UN Resolution on Legality of Arming Rebels/ Insurgents/ Freedom Fighters or Terrorists?

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– by Shenali D Waduge –

“If crime-fighters fight crime and fire-fighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?”
George Carlin

The world finds difficulty in ushering peace because of the adage ‘one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist’. Wars resulted in victors and losers. Today, there are no wars instead there is the clandestine back door strategy of arming rebels. They are christened under various names – freedom fighters, resistance movements and terrorists. They have not seen any decline except a significant increase primarily because these groups are ‘created, armed, trained and financially’ supported by the very countries posing as peace makers – that is why we cannot find peace. A handful of nations are creating men to fight underground and another lot of foot ‘soldiers’ under various other disguises (religious, charity, human rights) to destabalize nations. For world peace to be meaningful – arms manufacture if at all must be for ONLY defense purposes in case of AGGRESSION and not to cause aggression. It is these illegalities that need to be internationally dealt with and if Resolutions are to be discussed at the UN General Assembly it is no better a time than for Members of the UN to come together to discuss this crucial topic and bring a Resolution against nations and leaders arming rebel groups as a state policy.

While the word ‘terrorist’ lacks a single universally accepted definition what we can all agree with is that terrorists are those involved in violence to achieve a political end using the modus operandi of terror. In terms of the ‘goal’ itself how do we set the terrorist apart from the freedom fighter when both happen to be funded and sponsored by the same sources? However, UN has defined terrorism as attempting to bring about change by deliberately targeting non-combatants.

Arming rebel groups whatever reasons given in defense is nothing but cowardly. On the one hand at diplomatic levels certain States pretend to be ‘friends’ while behind the scenes they clandestinely use their intelligence or hire other states through whom rebel groups and terrorists get trained, armed and funded for various destabalizing programs. No amount of counter terrorism can deal when the evil chain that operates the nexus is not dealt with and in great measure the UN Secretary General, the UNHRC head and other key figures have totally ignored this very visible fallacy that clearly establishes the root cause of all evil throughout the world.

Ignoring these crimes has today led to these very nations openly claiming to arm rebel movements and what does the UN do – it agrees to sanctions against countries victims of groups that are illegally being armed to dislodge its Government. Syria is a case in point.

The whole of Africa is today burning because of foreign government funded armed groups. The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) are formed of Rwandan rebels armed to oust the Government, The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) are Ugandan Islamists wanting Sharia law in Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) another Ugandan group with members from other African countries as well, The National Liberation Forces (FNL) a Burundian rebel front and military wing of the Hutus – these groups are all funded by some foreign nation if not an alliance of nations.    

Arming Syrian ‘Rebels’

Free Syria and all the ‘rebels’ involved have nothing to do with Syria – they are all imported by a handful of nations desiring to oust Syrian President Assad.

Exactly how does one determine a ‘freedom-loving Syrian rebel’ against Islamic jihadists incidentally both of which the US themselves have created? If the distinction was clear why would President Obama need to waive the federal law under the Arms Export Control Act (sections 40 and 40A) prohibiting supply of lethal aid to terrorist groups? Does the situation become awkward when these same ‘freedom-loving Syrian’ rebels end up… while Al Qaeda is a US hatched entity admitted by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself.

Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, US, UK and France are all providing military and logistics support.  The Free Syria Army incidentally is being led by The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) which is an Al Qaeda affiliate declared by the UN itself and proscribed.

This means that the United States, the UK, NATO, and the Gulf State despots of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are knowingly and willfully funding, arming, and politically backing designated affiliates of Al Qaeda contrary not only to US and British anti-terror legislation, but contrary to numerous UN resolutions as well. Western and Gulf State support of the FSA (Free Syrian Army) constitutes state sponsorship of terrorism. The countries that secretly funded armed groups are now openly declaring so.

US secretly armed groups inside Iran, CIA trained and aerially supplied Ukranian units from 1945 to 1952, when Guatemalan President Arbenz legalized expropriated 400,000 acres of United Fruit banana plantations CIA decided to overthrow a legitimate government by training rebels in Honduras and backing them with bombers and fighter planes and invaded Guatemala in 1954 toppling the Arbenz government. Then in 1958, the CIA sent paramilitaries to overthrow the Indonesia President Sukarno, the rebels were defeated and CIA was quick to deny involvement though a CIA plane was shot down and CIA pilot Allen Pope was captured! We should also recall the 1960 CIA recruitment of 1500 Cuban refugees to attack Fidel Castro – the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion on 19 April 1961 was however a total failure. We should also remember how leaders like Aung San of Myanmar and Patrice Lumumba of Congo were murdered simply because they were too nationalist for the West. CIA’s attempts to depose Cambodia’s Prince Sihanouk succeeded in 1970 with another CIA-backed coup using the Kampuchea Khmer Krom. The US that invaded Iraq to liberate the Iraqis may also remember how in 1970s the CIA moved into eastern Iraq to organize and supply the Kurds who were rebelling against pro-Soviet Iraqi Government with a dual intention of helping the Shah of Iran to settle the border dispute with Iraq. When Iran-Iraq reached a settlement the CIA withdrew support to the Kurds who were then crushed by the Iraqi army. We also know that in 1981 President Reagan signed a top secret National Security Directive authorizing the CIA to spend $19milion to recruit and support the Contras – who opposed Nicaragua’s Sandinista Government. CIA attempted to also intervene in Haiti’s election in 1988 to overthrow President Aristide who was eventually overthrown in a coup funded by CIA (Emmanual ‘Toto” the head of the coup was a paid agent of CIA).

There is also allegations of NATO’s secret armies as well – http://www.globalresearch.ca/natos-secret-armies-linked-to-terrorism/5353177

How can the UN ignore violations of its own Resolutions while agreeing to play host to sanctions and consider military interventions when Syria has every right to resist terrorist organizations? That same logic in essence prevails for Sri Lanka’s handling of LTTE confused over the years by the same nations supporting LTTE forcing the GOSL to enter dubious peace deals to build the foundation for separatism and division of the country.

Supporting Armed Opposition Groups is ILLEGAL

What needs to be categorically stated is that arming opposition groups is a breach of the prohibition of the use of force set out in Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter as well as the principle prohibiting intervention by States in the internal affairs of other States.

The 1986 case on Nicaragua the International Court of Justice held that ‘while the arming and training of the contras can certainly be said to involve the threat or use of force against Nicaragua…. [The] Court considers that the mere supply of funds to the contras, while undoubtedly an act of intervention in the internal affairs of Nicaragua… does not in itself amount to a use of force”…..”As the Court has stated, the principle of non-intervention derives from customary international law. It would certainly lose its effectiveness as a principle of law if intervention were to be justified by a mere request for assistance made by an opposition group in another State…Indeed, it is difficult to see what would remain of the principle of non-intervention in international law if intervention, which is already allowable at the request of the Government of a State, were also to e allowed at the request of the opposition. This would permit any State to intervene at any moment in the internal affairs of another State, whether at the request of the government or at the request of its opposition. Such a situation does not in the Court’s view correspond to the present state of international law’.

Even in the UN General Assembly Resolution 2625(1970) states that

“Every State has the duty to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in acts of civil strife or terrorist acts in another State… when the acts referred to in the present paragraph involve a threat or use of force”.

The ICJ held that the U.S. had violated international law by supporting the Contras in their rebellion against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua’s harbors. The United States refused to participate in the proceedings after the Court rejected its argument that the ICJ lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. The U.S. later blocked enforcement of the judgment by the United Nations Security Council and thereby prevented Nicaragua from obtaining any actual compensation. The Court found in its verdict that the United States was “in breach of its obligations under customary international law not to use force against another State”, “not to intervene in its affairs”, “not to violate its sovereignty”, “not to interrupt peaceful maritime commerce”, and “in breach of its obligations under Article XIX of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the Parties signed at Managua on 21 January 1956.”

Therefore, what is the UN doing about the Syrian situation?

The 2000 Declaration of the South Summit by the G77 members declared that ‘We reject the so-called ‘right’ of humanitarian intervention, which has no legal basis in the United Nations Charter or in the general principles of international law’.

If there is no opinion juris on how to base customary international law and even the ICJ rejected the doctrine of humanitarian intervention in the Nicaraguan case (1986) ‘while the US might form its own appraisal of the situation as to respect for human rights in Nicaragua, the use of force could not be the appropriate method to monitor or ensure such respect’. This certainly has to be applicable to the current imposition of ‘Accountability’ pressed by US and Allies against Sri Lanka.

While definitions, categories in the UN abound calling groups non-state actors, armed non-state actors etc what should not escape our attention is the question how did these groups get armed, who started to arm and train them, who financially supported them and created monsters out of them and what would be the point in trying to iron out differences when these groups were created for a purpose. Should the UN not go after those who created the groups and punish them instead of going behind the countries saddled with the problem and punishing these countries for defending their nation and people against armed groups created by foreign nations?

There is a serious breach of ethics and governance in the manner UN is ignoring this very important area given that the wave of military interventions taking place have all been set-ups using global media to promote lies to galvanize people to support intervention. This R2P doctrine was created precisely with the intent of descending on nations using the excuse of humanitarian intervention. R2P is just a neo-colonial ‘white man’s burden’ agenda.

There is no unilateral right of humanitarian intervention in international law but when it does occur what is the UN to do about it?

It is now time for all victim nations to bring a Resolution in the UN calling for a clear declaration that arming opposition groups by foreign governments is illegal and illegitimate.