Office to the United Nations - Geneva

Attack on Gaza: Letter to the President of the UN Security Council

In Anticolonialism, Conflict Resolution, Cultural Bridges, Current Events, Human Development, Human Rights, International Justice, Middle East & North Africa, Solidarity, The Search for Peace, United Nations, War Crimes, World Law on July 15, 2014 at 7:24 PM

-- AWC-UN Geneva Logo --

ASSOCIATION OF WORLD CITIZENS

THE EXTERNAL RELATIONS DESK

 

July 14, 2014

 

H. E. Mr. Eugène-Richard Gasana

Ambassador, Permanent Representative

of the Republic of Rwanda

to the United Nations

President of the United Nations Security Council

 

Excellency:

The Association of World Citizens (AWC), a Nongovernmental Organization in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), has been concerned with the status of Gaza as well as the broader Israel-Palestine context.

The current manifestations of violence are part of a recurrent cycle of violence and counter-violence with which You are familiar.

The AWC believes that there must be a sharp break in this pattern of violence by creating institutions of security, development, and cooperation. Such a break requires more than the ceasefire proposed by the Security Council. The Association believes that longer-lasting measures must be undertaken that will allow new patterns of understanding and cooperation to be established.

In an earlier United Nations (UN) discussion of Gaza tensions, the AWC had proposed in a written statement to the Human Rights Council, “Human Rights in Gaza: Need for a Special Focus and Specific Policy Recommendations” (A/HRC/S-12/NGO-1, October 14, 2009; see attached copy) that a Gaza Development Authority be created – a transnational economic effort that would bring together the skills, knowledge and finance from Gaza, Israel, the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank, and Egypt to create conditions which would facilitate the entry of other partners.

Our proposal was obviously inspired by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) of the “New Deal” in the USA. The TVA was a path-making measure to overcome the deep economic depression of the 1930s in the USA and the difficulties of cooperative action across state frontiers in the federal structure of the USA.

Today, the deep divisions in the Israel-Palestine area require more than economic measures – although economy and raising the standards of living remain important elements. Today, there should be a structure that provides security as well as economic advancement.

Therefore, the AWC would like to propose the creation of an International Temporary Transition Administration for Gaza that would promote security, stabilization, economic development, and institution building. Such a Transitional Administration would be limited in time from the start, perhaps five years.

Unlike the earlier UN Trusteeship agreements which followed upon the League of Nations mandate pattern, the Gaza Transitional Authority would welcome civil society cooperation from outside the area.

Such a Transitional Administration cannot be imposed. We believe that the Members of the Security Council can raise the possibility publicly, request a UN Secretariat study on what such a Transitional Administration would require, and encourage’ discussion among those most directly involved.

As Jean Monnet, one of the fathers of the European Common Market, had said, “Men take great decisions only when crisis stares them in the face.” We believe that the current violence is such a time of crisis. Our hope is that the Members of the Security Council are prepared to take great decisions.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurance of our highest consideration.

 

Prof. René Wadlow

President

 

Bernard Henry

External Relations Officer

 

1914 : Aurait-on pu tenir en laisse les chiens de guerre ?

In Being a World Citizen, Conflict Resolution, Europe, The Search for Peace, World Law on July 14, 2014 at 10:14 PM

1914 : AURAIT-ON PU TENIR EN LAISSE LES CHIENS DE GUERRE ?

Par René Wadlow

 

Depuis 1890, l’éventualité d’une guerre flottait dans l’air, lorsqu’Otto von Bismarck fut remplacé au poste de Chancelier de Prusse. Il avait su faire preuve de fermeté au milieu du complexe d’alliances formé entre les puissances européennes et tenté de garder la Prusse hors d’aventures coloniales en Afrique qui n’auraient fait qu’accroître encore les rivalités avec la France et la Grande-Bretagne. Mais le jeune Kaiser, Guillaume II, le destitua en mars 1890. Le Kaiser ne fut pas long à se mettre à dos la Russie et à alarmer la Grande-Bretagne, en encourageant des ambitions coloniales et navales inédites, de telle sorte que, venue l’année 1914, la carte politique du monde était devenue pour l’essentiel une carte des possessions coloniales, des protectorats et des sphères d’influence économique des Grandes Puissances qui dominaient la scène internationale.

Les guerres de 1912 et 1913 dans les Balkans avaient montré que des guerres demeuraient possible, mais la plupart des dirigeants des Grandes Puissances avaient le sentiment qu’ils étaient en mesure de maintenir le statu quo à travers la diplomatie et au moyen de conférences. Dans La Grande Illusion (1908), Norman Angell avait mis au jour la futilité de la guerre d’un point de vue économique. Et pourtant, les nuages continuaient de s’amonceler, annonçant l’orage.

Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck (1815-1898), le premier chef de gouvernement de l'Empire allemand.

Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck (1815-1898), le premier chef de gouvernement de l’Empire allemand.

Si les dirigeants des Puissances Européennes étaient voués à aller de crise en crise, jusqu’à déclencher in fine une guerre, n’était-il rien que le peuple aurait pu faire pour enrayer les aspirations irréconciliables des gouvernements ? Un espoir que l’on avait à l’époque était que le mouvement ouvrier, mené par les socialistes, refuserait de faire la guerre à la classe ouvrière d’autres Etats. Depuis 1900, la croissance industrielle avait conduit à la création d’un mouvement ouvrier dans la plupart des pays hautement industrialisés – l’Allemagne, l’Angleterre, la France. Un lien entre ces mouvements aurait-il pu empêcher la guerre ?

Le 29 juin 1914, le Bureau de l’Internationale socialiste se réunit à Bruxelles sous la bannière « Guerre à la Guerre ! », avec des dirigeants socialistes d’Angleterre, de France, d’Allemagne et de Belgique. Les deux personnalités qui s’en détachaient étaient Keir Hardie, de Grande-Bretagne, et venant de France, Jean Jaurès.

Jean Jaurès (1859-1914) avait d’abord été professeur de philosophie, ancien élève de l’Ecole normale supérieure, l’institution française d’élite qui forme les enseignants des dernières années du second cycle et ceux des universités. Jaurès avait été le condisciple d’Henri Bergson, qui serait connu par la suite comme le plus grand philosophe de son temps. Jaurès avait été élu au Parlement français alors qu’il n’était âgé que de vingt-six ans ; en 1893, il avait défendu des mineurs du charbon dans sa circonscription du sud-ouest, dans le Tarn, et s’était ainsi forgé une réputation au niveau national.

Jean Jaurès (1859-1914), ici au Pré Saint-Gervais (France) lors d'un meeting en 1913. L'homme politique avait été également le fondateur de la Ligue française des Droits de l'Homme et du journal L'Humanité.

Jean Jaurès (1859-1914), ici au Pré Saint-Gervais (France) lors d’un meeting en 1913.
L’homme politique avait été également le fondateur de la Ligue française des Droits de l’Homme et du journal L’Humanité.

Jaurès était un orateur hors pair, mû par un esprit humaniste dénué de tout dogmatisme, lequel allait l’amener à s’exprimer lors de meetings à travers tout le pays. N’étant en rien dogmatique, il avait la faculté de fédérer divers courants de pensée du réformisme social au sein d’un parti socialiste relativement unifié.

De plus en plus, l’incarnation à l’étranger du socialisme français, c’était Jaurès. Etudiant, il avait écrit sur les penseurs allemands, en particulier Fichte et Hegel, ce qui lui conférait une aisance particulière dans ses contacts avec les socialistes allemands.

L’idée d’une « grève générale internationale » au moment d’une éventuelle déclaration de guerre était l’une des idées en discussion dans les cercles socialistes en Angleterre. Cependant, aucun plan d’action formel n’avait été établi. Nombreux étaient les socialistes qui acceptaient l’esprit nationaliste étroit de leurs pays respectifs.

Deux jours après un meeting à Bruxelles, le 31 juillet 1914, de retour à Paris, assis dans un café, Jaurès fut abattu par un homme qui se disait nationaliste. Dans le style d’écriture violent de cette époque, les journaux de droite avaient appelé depuis un certain temps à la mort de Jaurès. Auparavant, Jaurès avait défendu le Capitaine Alfred Dreyfus, à l’occasion de ce qui avait été une ligne de fracture majeure dans la vie politique française, ce qui lui avait valu de nombreuses inimitiés à droite. Jaurès avait dit de Dreyfus qu’il était « un témoignage vivant des mensonges de l’armée, de la couardise politique, des crimes de l’autorité ».

Illustration de l'époque. Le 31 juillet 1914, Raoul Villain, âgé de vingt-neuf ans, tire sur Jaurès qui succombe à une hémorragie cérébrale.

Illustration de l’époque.
Le 31 juillet 1914, Raoul Villain, âgé de vingt-neuf ans, tire sur Jaurès qui succombe presque aussitôt à une hémorragie cérébrale.

Quelles qu’en aient été les motivations, le meurtre de Jaurès eut pour effet de réduire au silence une voix qui aurait pu porter dans l’appel à la retenue et à la raison, alors que les gouvernements se précipitaient vers une guerre qui n’avait de fondement que la peur qu’entretenait chacun de voir le camp adverse modifier les rapports de force irrémédiablement en sa propre faveur.

 

Le Professeur René Wadlow est Président et de l’Association of World Citizens.

Iraq: What does one do with the broken pieces?

In Anticolonialism, Conflict Resolution, Cultural Bridges, Current Events, Democracy, Human Rights, Middle East & North Africa, The Search for Peace, United Nations, War Crimes, World Law on June 23, 2014 at 9:31 PM

IRAQ: WHAT DOES ONE DO WITH THE BROKEN PIECES?

By René Wadlow

 

There is the legendary sign in shops selling china and porcelain “Do not touch; If you break it, you buy it”. The same sign should have been hung at the entry to Baghdad rather than portraits of Saddam Hussein. With Iraq in armed confusion as sectors of the country change side, and the Iraqi government seems incapable of an adequate response other than to call for military help, as concerned world citizens we must ask ourselves “What can we do?”

The forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have broken down a wall on the frontier between Iraq and Syria as a symbol of abolishing national frontiers to be replaced by a community of the Islamic faithful − the umma. In some ways, we are back to the early days of the post-World War One period when France and England tried to re-structure that part of the Ottoman Empire that is now Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel-Palestine, Jordan, Turkey and an ill-defined Kurdistan.

 

In March 2003 an international "coalition" led by the United States attacked Iraq in violation of international law and overthrew the country's dictator, Saddam Hussein. The problem is that, having acted without prior permission from the Security Council, the "coalition" was never able to garner support from the international community and build a real, stable democracy in Iraq. As a result, a significant part of the country is now in the hands of radical Islamist fighters.

In March 2003 an international “coalition” led by the United States attacked Iraq in violation of international law and overthrew the country’s dictator, Saddam Hussein. The problem is that, having acted without prior permission from the Security Council, the “coalition” was never able to garner support from the international community and build a real, stable democracy in Iraq. As a result, a significant part of the country is now in the hands of radical Islamist fighters.

 

During 1915, Sir Mark Sykes, a Tory Member of Parliament and a specialist on  Turkish affairs and Francois Georges-Picot, a French political figure with strong links to colonial factions in the French Senate negotiated how to re-structure the Ottoman Empire to the benefit of England and France. Although these were considered “secret negotiations” Sykes reported to Lord Kitchener, the War Minister, and Picot had joined the French Foreign Ministry as war service. However, both operated largely as “free agents”. Today Sykes and Picot are recalled for no other achievement than their talent in dividing. The agreement between them was signed in January 1916 but kept in a draw until the war was over. In April 1920 at San Remo, France and England made the divisions official.

History has moved on, but dividing and re-structuring remains the order of the day. The political structures of Israel-Palestine as one state, two states, or one state and occupied territories have confronted the best of mediators − and less talented mediators as well. With the war in Syria continuing, there have been suggestions to divide − or federate − the state into three parts: an Alawite-Shi’ite area, a Sunni area, and a Kurdish area. The same divisions had been suggested for Iraq earlier and are again being discussed in the light of the ISIS advances: a Shi’ite area in the south, Kurds in the north − already largely independent − and Sunnis in the Middle. Lebanon, although not a federal state, is largely structured on sectarian-geographic divisions.

 

In 1916 the Sykes-Picot agreement carved the Middle East into two "spheres of influence", one British, the other French, plus two zones of direct control by either of the colonial powers.

In 1916 the Sykes-Picot agreement carved the Middle East into two “spheres of influence”, one British, the other French, plus two zones of direct control by either of the colonial powers.

 

Constitution-making under duress is not the best way of doing things. Forced federalism presents even more difficulties than creating a federal state when people are not fighting each other. We have seen the difficulties of proposing federal structures for Ukraine, federalism seen by some as a prelude to the disintegration of the state. The difficulties in the wider Middle East are even greater, as we have three states directly involved: Iraq, Syria, Turkey with a well-organized and armed Kurdish community in Iraq and parts of Syria.

The Kurds had expected that a Kurdistan would be recognized after World War One. The issue was raised at a conference to set Middle East frontiers held in June 1923 in Lausanne. The failure of the Kurds to achieve their goal for independence and the forced inclusion of their mountainous homeland within the then newly created states of Iraq, Syria and Turkey caused resentment and unrest. All the Kurds received in 1923 was a pledge to respect minority rights. By 1924, the Turkish government had banned all Kurdish schools, organizations, publications, and religious Sufi brotherhoods. In 1925, there was the first of the Kurdish revolts in Turkey, which, on-and-off, continue to today.

 

The flag of the Kurdish people, a people without a nation, a people without a land, to whom the promises of history ring hollow today more than they ever have. (C) Bernard J. Henry/AWC

The flag of the Kurdish people, a people without a nation, a people without a land, to whom the promises of history ring hollow today more than they ever have. (C) Bernard J. Henry/AWC

 

As outsiders but as specialists in federal forms of government, is there anything which we can do to be helpful? Maps are deceptive, and what is drawn as Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish area in Iraq and Syria have, in fact, mixed populations. Nor are religious-sectarian divisions the only lines of fracture.

Nevertheless, discussions among Syrians, Iraqis, Turks, Iranians and outside specialists on forms of government may be of greater use than sending Special Forces as ‘intelligence’ specialists. Such discussions will not be easy to organize or to facilitate but in a period of constitutional disorder and flux, such efforts are necessary.

 

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

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