Archive for Security Council

Rebellion – The Spring Of Discontent

Posted in Arab, Christianity, Demonstration, Elections, Muslim, President, Religion, Summit, UN, United Nations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23/04/2011 by floroy1942

Ever since the world ushered in 2011, with the hopes of a fruitful year and a return to economic stability, it seems the pendulum has swung the other way. The prospect of global economic recovery seems as far away as ever, and the news has been dominated by country after country being racked by protests and regime changes, albeit mostly in the arab world.

A New Year With Renewed Hope

As we all know by now, Tunisia was the spark that ignited the trail of discontent across North Africa and on into the Middle East. Protesters in both Tunisia and Egypt have successfully rid themselves of an oppresive regime and may be turning to democracy, but we shall have to wait and see.

Further afield we have seen Libya, Syria, Yemen and The United Arab Emirates among others all suffering civilian unrest. In the case of Libya, outright war between the populace and the government is on-going with Syria heading in the same directiuon. The protesters all demand the same thing, release from an oppressive regime that has held power too long.

Libya: http://youtu.be/nqJgBhDkekc

It has always been the nature of dictators not to relinquish power once they have achieved it, a fact that still holds true today. Many who have, or perhaps will be toppled in the near future, have all held power for many decades and it often occurs that time makes such people lose contact with those they rule.

Libyan Protest

History teaches us that people will accept such a situation with passive acceptance – initially, but over time, especially if their living standards deteriorate, the discontent grows until it suddenly bursts forth in uncontrollable rage. Poor living standards are a great driver to action for those living in oppressed countries.

Desperate measures are taken by some rulers like Gaddafi of Libya and Assad of Syria, who attempt to quell the unrest by force of arms, but as we have seen in both these countries, it only makes the protesters more determined. Libya is now racked by civil war, and even with the help of a UN resolution and the actions of NATO, we are approaching a stalemate.

There are indications the war in Libya will take on a new twist that may well cause headaches at NATO Headquarters. The latest news quotes government sources as saying the eviction of the rebels from Misrata will be left to local tribes who have suffered loss of trade with the city since the uprising began. The army is said to be retreating from Misrata and negotiations will take place between tribal leaders and the rebels. If the tribes do in fact attack the rebel positions in the city it will be civilians against civilians, so where will that leave the coalition forces and the UN Mandate?

Syria Defiance

Meanwhile, Syria is seeing daily deaths among the protesters at the hands of the security forces. International involvement has only taken place in Libya, and it seems unlikely at this time that such action will be repeated in other countries.

Syria: http://youtu.be/qb7Irlq60Ew

Ivory Coast and Nigeria have also been trouble spots for the last few weeks but the reasons there are different.

The Ivorian Protagonists

In Ivory Coast the dispute arose from the failure of its President, Lauren Gbagbo to accept defeat when he lost the election. Fighting has been going on there for some time as forces loyal to Gbagbo sought to prevent the elected President Ouattara from taking office. Eventually Gbagbo was defeated, but now Ouattara is finding it hard to reign in his troops and stop fighting between Gbagbo supporters and his own. Once again, the UN has made pleas for calm which have fallen on deaf ears.

Ivory Coast: http://youtu.be/Y0Lpmdzt6mk

A similar situation is developing in Nigeria where the defeated presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhuri, refuses to accept his defeat against Goodluck Johnson in an election that was cleared by international observers as being fair. Should the violence continue, there is a chance the Muslim north of the country will be at war with the Christian south.

Sectarian Violence in Nigeria

The difference between this altercation and others seems to be religion, for like Muslims everywhere, they wish to dominate, and the north will not be satisfied until it rules the whole of the country purely for the purposes of turning it into a Muslim state. A story we have all heard before.

The UN is still confining itself to useless pleas for calm and a cessation of violence in the various nations currently in the news. This is standard practice for the international body that rarely sees fit to actually take action to prevent bloodshed and war.

Nigeria: http://youtu.be/QzFQ3zrW7QA

The United Nations was formed as a body with the ideal of ending war and insurrection in any country but has over the years been found wanting. The various nations have almost always found it impossible to come to a decision to end violence, for each country must first look to its own interests before embarking on any agreement to intervene in trouble spots around the world.

The Libyan conflict serves as a prime example, for many countries could not bring themselves to endorse Resolution 1973 until it was too late to be of any strategic use, perhaps because they did not wish to offend the Middle East nations for fear of jeopardising their oil imports. Now with Syria and Yemen they again cannot agree for the same reason, and content themselves with platitudes and pleas for a cessation of the violence, all of which go unheard.

A Sign Of UN Impotence At Ending Wars?

It is obvious these nations will not take any notice, for it has become a power struggle with the elite not wishing to relinquish their grip, and the protesters refusing to accept anything less.

Countries like Russia and China who hold veto powers, refuse to allow any UN action to stop the bloodshed for reasons of their own, which is most likely an attempt to gain influence in the area.

There is little doubt the UN, founded with such lofty ideals, is failing in its mandate in a disastrous fashion, for it was intended to end wars and provide a platform for the settlement of international disputes. Something it has never managed to do, and in my opinion, never will. Meanwhile, ordinary people die needlessly!

Roy.

Should We Arm The Libyan Rebels?

Posted in Al Quada, Arab, Britain, England, Europe, Muslim, Obama, President, Security Council, Terrorism, UK, UN, United Nations, USA with tags , , , , , , , , on 30/03/2011 by floroy1942

President Obama has raised the question of whether or not the Coalition should arm the rebels fighting Gaddafi. That I fear is very dangerous ground!

M136 AT4 Light Anti-Tank Weapon

First of all, arm them with what? Modern anti-tank weapons (i.e. missiles)would be a good idea, and perhaps some artillery pieces, maybe even a tank or two, but what then? Do we follow this up with technical experts to teach them how to fire the darned things.

AT4 Anti-Tank Video:

 http://www.youtube.com/embed/Q3xsMqHu56g

While it is without doubt in the interests of many countries to see Gaddafi gone, the road to achieving that is a slippery slope unless great caution is exercised. The objective of the UN mandate is clear; “Protect civilian lives from aggressive action by Gaddafi’s forces”. Arming the rebels does not, in my view, come under that heading.

The Security Council Votes

That whole scenario would be going way over the top of the UN Resolution, and bring down upon the Coalition severe condemnation from the vultures sitting on the sidelines sharpening their long knives waiting for us to trip up, make no mistake.

The original intention was good, and you can forget all the ‘lefty’ accusations of ‘it’s all about the oil’. The Coalition has now put itself in the position of being on trial, certainly within the Arab world and the African continent.

The Arab League Waits....

The Middle East countries are sitting on the fence waiting to see if the West will (a) stick to the mandate, or (b) meddle in Libyan internal affairs by actively assisting the rebels, and (c) try to enforce democracy afterwards. We are coming very close to the limits of the Mandate and may even already have overstepped them by actively assisting the rebels with the air strikes.

It has become abundantly clear that the Libyan dictator will not go quietly, he will fight to the last man and will have to be removed by force. If he does win, you can bet his vengeance will not only be levelled at the rebels and Benghazi, but also the Western Alliance. He is quite capable of opening his door to al Quada and giving them a base from which to operate.

Rebels In Retreat....Again!

The sad thing is the rebels do not seem capable of winning without more intervention by the Coalition, particularly in light of the reverses they have suffered in recent days.

Rebel Retreat:

 http://www.youtube.com/embed/_rrDAt-ejL4

Apart from the fact they are a ‘rag-tag army’ of civilians without any military training whatsoever, they have no leadership, no chain of command, or coördination of effort. In the long-term, they have little or no chance of success against a properly trained army such as the one that fights for Gaddafi, and no amount of aerial bombardment by the coalition will change that.

I reiterate what I have said in earlier posts, i.e. that the UN resolution came far too late. Had it been granted even one week earlier the situation on the ground could have been much different. But there is ‘no point in crying over spilt milk’ as they say, we must make the best of what we have, which to be honest, is not a lot.

Is He Giving Us Two Fingers?

It remains to be seen what the eventual outcome of the affair will be, but I have a nasty feeling the Alliance will not come out of it ‘smelling like roses’. There is still a lot of work to be done, and a lot of it depends on how far the UN, the Arab League and the African Union are prepared to back NATO and the Alliance in achieving the removal of Gaddafi.

Roy.

 

North Korea – An Analysis

Posted in North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Security Council with tags , , , , , , on 29/05/2009 by floroy1942

For many months the North Korean leadership have been playing a game of brinkmanship with the international community and the UN. Why, what is their goal?

Using their emerging nuclear capability as a tool of intimidation, they have taken on the world with threats of expanding their weapons capability and test firing missiles. Naturally, there is a certain nervousness among the surrounding countries, South Korea, Japan and China, at the prospect of North Korea achieving a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it. The United States feels especially uncomfortable with the prospect of a nuclear armed North Korea, considering its many interests in the Far East.

This scenario may be some way off, but the ‘writing is on the wall’. In particular the firing of a long-range missile last month, thinly disguised as ‘a satellite launch into space’, caused much controversy and initiated an emergency meeting of the Security Council at the UN. After North Korea’s weapons test last Monday a further meeting was called.

It must be said that the UN, for all its supposed power is, and always has been, impotent in this and most other crisis’s the world over. It has never been possible for all nations, and in particular the permanent members of the Security Council, to agree on anything. So far, North Korea has received little more than punitive sanctions, for this read – a ‘slap on the wrist’, from the Security Council for its provocative actions.

In the past, it was always China and Russia who were hesitant to take any positive and meaningful action against the North Koreans for fear, they say, of making the situation worse. I believe events have proven them wrong. It would seem by its actions of late, North Korea had every intention of following this path regardless of any pressure brought to bear by the UN Security Council, or anyone else for that matter.

Traditionally, America has been the most hawkish when dealing with North Korea, as it sees a threat to its Far Eastern bases should they ever get a viable nuclear capability. But despite acting in its own interests, I believe it is also acting in the interests of the whole world, because no-one wants Kim Jong-il and his cronies to attain the status of a nuclear power.

Speculation is rife about the possibilities of nuclear weapon technology in the hands of such a dictatorial and oppressive regime as that in Pyongyang. It is not surprising they wish to hold on to the absolute power they have, and anyone, or anything that can upset that balance could become a target.

Should they see, for example the USA or Europe as a serious threat to their power base, they have the means to strike without direct involvement. One quick phone call to Bin Laden with the offer of a nuclear weapon and bingo, bye bye New York, London, Berlin or where-ever. I am sure Bin Laden and his pals would love to get hold of just such a device and use it against ‘the infidels’. Hopefully this is not likely to happen, but however far-fetched it may seem, it remains a nightmare that will not go away. It does make it abundantly clear that North Korea must be stopped before such a scenario becomes a possibility.

Yet another cause for concern is Pyongyang selling their nuclear technology to other countries in an effort to acquire much needed funds. It is well documented that they have sold missile technology to Syria, Egypt and other middle-eastern countries for this purpose. Should they begin selling nuclear weapons technology to these countries the whole balance of power in the Middle East will change forever, and not for the better. The world does not need a new arms race.

Experts have speculated that the main reason North Korea is following this antagonistic path, is to secure the succession for Kim Jung-il’s chosen son Kim Jong-un, his youngest. He is 25 years old, likes to drink and party as his father did, and has been groomed to succeed him. But outside of that little is known about him. Many experts believe he would become nothing more than a figurehead, and the power would remain in the hands of older, more experienced leaders.

Other experts are of the opinion, that this whole charade is nothing more than political blackmail, intended to get big rewards from the international community for ceasing their activities. To me that however does not hold water, because Pyongyang cannot expect to gain any more than it would have received under the six-nation talks that stalled some months ago.

Whichever way it goes, many Far Eastern countries are starting to get nervous, South Korea and Japan in particular. From reports it would seem even the Chinese are starting to lose patience with their neighbour. This could at last lead to a real consensus of opinion on action by the UN Security Council. Only time will tell, but in the meantime, the world waits with bated breath to find out what other surprises North Korea has in store.

Much has been said about South Korea becoming a full member of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) teams operating around Korea, a decision that prompted their northern neighbour to suspend the armistice that has been in place since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

The teams initial purpose, was to intercept and inspect shipping suspected of carrying nuclear material or technology, to help prevent their spread to other nations. The various naval ships making up the force have to date however confined themselves to exercises alone.

The North Korean Government released a statement this week, saying that if any of their ships were stopped they would consider it an act of war. Tough words, and you can be sure it would be South Korea that felt any repercussions, although it is extremely doubtful that Kim Jung-il would be rash enough to risk a full scale war with the South, and America. North Korea starting a second war would bring the UN countries together to provide men and materials for the conflict just as they did in 1950. There is no hope for them with that course of action. The statement has however been sufficient for most Chinese fishermen to vacate the waters around North Korea, a measure that could be spontaneous, or at the behest of the Chinese government.

It may be just the usual political posturing that is always present with the Pyongyang gang, hopefully they do not have a more sinister purpose.

Whichever way you look at it, the situation is extremely complicated, and no-one has any real clue what is behind all this brinkmanship by the ‘Dear Leader’ and his cronies. The one thing we can be sure of, there is nothing innocent about it.

It is time for the UN to really show its muscle with sanctions that will bite hard at the Government and leaders of North Korea, and put them on notice the world does not want another nuclear capable nation, especially them.

The freezing of bank accounts, belonging to companies known to be providing the north’s regime with weaponry, are among plans mentioned in the press as measures that may be employed against the Pyongyang hierarchy, but we shall see what the Security Council comes up with. Hopefully the measures will be harsh enough to make Kim Jung-il back off.


As Bob Dylan once sang: “The times they are a-changin'” – Hopefully, not for the worse.


Roy.

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