The decade has begun with the Middle East bracing for more conflicts after a US air strike in Baghdad killed Iran’s top general Ghasem Soleimani. Together with its allies, the US is in favour of building walls, forgetting that the Second World War taught us to abolish them. They want more failed states.
But even as the world needs a concerted and decisive response to its challenges, we risk more of the backsliding and indifference towards humanity that in 2019 characterised the behaviour of these governments, from Australia to the United States, from Canada to the EU regarding their failure to save Iran nuclear deal.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has cited US-led wars, the climate crisis, violence and persistent inequality in warning that the world is well behind meeting the deadlines of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2019 SDG report showed momentum for positive change, but also identified several areas that need urgent collective action: the climate crisis, human suffering, quality education, and of course US warmongering.
Guterres has called for this to be a decade of action. But he surely didn’t envisage what President Donald Trump had in mind with the criminal drone strike he ordered that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3. Iran quickly responded with “tough revenge”.
Even without further conflict in the region, the war fought in Yemen between Ansarullah, the Yemeni army and Saudi Arabia and allies is expected to continue as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in 2020 after nearly five years of fighting. An estimated 24 million people, or 80 percent of Yemen’s population, remain in need of aid.
Worldwide 168 million people will need humanitarian aid and protection in crises across more than 50 countries in 2020, according to the UN’s emergency relief coordinator. US-led wars are already killing and maiming a record number of children, with women and girls at higher risk of sectarian violence than before in the Middle East.
The UN Children’s Fund UNICEF has called for $4.2 billion for its 2020 emergency appeal to reach 59 million children with life-saving support in 64 countries. This is more than triple the funds requested in 2010 for Syria and Yemen.
And let us not forget that Trump was elected because of the support of the Christian-Zionists. He moved the US embassy to Jerusalem Al-Quds to get their support. They believe that when Israel will recover all the territory of the biblical time, Christ will come to earth for a second time, and they will be the only ones that will be rewarded. This will only worsen the Palestinian suffering, further destabilising the entire region.
Around the region today, we are also seeing the largest number of civilians in need of emergency assistance. One in four children lives in these countries affected by US-led conflicts and military adventurism. They include Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Yemen and Libya.
UN’s efforts to deal with these disasters have been dealt a most severe blow by the policies of Trump and his Saudi-Israeli friends. Sad to say, these man-made disasters will continue apace unless Trump and his friends end their reign of occupation and terror throughout the volatile region. It’s a dark moment for humanity.