FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Uniting for Peace

If the US attacks Iraq without support of the UN Security Council, will the world be powerless to stop it? The answer is no. Under a procedure called “Uniting for Peace,” the UN General Assembly can demand an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal. The global peace movement should consider demanding such an action.

When Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956, Britain, France, and Israel invaded Egypt and began advancing on the Suez Canal. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower demanded that the invasion stop. Resolutions in the UN Security Council called for a cease-fire–but Britain and France vetoed them. Then the United States appealed to the General Assembly and proposed a resolution calling for a cease-fire and a withdrawal of forces. The General Assembly held an emergency session and passed the resolution. Britain and France withdrew from Egypt within a week.

The appeal to the General Assembly was made under a procedure called “Uniting for Peace.” This procedure was adopted by the Security Council so that the UN can act even if the Security Council is stalemated by vetoes. Resolution 377 provides that, if there is a “threat to peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and the permanent members of the Security Council do not agree on action, the General Assembly can meet immediately and recommend collective measures to U.N. members to “maintain or restore international peace and security.” The “Uniting for Peace” mechanism has been used ten times, most frequently on the initiative of the United States.

The Bush Administration is currently promoting a Security Council resolution that it claims will authorize it to attack Iraq. However, huge opposition from global public opinion and most of the world’s governments make such a resolution’s passage unlikely.

What will happen if the US withdraws its resolution or the resolution is defeated? The US is currently indicating that it will attack Iraq even without Security Council approval. The US would undoubtedly use its veto should the Security Council attempt to condemn and halt its aggression. But the US has no veto in the General Assembly.

Lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights have drafted a proposed “Uniting for Peace” resolution that governments can submit to the General Assembly. It declares that military action without a Security Council resolution authorizing such action is contrary to the UN Charter and international law.

The global peace movement can begin right now to discuss the value of such a resolution. If we conclude it is worthwhile, we can make it a central demand, for example in the next round of global anti-war demonstrations. Then we can mobilize pressure on governments that claim to oppose the war — the great majority of UN members — to demand that they initiate and support such a resolution.

Countries opposed to such a war can be asked to state now that, if there is a Security Council deadlock and a US attack on Iraq is imminent or under way, they will convene the General Assembly on an emergency basis to condemn the attack and order the US to cease fire and withdraw.

The sooner global public discussion begins laying the groundwork for such action the better. Wide public advocacy will help governments overcome their probable reluctance to take such a step. Further, the threat of such global condemnation may help deter the Bush administration–and to a much greater extent deter its wobbling allies–from launching such an attack in the first place.

JEREMY BRECHER is a historian and the author of twelve books including STRIKE! and GLOBALIZATION FROM BELOW. He can be reached at: jbrecher@igc.org. Information on Uniting for Peace based on “A U.N. Alternative to War: ‘Uniting for Peace” by Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights and Jules Lobel, University of Pittsburgh Law School.

 

More articles by:

Jeremy Brecher is an historian and co-founder of the Labor Network for Sustainability. A new, post-Paris edition of his Climate Insurgency: A Strategy for Survival was published by Routledge.

April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman - TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail