IHT: “Afghanistan’s opium harvest this year has reached the highest levels ever recorded, showing an increase of almost 50 percent from last year, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, said in Kabul.”
“The United Nations strongly condemned the slaying of an international Red Cross driver in Darfur and demanded factions in the war-torn Sudanese region protect humanitarian workers.” More
Last week, we brought you news that Megadeth’s next album will be titled United Abominations. Apparently, front man Dave Mustaine came up with that catchy phrase when he was “watching TV and saw the trucks that said ‘UN’ on them and said, ‘Man, you are so un-cool, ineffective, anything…I thought, wow I got to run with this!’”
It seems that a similar amount of thought went into the album art. Without the flags, this could just as well be another historic New York City landmark.
A couple of weeks ago, many bloggers expressed concern that Ambassador John Bolton decided to sit down for an hour-long interview with Pamela Oshry, whose Atlas Shrugs blog is far outside the mainstream. In the past weeks, attention to Oshry has subsided. Her outrages have not.In a post titled “How much is that Dhimmi Doggie in the Window” a picture of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is photo-shopped to include a leashed dog at Khamenei’s feet. Superimposed on the dog’s head is Kofi Annan’s face.
For those not familiar with the term, a “dhimmi” is a person of the “dhimma,” which is a term in Islamic jurisprudence that refers to the rights afforded non-Muslims living in a territory ruled under Islamic law. In some circles, this has taken on a pejorative connotation and refers to an individual who is subservient to his or her Muslim masters. In the Pamela Oshry lexicon, this apparently includes the Ghanian Secretary General of the United Nations.
There is plenty of space for legitimate criticism of the United Nations and the Secretary General. Pamela Oshry’s ad hominem and racist attacks do not inhabit this space. Thinking liberals, conservatives, and anyone in between ought to disassociate themselves with Ms. Oshry and publicly repudiate her. The fact that she has been granted special access to the United States Ambassador to the United Nations should be an embarrassment to all.
Join us in repudiating Oshry’s post and advancing a more constructive debate about the United Nations.
“The UN post at Naqoura is barely a kilometre from the Israeli border. Beside it is a sleepy fishing harbour used to bring in supplies and reinforcements.The multinational peacekeepers stationed here since 1978 have witnessed a violent succession of conflicts, from the Lebanese civil war to the recent month of intense fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.
A total of 248 peacekeepers have died in that time. Most recently, four were killed when the Israelis shelled their base at Khiam on 25 July. Today their photographs were on display, together with two UN civilian workers who died in Tyre.
At the simple memorial inside the well-kept base, the UN secretary general laid a wreath and inspected a guard of honour mounted by the peacekeepers.
Mr Annan praised members of the peacekeeping force for remaining at their posts throughout the recent fighting, sometimes surviving on just half a bottle of water a day.
They had refused any suggestion that they evacuate their positions, he said, even when the battles were continuing all around them.” Link
Since the outbreak of violence in Lebanon last month, the anti-UN crowd has worked overtime tarring the General Secretariat with accusations that it is pro-Hezbollah (and ergo, pro-terrorist). Writing in The Weekly Standard , Lori Lowenthal Marcus mines UNIFIL’s press-releases to prove this point.“[T]hroughout the recent war, [UNIFIL] posted on its website for all to see precise information about the movements of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers and the nature of their weaponry and materiel… Meanwhile, UNIFIL posted not a single item of specific intelligence regarding Hezbollah forces. Statements on the order of Hezbollah ‘fired rockets in large numbers from various locations’ and Hezbollah’s rockets ‘were fired in significantly larger numbers from various locations’ are as precise as its coverage of the other side ever got.”
The statement is simply not true. When UNIFIL could, it reported on location of Hezbollah forces. Take this release from August third, when UNIFIL took fire from Hezbollah:
“One rocket from the Hezbollah side impacted directly on a UNIFIL position in the general area of Hula yesterday evening, causing extensive material damage, but no casualties. Half an hour later, another rocket from the Hezbollah side impacted directly on the same UNIFIL position, causing additional material damage, but no casualties. Hezbollah also fired rockets from the vicinity of four UN positions in the areas of Alma Ash Shab, Marwahin, Tibnin, and At Tiri.”
All in all, UNIFIL did report on IDF positions more routinely, and with more precision than they did on Hezbollah positions. But the IDF, unlike Hezbollah, is a conventional army that operates in plain sight. Its movements are much easier to track than those of the guerrilla fighters who operate among civilian populations and in a complex network of underground bunkers. In fact, the locations of Hezbollah combatants were so difficult to pin down that even one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world could not identify or immobilize Hezbollah positions with much success.
In the midst of the conflict, UNIFIL’s mission was to provide the international community with timely and accurate updates on the status of the fighting. As it happens, it is easier to spot a column of tanks than paramilitaries hiding in bunkers 40 meters below the ground. This is not anti-Israel bias, but the reflection on the nature of the conflict.
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.