Tom Griffith-Jones, The Malthouse, Stawley, Wellington, Somerset TA21 0HN, England,
Peoples’ Assembly Representative from Exeter Stop-the-War Coalition;e-mail: email@example.com
Threats against Iraq and World Peace
The US and UK Governments, without the backing of their people, appear to be on the brink of unleashing what could turn into a very violent and bloody world war, in one of the most unstable regions of the world. It is merely in pursuit of purely commercial and strategic interests of very doubtful validity and probity. What is the UN role in this, and where is the real solution?
UN and its Charter
The behaviour of both the US and the UK governments over the Iraq issue is outrageous. They are pretending to use the UN and its processes, namely the mechanism of the Security Council, to justify bullying and threats of violence against a country which at present is actively threatening no other country.
Whilst I would not defend the behaviour of Saddam Hussein in the way in which he controls and abuses his own people, it is one of the fundamental principles of the UN that it does not interfere in domestic matters. Article 2, paragraph 7 of the UN Charter covers this. What chaos would be unleashed in international affairs if every country which disliked the internal regime of another were free to threaten, bully and intimidate it until it changed. And the fiasco in Kosovo, precipitated by NATO aggression, shows how such ill-conceived actions can seriously back-fire.
Another fundamental principle explicitly identified in the Charter is the use of peaceful methods as the basis of settling disputes. Article 1, paragraph 1 could not be clearer: “(The Purposes of the United Nations are:) 1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;”
Currently it is the US and the UK, and not Iraq, which are threatening the peace, committing acts of aggression by sending massive offensive military forces to the Gulf region, and trying to circumvent the use of peaceful means to resolve the disputes over weapons inspections by putting political and economic pressure on other countries to support this aggression. They are pretending that all this military build-up is in accord with the processes of the Security Council.
Articles 41 and 42 of the Charter set out the measures that the Security Council may use. Article 41 deals with measures not involving the use of armed force, and 42 with those involving such force. And it is the Security Council, not individual Members, which has to decide to take such action. No such decision has been made to date on the need for the use of force on Iraq. Indeed, as recently as the 19th February the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said: “ I have maintained that war is not inevitable and that war is always a human catastrophe, and we should exhaust all other possibilities for a peaceful settlement before war is even contemplated.”
Article 46 states: “Plans for the application of armed force shall be made by the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee.”. Article 48, paragraph 1 states: “The action required to carry out the decisions of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security shall be taken by all the Members of the United Nations or by some of them, as the Security Council may determine.”. So again it is the Security Council that has to decide if and how any armed force is to be applied. It also decides which Members determine the action required to carry out its decisions.
To date, it hasn’t even decided that any application of armed force is necessary. So it hasn’t considered which countries to instruct to use force on its behalf, nor which Members would determine the action required, because no such action is contemplated yet. So what on earth are the US and the UK doing sending offensive (in every sense of the word) forces into the region? Nobody at the UN has asked them to do it – I have checked this with Kofi Annan’s office. Not only is this action not at the behest of the Security Council, but it should be reported to and prevented by that Council because it is just such threatening action that is creating a threat to peace.
That Bush and Blair should suggest that Resolution 1441 gives them any legitimate right to take violent action against Iraq is a deliberate misreading of the UN Charter, and in particular of paragraph 12 of that Resolution. As I have elucidated above, the overriding principle is that all disputes and situations likely to lead to a breach of the peace be settled by peaceful means. All decisions about violent action have to be taken by the Security Council, and it alone. No such decisions have been made, and all the aggressive rhetoric and sabre-rattling being done by them is precisely the kind of threat likely to lead to a breach of the peace, to prevent which the UN was set up in the first place.
So any action that were to be taken by Bush and Blair would not be legitimate. Not only that, but it would be highly dangerous and likely to lead to a rapid and uncontrollable escalation in violence. They appear to be treating Saddam Hussein as a sane and rational leader, but there is no evidence that he is. If any attack were to be made against him, and if he were to have the heinous weapons that they claim he has, because they sold them to him when they thought he was a nice guy, then he will use them immediately in retaliation. Of course, if he doesn’t have any, then there isn’t even the bogus reason for attacking him in the first place. But if he does use some, then it is on record, both from Bush and from Hoon, that they would retaliate with nuclear weapons.
Such aggression by these States would be in direct violation of the undertakings given in paragraph 1 of the Security Council Resolution 984 of 1995. Furthermore, paragraph 2 gives assurances that the Security Council would come to the aid of any State so attacked, so it should be preparing itself to do so now. It also violates Article 23 of the Hague Convention of 1899, most particularly sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (e).
And if, perchance, he does have nuclear weapons, then of course he is going to use those in retaliation as well. Nuclear weapons have been refined and “improved” substantially since their use over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so we can expect the damage and repercussions to be much greater. That is hardly a cheering scenario, and what will it have achieved, other than echoing the preamble to the UN Charter, which says:
“WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind”
And what will bullying and aggressive behaviour, in flagrant disregard of international law, by two nations claiming to be leaders of the “civilised” world, do for international relationships? Probably the most worrying outcome will be a decision by Israel that it will perpetrate even greater atrocities on its Arab neighbours and countrymen, knowing that it would be able to do so with impunity. If ever there was a country that threatens the peace, and commits acts of aggression and other breaches of the peace, has weapons of mass destruction, promotes terrorism, flouts international law, breaches innumerable resolutions of the Security Council, and is a permanent threat to the stability of its region, it is Israel. The threats, real and imaginary, posed by Iraq pale into insignificance against those of Israel. Yet Bush and Blair are silent on the subject. Meanwhile, Bush continues to shovel $billions into Israel’s coffers, and readies himself to use the 81st veto in the Security Council to protect Israel from the international censure that it deserves.
Before the Israeli Government propaganda machine gets into gear with its feeble and pathetic accusation against everybody who criticises its abusive behaviour that they are anti-Semitic, I will set the record straight. Like some prominent and courageous Jews, including Gerald Kaufman MP and Rabbi Lionel Blue, I am neither specifically anti-Israeli, nor pro-Arab. I am continually against bullying, aggressive and abusive behaviour carried out by anybody. I am particularly against it from devious and cowardly Governments which rely on the protection of larger states to achieve their sinister ends.
One of the most doubtful of the pre-suppositions of the intended US attack on Iraq is that it would bring stability to the Middle East. How is that going to happen? Is the removal of Saddam Hussein by itself going to achieve that? Of course not. Judging by the results of the equally unlawful assault on Afghanistan, he probably wont even be captured. Certainly there is no Western-style democracy set up there, so why would Iraq be any different? And, anyway, why should such a system of democracy, which is clearly failing the West at the moment, with both Bush, the president that the Americans never elected, and Blair, who achieved less than 40% of the UK vote, trying to commit acts of violence and war with their countries’ armed forces, against the specific wishes of their countrymen, be any solution in Iraq?
Consequences of an attack
And how would such aggression uncover all these weapons of mass destruction which are supposed to exist? If they do exist, and have not yet been located by the team of UN weapons inspectors, then they are hardly lying about waiting to be found. Once naked aggression has been used against the Iraqis, it is unlikely that many of them will rush forward to offer information. Indeed, it is quite clear that, should the US and the UK attack and invade Iraq, they would not be received with open arms. The majority of Iraqis want neither assault nor invasion. Whilst many of them might welcome the removal of Saddam Hussein, this is not the way to do it.
So an attack against Iraq would not guarantee the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Nor would it result in a rush by Iraqis for a Western system of democracy. Nor would it bring peace and stability to the Middle East; on the contrary, it would precipitate further, substantial violence. The Israelis would commit further atrocities, the Turks would have another go at the Kurds, as they are already preparing to do, and the Iraqi people themselves would be in revolt against their invaders. Heaven alone knows what other simmering disputes could be ignited into active conflagration by a US and UK led invasion of Iraq.
The only point of such an offensive appears from the myopic and selfish misunderstanding of their short-term commercial interests by the US and the UK. They, in particular the US, seem to think that they need to control the richest remaining source of cheap oil in the world. This is because they are so wasteful with the natural resources that they use, and particularly with oil. But international relations cannot be conducted in this bullying way, now or in the future. They may have been done this way in the past, but that is past. The awareness of the peoples of the world has risen to the stage where they are no longer going to allow their governments to behave in this way in their name. Neither Bush nor Blair seem to have realised that there has been a sea-change in the perception of people across the world, and this is going to wash over them rapidly and drown them if they pursue their aggression.
In addition to this, any military action taken without the specific instruction of the Security Council would lead to charges of war crimes both against the political leaders, Bush and Blair, and against the military leaders. The latter have already expressed extreme disquiet at the change in approach adopted by the politicians. It has never been accepted in the past that any type of pre-emptive aggression was in any way justifiable. But that is the threat that Bush is now making. That the military should also be uneasy about such behaviour is most encouraging, and we must all hope that their integrity is strong enough to enable them to refuse any unlawful call to aggression from the politicians. If it is not, then their heads must be on the block as well.
Were such aggression to be accepted, which it is not by the majority of the world, then it would open the door onto aggression of all sorts upon countries all over the world. That is specifically not what the UN is about. Its Charter emphasises throughout that its purpose is to prevent aggression and imminent breaches of the peace. Apart from the aggression already being shown against the Iraqis by the US and the UK through their air strikes, there is currently no immediate threat to the peace in Iraq and its neighbours, other than the one posed by the US and the UK, and the one by Israel mentioned above.
Now is the time for the UN to transform itself into the organisation which it needs to be. No more can decisions be made by countries who have sacrificed their integrity by selling their votes to the US, or one of the other big powers. Currently they are merely the slaves of the powerful nations. This perpetuates the commercial and territorial dishonesty of big business, and ultimately leads to the situation we see over Iraq. Those countries with a vote, particularly those on the Security Council, owe it to the whole world to cast that vote according to their consciences, and those of their people, not according to their bank accounts. The UN was founded by good people with good intentions. Let us now fulfil the vision of those good people.
Security Council: Decisions Needed
The Security Council must immediately make decisions and take action on the real threats to peace – those from two of its permanent members, two countries which are showing to the whole world that they are too irresponsible, cavalier and aggressive to be allowed to retain weapons of mass destruction. Those countries are the US and the UK. Those decisions are:
1. That there is a grave danger of a breach of the peace from the aggressive actions of the US and the UK armed forces surrounding Iraq. These should be withdrawn immediately. If they are not, then the Council should engage its members as necessary to take military action to rebut any attack on Iraq.
2. That if either the US or the UK use nuclear weapons of any sort against Iraq, then the Security Council will engage its Members as necessary to take military action against those countries to prevent them from so doing.
3. Whilst the weapons inspection process in Iraq is not complete yet, it is making useful progress and should be given all the time needed for the inspectors to complete their work. Only when some insurmountable resistance to the process were encountered, or they finished their work, should the next stage of the procedure be determined. We have not reached that point.
4. At that time, were the Security Council, for some unforeseeable reason, to feel that peaceful persuasion were not enough, it would have to determine which countries to ask to assist, and in what way. In the light of the behaviour of both the US and the UK, neither of these should be asked to participate in any way.
5. The violence, aggression and discrimination by the Israeli Government against the Palestinian population should be condemned unequivocally, and its cessation demanded.
If the US were to choose once again to use its veto over 4 above, that should be ignored. Indeed, the provisions of Article 19, relating to the withdrawal of the right to vote in the General Assembly for non-payment of dues, should be applied, and should be extended to cover the right to vote in the Security Council as well. How can a member with no voting rights in the General Assembly be allowed them in the Security Council, a subordinate body of that Assembly?
Whilst the UN continues to work in the way in which it has done in recent years, there is no chance of creating world peace, nor of the poorer countries playing their proper role on the world stage. They are not being given their justifiable rights, and are continually losing out to the manipulations and deception of the, mainly Western, multi-national companies. The mounting frustrations from these abuses would inevitably lead to acts of violence against the perpetrators, as we saw on the 11th September 2001, if they were not curtailed.
Luckily, there is a way of creating world peace, and, at the same time, a proper respect for all nations and all peoples. And, most usefully, it doesn’t need either the support or involvement of those countries currently causing all the problems. It has been offered to governments many times already, but they have been too dim to grasp it. Now, on the brink of a potentially very dangerous war, which is motivated only by greed and arrogance, we must use it.
In his wisdom, it was Einstein who said that one cannot solve the problems with the same mindset that created them. This echoes the ancient Vedic wisdom, which highlights that only a new seed can produce a new crop. Looking at it from another angle, it is the principle of the second element: to solve a problem, one has to bring in a new element to provide the change needed. One cannot remove darkness by thrashing around in the dark trying to catch it and destroy it. But bring in a new element, light, and the darkness is gone.
Likewise, there is no wisdom in initiating a continuous theme of destruction in the name of protection. Any step in the direction of destruction will have destructive repercussions and will only help to create waves of destruction in time. This is a universal Law of Nature—action and reaction—‘as you sow, so shall you reap’. Just look at Israel.
So where is the answer to this problem of creating peace in the world? With the move towards isolated, random acts of violence by shadowy groups of like-minded people, the ability to stop them once they are committed to attack is very limited indeed. Large armies are quite useless for this. The only hope is to stop them ever deciding to attack. Is there anything that can do this?
Yes. Again the ancient Vedic wisdom gives us an answer: by creating a very strong influence of positivity and harmony in world consciousness so that any kind of negative trends do not arise.
And how does that happen? With knowledge of the invincible power of total Natural Law we can create an indomitable influence of positivity and harmony in world consciousness using the latest theories and technologies of modern science supported by the ancient Vedic Literature—the Science of Consciousness as brought to light by His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
The way to do it is to take recourse to Natural Law. It is possible now to create a powerful influence of coherence inside and outside any country with a group of experts in the technologies of Natural Law (such as Transcendental Meditation and Yogic Flying). The effectiveness of this approach has been demonstrated throughout human history and by many scientific research studies in different small areas of the world. This approach will create such an integrated and harmonious world consciousness that violent thoughts will simply not arise, and there will be permanent world peace.
At the basis of this proposal of permanent world peace is a vast body of scientific research conducted over the last forty years. More than 600 scientific research studies, conducted at over 200 universities and research institutes in 30 countries, validate the profound benefits of Maharishi’s Technology of World Peace—the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programme, including Yogic Flying—in the areas of physiology and psychology and society as a whole.
There is neither the time nor the space here to go into the practical details, but two websites will help. They are: www.createpermanentpeace.com, and www.globalcountry.org . I will not pretend that it is easy to understand the concept of coherence in collective consciousness, if this is the first time that you’ve met it. What I will say is that the effort is well rewarded! For most people, it does require a paradigm shift for them to be able to comprehend. If that appears to be too great a struggle, we may have to decide whether we have the time and the will to make it, or whether we are just going to settle for a violent and damaging war instead. One provides a permanent solution; the other, no solution at all.
The principles and processes of the UN do provide the protection from bullies on the world political scene, if they are applied. But in the past they have not been, and the UN has acted like a puppet of the US. The awareness of people all over the world has risen to such an extent that they are no longer willing to tolerate this, particularly in the light of attempts by the US and the UK to conduct a war against Iraq for purely commercial and strategic reasons. They are trying to do it by hiding under the cloak of UN responsibilities, but as the Security Council has not yet taken decisions that would be necessary for this, it does not wash.
For it to justify its continued existence, the UN must rise to the occasion, change its ways, stand up for its principles, and actively support the real and practical process of creating peace.