Human Rights Watch Courts the Mullahs

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Stephanie, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. Stephanie
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    Stephanie Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    :wtf: :puke3:

    By John Perazzo
    FrontPageMagazine.com | August 3, 2006

    During these tense times in the Middle East, at least Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can have a good laugh over the pathetic July 26 letter addressed to him by the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, Sarah Leah Whitson. “Dear President Ahmadinejad,” the letter solemnly begins, “We [at HRW] are aware that you have recently expressed great concern about the current fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, citing in particular the large numbers of Lebanese civilian victims of this conflict.”

    Your eyes do not deceive you. HRW believes, at least publicly, that it is communicating with an individual (Ahmadinejad) who actually gives a damn – for reasons other than political expediency – about the oft-lamented “civilian victims” whose sufferings presumably cause him to weep and pray for peace. Ms. Whitson seems unaware that the addressee of her letter has repeatedly, unabashedly characterized Israel as a loathsome “tumor” whose civilians and non-civilians alike “must be wiped off the map” of the planet earth.

    To demonstrate her organization’s unwavering solidarity with Ahmadinejad’s commendable “concern” about the well-being of innocent noncombatants in Lebanon, Whitson takes pains to assure him of the following: “Human Rights Watch is also [emphasis added] extremely concerned about the price civilians are paying – on both sides of the border. We have questioned the lawfulness of Israel’s attacks under international humanitarian law in light of the extremely high proportion of civilians among those killed and wounded and the devastation these attacks have caused to infrastructure essential to the civilian population. We have stressed to Israel the imperative of providing safe passage to civilians seeking to flee the fighting and for relief convoys into and out of areas affected by the fighting. To that end, we are monitoring and reporting on Israeli abuses.”

    Then, in a paragraph of the politest decorum, Whitson writes: “[W]e urge you to remind Hezbollah that its actions as a group [that is] engaged in armed conflict subject it to the requirements of international humanitarian law. As such, it is bound to conduct hostilities in compliance with customary international humanitarian law and common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.” What will come next? Will HRW implore Osama bin Laden to “remind” his al Qaeda foot soldiers to never lose sight of their cherished principles of tolerance, religious freedom, and Jeffersonian democracy? Whitson demonstrates beyond dispute that she possesses not a scintilla of insight into the nature of Islamofascism as embodied in the likes of Hezbollah and Ahmadinejad – both of whom, in HRW’s calculus, would be pleased to find a viable way to live in peaceful coexistence with Israel.

    “Iran should seek assurances from Hezbollah,” Whitson continues, “that the organization is not locating weapons, launching attacks, and stationing combatants in civilian structures or in or close to civilian populated areas.” But the use of human shields is precisely Hezbollah’s modus operandi, as it has been throughout the many years during which Iran has supported that organization to the tune of $100 million annually. What could be more nonsensical than to prevail upon the supposedly benign intervention of the very man (Ahmadinejad) who now arms Hezbollah, and who recently declared, with eager anticipation, that “the annihilation of the Zionist regime” is close at hand.

    “An intervention with Hezbollah,” Whitson continues, “provides you [President Ahmadinejad] an opportunity to demonstrate that Iran is serious about protecting civilians in this war by addressing potential violations of international humanitarian law by your country’s ally [Hezbollah].” The implication is that heretofore Iran has been an uninvolved observer watching from the sidelines, anxiously wringing its hands in hopes that its belligerent Hezbollah comrades might soon lay down their arms and break bread with Jews. From reading Whitson’s words, one would never suspect that Iran was not only responsible for Hezbollah’s creation in 1982, but that it is entirely responsible for having transformed the latter into a formidable military force today. Whitson writes as if she has painstakingly uncovered (and civic-mindedly revealed to Ahmadinejad) a previously elusive plan for achieving the good relations with Israel that the Iranian president presumably seeks above all else. There is no hint that she takes seriously his recent proclamation that Muslim armies would “soon wipe off this disgraceful blot [Israel] from the face of the Islamic world.”

    Ms. Whitson ends her letter as she began it – pathetically. “Finally,” she writes, “we urge you to make clear that further Iranian support for Hezbollah, including any prospective supply of military assistance, will be contingent on its compliance with these demands.” This statement ignores the fact that no Iranian support for Hezbollah is justified according to the stipulations of UN Resolution 1559 (passed in 2004), which called for “the disbanding and disarmament of all … militias” in Lebanon.

    HRW’s letter to Ahmadinejad illustrates vividly the greatest weakness of the modern Left – its steadfast refusal to recognize the existence of maniacal, genocidal evil (other than in the hearts of Western figures like President Bush or Donald Rumsfeld), and to deal with it forcefully and with moral certitude. Rather, the Left considers the mere suggestion that such a brand of evil even exists – particularly in cultures outside the West – to be prima facie evidence of Western racism, ethnocentrism, and “blaming the victim.” Thus we witness the sorry spectacle of a “human rights” organization like HRW comforting itself, as detailed above, with polite, decorous, gentlemanly communiqués to devils who have unambiguously announced their desire to exterminate the “infidels” of Israel and America. Moreover, we see HRW and its ideological kin ever-so-gently and respectfully urging the political intervention of a man who has publicly lauded the “very wise statement” of the “dear Imam” (Ayatollah Khomeini) which “ordered that the occupying regime in Jerusalem be wiped off the face of the earth.”
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=23630
     
  2. Stephanie
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    Stephanie Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    Letter to President Ahmadinejad on Israel - Lebanon Conflict


    July 26, 2006


    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    Office of the President
    Pasteur Avenue PO Box 1423-13185
    Tehran Iran 13168-43311


    Dear President Ahmadinejad,


    We are aware that you have recently expressed great concern about the current fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, citing in particular the large numbers of Lebanese civilian victims of this conflict.


    Human Rights Watch is also extremely concerned about the price civilians are paying – on both sides of the border. We have questioned the lawfulness of Israel’s attacks under international humanitarian law in light of the extremely high proportion of civilians among those killed and wounded and the devastation these attacks have caused to infrastructure essential to the civilian population. We have stressed to Israel the imperative of providing safe passage to civilians seeking to flee the fighting and for relief convoys into and out of areas affected by the fighting.


    To that end, we are monitoring and reporting on Israeli abuses. We have communicated our concerns to, among others, the government of the United States, Israel’s principal ally, calling on the Bush administration to use its influence to persuade Israel to comply fully with international humanitarian law.


    In a similar fashion, the close and abiding relationship between Hezbollah and Iran, including the alleged role that Iran has played in supplying weapons to Hezbollah, gives Iran a special responsibility to raise civilian protection issues with Hezbollah leaders. We urge Iran to use its influence to ensure that Hezbollah forces do not undertake attacks that violate international humanitarian law. In order for Iran’s statements condemning Israel’s attacks on Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure to have credibility, Iran must also vigorously condemn attacks by Hezbollah that target civilians or cause indiscriminate harm to civilians.

    As a preliminary matter, we urge you to remind Hezbollah that its actions as a group engaged in armed conflict subject it to the requirements of international humanitarian law. As such, it is bound to conduct hostilities in compliance with customary international humanitarian law and common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Hezbollah should be also reminded that its obligation to respect the provisions of humanitarian law does not depend on reciprocity; these rules should be observed even if the adversary does not do so.


    In Iran’s discussions with Hezbollah officials, we urge you to raise three related concerns about that organization’s compliance with the requirements of international humanitarian law: (1) Iran should call for an end to Hezbollah’s repeated attacks on civilian-populated areas of northern Israel with rockets whose inability to be targeted makes them inherently indiscriminate and therefore unlawful; (2) Iran should seek assurances from Hezbollah that the organization is not locating weapons, launching attacks, and stationing combatants in civilian structures or in or close to civilian populated areas; and (3) Iran should stress with Hezbollah the imperative to protect the safety and security of captured Israeli combatants and to treat them at all times humanely.


    (1) Indiscriminate rocket attacks


    International humanitarian law permits Hezbollah to launch attacks against combatants, military installations, and other military objectives. However, targeting civilians deliberately or indiscriminately is unlawful in all circumstances, and Hezbollah must take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian harm by not attacking military objects if the anticipated harm to civilians will be disproportionate to the expected military advantage. Hezbollah’s commanders must choose only such means of attack that they can direct at military targets and will minimize incidental harm to civilians. If the weapons that Hezbollah is using are so inaccurate that it cannot direct them at military targets without imposing a substantial risk of civilian harm, then it should not deploy them. Launching attacks in violation of these rules is often a war crime.


    Since the start of recent hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel, Hezbollah has launched over one thousand rockets into northern Israeli towns and cities, including Haifa, Nazareth, Netanya, Kiryat Shemona, Safed, Karmiel, and Tiberias, killing 17 civilians, injuring hundreds, and damaging homes, hospitals, schools and other civilian objects. Such attacks are at best indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas and at worst the deliberate targeting of civilians. Either way, they are serious violations of international humanitarian law. Because they appear to be carried out intentionally and as a matter of policy, they probably constitute war crimes. The vast majority of these rockets, as in past conflicts, have been Katyushas, which are small, have a range limited to the immediate border area, and cannot be aimed with precision.


    Human Rights Watch’s investigations to date have found no evidence that these attacks were aimed at military targets. In any event, to the extent that military targets may exist in the vicinity of the areas attacked, the inherent inaccuracy of the rockets used violates the prohibition on indiscriminate attacks. Customary international law prohibits such bombardment near or in any area containing a concentration of civilians, even if there are believed to be military objectives in the area.


    In a number of cases investigated by Human Rights Watch, the warheads that Hezbollah used suggest a desire to maximize harm to civilians. The rockets launched against Haifa and Nazareth contained thousands of metal ball bearings that are of no use against hardened military targets but cause great harm to civilians, lodging in their bodies. According to medical doctors we spoke with, the ball bearings and other shrapnel have increased the number and seriousness of injuries from rocket fire.


    It is important to urge Hezbollah to cease using indiscriminate rockets in its fight with Israel. We hope that you will use your influence with Hezbollah to ensure that its means and methods of attack can and do discriminate between military and civilian targets and objects.

    (2) Location of Military Objects and Personnel in Civilian Areas


    Hezbollah also has an obligation to protect Lebanese civilians by taking all necessary precautions to protect them against the dangers resulting from armed hostilities. It must never use the presence of civilians to shield itself from attack. This requires positioning its military assets, troops, and commanders as much as possible outside of civilian facilities and populated areas. The use of human shields is a war crime.


    In light of continuing Israeli allegations of improper Hezbollah positioning of weapons and fighters, we urge you to insist that Hezbollah provide public assurances that it will not locate its military personnel among the civilian population or launch attacks from or near civilian residences or infrastructure.


    (3) Prohibition against Hostage-Taking and Treatment of Captured Combatants


    On July 12, Hezbollah launched an attack on Israeli positions, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two. The targeting and capture of enemy soldiers is allowed under international humanitarian law. However captured combatants in all circumstances must be treated humanely.


    Hezbollah leader Hassan Nassrallah stated that Hezbollah will use the captured soldiers to negotiate the release of Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab prisoners from Israel. The use of captives who are no longer involved in the conflict for this purpose constitutes hostage-taking. Hostage-taking as part of an armed conflict is strictly forbidden under international law, by both common Article 3 and customary international law, and is a war crime.


    An intervention with Hezbollah provides you an opportunity to demonstrate that Iran is serious about protecting civilians in this war by addressing potential violations of international humanitarian law by your country’s ally. As a State Party to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, you undertook “to respect and ensure respect for” those Conventions, including the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.


    Human Rights Watch thus urges Iran to insist that Hezbollah cease deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against Israeli civilians; provide public assurances that it is not locating its combatants, or launching attacks, from or near civilian structures or areas; protect the safety and security of, and treat humanely, all captured combatants; undertake investigations to determine whether its forces have committed violations of international humanitarian law; and hold accountable any individuals found to be responsible for serious violations. Finally, we urge you to make clear that further Iranian support for Hezbollah, including any prospective supply of military assistance, will be contingent on its compliance with these demands.


    Thank you.

    Sincerely,


    Sarah Leah Whitson
    Executive Director
    Middle East and North Africa Division
     
  3. ErikViking
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    ErikViking VIP Member

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    Well that was a well formulated letter I think. It is a snippet of how we conduct diplomacy and negotioation.

    It would be naive to think Iran will respond to any of the requirements in that letter, but sending it shows that there is a gamefield to play on. A gamefield with rules.
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    and his response would go something like this:

    Sorry, we have no control over Hizballah. We always encourage all our enemies to follow the Geneva conventions. Thank you for your help.

    A-
     
  5. ErikViking
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    ErikViking VIP Member

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    Most likely. And he can then report that no help on his matters was given, - how unjust!
    Still, he would have got the invitation. It costs little to send.
     
  6. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    I agree--worth the invite--sometimes documentation is helpful in retrospect but at the time it is sent it's nothing more than a pro forma exercise.
     

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