UN arms treaty already UNdone

It has been less than 24 hours, and we are already in violation of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty. Photo: signing arms treaty/ AP

WASHINGTON, September 26, 2013  On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry followed up on the Obama Administration’s plans to sign the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty. The treaty attempts to provide measures which would seek to curtail the supply of arms to parts of the world and to organizations who threaten global stability, or where there is a significant risk of non-combatant harm.

As of now, according to the U.N., 108 nations have signed the treaty and seven have ratified it.


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The preamble of the Act states:

Underlining the need to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and to prevent their diversion to the illicit market, or for unauthorized end use and end users, including in the commission of terrorist acts …”

The United States is currently in violation of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty. Before even making it into any of the Articles, the U.S. is guilty at the preamble.

We have been supplying al-Qaeda in Syria with lethal aid. You remember al-Qaeda. We trained and armed them to fight the Communists, and then they killed thousands of us on 9/11 and we are still at war with them. The same al-Qaeda opened up a franchise in Africa, and started al-Qaeda junior in Somalia under the name al-Shabaab.


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Al-Shabaab recently killed sixty plus people at a shopping mall in Nairobi. Those same people are the ones who have hijacked the Syrian opposition and they are the same ones who we are currently sending weapons to in Syria.

The Syrian rebels are responsible for their own atrocities across the country since the beginning of their civil war. Stories of children and mothers, Christians, and old men being executed by Syrian opposition forces pour in every day, at least as frequently as those of atrocities committed by pro-Assad forces.

By giving them guns, we are in direct violation of the very treaty which was designed to stop such events from taking place.

It does not stop there.


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Under Article 1 “Object and Purpose”, paragraphs 3 and 4 beneath the “For the Purpose of” section:

“For the Purpose of:

-Contributing to international and regional peace, security and stability;

-Reducing human suffering.”

So, that’s probably strike two. The United States is directly supplying arms to those who are contributing to human suffering by beheading Christian bishops and attacking non-combatant Alawite Muslims in an effort to combat President Assad, who is also guilty of contributing to human suffering by his attacks on non-combatant Sunni villages. This does not compute.

But it goes on.

Under Article 6 (Prohibitions) Paragraph 1 the Treaty states that:

“A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms, covered under Article 2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, if the transfer would violate its obligations under measures adopted by the United Nations Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular arms embargoes.”

There is a little UN sanction, run through the Security Council, UN Security Council Resolution 1989 which was passed in 2011. Under that particular sanction it reads:

“Prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale and transfer from their territories or by their nationals outside their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types, spare parts, and technical advice, assistance, or training related to military activities, to designated individuals and entities…”

So, one could deduce from such evidence presented here the defendant not only violated the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty he did just sign, but he also violated a U.N. arms embargo to prevent supplying said malcontents in any way shape of form.

These are strikes three and four respectively.

By signing this treaty, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have in one fell swoop violated American law and international law with their actions. Their response to such allegations will be that it isn’t ratified yet, or it was Bush’s fault. The fact is that when you so loudly state that “the buck stops with me” you have to assume a certain amount of responsibility; the buck may stop at you, but it starts with us.

It seems as though in order to punish President Bashar al-Assad for crossing his line in the sand and breaking international law, Obama and Kerry will violate American law, international law, laws that his own people signed and put into place, and laws that were meant to curtail the growth of terrorism in the world just to prove his point.

The same people who would strip American gun owners of their rights in a heartbeat if they had the power, have moved mountains and have dismissed the United Nations to make sure that terrorist organizations responsible for the deaths of countless lives can prove that when Obama says don’t cross that line, you don’t cross that line.

If international law that Obama has ordered his administration to promote and to sign means so little, what does it say of his respect for the rule of law in general? 


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Conor Higgins

Conor Higgins has a B.A. from Catholic University in DC in American History, with a concentration on guerrilla warfare on American soil. He has an M.A. in US History from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, with a concentration on Cold War insurgency. He believes that all news and all information should be taken with a grain of salt, and implores people everywhere to seek news stories everywhere. 

Higgins is also a fervent believer in the traditional role of media, in terms of acting as a balanced check on government policies and individuals regardless of party affiliation. But in the end, he believes that no matter how heated an issue is, there is nothing that can't be discussed over a smoke and some whiskey. 

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