Although Muslim and Arab countries represent the largest bloc in its General Assembly with 57 members, and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are the biggest donors and supporters of its humanitarian programs, the United Nations plays a suspicious role in Arab and Islamic issues.
More recently, this role has been evident in Syria, Yemen, Myanmar and earlier in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chechnya, Turkestan, Palestine, and everywhere Muslim communities suffered injustice and tyranny. However, the UN has not provided any deterrence or helpful stand to defend Muslims and Arabs. In fact, it often seemed to stand with the oppressors, as with Serbia and Israel.
Since the UN overtook the Yemeni file, and after the resignation of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the situation in Yemen has gone from bad to worse. The Houthis overtook Sanaa and Hodeidah, laid siege to Taiz and Aden and seized the state’s civilian and military institutions with the help of the former president. If it wasn’t for the Decisive Storm, they would have been able to take over all of Yemen and deliver it on a silver platter to Iran.
Under pressure from Arabs, the UN envoy, Moroccan, Gamal Ben Omar, was replaced after his failure in preventing the coup and imprisonment of the elected President Abedrabbu Mansour Hadi, and his government, then chasing him after his escape with orders to capture or kill. However the new UN envoy was not much better.
Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chose the Mauritanian, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who has practically endorsed the coup, and continued to appease them at the expense of the legitimate government. He enjoyed the support of the Obama Administration and its State Secretary, John Kerry, who were too eager to please Iran and to appease the mullahs’ government in order to ensure their commitment to the nuclear deal.
Since the UN overtook the Yemeni file, and after the resignation of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the situation in Yemen has gone from bad to worse.Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi
Path of prejudice
Today, the current UN Secretary-General, Portuguese, Antonio Guterres, is going down the same path of prejudice against us. Like his predecessor, he has been influenced by assistants and commissioners infiltrated by our enemies and engaged in questionable relations with the coup leadership. They still deal with Houthis as a de facto regime and solicit from them statistics and data about the war they initiated, while ignoring the legitimate government.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Yemen, George Abu Al Zulf, has facilitated the travel of Houthi leaders and delegations outside Yemen by United Nations airplanes. He has also provided training courses for them to improve their image and defend the coup in global forums. International humanitarian assistance is given to the Houthis, knowing they give it only to their loyalists and sell the rest in the black market.
With such political bias, public/secret communication and suspicious relations, is it surprising that the UN official reports are based on statistics and data that are frequently politicized, wrong and ambiguous? Are we surprised that UN is not focusing on the crimes against humanity committed in Syria, Iran, Israel, China and Myanmar, but occupied with blacklisting those trying to correct UN wrongs, fix its failures and enforce its resolutions?
It seems that time has come for Arab and Muslim nations to work with US-led campaign to restructure and correct the course of this corrupt bureaucratic, aging organization, and renew its leadership and staff with energetic, idealist, new blood, not contaminated by ideology, politics and personal interests. We also have the right to call for replacement of UN representatives in Arab and Islamic countries who have proved their prejudice and/or incompetence.
We should turn our generous support to our Arab and Islamic organizations and nations. Our brethren deserve the billions we spent on ineffective, badly run, biased programs that do not benefit them. The recently established King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid did much more for Yemeni, Syrian, Rohingya people than the UN with all its programs ever did. We need more of our own organizations and programs for our world to be in safer hands — much more peaceful and prosperous!
The UN is not dead, yet. It is still relevant, useful and needed. It deserves to be saved. However, if at the end of the day it continues to be unresponsive, unhelpful and ungrateful, we are better off on our own! Life goes on, with or without the UN!
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on October 18, 2017.
Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi journalist and writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter: @kbatarfi.