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Friday, August 4, 2017

From the UN:

The Security Council today urged Member States to act cooperatively to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons and called upon them to counter threats posed by improvised explosive devices and to become party to related international and regional instruments.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2370 (2017), the Council reaffirmed its previous decision in resolution 1373 (2001) that all States should refrain from providing any form of support to those involved in terrorist acts, including by eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists.  The Council also encouraged Member States to take appropriate steps to prevent and disrupt activity that would violate Council-mandated arms embargos and reaffirmed its intention to strengthen relevant arms embargoes’ monitoring mechanisms.

Sounds great! Except...The UN has not, to this day defined "terrorism." And as such, it cannot define who these terrorist groups are that should not be getting weapons.

To be sure, the resolution mentions ISIL and Al Qaeda explicitly. In the preamble, for example, it says “Strongly condemning the continued flow of weapons, including small arms and light weapons, military equipment, unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and their components, and improvised explosive device (IED) components to and between ISIL (also known as Da’esh), Al-Qaida, their affiliates, and associated groups, illegal armed groups and criminals, and encouraging Member States to prevent and disrupt procurement networks for such weapons, systems and components between ISIL (also known as Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities."

But Hamas, Hezbollah, and other groups that target civilians are not covered by this resolution. UN members say this explicitly, as this video I produced last year with Human Rights Voices shows:

The UN has not, to this day, defined terrorism. And members openly promote some kinds of terrorism. So forgive me for being skeptical that a group that doesn't know what terrorism is claims that they are fighting terror.

In the discussions before passing this resolution, the only moral clarity came from Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN:

NIKKI HALEY (United States) noted that the resolution called attention to the obligation of all States to enforce United Nations arms embargoes.  Despite the Council’s efforts, weapons continued to flow into Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.  That was an unacceptable stain on the Council’s authority that must be removed.  Although great progress had been made against Da’esh and Al-Qaida, weapons continued to find their way into the hands of terrorists.  One country, Iran, stood out for its deliberate actions to support terrorist groups.  She recalled that, in 1984, the United States had designated Iran as a State sponsor of terrorism.  Now, terrorist proxies were carrying out the Iranian regime’s will in Iraq and Syria, while with Iran’s support, Hizbullah was preparing for war in Lebanon through the build-up of a stockpile of weapons and battle-hardened troops.  She encouraged the Council to be aware that weapons don’t just “fall” into the hands of terrorists; too often they were pushed.  As long as Iran was allowed to violate the Council’s resolutions, it would be a source of weapons for terrorists.

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