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Monthly Archives: August 2012

UN Brings U.S. a New Low in Iran Diplomacy

August 29th, 2012 - 10:51 pm

Every time you think it can’t get worse….

It’s quite bad enough that Iran is taking over the three-year chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement — one of the largest voting blocs in the United Nations General Assembly — and is right now hosting a summit for the occasion in Tehran.

It’s even worse that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon decided to attend this summit, and is right now in Tehran, where he met Wednesday with terrorist-backing, pro-genocide rulers such as the putative president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and big boss Ali Khamenei (he of the Iranian Islamic Revolution’s modest title “Supreme Leader”). You can see a photo of the Khamenei encounter here, courtesy of Iran’s Fars News Agency, in which Ban is leaning forward, head humbly lowered, presumably to catch every word of the enthroned ayatollah.

But on top of that display comes word that Ban, while touring the Tehran regime, has brought in tow a former U.S. assistant secretary of state, Jeffrey Feltman, who just last month moved to the UN to serve as under-secretary-general for political affairs. Actually, what delivered that news more powerfully than words was another photo, released by Iranian authorities and, appropriately enough, dubbed “Photo of the Day” by Foreign Policy. The photo gives a wider view of Ban’s meeting with Khamenei, in which Khamenei sat authoritatively in a chair, and Ban sat humbly on a couch — and there, sharing the couch right next to Ban, is the American, Jeffrey Feltman.

Feltman looks ill at ease, eyeing the photographer while Ban’s attentions are all on Khamenei. There are plenty of reasons for Feltman to look uneasy. This is a diplomatic coup for Iran’s regime, which tops the U.S. list of terrorist-sponsoring states, thumbs its nose at UN and U.S. sanctions, and continues to pursue nuclear weapons, coupled with threats to America and America’s allies — including the genocidal threat to annihilate Israel. Nonetheless, not only has the UN secretary-general gone to Iran to round out the guest list of Iran’s pals in “non-alignment.”  He has also brought with him, under the UN banner, a former high-ranking U.S. diplomat, to help pay court to Khamenei.

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Plaudits to the watchdog group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), which is again tackling the mission of persuading New York City hotels to spurn Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his entourage when they come to Manhattan for the late-September opening of the United Nations General Assembly. This will be Ahmadinejad’s eighth consecutive year of attending the UN’s annual opening, and in years past UANI has led campaigns to drive him out of the Intercontinental and the Hilton Manhattan East, and is now calling on the Warwick Hotel — which hosted him last year — to give him the cold shoulder. In a Thursday press release, UANI congratulates an array of other hotels for refusing to provide rooms to the smirking face of Iran’s terror-based regime.

All of which is gratifying, but presents an intriguing question — since it looks quite likely that even if Manhattan hoteliers take a principled stand for U.S. interests, the UN and the U.S. State Department will do no such thing. They will almost certainly insist that regardless of Tehran’s baggage of terror plots, genocidal threats, domestic repression, illicit nuclear activities, and U.S. and UN sanctions, Ahmadinejad will yet again be accorded the full array of  privileges and immunities that the UN is pleased to bestow on all its member tyrants. Ahmadinejad and his retinue will be permitted entry to the U.S., ushered into Manhattan, and provided with top-notch security, courtesy of the same U.S. taxpayers whose country and way of life he would like to destroy.

But the question. If New York hotels won’t host Ahmadinejad, then where should he stay?

Maybe he can pitch a tent in Central Park? Fuggedaboutit. The late Moammar Gaddafi made a bid for that when he came to the UN’s annual opening in 2009, the year Libya’s man presided over the UN General Assembly. New York City said no. So did New Jersey.

There are plenty of other possibilities, of course. Perhaps Ahmadinejad could offer to deliver another lecture at Columbia University, in exchange for access to visiting faculty housing. Or, on a more pedestrian note, he could simply bunk down in the quarters of Iran’s ambassador to the UN, and cram his retinue into the broom closets. One can come up with all sorts of ideas.

But I have my own preferred solution. It’s obvious. By now, it would be entirely fitting for Ahmadinejad to bunk down in New York as the house guest of none other than Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the UN.

For Ban to refuse Ahmadinejad such a favor would be nothing short of churlish. After all, Ban is about to avail himself of the Iranian regime’s hospitality later this very month, when he travels Tehran to to attend the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. For reasons having no discernible connection to experience, reality, or even sanity, the UN secretary-general has apparently decided that if he can just spend a few days rubbing elbows with Iran’s terror-masters, he can talk them into good behavior.

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Now Could We Please Refuse Him a Visa?

August 17th, 2012 - 7:11 pm

Here we go again, with Iran’s Holocaust-Denier-in-Chief Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for the eradication of Israelpromising it, actually. In response, the U.S. administration has apparently ratcheted up its rhetoric from calling such threats “unacceptable” (or somesuch equally menacing bit of diplospeak)  to calling them “reprehensible.” That ought to have the the terror-masters of Tehran cowering in their in their summer palaces.

Clearly this calls for U.S. measures more persuasive than mainly chasing Iranian front operations from one sanctions-busting shell company to the next.

But while our leaders wring their hands over how to cope with the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, and its genocidal threats, there is at least one small thing that could surely be done right now. Ahmadinejad will soon be putting in applications for U.S. visas for himself and his entourage to attend the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next month — if indeed, these applications have not been submitted already. There is no good reason why the State Department could not prepare a fitting receptacle in which to file these for processing. Say, a large wastebasket, or perhaps a particularly deep storm drain.

Though an even better approach would be to just say no. Let Tehran and the UN howl. To allow this mouthpiece of a murderous totalitarian state, plus his entourage, yet another entry to America would be beyond… what’s that word? … “reprehensible.”

The UN File: Let Us Now Thank Sudan

August 11th, 2012 - 1:56 am

Sudan’s regime is not, as a rule, a venture that inspires thank you notes. Sudan is a sinkhole of repression, violence, and even slavery. Its president, Omar al-Bashir, is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide. Its security forces are notorious for arbitrary arrests, rape, and torture, which, as the U.S. State Department notes, they usually commit with impunity. And, courtesy of Amnesty International, you can read here about the case of 23-year-old Layla Ibrahim Issa Jumul, who just last month, convicted in Sudan of adultery, was sentenced to be stoned to death.

Now, as UN Watch notes, “It’s Official: Genocidal Sudan Running Uncontested for U.N. Human Rights Council Seat.” Word of this, first reported by UN Watch, had been circulating for weeks. The UN General Assembly, which oversees the Human Rights Council, and votes on who fills these seats, had coyly refrained until this past week from posting Sudan’s candidacy on the web site for the Human Rights Council elections. But here it is, the official site, where Sudan now shows up as one of five African nations running for five seats allotted in this election to Africa. In other words, Sudan’s run is uncontested. Unless competition materializes before the election takes place this November, it’s highly likely that Sudan will win a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

That’s an outrage, rightly condemned as such. It’s an abomination that the government of Sudan might be seated on any council presumed to be associated with human rights.

It’s also how the UN system works. This is the default mode. Never mind such distractions as genuine human rights. At the UN, tyrannies and democracies all enjoy equal rights — to votes in the General Assembly, and seats and posts within the UN empire of commissions, councils, programs, funds, and organizations. The old UN Commission on Human Rights was “reformed” in 2006 precisely because it had utterly discredited itself — devoting most of its energies to the anti-Semitic exercise of condemning democratic Israel, while serving as a nest for some of the world’s worst regimes — including Sudan. Here we go again.

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