The Gaza situation has prompted UN Secretary-General António Guterres to invoke Article 99 of the UN Charter as he called on the Security Council to act. The initiative comes following the failure of the world powers to broker peace in the raging strife. A report by Gopal Misra
It is genocide. Even the US-led western powers are aghast and feel helpless before the retributive onslaught of Israel; it cannot justify the killings, estimated to be more than 10 times of the terror victims of 1200 dead, scores of them wounded and more than 300 kidnapped after the surprise Hamas attack of October 7. It is being stated on behalf of Hamas that more than 17,000 have been killed and 46,000 wounded in Gaza in Israel’s ongoing counter attack.
The pathetic ground situation in Gaza, which is worsening with each passing day, has prompted UN Secretary-General Guterres to invoke Article 99 of the UN Charter for reawakening the conscience of the mankind centred in UN Security Council, the super cabinet of the world body comprising five most powerful nations of the earth, US, Russia, China, France and U.K. and ten non-veto members elected on rotational basis for two years. The initiative has come following the inability of the world powers to broker peace in the avoidable strife. It cannot be denied that despite Hamas’s proximity to Pakistan, India perhaps has emerged as the only voice for peace in the region. Interestingly, Hamas chief, Ismail Haniyeh, who reportedly had engaged Pakistan’s Inter services Intelligence (ISI) for training its volunteers, has further sought help from “brave” Pakistan while addressing a gathering of radical Islamists on the internet.
Haniyeh’s appeal for the implementation of 2004 Oslo Award also appears to be intriguing, because he had rejected the award and captured Gaza undermining the Palestinian Authority. India has so far has not declared Hamas, a terrorist outfit, perhaps to intensify peace efforts. However, it may be recalled that Indian PM Narendra Modi was one of world leaders who promptly condemned the Hamas aggression. Meanwhile, Guterres’s efforts has further been endorsed with the recent statement of US President Joe Biden that “I think the only available solution is a two-state solution.” Finally, it appears that the formation of a sovereign Palestinian state might get the crucial support of Russia, China, France and the UK.
In spite of a section of western media stating that the visit of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, during the first week of December 2023 to West Asia, could be Moscow’s attempt to reassert in the regional politics, many believe that the visit has rekindled hope for a permanent peace in West Asia. The Russian support would be ensuring defence of the proposed Palestine state; at the same time Israel too would be reassured against any misadventure by its neighbour in future, if legitimate elected government rule instead of a terrorist outfit like Hamas continuously subjugating people in the name of religion.
Putin’s visit could help in further cementing ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran having recently renewed their diplomatic relations under Beijing’s umbrella. The presence of the American warships in the Eastern Mediterranean could just be a reminder of the pre-dominant Anglo-American presence in the region. Meanwhile, the US Senate has already decided not to extend further military-financial support to Israel, which might discourage it to continue its Gaza operations.
There is yet another dimension to Putin’s West Asia visit; that of focussing on the reduction of the dependence of the petroleum producing countries on fossil fuel. They may go for nuclear power stations on a larger scale with Russian help. It, however, may cause discomfiture to the US-led western powers. They have been denying nuclear power houses to Saudi Arabia and its allies in the region. The Russian support to Riyadh might be supporting Saudi Vision 2030.
The region is undergoing paradigm changes. Guterres cannot force the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution, but his peace initiative cannot be undermined. He has invoked the cause of humanity.