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To Siddhath Varadarajan Deputy Chief of Bureau The Times of India Dear Sir, You make some quite good points about Uncle Sam - but have you forgotten his little brother? Yours sincerely, Bert Gedin (Birmingham, U.K). >From: "Dirk Adriaensens" <firstname.lastname@example.org> >To: <email@example.com> >Subject: Earn your Peace Prize, Mr Annan >Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 00:42:31 +0200 > >Hello all, >here's an interesting article on the recent war. >Greetings. >Dirk Adriaensens. > >An Ignoble War >Earn your Peace Prize, Mr Annan > > SIDDHARTH VARADARAJAN > > > > HE gentle Norwegians who decide on the Nobel peace prize have been >accused of many things in the past - poor judgment, political correctness >and regional bias - but no one ever suspected that behind their Nordic >inscrutability lies an exquisite sense of irony. > > To bestow their award on the UN and its secretary-general at a time >when the world body's most powerful member is attacking its weakest is to >either mock the impotency of Kofi Annan and his colleagues or spur them >into seeking an end to this senseless and cowardly war. > > Unequal adversaries have often fought wars but never has such a >formidable superpower attacked a people so miserable and defenceless as the >Afghans. > > No matter how many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the US drops >along with less edible humanitarian material like cluster bombs, this is a >war in which civilians are go! ing to be killed in large numbers. Already, >more than 300 innocents have perished. No one is arguing that the US has >deliberately set out to kill civilians like the monsters who attacked the >World Trade Center did. But it is bombing Afghanistan with lethal ordnance >in the knowledge that noncombatants will die even without missiles going >'astray'. > > In 1999, NATO bombed Yugoslavia for making refugees out of the >Kosovars. Today, forcing Afghans to become refugees under the threat of >bombardment is considered the apogee of humanitarianism. > > It is difficult to sustain the claim made by US ambassador to the UN >John Negroponte that the attack on Afghanistan is in conformity with >Article 51 of the UN Charter allowing the use of force in self-defence. >Apologists for Washington have gone further, arguing dishonestly that the >attack has been authorised by UN Security Council resolution 1368, passed >unanimously on September 12. > This when 10 days before the bom! bing began, National Security >Adviser Condoleeza Rice herself declared the US did not need UN permission. > > Resolution 1368 is a text whose clever imprecision was presumably >crafted by the US to allow the Security Council to avoid taking a stand on >its desire to avenge the September 11 attacks. It correctly calls terrorism >a threat to international peace and security but does not invoke Chapter >VII of the UN Charter under which punitive measures are envisaged. It makes >no reference to Afghanistan or to earlier UN resolutions (1267 and 1333) >asking the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden. Far from authorising the >use of force, it states the Security Council's ''readiness to take all >necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks in accordance with its >responsibilities under the UN Charter''. > > The language makes it clear that Security Council members consider >the UN (acting through its highest organ) to be the appropriate body to a! >ct against terrorism. The right of self-defence is affirmed but in >accordance with the Charter. To contend - as the European Council did at >its meeting on September 21 - that ''SC Resolution 1368 (means) a riposte >by the US is legitimate'' against any country is to argue that the right of >self-defence is not subject to the legal constraints envisaged by the >Charter. > > Now that the US says it reserves the right to take military action >in 'self-defence' against other countries as well, some European states are >finally getting cold feet at the thought that Iraq, Syria, Libya or Iran >might be the targets of a ''riposte''. > > Though the US has the right to defend itself against an armed attack >from another country or an armed group, the International Court of Justice >ruled in the landmark Nicaragua case of 1986 that this does not confer on >an aggrieved state a blank cheque to use force against anothe! r. The US >would have to prove that the terrorists who struck on September 11 were >sent ''by or on behalf of'' Afghanistan in order to fulfil the ICJ's >criterion for exercising the right of self-defence against that country. So >far, the US has provided no such evidence. > Moreover, self-defence must respect the principles of necessity and >propor- tionality: Washington has to demonstrate that the bombing is needed >to stop an imminent attack from Afghanistan and not merely from terrorists >who may already be in the US. > > Elaborating on the ICJ's ruling, Prof Louis Henkin wrote: The right >of self-defence is ''limited to cases of armed attack that are generally >beyond doubt; a state's responsibility for acts of terrorism is rarely >beyond doubt and difficult to prove... Article 51 gives a right...to defend >against an armed attack. This right does not allow for retaliation for >armed attacks...or (force) to deter future atta! cks''. That is why the >international community has repeatedly condemned Israeli attacks on Lebanon >and would surely criticise India for any strikes on militant bases across >the Line of Control in Pakistan. > > Even if the US can prove the complicity of the Taliban in the >September 11 atrocities, international law stresses force should be >resorted to after all avenues for a peaceful solution are exhausted. As it >seeks to bring the conspirators to justice, the US could have sought a >tightening of UN sanctions against the Taliban pending further action. The >speedy implementation of UN Conventions against terrorism could also have >been made a priority. Instead, the US has rushed headlong into a unilateral >war that will not reduce the threat of terrorism by one iota. > > While the UN has been paralysed, India, China and Russia have >appeased the US violation of international law on the assumption that >terrorism is being fought. When Washington speaks of widening t! he war >against terrorism, it does not mean Pakistan, Xinjiang or Chechnya but >Iraq, Iran and other opponents of US power. The US aim is to maintain its >domination over the oil resources of the Gulf region and extend its >military influence into the heart of Central Asia. > > The only countries to take an honourable stand on the US attack are >Iran and Cuba, both victims of international terrorism and critics of the >Taliban and the September 11 atrocities. Iran and Cuba are proof of the >Manichean absurdity of President Bush's fatwa that ''you are either with us >or with the terrorists''. More countries must join their ranks. Nobel >winner Kofi Annan should issue an immediate call for the US to stop its war >and return to the UN for discussions on how the scourge of terrorism can be >fought. This month's General Assembly debate saw many countries make >proposals - legal, political and economic. These should be seriously >examined. > > An! ill-defined and unilateral war that undermines international law >and the UN Charter can only lead to the perpetuation of terrorism, not its >elimination. > > > > >-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- > >Siddharth Varadarajan > >Deputy Chief of Bureau, The Times of India > >7 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi 110 002 INDIA > >Tel: 91-11-371 7159 / Fax: 91-11-335 1606 > >Email: firstname.lastname@example.org > _________________________________________________________________ Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.