The Blog

A Tale of Two Cities

In New York, Islamic states try to carve out an exception for killing Israeli and American civilians. In DC, they smile.

11:32 AM, Apr 13, 2010 • By ANNE BAYEFSKY
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

At exactly the same time that President Obama’s anti-terrorism theatrics are going on in Washington at the nuclear security summit, a pro-terrorism party is going on in New York at UN Headquarters. The trouble is that the states play-acting in D.C. are swinging in New York in the opposite direction.

A Tale of Two Cities

In Washington, the summit advertisement reads as follows: “Dedicated to nuclear security and the threat of nuclear terrorism.”  In New York, the UN’s “ad-hoc committee on measures to eliminate international terrorism” is gathered to talk about drafting the world’s first comprehensive convention against terrorism.  For the fourteenth time in ten years.

In Washington, the image is of President Obama sitting on a chair beaming like a Cheshire cat, opposite some lucky head of state.  The two are surrounded by smiling Obama appointees and everyone agrees that terrorism is bad. In New York, the very same states agree terrorism is naughty. It’s just that “resistance,” “armed struggle,” and “liberation” are not terrorism.

The major stumbling-block to the conclusion of a draft comprehensive convention against terrorism at the UN has been a concerted effort by Islamic states to carve out an exception for murdering civilians of their choosing. Israelis top the list, but Americans are not far behind.

The terrorism convention of the Organization of the Islamic States accordingly creates an exception to its phony denunciation of terrorism.  Exempt from “terrorist crimes” are “peoples' struggle including armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination.” 

So let’s compare the simultaneous Washington and New York performances.  In Washington, the president invited many “anti-terrorism” invitees from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) – Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.  Presumably, he decided to showcase his close ties with Muslim nations.  In New York, OIC members chose Syria, nuclear arms wannabe and state sponsor of terrorism, to do their talking.  Speaking on behalf of the OIC, therefore, Syria declared yesterday: “The group reiterates once again the need to make a distinction…between terrorism and the struggle for the right of self-determination by people under foreign occupation, and colonial or alien domination.”

In Washington, the president invited many additional “anti-terrorism” invitees from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) – such as China, India, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.  At the UN, the 117 NAM members selected as their spokesperson for the drafting of an anti-terrorism convention none other than Iran. Iranian UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said the following on behalf of NAM states – almost half of Obama’s invitees coming from this group:  “Terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination…for self-determination and national liberation.”  (The issue of self-determination for the Iranian people was somehow not raised.)

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani wallowed in Obama’s attention in D.C. and declared that any nuclear terrorism fears arising from Pakistani actions or inactions were unjustified.  Meanwhile, his UN representative was saying in New York:  “My delegation aligns itself with the statements made by the distinguished representatives of Syria and Iran.” 

The government of Algeria was especially pleased by Obama’s invitation. But a few hours before Foreign Affairs Minister Mourad Medelci dined in D.C. last night, his government told the UN:  “Algeria endorses the statements made by Syria and Iran…International law should make sure that we avoid generalizations that Algeria has always denounced between terrorism and the armed struggle of people in supporting their right to self-determination and their liberation…”

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers