Tuesday, March 18, 2003

"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
(www.ccr-ny.org) 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.

...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."


Link

Prepared by Jeremy Brecher (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

CCR

A Sample Letter:

Dear Ambassadors,
Please consider invoking UN resolution 377! Many Iraqi lives and American
soldiers depend on it. The world needs your care and guidance through this
catastrophe. Please consider sending peacekeepers to the demilitarized zone
between Kuwait and Iraq. Please protect peace and stop this attack of
aggression.

"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 world protests have reflected an outcry that must not be ignored."



And some addresses from the Security Council:

Pakistan
Germany
Chile
Mexico
France
Guinea
Cameroon
Syria
Bulgaria
Angola
China

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