When the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement convenes in the Iranian capital this weekend, it promises to be the greatest show on earth – a show of international solidarity and peaceful coexistence – in the face of imperialist aggression and threat of all-out world war.
The 16th summit of the NAM since the organization’s inception in 1961 could hardly come at a more crucial moment in world affairs.
Never before, it seems, have the words of Fidel Castro resonated with such urgency, when the Cuban leader declared at a previous summit in 1979 that the international movement stood for “national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their “struggle against imperialism and all forms of foreign aggression”.
Fifty-one years after the NAM’s foundation in Belgrade, the world may have survived the spectre of mutually assured destruction of the Cold War. But in the unipolar world that has since emerged – dominated by the United States and its elitist allies – we are witnessing a grotesque rebirth in wars, aggression and, ironically, a renewed threat of nuclear war – the very causes of malevolence that first motivated the formation of the NAM.
Some 120 nations share membership of the movement, representing 55 percent of the world’s population and nearly two-thirds of the United Nations body. Indeed, the NAM is sometimes referred to as the “real United Nations” as it is seen to be more democratically representative of the mutual interests of the world’s majority than the Western-dominated UN with its self-appointed Security Council.
While the United States and Western allies arrogantly invoke the mantle of “the international community, “the Non-Aligned Movement can rightfully lay claim to this title, with appropriate legitimacy. When the US and former colonial powers Britain and France talk about “the international community,” what this actually refers to is their own cabal of elite power and unilateral geopolitical self-interest. Today, the Cold War’s supposed peace dividend is a cynical pipe dream. Member states of the NAM are being assaulted or suffering from the belligerent ravages of the pseudo international community – the partisan powers of the US and its NATO allies. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan among others. Unlike the NAM, which has denounced aggression and interference, when has the United Nations ever made such condemnation? In fact, the UN has shamefully given moral and diplomatic cover to these illegal wars.
Also, unlike the UN, the NAM has explicitly called for nuclear disarmament by the global elite that continues to possess tens of thousands of weapons of mass destruction in breach of their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Syria, a member of NAM, is being assailed by a US-led axis of powers that include Britain, France, Germany, Turkey and Israel in a covert imperialist war of aggression. None of these powers are, of course, members of the NAM. They instead constitute the global gang of rogue states led by Washington.
In its attempted destruction of Syria, the US-led axis is aided and abetted by the Persian Gulf dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Arab monarchies are officially members of the NAM but it is unlikely that they will attend the conference in Tehran for obvious reprehensible reasons.
In this way, the summit in Tehran will serve to expose in the eyes of the world the nefarious, warmongering global elite. The gathering will expose the pretenders of “international community” as nothing more than a bunch of thugs who are holding the rest of the world to ransom under the threat of aggression. It will show that this elite and its claims of upholding international law and human rights is but a fraudulent clique of racketeers whose relentless, rapacious pursuit of imperialist profiteering is the scourge of the earth and of world peace.
It is poetic justice that Iran should have the honour of hosting this historic event. For nearly a decade now the Islamic Republic has had to live under the threat of war from the United States and its henchmen. Over the past year, these threats have been ratcheted up to decibel levels. In a world dominated by rogue states, the US, Britain and France and their illegal nuclear-powered attack dog, Israel, have the audacity to daily threaten Iran with military strikes and, by doing so, cast a shadow of annihilation on the rest of the world.
Iran is the other NAM member that is currently being subjected to a war of aggression: Sabotage of infrastructure, assassination of its scientists and abduction of citizens, such as Iranian mother Shahrzad Mirgholikhan, who was tortured for five years in an American prison, are part of this warfare. So too are criminal embargoes against the country’s economy, orchestrated by Washington.
This heinous criminality, based on suspicion and lies, is all because Iran is pursuing its legally entitled right to develop nuclear energy and to maintain its political independence.
But the poetic justice of the NAM summit is that the majority of the world is standing with Iran in the face of this aggression. Countries from as far as Mexico and Brazil to Indonesia and Malaysia are clearly saying that Iran has the right to develop on its own terms without interference or hegemonic spoiling.
Over 100 nations will be in attendance. Some 35 countries are sending heads of state to Tehran. A further 21 governments will be represented by foreign ministers.
Among those attending is Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accompanied by a delegation of 150 officials. Delegates from the NAM’s observer countries, including China, Russia and Brazil, are also expected.
One historic presence will be Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi. This will be the first top-level visit between the two countries since relations were severed in 1978 when the Egyptian regime aligned then with the US against the Iranian revolution.
In defiance of arm-twisting by Washington and its lynch mob, nations from Latin America, Africa and Asia are making their way to Tehran. Underscoring their independence and solidarity, and fitting for the occasion, many of these nations are now reported to be resuming export contracts for Iranian oil, shaking off recent American and European sanctions.
It is a sign of the times that even the hapless secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has announced his attendance. Israel’s megalomaniac Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Ban’s decision to go to Iran as “a big mistake,” while Washington sullenly described it as “a bit strange”.
However, Ban needs to do more than just show up. He needs to somehow find the backbone to speak out categorically against the US-led violence against Iran and Syria. That is doubtful given his supine silence over Washington’s criminal depredations and drone assassinations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and Somalia. But nevertheless, the mere fact that Ban is going to Tehran, despite Washington’s pressure, is in itself testimony to Iran’s righteousness.
In the face of US-led imperialist aggression in several regions, the countries of the world are standing up and saying:
“Enough is enough”. Ironically, Washington’s death wishes on the world are being exposed for what they are, and in its attempt to isolate Iran it is the one ending up being isolated, diminished and disgraced. So long vilified by Washington and its quislings, Iran is now being vindicated by the rest of the world.
One final irony is that when the Cold War between the US and Soviet superpowers ended 20 years ago, some analysts believed that the Non-Aligned Movement would become redundant, an organization no longer with purpose.
Two decades on, the NAM is rising to the occasion with more relevance than ever and is perhaps realizing its true moment of merit for the cause of world peace and solidarity.
Its founding fathers, Josip Tito of Yugoslavia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Egypt’s Gamal Nasser, Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and Sukarno of Indonesia are no doubt smiling broadly and having the final laugh.
Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Many of his recent articles appear on the renowned Canadian-based news website Globalresearch. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He specialises in Middle East and East Africa issues and has also given several American radio interviews as well as TV interviews on Press TV and Russia Today. His interests include capitalism, imperialism and war, socialism, justice and peace, agriculture and trade policy, ecological impact, science and technology, and human rights. He is also a musician and songwriter. Previously, he was based in Bahrain and witnessed the political upheavals in the Persian Gulf kingdom during 2011 as well as the subsequent Saudi-led brutal crackdown against pro-democracy protests. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted many human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. For many years, he worked as an editor and writer in the mainstream media, including ,The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is now based in East Africa where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring. More articles by Finian Cunningham