Tuesday 28 August 2012

Non-Aligned, But Extremely Maligned

Iran is playing host to the meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) during the course of this week.  The meeting sees 120 developing nations of the world attend, with special attendance by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon.  Although the original intention of the NAM was to provide a home for countries who were not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc, it has always represented something of a political hot potato.  This is because its membership includes the so-called "axis of evil" countries, and many other pariah states of the world.  The NAM has, perhaps unwittingly, acted as a club for countries that are persona non grata in the developed world.  The best example is the the host of the 16th meeting of the NAM this week, Iran.

Since the NAM was established in 1961, a great deal has changed in the make-up of the world's power blocs.  Despite this fact, it seems as though many of the original members of the NAM remain members to this day.  The changes in the political power blocs have not succeeded in changing  the countries that are aligned with them.  The term "non-aligned", while accurately reflecting the fact that the member countries are not part of any major international power bloc, conceals the fact that many of the member states are aligned with each other in different ways.  It seems as though being non-aligned is not sufficiently compelling to link the NAM countries.  Even these countries need a common cause to create a more substantial link between themselves.  Iran has succeeded in creating a common issue for the NAM countries to rally around, and this is the issue of hating Israel and bringing into question her right to continue to exist.

Iran's policy of publicly humiliating and deligitimising Israel is already not a new phenomenon.  Iranian President Ahmadinejad has been allowed to get away with behaving like a thug on this issue for many years.  He has stood at international gatherings at every opportunity, and ranted against Israel's right to existence amongst the family of nations.  The international community has silently sat back and watched the spectacle without taking action.  This has even been the case when Ahmadinejad has had the audacity to stand up at the United Nations General Assembly, the place that is supposed to protect the rights of nations to exist in peace and harmony, and spew vitriol about the destruction of Israel.   Once again, the UN stands accused of failing to protect the basic rights of member nations by allowing UN Secretary-General Ban Kim Moon to travel to Tehran to attend the NAM.  In so doing, he has legimitised the attendance of all the other countries at the meeting, all of whom will be subject to tirades promoting the destruction of the State of Israel in the usual Iranian way.

Surely, this enough to convince the world of Iran's ban intentions regarding its nuclear program?  The evidence that Iran intends to construct a nuclear weapon is irrefutable.  The subject of Iran's wrath and aggression is equally irrefutable.  The fact that the world allows Iran to threaten Israel in every public forum in the most unashamed manner, is now supported by the world's unwillingness to take tougher action against the nuclear program.  Instead, the world has decided to hide behind the sanctions to defer action on this matter.  It has been clear for some time that the sanctions will neither prevent the countries of the world from buying oil from Iran, nor prevent Iran from continuing to build a nuclear bomb.  Once again, it seems as though it will be left to Israel to take on the world's responsibility in acting against a tyrant.  It is true that Israel is at the front of the line of countries at risk by Iran's aggression, but it is also true that Israel is not the only country at risk.  It is clear that any action by Iran to construct a nuclear weapon will place all of the western world, and beyond, in the firing line.  Perhaps the threat to these countries is not sufficiently pressing now to force them into action.  As has been the case a few times in the past, it will be Israeli soldiers whose lives will be risked to clean up the mess that others are not prepared to take care of.

Israel has acted in the past without the blessing of its allies to take care of problems.  Twice before, Israeli aircraft have destroyed nuclear reactors under construction.  It was notable that the US government opposed Israeli action against both the Iraqi reactor and the Syrian one under construction.  We now know that Israeli action saved some extremely nasty situations from arising, and history books could have looked extremely different had the timely and brave action not been taken in the nick of time.  Fortunately, all Israeli soldiers and equipment was returned to base safely on both previous occasions.  Where Iran is concerned, the operation looks to be infinitely more complicated and risky.  This is partially because the world has failed to take timely action to destroy the threat at a much earlier stage.  Any operation that Israel will mount against Iran is likely to be extremely risky, and will almost certainly result in Israeli loss of life.

In the interests of international diplomacy and world peace, the UN Secretary-General will appear alongside the world's thugs including Ahmadinejad, Zimbabwe's President Mugabe and others.  Instead of protecting the interests and the freedom of the democratic world, he has chosen to legitimise the unacceptable behaviour of those countries who present the greatest threat to world peace.

The NAM conference has given Ahmadinejad the perfect opportunity to stand up in front of the non-aligned, and malign them against Israel and the west.  In a few weeks' time, we will expect to see another of his tirades at the UN General Assembly in New York.  All of the actions that turn a blind eye to Ahmadinejad's bad behaviour, simply empower him even further.  He understands that the world does not set any limits in terms of acceptable behaviour, and will exploit this to the maximum extent possible.  As before, it will be left to Israel to draw the line and to take the required action.  It is my hope and prayer that our soldiers and our civilians will not be endangered in the process.

No comments: