Sunday, September 2, 2012

You Won't See it in the NYT

Today's item is a poorly redacted press release issued at the closing of the !6th Summit of Non-Aligned Nations, also known as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which was held throughout the past week in Iran's capital, Tehran.  I'm posting it here because I could not find it in the New York Times.  (In the Washington Post I found articles focusing on Egyptian President Morsi's speech at the conference in which he declared his support for the Syrian opposition, but nothing on the fundamental principles of the NAM, which were reiterated at the meeting.)

When assessing Morsi's statement, which caused the Syrian delegation to walk out, keep in mind that he represents Sunni Islam while Assad represents a dissident form of Shi'ism that allows for the country to be ruled by a Socialist Arab Party, the Ba'ath. As I have said before, too little attention is paid to the political aspect of the Sunni/Shi'a divide.  It is important to remember that the Iranian regime considers itself to represent the lower classes, as does the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood represented by Morsi.

As long as we try to simplify what is in reality a highly complex situation, which I described in a June blog ( as a sort of Islamic Reformation, we will find it difficult to grapple with the new Middle East.  For the Washington Post, the fact that Morsi criticized Iran's ally, Syria, in Tehran, is proof that the international gathering of countries representing more than half of the world's population was a flop.  Morsi's message was described as a 'sweeping statment' and his support of Syrian rebels a 'blindside blow' to Iran.  It's as if America's allies never disagree with us on specific matters, while agreeing on basic principles.  Or as if Morsi himself had not come to power via a popular uprising demanding more democracy.  (Egyptians were rebelling against a far-right regime, while Syria's Assad has brought many socialist-inspired reforms to Syria, which is why he continues to have the support of much of the international left.)

Here is the press release on the NAM Final Document:

Tehran, Iran – At its concluding session on Friday The 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, adopted the Tehran Declaration, the Final Document and a separate report on the work of its Palestine Committee. The Tehran Declaration reiterated the goals and principles of the movement and rejected western hegemony, which sought to impose its will through coercive measures.

The 120 participants also affirmed their firm support and solidarity with Syria in its just fight to restore its sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. They emphasized that the steps taken by Israel to change the legal and demographic situation of the occupied Syrian Golan violate UN Security Council resolution 497 of 1981 which declared Israel’s annexation of the Golan as null and void and called on Israel to withdraw to the June 4th, 1967 line. The NAM condemned US sanctions on Syria, stressing that they violate international law and the UN Charter.

NAM delegates expressed their appreciation of the efforts by former UN envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, and welcomed Lakhdar al-Ibrahimi as the new international envoy, calling on members to facilitate his mission.

The declaration reiterated NAM’s principled stance on the non-use of or the threat of force against the safety and territorial integrity of any country.

It also reiterated the movement’s support for the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, calling on Israel, the only country in the region that has not joined the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, to do so without delay and put its nuclear facilities under the Comprehensive Safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Tehran Declaration also stressed the NAM leaders’ deep concern over Israel’s possession of nuclear energy which they said constitutes a constant threat to the security of neighboring and other countries. The NAM leaders condemned Israel for continuing to develop and stockpile nuclear weapons.

Recognizing that terrorist acts are a violation of international law, affecting safety, territorial integrity and stability, and threatening regional and national security, not to mention destabilizing legitimate governments, systems and the political unity of individual countries, they called on all countries to cooperate in confronting the funding of terrorism.

The  leaders condemned all forms of terrorism and called for refraining from any political, diplomatic, moral or material support to terrorism, urging all countries to make sure that the situation of refugees or any other situation not be used by perpetrators, organizers and facilitators of terrorist acts.





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