Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tough mission for Arabs

Aug.7, 2006

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed spoke up not only for the UAE and the Arab World but also for the entire world when he expressed hope that the international community would work for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon. "I hope the international community will regain its consciousness and respond possibility to the just demand of Lebanon," Sheikh Abdullah said in Beirut shortly before heading for the UN to meet Kofi Annan with an urgent plea for an immediate cessation of the Israeli offensive against Lebanon.
He lamented that the Israeli response to the Lebanese call for an immediate ceasfire had been more devastation, displacement and killings.
The civilised world is indeed shocked at the way that there had not been any serious international effort to put an end to the suffering of the people of Lebanon who are paying the price for Israel's strategic designs in the region. At least 1,000 people have been killed, thousands maimed and tens of thousands left homeless as a result of the Israeli blitz against Lebanon and the world has not been able to do anything about it. The United Nations, which is supposed to represent the world conscience, has been rendered a toothless tiger when it comes to realistic action. Indeed, some countries are of the opinion that since it was Hizbollah which triggered the crisis by capturing two Israeli soldiers, Lebanon might as well pay the price. Little regard is given to the reality that Israel had been just waiting for an opportunity to wage an all-out war to "destroy" Hizbollah.
The international community has been left helpless against the Israeli offensive only because the Jewish state's grand designs are endorsed and supported by the world's sole superpower and its allies. Suffice it is to say that it is an insult to every human being that the world community is unable to help prevent a campaign of genocide being perpetrated against a people by a state.
The Arab foreign ministers meeting in Beirut have unanimously supported for Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora's seven-point plan for an end to the Israeli assault against his country. They also backed his call for changes in the proposed UN Security Council resolution on the crisis. It was indeed a show of Arab solidarity with Lebanon that the ministers had met in Beirut,
It is no easy task that awaits Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani, whose country is one of the 10 rotating members of the UN Security Council, and Sheikh Abdullah, chairman of the the Arab League council of foreign ministers, at the UN as they seek to modify the draft resolution.
US President George W Bush is resisting the key Lebanese demand that a ceasefire be declared immediately and Israeli troops immediately withdraw from southern Lebanon. He called for the immediate passage of the draft UN Security Council resolution — which in practical terms only legitimises Israel's aggression against Lebanon — and this should be followed by yet another resolution calling for an international stabilisation force to be deployed in Lebanon. Under the Israeli-US scenario, the Israely army would remain in southern Lebanon until the stabilisation force is set up. In the meantime, Israel has no obligation to provide any security guarantee to anyone and is free to continue its assaults at will because the draft resolution upholds the Jewish state's "right to defend itself."
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's pledge that her country was going "to listen to the concerns of the parties and see how they might be addressed" fails to convince anyone that justice would be done to the genuine Arab concerns.
Indeed, As such, the dice is loaded against Lebanese and Arab interests at the UN. However, the decision made in Beirut represents the only way ahead and we could only hope and pray for success of the Arab mission with Annan and world powers.