Saturday, December 26, 2009

UN gift for Iran

Lebanon’s admission into the Security Council bad sign for United States

Yitzhak Benhorin
Published: 12.24.09, 17:16 / YNET Opinion

WASHINGTON – As of January 1, 2010 and for the next two years, Lebanon will be joining the United Nations Security Council as the Arab states’ representative, replacing Libya. This means that as of next year, Hezbollah and Iran will have direct access to the Security Council. The Hezbollah organization, which was required to disarm in line with Security Council Resolution 1559 from 2004 and 1701 (in the wake of the Second Lebanon War,) is now a member of the Lebanese government – which recently decided that the group does not need to disarm. And now, the Security Council will comprise a representative of the Lebanese government, which includes the Hezbollah terror group.

Lebanon native Walid Fares, who advised the Security Council in passing Resolution 1559, recently told the Fox network that given the new structure of the Lebanese government, Hezbollah will have intimate access to the Security Council. He warned that as result of Lebanon’s admission into the Security Council, it will be harder to disarm Hezbollah and to pass sanctions against Iran.

The Americans are facing quite an embarrassment. They attempted to cultivate a pro-American government in Beirut, yet following all the diplomatic and economic efforts, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri recent went to Canossa (that is, Damascus) in order to pledge his allegiance to President Bashar Assad. On Monday, Hariri met in Beirut with Iran’s foreign minister. It clearly seems that on the eve of joining the Security Council, Lebanon is falling into the hands of the Iran-Syria axis.

Those who examine the Security Council’s make-up, beyond the Lebanese angle, cannot but express deep concern, as the US makes an effort to promote a decision on a fourth round of sanctions against Iran. China will be the Council’s president in January, followed by France in February, which will be a more convenient time for passing a decision.

Brazil joins in
Yet beyond the Council's five permanent members that possess a veto power – the US, France, Britain, Russia, and China – there are also 10 non-permanent members. They do not have a veto power, yet the Council traditionally works through consensus, and past resolutions have been softened up to that end.

In addition to Lebanon, we will also see Brazil joining in, with President Lula da Silva who last month hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and openly objected to Iran sanctions. On top of that we have two new additions from Africa – Nigeria and Gabon – which like Lebanon are also members of the Organization of Islamic Countries. They will be joining other OIC member states that have been serving in the Council for a year now, like Turkey and Uganda.

And so, we are seeing a problematic situation in the Security Council, which never allowed Israel to join it.

Turkish PM Erdogan already expressed his objection to sanctions on Iran in a meeting he recently held with President Obama in the White House, and in declarations he made in its wake. On Friday last week, the UN's General Assembly voted on a decision criticizing Iran's conduct on the human rights front – only four of the 10 non-permanent Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution: Austria, Japan, Mexico, and Bosnia.

Meanwhile, six of the 10 non-permanent Council members did not endorse the decision against Iran. Lebanon and Nigeria voted against it, while Brazil, Uganda and Gabon abstained. Turkey was absent. Now, the Americans will have to deal with these circumstances in 2010, when they try to impose significant sanctions against Iran.

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