A More Proactive UN Is Needed for Peace and Security

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Abdolreza Ghofrani 

United Nations Security Council (SC), as stipulated in the Charter of this world body, is assigned to discharge its duties as the "peace keeper ' of the world. Every single person nowadays knows well that this organ has to do this job through adopting the resolutions, restoring and secure peace and stability in any part of the world even though resorting to military force may be required. The elapse of the time and the new conditions and deep developments and challenges in the world did prove that this duties might not be enough and UN holistically and SC in particular should go beyond just keeping the world peace.

In his book, "Man Without A Gun", UN official Giandominico Picco who served as top adviser to former Secretary General Perez de Cuellar wrote," ….. By 1988 Afghanistan was the first notch in the belt and the end of Iran –Iraq war was the second, clear signal that the secretary general had become a real player in international affairs without using the instruments of a state, which are mainly money and weapons….. But establishing an independent political role for the secretary general was not a matter of simple decree or bureaucratic reassignment .It involved a cultural shift of no small magnitude at the United Nations itself , a reexamination of what" the institution of secretary –general would be all about .I also meant going beyond  'peacekeeping ' and getting into 'peacemaking'".

Security Council is also, under the UN Charter, the only institution in the world body whose resolutions enjoy the protection of guarantee. It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states. Naturally this has made it's responsibly for "peacekeeping" and of course "peacemaking" more critical. Therefore the role Mr. Picco has properly described in his book is not exclusive for secretary-general, and SC also falls within this principle. Having this undeniable fact in mind, all member states, even those having veto power, have not but to be committed to execute those resolutions. In other words SC is not just an institution adopting resolutions and putting stamps on the documents that only are binding for a few certain countries whereas  some others have no commitments ,whatsoever , to comply them ,let alone carry out  its adopted decisions.

It is quite a while that this double standard system has prevailed this organ. This author, over the past two decades, has been one of the staunch advocate of United Nations; and in his articles contributed to mass media, delivering lectures in academic centers and universities, and well before that, in negotiations and posting abroad as a diplomat representing his government in international forums has not spared any effort to attest that and always calls for support of this world body.

The approach, however, UN and particularly SC have been pursuing over past couple of years are making their  fans pretty disappointed and their concern is that this organization might have lost the capacity it needs to discharge the duties assigned to it. The main concern is that UN no longer can keep the peace let alone making peace. Most criticisms focus on UN as an ineffective world body that is not assisting the peacekeeping process in crisis points of the world but sometimes its passiveness, indifference and hypocrisy has escalated turmoil spots. Unfortunately SC and, worse, other UN organs have not been impartial in several crises and have taken sides with those who, by violating the articles of the Charter, deteriorating the crisis situations. I, as a supporter of international organizations, am afraid to say that its performance is  not but disappointing .It is ,therefore, a source of deep concern that if this trend be pursued by UN and its organs and particularly  SC ,shortly  the world public opinion and globalism supporters will  lose their trust in it and it turns into nothing but a show room having no discretion even to observe the decisions it makes and the resolutions adopts. Dr .Mohammad javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister on 2006 ( then as Iranian Permanent Representative  to UN) in a part of  his statement before the Security Council said :"…. As I pointed out in my letter of 20 December 2006 addressed to you, Mr. President, it is undisputable that nuclear weapons in the hands of the Israeli regime with an unparalleled record of non-compliance with Security Council resolutions – if that is the criteria today -- and a long and dark catalogue of crimes and atrocities such as occupation, aggression, militarism, state-terrorism, crimes against humanity and apartheid , pose a uniquely grave threat to regional and international peace and security. The reversal of the hypocritical policy of “strategic ambiguity” by the Israeli regime has removed any excuse – if there ever were any – for continued inaction by the Council in the face of this actual threat to international peace and security….."

Now we are witnessing that United Nations and SC has turned again a deaf ear to the crimes, atrocities, genocides and violation of the basic human rights of the civilian people in spite of strong global protest.  Nobody can and should forget the Israel all-out ignorance of SC resolution 242 and other resolutions that advised!! Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories. Israel has never paid attention to withdraw from occupied lands for decades. UN indifference, or in other words its hypocrisy, has encouraged Tel Aviv to downplay the credibility of this world body making it just a toy in the hands of Israel and a few.
In Iran –Iraq war SC performance was not as commendable as it needed to be, though everybody then did know and acknowledge that former Iraqi regime invaded Iran and the least expected was SC to condemn the aggression.

Now, we are facing another situation. This time around UN and the SC have shown again that they would not have ceased being hypocrite. I need again to quote Dr. Zarif, who in his statement before the SC in 2006, said:" ….. The reaction of the Security Council to the Israeli regime's unlawful possession of nuclear weapons will show whether the Council is even considering to act – as it is obliged to under Article 24 of the Charter – on behalf of the members of the international community who have made their views abundantly clear on this issue or whether it is merely a “tool in the toolbox” of a few of its permanent members who only misuse it to fix their foreign policy problems and to serve their short-sighted perceived interests. With such tendencies, it is not at all surprising that a nation is being punished for exercising its inalienable rights, primarily at the behest of a dangerous regime with aggression and war crimes as its signature brand of behavior, which is apparently being rewarded today for having clandestinely developed and unlawfully possessed nuclear weapons. Does anyone expect this to enhance the credibility of the Council or strengthen the authority of the NPT?....."

Through the past year, new Iranian government, pursuing a well measured and wise policy, could agree upon a "Joint Action Plan" with 5+1, and seriously has not spared any effort to come to a fair and balanced agreement on the nuclear issue. Moreover in the span of past year it has established closer and meaningful cooperation with IAEA. Iran has lived up to the agency rules and regulations, and so far no violations on the part of Iran have been reported by this agency.

And more important, in the course of last year when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did take office, he set new grounds for foreign policy and having constructive and balanced interaction with all countries and, in particular ,the United States . As a matter of fact he has passed a transition period, being quite difficult and complicated. He proposed a resolution of anti violence and terrorism during the 68th session of United Nations General Assembly and it is a source of hope and delight that this proposal received the approval of majority of UN member states. Aren't all these gestures the good and firm reasons to prove Iranian Government's good will? What more does Iranian government have to do to meet SC criteria, if actually there is any? I am asking United Nations what does it expect a member, when its government over the past year time and again and both in words and deeds, reiterated that it is determined to have interactions with all countries ( except a few ) and strongly support securing a sustained and just peace in all parts of the world. This was repeated just a few days ago by President Rouhani. Moreover through the past year, many circles and group and countries, with different point of views and ideologies, have reaffirmed that having interaction with Iran was indispensible and instrumental.

On the nuclear issue the position Iran has taken is pretty balanced and fair and it is also serious to come up with a win- win agreement and of course within the international rules and laws. I am not and cannot speak for Iranian Government, but just as a freelance analyst may express my views, given the facts and the existing international conditions and developments. Now the role of the United Nations, embracing critical issues as well as crises, is far too important and serious. Because the peace and security of the world is at stake.

So it is quite recommendable that United Nations and particularly Security Council to pursue the path Mr.  Perez de Cuellar did two decades ago. He had a brave personality and his proactive actions helped several crises be relatively resolved. Having that in mind, it is for Security Council not to be bullied by a few countries and particularly by those having no good and constructive records of building up peace and also are not observing international rules and criteria.

Second, Security Council should not spare any efforts to support and encourage those members (including of course Iran) who are doing their best to restore peace and security to their region and specially the sensitive spot such as the Middle East. Now, this the best time for this UN organ to act when the nuclear talks are going on between Iran and 5+1 (most of them are the permanent members of the council) and nullify the unfair resolutions imposing unjust sanctions on Iran, thus helping to advance this negotiations and coming up with a constructive results. It is an appropriate phase to do that if Security Council is mindful to do business proving to the world people that it is not intimidated by any force, and is pretty brave to undertake unprecedented initiations to serve the global peace and the people of the all nations. Let us not forget that if UN and its Security Council do not seize this opportunity, the repetition of the same ill fate of its predecessor that is The League of Nations, in early twentieth Century may be unavoidable.

*Abdolreza Ghofrani is a former senior Iranian diplomat and an international Analyst

Source: Kherad

More By Abdolreza Ghofrani:

*Where the Policy Is Made and Who Pays the Bills:

*Promising Horizons and an Irreversible Way:

*UAE Irrelevant and Untimely Repeated Claim:

*Photo Credit: Wikipedia

*These views represent those of the author and are not necessarily Iran Review's viewpoints.

طراحی و توسعه آگاه‌سیستم