Monday, 9 September 2013

Syria- A Failure of the UN

Campaign Against Arms Trade 'die-in'
   Once again footage of  helpless civilians being subjected to chemical attacks has humbled viewers
and commentators alike. The disgust is not just at the perpetrators of this evil but in humanity itself.
Our failure is collective in not demanding that our international organisations act as the immune system of our communities rather than provide palliative care for terminal cases. The real blame lies with the self serving states that continue to undermine the authority of the UN and continue to underfund it into a state of hapless futility. After 100,000 civilians have already died the use of chemical weapons has it seems stirred up the need for intervention.
  There is much talk of 'Syria' not being 'Iraq' but what's frightening is the remarkable similarities.
We have a nation state that is divided along sectarian lines that is likely to fragment even further
if the oppressive dictator is removed. David Cameron has been left to look impotent on the
international stage not because he bowed to the will of parliament but because he chose the
wrong motion to champion. You cannot 'bomb for peace' in the very same month as you are
holding one of the world's biggest arms fairs at the Excel arena in london. What
started off as Cameron's ill judgement of the  'war weariness' of the very MP's who he
had asked to back him on the vote for action ended up as Britain's public humiliation
on the world stage. First Kerry unceremoniously snubbed Britain and then Cameron
had to fend off 'little island' jibes from the Russian political hierarchy. What we can
rightfully be proud of is that around 500 or so protesters  risked life and limb by throwing
themselves under articulated lorries and trucks to disrupt the ongoing arms fair (DSEI)
at the Excel centre. It also restores one's pride in humanity that the moral conscience of a
few are acting as the immune system that the government must heed if it is to avoid future
conflicts and carry the moral authority which would merit a seat on the security council.
  In the latest developments it seems that the Russians have put forth a possible solution by
asking the Syrian government to put their stockpile of chemical weapons under international supervision. This may have outmanoeuvred the Americans who are awaiting congressional support for strike action.
  What we can conclude is that if the UN is not empowered to apprehend those who have broken
international law whether it be Tony Blair or the president of Sudan, however fanciful
that may sound in the present, future conflicts are bound to thrive, leading to a greater need for arms, and more arms fairs. Leaders and corporations will allow wars to start and continue  if they feel that
the international legal framework and the bodies that support them are too weak to bring them to
justice. Reza Sobati