Experts Call for New World Body to Fight Global Terrorism

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:15 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Democratic countries need to band together to form an international league of states dedicated to the worldwide fight against terrorism, given the United Nations' failure to do so, experts in Jerusalem said.

Speaking at the second annual Jerusalem Summit - a forum for international conservative thinkers and diplomats - participants said something different needs to be done.

While the United Nations was established with the noble goal of defending international peace and security, it actually has undermined international security and established safe havens for terrorism, said Dr. Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N.

Three weeks ago, for example, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent a letter to President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi asking them to call off the anticipated attack against insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq because it would undermine the Iraqi election process.

"What the Secretary-General is essentially saying...was that maintaining the huge terrorist presence in Fallujah was better for the future of Iraqi democracy than having it eliminated," said Gold. Gold is the author of a recently released book entitled Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos .

"In essence, what the Secretary-General was doing by his intervention was to provide protective diplomatic cover to the likes of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and the mujahadeen that were fighting against the United States and the coalition forces in Iraq," he said.

But such "diplomatic cover" for terrorist activities is not new. According to Gold, it began decades ago with "one of the worst" General Assembly resolutions ever adopted - number 2708.

"That resolution reaffirmed the recognition of the legitimacy of the struggle against alien all necessary means. That resolution became the basis, in my judgment, for the growth of something the U.N. could even legitimize," Gold said.

"If that resolution was adopted in December 1970, it's not surprising that by 1974 Yasser Arafat was in fact invited to the United Nations General Assembly to address it, without having to transform himself in any way," he said.

Arafat's PLO had been thrown out of Jordan in a bloody military confrontation known as Black September. The PLO was responsible for hijacking aircraft, murdering a U.S. ambassador to Sudan and his deputy, and killing Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.

"It's not a long distance from those early years in the 1970s to protective cover that the Secretary-General Annan has provided to Zarqawi [and the] Mujahadeen in Fallujah," he said.

Targeting states that support terror

Shabtai Shavit, head of the Israel's Mossad (secret service) from 1989 to 1996, said an international organization should be created to deal with the global war against terrorism.

"Terrorism cannot exist without territory and thus action must be against states that support terrorism," Shavit said.

"The U.N. is of course a natural home for such an organization," he said, but that won't happen. The U.N. has never even been able to come to a consensus on a definition for terrorism, much less fight it, he added.

The difference between terrorism in past decades and today, Shavit said, is that years ago it was primarily secularly based, aspired to self determination and was mostly local -- whereas today it is based on radical, religious, imperialistic Muslim worldview that has strong global support.

The terrorists today believe that they have been given a "divine command" to either convert the rest of the world to Islam or to extinguish it, he said.

Such an ideology has presented dilemmas to the Western world in the methods needed to deal with the terrorism, he said, and therefore an international organization of democracies needs to be formed in order to combat it.

Shavit, who heads the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism near Tel Aviv, suggested that an international definition for terrorism based on the "lowest common denominator" be adopted by the group whose authority would be based on agreed upon conventions.

"Experts from different countries [would] investigate the involvement of states and organizations in terror," Shavit said. A state's involvement in terrorism would be defined by the type and level of involvement, he said.

"States that are involved in terrorism will be penalized based upon a fixed scale, which will be defined. The scale will mention the different types of involvement in order to shift the balance of interests from those states and convince them that supporting terrorism is not worthwhile," he said.

But according to Gold, its not enough to just pull democracies together. In the lead-up to the war in Iraq, even some democracies believed to be U.S. allies refused to view the threat from Iraq in the same way.

"Therefore you need a common mission, which is [to combat] terrorism, and you need democracy, and those have to be wedded to form a kernel of an alternative organization," Gold said.

"In the meantime, within the U.N. system, those countries need to begin to work to change the U.N. resolutions, to begin to form an alternative bloc that pulls in countries from Africa and Asia, away from the non-aligned movement to a more positive voting patterns," he added.

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