How ironic that Middle East’s dictators and their allies showed up at the General Assembly in New York in 2009 to blast what they coined as a Western abuse of nations in the Arab and Muslim world. Moammar Gadhafi’s brutal regime has lots of blood on its hand and so has Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Pasdaran. They showed up on the most prestigious podium in the world — or so we thought — and demanded massive reforms at the United Nations because, as Gadhafi said, “the organization selectively intervenes against our nations.”
Well the terror-backing dictators need to be reminded that while it is true that the U.N. missed opportunities to help nations, the most dramatic blind spots dodged by the organization were actually the underdogs in the region, the very weak nations brutalized by the two regimes and other jihadi forces in the Greater Middle East.
This U.N. is not taking enough action against mass murderers and hasn't done so in most of its history. Indeed, the U.N. made distinctions between causes it could deal with and those it would choose to ignore. That injustice was evident even during the Cold War and the height of the East-West confrontation.
Think about the genocide that took place in 1966-68 in Biafra, Nigeria. One million black Africans perished. There was no significant attempt by the U.N. to save those people. Then the black African people of southern Sudan were targeted by Khartoum’s regimes Up to a million people were murdered. The U.N. did not show up.
In 1976, the Syrian Army invaded Lebanon. The United Nations did not react — neither the Security Council nor the General Assembly. Then in 1978, responding to a PLO attack, Israel moved in. Immediately the Security Council met and issued Resolution 425. It formed the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), whose role seemed to be to count the shells.
In 1982, again because of another series of attacks by the PLO inflaming the southern borders with Israel, Israel entered Lebanon and a battle with Syria occurred. It was only then that the U.N. issued Resolution 520, calling on all foreign forces to withdraw, without naming Syria (although Israel had been named in 1978). Syria also went unnamed in 1982 when the head of the Syrian regime, Hafiz al-Assad, ordered his army and air force to crush a rebellion in the city of Hama, killing 20,000 Muslim Sunnis. There was no Security Council resolution. Nothing happened.
In 1987, Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds in Iraq. Photographs reached the U.N. There was no resolution. There was not even a meeting. There was no consideration of anything with regard to this crime against humanity. The U.N. system has ignored human rights abuses from Algeria to Afghanistan.
With the end of the Cold War — which justified U.N. inaction for years — genocides and crises of all kinds continued to be ignored. In southern Sudan again — in 1991, 2001, and 2004 — up to a million more black people, both Christian and Animists, were annihilated. Now in Darfur, Muslims (who are Sunnis) perish in an ethnic cleansing. Around 750,000 Africans are enslaved at a time when an African, Kofi Annan, was the U.N. Secretary-General.
In the post-Cold War era, Hussein executed up to 350,000 Shiites. But there was no U.N. investigation of that massacre. There was no Security Council meeting. Nothing happened throughout the 1990s regarding that issue.
Throughout the 1990s, Lebanon was still occupied by the Syrian Army, which not only abused Lebanese at home but even transferred detainees to Syrian jails, reminding us of the train transfers of World War II. Yet nothing happened until 2005, and the adoption of Resolution 1559. In the aftermath of 2001, when the eyes of the West opened, there have been increasing demands for the spread of democracy around the world.
Dr. Walid Phares is the author of “Confrontation: Winning the war against Future Jihad” and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
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