By TIA TUIBURELEVU, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Delegates in the DISEC committee to vote on which draft resolution to debate. The US gives its support to Resolution 1.1 ‘UNOMESS’ currently before committee.
The United States delegation in the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC) just released the above statement in an exclusive interview with The New York Times. The committee, now in its fifth session, is currently debating the three draft resolutions put to the floor. The issue of state boundaries in the Middle East, in light of recent security threats, includes terrorism, the current Syrian refugee crisis, and the rise of the extremist Jihadi group, ISIS.
In a rather unprecedented move, the US has signed alongside Russia and China to a draft resolution titled ‘UNOMESS’ (United Nations Office on Middle Eastern State Stability). The resolution focuses on creating an Arab-Interpol network to increase regional security and ensures all cultural and religious groups have a voice in policy decisions.
The resolution has a notable absence with a provision allowing for militarized or non-militarized intervention during times of crisis. Instead, the burden is placed on the Arab League and other Middle Eastern states to secure their state borders without Western assistance. In response to why the US is no longer supporting such a strong interventionist position in the region, the delegation stated the following:
“We are taking a non-interventionist stance in the Middle East because ISIS does not pose a threat to the US.” A rather controversial statement, the delegation supports their position by espousing the the extremist group hasn’t made any recent declarations to attack US soil so is therefore of no concern. Whilst it expresses its deepest concerns regarding the recent Paris terror attacks, they believe that taking a step away from the region is in their best security interests. ISIS’ November 2015 video, showing two suicide bombers walking into Times Square, is not deemed a credible threat.
The US hopes to work with the United Nations and the Arab League to give them the tools to enhance ‘good governance, healthcare and education.’ However, they are unwilling to provide direct funding and will instead work with local NGOs. In regards to the current refugee crisis, their main focus is empowering host nations to integrate refugees in their community. This could be achieved through incentivizing states to house refugees where resources allow. The long-term goal is repatriation, provided it can be made into a hospitable environment. When questioned on its current refugee quota, the delegation stated this will not be increased at all.
Proposing a draft resolution with support from Russia and China is a novel move on the US’ part. In recent UNSC history, these three members of the permanent 5 have consistently clashed on whether to intervene in the Middle East or not. Take Russia and China’s veto on the 2011 draft resolution into Syria, which has been heavily criticized by the US since. In this committee session, the US has decided to work with its fellow permanent members in what it labels the ‘union of the West and East.’ This is certainly the first of its kind in recent history.
So what happens if ISIS were, in the next week, to declare a terrorist act against the United States? “If that happens then, by all means, we will do what we can to take them out. Military force, boots on the grounds, whatever it takes to protect our national security.”