A report submitted to the United National today called the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction a leading threat and endorsed the preemptive strike option.
UN member states have the right to defend themselves, including
preemptively, when an attack was deemed imminent, the report said. The panel
also urged the Security Council to be prepared to "act earlier, more
pro-actively and more decisively than in the past."
The report sounded a note of alarm, suggesting that the world is on the verge of losing control over the spread of WMD.
"We are approaching a point at which the erosion of the nonproliferation
regime could become irreversible and result in a cascade of proliferation,"
the report said.
The report came amid an effort by the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect suspected Iranian nuclear
weapons sites, Middle East Newsline reported. IAEA director-general Mohammed El Baradei told the New York
Times on Thursday that Iran has refused to allow inspections of sites in
northern and southern Iran.
"The international community does have to be concerned about nightmare
scenarios combining terrorists, weapons of mass
destruction and irresponsible states, which may conceivably justify the use
of force, not just reactively but preventatively," the panel said in a
A 16-member panel concluded a study for the United Nations that warned
that unidentified states and groups deemed terrorists could launch a WMD
attack anywhere in the world.
"The question is not whether such action can be taken: it
can, by the Security Council as the international community's collective
security voice, at any time it deems that there is a threat to international
peace and security."
The panel, created by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in 2003, submitted
101 recommendations to improve international security. The recommendations
included stricter controls meant to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons
and a definition of terrorism that would prevent states from sponsoring
insurgency groups that target civilians.
Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a document the UN
panel said must be strengthened. The report said the NPT has lost much of
"[The NPT] is not as effective a constraint as it was previously because
of the lack of compliance, threats to withdraw from the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, a changing security environment and the diffusion
of technology," the report said.
"The case for collective security today rests on three basic pillars,"
the panel said. "Today's threats recognize no national boundaries, are
connected, and must be addressed at the global and regional as well as the
national levels. No state, no matter how powerful, can by its own efforts
alone make itself invulnerable to today's threats."
The panel said the UN Security Council or
individual states must be prepared to eliminate WMD threats before they
could be carried out.
The report called on the UN to undergo reforms that would allow the
world body to direct campaigns against terrorism and WMD proliferation. The
recommendations, requiring approval by member states, would include "a more
proactive" Security Council. The panel also urged the council to expand to
The panel offered a definition of terrorism that unlike several Arab and
Islamic states does not refer to efforts at national liberation. The panel's
definition of terrorism comprised "any action ... that is intended to cause
death or serious bodily harm to civilians or noncombatants, when the purpose
of such an act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or
to compel a government..." to take a specific action.
"There is nothing in the fact of occupation that justifies the targeting
and killing of civilians," the report said.