It Took the UN to Get the World to Finger Syria for Hariri's Killing
Posted by Suzanne Nossel
With all the uproar about UN investigator Detlev Mehlis' report implicating the highest levels of the Syrian government in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, we should not lose sight of the UN's accomplishment in carrying out the investigation and issuing the findings it did.
The UN's legions of detractors include those who want the organization split into parts, dismantled, or kept out of global politics.
But without a broadly mandated UN, how could the Hariri case have moved beyond finger pointing? The Lebanese government could never have been trusted to investigate. There's no way the US itself could have interfered. The Arab League could not have been objective. The EU would never have waded in. The International Criminal Court would not have had jurisdiction. Without the UN, its hard to envision how the investigation, particularly given its depth and breadth, could have been carried out.
Despite the fracas over what may have been last-minute redactions of names from the report, Mehlis and Kofi Annan also deserve credit for not holding back on explosive and detailed findings. Many complain that the UN is fundamentally flawed in that, as a membership organization, it cannot risk the ire of even outlaw Member States, but in this case that wasn't true.
It remains to be seen what the Security Council will do with Mehlis' report, but the people of Lebanon already feel some sense of satisfaction that the facts they all suspected have been brought to light by an objective source.
Here's another example of why - if we are ever shortsighted enough to abandon or significantly scale back the UN - we will find ourselves with the impossible task of having to recreate what we destroyed.