Friday, March 11, 2005

Credit where credit is due: Kofi Annan speaks against real terrorism

His definition of terror is accurate, the reaction from the Arab League was muted.

And the chances that the UN would actually do anything to truly fight terror is next to nothing. But nevertheless, this is a welcome speech from an otherwise corrupt and counterproductive shill for an irrelevant institution.

In a bid to reinvigorate the U.N.'s role in international security, Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday proposed a global treaty against terrorism at a summit in Madrid.

In a keynote speech, Annan called terrorism an attack on the U.N.'s "core values" and said the world body must be at the forefront of the battle against it.

At the top of the U.N.'s agenda is an international treaty outlawing terrorism, Annan said, and the world must stop wrangling over the definition of the term and start fighting the threat. A comprehensive convention against terrorism has been stalled by governments' disagreement on who should be considered a terrorist. Some states want to exempt so-called freedom fighters and people resisting occupation, for example.

Annan attempted to cut through the debate by endorsing the view that terrorism is any action intended to cause death or serious harm to civilians with the purpose of intimidation.

"I believe this proposal has clear moral force, and I strongly urge world leaders to unite behind it," he said.

During a discussion, Amr Moussa, leader of the Arab League and a member of the U.N. panel commissioned by Annan, did not reject the definition but argued for a greater focus on the root causes of extremist violence, such as poverty, injustice and occupation.

Annan offered "five Ds" in the campaign against terrorism: Dissuade disaffected groups from using terrorism to achieve their goals, deny terrorists the means to carry out their attacks, deter states from supporting terrorists, develop prevention strategies and defend human rights in the struggle against terrorism.

He warned that the U.N. would be tough on terrorists and those who harbored them.

"All states must know that if they give any kind of support to terrorists, the [Security] Council will not hesitate to use coercive measures against them," Annan said.

Excuse me while I laugh at that last line.