No place for justice in UN dictionary: Lebanese journalist

June 28, 2020 - 15:18

TEHRAN - Mohamad Kleit, a Lebanese journalist specialized in international affairs and geopolitics, tells the Tehran Times that the United Nations celebrates its 75th anniversary, while this international organization has failed to achieve justice.

“Considering Israel is the “U.S. pampered baby”, metaphorically speaking, any international resolution would be negligible if it doesn’t preserve Israeli interests, even if those interests were ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, preservation of the illegal and inhumane blockade on the Gaza Strip and building illegal settlements on the Palestinian soil in the West Bank,” says Kleit, who is deputy editor at U-News Agency.

On the future of the United Nations, Kleit notes, “I personally see that the role of the UN will be minimized considering that major powers are out their taking what they want with disregard to any UN resolution or the disruption of global stability.”

The text of the interview with Mohamad Kleit is as follows:

Question: The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War with several objectives primarily the prevention of war and maintaining peace in disputed areas. But the UN has failed to prevent war and fulfill peacekeeping duties many times throughout its history. In your opinion, what have been the main causes of this passivity?

Answer: The United Nations’ passivity is basically caused by the strong political powers controlling some of its major and most critical decisions; particularly by the United States of America which spent $10 billion in 2018 (almost 30% of UN’s peacekeeping operations are funded by the United States). This affects United Nations and its Security Council’s decisions in areas that the U.S. is directly involved in, for example, Syria, Yemen, Iraq in 2003, and others.

“They (UN) didn’t call out who was clearly responsible for this (Yemen) catastrophe, yet they called for a political solution back in 2016 in Kuwait that would indirectly preserve the Saudi Arabia’s interest while acknowledging the newly formed government in Sana.”

It also acts as a pressure force on political issues, most recently the Israeli atrocities against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, where Israel doesn’t abide by any Security Council decision nor UN resolutions ever since the entity joined the UN. This is because the U.S. has close ties and joint interests in Israel, thus it is not dealing with the Palestinian cause in an objective manner, where the U.S. always sides with Israel, consequently belittling any UN resolution, regardless how righteous and just it is.

Q: Ever since the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, Palestinians have been fighting against what a UN investigator once described as Israel’s ethnic cleansing. Today Israel controls dominantly over Palestine territories. It also has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza and is continuing its construction of illegal settlements on occupied lands in defiance of several UN resolutions calling for an end to those activities. What is your take on it?

A: As in other areas of turmoil and disruption, the UN has its hands tied because of the U.S. financial advantage over its regular budget. This poses a threat and jeopardizes any resolution issued by the UN in matters the U.S. would consider part of its so-called “national security”, which, as history taught us, extends across the world far from the U.S. national borders.

Now considering Israel is the “U.S. pampered baby”, metaphorically speaking, any international resolution would be negligible if it doesn’t preserve Israeli interests, even if those interests were ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, preservation of the illegal and inhumane blockade on the Gaza Strip, building illegal settlements on the Palestinian soil in the West Bank, or even detainment of Palestinian children for investigation while mistreating prisoners of opinion and protests.

History has also taught us that Israel has never once abided by any UN resolution that isn’t fully in its favor, even when it’s waging an occupation like the one in 1982 in Lebanon or bombing civilian sites in Syria that is being internally war-torn since 2011. It also, rudely, disrespects any UN resolution that is internationally consented, like Resolution 1701 to end the 2006 war on Lebanon that was unanimously approved by the United Nations Security Council on 11 August 2006, where each side of the war (Lebanese Resistance Movement and Israel) goes back to their international borders before the war started in July, yet Israel, until this day, violates Lebanese airspace with fighter jets and occasionally targets civilian, scientific, and military targets in Syria from the Lebanese airspace.

Q: Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to crush the popular Ansarullah movement and reinstate former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of the Riyadh regime. Many experts accuse the UN silence regarding Saudi Arabia’s aggression and argue that the UN has failed to send humanitarian aid and support to civilians amid a blockade imposed on the war-torn country. What is your thought?

A: Justice is a negligible term in international books; it is only used when the elite nations preserve their interests on the expense of smaller powers, or helpless nations in that case. The Saudi-led coalition, that is supported militarily and politically by (just to name a few) the UAE, USA, UK, France, Israel, Egypt, Bahrain, and other nations, launched a war on Yemen in 2015 that has been described by the UN itself as “one of the worst human catastrophes in modern history.” The war started on the request of the ousted Yemeni president Abed Rabu Mansour Hadi, who took Aden for refuge after a large-scale protest in the capital Sana, where a coalition of Yemeni parties rules now, most prominently Ansarullah led by Abdul Malek al Houthi. Now considering Ansarullah’s opposition to Saudi Arabia’s control over Yemen (Saudis controlled and interfered in Yemen’s politics and economy for over 40 years during the reign of Ali Abdullah Saleh and then Mansour Hadi), which would jeopardize what they call “national security”, thus they launched a full-scale war on Yemen that has led to the death of well-over 30,000 persons and displaced millions, while 19 million are suffering from poverty and in danger of famine.

What did the UN do? They didn’t call out who was clearly responsible for this catastrophe, yet they called for a political solution back in 2016 in Kuwait that would indirectly preserve Saudi Arabia’s interest while acknowledging the newly formed government in Sana. The talks failed because of the continuation of hostilities until 2018 in Stockholm, where another round of talks happened to mark a breakthrough, yet the war is still ongoing with more complications and disasters to put in short.

From 2015 until this day, neither did the UN nor the international community point out that it’s Saudi Arabia and the UAE which are the direct causes of the catastrophe by a huge margin, with the help of the U.S., Israel, the UK, and France, yet they put both sides (the Saudi-led coalition and the Sana government) as equally responsible for the war… It is quiet intriguing for a man shooting an AK47 and an RPG to be held the same responsibility as another man flying an F-16 with U.S. satellites giving him pin-point directions (not all the time though) with missiles that have proven to have the ability to put entire villages to the ground. This is a major problem that stands in the way of any problem-solving procedure that would be in the best interest of Yemen’s future, which is pointing out who holds responsibility for the problem in a just and fair way, not on the basis of equality.

Q: The United Nations is celebrating its 75th anniversary, while it is dealing with serious challenges, including poverty, disease, environmental breakdown, ongoing conflicts, and so on. In your view, is the UN ready to face the future?

A: In addition to the ongoing global crises from Palestine, Yemen, to general African wars, to the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the Coronavirus and its financial backlash put huge pressure on the UN, as well as the rise of alt-right movements and populist ideologies affect the on-the-ground operations of the UN. One major example is U.S. President Donald Trump retreating from the World Health Organization with accusations that it is siding with China (U.S. economic rival), as well as cutting funding for UNRWA which is specialized with Palestinian refugees. Both cases place huge pressures on both organizations, considering that the U.S. is their biggest donor. The first one is a political decision to pressure WHO into joining the “Ideological Cold War” (as China’s Foreign Ministry named it) against China, while the second is to pressure the Palestinian authorities into accepting Trump’s “Deal of the Century” which is completely a pro-Israel agreement basically aimed to give full control of the West Bank to Israel.

These are just examples of what the UN is going to face from the U.S., in particular, as a cost for its not-so-total kneeling to the man in Washington. I personally see that the role of the UN will be minimized considering that major powers are out taking what they want with disregard to any UN resolution or the disruption of global stability.


 

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