Monday, October 24, 2005

A Telling Statement From the UN

The United Nations recently issued a report accusing the Syrian government of direct involvement in the murder of Rafik Harin, former Prime Minister of Lebanon. A report in the Times of London says that the initial version of the report implicated specific members of the Syrian government, including family members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but the names were redacted after a meeting with Koffi Annan. (Thanks to today's Best of the Web for the pointer.)

The Financial Times reports that the US and France are jointly calling for UN Security Council action on this issue. The US seeks full cooperation from Syria with real consequences if the allegations can be proven. Specifically, there is call for action under chapter 7 of the UN Charter, "which deals with threats to international peace and security and can eventually lead to the use of force." (FT)

But will the United Nations actually do anything about this? The a quote from the Chinese ambassador shows how useless the UN is as an institution:
We have to be very careful with chapter 7. It is the dog that will bite, not just bark.
In essence he's saying that we should be very careful about actually taking actions beyond making statements and issuing warnings, because real actions might upset the commercial interests that the member states have in the region. Hopefully the case against the evil eye doctor's regime will be so clear cut that the UN will have no choice but to take real action. But anyone who expects action or results from the folks in Turtle Bay is hopelessly naive.

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