Category Archives: Iraq

Afghanistan, September 11, 2002 and Land Mines

Afghanistan signs the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines on September 11, 2002 while Iraq, Israel and the USA (and 46 others) still have not.

With North America (at least) dwelling on commemorative events surrounding the first anniversary of September 11, 2001, odd ironies were at play elsewhere in the world as that day, Afghanistan signed the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines.

There are still unanswered questions about who is functionally in charge of Afghanistan (and if the big W is pulling strings, or the big W’s string pullers, whatever) and why that day was chosen. What kind of political value would there be, and for who, to orchestrate that event on that key day? Is it a sign of the White House’s total domination of the enemy that is/was Afghanistan that they signed on that day?

146 countries have signed, ratified, or agreed to be bound by the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines. They are listed here.

49 countries haven’t signed the treaty as of this month, including some notables: Iraq, Israel, and the USA.

And while political posturing prevents more countries from signing, Canada’s light shines as an example of how other states COULD operate.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham attributes, “much of the remarkable progress achieved to date to an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination between governments, international organizations and NGOs.”

I wonder who will sign on September 11, 2003.

Canadians Against Biological Weapons

While the big W is swimming in Iraqi bloodlust, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders promote the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention as a vehicle for ridding the world of abhorrent weapons.

In doing some research today, I stumbled over the United Nation’s website. I read in the title bar of their introductory homepage “Welcome to the UN. It’s your world.” I like that sentiment. It’s a reminder that even with big W Bush and his family’s bloodlust for Iraq, the world is actually OUR world.

What was the research I was doing today? I was looking into the BTWC, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention which just finished its Fifth Review Conference in Geneva. Details are here.

I had heard about this Convention from an email of a press release (#147) from Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham’s office. You can read it here.

In the press release, Graham, with the Australian foreign minister and the New Zealand Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control (what a great idea for a ministerial position!), affirmed their support for the BTWC, that it “remains a relevant and vital pillar of the global disarmament and non-proliferation framework, essential both to the campaign to rid the world of the scourge of biological weapons and to the pursuit of international peace and security.”

The press release came on November 15, 2002. Last Friday. The deadline for Iraq (a BTWC signatory 30 years ago) to comply with UN weapons inspection, spurred on by the USA (also a BTWC signatory in 1972).

So while the big W is spewing forth his beloved militarism, yet capitulates to “allow” the UN to embody its concern about Iraq’s weapons, here are Canada and Australia and New Zealand promoting the value of international conventions as a vehicle for international peace and security.

And while the big W is not a fan of signing international treaties and conventions that may limit his god-blessed sovereignty, Canada is part of a movement to promote more conciliatory approaches to global issues, assuming Iraq has anything worth inspecting.

And by the way, the big W, soon after taking office, backed his country out of a UN agreement to enforce the BTWC.

It’s good to be a Canadian. And a member of the UN. Because it is my world after all, and yours too.