Isis: UN in rare unanimous vote calls on world to unite against jihadist group

The text calls on to 'take all necessary measures' to 'redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts'

With a rare rapidity of purpose, the United Nations has unanimously adopted a sweeping anti-Isis resolution imploring the world to unite to defeat Isis. It called on member states to “redouble and coordinate their efforts” to prevent further terrorist horrors by the group and “eradicate” its safe havens straddling parts of Iraq and Syria.

The vote in the Security Council dramtic barely 24 hours after the text was presented in New York by the French ambassador to the UN, François Delattre. Stunned by the attacks of one week ago in Paris, the French government had correctly calculated that sympathy and a new sense of crisis in the chamber would trump months of dithering and division on the combined issues of Isis and the Syrian conflict.

The pressure was greatest on Russia and China, both veto-wielding permanent members traditionally averse to any resolutions that could be perceived as interference in another country’s affairs. But Russia recently suffered the downing of the Metrojet airliner over Sinai bearing passengers from Egypt to St Petersburg and this week Isis claimed it had executed a Chinese national.

The resolution does not invoke Chapter VII of the UN charter specifically to authorize the use of outside military force within the borders of a sovereign state. It was nonetheless crafted in a way clearly meant to give countries additional diplomatic and political cover and impetus to target Isis and eliminate it.

The text calls on nations “with the capacity to do so” to “take all necessary measures” to “redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts” committed by Isis. It also labels the Isis jihadists a “global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security”.

The action in New York came as the world watched another terror crisis unfold in Mali where Islamic militants stormed a hotel in the capital, Bamako, briefly taking 170 people hostage, before the hotel was stormed by security forces. Among hostages were citizens of China, France and the United States.

In the United States, a political show-down had erupted over Syrian resettlement policy. In a direct challenge to President Barack Obama who has promised to give shelter to 10,000 refugees, the House of Representatives voted by a wide margin for a bill that would essentially bar all further refugees from Syria entering the US at least until new and extremely onerous screening procedures are put in place.

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The action by the Republican-controlled House may yet fizzle in the Senate, possibly sparing Mr Obama the humiliation of signing such a law designed specifically to torpedo his policy.  But more broadly the response in the US to the recent attacks has been one largely of narrow domestic concern about the need to slam the door on all refugees out of fear that terrorists may present themselves as asylum-seekers.

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