Monday, September 26, 2011

Terra Incognita - Chapter VII, UN Charter

So, we're into interesting territory, Burke and Wills etc., and nobody really knows the results of the exploration.

Chapter VII of the UN Charter seems clear on paper, but in practice, it's a zoo. We're dealing with the "responsibility to protect" - a new and nebulous concept - and "regime change", as exemplified in Kabul and Baghdad.

So "regime change" is a loser. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 had absolutely no legal basis, and resulted in a continuing humanitarian disaster. "Regime change" in Afghanistan likewise has no legal basis, other than the "self defence" clause of the NATO Charter, equivalent to Section 51 of the UN Charter, but it's a stretch.

And now, we're into "responsibility to protect" in Libya, which is interesting, but doesn't take into account the fact that peaceful demonstrators are being mortared in Syria by their own government.

Inner City Press: Investigative Reporting from the United Nations has some interesting interviews at the Security Council on the situation in Libya: it sounds like amateur hour. Nobody knows whether UNSC Resolution 1973 is still in force (which means there can be no civilian flights into Libya if there's still a "no fly" zone), or where the newly released money for Libya is going, since there is no government. Some of the countries that abstained from 1973 asked these elemental questions but none of the high-priced help from NATO and their allies knew the answers.