Day: September 27, 2012

More talk, less eloquence, a bit of chicanery

The UN General Assembly, the ultimate talk shop, is providing a lot of opportunity this week to take the world’s pulse.  Yesterday it was Egyptian President Morsy and Iranian President Ahmadinejad.  Today it was Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu  Someone at the UN has good scheduling sense.

Ahmedinejad ended his peroration with this Messianic vision for the return of the Mahdi and Jesus Christ:

-The arrival of the Ultimate Savior will mark a new beginning, a rebirth and a resurrection. It will be the beginning of peace, lasting security and genuine life.

-His arrival will be the end of oppression, immorality, poverty, discrimination and the beginning of justice, love and empathy.

-He will come and he will cut through ignorance, superstition, prejudice by opening the gates of science and knowledge. He will establish a world brimful of prudence and he will prepare the ground for the collective, active and constructive participation of all in the global management.

-He will come to grant kindness, hope, freedom and dignity to all humanity as a girl.

-He will come so mankind will taste the pleasure of being human and being in the company of other humans.

-He will come so that hands will be joined, hearts will be filled with love and thoughts will be purified to be at service of security, welfare and happiness for all.

-He will come to return all children of Adam irrespective of their skin colors to their innate origin after a long history of separation and division linking them to eternal happiness.

The only thing good I can think to say about this is that we won’t have to listen to it next year.  Ahmedinejad will no longer be president of Iran.  Hard to tell where he will be–the Supreme Leader seems to be arresting his friends at warp speed.  I for one don’t think the Mahdi will come in time to rescue Ahmedinejad and his friends, but who knows?
Morsy was a good deal more down to earth.  He pleaded the Palestinian case well:
Our brothers and sisters in Palestine must also taste the fruits of freedom and dignity. It is shameful that the free world accepts, regardless of the justifications provided, that a member of the international community continues to deny the rights of a nation that has been longing for decades for independence. It is also disgraceful that settlement activities continue on the territories of these people, along with the delay in implementing the decisions of international legitimacy.
He was also unequivocal on Egypt’s commitment to the peace treaty with Israel:
I say it loudly to those wondering about our position vis-a-vis the international agreements and conventions that we have previously adhered to: we are committed to what we have signed on. We also support the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and are determined to pursue all efforts side by side with them until they regain their rights.
His approach on freedom of expression was sincere but awkward:

The obscenities recently released as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities is unacceptable and requires a firm stand. We have a responsibility in this international gathering to study how we can protect the world from instability and hatred. Egypt respects freedom of expression.

One that is not used to incite hatred against anyone. One that is not directed towards one specific religion or culture.

A freedom of expression that tackles extremism and violence. Not the freedom of expression that deepens ignorance and disregards others. But we also stand firmly against the use of violence in expressing objection to these obscenities.

President Abbas was clear about what he regards as the core issue blocking the Middle East peace process:

Settlement activities embody the core of the policy of colonial military occupation of the land of the Palestinian people and all of the brutality of aggression and racial discrimination against our people that this policy entails. This policy, which constitutes a breach of international humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions, is the primary cause for the failure of the peace process, the collapse of dozens of opportunities, and the burial of the great hopes that arose from the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993 between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel to achieve a just peace that would begin a new era for our region.

He backed this up with one of the more eloquent statements of the day:

The time has come for our men, women and children to live normal lives, for them to be able to sleep without waiting for the worst that the next day will bring; for mothers to be assured that their children will return home without fear of suffering killing, arrest or humiliation; for students to be able to go to their schools and universities without checkpoints obstructing them. The time has come for sick people to be able to reach hospitals normally, and for our farmers to be able to take care of their good land without fear of the occupation seizing the land and its water, which the wall prevents access to, or fear of the settlers, for whom settlements are being built on our land and who are uprooting and burning the olive trees that have existed for hundreds of years. The time has come for the thousands of prisoners to be released from the prisons to return to their families and their children to become a part of building their homeland, for the freedom of which they have sacrificed.

Netanyahu, usually more eloquent than Abbas, was less on this occasion:

To understand what the world would be like with a nuclear-armed Iran, just imagine the world with a nuclear-armed Al-Qaeda.

It makes no difference whether these lethal weapons are in the hands of the world’s most dangerous terrorist regime or the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization. They’re both fired by the same hatred; they’re both driven by the same lust for violence.

This is a mighty stretch.  Quoting Bernard Lewis in support does nothing to increase its credibility.  Netanyahu was wise, however, to acknowledge the effect of sanctions and to thank the U.S. and other countries for implementing them.
Then he went after his much-coveted red line:  stopping Iran from acquiring enough 90% enriched uranium to build an atomic weapon.  The problem is what he neglected to mention:  that Iran is not enriching past 20%, and about half of that supply is being converted to fuel plates that cannot be readily enriched.  Walter Pincus reported on this in the Washington Post more than two weeks ago.  Paul Pillar mentioned it on the PBS Newshour tonight.  Netanyahu knows it, but it does not fit his worldview:  if Iran is just like Al Qaeda, why would it stop enrichment at 20% and convert half of that material to a form that makes further enrichment difficult?
I’m afraid what we’ve got from the last two days is a lot more talk from the UN General Assembly, but less eloquence and a bit of chicanery.


Tags : , , , ,