Last week Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and asked him not to attend the upcoming summit of the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran. “It would grant legitimacy to a regime that is the greatest threat to world peace,” declared the Prime Minister’s Office. The Israeli Left, as ever oddly defending the theocracy in Iran, jumped at the chance to bash Netanyahu for his “damaging” conduct. A Haaretz editorial screamed; “Yes, Iran is a member of the Non- Aligned Movement, but so are dozens of other countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa.”
Not only is the summit of the NAM being held in Iran, the Iranian president, the warm and cuddly Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is poised to take over as secretary-general of the movement at the August 26 meeting. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparasat has proudly declared that under Iran’s banner the movement will “eliminate international problems.”
No need not speculate what Iran might define as a “problem” – after it hosted the “World Without Zionism” conference that is quite obvious – but it is worth understanding just what kind of nations are members of the NAM.
Just as the tin-pot dictatorships calling themselves “Peoples Democratic Republics” have nothing to do with democracy, the NAM has nothing to do with being nonaligned. Like the UN’s Human Rights Council, it is a system of states designed primarily to act as a playground for dictators, massmurderers and tyrants of all kinds.
Any nation that attends the conference in Tehran is supporting Iran’s policies, and the head of the UN, who has been a champion of human rights, should indeed reconsider going.
The non-Aligned Movement has its origins in the policies of the erudite Indian nationalist V.K. Menon, who once compared English rule to that of the Nazis. A nimble statesman who argued for nuclear disarmerment and injected himself into conflicts in Egypt and Korea, he was also a nationalist who fought for India’s rights in Kashmir, bashing Pakistan for its dictatorial policies.
The creation of a “third bloc,” separate from the Soviets and the West during the Cold War, was supported by Indonesia and Yugoslavia and resulted in founding conferences in 1954 and 1961. The reality was that every nation that joined the NAM in the early days was sympathetic to Communism, but many preferred to be out from under the direct boot of Soviet control.
The NAM movement sought to create a network of second- and third-world countries that would mutually support each others’ human rights violations and, in most cases, dictatorships. They swore themselves to “peaceful coexistence” and “mutual respect for each others’ territorial integrity.” Of course, they were not very peaceful.
India fought a war with China in 1962 and invaded Goa in 1961. Indonesia’s Sukarno organized the murder of a million people, many of them members of the Chinese minority, in 1966. Egypt’s Nasser was one of the most virulent demagouges of his era, invading Yemen, fighting two wars with Israel and bombing Saudi Arabia.
Yet the movement and its peace charade continued to grow thoughout the 1970s and ‘80s. At the 1979 meeting in Havana Fidel Castro declared that the movement stood against “imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, forms of aggression, occupation and interference [in national affairs].” It is widely known that Castro, in 1979, was one of the USSR’s closest allies.
How the movement was chaired by a known Soviet protectorate and still considered “non-aligned” is not clear. But better leaders were to come; in 1986 Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, fresh from the Metebeleland massacres (sometimes called Gukurahundi), hosted the movement in Zimbabwe.
In 2003, the movement gathered in Malaysia to hear the poetic words of Mahathir Mohammed. Mohammed, it should be recalled, said in October of that year that “Jews rule the world by proxy” and that the world was locked in a war with the Jews. Remember, this is the same NAM that has pledged itself time and again to respect the UN charter on human rights and to fight against racism.
Those are familiar with the NAM know it chooses as its logo every three years something to do with peace. In South Africa it was a beaded embroidery with a dove on it. At the 2009 meeting in Egypt’s Sharm e-Sheikh it was a dove with a little pyramid at the bottom. Anyone familiar with the Middle East conflict knows that peace slogans often mask frothing hate. The NAM is a good example.
It is primarily an organization devoted to the maintenance of dictatorial regimes and the extension of state-sponsored murder. Recent additions to the network of tyranny have included the one-party state of Turkmenistan and its “president for life” Turkmenbasy. In addition, human rights icon Belarus is now the only European member of the NAM, having joined in 1998.
As Belarusan Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Martynov explained in 2006, “Belarus as a NAM member state has an opportunity to rely on this majority, which provides us with additional levers for promoting Belarusian interest, which are identical with those of the NAM. For example, our colleagues and friends in the Movement supported us in successfully blocking anti-Belarusian draft resolutions in the UN, which did not meet our interests.”
The Belarus statement perfectly captures the capriciousness of this organization. It is no surprise that the NAM recently rejected Costa Rica, a country that has no army and has long been known as a beacon of democracy and peacemaking. It was denied membership because of its “close relations with the US.” This despite the fact that Cuba, a close relation with one-time Cold War leader the USSR, once headed the NAM.
During the UN General Assembly vote condemning Syria on August 3, only 12 countries voted against the resolution. China and Russia voted against because they have made it clear they support the Assad regime, or at least don’t accept international efforts against it.
Iran, a close friend of Assad, made clear its full support for him on August 7 when it sent security council leader Saeed Jalili to Damascus. Tariq Almohayed of as-Sharq al-Awsat noted, “Tehran now intends to protect al- Assad, who has become a personal cause in the hands of the Supreme Leader.”
Who are the other other supporters of Assad?
Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, North Korea, Venezuela and Zimbabwe – all key members of the NAM. Thus we see support for Syria derives from a hard-core bloc of non-aligned countries.
But remember how NAM pledged itself to respect “fundamental human rights”? In this case it is clear that not all humans deserve rights in the NAM approach.
The support by the die-hard non-aligned countries of their dictator friend Assad is not surprising. It is like the fact that Sudan is once again going to be elected to the Human Rights Council at the UN. That the NAM will be meeting in Tehran is not surprising; it has been chaired by other nefarious leaders.
What is troubling is that Ban Ki-moon is considering lending it legitimacy. It is also scary that the Israeli Left is ever enamored of the NAM’s claim to seek “diplomatic” solutions to internal conflicts like that in Syria.
The reality is that 137 members of the UN General Assembly voted against Syria, with only a motley crew of the usual suspects supporting Damascus. The NAM’s role is not “diplomatic” effort to end the bloodshed; rather, when the NAM is done with Syria there will be no more blood to shed – because there will be no more opposition.
That the Left, confusing names and underlying values, is easily misled by slogans like “non-aligned,” “peace” and “peoples democratic republic” is glaringly demonstrated by its support of an alliance of murderers at the non-aligned summit. The Secretary General of the UN should not enable and lend credence to this charade by attending the summit.
The NAM has proved time and again that its members support leaders whose policies are diametricaly opposed to the NAM’s declared international committments.