Across the Bay

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

UN Smackdown

Chibli Mallat wrote a nice piece on Iraq and the UN. I particularly enjoyed this rather candid section:

"The international community, represented by the UN, appears no less steadfast in minimizing the participation of Iraqis in decisions affecting the future of their country.

For the past year, the UN bureaucracy has maneuvered to forge "a leading role" for itself in Iraq - to quote from the draft UN resolution. Yet why should it play such a role when it has had such a controversial record in Iraq? It failed to address the dismal human rights situation there during the Baath dictatorship. Even the oil-for-food program, which the UN Secretariat allowed Saddam's regime to undermine, is now tainted with a scandal that might have involved senior UN officials and, according to some reports, their family members.

The UN representative in Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, is a person whom I have appreciated over the years, particularly for his role in Afghanistan. I have also expressed this publicly (though I privately told him of my misgivings about his actions on Lebanon's Taif Accord when he was an Arab League envoy in 1988-90). The man has undeniable qualities. However, he is mistaken in his handling of Iraq. By telling the Governing Council members to go home despite the sacrifices they have made and their record of nonviolence, he is unnecessarily sowing the seeds of resentment, while ensuring that whoever follows them will have even less legitimacy.

By placing the UN at central stage in Iraq, Brahimi is missing the point that it is now time for the Iraqis to represent themselves and be responsible for a future that will demand sacrifices from them long after he and the UN have left the scene.

Meanwhile, that's not the only stinking pile of manure -- that not surprisingly involves Arabs -- over which the UN is, yet again, toothless. By that I mean the systematic Jihadic holocaust in Darfur. Where are those demonstrations about killing innocent people now (with Palestinian flags all over)?! Are the Palestinians the only victims? The Arabs would sure love to convince the world of that. Here's one voice of outrage. But this quote from an unrelated Ralph Peters op-ed nails this hypocrisy, even when Peters is very seldom in the strike zone:

"Of course, our domestic left has long since abandoned the cause of universal human rights, highlighting oppression only when it can be blamed on Washington."

Same can be said of the Arabs and Muslims more generally.