- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 21, 2002

Iraq may be the most blatant, but it is far from the first country to defy the will of the U.N. Security Council.
Officials from the United Nations say they do not keep a statistical record of members' compliance with resolutions of the 15-member council. However, it appears that dozens of resolutions, including those on North Korea and the Middle East, have been disregarded.
"There's a substantial record of noncompliance" with Security Council dictates, said David Malone, president of the International Peace Academy, an independent New York-based think tank specializing in U.N. and peacekeeping issues.
Compliance has moved front and center, as President Bush last week cited Iraq's failure to follow a dozen U.N. mandates during the past 12 years as justification for concerted international action against Baghdad.
The Bush administration's latest diplomatic tack has been to punish Iraq's past disregard of resolutions by promoting yet another Security Council resolution.
"Usually the defiance is not anywhere near as clear-cut as with Saddam, but it is not as if Iraq was the first state to defy the wishes of the Security Council," Mr. Malone said.
North Korea's defiance of U.N. demands that it reverse the invasion of the South produced a Security Council resolution that marked the beginning of the Korean War in 1950.
Trade sanctions embodied in Security Council resolutions on white-ruled Rhodesia in 1966 and South Africa in 1977 were often violated, and the apartheid regime in South Africa ignored for decades a U.N. demand to terminate effective control of neighboring Namibia, administered by Pretoria initially as a U.N. trust terrority.
Security Council Resolution 353, passed in July 1974, demanded an "immediate end to foreign military intervention in the Republic of Cyprus" after Turkey deployed troops to prevent what it said was a Greek attempt to annex the ethnically divided island. The troops remain, and U.N. efforts to mediate continue.
The pace of confrontations and defiance has increased in the past decade, even as the number of Security Council resolutions has expanded sharply.
Until 1990 and the end of the Cold War, the Security Council issued 647 resolutions, ranging from the bland to the belligerent, on international disputes, humanitarian efforts and peacekeeping missions.
According to an extensive analysis by researchers George A. Lopez and David Cortright, the Security Council has issued 787 resolutions in the 12 years since, including full or partial economic sanctions on Iraq (1990 and 2002), Yugoslavia (1991, 1992, and 1998), Libya (1992), Liberia (1992), Somalia (1992), parts of Cambodia (1992), Haiti (1993), Angola (1993, 1997 and 1998), Rwanda (1994), Sudan (1996), Sierra Leone (1997) and Afghanistan (1999).
Mr. Lopez and Mr. Cortright called the surge in coercive resolutions "particularly striking," dubbing the 1990s the "sanctions decade."
Ruth Wedgwood, professor of international law and diplomacy at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, said the Security Council's readiness to throw resolutions at intractable problems left it "looking pretty feckless at times."
"There's a significant point of view out there that the Security Council is much too quick to think that rhetoric by itself can solve something," she said. "That's why Bush is skeptical, and that's why I would be, too, about Iraq."
Not every Security Council demand brought the desired result.
Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid refused to permit U.N. humanitarian efforts in his divided country, setting the stage for a disastrous U.S. military intervention in late 1993.
Also in 1993, Cambodia's communist Khmer Rouge tried to disrupt U.N.-sponsored elections in regime-controlled areas.
Security Council resolutions proved inadequate to halt the genocide of ethnic Tutsis by Rwanda's majority-Hutu population a year later.
Even the U.S.-led drive for new "smart sanctions" against Iraq earlier this year was a tacit admission that previous Security Council demands to cut off Iraq's international trade were not being honored.
Far more common than outright defiance has been protracted, often hair-splitting debates over who is in violation of what.
"Iraq is a real outlier because it's had such an in-your-face approach to the U.N.'s demands, particularly in the last few years," Miss Wedgwood said. "Far more common is the kind of 'so's your mother' arguments, where both sides in a given dispute say the other is in violation."
Marie Okabe, a spokeswoman in the U.N. press office, said the organization doesn't compile a list of resolution violators because of that ambiguity.
"That is not the kind of thing the U.N. Secretariat could even track," she said. "Whether a member is in compliance is really a judgment that must be made by the Security Council and by individual states."
In one of the most bitter U.N. disputes, Arab leaders have long argued that Israel is in violation of Resolution 242, which, they say, requires a complete withdrawal from lands seized in the 1967 Mideast war.
Threatening Iraq with military strikes for violating Security Council resolutions while not pressing Israel just as hard amounts to a "blind bias," Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Shara told the U.N. General Assembly in an address on Sunday.
"Why would the world request Iraq to adhere to Security Council resolutions while Israel is allowed to be above international law?" he said.
But Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, said his government categorically denies being in violation of Resolution 242, contending that it does not specify which lands must be relinquished and that promises of security and peaceful relations with Israel's Arab neighbors have not been met.
Mr. Regev also said Lebanon and Syria have not honored a 1978 Security Council resolution to restore "effective order" in Lebanon's southern regions after Israel's troop withdrawal from the area in May 2000.
"If the Arab world is truly concerned about the sanctity of U.N. resolutions, where is the action on this matter?" he asked.


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