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Radical Islamists' "Fair Share" of the Security Council By: Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, June 23, 2008


The Security Council is the United Nations’ most powerful body.  It is the one body in the United Nations system with the power under the UN Charter to dispatch military and peacekeeping operations, impose economic sanctions, mandate arms inspections, and enforce resolutions against international human rights violations.  In short, it is charged with the guardianship of international peace and security.

Out of 191 member states in the United Nations, all of whom have an equal vote in the General Assembly, only fifteen are members of Security Council.  Five Security Council members - the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China – have permanent seats with a veto power over any Security Council decisions.  Ten are elected by the General Assembly for two year terms, based on regional representation.  Decisions on policy matters require nine votes, including the votes of all five permanent members.

The Islamic countries obtain their fair share of the nine rotating seats.  Their interests on the Security Council are always represented.  Not satisfied with this representation or their strangulation of the United Nations Human Rights Council and domination of the General Assembly, however, the 57 member Organization of Islamic Conference also wants a permanent, veto-bearing Islamic seat on the Security Council.   Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said this month that Islamic countries must secure a permanent seat on the UN Security Council because “the Islamic world has been deprived of the power to defend itself”.  

The most significant threats to international peace and security today emanate from the Muslim world, a dubious qualification for aspiring to co-equal status with the five current permanent members of the Security Council:

  1. Iran has flouted a series of UN Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to suspend its illegal uranium enrichment program designed to develop a nuclear bomb that will destabilize the entire Middle East and beyond.  It intends to become a member of the world’s nuclear club and the major Islamic power in the Middle East facing off against Israel and the West.  In a clear demonstration of its contempt for the Security Council’s original purpose under the UN Charter, the Organization of Islamic Conference is endorsing Iran’s bid to occupy a seat on the Security Council for the period 2009-2010.   This will give Iran the foot in the door it is seeking to convert this rotating seat into an Islamic permanent seat and prevent any further interference with its nuclear ambitions.
  1. The global terrorist movement today is made up almost entirely of Islamists who regularly assert that their supremacist religion commands them to carry out their deadly deeds.  Many thousands of murders have been carried out by jihadist Muslims invoking their understanding of the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings.  Saudi Arabia and Iran – the two most influential Muslim countries in the world today – fund such terrorist groups directly or through front organizations.  Pakistan – the only Islamic nation possessing nuclear bombs today – is at the epicenter of al Qaeda’s home base of terrorism and is one coup away from becoming a full-fledged nuclear armed terrorist state itself.

With the possible exception of Turkey, there are no stable, pluralistic democracies that respect individual rights in the Muslim world.  The Muslim world is largely a breeding ground for Islamic extremists to use terrorism as the means to create their conception of utopia on earth - a single Islamic state, known as the ‘Caliphate’, which would stretch from Indonesia to Morocco and beyond, contain more than 1.5 billion people and then spread by force to the rest of the ‘non-believer’ world.  Yet the Organization of Islamic Conference claims that a permanent seat on the Security Council for an Islamic state is a necessity to combat what they consider the world’s worst scourge of terrorism - Islamophobia in the West. 

  1. The Islamists regularly make a mockery of the UN bodies where they already exert undue influence.   The Organization of Islamic Conference places Shari'ah, or Islamic law, above the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is misusing the United Nations to impose its illiberal worldview on everyone else.  Any criticism of Islam, Islamic law, or of Islamic states is unacceptable.   Following up on its successful campaign in the General Assembly to pass the ‘defamation of religions’ resolution, the Organization of Islamic Conference is now looking to the General Assembly to legitimize the taking of legal action against those who criticize Islam or caricature its symbols.  The Human Rights Council has become the laboratory for Islamists’ retrograde ideology in opposition to individual freedoms.   

The latest outrage occurred last week when representatives from Pakistan and Egypt insisted that there be no critical mention of Shari'ah during Human Rights Council sessions.  Islam, said the Egyptian delegate, "will not be crucified in this Council".  The cause of this latest assault on freedom of expression was a brief speech on behalf of two non-governmental organizations, the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the Association for World Education, asking Muslim countries to address the "honor killings" and female genital mutilation carried out under the auspices of Shari'ah.   Now the defenders of Shari'ah want to extend their atavistic brand of obstructionism to the Security Council by gaining a veto power over any actions that the Security Council might try to take to defend freedom.

It is said that the Security Council’s permanent membership no longer represent today’s world.  This has led to widespread calls for major reforms and for ‘democratization’ of the Security Council’s governance structure.  However, it is an oxymoron to expect that adding undemocratic countries to the list of permanent members will democratize the Council.  Instead, they will end the majority of permanent seats that democracies hold today and will certainly prevent the Security Council from performing any constructive problem-solving role.  The two current authoritarian permanent members - China and Russia - are far from being ideal stewards of the veto power but they have gone along with at least some sanctions against Iran and Sudan.   And they have eschewed outward aggression and sponsorship of terrorism in recent years.  It is a foregone conclusion that if Iran itself were not to occupy a new permanent Islamic seat on the Security Council it will not tolerate a permanent seat for any other Islamic country that does not hew closely to its aggressive line.

Some have suggested abolishing the veto power altogether while expanding the number of permanent members to include Islamic, African and Latin American member states.  While a blunt instrument to be sure, keeping the veto in the hands of responsible countries prevents the kind of manipulation that the Islamists have regularly employed in other UN bodies such as the Human Rights Council.   If expanding the number of permanent members is to be considered, democratic countries with large mixed populations (including a substantial Muslim population) such as India or democratic countries that contribute very heavily to the UN’s budget such as Japan have far superior claims to permanent seats than does any authoritarian member of the Organization of Islamic Conference.

Even in the immediate aftermath of the horrors of 9/11, according to State Department and UN records, the Islamic countries have on average voted against the United States’ position on issues more than 80% of the time.  These include our so-called allies such as Saudi Arabia, with a 90% record of opposition, and the Gulf States of Qatar (now a member of the Security Council) and the United Arab Emirates, with an 88% record of opposition.   Even Kuwait, whom we saved from the clutches of Saddam Hussein, has voted against the United States 86% of the time.  By contrast, the democratic state of Israel voted with the United States about 90% of the time.

The response of the United States to any attempt by the Islamists to gain a permanent, veto-bearing seat on the Security Council or to abolish the veto power of today’s five permanent members should be the same as that of one of President Harry Truman’s emissaries to the San Francisco conference that was held to complete the drafting of the UN Charter, when faced with analogous circumstances.  The emissary, Texas Senator Tom Connally (chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee), put down a rebellion of smaller countries complaining about the Security Council veto granted only to the United States, the USSR, United Kingdom, China and France.  Connally did so by simply ripping up a copy of the UN Charter in front of their representatives and saying:  “If you want a charter, you can have a charter with the veto or no charter at all.”



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