Thursday October 19, 2017
Home World UN at 70: A C...

UN at 70: A Charter moment for the world body

0
33

Today is the birth anniversary of the charter of United Nations which came into existence on octobar 24,1945 completing 70 years.

Addressing the General Assembly, on September 25 2015, Pope Francis reminded leaders of the founding purpose of the United Nations: “saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and “promoting social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom”. These are, in fact, the very principles boldly proclaimed in the preamble of the UN Charter. The Pope, however, also reminded the august forum that without strong ethics and judicious use of power, the Charter can only be an unattainable illusion or “even worse, idle chatter which serves as a cover for all kinds of abuses and corruption”.

The 70th anniversary of the United Nations is also being marked by its inability to address new and emerging challenges and an inability to carry conviction, let alone credibility, in large parts of the world. Policy-induced failures, action with or without authorization for use of force has resulted in the unraveling of countries, with long-term ramifications for the global community: from the highest numbers of displaced peoples since World War II to global pandemics.

The Syrian conflict has entered its fourth year, with more than 300,000 killed, millions displaced and over 12 million in need of humanitarian assistance. The unraveling of Libya has produced a “Somalistan” on the Mediterranean coast. The ISIS/Daesh, the most vicious terror entity known to mankind, is holding territory larger than the United Kingdom and attracting recruits from over 80 countries, including many from rich Western economies.

The United Nations itself was conceived during a period of disarray and long-term suffering. It is entirely possible that, without the Second World War, agreement on the Charter may not have been forthcoming. Unless all countries big and small alike can set aside their immediate short-term differences and rededicate themselves to the principles enshrined in the Charter and a genuine reaffirmation of multilateral approaches – prevention rather than intervention – the situation will only get worse. The deep longing for peace was the basis for the creation of the United Nations. It must be that same yearning for peace, stability and growth which will give the United Nations hope for survival.

Not everything, however, appears to be hopeless; there is a silver lining. On September 25, 2015, 193 member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This was one of the most important gatherings in recent years, attracting several heads of state not usually present during the High-Level Week of the General Assembly. The adoption of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a historic moment for the community of nations, and is described as a “charter for people and planet in the 21 century” (2030 Agenda Declaration).

Building on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs’ objectives are broader in scope and more ambitious, including: ending poverty in all its forms; reducing inequalities within and among countries; urgently addressing climate change; changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production; and inclusive economic growth and employment. Each goal is not built in a silo but is a part of the greater whole. As opposed to the MDGs, it is not an agenda solely for the south but rather a universal plan to be applied in all countries and by all peoples, with a firm priority to “leave no one behind” and reach those farthest away. The ownership of the agenda stems from a three-year negotiation process that included all member states, while eight million people offered their views.

The 2030 agenda sets a new international framework that encourages inclusive governance and inclusive economic growth. In order to implement these global agreements, national policies will need to be integrated. The “business-as-usual” models of development and of economic growth that perpetuate poverty and inequalities require an overhaul.

The adoption of the SDGs constitutes the one bright spot and, hopefully renewing collective interest in multilateralism a new relevance for the UN. The summit demonstrates the UN’s unique convening power and a visionary path for the community of nations. The multilateral community will, however, be tested again this December. Can member states adopt a universal agreement that limits average global temperature below two degrees Celsius and lead the way to the decarbonization of the world economy by 2050? These agreements require deep transformation in the world economy and in our societies.

The Pope’s message that “the misuse and destruction of the environment are also accompanied by a relentless process of exclusion” acquires a special relevance. World leaders normally do not stake their personal reputations on the successful outcome of a multilateral conference. The Pope had no hesitation doing so. World leaders gathering in Paris should draw inspiration from this.

(Hardeep Singh Puri & Jimena Leiva-Roesch, IANS)

Next Story

Syrian Militia: End Is Near for Islamic State in Raqqa

0
22
Syria ISIS
Smoke rises near the stadium where the Islamic State militants are holed up after an airstrike by coalition forces at the frontline, in Raqqa, Syria. voa

Islamic State is on the verge of defeat in Syria’s Raqqa and the city may finally be cleared of the jihadists Saturday or Sunday, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia told Reuters Saturday.

The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State said around 100 of the jihadist group’s fighters had surrendered in Raqqa in the last 24 hours and had been “removed from the city,” but it still expected difficult fighting “in the days ahead.”

It did not say how the fighters had been removed or where the fighters had been taken.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said remaining Islamic State fighters were being transported out of Raqqa by bus under a deal between Islamic State, the U.S.-led coalition and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG. There was no immediate comment on that report from the coalition or the SDF.

Fighting since June

Civilians who escaped from Islamic State
Civilians who escaped from Islamic State militants rest at a mosque in Raqqa, Syria. voa

The SDF, backed by coalition airstrikes and special forces, has been battling since June to oust Islamic State from Raqqa city, formerly its de facto capital in Syria and a base of operations where it planned attacks against the West.

The final defeat of Islamic State at Raqqa will be a major milestone in efforts to roll back the group’s self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, where earlier this year the group was driven from the city of Mosul.

“The battles are continuing in Raqqa city. Daesh (Islamic State) is on the verge of being finished. Today or tomorrow the city may be liberated,” YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud told Reuters by telephone.

In emailed comments to Reuters, coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon said about 100 Islamic State fighters had surrendered in Raqqa in the last 24 hours and were “removed from the city,” without giving further details.

“We still expect difficult fighting in the days ahead and will not set a time for when we think (Islamic State) will be completely defeated in Raqqa,” he said, adding that around 85 percent of Raqqa had been liberated as of Oct. 13.

Some civilians escape

Around 1,500 civilians had been able to safely make it to SDF lines within the last week, he added.

Omar Alloush, a member of a civilian council set up to run Raqqa, told Reuters late Friday that efforts were under way to secure the release of civilians and “a possible way to expel terrorist elements from Raqqa province,” without giving further details.

An activist group that reports on Raqqa, Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, said on its Facebook page Saturday that dozens of buses had entered Raqqa city overnight, having traveled from the northern Raqqa countryside.

The Observatory said Syrian Islamic State fighters and their families had left the city, and buses had arrived to evacuate remaining foreign fighters and their families. It did not say where they would be taken.

During the more than six-year Syrian war, the arrival of buses in a conflict zone has often signaled an evacuation of combatants and civilians.

The campaign against Islamic State in Syria is now focused on its last major foothold in the country, the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, which neighbors Iraq.
Islamic State is facing separate offensives in Deir el-Zour by the SDF on one hand, and Syrian government forces supported by Iranian-backed militia and Russian airstrikes on the other. (VOA)

Next Story

Will the Latest Message From Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Provoke New Attacks in the West?

IS remains a potent organization, despite its continued losses in United States and Europe

0
14
Islamic State
This image taken from a militant website July 5, 2014, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (VOA)

Washington, September 30, 2017 : U.S. intelligence officials examining the latest audio statement claiming to be from Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi say, so far, they have no reason to doubt its authenticity.

However, there are questions as to whether the message from the leader of the collapsing, self-declared caliphate will cause IS operatives to spring into action. Some analysts see Baghdadi’s continued call to arms as almost a shot in the dark, aimed at rekindling interest despite the terror group’s fading fortunes in Syria and Iraq.

The still-early U.S. intelligence assessment comes just a day after the Islamic State’s al-Furqan media wing issued the 46-minute audio recording featuring Baghdadi, in which he calls on followers to “fan the flames of war on your enemies, take it to them and besiege them in every corner.”

“Continue your jihad and your blessed operations and do not let the crusaders rest in their homes and enjoy life and stability while your brethren are being shelled and killed,” he says.

islamic state
A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighter takes cover behind a wall on a street where they fight against Islamic State militants, on the front line on the western side of Raqqa, Syria (VOA)

Despite such threats, U.S. officials say the release of the latest audio message is not changing Washington’s approach.

“We are aware of the tape,” a National Security Council spokesman said Friday. “But whether it’s al-Baghdadi or any member of ISIS, the Trump administration’s policy is destroying ISIS in Iraq, Syria and around the globe.” ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.

Still, intelligence and counterterror officials, both in the United States and in Europe, warn that IS remains a potent organization, despite its continued losses on the ground.

“We do not think battlefield losses alone will be sufficient to degrade its terrorism capabilities,” the head of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, Nick Rasmussen, warned in written testimony to U.S. lawmakers earlier this week, calling IS’s reach on social media “unprecedented.”

And while Western counterterror officials say the expected wave of returning IS foreign fighters has yet to materialize, the experience and skill sets of the operatives who have made it back home are ample reasons to worry.

But some caution the new Baghdadi audio message may have more to do with the terror group’s long-term strategy than its desire to carry out attacks in the near term.

“The broadcast boosts morale by contextualizing the hardships facing the group as their losses accumulate by reminding Islamic State militants and their supporters that day-to-day actions are part of a broader struggle, and metrics of progress shouldn’t be assessed in a vacuum,” according to Jade Parker, a senior research associate at the Terror Asymmetrics Project (TAPSTRI).

ALSO READ  intelligence officials , Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, al-Furqan, war, enemies, threats, US officials, raqqa, National Security Council, isis, Iraq, Syria, U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, Nick Rasmussen, terrorism, Terror Asymmetrics Project ,

Parker also believes that while it is “extremely unlikely” the latest Baghdadi audio will spark or accelerate any IS plots, it might prevent fraying within the organization’s ranks.

“Baghdadi’s silence during the final days of IS’s battle for Mosul was a sore point for many IS fighters and supporters who felt confused and abandoned by their leader,” she added. “This statement was likely released in part to avoid that sentiment with respect to the fight to retain ground in Raqqa.” (VOA)

Next Story

Islamic State Flag saying “The Caliphate is coming”, Sighted in Pakistan

0
13
ISIS flag
Pakistani officials acknowledged that at least one IS flag was recently displayed on a billboard in Islamabad.(source: VOA)

Islamabad September 25: An Islamic State (IS), the flag was seen displayed near Islamabad which read “The Caliphate is coming,” slogan written on the flag, and was put up over a billboard Sunday on a major expressway in Islamabad.

Pakistan Interior Ministry authorities told that committee has been formed to investigate the incident. Pakistan authorities deny that IS may have established a foothold in the country.

Islamic State (ISIS) Militant Group to Soon have a Strong Hold in Southeast Asia: Report

“The group does not have an organized presence, resources or structure to be able to operate in the area,” Talal Choudhry, State Minister for Interior Affairs told VOA’s Urdu Service.

The IS terror group has taken roots in the mountain regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan since early 2015. It brands itself as the Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K), a title that distinguishes the militant group in the region from its main branch in Iraq and Syria.

The Islamic State threat in Pakistan follows recent media reports and activities by local IS affiliates in various regions that indicate the group has been making inroads in the country.(VOA)