No joke: Syria made chairman of Conference on Disarmament

International organizations are not usually known for stand-up comedy, but the Conference on Disarmament must have thought it was open mic night as Syria assumed the chairmanship of the group.

Apparently, many delegates just didn't get the humor, because many of them walked out in protest when Syria took the stage.


The United States led protests on Tuesday as Syria took over the rotating presidency of the Conference on Disarmament at a time when Damascus is widely accused of using chemical weapons.

The US ambassador to the UN in Geneva said it was "a travesty" that Syria would head the Conference on Disarmament, leaving briefly when the Syrian representative took the floor.

"Syria's presence here is a travesty.  This regime has committed countless crimes against its own people through the use of chemical weapons, and it is just unacceptable for them to be leading this body," Robert Wood said just before the session began. ...

Britain also protested against the move.

What does "moral authority" have to do with it?  When you have Arab countries heading up international women's organizations; brutal, repressive regimes chairing human rights groups; and countries known for enabling child trafficking involved in children's aid organizations, it hardly matters.

If the international community was so upset at Syria chairing a disarmament group, why not change the rules to prevent this kind of travesty?

"The UK deplores the fact that Syria will assume the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament, given the regime's consistent and flagrant disregard of international non-proliferation and disarmament norms and agreements," British ambassador Matthew Rowland said in a statement.

But he pointed out that all CD members including Syria had to agree to change the rotating system.

This is the consequence of giving in to the principles of "fairness" and "diversity."  Everyone should get a turn leading, right?  Nobody should feel "left out" even if his participation is problematic.

One thing for sure: Nothing much will get done at the C.D. this month.