Uniting against terrorism – but under UN umbrella

by Zivadin Jovanovic, President of the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals

This month, 24th and 25th of November, Serbian capital Belgrade was the venue of the Scientific International Conference titled “Yalta, Potsdam, Helsinki, Belgrade: in search of security order”. The gathering of scientists, diplomats, politicians and public personalities from about 20 countries of Europe and the World was devoted to the 70th anniversary of Yalta and Potsdam conferences (1945) and the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Helsinki Final Document (1975). The organizers were The Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals and two Russian organizations – Center of National Glory and the Fund of Saint Andrew. One week later (December 3rd and 4th) Belgrade will host a Ministerial OSCE Conference in order to sum up results of one year of Serbia’s presiding of this organization, commemorating the important jubilee and giving impetus to strengthening its peace, security and cooperation role today and in the future.
Security and stability in Europe is indivisible from security and stability in surrounding regions and the world. That’s why the future of peace and stability in Europe cannot be properly perceived if it is not closely linked with peace and stability in the Middle East, Asia, Northern Africa (Maghreb) and Africa, as a whole.
Unfortunately, nowadays world is faced with growing risks and threats to security and stability. Mutual respect and trust among powers is in profound crisis. Some powers have proclaimed themselves exempted from the legal order established and developed after the Second World War. Whenever the law stays on the way of their imperial expansion they simply ignore or remove it and abide by rule – might is right! Taking the role of an ultimate arbiter and executor at the same time, power centers have been intervening militarily all over the world. Violations of the basic principles of International Law, including the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Document, bypassing the authority of the UN Security Council since 90ies of the 20th century have become order of the day. It is appropriate to remember that Serbia (FRY) was the first European victim of unprovoked and illegal military NATO aggression in 1999. This happened to become a blueprint for the ensuing aggressions and military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Mali, Syria … We need to ask ourselves what these aggressions have brought to the peoples of the Balkans, Europe, Middle East, Maghreb, Africa…? To the world? To UN and OSCE? To the International Law? Who can profit from fragmentation of viable states, from national, tribal and religious divisions, from chaos, hundreds of thousands of killed people, millions of refugees, displaced, emigrants…? Who were (are) those leaders, masters of our destiny, “independent” thinkers, philosophers, journalists, public figures in general, who believe(d) that taking part in, or publicly defending, or justifying military aggressions, illegal regime changes and destabilization of sovereign states was the right way to reinforce human rights, introduce democracy, freedom and prosperity?
Following the first NATO war on European soil since Yalta and Potsdam agreements we have witnessed kind of a new edition the old strategy “Drang nach Osten”, namely mushrooming in USA military basis towards Russian borders.
In 1999, taking part in NATO aggression, Europe participated in the war against itself, against own stability. More than that: This was a turning point binding NATO/EU member countries to take part in many other imperial wars and regime changes. Regrettably, Europe participated in destabilization of Ukraine and in sanctions, apparently, against Russia, in fact, again, against own interests.
Europe can hardly be amnestied of responsibility for destructions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria… An unprecedented flow of refugees and immigrants which has caused the state of emergency on the continent has to be attributed to the lack of responsibility, vision and statesmanship of EU (NATO) leaders.
Nowadays, Europe is suffering the consequences of own terrible mistakes. Of hazardous behavior. The level of egoism and unwillingness of EU leadership to recognize the real causes of the problem and deal with its roots, not only with its consequences – are astonishing and do not promises positive outcome. The enormous flow of immigrants is certainly not only a humanitarian, social and economic problem. It is a security problem, too. Nevertheless the problem cannot be solved by erection of new wars, massive police and military border patrols, refugee centers like concentration camps of 21st century, even less by invoking the Dublin principles or so-called readmission agreements, kind of 21st century deportation models.
Right now the world public is mourning the victims of unprecedented terrorist attacks in Paris. While sincere expressions of solidarity with bereaved families and with the whole French nation come from all corners of the world, sense of uncertainty, insecurity and fear – who is next – is very much in the whole atmosphere. No doubt that terrorism is universal, an extremely serious threat to security, stability and cooperation – in Europe and the world. In spite of all various actions and “successes” in the struggle against terrorism, it has not diminished, in reality, it has been rapidly growing. Spectacular military actions against international terrorism after 2001 may have killed some terrorist leaders, may have destroyed some terrorist headquarters but certainly have not dealt with ideology and roots of this evil. Calls for uniting the world in the struggle against terrorism are logic, welcome and necessary. To act seriously and responsibly, to our opinion, means uniting under the authority of United Nations, i.e. UN Security Council. Further, this requires coming to consensus concerning definitions of terrorism, terrorist and terrorist acts in the manner that excludes “good” and “bad”, “our” and “your” terrorism and terrorists. Double standard approaches and abuse of the struggle against terrorism for promotion of egoistic or geopolitical objectives must be excluded. Struggle against consequences of terrorism, processing and punishment of the terrorists are beyond any dilemmas. But, what has been lacking so far is an understanding of the complexity of the problem which is deep-rooted and long lasting. It has political, socio-economic and religious roots. To eradicate the causes, in my opinion, it is necessary to return to:

  •  negotiations, peaceful, political, compromised solution of all problems, respecting legitimate interests of all involved parties, without any prejudices and double standards, be it in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, or any other country;
  • stopping financing, training and arming terrorist groups and organizations;
  • equal, universal standards to terrorism and terrorists;
  • respecting basic principle of international relations such as freedom of choice in internal and foreign policy, sovereignty and territorial integrity, including respect of sovereignty over natural and economic recourses of any country;
  • socio-economic development of the countries of origin of terrorism and emigration, including  plans for reconstruction, education and employment of young generations, particularly in war-torn regions (Middle East, Maghreb, Sub-Sahara);

Is it not the right moment to initiate the convening of a UN World Conference on the struggle against terrorism with the objective to set up organization, mandate and timetable for the adoption of a World Convention on Terrorism?     •

Security Council calls for eradicating ISIL safe havens in Syria and Iraq

20 November 2015 – The United Nations Security Council this evening called on all countries that can do so to take the war on terrorism to territory controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and Iraq and destroy its safe haven, warning that the group intends to mount further terror attacks like those that devastated Paris and Beirut last week.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body declared the group’s terrorist attacks abroad “a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security” following the “horrifying terrorist attacks” it perpetrated recently in Sousse (Tunisia), Ankara (Turkey), over Sinai (Egypt) with the downing of a Russian plane, and in Beirut and Paris.
It warned that ISIL, or Da’esh as it is also known, “has the capability and intention to carry out” further strikes and called upon “Member States that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law” on its territory.
Condemning “in the strongest terms” ISIL and other terrorist groups in the region such Al-Nusrah Front, the Council called upon Member States “to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria.”
It called on Member States to intensify efforts to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Iraq and Syria and to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, and reaffirmed that those responsible for terrorist acts, violations of international humanitarian law or violations or abuses of human rights must be held accountable.
It cited “the continued gross, systematic and widespread abuses of human rights and violations of humanitarian law, as well as barbaric acts of destruction and looting of cultural heritage” carried out by ISIL.
The resolution also expressed deepest condolences to the victims of the terrorist attacks and their families and to the people and Governments of Tunisia, Turkey, Russia, Lebanon and France, and to all Governments whose citizens were targeted in these attacks and all other victims of terrorism.
“By its violent extremist ideology, its terrorist acts, its continued gross systematic and widespread attacks directed against civilians, abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, including those driven on religious or ethnic ground, its eradication of cultural heritage and trafficking of cultural property,” ISIL constitutes “a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security,” the Council stressed.
It also cited the group’s control of natural resources in Iraq and Syria and its “recruitment and training of foreign terrorist fighters whose threat affects all regions and Member States, even those far from conflict zone.”

Source: www.un.org/apps/news/story. asp?NewsID=52623#