Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nuclear Israel, UN Peacekeeping, UN Security Council and Gaza

J. Meeks

I want to address the nuclear ambiguity and opacity of the nation-state of Israel and the bias non-interest of the UN Security Council permanent members and the International Atomic Energy Agency in allowing Israel to refuse the NPT and avoid any inspections.

The Nuclear Threat Institute, a nonprofit organization, profiles the issue that “Israel has not joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and is widely viewed as the first and only country in the Middle East to possess nuclear weapons.” [1] The NPT was established in 1968. Article I of the NPT clearly states that “Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.”[2]. Interesting enough, we see the five UN permanent Security Council members, with their vetoes, far less restricted in this treaty to represent “the factual power inequality of the states in its distribution of rights” [3]

France, the first nation-state to supply Israel with nuclear materials in the late 1950s and early 1960s, which led to the Israeli Dimona nuclear facility, did not join the NPT until 1992, so they can’t be held accountable for their assistance in Israel’s early nuclear development.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which originated in 1957 as “Atoms for Peace” within the United Nations, and eventually became an “independent international organization related to the United Nations system, the IAEA´s relationship with the UN is regulated by special agreement. In terms of its Statute, the IAEA reports annually to the UN General Assembly and, when appropriate, to the Security Council regarding non-compliance by States with their safeguards obligations as well as on matters relating to international peace and security.”[4]. In the UN-IAEA special agreement, Article III states that the IAEA will provide reports to the General Assembly at every regular session and Article VIII states that the UN may present issues to the IAEA for consideration [5]. In the aftermath of the NPT, the IAEA was granted the authority by the UN to police world nuclear activity by providing information to the UN Security Council, the house where sanctions are born.

While Israel, assumed by the international intelligence community to possess nuclear weapons, has always refused to sign the NPT and remains unrestricted and unmonitored in amassing more nuclear weapons with no safeguards or international monitoring, Iran previously signed the NPT in 1968 and for the past two decades has been targeted by UN sanctions which are heavily sponsored by Israel, whether publicly or behind UN Security Council permanent member governments, such as the United States. The United States, in its alliance with Israel, vetoes any resolutions against Israel in the UN Security Council stretching back to the 1969 Meir-Nixon agreement. Israel has conducted unilateral military strikes against nuclear facilities in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, and is currently leading a top notch international public relations push against Iran, in order to maintain nuclear hegemony in the region while the UN, nor the IAEA, show any concerns.

The IAEA is simply an instrument of the hegemonic powers of the UN, even though we are beginning to see a similar separation of economic and political interests among permanent member states and a declining hegemony, this time in the U.S. instead of Britain, which eventually doomed the League of Nations. When it is in the economic, military and political interests of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the UN acts in harmony toward sanctions against less powerful nation-states and those sanctions eventually lead to military intervention, the removal of one government and a replaced of a puppet government friendly to hegemonic interests). Nation-states like Israel are able to sway permanent Security Council member states to veto resolutions against them while utilizing their diplomatic relations with permanent Security Council member states to the fullest in order to avoid being forced to sign the NPT or be monitored.

The mission statements of the United Nations and the IAEA mean very little because they are hypocritical statements. Nation-states like Iraq have been targeted and replaced, Iran is currently being targeted and on the opposite side of the political spectrum Israel continues to be allowed to possess nuclear weapons without signing the NPT.

1 Nuclear Threat Initiative, Country Profile, Israel (Accessed November 27, 2012 at

2 Arms Control Association, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty text (Accessed November 27, 2012 from

3 Kruck, Rittberger, & Zangl, International Organization, 2nd ed. (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)

4 IAEA.Org, Relationship with the UN (Accessed November 27, 2012 from

5 IAEA. Org, Text of the Agency’s agreements with the United Nations, 1959 (Accessed November 27, 2012 from


I'm not sure that the bias really matters; North Korea withdrew from the NPT, and has had sanctions imposed on it since then; this has in no way convinced North Korea to give up its program.

So, in the long run, I don't think sanctions--whether applied in an even-handed manner or not--are the deciding factor for nations seeking nuclear weapons.  Pakistan was not content to let India be the sole regional nuclear power; if Iran /does/ decide it can't abide Israeli nuclear hegemony in the region, I don't believe sanctions will matter a whit.

And the United States cut economic and military aid to Pakistan in 1979 when it was suspected they were beginning to develop nuclear capabilities.  North Korea has been economically strangled by the U.S. and international community for years.  Yet, the U.S. has provided Israel with over 3 billion dollars in annual foreign aid (plus additional military, political and economic incentives) since the 1960s.  If the U.S. and international community truly had the goal of anti-proliferation instead of maintaining the collective nuclear hegemony, then Israel could easily be pressured into signing the NPT.  Instead, they are left unfettered and above international law.


“Peacekeeping is not mentioned in the UN Charter but it has been a major UN operational activity in the field of security (Doyle & Sambanis 2006, 2007; Weiss et al. 2007:33-41, 45-80)” (Kruck, Rittberger & Zangl, p. 153)

UN peacekeeping missions evolved rapidly over the 1990s. The original format of peacekeeping missions, which emerged during Cold War years, were based on the agreement of all conflicting parties involved for the deployment of UN observers or military force into the unstable region, mostly for monitoring and reporting on cease-fire agreements. One example of a basic peacekeeping observation mission was “UNIIMOG, the 400-strong UN force charged with supervising the ceasefire between Iraq and Iran after the first Gulf War” (Kruck, Rittberger & Zangl, p. 153). By the middle 1990s, so-called UN peacekeeping missions began to expanded and mutate. The UN began to dispatch preventive peacekeeping missions, such as monitoring and reporting on border developments from the Macedonian-Yugoslavia border once Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia. The UN, under Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, also began multifaceted peacekeeping missions such as ‘robust peacekeeping’ missions, deemed as collective security, and nation rebuilding. Nation rebuilding, which is considered justified by Chapter seven of the UN Charter, as we have seen with the example of Iraq, under NATO mandate, places both military and civilian forces in theater to maintain the peace (or occupation) and establish an interim (or puppet) government structure.

Due to indecisiveness and financial reluctance from UN Security Council member states, several so-called peacekeeping missions were failures in the 1990s, such as Somalia, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. As a result of these failures, the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly established the UN Peacebuilding Commission and “this Commission was tasked with the development of reconstruction strategies for states in post-conflict situations” (Kruck, Rittberger & Zangl, p. 156). Conflicts, which as the world emerged into the 21st century, began to be more and more instituted by UN Security Council Permanent Member-states such are the cases of government toppling and rebuilding in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

The Security Council authorizes all peacekeeping missions. It is so very interesting that there has never been a UN peacekeeping mission to observe what occurs in the Israeli-Palestinian so-called conflict.

Kruck, Rittberger, & Zangl, International Organization, 2nd ed. (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 153-156.


It's hardly surprising that there is no UN force on the ground in Israel; recall that, except in egregious circumstances, peace-keeping operations are consensual, and Israel is hardly going to consent.  And while their treatment of Palestinians is objectionable, it's not egregious enough to invoke a non-consensual mission, particularly over the inevitable objections of the United States.


L-----, perhaps in the early stages of UN peacekeeping missions those missions required consensual agreement, but there have been a handful of preventive or collective security UN missions that have not been consensual.  "Missions which belong to the category of robust peacekeeping have entered the system of collective security, since the consensus of one or more parties to teh conflict is no longer a condition for sending a mission (Doyle 1999: 448; Doyle & Sambanis 2007)" (Kruck, Rittberger & Zangl, 154).  Add to this, the nation rebuilding missions.

No, the true reason why the UN has never stepped in on behalf of Israeli human rights violations against the Palestinian people is because of the Israeli political manipulation of the U.S. Veto.

(2nd Reply)

The preventative missions that do not have consent from the country involved is peace enforcement, which is another avenue that the UN can take if the situation deteriorates to that level.  Peacekeeping is always (ALWAYS) with the consent of the belligerent parties.   Peace enforcement is used to prevent utter chaos. 

You discuss Somalia in your post, and it is discussed in the book as well, do you think there is a way to build, keep, or enforce peace in that country?  For the first time in almost two decades they have some semblance of leadership, or control.  The country is dirt poor, has little to no resources, has a huge issue with religious factions infighting, and out fighting.
Rwanda also is another issue altogether, and I agree with your assumption is was a failure, for the sheer fact the UN was a day late and a dollar short.

You seem to have a strong bias towards Israel, and your perception they control the US veto.  Israel is arguably the only friendly country or ally we have in a very volatile part of the world.   Why would the US not ally with them? 

Palestine is run by groups that are deemed to be terrorists groups (HAMAS, Hezbollah to an extent, and formerly Fatah) what benefit would it be for the US, Canada, Japan, NATO, UN, EU, etc. to use their forces and resources to help a hostile group.

(2nd Rebuttal)

What do Somalia, Rwanda and Palestine all have in common, Travis?  The modern condition of all three areas are the result of 20th century European colonialism.

Somalia is a failed post-colonial state and if anyone should be paying the bulk of reparations, nation rebuilding or peacekeeping in this area, it should be Britain, France and Italy in my opinion.  Instead the infamous UN peacekeeping mission was led by American dollars and American military (as we all are familiar with the 19 Marines who died in the 'Blackhawk down' incident).  It should be evident how much we were contributing to the peacekeeping mission because once President Clinton pulled the U.S. Military out in 1994, the UN peacekeeping mission ended in 1995.  Just like the loose political term of "international coalition" used for NATOs so-called nation rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan, anyone who has been there knows that U.S. forces are over 80% of the occupation (and that is being modest in percentage value because it is probably more).

Rwanda was a German colony until the aftermath of WWI when it became League of Nation property and passed to Belgium until 1962.  Every member state of the League of Nations are responsible for what has happened here.  If the UN deems it necessary, the League of Nation member-states should be held accountable and should pay reparations, provide economic nation rebuilding efforts and accept the bulk economic and military responsibility for robust peacekeeping. 

And now to conclude with Israel.  I do not have a bias against Israel, I have a bias for our United States and against the manipulation that pro-Israeli lobbyist groups (AIPAC) and dual citizen congressional votes have on U.S. domestic policy-making which very much impacts foreign policy, national deficit, sanctions, nation toppling and rebuilding, foreign aid amounts and UN vetoes.  I worry about the future national impact of this for our American children that will be caused by such economic and military irresponsibility and hypocrisy. 

When discussing Israeli-Palestinian issues, we must understand (and teach our children) the history of Ottoman rule, British colonialism after WWI, the Belfour Declaration and the partitioning of Palestine by the UN (who has never established a peacekeeping force to the area regardless of atrocities committed there by Israel or missiles fired from Palestinian factions).  You and I both know that the average American can't even distinguish between the tribes of Israel in the Torah and the modern day nation-state government of Israel. 

You mention Israel is the only U.S. ally in the region, and I have heard that argument many times, but what do we get in return from that alliance?  It seems like a wide one-way street with heavy one-way traffic to me.  No one can change history, but the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is a land conflict wrapped in religious and ethnic guise (as many others are).  I would like the U.S. to cut this type of foreign involvement (and funding to Israel) and concentrate on domestic issues for awhile.

And if you can present some hard facts concerning what Israel provides to the United States in our so-called alliance, I would be greatly interested in it.  I mean that with sincerity because I am always trying to learn more and understand all the elements of analysis.  Thanks.

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