Thursday, February 09, 2012

UN - moral imperative or waste of space?

This is a guest post by Zach Johnstone:

In the days since Russia and China chose to veto a UN Security Council resolution deploring the Syrian regime’s butchery of vast swathes of its civilian population, there can be no doubt that the violence has significantly escalated, particularly in the city of Homs and the surrounding areas (though that is not to detract from the atrocities that have also been visited upon the populations of Damascus and Hama, amongst others). Thirty years on from Hafez al-Assad’s brutal crackdown on around 40,000 Syrian protestors in 1982, his son, Bashar, has been unremitting in his quest to purge the country of all opposition to his government and to reinforce the Ba’athist ideology that characterises his administration. Thousands have already died, leaving those who continue in vain to strike back to wonder why, in contrast with Libya, the world has forsaken them.

Western denunciation has been plentiful, and nowhere more so than in the United Kingdom. William Hague has long called for multilateral action in the form of sanctions, whilst both the United States and French governments have expressed their desire to see al-Assad step down. The US has even gone as far as to close its Syrian embassy, whilst Britain has recalled its ambassador from Damascus. The message from the West is clear: diplomatic engagement with a regime that is unwavering in its determination to cling on to power at any cost is futile. It was hoped, though, that stern intergovernmental condemnation via the United Nations would have the desired effect.

The reality, as is so often the case with the UN, was rather different. Despite the proposed UN resolution constituting an Arab peace plan and an explicit call for al-Assad to step down, China and Russia both exercised their veto and thereby killed the latest attempt by nations from across the world to come together to reach an acceptable solution to the Syrian question. Whereas Russia averred that it would prefer to see an Arab solution and is sceptical of a Western-backed resolution, China has been decidedly mute. But regardless of the rationale offered, the fact remains that by vetoing a resolution which sought only to condemn (there was no clause to which the West could appeal in attempting to justify invading Syria, nor was there any incitement to taking up arms), these two nations have ensured that Assad’s systematic campaign to excise all who dare to stand up to the state is free to continue without censure.

William Hague’s statement to the Commons on Monday condemned Russia and China for their 'betrayal of the Syrian people', and he is unequivocally correct. If anything, he is understating the consequences of their actions. But this veto also has wider implications: once again the UN’s inability to act raises questions about its utility. If the UN is unable even to condemn a ruler for turning a nation’s army on its (largely) unarmed population, what is the use in even having any such intergovernmental organisation?

Since its inception in 1945 the UN has upheld the laudable goal of achieving peace, albeit with varying levels of success. Its role in bringing about stability in the Balkans throughout the 1990s was invaluable, as is its role in promoting fundamental human rights in some of the world’s most oppressive nations. However its failure to act in countries such as Rwanda and Zimbabwe has long been viewed by many as evidence of the inherent ineffectiveness of an institution that is habitually held to ransom by nations either seeking to protect vested interests or – as is more often the case with Russia and China – seeking to avoid shining a spotlight on failures of which they too are culpable. Of course, it is necessary to point out that these two nations are not alone in exercising the veto; the United States used its first ever Security Council veto in 1970 in defence of Britain’s right to continue to buttress a white minority government in southern Rhodesia, whilst it has also made frequent use of its veto on behalf of Israel. It is simply necessary to understand that the UNSC veto has the capacity to debilitate the UN’s role as an arbiter of peace.

However in spite of this, the version of the UN that presently exists is still better than nothing for one crucial reason: it provides an impartial home for moral authority.

The power to intervene in the affairs of a sovereign state presently rests – albeit imperfectly – with the United Nations. When countries come together and unanimously denounce the behaviour of a rogue nation state for its failure to adhere to those principles of justice to which it assented upon joining the UN, most would agree that the legitimacy to intervene (be it economically or militarily) does exist. There are those who disagree, often taking liberal philosophical concepts and grossly misapplying them to the field of international relations. Some, for instance, point to the great John Stuart Mill’s argument that 'self-regarding' behaviour, even when it causes harm, is permissible. In other words, people are free to do as they wish to themselves without impressing a moral obligation upon others to intervene. It is the contention of some that, by extension, intervention in the internal affairs of a state – seen as a self-regarding entity – is therefore also entirely impermissible.

But states are not individuals; the metaphor falls short because the scope within nation states for groups of individuals to hold power over others and to oversee horrific human rights abuses is not a phenomenon present in individual human beings. When al-Assad orders the Syrian military to open fire on peaceful protests his actions are 'self-regarding' only in that he is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve self-preservation.

The intention of this Realist misappropriation of a philosophical principle is intended to explain why nations should free to act as they choose is mistaken. Besides, it is not always necessary for the United Nations to act – often its mere presence is enough to provide some order to the chaos which characterises international relations if left untouched. That states nearly always seek UN approval before acting is demonstrative of the significant moral authority held by the institution in spite of its apparent shortcomings. Whereas Realism denounces intergovernmental organisations as worthless because states are self-interested and therefore incapable of working together in an anarchic world order, the United Nations routinely prevents the full (and hugely damaging) effects of this self-interest from being realised.

But where does this all leave Syria?

If the United Nations ceased to exist, this moral authority would partition amongst those nation states with the largest militaries and the greatest political sway; in the absence of a common conception of ‘good’ upheld by signatories to a common charter, these nations would be far more ready to act unilaterally and in their own interest. The threat of co-ordinated sanctions or, in some cases, direct intervention, is precisely what forces nations to adhere (at least to some extent) to international norms. If the West were to intervene in Syria without UN approval, they could hardly admonish Iran if it chooses to do so as well. China and Russia’s vetoes are regrettable, and certainly expose the frustrating impotency of intergovernmental organisations when urgency is truly required, but the consequences of a world without the United Nations represent a far more worrying proposition. An Arab League resolution would not represent anything near as effective as one with the backing of the entire world, but it is perhaps the best the Syrians can hope for.

71 Comments:

Blogger G. Tingey said...

Agreed
Meanwhile, devise a better system, that works, and you can get everyone to join?

Remember the League of Nations?

At least the UN does better than that did .....

9 February 2012 at 08:22  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

The trouble is that we are being given the same sort of "black v white" presentation which we had before the unprovoked attack on Yugoslavia. The situation there was thoroughly misrepresented in the easily manipulated Western media and the false impression of uniquely wicked Serbs v oppressed Muslims remains in the the public memory to this day.

The Syrian conflict looks worse but one should bear in mind the outside influences which are stirring things up. Rather as the Bundesnachrichtendienst helped to engineer the destabilisation of Yugoslavia, so outside Arab countries of the more extreme sort are stirring things up against Assad's regime.

One victim of any successful regime change will be the Christian minority. Reports by MEMRI showed broadcast calls by Muslim religious for a day of reckoning with the Christians, who were not responding to the calls for resistance to Assad.

The more arithmetically "democratic" any successor regime is, the more dire the fate of the Christians is likely to be. It is a paradox that thoroughly beastly authoritarian, secular regimes like Assad and Saddam Hussein allowed Christians a much more secure, quiet and undisturbed life than any successor government is likely to do.

9 February 2012 at 08:34  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

The world has no right to interfer in internal issues within any country,particularly since the un is the bilderburg army.Replace syria with England ,when the inevitable happens and we have to fight to remove our corrupt and increasingly violent administration will we be glad when a foreign army kills us to maintain the status quo,and keep that corruption in power,we have every right to remove our oppressors by ballot or bullet,and in the case of syria how can any-one be sure that the unrest is not being manipulated so that the giant oil cartels can "legally" steal this countries resources as has been demonstrated in every intervention in the past two decades.

9 February 2012 at 08:52  
Blogger scottspeig said...

YG,

The problem though is that the UN becomes the great arbiter of moralistic truth. If you take an example - if Sharia law became the most popular in most countries, then they can start demanding that we follow their laws. When we fail to do that, they can bomb us all into oblivion??

Just because we agree with the UN now doesn't mean it will always be agreeable. Rather, we should allow Sovereign states to be sovereign yet be prepared to help out when we can with supplying arms or supporting refugees. To argue that the UN should be held up as the great truth seeker is flawed and mis-guided.

9 February 2012 at 09:08  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

The UN started out as a good idea and generally a good thing, but the problem with any "democratic" institution is that, as it expands, more and more factions are included. The General Assembly is now dominated by Third World or "Developing" Nations, the Middle Eastern Bloc and former allies of the Soviets and China. It already works against the Western "Democracies" in almost everything and exploits the hysterical tendency that follows Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth et al and wish to bring about a New Socialist dispensation in which wealth is stripped from the "haves" and handed out to the "have nots" - or the Swiss Bank Accounts of all the various dictators ruining their nations...

My vote would be for a serious curtailment of the UN Agency activities and a good hard look at how it is impinging on the sovereignty of the members. As someone else has remarked, it is currently largely driven by western ideas of democracy and law, but a time is rapidly approaching when it will swing toward the Sharia and the concept of government favoured in Iran, China and other nations whose "democracy" is not what we would recognise as such.

9 February 2012 at 09:50  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Tingey - I often wonder if the present UN only endures because of the previous failure of the League of Nations. The fear that the absence of even an entirely imperfect body might destablise the world is likely a justified one. On the other hand, it fudges as well as the League of Nations, and is increasingly as impotent - not as a consequence of any particular moral failure on the part of the institution itself, but rather because it is the talking shop for nation-states.

The minute you realise that the likes of Saudi Arabia and Cuba sit on the Human Rights Council, and the likes of Iran sit on the Commission of the Status of Women, you realise that the UN was never, and will never be morally authoritative.

Which puts us in the rather difficult position of having, on the one hand, to encourage "rogue states" towards greater adherence to the principles of the UN, whilst on the other having moral justification for ignoring the UN ourselves whenever sensible measures are vetoed or fail to pass in the first place. The essential question which member states must always answer is: "How much do we agree with the moral competence of fellow states?"

The answer when it comes to the crunch, sadly, is usually, not much.

9 February 2012 at 11:15  
Blogger Ariadne said...

One only has to look at the number of resolutions this corrupt home of despots has passed against Israel's self-defence while ignoring endless atrocity elsewhere (as well as attacks on Israel) to know that its usefulness has come to an end. Unless of course we wish to be swallowed up by Islam.

And what about that exception of exceptions, the dynastic "refugees" of that non-existent country "Palestine"? Why are they different from all other refugees? Only in a malign fantasy can a new-born be a refugee from a war that ended over 60 years ago.

9 February 2012 at 11:19  
Blogger bwims said...

I'd rather the Syrians slaughtered themselves than depose the only man who will prevent another domino falling to sharia and the Middle-East caliphate.

As soon as they all fall to Islam, Israel is doomed - and the world thereafter.

All these people have to do is accept his rule and they can go about their business. They don't want democracy, they want to be little tinpot kings in their own homes treating their wives and daughters in any way they see fit.

I have no pity for them, or any of the other Muslim Brotherhood types who masquerade as putative democrats but really wanting to spread the crescent throughout the world.

The "Arab Spring" is the prelude to Ragnarok.

9 February 2012 at 12:26  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Why do we in the west assume that rebels of despotic leaders are better than those they seek to depose? Iraqi is worse now than when Sadman Hussein was in charge.
Egypt has so far escaped from the tyrannical take over by the Muslim Brotherhood but Coptic Christians have come under increasing attacks. Libyan rebels showed no mercy or justice when it came to the taking of Gadhafi and who knows which way the new leadership will go. I have no doubt that it will be a more radical Islamic government.
The Syrian conflict is as a result of rebels seeking to impose their own brand of tyrannical rule in place of the present rulers. They cry “help us" when it was their own military actions that brought the government down upon them. The women and children are caught up because the rebels seek refuge in amongst the residential areas. The government forces may be heavy handed but what did they expect?
To help or not to help, that is the question. My view is that we should generally stay out of the internal affairs of other nations lest they start to do the same here.

9 February 2012 at 12:57  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 February 2012 at 14:52  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The UN has no jurisdiction. It has no citizenship. It has no army. It has no police force. It has no power to tax. It maintains no borders. It is not any sort of government. It neither enforces nor legislates any kind of law. It has no sovereignty whatsoever. It is a building filled up with a bunch of committees. The idea that the UN stabilizes anything is laughable. It is a creature of the major powers, and a tool to serve their interests. That's all it has ever been. That's all it will ever be.

The nations do not need the permission of the UN to act. They are sovereign entities unto themselves and can act within the extent of their power. Did the US consider that its vital interests were served by invading Iraq in 2003? Then it had sufficient warrant to act by the authority vested in the US government as a sovereign nation. The President has the authority to command and the military swears on oath to obey lawful orders. There is nothing in US Law that requires obeisance first be paid to the UN.

Now you will say to me "Then what prevents other countries from doing the same thing? If your country have the right to act, do not other countries as well?" Yes, they do - to the extent that it does not threaten the interest of a major power. Iraq was not free to invade Kuwait, but not because the UN forbade such an invasion. Iraq was not free to invade Kuwait because the invasion threatened US interests. The US chose to act to reverse it. Period. There are many places in the world where countries would be free to act because no major power has any interest in doing anything about it. It is power that stabilizes the world, and the willingness to use it. Not potemkin laws drafted by a potemkin legislature exercising potemkin sovereignty.

Now you might consider this terrible. Well and good. Then go to your Government and say "We must slash the NHS budget and build up the military so that we may intervene at the behest of the UN. We must draft men into the Army and send them hither and yon on missions of 'do-goodness' for the oppressed peoples of the world. We must place our military at the call of the Secretary General of the UN." This is what the UN lacks. Fill up its void.

But you won't. It's one thing to pontificate about Rwanda. It's quite another to pick up a rifle and go there. Security Council resolutions are cheap. It costs nothing to pound the table with a shoe and declare some event terrible, just terrible. Blood and treasure on the other hand are expensive.

carl

9 February 2012 at 14:57  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 February 2012 at 16:28  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

agree with bwims and Mr Integrity

Arab spring--> Caliphate-->war on Isael--> world war 3--> Armageddon. It may be inevitable, but do we want to speed it up?

we should not have invaded Iraq or intervened in Libya's civil war. I am sorry if people are being killed by their own government in Syria. Dare I say, perhaps they should not have started a civil war? How can the west make it better by invading? Did we encourage them by our action in Libya? They cannot be allowed to moral blackmail us into intervening, perhaps we were wrong to signal that we might have done. I say 'we' but i am a totally disenfranchised English conservative who could not bring himself to vote for any of the three liberal parties at the 2010 election.

It would all stop if men bent their knees to the Prince of Peace. This cannot be enforced. By us.

9 February 2012 at 16:35  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

Aren't these the same people who danced in the streets on 11,September, 2001? Why on earth should we care about them? Perhaps if they decided to convert to Christianity then I'd change my mind.

9 February 2012 at 17:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Zach. In the spirit of earlier wise laissez faire posts, let them fight it out between themselves. It is nature’s way. It will also thin out a volatile race of people, and that has to be good news. As for comparisons with Libya - no oil equals no Western interest. The Inspector recognises this stance as hard hearted, but he’s not uncomfortable with it. No, not at all. And don’t forget, death and destruction in these circumstances has a purifying effect, let the bitterness spill until it is no more (…until the next time, that is…).

9 February 2012 at 18:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The UN operates on the basis of a horse-trading centre. Even so, there is still a usefulness to it.

9 February 2012 at 20:01  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Time to take a quick break from the sad situation in Syria...

Two men bump into each other in a large supermarket

I am sorry, I wasn’t looking where I was going. You see, I’ve lost my wife and I was looking out for her

There’s a coincidence ! Neither was I, I’ve been looking out for mine

Well maybe we can help each other. What does your wife look like ?

Well, she’s 24, tall, with shoulder length blonde hair. Green eyes, wearing high heels, white shorts and a tight top, no bra. What’s yours like ?

Doesn’t matter. Let’s just find yours…

9 February 2012 at 20:09  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Integrity said ...
"To help or not to help, that is the question."

Surely the question is how best to help not whether we should?

john in cheshire said ...
"Why on earth should we care about them? Perhaps if they decided to convert to Christianity then I'd change my mind."

The answer to your question is that Jesus told us to care.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Appleseed said ...
"It would all stop if men bent their knees to the Prince of Peace. This cannot be enforced. By us."

The West is not proposing invasion. It is calling for internation disapproval. Surely we should be saying the treatment is unacceptable and if need be impose trade sanctions, regardless of religion?

Ariadne said ...
"Only in a malign fantasy can a new-born be a refugee from a war that ended over 60 years ago."

About as much a 'malign fantasy' as believeing a people are entitled to reoccupy a land they held 2000 years ago.

Inpector
All human life is precious and made in the image of God - even volatile Muslims.

carl
I agree that nations such as USA can, at the moment, do very much as it chooses. So can Russia and China. The way it is shouldn't necessarily rule out how the world might be.

9 February 2012 at 20:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. You’ve convinced the Inspector. Now you must do the same with the Syrians...

9 February 2012 at 20:25  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector, why? They don't claim to be Christian.

9 February 2012 at 20:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. The Inspector refers you back to his post of 18:27. Pragmatism, old chap...

9 February 2012 at 20:44  
Blogger Zach Johnstone said...

To the various commenters advocating a laissez faire approach:

To advance the notion that the West should do nothing because the two sides will wear each other down is to predicate one's view of this crisis on the assumption that a state of stasis exists between two mutually belligerent factions.

In fact, what we have largely seen - and continue to see - is the brutal suppression of the freedom of assembly and speech on a national scale. It is one-sided and it is relentless.

I would invite those who would prefer that we stand idly by to consider the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who haven't taken up arms but who yearn for regime change.

ENGLISHMAN,

"when the inevitable happens and we have to fight to remove our corrupt and increasingly violent administration will we be glad when a foreign army kills us to maintain the status quo"

You could flip this on its head and, in so doing, actually render it more accurate. Surely the very raison d'être of intervention is to facilitate change, not to maintain the status quo? You may disagree with the direction of that change, but change it would be.

9 February 2012 at 21:35  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Zach. Your concern is commendable, but unless we get the light blue helmets of the UN military force in PDQ, the killing goes on. It is unfortunate that Russia and China aren’t going to let this happen at all, let alone the short term. In the English spirit, “We tried our best, that’s all that is required of us”...

9 February 2012 at 22:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Historical note. If this was happening 70 years ago, we could have called on the British Ninth Army to quell the situation. Oh for the days of Empire...

9 February 2012 at 22:16  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

There was a time when Kings respected the moral and spiritual authority of a single universal body. Now, in the name of 'freedom' and 'sovereignty', anarchy reigns.

9 February 2012 at 22:51  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Dodo; Perhaps I should have said "to interfere or not to interfere"? This is a civil strife started by the rebels. OK it's a tough regime but most countries have gone through it. The Russians, the French, the English in Medieval time and under Queen Mary. Each country has had to sort out its own affairs. Care and compassion yes, but let’s remember what happened to Moses when he tried to interfere in a fight.

9 February 2012 at 23:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

There was a time when Kings respected the moral and spiritual authority of a single universal body.

Still troubled by the loss of those two swords, huh? I was going to ask you what you meant by this ...

The way it is shouldn't necessarily rule out how the world might be.

What is your vision of how the world might be, and how would you achieve it? But it seems I already know the answer.

carl

9 February 2012 at 23:46  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Zach Johnstone said

I would invite those who would prefer that we stand idly by to consider the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who haven't taken up arms but who yearn for regime change.

You are free to slap a Red Coat on Tommy Atkins' back, hand him his Martini-Henry, and send him forth to any troubled spot in the world. I am sure the crowds of the oppressed will receive him with joy.

carl

9 February 2012 at 23:51  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Oh, and btw. I missed this before.

About as much a 'malign fantasy' as believing a people are entitled to reoccupy a land they held 2000 years ago.

The authority by which the Jews received land in Palestine was the authority of none other than ... the UN trying to make the world what it should be instead of what it is. Ironic that you should disparage with the left side of your mouth that which you seek to defend with the right side of your mouth.

carl

10 February 2012 at 00:01  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl

But then I don't agree the UN is a moral body seeking justice or peace. It represents the particular interests of its members. And the roots of political Zionism go back to the machinations of the late 19th century and the Balfour Declaration.

And respecting the moral and spiritual authority of a universal body is not 'two swords'.

10 February 2012 at 00:13  
Blogger Oswin said...

Edward Spalton @ 08:34

I agree with all your points. Let the West beware.

10 February 2012 at 01:01  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

[R]especting the moral and spiritual authority of a universal body is not 'two swords'.

Heh. Sure it's not. And the universal body in question isn't the RCC, either.

But then I don't agree the UN is a moral body seeking justice or peace.

Fair enough. We agree then. However, my original post was about the difference between the reality of the world ("what is") and the fantasy that some people attach to the UN ("how the world might be.") If you are going to transition to a different basis for "how the world might be", you could at least warn a person. You are after all a political liberal and political liberals often attach fantastic hopes to the UN.

carl

10 February 2012 at 01:12  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl

I hold out no hope for the UN as a body capable of offering leadership to the world. Indeed, at its heart it is an unchristian body and some of its agencies are anti-Catholic.

If it were to become the sort of world governing body you and I are both adverse to it would be a godless and at best humanist body.

Is it really too late to bring back the Holy Roman Empire and extend it worldwide? We could call it something different if that would help. Of course we'd make it more democratic and have a clear division between temporal and power. I could nominate a President.

10 February 2012 at 12:56  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

.... a clear division between temporal and > spiritual < power.

10 February 2012 at 12:57  
Blogger Jon said...

How depressing! Comment after comment saying that we should "intervene" (even to the limited extent of UN censure!) in a country only when Christians are threatened? This constitutes your expression of vital interest! How narrow! What if they are a different Christian sect from you? Ah - then leave them to rot!

The original post lays bear the fallacy that a political class should be permitted to kill its people, but those who would equate the misrule they attribute to our own MPs (however greedy and ignoble they may be) are being facetious by comparing it to the cleansing taking place in Syria, or that which took place in Libya.

Fundamentally, either you believe in "one person, one vote" or you don't. Whether this vote is to select the government of syria or france is irrelevant, it constitutes a declaration of the value and rights of a person to select the rules which apply to them in their country. If you won't assert a universal right to suffrage, how can you complain when someone elected by someone else takes yours from you? And perhaps if the West hadn't accommodated the despots who kept us "safe" from their people for so long, the same people would elect leaders who weren't so quick to decry our democracy and liberalism! After all, we still support Saudi Arabia with all sorts of defence assistance, but it didn't stop their citizens flying planes into the Twin Towers!

10 February 2012 at 16:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. You need to put your liberal ideas aside on this occasion and toughen up. It’s a nasty world out there...

10 February 2012 at 19:08  
Blogger srizals said...

With nastier people that chose to watch the innocents being butchered, carefully, so that the blood won't stain their fanciful coats.

11 February 2012 at 02:08  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

srizals

Oh, that's ever so fine rhetoric, but what does it mean really? What would you want those 'nastier people' to do? Would you like them to invade and seize power? Would you like them to govern for ten years after seizing power? Would you prefer they invade, destroy the current government, and then hand power to whomever you might prefer so the right people will get killed instead of the wrong people? It's all well and good to say "You should protect the innocent" until someone asks "What does that actually entail?" Then you don't have answers anymore. You just have rhetoric.

Problems within a nation-state are never an exercise in law enforcement. You can't just arrest the bad guys - after which sweetness and light will shine forth and all will be well. You have to destroy the government and then rebuild something in its place - typically over a long period of time and in the face of opposition from factions that simply want you to hand over power and leave. Except then you will have aided and abetted the birth of something seven times worse than what you destroyed. And what was the point of your sacrifice in the first place?

carl

11 February 2012 at 05:29  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl said ...
"Except then you will have aided and abetted the birth of something seven times worse than what you destroyed."

Based on recent experience, I tend to agree with you if your comments are directed at Muslim countries, except maybe apart from the above sentence.

As messy as UN intervention is, it can be fruitful if the mission is known and there is an exit plan. I'm no expert, but what would have happened in the Balkans without such intervention?

Why don't the Arab states do something instead of putting the West in this no-win position?

11 February 2012 at 10:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Srizals. The Inspector repeats the following for your benefit...

death and destruction in these circumstances has a purifying effect, let the bitterness spill until it is no more (…until the next time, that is…).

Don’t like it ? Neither does the Inspector, but it’s part of the human condition...

11 February 2012 at 14:56  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

The eussr army will not be comming to ensure "regime change"they will be comming to ensure that the rights that we have been defrauded of remain in thier keeping.

12 February 2012 at 09:53  
Blogger rodney said...

I recently spoke to a Syrian expat client of mine who hails from Homs (he still has immediate family there) and he is disgusted by the West's interference and esp. the oneside manner in which the coinflict is being portrayed. (He is a Christian and not an Alawite so carries no torch for Assad. But he maintains that the agitators are nothing more than paid bandits and terrorists and are being paid by agents of the CIA / or similar to destabilise Syria. He maintains that if you speak to people on the ground, they believe Assad's father would have sorted this out in a week. That this is not a genuine populist uprising, and the man in the street wants to get on with his life and be done with all this nonsense. They have seen the 'benefits' of democracy in Iraq, Libya and Egypt and say 'Thanks, but no thanks.' Just one view perhaps, but why is it we never hear this side of the story?

13 February 2012 at 06:09  
Blogger srizals said...

Carl,

One day you'll be alone under constant threat of death and you'll be wondering why are the people looking on at you and doing nothing.

At least we have rhetoric, Carl. We don't have any bombs or zombies to fight wars for us. So we express our disapproval to evil and tyranny in languages. The least we can do, at least the evil ones won't accuse us of giving our consent through our silence.

13 February 2012 at 10:35  
Blogger srizals said...

A song for you, Oswin, Lowkey - Terrorist...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmBnvajSfWU&feature=player_embedded

13 February 2012 at 10:42  
Blogger Oswin said...

srizals: I am unable to access your link, sorry.

13 February 2012 at 17:20  
Blogger srizals said...

Try this one,


Terrorist

14 February 2012 at 12:53  
Blogger Oswin said...

Srizals : er thanks, I think. :o(

Banal, massively simplistic and, worse of all: I hate rap-crap! Why on earth did you want me to listen to this ???

Yes, it's a complex world, with faults on all sides; and yes, little people get chewed-up, and spat out...welcome to the History of Mankind.

Besides, Kareem Dennis is hardly
an unbiased recorder, now is he? He is afforded the freedom, here in Britain, to make his noise (which ought, in my opinion, to be a punishable offence!) but one wonders if a muslim State would tolerate a reverse equivalent? Well, of course not; he'd be imprisoned, or even beheaded!

Take my advice, and listen to some Couperin, ''Lecons de Tenebres'' for instance; it will do you far more good. ;o)

14 February 2012 at 16:37  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Try Yusuf Islam - a good Muslim.

14 February 2012 at 21:33  
Blogger len said...

Dodo, Define a 'good muslim'.

One the Pope approves of?.(just trying to be helpful.)

How long before Muslims and Catholics unite ?. Oh they are already doing so!.(see other thread.)

15 February 2012 at 08:13  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

A good Muslim is presumably one who follows the precepts of Islam as he understands them. I believe Yesef is a Sufti Muslim with a focus on mysticism.

Have you considered the words of Yusef Islam's songs before and after he converted. A talented and inspired song writer and singer and blessed with a very great talent. An inteesting biography - controversial but interesting.

15 February 2012 at 16:54  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo @ 21:33 : Yusuf-bloody-Islam ??? Well, he might well be a ''good muslim'' but he sure showed his true colours when he let the Cat Stevens out of the bag, with his virulent, vicious, spital-flying attack upon Salman Rushdie.

He called for Rushdie's assassination, and all in front of the cameras! Have you not seen the footage?

Never mind ''Tea for the Tillerman'' - I wouldn't give the wee scunner a penny more of my money. 'Songs for peace' my arse!
He's a lying, insidious little shit, is all.

15 February 2012 at 20:05  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin

Calm down! I did say he was controversial!

I have seen the footage and it's not as clear cut as you've described it and he has since back tracked. He was new to Islam and you know what they say about converts.

15 February 2012 at 21:36  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo : 'fraid not. I've watched the whole scene several times (I recorded the programme on its second showing) and no way is it misleading - he was neither drunk; angered by any previous questions; or otherwise lead astray.

It wasn't a 'sound-bite' or something taken out of context. What you got was what he said, and almost certainly what he meant. The footage was absolutely clear, and as described.

He backtracked the following day, for whatever reason; although his reasons did NOT accord with the taped evidence.

Anyhows, the words of his supposed retraction, were bloody lies, and bore no relationship to what he had said. Neither was it edited against him, as he claimed. He was caught, bang to rights, full-stop.

I take your point about 'converts' but he was not ''new to Islam'' - far from it; he became a muslim in 1977, whereas it was during 1989 when he spouted-off for the death of Rushdie.

Had he admitted to what he had said, and apologised for doing so; or else said that he had since changed his opinions, then fair enough; but he lied, and continues to lie to this day, whenever the issue is mentioned.

How would you view a sustained, and inveterate liar? Would you readly believe all else he had to say? Does he lie because it his nature; or does he lie because muslims are urged to do so, when 'snowing' us 'kaffirs'?

Whatever; I'd sooner pay good money for srizal's (I bet srizals wasn't ranting for Rushdie's death!) bloody rap-music, than finance yon Yusuf's bleedin' retirement fund; IF that's where the money actually goes???

16 February 2012 at 00:13  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Okay agreed, Oswin. Such a shame as he was a 'hero' of mine as a teenager and I saw him live a couple of times 'back in the day'. He always struck me as a sensitive soul and in search of a bigger truth.

16 February 2012 at 00:27  
Blogger Oswin said...

Well yes, I enjoyed his music too, very much a part of my youth; I can't now forgive him for ruining my enjoyment of his early work, from ''Mathew & Son'' to ''Teaser and the Firecat'' - I think he went a bit off, for the following few years, before he went the whole hog, and got himself a skirt, and a began leaving his boots outside.

...and all because he had a problem with his Greek Orthodox father; but not on the grounds of religion per se; he just wanted to 'stuff it up him' in the only he could truly upset his father, a Greek Cypriot, by becoming a muslim!

His motives are problematic, as he is forever rewriting his history; but I remember some very early interviews, where he let slip his feelings. Mind you, he might have been lying then, too?

Ps. I didn't mean it; I don't want any more of Srizals' rap-music! ;o)

16 February 2012 at 01:22  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

So many gifted musicians go astray when fortune and fame come along. Seems to be drink, drugs and, for some, religion.

Remember Peter Green? I knew him personally when I was a young man. Always somewhat reclusive and 'deep'. Drugs with him. He's now out and about again after years of 'treatment' in hospital.

16 February 2012 at 08:38  
Blogger Oswin said...

Perhaps Peter Green went as far as he was able; he was so gifted that it is impossible to imagine how he could have possibly improved upon his art. If only, eh? I envy you knowing him Dodo.

16 February 2012 at 12:40  
Blogger srizals said...

Oswin, could you give me the link where you say Yusuf Islam sentenced Mr. Salman Rushdie to death? Could I see the video?

About music, everyone is entitled to their own. Some music is for pure fun, some for relaxation, some escapism, a few more, laden with messages. It's up to the ability of the ears, whether they listen or merely hear. Not everyone can catch the messages hidden under those rhythmic tunes.

16 February 2012 at 12:57  
Blogger Oswin said...

Srizals: I'm sorry, I no longer have the video tape; new technology etc. I'm not sure where you might find the footage; possibly YouTube? I taped it from a TV programme about the whole 'Rushdie' affair. I'll have a trawl through the net for you; I might get lucky ...

16 February 2012 at 13:20  
Blogger Oswin said...

Srizals : I've had a quick look at YouTube, but I can't find the exact TV programme, but there is plenty of stuff dealing with a slightly later (?) prog' where Yusuf more or less says the same thing, but stated briefly etc.

The original might be under 'Rushdie' or under ''Satanic Verses'' perhaps?

You'll have to check it out for yourself though, as I haven't a clue how to attach 'links' etc.

I'll be interested to see what you think; what I've just watched not only confirms my original opinion, but strengthens it! I hadn't realised that Yusuf Islam had made such comments more than once!

Perhaps it was this particular clip that Dodo had seen? It is the lesser of evils, but still pretty rotten stuff. The man is either demented, or else a monster!

16 February 2012 at 13:48  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

srizals

It's on YouTube under 'Yusef Islam and Rushdie'. Simple really,Oswin!

He didn't sentence him as such. He did say he deserved to die and if he lived in an Islamic State and was ordered to execute him, he would.

Very disappointing.

16 February 2012 at 20:34  
Blogger srizals said...

Guys, there is a difference in doing something with your hands and doing something with your mouth. There is also a big difference between someone that says something in his personal opinion than someone that says something and people do die as a result. Salman practised his 'right', Yusuf in turn practised his.

In my opinion, he was put in a very awkward position in what looked like a talk show in response to the death sentence decreed upon Salman by Iranian Muslims or to be specific the Shia Muslims. People make mistakes; the degree of the mistakes and the consequences varies from one another. Not all mistakes are the same.

If because of what he had said make him a monster, Oswin, I wonder what are the people that actually did what they did to other humans in fake 'just' wars?

I don't see any of them trialled for their genocidal crime. Should Yusuf be condemned while the real killers go Scot free? Considering most of them are real life mass murderers?

And people supported them, all the way as something 'biblical'. What would that make these people?

Monsters in the closet or good Christians?

17 February 2012 at 00:40  
Blogger srizals said...

And if you want to know Yusuf,

go here,

Only human

17 February 2012 at 00:57  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

srizals

I really wishI could agree with you. I do.

He was 'set up'. Never the less, as a Christian, I believe he could and should have said Rushdie did not to deserve to die. But this would have contradicted his religion. Was it a mistake on his part or simply him speaking the truth as he saw it?

Am I being too harsh on Yusef?

17 February 2012 at 01:02  
Blogger srizals said...

Or if that is not enough,

read his mind,



Yusuf in his own words

17 February 2012 at 01:09  
Blogger Oswin said...

Srizals: did you actually read what I've written above???

I clearly said that the YouTube stuff was not the footage of my original reference.

You did hear him suggest, in response to the 'burning effigy' allusion, that he would have preferred a real body to burn???

17 February 2012 at 02:43  
Blogger Oswin said...

Srizals : right, I've listened to your link ''Yusuf in his own words'' and all I can say is that he's even more of a bloody liar than I'd imagined! Twice now I've listened to 'Yusuf's own words' and they absolutely differ from the lying garbage of that link.

Hey, but why am I surprised at your words; if you can believe that evil old swine Mo, then you can convince yourself of anything; and clearly do.



Dodo : ''He was set up'' - no he was not, for crying out loud! Certainly not so re' the TV programme that I saw; the YouTube stuff was entirely new to me.

17 February 2012 at 02:58  
Blogger srizals said...

Oswin,

You lied, you're not supposed to listen to the link, you're supposed to read it.

So what do Christians do to people that commit blasphemy against God?

Since most believed in something they never truly read or understand, let's ponder now shall we?

Leviticus 24:16
New International Version (NIV)

16 anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.

And since not many Christians believed the Old Testament anymore, how about this,

Matthew 12:31-32
New International Version (NIV)

31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Then I must ask, if you say that these aren't Christian's teaching, then clearly you're not a Christian. Or should I say a non-believing Christian!

Again you're using the filthy animal to degrade Muslims and their prophet. Have you not any shame eating such accursed name?

17 February 2012 at 11:17  
Blogger Oswin said...

Srizals: I lied? Ok, I READ the link...so I hear his words, alright?

Just when did YOU become an expert on Cat Stevens/Usuf-bloody-Islam???

You are what you are Srizals, and it is you who speak with a forked tongue; you do not listen, and you do not care, just so long as you can mouth-off, interminably, about utter shite.

The plain fact is, for which you have no answer: Mohammed was a mad, murdering, kiddy-fiddler; and all recorded by the 'faithful' - thank heavens for record-keeping. It reminds one of those other assiduous keepers of records - the Nazis. Oh, they did the 'book burning' bit too; ring any bells eh?

Salman Rushdie wrote a novel, a 'story' if you prefer, a story loosely based upon the 'Satanic Verses' of your own so-called prophet. Verses which were removed from the koran because they implied that old Mo could not tell the difference between the voice of God, and that of Satan!

A 'novel' that's all it was; and yet you lot went ape-shit and spat-out your dummies, calling for his death, by ANY means! Yet YOU suggest that yours/theirs was an equal RIGHT of reply!

As you don't seem to even to begin to comprehend the gob-smackinging stupidity of your comments, I don't feel that I need worry too much of your opinion of me, or of my beliefs. Let's face it, if you had any measure of reason, or judgement, you'd not be a muslim, full-stop.

I can understand the ignorant, the uneducated, and the unquestioning, for believing as they do; but you take a lend! All faiths depend, to some measure, upon just that, 'faith' - but muslims appear to misunderstand, or refuse to understand, what is carefully recorded, by their own, in their own words, for their own selves.

Of course, we both of us know that it was never really about religion, it was about CONQUEST; and would have remained so, had you muslims not started butchering each other in factional disputes.

Feel free to be an implacable enemy, but please don't insult us with your hideous hypocrisy, and your monster of a war-mongering prophet. Done!

17 February 2012 at 19:04  
Blogger srizals said...

Conquest? No Afghani, Iraqi or Libyan army ever reached your backyard, Oswin. Many had your 'resemblance' killing and raping them for years for no apparent reason. That's conquest, Oswin.

Where did I call for his death? Why do certain people always see things that aren't there? I've put up some examples from your religion, and you said I call for his death? I'm not even a Shia! Why should I follow the fatwa? And where's your proof that any Muslims other than Shia are following the Shia's fatwa?

Where's the proof from the Koran or the hadith that has similarities like in the Bible, to accuse Muslims are fond killers of their critics?

You still can't accept that the Prophet and the Muslims back then had won against heartless monsters and freed so many from tyranny. History has been repeating itself since the creation of Israel, as it is also in Iraq and Afghanistan. Things are not that different. The weak Muslims against gigantic cruel enemies!

Your ‘civilisation’ has thousands of nuclear arsenal and advanced weaponry that could kill hundreds in seconds and yet you are afraid of 'Muslim conquest'!?

Maybe you should learn what hypocrisy means one day. And how the 'conquered' people view you 'stylish' and 'civilised' minding their own business Westerners. The Westerners that are not in this category should not be offended. I'm not referring to you.

As for the satanic verse, reliability is something that is dear to most decent human being, so the reliable resource for Muslims would be Sahih Bukhari, not the historians, Oswin, since they themselves did not claim to be error free. Below is what Muslims already knew and some chose not to accept even after they were given the accounts of the said event.

"Actually what happened was only what is recorded in Authentic Hadith books like Bukhari etc. where we read;

Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet (pbuh) prostrated while reciting An-Najm and with him prostrated the Muslims, the pagans, the jinns, and all human beings. (Bukhari, Book 19, Hadith 177)

In fact it was the eloquence and beauty of the Quran depicting its Divine Origin that made the pagans of Makkah to spontaneously fall down in prostration, on hearing the last verse of Surah 53.

"But fall ye down in prostration to Allah, and adore (Him)!"

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions prostrated as they were commanded so in the verse.

After the incident took place the Quraish later realized what they had done by prostrating on hearing the Glorious Quran. Now to hide their 'guilt' they concocted this story that Muhammad in fact spoke something in favour of their deities and thus they agreed to make a patch-up. This was a really hypocrisy and sham that has been unveiled through internal and external examination of this fabricated story."

The satanic verse

Muslims are not angry because of the 'satanic verse' lie, but because of how the Prophet was depicted in such hideous way by a man seeking the knighthood of Western fame. And even you, Oswin. By the way, if I may ask, what did you give to humanity? Could it be comparable to the Prophet? Salman got his fame, what about you?

You know the answer yourself.

18 February 2012 at 12:58  
Blogger srizals said...

"Have ye seen Lat. and 'Uzza, And another, the third (goddess), Manat?"

["These are exalted goddesses; indeed their intercession may be accepted."] (The said satanic verse claimed to be inspired by Satan).


"What! for you the male sex, and for Him, the female? Behold, such would be indeed a division most unfair! These are nothing but names which ye have devised,- ye and your fathers,- for which Allah has sent down no authority (whatever). They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire! - Even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord!" (Al-Quran 53:19-23 with that supposed statement inserted)

Even with the insertion of the satanic verse, the meaning of these related verses would not make any sense. How could the related verses in the Koran praise the idols and then admonish them at the same time, without wasting any time? Even your logic wouldn't have any problem in seeing through this lie. Thank you for your time, Oswin. I hope you will continue reading. I pray that you may find true peace other than losing your mind with intoxicating drinks and sins of the flesh. They don't last. The truth will haunt you once you're sober.

18 February 2012 at 13:26  

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