but reflected on the low level of Foreign Affairs competence in the Capital and on the US Government statesmanship in the 21st century.

During this period, though the NY Times was fairly accurate, we only saw one well informed article: “Who Needs the U.N. Security Council?” by James Traub in the Nov. 17, 2002, NY Times magazine stating the facts of the French’s action. To top it all, the title of a Newsweek, May 26, 2003 major article on United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “Weight of the World” included this subtitle: “The United Nations spent the war on the sidelines, sent there by a Bush administration contemptuous of its clout. Can Kofi Annan make it relevant again?”

The writer had not the least idea of the real role of the Secretary-General, or the work of the 32 UN World Organizations and world programmes sustaining the planet, plus the many UN peacekeeping operations and made of the United States/Iraq affair the only one relevant to humanity.

This sad American people’s ignorance of the facts of the United Nations turned into tragedy in Iraq when confronted with the reality of hundreds of dead “coalition” soldiers (and counting) and thousands of Iraqis dead or maimed for life, including many children, and a country disintegrating in nation-wide looting and wrecked infrastructure, instead of being led to freedom and democracy as proclaimed by the U.S. Government to the world.

BACKGROUND HISTORY.

After the 1930’s financial disaster, the 1940-45 industrial requirements to sustain the war in Europe and Asia became the basis of a huge industrial development in the United States which became the most wealthy country. Government contracts, grants and subsidies developing scientific research and advanced armaments projected the country at the leadership of the world. However, social and political progress did not follow the same curve as the democratic process is bogged down by a very poor primary education and an expensive specialized college education and no safety net, keeping the great majority of people in ignorance of the reality of the 21st cent. world in spite of the Internet.

Politically, a two-party antagonism is nurtured by $ billion fund raisings instead of enlightened civic leadership. Instead of a “democracy” we are witnessing the effect of a $ corrupted dictatorship favoring a wealthy leadership rather than wise and informed leaders. A situation I qualified as “virtual reality” in my 2001 book.

Since the 1945 creation of the United Nations Organization, while the United States were often at the leadership, during the past ten years members of Congress were disdainful of any “world” treaties and the present administration withdrew from several international agreements and protocols, including the new International Criminal Court which is essential in a world beset by “terrorists” and “rogue” dictatorship.

The September 11, 2001 attack of American strategic and civilian landmarks brought home the reality of an outside world that many pretended to ignore: enemies and the need of friends. Concerned countries responded directly and within the United Nations framework.

However, while the response to Al Qaeda/Taliban was swift and appropriated in Afghanistan, the enemy dispersed without being really defeated and since then, Afghanistan descended into anarchy, while the administration created an enemy bogey man in Iraq losing credibility and had to deal with the reality of the world at the United Nations Organization.

The United Nations Organization (UN or UNO) has been created by the leaders of WWII victorious countries: China, France, United Kingdom, URSS (now Russia) and the United States.

The goal was to establish world peace and security on the basis of International Laws upheld by a world organization.

The UNO operates according to the Statute of the International Court of Justice and the Charter of the United Nations which establishes basic principles, membership and working organs.

The membership presently includes 191 countries sitting in the General Assembly.

The Security Council is made up of the five WWII victorious countries as Permanent Members with veto power and ten rotating Members.

The Security Council is the organ primarily responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security within the framework of the Charter, more particularly Article 2, Principle 1 which states: “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.”

This means the 191 countries no matter their size and importance. This principle may impair the UN peacekeeping work as the UN can only act if requested by countries.

For instance, in former Yugoslavia 1990’s warfare, Croatia asked for “Peacekeeping” and the UN soldiers could stop the war with Serbia. But, the degrading “ethnic cleansing” was due to the fact that Bosnia/Herzegovina asked for “Humanitarian Aid” only and UN soldiers had no mandate to interfere and stop the warfare resulting in the killing of thousands of Muslim men among other atrocities.

The disaster in Rwanda happened as the government was hostile to the presence of UN soldiers who left and old ethnic rivalries flared. No country wanted to interfere until France decided to go on her own and established a refugee area in the Western part of the country.

According to the Charter, following the Al Qaeda’s September 2001 attack, the United States were justified to invade Afghanistan, while sovereign USA could not attack sovereign Iraq without direct provocation: “Preemptive operation” is not part of the United Nations lexicon.

And this fundamental fact of International Law in the 21st century was the key to the 5 months of jousting in the Security Council:

During this time, France, Germany and other 11 countries were not “AGAINST” the USA/ UK, they were “FOR” the UN Charter and the past 58 years of its usefulness.

These 5 months proceeding of the Security Council’s work displayed on worldwide television were a very precious and rewarding history and civic lesson for the entire world to follow and remember.

Some of the sessions were opened to the UN Members and Observers and all supported the Security Council Resolutions to proceed with the current inspections in Iraq.

An astonishing moment of relief was created by the Members audience’s spontaneous applauding of France’s Representative’s statements (a no-no in the Security Council.)

Likewise, the USA/UK shameful diplomacy and showmanship could be observed by the entire world.

The low point was February 5th Secretary of State Colin Powell’s astonishing “show and tell” performance to demonstrate Iraq’s possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), a nuclear program and Al Qaeda’s connection.

The show was impressive for the home audience, but no one bought it at the United Nations and in informed countries. Furthermore, we soon learned that UK Prime Minister Blair’s contribution to the script was plagiarized from an old Arabic magazine and an old student’s paper, while a tooted uranium connection between Niger and Iraq was known to be based on a fraudulent document. REALLY!!!

The people’s response was an historical first on February 15th: Millions went down the streets of major cities in the United States and around the planet to protest the planned war on Iraq.

All Iraq political, religious and civilian leaders asked Mr. Vieira de Mello for the active involvement of the United Nations in Iraq political and social evolution. Neighboring leaders expressed the same concern.

Mr. Vieira de Mello also organized workshops and consultations with Iraq social, human rights and jurists leaders in coordination with Mr. L. Bremer.

On July 9, a workshop entitled “Voice of Women in Iraq” was organized by a steering group of Iraqi women and UN agencies UNIFEM, UNDP and UNICEF.

All this activity was putting the UN Representative right in the middle of the heated discussions in preparation toward an Iraqi Interim Council as a first step toward political independence. He was able to mediate between Mr. Bremer and the Iraqi leaders who wanted more responsibility that Mr. Bremer would concede.

The Interim Governing Council made up of 25 members, including three women and representatives of all political and religious factions met on July 13th. In the opening presentation, UN Representative Mr. Vieira de Mello was the sole non-Iraqi speaker.

Three members of the Governing Council went to the UN Headquarters in New York to meet with the Security Council on July 22.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan had made a comprehensive report on the situation in Iraq: the preponderant role of the UN Representative, the work done by the UN staff, based on this experience and considering the work ahead, Kofi Annan proposes an increased “UN Assistance Mission in Iraq” (UNAMI) with UN staff and Iraqi increased cooperation.

All UN Security Council Members are looking forward to the increased role of the United Nations in all aspects of Iraq reconstruction.

A Great Unknown Lady: The United Nations (Part 2)

by Eliane LACROIX-HOPSON

(Yachay Wasip ‘Simin’ Spring 2004 - cont. from Summer 2003)

YACHAY WASI avoids politics as the so-called “democratic process” is corrupted by lucre, particularly in the USA. As I say in my book Creation, Evolution and Eternity : “Printing the Name of God on the currency does not turn the Golden Calf into the Deity. “

The second sin of politics is lying, and the present administration turns lying into an amazing Hollywood style of fiction with murderous consequences. We can’t help to be nostalgic for Pres. Nixon’s Watergate or Pres. Clinton’s dalliances, and as this American fantasist behavior is lethal and very expensive with worldwide consequences and demeaning the United Nations reality, while the media is keeping the public in the dark, we continue our analysis and information process.

On February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the UN Security Council with a “show and tell” performance, demonstrating that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), nuclear production with material imported from Niger and ties to Al Qaeda, all leading to a unilateral March invasion of Iraq: a spectacular “Shock and Awe” operation.

After ten of thousands of Iraqis dead or maimed, Victory was announced on May 1st.

Unfortunately, someone did not agree in Iraq and since then, hundreds of soldiers died and thousands are wounded, victims of a frustrating “guerilla” which also exploded the UN Headquarter in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, and continue to this day.

How good was Mr. Powell’s report? The Niger’s connection was known to be a hoax since November, 2002, and the UN inspectors had just made their last report asserting that no nuclear nor WMD production were found in Iraq and no Al Qaeda connection had ever existed.

On a January 8, 2004 news conference, Mr. Powell declared “ I have not seen a smoking gun, concrete evidence about the connection, but I think the possibility … did exist and it was prudent to consider them at the time.” (!…)

Since March 2003, a $ billion team of 1400 American weapon inspectors had not find anything when its leader, Dr. David A. Kay resigned in frustration on January 23, 2004, and the team was dismissed, but a new leader was named… On the first week of January, the prestigious Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released a comprehensive study confirming that the USA and Britain never had accurate intelligence information. An elegant way to say that Mr. Powell’s report was fiction and that the unilateral invasion of Iraq was built on lies.

On January 29, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice declared that “Saddam Hussein had every opportunity to help us understand his WMD programs and if he had destroyed anything, to tell the world he had destroyed them.”

Well, Mr. Hussein did that, when as ordered by the UN Security Council, on December 2002, he gave 1000 p. and some report with many tapes and charts. The USA took a copy and claimed the report to be lies.

This January 2004, was also shaken by Pres. Bush’s former Treasury secretary, Paul O’Neill, asserting that this administration had decided to eliminate Saddam Hussein well before the September 2001 tragedy. Nothing surprising here as this administration is made up of Pres. Reagan’s and Bush-the-father’s trusted entourage carrying their old agenda along. The interesting point here, is that these luminaries had to abandon their original blue print as Iraqi history did not unfold as planned… No one will cry for the arrest of Saddam Hussein, nor for the death of his criminal sons, but the fact is that the world is full of rogue dictators, however, only Iraq has large oil reserves.

While the war in Afghanistan was the legitimate response to the September 2001 attack, this administration did not finish the job: Al Qaeda and the Taliban are still kicking, the war lords dominate the country and poppy fields insure the world drug trade, and NATO forces and UN Agencies are attacked by suicide bombings while trying to protect the legitimate government in Kabul. UN Agencies and NGOs are trying to demobilize 10,000 of children soldiers and to stop children to be smuggle out to other countries to be used as cheap labor. (UN News Service Jan. 15, 18 and 28, 2004) On the positive side, recently a Constitution has been elaborated and voted. Women delegates participated in the proceeding and gained some recognition in spite of Islamic fundamentalists.

Still, while Al Qaeda was not Hussein’s ally, it is apparent that it is now inspiring the guerilla in Iraq and the attacks in Saudi Arabia. Trying to save face, this administration decided to follow France’s original advice and give back Iraq to the Iraqis end of June. However, Kurds in the North, Sunis and the dominant Shiites have contradictory views on the planned elections and the “Coalition Provisional Authority” came back to the United Nations, begging for help to clarify the mess and “give legitimacy” to the process.

Secretary General Kofi Annan promised to send an election advisory team early in February, to “help break the current impasse and to consult with a broad spectrum of Iraqi society and move forward the formation of a provisional government.” (UN News Service, Jan. 27, 2004)

Our concern, at Yachay Wasi, is the continuous attitude toward the United Nations in the administration and the media with statements questioning “the relevancy of the UN” demonstrated by the unilateral USA decisions no matter the negative results of these decisions for the entire world to see. Kofi Annan often declares that events in Iraq though important, are only one among worldwide problems that the UN is concerned with. To note, though the UN international team left Iraq after the traumatic August attack, the national and regional UN staffs and Iraqis contractors have continued the work of the many UN agencies around the country delivering humanitarian assistance, while Iraqi refugees continue to come back from neighboring camps and have to be helped in the chaotic situation. (UN News Service, Jan. 19, 2004)

The sad reality is that humankind and its Planet Earth are in a terrible shape, in my longtime assessment: “not even worth the nuclear bomb to annihilate them!…”

Yet the 6 main UN Organs and their 29 offices, 15 Commissions and 32 International Agencies that you could count listed in the UN System display in our last newsletter, are set out to save humanity in spite of widely spread corruption, wars, crimes, sickness, poverty and plain stupidity. To begin with, the UN has been created by 5 countries and now counts 192 State-Members, which means that the entire planet IS the United Nations. Since 1945, the UN wrote and implements through its Agencies many worldwide international treaties and conventions protecting every aspects of the planet’s life, while former organizations came under UN jurisdiction, such as the International Labor Org. or the Universal Postal Union (your neighborhood US Post Office.)

Some World Org. operate at the higher government level, such as the World Bank or the World Trade Org. But when in the news, no media story would recognize that these are “UN” organizations.

Others are well known such as UNICEF or the World Health Org. (WHO) which dominate the head lines with new world epidemics, such as AIDS, recent SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) or the latest Avian Influenza or bird flu lethal in Asian countries before spreading all over…

Africa has the worst AIDS epidemic which left millions of HIV positive orphans, but resurging polio, tuberculosis and malaria intensify the problems. In Africa also is the ongoing predicament of millions of girls submitted to genital mutilation or other practices based on ancient tribal customs, including slavery. Most African countries are at war or recovering from one conflict with UN Peacekeeping Operations. These wars are fed by stolen diamonds and other gems trafficking which are the plundered wealth of these countries. African and Asian on going wars imply hundred of thousands of young children soldiers, many maimed for life. African girls and women are raped and cannibalism of Pygmies took place in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. These wars result in millions of refugees, all helped by UN Agencies and many NGOs.

Other Agencies and NGOs are trying to stem the worldwide trafficking of millions of children and young women in prostitution and slavery fed by the Internet in the USA and European countries.

Drug trafficking fed by So. American and Asian countries is destroying the social life of wealthy countries and spreading to their sports organizations. Corruption, $ 1 trillion annually became a worldwide disease most recently in scandalous high level affairs in the so-called “free market” and the UN International Monetary Fund warned that this administration’s huge deficit is endangering the world intricate economic system. Some one has to lend money to the USA to survive. Ten years ago it was the Queen of England’s and Japanese money, now, Her Majesty is still there, but Japan is replaced by Communist China. (Interesting?)

Most people have no idea of the state of the 6 billion plus worldwide population. Monitored by the UN Population Fund, the Food and Agriculture Org. (FAO) Human Settlement Programme, Refugees, etc… famine and hunger are an endemic problem for 800 million people.

And for all the years that the Government of Israel responds to Palestinian bombings by destroying Palestinian homes and villages, how do you think these people can survive? There is UNRWAPR, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees which is feeding and sheltering hundred of thousands of these human beings.

And there are natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides and floods. I could go on and on as hundreds of UN Agencies and NGO operations are working non stop around the planet, a dozen of Peacekeeping operations are going on for years, International Courts are functioning non stop… And there are the fundamental questions of Genetic Engineering, of biosafety, Human and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, racism and religious persecutions. There is also UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Org. working in these areas and sustaining the amazing “World Heritage” of mankind.

Is the UN relevant? I would rather say that if the United Nations Org. were to disappear overnight, the world would collapse as a two-legged chair and no one could do anything about it. Anyone interested to keep informed and take the pulse of the planet can subscribe to UN free Email News alerts at http://www.un.org/News

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