RNA - Here, the UN’s capitulation to the Saudi regime and its kingdom of terror and violence must be decried as shameful by the international civil society: Riyadh has successfully lobbied (bought) the UN's Human Rights Council (HRC) to drop its bid for an independent, international investigation into its war crimes being committed in Yemen.
After days of backroom deals and arm-twisting, the HRC announced a compromise agreement, under which UN investigators will be deployed in Yemen to work alongside an existing Saudi probe! More troubling, however, is that the Yemeni National Commission of Inquiry will report to the Saudi-backed fugitive former President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is currently in exile!! The situation grows more interesting when you come to know that Hadi, the then vice-president under Ali Abdullah Salih, was elected to power in a single-candidate election for a two-year term that ended two years ago when he escaped the country to Saudi Arabia begging Riyadh to keep him in power for several more years in return for a huge package of concessions that altogether summed up to relinquishing Yemen's sovereignty to the House of Saud. One would come to grasp a bit of the reality when he or she understands that the commission report is due to be submitted to Mansour Hadi - who is, by the way, vested with no power in the country according to the internationally recognized laws - while Yemen now has an all-inclusive newly elected parliament that should run the country in absence of any other branch of power, including the executive.
The resolution, brought by Arab states (why aren't we surprised), was adopted over a more forceful text put forward by the Dutch delegation. The European Union withdrew a stronger Dutch-led text hours before the Arab resolution was adopted by consensus. The United States and Britain, top arms exporters to Saudi Arabia and its main allies in the war, blocked the Dutch-sponsored draft.
By way of explanation, the compromise probe is not designed to save Yemen from Saudi Arabia. There will be frequent resort to blaming the Yemeni people, the victims taking all the punches and doing all the bleeding, and their circumstances: They are the ones that kicked out their president; they are the ones that get arms from Iran and kill their own people; they seek violence; or suffer from this or that undemocratic illness. Mind you, this particular probe will be looking elsewhere for whys and wherefores, and an abundance of accusations, fabrications, and lies are readily at hand.
Under such conditions, expect no UN fact-finding mission to report back on the Saudi violations. Despite documented war crimes and targeting of civilians by the Saudi-led, US-backed military coalition, there will be no justice for more than 11,000 civilians killed and 21,000 injured by the airstrikes and indiscriminate shelling either.
And there is more at risk here than legitimizing the worse forms of thoughtlessness and complicity. There is also the intolerable potential for both the moral collapse of international politics and the undermining of any vestige of international law. Simply put, the UN has abandoned the poorest country in the Middle East to its fate in service to the rich and brutal regimes.
As long as war criminals and undemocratic discriminates have a hand in UN negotiations and probes, the credibility of the international body as a podium for international peace and justice will remain in doubt. It undermines the Council, the top human rights body, and its commitment to accountability, as it has also become an instrument for Riyadh and its patrons to further their political will in international politics.
It begs the question of what next? Well, UN’s actions speak louder than its words. Although the world body has the power to stop the forces normalizing and contributing to the violence, it has chosen instead to serve as patron of the military aggression - serving to subvert the truth and obscure the workings of international law in the globe’s perennial hotspot.
In any event, the Human Rights Council still has the potential for valid exercise of discourse and diplomacy. Instead of promoting voicelessness and powerlessness, the Council can and should launch an independent probe, engage in fact-checking, secondary and primary source verifications, and grapple with the monster and its kingdom of terror and violence for the scale of war crimes, brutality, and mendacity.
Otherwise the Council will become an irrelevant laughingstock, and history will and should judge it harshly.