President of International Progress Organization addresses expert meeting at Peoples' Friendship University of Russia
In a televised speech earlier today, Professor Hans Köchler, President of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), told a seminar on the theory of international conflicts in Moscow that Security Council resolution 2216, adopted on 14 April 2015, has further exacerbated the conflict in Yemen. Instead of imposing an inclusive arms embargo on all warring parties, the Council chose to ban the sale and transfer of arms to only one party to the conflict, namely the Houthi insurgents. As in any situation of domestic strife, such partisan support will make peaceful settlement between the adversaries much more difficult. Calling upon neighboring states to inspect all cargo to Yemen (operative para. 15 of the resolution), the Council has, though unintendedly, provided a further excuse to those who are responsible for a de facto humanitarian embargo that has caused even more death and suffering among the civilian population.
In his remarks on "War and Geopolitics in the Arabian Peninsula" Professor Köchler further explained that the armed intervention of a Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab states could make this domestic social conflict a sectarian war along the Sunni-Shia divide -- with ramifications in the entire Muslim world, including repercussions in Saudi Arabia with its sizable Shia population. The unilateral war of the Kingdom and her allies, not authorized under international law, has further contributed to the conflict becoming a proxy war between regional powers, making the initially local dispute even more intractable. Logistical and intelligence cooperation of the Saudi military with the United States in the conduct of aerial attacks in Yemen has given the conflict a geopolitical dimension along the blueprint for a "Greater Middle East" drawn up by an earlier U.S. administration. It is regrettable that -- after the infamous Libya resolution 1973(2011) -- the United Nations Security Council has created the framework for another failed state scenario.
At the wider regional and global level, the question cui bono? (to whose benefit?) cannot be avoided. The old colonial maxim of divide et impera (divide and rule) seems again to be applied in the setting of the 21st century's interventionist policies. Responding to a question from the moderator, Professor Köchler said that the old regional order, established after World War I, is crumbling and the political disintegration will be reflected in the changing political map of the region. In a post-Sykes-Picot environment, where the status quo is simply untenable, a long period of instability may be ahead for the entire Middle East, with serious implications for the security in neighboring regions, including in Europe. Looking at the experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, among others, the intervening powers -- from within and outside the Middle East -- may again come to regret the "unintended consequences" of their actions.
The seminar on "Situation Analysis of International Conflicts" was held by the Department of International Relations at Peoples' Friendship University of Russia in Moscow. Session II, addressed by Professor Köchler, was entitled "'Greater Middle East' -- New Challenges and Threats: Radical Islamism."