Last year, the world rushed to expand the UNIFIL force in southern Lebanon as a resolution to the Israeli-Hezbollah war that the terrorists initiated last summer. Of course, the previous UNIFIL force had allowed Hezbollah to arm themselves to the teeth with missiles, rockets, and the entire spectrum of guns, thanks to Syria. Hezbollah forces even dug in next to UNIFIL positions, which UNIFIL never actively opposed, and it resulted in several deaths from an Israeli counterattack.
Now Israel wants better rules of engagement for UNIFIL forces so that they can actually fulfill their mandate of enforcing UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which forbids arms to Hezbollah in the region — and the UN responded with its usual futility:
The UN Security Council will reportedly reject an Israeli request to expand UNIFIL’s mandate in southern Lebanon against Hizbullah. An official Security Council vote on the matter is scheduled to take place later Thursday, however, Israeli officials already asked European members of the Council how they intended to vote and they subsequently answered that they were against such a move, Army Radio reported Thursday morning.
Israel wants UNIFIL troops to be granted new rules of engagement against the guerilla group, in which the peacekeeping force would be given the green light to take a more ‘proactive’ role against Hizbullah and expand its field of operations from open areas to cities and towns. Israel also asked that UNIFIL troops be allowed to open fire against Hizbullah operatives, and not only after they are fired upon.
According to the report, the Security Council will reject the request due to safety concerns for its personnel on the ground in southern Lebanon. The mandate of the 13,600-strong UN peacekeeping force is due to expire at the end of August.
Got that? The UN and the global community demanded that Israel withdraw from the conflict so that they could deploy peacekeepers and enforce 1701 and 1559, both of which demanded an end to arms in southern Lebanon except for regular Lebanese military forces. Israel withdrew — they hadn’t done a very good job of fighting until that point anyway — and allowed the peacekeepers back into the sub-Litani region. The UN forces then promptly returned to their previous policy of looking askance while Syria re-armed Hezbollah back to pre-war levels.
Israel, under the impression that the UN actually wanted to achieve its stated goals, then asked for ROEs that would accomplish the mission. That would mean that the UN would have to take action against Hezbollah, and probably against Syria as well, by attacking supply routes and destroying weapons emplacements. These were the actions Israel was taking, especially in the last weeks of last summer’s engagement, that would have effectively met the stated goals of the UNIFIL deployment.
But the UN doesn’t want to do it. Why? Because it would be “too risky” for their personnel. Maybe they should have thought of that before sticking their nose into southern Lebanon in the first place. Instead, the UN has acted as the personal bodyguards of terrorists and the governments that support and arm them. They haven’t acted as peacekeepers; they’ve acted as guarantors of a future, genocidal war against Israel.
Do they recognize this? Of course not. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon want to extend the mandate for another year. Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora wants the same extension. Israel should insist that UNIFIL forces leave immediately. If UNIFIL won’t stop terrorists from arming themselves in direct contravention to the UN’s own resolutions, then they’re worse than useless — they’re malevolent, and should be disbanded.
Well, the United Nations peacekeeping efforts have one undeniable quality: consistency. The Pakistani peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have moonlighted as security for gold smugglers. They also traded arms to one of the more notorious African militias to get their share (via Instapundit):
The BBC has obtained an internal UN report examining allegations of gold smuggling by Pakistani peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It concluded that Pakistani officers provided armed escorts, hospitality and food to gold smugglers in east Congo. …
The Pakistani battalion at the centre of the claims was based in and around the mining town of Mongbwalu, in the north-east of the country, in 2005.
They helped bring peace to an area that had previously seen bitter fighting between the Lendu and Hema ethnic groups.
But witnesses claimed Pakistani officers also supplied weapons to notorious FNI militia commanders in return for gold.
It didn’t stop there, either. After trading with the FNI, the UN peacekeepers expanded the franchise. They involved Congolese army personnel, and even decided to overlook historical rivalries by partnering with Indian traders from Kenya.
Maybe they wanted to focus on Kashmir for their peacekeeping?
The report actually whitewashes a number of allegations that have not risen to public prominence yet. Human Rights Watch believes that the Pakistani peacekeepers have become brokers in a “Mafia like operation” that aims to control access to gold mining operations in DR Congo. Witnesses say that the Pakistanis provide cover for their travel at UN facilities, even driving smugglers in UN vehicles and inviting their co-conspirators to dinner in the UN officer’s mess.
The confidential report makes something else clear, though — no one has been arrested for this activity. No one has been held to account. The UN has only come up with a recommendation that Pakistan initiate disciplinary action against its troops, but has done nothing to eject them from DR Congo or strip them of their status as UN peacekeepers. If the UN’s pattern with accusations of sexual abuse gives us any guide, we can expect the UN effort at accountability to consist of a strongly worded memo to someone … somewhere.
The UN announced its deal to intervene in the Darfur a week ago, with the Security Council authorizing an anemic force of 26,000 troops with equally anemic rules of engagement. Now it looks like the force may get weaker yet or fail to coalesce at all. The UN cannot find 26,000 African troops, and the Sudanese government refuses to allow any other nations to contribute to the force:
Sudan will have to accept non-African troops in a U.N.-authorized peacekeeping force for Darfur or face the prospect of new United Nations sanctions, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.
Although efforts will be made to ensure that Africa contributes a large percentage of the 26,000-strong mission, the continent does not have enough trained soldiers to fully staff the force and Sudan will be penalized unless it drops objections to non-African participation, said Andrew Natsios, the U.S. special envoy for Sudan. …
The Sudanese government is adamantly opposed to non-Africans playing any major role in the hybrid U.N.-African Union operation that was authorized by the U.N. Security Council on July 31 and will be made up of 20,000 peacekeepers and 6,000 civilian police.
Disagreements over the composition of the mission were a major reason the authorization was delayed for months despite mounting pressure on Khartoum to accept it to help end nearly four years of internal conflict in which more than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been displaced.
As I noted last week, UN troops from African nations have a history of sexually exploiting the women and children under their protection. One could understand if Sudan refused to admit those troops — but why object to non-African troops? They do not want to incur the wrath of their janjaweed militias, which is why the UN has scrambled to find troops from Muslim nations instead.
That, however, will create more problems. The non-Muslims in Darfur have suffered at the hands of radical Islamists and will likely not see non-African Muslim troops as their saviors. In fact, they’re more likely to think that the troops might have more sympathy with their tormentors than their wards.
It looks like this mission is doomed. If Sudan is so insistent on an all-African corps, and there aren’t enough troops even for the small force authorized by the UN, then it would take an invasion to place UN troops in Darfur. And if the UN can’t scrape up 26,000 troops for a peacekeeping mission, how likely will it be that they will find enough for an invasion?
When Gordon Brown picked former Kofi Annan deputy Lord Malloch-Brown to handle Foreign Office management of the UN, Africa, and Asia, Americans groaned at the message that the appointment made towards appeasement and unaccountable internationalism. Americans knew Mark Malloch-Brown from his attack on American free speech last year, and his insistence in 2005 that despite a plague of sexual exploitation scandals and the Oil-For-Food scandal that the UN was “not in the mood for more wholesale change”.
Now the British can get to know Malloch-Brown as the man who wants to give away the British veto power at the United Nations — to the EU:
The United Kingdom should lose its independent voice at the United Nations and hand over its seat on the Security Council to the EU, according to the new Foreign Office Minister, Lord Malloch-Brown.
Last October, when Lord Malloch-Brown was the UN’s deputy secretary general, he told EU diplomats in Brussels that the EU was heading towards one single seat within the UN institutions. “I think it will go in stages. We are going to see a growing spread of it institution by institution,” he was reported as saying.
Lord Malloch-Brown said he hoped it would happen “as quickly as possible. I’m a huge fan of it.”
He’s a huge fan of it, or at least he was, the Brown government insists. Apparently the Annan acolyte suddenly decided to eschew his internationalist ambitions, or at least that’s what 10 Downing Street wants Britain to believe. The Foreign Office put out a statement that explained that Malloch-Brown had said that before becoming a government minister.
No kidding. It was a few months before taking the job; everyone can read the calendar. It wasn’t a “youthful indiscretion” but a rather clear statement of his philosophy. How did Malloch-Brown go from being a “huge fan” of giving up British sovereignty and rank to becoming a staunch defender of the UK’s privilege at the UN?
The Conservatives have rightly raised an alarm about the direction Malloch-Brown will take the UK in his current assignment. However, it could be worse. They should take heart — he could have been put in charge of the BBC, or perhaps Defence Minister.
UPDATE: David Miliband is Foreign Minister, as CQ commenter Anthony in Los Angeles reminds me. Malloch-Brown is Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, which is bad enough, but not quite as bad as I wrote in error earlier.
Earlier, I pointed out the folly of the new UN mission to Sudan. The force is too small, the mission too narrow, and the rules of engagement too restrictive to accomplish anything other than provide a sideshow for the genocide. Also, the history of UN peacekeeping forces in that region more than suggests that the troops themselves will perpetuate some of the unsavory practices on the victims that the UN wants to end.
Putting those issues to one side for a moment, the UN and the advocates of this intervention have for the most part railed against the American presence in Iraq. At Heading Right, I look at the prevailing arguments for the futility of our mission in Iraq and for complete withdrawal there, and compare it to the situation in Darfur. Which mission has the best chance for success?
The UN will finally intervene in Darfur, thanks to a unanimous Security Council vote last night, but it will have a restricted mandate that will essentially do nothing. Up to 26,000 troops, primarily African, will deploy to Sudan over the next several months under the command of the UN, but will only have authority to use force while not “usurping” the Sudanese government:
The full force, the largest authorized by the U.N., will take about a year to muster and could cost $2 billion, said peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno. He added that a substantial number of troops will arrive before year’s end.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the resolution “historic and unprecedented” and said it would help “improve the lives of the people of the region and close this tragic chapter in Sudan’s history.”
The resolution is the culmination of a 9-month-long fight with the Khartoum government over sending troops to Darfur, where Arab militias known as janjaweed have systematically attacked civilians and rival tribes since a rebel uprising began there in 2003. The government is accused of arming the militias, but it denies any links to the groups. ….
The final resolution narrowed the circumstances under which the troops can use force: to protect themselves, aid workers and civilians. It also pledged that the force would not usurp the responsibilities of the Sudanese government.
In addition, there was no mention of sanctions in the event Sudan did not comply, and the resolution said that the force could monitor illegal weapons present in Darfur, but not disarm rebels or pro-government militias, as originally drafted.
The problems in this agreement should be readily apparent to anyone who has paid attention to UN deployments in the past. They have suffered from an unwillingness to take action even when not restricted by these kinds of engagement limitations. Leaving the rebels and the militias armed and unmolested means that the UN forces will get dropped into a hot zone, where they have traditionally done more damage than good, as the remaining residents of Srebrenica can attest.
And let’s not forget the track record of using African troops as peacekeepers under the UN banner. Almost every deployment has resulted in allegations of rape and molestation, with troops turning local women into prostitutes in exchange for protection and basic food and water. The UN has promised action to end this disgraceful performance for over three years. Will they keep the troops in line in Darfur? Or will this turn into another Congo, or for that matter, Burundi, Haiti, Liberia, and a host of other perverted debacles?
The new force will replace the current deployment by the African Union of 7,000 soldiers, who have gone unpaid for months. They have done little to slow down the genocide, but considering the lack of support, that may not be terribly surprising. The rules of engagement for the AU were even more restrictive than the UN’s mission now. Neither mission looks terribly well suited for stopping a genocidal civil war, and given the Janjaweed’s affiliation with the Sudanese government and their jihadist nature, the UN force will almost certainly be no more effective.
This agreement is a Band-Aid for Western sensibilities. It allows us to think that we’re doing something significant, providing cover for the Sudanese government to continue their policies of genocide. We’ve just become spectators at the gruesome event. Some may argue that this is a first step, but it looks a lot like a meaningless gesture.
The misery of the Congolese continues. The agency bringing this news, unfortunately, has contributed to it mightily in the recent past:
A UN human rights expert has said she is shocked at the scale and brutality of sexual violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Yakin Erturk said the situation in South Kivu province was the worst she had seen in four years as special UN investigator on violence against women.
She said women had been tortured, forced to eat human flesh and men had been forced to rape relatives.
She said rebels, soldiers and police were responsible.
Ms. Erturk is a little too modest about this. It’s not just the rebels, soldiers, and police, but also her own parent organization that has perpetrated these war crimes. Three years ago, the Independent exposed the UN’s peacekeeping forces in the Congo as rapists and pimps, with the UN’s own personnel as enablers at the least. Ever since then, the UN has continued to have its peacekeeping forces in Africa plagued by these disgusting allegations.
The UN observer noticed something else consistent with UN peacekeepers as well. Despite the presence of 16,000 blue-helmeted peacekeepers, the UN has done nothing to intercede on behalf of the victims of these genocidal war crimes. They have done nothing to restrain the security forces from victimizing entire communities, and unfortunately for the Congolese, they have demonstrated fairness to the rebls by doing nothing about their atrocities, either. The peacekeepers have done nothing at all, which is reminiscent of almost every deployment of UN peacekeepers over the last generation when they don’t include Western troops.
Why does this continue to happen, especially in Africa? Two reasons come immediately to mind. The UN is not an organization that can handle military deployments. It has no sovereign interests, and it has none of the organizational accountability necessary for military discipline. The UN cannot issue action orders to its peacekeepers and expect reliable obedience. The second reason is even more simple, and even Ms. Erturk notes it in her report. This kind of violence is “perceived by large sectors of society to be normal”.
That may explain why the combination of the UN and African forces leads to such disasters as the plague of exploitation in recent peacekeeping missions on the continent. It also consigns the women and girls of Africa to a life of gross victimization as no one appears willing or able to end the exploitation. Lacking any sort of organizational discipline and employing troops from military commands unlikely to see the practice as a priority for intervention, the UN actually shields the perpetrators from any chance of accountability.
UPDATE: Bruce Kesler has more at Democracy Project and Gateway Pundit.
The eruption of Islamist terrorism in northern Lebanon has created a lot of media coverage but little focus on the refugee camp where it originated. The Nahr el-Bared camp is one of several run by the United Nations subsidiary organization UNRWA, which is supposed to keep arms out of the camps to maintain their refugee, non-combatant status. How did the UN miss this terrorist infiltration in Nahr el-Bared?
It turns out that they didn’t. I explain at Heading Right that not only did the UNRWA know about the infiltration, they deliberately ignored complaints from the refugees at Nahr el-Bared.
The UN has a habit of giving the worst offenders in a particular issue a leadership position in overseeing it. One look at the Human Rights Council shows Turtle Bay’s odd sense of humor in this regard, as it features some of the worst human-rights offenders in the world, such as Cuba and China — and this is the reformed human-rights panel at the UN. Now it looks like the organization will expand its commitment to comedy into its efforts to protect the environment by placing one of the worst offenders in Africa in charge of the Commission on Sustainable Development:
African countries sparked outrage yesterday after they nominated President Robert Mugabe’s regime for the leadership of a United Nations body charged with protecting the environment and promoting development.
Zimbabwe, which is enduring economic collapse and environmental degradation, could become chairman of the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development when a formal vote of its 53 members takes place today. …
Zimbabwe’s economy is collapsing, with inflation of 2,200 per cent – the highest in the world. Households can expect just four hours of electricity a day. This has encouraged deforestation, with large areas being stripped of wood for light and heating. Mr Nhema, 48, benefited from Mr Mugabe’s wholesale seizure of white-owned land. The minister, who was educated at Strathclyde University, was handed Nyamanda farm near Karoi, a once thriving enterprise producing tobacco and maize. Most of its 2,500 acres are now lying idle.
Mr Nhema is also in charge of Zimbabwe’s national parks, where wildlife has been decimated by poaching.
This makes sense only at the UN. The nation that has taken a rich agricultural tradition and destroyed it within one generation will lead the world in determining how to sustain human populations. Robert Mugabe, whose regime has stripped Zimbabwe of its resources will now lead the lecture series from the halls of the UN.
John McCain called for a move to “League of Democracies” as a means to marginalize the UN, a proposal with which I agreed in theory but felt worthless in practice. Perhaps that was too hasty. Such an organization would have little effect on our ability to solve problems like the Iranian nuclear program, as McCain argued, but it might just embarrass Turtle Bay enough to undergo some serious reform.
There is nothing that makes a moribund and corrupt bureaucracy jealous and motivated to change than the formation of a competing useless bureaucracy. If nothing else, it would spell an end to the lionization of brutal thugs like Robert Mugabe and the hilarity of selecting the author of Africa’s starkest collapse as the spokesman for intelligent growth.
The United Nations faces another embarrassing scandal, as the New York Sun’s Benny Avni reports today. Despite its earlier denials, UN officials not only knew about North Korea’s counterfeiting operation — it helped Pyongyang hide the evidence in Turtle Bay safes:
As federal investigators examine how the leading U.N. agency in North Korea illegally kept 35 counterfeit American $100 bills in its possession for 12 years, documents indicate that more officials were aware of the existence of the fake currency — and earlier — than the agency has reported.
Spokesmen for the United Nations Development Program have said top officials at the agency’s New York headquarters learned in February that their safe in Pyongyang contained the counterfeit bills and immediately reported it to American authorities. But several documents shown recently to The New York Sun indicate that higher-ups knew much earlier that the safe held counterfeit money. …
One “safe contents count record” — shown to the Sun with the stipulation that the paper omit such details as the exact issuing date, which was before February — confirms that fake money was in the safe in Pyongyang. According to a source familiar with the system, this and similar records were filed with UNDP headquarters twice a year.
Internal UNDP communication shown to the Sun also indicates that in at least one incident, a Pyongyang office manager reported the existence of the counterfeit money to his successor. Similar reports were filed with the seven managers that have served in North Korea since 1995. Some of these managers have returned to UNDP headquarters since then and now serve as top officials there.
In this case, the familiar refrain of “follow the money” applies literally. The UN’s own documentation shows that their leadership had clear knowledge of the criminal enterprise conducted by the Kim Jong-Il regime. They were required to inform the US of it and to provide the evidence for our investigations. Instead, they aided and abetted Kim and Pyongyang in undermining our currency.
Not surprisingly, the Treasury Department takes a dim view of this activity. The Secret Service wants to talk to at least 13 officials in the UN Development Program to determine their complicity in the counterfeiting ring. So far, the UN has not lifted immunity for those individuals, and they’re not talking about when it will happen; a “senior UN official” told Avni that the UN and the Secret Service are “working out the modalities”.
If federal prosecutors can return an indictment and confirm this activity, the UN will face a much tougher time in the US than it did in the Oil-for-Food Programme scandal. In that case, they turned a blind eye and enabled Saddam Hussein to enrich himself through a vast kickback scheme. If the UN helped hide North Korea’s counterfeiting ring, that is a direct insult to our sovereignty, as well as our hospitality.
It would be an insult that we cannot afford to let pass. If the UN does not immediately fire everyone involved in this scandal and revoke their immunity, then we must cut off all funds for the UN and create a timetable for withdrawal from this thoroughly corrupt organization. We have no need of a debating society whose members transform refugee camps into seraglios, who stuff the pockets of dictators with money meant for those they oppress, and who actively assist other nations in undermining our currency. If the UN fails to cooperate, it’s time to push Turtle Bay into the water and bid adieu to the last of the Cold War anachronisms.