x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

UN veto resets power dial

Other Arabic editorials also comment on democracy in the region and the imbalance of influence at the Security Council.

Russian-Chinese veto of the Security Council resolution on Syria resets the power dial

The double veto that Russia and China used at the UN Security Council last Saturday to block a draft resolution that would push President Bashar Al Assad to step down and put an end to the violence in Syria marks "a turning point" in international relations, observed Abdelbari Atwan, editor of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi.

"This is the beginning of a new page in a Cold War of a different kind," he said.

One thing must be clear, Russia and China did not use their vetoes to show support for Mr Al Assad, or because they worry too much about Syria. "They did it to lay the foundations of a new multipolar global system, led by rising economic and military superpowers, and they intend to terminate the US-West hegemony over the world's resources."

It is no secret that today's world is not governed by emotions or high morals, it is ruled by economics and lust for power, the editor went on. And that explains why the countries that expressed their reservations about the draft resolution were the likes of India, Brazil and South Africa, all of which are emerging economies and members of the G20.

One veto would have sufficed to kill the Arab League-backed resolution on Syria, but Moscow and Beijing wanted to hammer the point home - the point that the two of them represent a bloc that will no longer bow to western influence.

The two powers of the East felt humiliated last year when Security Council resolution No 1973 on Libya - which they voted neither for nor against - was passed and ended up being a mandate for Nato forces to effect regime change in Libya, instead of protecting civilians, the editor said.

They said "No" this time, to prevent the same from happening in Syria. But the Syrian regime would be in the wrong if it sees in the Russian-Chinese veto some sort of vindication or a carte blanche to step up the killing of innocent civilians - as it did on the very night of the vote, when it killed 300 unarmed people in Homs.

Before you know it, Damascus will be "under a shared Russian-Chinese tutelage, deprived of independent decision-making," the editor noted.

Headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the Russian delegation expected to land in Damascus today is not going there for fun. It is carrying with it "a detailed roadmap specifying the reforms that the regime must undertake," the editor wrote.

So, Russia is taking matters in its own hands with unhidden assertiveness, letting the US and the West discover what being a decision-maker looks like from a distance.

Democracy in region contradicts purpose

Democracy in its Arabic version is quite different from its original Greek recipe. It barely shares any similarities with the modern democracies of the new world that emerged after the Second World War, suggested the columnist Abdulrahman Al Rashid in the London-based daily Asharq Alawsat.

"The Arab version is democratic only in appearance. While in all democracies people abide by the ballot box and accept the rule of the winning majority, the democratic practices aren't the same," he argued.

The democratic parliamentary elections in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Kuwait yielded an overwhelming victory for Islamist parties that are proceeding to impose their own particular set of rules and beliefs on their respective countries.

Certainly, it can't be expected that all people would be treated to the same principles of democracy, nonetheless, when the essential characteristics and requirements of democracy are changed, the concept itself is distorted.

In the new Arab political climate, a consistent pattern emerges: the majority monopolises authority and prohibits others from exercising their rights. Criticism of the newly "hallowed" religious proposals and tribal politics is banned.





A revolution within the UN is overdue

In an opinion article for the Dubai-based newspaper Al Emarat Al Youm, Adel Mohammed Al Rashid asked: when will the international spring come about?

He criticised the composition of the international system that is based on a hierarchy that places the UN Security Council, where five out of 200 members are granted absolute power, at the top. It is followed by the UN Assembly General with its limited powers.

"The international system represents a sample of many world dictatorships run by corruption and ruled by tyrants," he said. "It urgently calls for a 'spring' that brings the majority of oppressed peoples together to counter the globalisation of dictatorship in the United Nations, its Security Council, its disabled Assembly General and its biased organisations."

The five major powers within the UNSC use their veto right to control the rest of the world: the right to veto is unquestioned when the US uses it to acquit Israel of aggressions and crimes. The same right benefits Russia and China when they see it fit to foil an international decision to stop the bloodshed in Syria as it doesn't fulfil their ambitions or protect their interests in the deal to sell out the tyrant Syrian regime.


* Digest compiled by Translation Desk