Jose Ramos-Horta to run for President of East Timor

He used to grin and chuckle when called the future President, all those years when he was working in exile to bring independence to his people. At times, it seemed East Timor was a hopeless case, and he was working for a lost cause — all those years that he paced the corridors of the UN, briefcase in hand, speaking with calm politeness to anybody who would listen to him, in any one of the several languages he speaks. (His cv, posted on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of East Timor at — which doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2004, says he speaks Portuguese, Tetun, English, French, and Spanish.)

His cv says: “When Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, Ramos-Horta was on his way to the United Nations Security Council, urging them to take action in the face of the Indonesian Military onslaught that killed one third of the Timorese population. [His cv says elsewhere that he was the Fretilin representative to the UN and to the U.S. from 1976 to 1990] Despite his exile, in 1991 Ramos-Horta was elected Vice President of the National Council Maubere Resistance (CNRM), an umbrella organization of pro-independence movements both in and outside East Timor. In 1998, he was again elected Vice President for CNRM’s successor organistaion – CNRT” (National Council of Timorese Resisance).

Before 1975, Ramos-Horta had been a journalist.

After his arrival at the UN, he worked and lived out of a very small and modest apartment located not far from the UN HQ building, cooking chicken with celery, served with rice, and working on a computer donated by Mozambique. And he studied. All those years, he cultivated the NGO representatives (with names like Beth, who dressed in the dowdy manner of lay nuns) and university students (with names like Arnold, who helped with the computer work and helped develop a media strategy), and flaming journalists, and Congressional aides, and the Portuguese public, who didn’t want to hear too much about East Timor for a while, but slowly rallied in response to the repressive measures implemented by the Indonesian military which had moved in when Portugal simply walked away from all its former colonies. The Portuguese nation-wide protest, when people went out into the streets and held hands to form human chains of solidarity that stretched across the country, was a turning point. I think he was there, then.

Perhaps momentum had already turned in favor of Timor’s independence, in 1996, when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Ramos-Horta, who worked in exile, and to Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, who stayed in Timor, was another turning point. After that, the awards accelerated, and he was also awarded no fewer than seven honorary doctorates.

His cv states that “In the course of many years, [he] attended and actively participated in numerous thematic international conferences dealing with self-determination and de-colonization, human rights, law of the sea, world criminal court, small arms and disarmament, etc.” He came, briefcase in hand, to every annual session of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva since 1979, apparently, and he worked the room, and the corridors, speaking for his people, reminding the international community of the hunger and hardship and poverty and repression they faced, and always reminding them of his deference to the then-imprisoned leader, Xanana Gusmao.

The six Lusophone, or Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa, which had also been former Portuguese colonies, all supported East Timor’s cause, and the umbrella resistance movement that Ramos-Horta also represented, but none more than Mozambique. Ramos-Horta was also helping Mozambique from Washington, as a special media advisor, from 1986-1988, his cv says. But, before that, Mozambique gave shelter to the FRETELIN leadership, and it gave them a farm, close by the border with South Africa, where Mari Alkatiri (of distant Yemeni origin — Yemenis brought coffee cultivation to East Timor) and his family and other FRETILIN colleagues raised and sold chickens, and vegetables, to support themselves, during the extreme penury of the early 1980s, when the South-African supported Renamo rebel movement cut off much of the supply of meat and produce to the Mozambican capital, Maputo.

Jose Ramos-Horta became East Timor’s first Foreign Minister, and held office from 2002-June 2006. At the end of June, he replaced Mari Alkatiri as Prime Minister and Head of Government, and as Minister of Defense, after AlKatiri ‘s actions were criticized during a rebellious (or “mutinous”) strike by some 600 soldiers that started in April. Ramos-Horta acted as a mediator at the time. The chaos that surrounded that dispute brought a return of Australian forces acting as peacekeepers, and a infusion of UN policemen.

Today, Ramos-Horta announced his candidacy for president in the forthcoming 9 April elections — after first telling his plans to to Al-Jazeera last week. An article in The Scotsman today, by Lirio da Fonseca, reports that: “In his earlier comments to Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera, Ramos-Horta said: ‘I have consulted with my president, Xanana Gusmao, consulted with the (Catholic) bishops and I have decided to accept the burden’. East Timor is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.”

The Timorese Government website gives this background: “… In the words of the captain of Malacca in 1518 to King D. Manuel, the Timorese also ‘had natural aversion to the Muslims’…Efforts to promote spiritual conversion to Christian Catholicism were introduced into Timor through Portuguese colonisation. However, the influence of the Catholic Church really took hold and began to strengthen only after the Indonesian invasion. This is partly because the Church, particularly the Diocese of Dili, gained the respect and prestige of the people during this period because they often came to the defense of Timorese lives. Today more than 90% of Timorese identify Catholicism as their religion. Nevertheless, animist beliefs remain strong in Timor-Leste …”
And, “The Catholic faith has become a central part of East Timorese culture during the Indonesian occupation between 1975 and 1999. Although under Portuguese rule, the East Timorese had mostly been animist, the number of Catholics dramatically increased. This was for several reasons: Indonesia was predominantly Muslim; the Indonesian state required adherence to one of five officially recognised religions and did not recognise traditional beliefs; and because the Catholic church, which remained directly responsible to the Vatican throughout Indonesian rule, became a refuge for East Timorese seeking sanctuary from persecution. The ‘Apostolic Administrator’ (de facto Bishop) of the Diocese of Dili, Monsignor Martinho da Costa Lopes, began speaking out against human rights abuses by the Indonesian security forces, including rape, torture, murder, and disappearances. Following pressure from Jakarta, he stepped down in 1983 and was replaced by the younger priest, Monsignor Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo, who Indonesia thought would be more loyal. However, he too began speaking out, not only against human rights abuses, but the issue of self-determination, writing an open letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, calling for a referendum. In 1996 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with exiled leader Jose Ramos-Horta, now the country’s Foreign Minister.”

The Scotsman article reports that “Horta said on Sunday his candidacy is for peace, reconciliation, understanding, the poor and justice. He promised to state his programmes in writing so the public could see how ‘a president cooperates with the government, parliament and NGOs to help the poor’. East Timor’s current president, Xanana Gusmao, a hero of the fight against Indonesia in a near 25-year occupation that followed a Portuguese pull-out in 1975, has repeatedly said he would not run again. The dominant political party in parliament, Fretilin, has already said it will put up a candidate. [Ramos-Horta is running against this possible candidate.] Both Ramos-Horta and Gusmao have historical ties to Fretilin, which has left-wing roots and was the major pro-independence organisation in the battle against Indonesian forces. But in recent years the two took a more independent path and are regarded as friendlier to Western countries and liberal economic policies than the older Fretilin stalwarts.”

The Prime Minister’s page on the Timorese Government website says that “When East Timor finally voted to become independent he [Ramos-Horta] entered the interim administration as economics minister, forging his reputation as a tough operator as chief negotiator over the rich petroleum resources in the sea between Australia and Timor”.

There is some interesting biographical background on Gusmao on the President’s page of the offical government website: “After leaving high-school at the age of sixteen (for financial reasons), he worked a variety of unskilled jobs, although he continued his education at evening college…In 1966 Gusmão [aged 20] obtained a position with the public service, which allowed him to continue his education. This was interrupted in 1968 when Gusmão was recruited in the Portuguese army for national service. He served for three years, rising to the rank of corporal…[He married and eventually had two children.] 1971 was a turning point for Gusmão. He completed his national service, his son was born, and he became involved with a nationalist organisation headed by José Ramos Horta. For the next three years he was actively involved in peaceful protests at the colonial system. [I]n 1974, a left-wing coup in Portugal resulted in the beginning of decolonisation for Portuguese Timor, and shortly afterwards the Governor Mário Lemos Pires announced plans to grant the colony independence. Plans were drawn up to hold general elections with a view to independence in 1978. During most of 1975 a bitter internal struggle occurred between two rival factions in Portuguese Timor. Gusmão became deeply involved with the Fretilin faction, and as a result he was arrested and imprisoned by the rival faction the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) in mid-1975. Taking advantage of the internal disorder, and with an eye to absorbing the colony, Indonesia immediately began a campaign of destabilisation, and frequent raids into Portuguese Timor were staged from Indonesian Timor. By late 1975 the Fretilin faction had gained control of Portuguese Timor and Gusmão was released. He was given the position of Press Secretary within the Fretilin organisation. On November 28, 1975, Fretilin declared the independence of Portuguese Timor as ‘The Democratic Republic of East Timor’, and Gusmão was responsible for filming the ceremony. Nine days later Indonesia invaded East Timor. At the time Gusmão was visiting friends outside of Dili and he witnessed the invasion from the hills. For the next few days he searched for his family. During the early 1990s Gusmão became heavily involved in diplomacy and media management, and was instrumental in alerting the world to the massacre that occurred in Santa Cruz on November 12, 1991. Gusmão was interviewed by many major media channels and obtained worldwide attention. As a result of his high profile, Gusmão became a prime target of the Indonesian government. A campaign for his capture was finally successful in November 1992. In May, 1993, Gusmão was tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Indonesian Government. He was denied the right to a defence. Although not released until late 1999, Gusmão successfully led the resistance from within prison. During this time he was regularly visited by United Nations representatives, and dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela”.

East Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia on 30 August 1999, and widely-reported dreadful reprisals brought in not only UN Peacekeepers but also a UN Administration that ran the country until 2002.

East Timor is the still the world’s newest state, and the most recent new member in the United Nations.

Last week, the UN Security Council weighed in again, and voted unanimously, as the Associated Press reported, “to extend the U.N. mission in East Timor and beef up the international police force ahead of upcoming elections, urging that they be free, fair and peaceful … East Timor’s Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta urged the council to extend the mission in his volatile country for one year, saying the next months will be critical as the Pacific nation prepares for its first national elections on April 9. The council responded Thursday by extending the mission until Feb. 26, 2008 and authorizing an additional 140 police to supplement the current force ‘particularly during the pre- and post-election period’. The mission currently has about 1,300 international police. East Timor, a tiny nation which broke from Indonesia in 1999 after 24 years of occupation, was plunged into crisis last April and May when factional fighting broke out between police and army forces. The clashes spilled onto the streets, where looting, arson and gang warfare left at least 37 dead and sent 155,000 people fleeing their homes. Relative calm was restored with the arrival of more than 2,500 foreign peacekeepers and the installation of a new government led by Ramos-Horta, but dozens of people have been killed in recent months primarily in fighting by rival gangs. The Security Council expressed concern Thursday at ‘the still fragile and volatile security, political, social and humanitarian situation in East Timor’. It encouraged the people and government to redouble efforts to support national dialogue and achieve political reconciliation. The council said the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections ‘will be a significant step in the process of strengthening democracy in East Timor’ … Last year’s violence was the worst to hit the country of less than 1 million people since it voted to break from Indonesia in 1999. It following the dismissal of 600 soldiers by then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, a move that split the armed forces into factions and later spilled over into gang warfare. In a report to the council last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pointed to several unresolved issues, including the grievances of the fired soldiers and demands for justice for the deaths during the violent clashes in April and May. Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and ruled the tiny half-island territory until 1999, when a U.N.-organized plebiscite resulted in an overwhelming vote for independence. Withdrawing Indonesian troops and their militia auxiliaries destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and killed at least 1,500 people.”

“UNMIT is an entirely new mission for Timor Leste. It was established on August 25th 2006 by the UN Security Council, and its full mandate is spelled out in Security Council Resolution 1704. UNMIT’s job is about stability, national reconciliation, and democratic governance for Timor Leste. It will work to strengthen key institutions, it will facilitate relief and recovery, and it will aid justice and reconciliation. All aspects of the 2007 elections will be supported, including technical and logistical support, plus verification and advice on electoral policy.”

Jose Ramos-Horta reportedly toyed with the idea of running for the post of UN SG last year — it was the turn for an Asian candidate — but perhaps it was a joke?

He apparently does have a utopian ecumenical streak: on 26 December, Iran Daily published a story reporting that: “East Timor Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta said Tuesday he hoped Osama bin Laden had tuned in from his mountain hideout to hear his Christmas message of peace directed at the feared terrorist leader. According to AFP, Ramos-Horta’s message to the elusive September 11 mastermind was broadcast on the BBC. ‘It occurred to me that a man who is one of the most feared and detested on earth by some and admired by others, might tune into the BBC and hear my message’, he said. The BBC had asked a variety of world leaders and personalities to send a seasonal greeting to the person of their choosing.
‘Wole Soyinka (Nigeria’s first Nobel laureate) understandably gave his message to the people of Darfur, and Bishop Desmond Tutu to fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi’, Ramos-Horta said. ‘I have no illusions that my message will achieve any change, but I thought that here I had a chance that Osama bin Laden would listen and maybe, just maybe, my message would touch his conscience’, he said in explanation of his choice of recipient. Ramos-Horta’s message was broadcast at the weekend. ‘On this occasion when we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, my words, words of peace, are sent to my brother somewhere in the mountains, in the caves, of Afghanistan and Pakistan, Osama bin Laden. Yes, I consider you to be a brother’, he said. Ramos-Horta said he failed to understand why bin Laden directed his resentment over the harm done to Muslims against innocent civilians. ‘I come from a small country, East Timor, that was invaded by the largest Muslim country in the world…I lost brothers and sisters, yet I do not hate one single Muslim, I do not hate one single Indonesian. That’s the only difference between you and me, my brother Osama bin Laden’, he said.”

Jose Ramos-Horta is a good man, and an effective political operative and negotiator, and would be a great President for East Timor — if the country doesn’t fall apart first.

Is this how the UN Oil-For-Food Program was really set up?

Here is a very wierd story, published in the Washington Post today. Are we to believe that this man and his likes were the ones who set up the UN Oil-For-Food program? And then the skimmed off the top?

“South Korean businessman and influence peddler Tongsun Park was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for his role in the bribery scandal surrounding the United Nation’s oil-for-food program for Iraq a decade ago. Park, 71, admitted taking more than $2.5 million from Saddam Hussein’s government to bribe senior U.N. officials to persuade them to ease economic sanctions against Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He was convicted in July of acting as an unregistered agent of Iraq; he was to have set up a back channel between then-U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and then-Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. The sentence was the maximum possible. U.S. District Judge Denny Chin also ordered Park to forfeit $1.2 million of his assets and fined him $15,000. Chin said Park had ‘acted out of greed’ and ‘blatantly disregarded the law’. ‘You either bribed a U.N. official or you were acting as if you were going to bribe a U.N. official’, Chin told Park, who stood impassively in the courtroom. He was taken into custody after saying goodbye to friends. Park’s trial and a U.N. investigation exposed a secretive network of businessmen, Washington politicians and other insiders who joined forces in the early 1990s to ease U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990. Their efforts eventually led to the $64 million oil-for-food program allowing Iraq to sell its oil to pay for humanitarian goods. Park’s role in the scheme marked an extraordinary comeback — and another amazing fall — for a man who was indicted in the 1970s ‘Koreagate’ influence-peddling scandal that roiled Washington. He had funneled hundreds of thousands in cash from the South Korean government to influential members of Congress. After the case broke, Park fled to South Korea. But after bribery charges against him were dropped, he agreed to return to the United States and testify before Congress about his activities. During that era, Park was a fixture in Washington political circles, hosting parties at his historic George Town Club. His friends and clients included the late House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. (D-Mass.), Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) and William E. Timmons, an influential Republican lobbyist who once joined forces with Park in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the U.S. ouster of Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. ‘He was always known as a man who was willing to bring two people together for the right price’, said Mark G. Califano, a former U.N. investigator who co-wrote “Good Intentions Corrupted,” a book based on the findings of a U.N. probe led by former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul A. Volcker. Despite his past, Park insinuated himself with Boutros-Ghali in the early 1990s, acting as an unofficial intelligence adviser on issues including the Korean Peninsula and Japan. He provided ‘first-class information’, ‘knew everybody’ and was ‘an integral part’ of Washington’s political elite, Boutros-Ghali told a team of U.N. investigators probing corruption in the humanitarian program. Park was also valued by Boutros-Ghali and U.N. insiders for his capacity to secure money and political support for a variety of U.N. causes, including the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration… The federal investigation into the oil-for-food program has expanded into a wider probe of other corruption at the United Nations and has resulted in the indictment or conviction of 14 people.”

The NY Times version of this story reports:
“Judge Denny Chin of Federal District Court in Manhattan said Mr. Park had ‘blatantly disregarded the law’ by taking more than $2 million for trying to lobby United Nations officials to ease sanctions against Iraq. ‘You acted out of greed, acted to profit from what was supposed to be a humanitarian program’, Judge Chin told Mr. Park. He also fined him $15,000 and ordered him to forfeit $1.2 million. The judge called the sentence ‘harsh’ for a 71-year-old man with health problems. But he also said it was ‘appropriate’. Mr. Park was found guilty last July. He was the first defendant to go to trial in connection with a scandal that involved cash from Iraq in diplomatic pouches, ‘back-channel communications’ to the United Nations secretary general at the time, and even a scheme to bribe him. The oil-for-food program was intended to ease some aspects of the sanctions imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990. Under it, Mr. Hussein’s government could use the money from limited oil sales to buy aid supplies — food, medicine and other nonmilitary staples. Federal prosecutors said Mr. Park had even had a hand in influencing the negotiations that gave birth to the aid program in 1995. … Judge Chin focused on the money that passed through Mr. Park’s hands, and on the money that he pocketed. The judge said Mr. Park had accepted ‘manila folders filled with $100 bills’ and had once gone to Iraq to pick up $700,000 in cash. Mr. Park’s lawyer, Michael S. Kim, said Mr. Park had decided not to say anything in court because of ‘advanced age, frail health and his desire to get his life back on track’. Mr. Park said at the time of his arrest that he had diabetes and high blood pressure and had just had a kidney transplant. The sentencing came hours after Judge Chin refused a request from four other defendants to dismiss separate fraud and conspiracy charges. They have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. Mr. Park, who was also a central figure in a Congressional bribery scandal in the 1970s that became known as Koreagate, was arrested 13 months ago. Mexican immigration officials took him into custody at the Mexico City airport. As prosecutors prepared their case against Mr. Park, an independent panel led by Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, concluded that at the time of his activities for Iraq, Mr. Park was something of an informal adviser to the United Nations secretary general at the time, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.”

BAN KI-MOON is now the Secretary-General of the United Nations

The Associated Press (AP) is not sleeping.  UN Correspondent Edith Lederer writes in a piece published this morning that Ban Ki-moon takes the reins of U.N.: “UNITED NATIONS – South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-moon became the United Nations’ eighth secretary-general on New Year’s Day as the organization faced a tough array of global issues — from escalating violence in Darfur to the AIDS pandemic.  The 62-year-old career diplomat, who grew up during a war that left his country divided, has promised to make peace with North Korea a top priority.  He will travel there when necessary, he has said, and has cautioned that the reclusive communist nation must be talked to — not just punished with sanctions for its nuclear weapons program.  The United States is certain to press Ban to expand management reforms [!!!] at the United Nations, which outgoing Secretary-General Kofi Annan began.  The 192-member General Assembly, which controls the U.N. budget and oversees its management, has been reluctant to institute changes [the GA is not totally stupid] that Annan and many experts say are essential to modernize the 61-year-old world body.  In a speech after taking his oath of office Dec. 14, Ban said he will work to build ‘a more peaceful, more prosperous and more just world for succeeding generations’. His first priority, he said, will be to restore trust in the United Nations, whose reputation has been battered by the oil-for-food scandal in Iraq, corruption in the U.N.’s purchasing operations and sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers.  ‘I will seek to act as a harmonizer and bridge-builder,’ Ban said. ‘And I hope to become known … as a secretary-general who is accessible, hardworking, and prepared to listen attentively.”  [except for the hardworking part, that will be something really new — almost everyone in the UN, every last person, is hard working, but to what end?  Mostly, they are spinning their wheels, or pleasing their banally evil bosses, or their banally evil bosses bosses — producing reports of output is the main activity, at least, until “strategic communications came along.]  Ban officially became secretary-general at the stroke of midnight, but no official ceremony was scheduled.  He won’t get to move into his official residence — an 85-year-old neo-Georgian town house on New York’s fashionable Sutton Place — due to renovations, the first since 1950.  The General Assembly recently approved $4.9 million to modernize the residence’s heating, air conditioning, plumbing, kitchen and security. The work is expected to take about nine months.  Ban defeated six other candidates for U.N. chief and won final approval from the General Assembly in October. Since then, he has been meeting with a wide range of people inside and outside the U.N. to prepare for the job.  On Sunday, Ban announced his first two appointments. He named veteran Indian diplomat Vijay Nambiar as his chief of staff, and award-winning Haitian journalist Michele Montas [see below] as his spokeswoman.  Ban said in a statement Sunday that he will make more appointments in the coming days. The most important will be his choice for deputy secretary-general — widely expected to be a woman from a developing country.  The new secretary-general’s first day at U.N. headquarters will be Tuesday, when he plans to meet with U.N. staff after an official welcome and sit for his official portrait.  Ban will be the first Asian to lead the organization in 35 years. It also will mark a milestone for South Korea, which only joined the United Nations in 1991 and still has U.N. troops on the tense border with North Korea.

[There is still a UN peacekeeping operation on the Korean DMZ — its only members are U.S. forces, however — and they produce regular reports, too.]

I wrote about this in yesterday’s posting — (the expression, I mean)

The Associated Press (AP) is reporting today from Iraq that hundreds are flocking to see Saddam’s gravesite near his hometown of Tikrit.  One AP story has this: “Mohammed Natiq, a 24-year-old college student, said ‘the path of Arab nationalism must inevitably be paved with blood…God has decided that Saddam Hussein should have such an end, but his march and the course which he followed will not end,’ Natiq said.”

No, the mindset is not the expression of some defective culture, or religion, or genes, or DNA — it’s the product of decades, more than a century of decades, of being lied to, and dismissed, and oppressed.  

The license plates of the U.S. State of Vermont proclaim “Live free or die!”, so why should we expect anybody in the Middle East to believe something else?

Lawrence of Arabia lied to the Arabs, when he promised them independence if they fought with the British against the Ottoman Turks — he didn’t mean to lie, and he felt guilty about it to the end of his days.  But his bosses didn’t care.  They had other more strategic considerations.  The British were obsessed and annoyed by the French (and vice versa), and they tried to out-manoeuver and use each other whenever possible, but both were mistrustful of the Russians, and all of them were opposed to the Ottoman Turks who had ruled the Middle East for five hundred years. 

The Jewish representations, too, were used (London tried to play other diaspora organizations against the World Zionist Organization, for example), but the Jews used the Allied and Axis Powers back, with a vengeance. 

But, instead of finding any common cause with the Arabs, the Jewish leadership by-and-large despised the Arabs, and dismissed them, and dispossessed them, and continue to take pleasure in any small victory over Arabs.

The League of Nations was a shameless clearinghouse for colonialist ambitions of the victorious (over the Ottomans) Western European powers, and the United Nations simply took over the dossier, without ever solving the Middle East problems to this very day. 

UN General Assembly Resolution 181 was a legitimate disposal of the British Mandate of Palestine under what is called “international law” (the Arab delegations who were able to participate were out-voted and out-manoeuvered, but that’s democracy, isn’t it?). 

But, UN GA Resolution 181, adopted on 29 November 1947, authorized the partition of the former British Mandate of Palestine (the British didn’t want the hassle any more, and so just washed their hands of it and left) into a Jewish State and an “Arab” State, with economic union, and a “Special International Regime” (under UN rule at the beginning) for the city of Jerusalem. 

OK, Resolution 181 envisaged  “responsibilities” for the Trusteeship Council in the Partition Plan, but that never happened.

The General Assembly also requested the UN Security Council to take the necessary measures to implement the Partition Plan, and to determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged in the Partition Plan.

Israel was proclaimed as the British pulled out, overnight, on 14-15 May 1948, but the “Arab” State of, or in, Palestine has not yet come into existence, despite many lost opportunites — lost not only by the Palestinians, as so many like to say, but also by Israel, by the United Nations, by the West, and by the rest of the world. 

All could have helped, but didn’t.

Let us also not forget that Israel was admitted as a full Member State in the United Nations in relatively short order, while Jordan (which had occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem) was not admitted until a Cold War package deal was concluded in 1955 – the Soviet Union said it believed that Jordan was just a British puppet.  This inequality in status at the United Nations also had a very negative impact on any well-meaning international attempts to reach a negotiated solution in this period.

Found on Col. Pat Lang’s blog — Al-Jazeera took a poll on the execution: Poll at Al-Jazeera:

“Should Saddam Hussein have been hanged?”

A. Yes 41.0%
B. No 43.2%
C. I don’t know 15.8%

Number of Pollers: 23013
Close Date: 7/1/2007

Also posted on Col. Lang’s blog: “…you have to admire the fact he didn’t repent of his megalomania, saying to the hangman, ‘Iraq is nothing without me.’  But he also was a skillful ruler and a legitimate one, as you pointed out in your briefing to the White House in late 1990 or early 1991. He had an extraordinary insight into his people –knowing when to massacre a section of a tribe or instead, build it a whole new sewage system and a string of free clinics.  Why demonize? Think of Somoza or the shah or Trujillo or the whole awfully bloody bunch of s—s we have used to advance our ends in the world. We did after all back Stalin and lied for years to the public about his actions and character. Amazing.” a comment by Richard Sale …

Musings from my Mentor

The SG-desginate, BAN KI-MOON of South Korea, will be sworn in as the next UNSG at the UN General Assembly in New York at 10 a.m. on 14 December.  But Kofi Annan’s mandate does not end until 31 December at midnight, New York Time.

Musing on BAN KI-MOON’s post-election statements in New York, my Mentor wrote to me: “Whatever, the duality in his phrasing of “stakeholders and member states” will send a shiver through anyone still with old-fashioned faith in an organisation of nation states, equal and inviolate. Always a bit of a stretch that, but I took it as a given that any SG would be careful always to pay lip service to the Founding Myth.  Clearly no longer.  Think back (if you will) to Trygve Lie, first S-G and first disaster. Very much Washington’s man, he countenanced the FBI maintaining an office in the Secretariat building the better to monitor the staff.  Soviet pressure was credited with Lie’s removal in 1952 but who’s to exert pressure in the brave new world commencing 1201am EST on January 1?  Can hardly imagine blatant policing 1950-style but certainly softly softly …”