Manipulation of the UN Security Council in support of the US-NATO Military Agenda
Coercion, Intimidation & Bribery used to Extort Approval from Reluctant Members
By Carla Stea
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28586
Global Research, January 10, 2012
United Nations Security Council decisions are portrayed as “the will of the international community,” and Security Council action in support of a national agenda confers moral authority upon that agenda. For this reason it is crucial to understand the tactics by which UN Security Council independence is frequently usurped, and the methods of coercion, intimidation and bribery used to extort approval from reluctant members of the Security Council, or from those members adamantly opposed to a particular course of action.
Twenty-two years ago, as a result of the Untied Nations Security Council adoption of Resolution 678, which authorized the use of “all necessary means” to end the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and “approved” the launch of the first United Nations supported Persian Gulf War, former United States Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, who had witnessed the devastating consequences of that war’s saturation bombing of Baghdad, stated that “The United Nations, which was created “to prevent the scourge of war,” has become an instrument of war.”
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Security Council has been in danger of becoming a political battering ram used for the purpose of “legitimizing” the neo-imperial adventures, and the reassertion of Western dominance over former colonial territories in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East . Since 1991, the United Nations Security Council has often been referred to as “an arm of the Pentagon,” or “an annex of the US State Department.”
In 1990, only two countries in the United Nations Security Council opposed the passage of Resolution 678, and when Yemen cast one of these votes, the U.S. Ambassador brazenly threatened him: “That will be the most expensive vote you ever cast,” and the U.S. immediately cut off 70 million dollars in aid to Yemen .
Several months prior to the vote, on September 25, 1990, Mr. Abu Hassan, Foreign Minister of Malaysia stated before the Security Council:
On September 25, 1990 the Colombian Foreign Minister stated:
Despite consistent determined opposition to military action expressed by Colombia and Malaysia during the months prior to January 16, 1991, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker was determined to force these two non-permanent members of the Security Council to support the war, regardless of their convictions. Baker made a whirlwind tour to accomplish this, and told the Columbian President that his Ambassador was “going crazy with these peace initiatives, and must be stopped.” This was accompanied by the usual threat of cut-off of aid. Baker pursued the Malaysian Foreign Minister to his hotel in Tokyo , and succeeded in forcing him to reverse his position, and vote in favor of military action against Iraq . Again similar tactics were used, again successfully.
During the weeks preceding January 15, 1991, the President of Algeria had traveled throughout the Middle East speaking to leaders in Syria , Egypt , Jordan , Oman , Iraq and Iran . He also spoke twice with the advisor for King Fahd of Saudi Arabia . Highly placed diplomatic sources accredited to the United Nations confirmed that the agreements the Algerian President obtained from the leaders of each country would have led to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in compliance with UN requirements. The final meeting was to be held with King Fahd of Saudi Arabia . At the last moment the King refused to meet with the Algerian President, and denied him a visa to enter Saudi Arabia , claiming that he “needed more time.” According to a highly placed diplomatic source, “ Washington did not want this meeting.”
On January 17, 1991 President Bush stated his goal as the liberation of Kuwait , not the conquest of Iraq , additionally claiming that “we are determined to knock out Saddam Hussein’s nuclear bomb potential. We will also destroy his chemical weapons facilities.” With this, the U.S. placed itself in violation of a UN General Assembly Resolution (A/C.1/45/L.38) “prohibiting attacks on nuclear facilities.” Attempts to enforce the resolution were met by threats from the U.S. and Egyptian authorities, advising that such efforts be dropped.
Article 22 of the Hague convention specifically declares the use of “all necessary means” illegal. Resolution 678 also violates the Hague convention’s articles 25 and 27, and violate Articles 1, 2a, 2b and article IIIc of the Convention Prohibiting Genocide. United Nations investigator Marti Ahtisaari disclosed that coalition bombing had caused “near-apocalyptic damage, destroying the economic infrastructure necessary to support human life in Iraq,” and warning “the Iraqi people may soon face a further imminent catastrophe, which could include epidemic and famine, if massive life-supporting needs are not met.” The July 15 report of the United Nations Humanitarian Mission to Iraq , submitted by Sadruddin Aga Khan, states that: “The aftermath of the Persian Gulf war of January and February 1991 presented a compelling spectacle of suffering and devastation to the international community. The tragic consequences of conflict, the untold loss of life and destruction, were compounded by massive displacements of ill-prepared populations, by ecological disasters of unprecedented magnitude, by the collapse of the structures that sustain life in today’s human societies.....It is evident that for large numbers of the people of Iraq, every passing month brings closer the brink of calamity. As usual, it is the poor, the children, the widowed and the elderly, the most vulnerable amongst the population, who are the first to suffer.”
The failure of the administration of George W. Bush to obtain United Nations Security Council support for the “Shock and Awe” bombing attack on Iraq in 2003 seriously undermined both the credibility and the morale of the operation, and weakened Bush’s popularity to the point where he became the object of ridicule, his “mission accomplished” posturing mocked, and it was in part the conspicuous and disastrous result of that war, and the exposure of the lies used to justify the war, that became a major factor in the successful presidential campaign of Barack Obama..
On October 4, 2011 United Nations Security Council draft resolution S/2011/612, which sought Security Council approval for punitive measures against Syria, was defeated by the vetoes cast by Russia and China. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa were outraged that Resolution 1973, authorizing a no-fly zone in Libya for the exclusive purpose of protecting civilians, morphed into promiscuous attacks on Libya by NATO, and blatant NATO support of the Libyan opposition, in gross violations of NATO’s mandate. Indeed, former Chairman of the Arab League, Amre Moussa had called an emergency meeting of the Arab League, and stated: “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians, and not the bombardment of more civilians.”
Resolution 1973 culminated, in violation of its mandate, in “regime change” and the extrajudicial murder of Omar Khaddafy, the Libyan president, resulting, ultimately in innumerable violations of international law that could be traced to the blessing given by the United Nations to Security Council Resolution 1973.
In explanation of the veto cast by Russia on October 4th, the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation stated:
The Russian-Chinese veto which defeated draft resolution 612 was not, however the end of the story. It was the beginning of the stealthy and not so stealthy US/NATO campaign to force the Security Council to support its agenda to subjugate and impose regime change in Syria . Relentless pressure on Russia and China to reverse their position ensued.
Soon thereafter, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and 17 other states co-sponsored a resolution which was submitted to the UN General Assembly Third Committee condemning the Syrian authorities for human rights violations, a resolution at no point referring to gross human rights violations committed by the Syrian opposition in what was swiftly becoming a civil war. It was far easier and more expeditious to get a resolution condemning the Syrian authorities adopted by the General Assembly, where many smaller, weaker countries would be more accessible to various forms of influence than would be the case in the Security Council. Once adopted, the General Assembly Third Committee Resolution could be used to pressure, and if necessary bludgeon or blackmail members of the Security Council perceived as recalcitrant by the US/NATO powers. The Resolution entitled “Situation of Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic (A/66/462/Add.3) was adopted on December 19th by a vote of 133 in favor, 54 opposed or abstaining. The extreme pressure on Russia and China continued throughout December, when Russia held the Presidency of the Security Council.
On December 8th, in a fortuitous coincidence, the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, Mrs. Navi Pillay was in New York , and the French Ambassador, Gerard Araud urged that she “drop by” and brief the Security Council on Syria . There have been serious questions raised about Mrs. Pillay exceeding the mandate of her office, and allowing her office to be politicized. There have also been doubts about her impartiality. There were questions raised about whether her coincidental presence in New York warranted her visit to the Security Council, and whether she was welcomed unanimously by all Council members. Suddenly a large number of reporters swarmed toward the Security Council after a “Procedural Vote” was announced. And then the “procedural vote” did not occur. Evidently the French Ambassador had threatened the procedural vote to embarrass Russia and China , and force another audience for Mrs. Pillay at the Security Council.
To provide balance, the Chinese Ambassador urged that the issue of Palestine also be considered, and the briefing focus on urgent problems and serious human rights violations in the Middle East, not exclusively Syria . There was such massive opposition by the US, the UK, France and Germany to inclusion of Palestine in Mrs. Pillay’s briefing that, although these Permanent Representatives insisted that they had not opposed the inclusion of Palestine at the briefing, they proceeded to state, incensed, that the inclusion of Palestine was a “red herring,” and an attempt to distract attention from the problems in Syria. The Russian Ambassador, President of the Security Council, when asked whether he had encountered opposition to the inclusion of Palestine in the briefing replied: “What opposed means may turn into something of a linguistic discussion...I saw every trick in the book being thrown at me, short of trying to strangle the President of the Security Council.”
The Russian Ambassador made a statement to the press regarding the absurdity of this imbroglio at the Security Council: “in some science fiction there was this little poem. It is difficult to translate poems from Russian into English, but it went something like this: This morning a rocket was launched. It is flying sixteen times the speed of light, so it will reach its destination at 6PM...yesterday.”
Following the closed briefing, Mrs. Pillay spoke briefly to the press, alleging that as of December 12th, there were 5,000 people dead in Syria, including 300 children, thousands of people in detention, torture had occurred, and she had recommended that the Syrian authorities be referred to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. At no point did Mrs. Pillay identify the source of her information, and she left before I had an opportunity to inquire about the identity of her sources. Then the French, British, Portuguese and American representatives spoke to the press reiterating that it was “unconscionable that the Security Council did not take action” and “unbearable that the Council is forced to remain silent” in view of Mrs. Pillay’s horrifying disclosures.”
I was finally able to ask the British Permanent Representative, Mark Lyall Grant what was the source of Mrs. Pillay’s information, and I was told the source of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights’ horrific details was 233 defecting members of the military. Leaving aside the various possible motivations defecting members of the military might have for distorting information, Mrs. Pillay’s failure to provide any information about possible violent acts committed by the opposition, and her exclusive focus upon violence committed by the government raises extremely serious questions about her objectivity, and the propriety and legality of her giving the imprimatur of her office to one side in what is essentially a civil war. Mrs. Pillay maintains that she had no access to Syria . How then is she able to interview a credible cross-section of witnesses to provide an accurate report of violence by the Syrian government? The Council President reminded the press that on August 3rd there were reports that the Syrian navy fired at the opposition. Russian witnesses residing in Syria repudiated these reports. No subsequent mention was made of this discrepancy, nor did Mrs. Pillay at any time investigate the reports by the Russian witnesses disputing allegations against the Syrian navy.
On December 18th The New York Times reported horrific civilian deaths as a result of NATO strikes on Libya . On December 19th UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon initially denied these reports. That afternoon, at a stake-out the Council President stated that NATO’s claim of zero civilian casualties was cruel and cynical. NATO was evidently reluctant or incapable of effectively investigating the results of the 7,700 bombs or missiles it dropped on Libya . The New York Times stated:
While the Security Council President had stated on December 9th that pressures on him by the US, UK, France and Germany within the Security Council had ‘stopped short of strangling him,’ on December 16th a media advisory was sent to the UN press corps by Fehmi Khairullah of the “Syria First Coalition,” a US based organization, (the source of whose funding is unclear).....announcing Syrian Day of Rage, stating: “Syrian Regime is killing his own people with support of the Russian Federation to the Criminal Syrian Regime.” The media advisory announced demonstrations “to protest the Russian Support of the Criminal Syrian Regime,” held Friday, December 16, 2011 from 3PM till 5PM at the Russian Mission to the United Nations, 136 East 67 Street, New York 10065, demonstrators to include “outraged Syrians Gathering to Condemn the Continuous Russian Support to the Syrian Criminal Regime.”
Pressure on the President of the UN Security Council within the Security Council itself, which, in his words ‘stopped just short of strangulation,’ was augmented by demonstrations by ‘Syria First Coalition’ outside the Russian Mission to the UN, including a letter addressed to the Russian Ambassador, accusing: “Your veto in the United Nations not only supports the murderous regime, but also blocks any humanitarian aid to the desperate people of Syria, who are freezing cold, starving, scared and out of medical supplies.” The letter’s statistic of 5,078 Syrians killed does not mention that this includes the 1,000 Syrian government official killed by the opposition, a figure admitted even by Mrs. Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights.
By December 22, at the Security Council stake-out, the Council President was forced to defend his inclusion on the December Security Council agenda of discussion of human rights violations of the Palestinian people, and the crucial matter of Libyan civilians killed by NATO strikes. Evidently the US/NATO group demanded that only the matter of Syria be included on the Security Council agenda.
US Ambassador Susan Rice, outraged that the Security Council had focused on the deaths of 70 Libyan civilians as a result of the US/NATO bombing of Libya , declared: “Welcome to the bombast. I was recently in Libya , and the Libyan people expressed overwhelming gratitude for NATO’s help. “ Ambassador Rice evidently neglected to meet Mustafa Naji al Morabit, among many other victims of NATO airstrikes. According to the New York Times, “On August 4th a bomb roared down in the early morning quiet and slammed into their concrete home causing its front to buckle. Mr. Morabit’s wife Eptisam Ali al-Barbar died of a crushed skull. Two of their sons, Mohammed, 6, and Moataz, 3 were killed too. Three toes on the left foot of Fatima Umar Mansour, Mr. Morabit’s mother, were severed, her lower left leg was snapped.”
On December 23 the Security Council President
held a press conference at which he described Ambassador Rice’s
‘unusually explosive rhetoric,’ and fury at the Russian Ambassador’s
discussion of Libyan civilians slaughtered by NATO airstrikes. He
stated that it was necessary to address Ambassador Rice’s outburst
which “drowned in expletives.” He quoted Ambassador Rice’s December
22 accusations of “bombast, bogus claims, a cheap stunt,
duplicitous, redundant and superfluous” all expletives used by
Ambassador Rice in referring to the Russian Ambassador’s discussion
of Libyan civilian victims of NATO bombardment. The Russian
Ambassador then remarked: “You cannot beat a Stanford education, can
In response to a question about the breakdown of working relationships between the Permanent Five Security Council members in an atmosphere of acrimony at the Security Council, the Russian Ambassador stated that he is worried that the Security Council is not moving in a good direction,” that there are members who are inflexible and demand that ‘things must be done in their own way and no other way,’ no other views are entertained, ant they must have what they demand immediately.’ This will “harm the ability of the Security Council to work.” He stated that Security Council action to end violence in Syria should under no circumstances be an ‘auxilliary of regime-change policy,’ as Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya had proved to be. He said that regime change engineered and forced from outside the country is “inevitably destructive, causing bloodshed, and the Security Council and the United Nations should have nothing to do with that.” He stated that at 11AM that morning the Russian Federation had submitted its third draft resolution on Syria, and stated that “we will not drop references to violence caused by the extreme opposition and will not call for sanctions or an arms embargo, since in Libya the arms embargo blocked weapons to the government, but the opposition illegally received massive arms supplies from many sources.
The fate of the third draft resolution submitted by Russia on December 23 is still undetermined. As of this writing, the changes and deletions required by the US/NATO countries transform this resolution into something unrecognizable, precisely the opposite to its original intent. Its current form includes:
Conspicuously ignored in all this is the 600 pound gorilla in the living room. On March 17th Resolution 1973 on Libya was adopted by the United Nations Security Council, and NATO bombardment of Libya immediately followed. The very next day, March 18th, anti-government demonstrations began in Syria . On April 18, 2010, the front page of The Washington Post reported:
U.S. funding and involvement in destabilizing independent governments throughout the world follows a similar pattern throughout its long history, from the destabilization and overthrow of the democratically elected government of Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, to the destabilization and overthrow of a long succession of democratically elected presidents: Arbenz in Guatemala, Juuan Bosch in the Dominican Republic, Goulart in Brazil, Sukarno in Indonesia, Allende in Chile, (where Kissinger famously declared: ‘We cannot permit Chile to go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.’) In all cases these democratically elected governments independent of US corporate control, were replaced by military dictatorships which institutionalized torture, and placed their nations’ economies under control of US based multi-national corporations, impoverishing their own citizens.
The current pattern emerging in the Middle East portends ominous developments within a trajectory that is becoming evident. UN Security Council authorization of “all necessary measures” in Resolution 1973 against the Libyan government gave license for impermissible imperial aggression and bloodshed: The New York Times reported on August 21, 2011:
The overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran is described in detail by Robert Dreyfus in “Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam” (Page 109):
If the UN Security Council adopts any resolution that could morph into authorization permitting “all necessary measures” to be used to justify military action to force regime change in Syria, this would be disguised by a fig-leaf of concern for the ‘human rights of the Syrian people, in a civil war provoked by US/NATO encouragement of a pre-fabricated opposition. This would inevitably culminate, as in Libya , in ‘coordination between NATO and the opposition,” and would eliminate the last curb on US/NATO’s grandiose imperial designs. It would unleash the pathological fantasies of global dominance long cherished by the Russophobe Brzezinski, and other similarly inclined policy makers, rupture their precarious grip on reality, and hurl the US/NATO powers into the fatal mistakes of Napoleon and Hitler, full-blown psychosis. A UN Security Council resolution that could be interpreted to permit US/NATO military action against Syria would propel these forces, already drunken with power, to next seek a resolution authorizing military action against Iran .
Libya, Syria and Iran have much oil and as yet no nuclear weapons. Any action against Iran , whether undertaken by US/NATO or Israel , would spark a conflagration impossible to control, potentially involving nuclear states, and the direction of which would be impossible to determine or limit at the outset. And the endpoint of this trajectory would inevitably be Russia , which controls huge reserves of oil and gas coveted by the West. But unlike the insane adventures of Napoleon and Hitler, prior to the atomic age, today Russia possesses nuclear weapons, and surrounded by hostile NATO countries and confronting the menace of NATO’s missile defense, Russia , now existentially threatened, has abandoned the Soviet Union ’s doctrine of “no first use of nuclear weapons.”
If Russia withstands escalating pressure, and
continues to prohibit any UN Security Council resolution authorizing
“all necessary means” against Syria, this may be the moment when,
denied United Nations Security Council support, and unable to claim
they act in accordance with “the will of the international
community,” the psychological force of US/NATO will be exhausted, as
was Napoleon at the Battle of Borodino in1812, and Hitler at
Stalingrad in 1943. The road to World War III will have been
blocked, and the United Nations Security Council would be redeemed
from its current status as “an instrument of war.”
|Subscribe to the Global Research e-newsletter|