George Graham

The UN Steps in – Sort of



I suppose striking at the pocketbooks of terrorists is an effective tactic over the long term, but how I wish the UN could get its act together and become a real world police force.

The UN Security Council recently passed a resolution banning purchases of oil and other products from the terrorists. Financiers, arms dealers, traders and member states face “punitive action” for buying their illicit oil and other black market wares.

Anyone caught doing business with the terrorists will face such penalties as international travel bans, asset freezes and arms embargoes. Member states will also be prohibited from making available to the lawbreakers “any funds, financial assets or economic resources or financial or other related services.”

One of the most horrific groups, ISIS, derives around $2 million a day from black market oil. This terrorist organization also finances its evil operation through extortion, kidnapping, arms deals and sales of looted antiquities

They use the money to buy arms and operate government facilities in an ever-growing swath of the Syria-Iraq region, which they have declared “the Islamic State.”

Of course there are those who will ignore the UN sanctions – or find ways of getting around them. Money is a powerful incentive, and decency is rare in the arena of global trade. Also, thousands of ISIS members have western passports, which makes it a lot easier for the terrorists to launder money.

It doesn’t look like much of a response to the barbarism of ISIS. I want to see those blue helmets in Syria and Iraq. I want to see the UN keeping the peace with boots on the ground.

I am puzzled by the way UN peacekeeping has kind of fizzled in recent years although I realize there have been failures and criticism of the way the concept has been implemented.

I read in Wikipedia that there was “a rapid increase in prostitution in Cambodia, Mozambique, Bosnia, and Kosovo after UN and, in the case of the latter two, NATO peacekeeping forces moved in.” And there was that deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti a few years back that was blamed on aNepalese Peacekeeping troop.

But the UN has been earnestly trying to reform its peacekeeping operations. With any luck, the organization will one day become a more cohesive force for good, able and willing to keep the world safe.

In the meantime, I suppose economic sanctions will have to suffice.

And, sadly, it will be up to the super powers – especially the United States – to shoulder the responsibility of ridding the world of the terrorist blight.

Click for more on the UN resolution.

Click for more on global peacekeeping.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for