Coordinated elimination of terror leaders needed, Zeman tells UN

Miloš Zeman, photo: CTK

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Czech President Miloš Zeman focused on one subject: terrorism. The threat is growing and coordinated action needs be taken to eliminate the leaders of terrorist groups, he told world leaders in New York.

Miloš Zeman,  photo: CTK
Miloš Zeman devoted the entirety of his 10-minute, English language address to the UN General Assembly to the fight against international terrorism.

As for why the leader of a small Central European state was focusing on that issue, the Czech president said practically all EU countries were now facing a refugee crisis sparked by terrorism in the Middle East and Africa.

Mr. Zeman told the gathering of world leaders that it was an illusion to believe that terrorism was a kind of historical fluctuation that would eventually fade away.

“The terroristic movement is growing like a cancer. There is a diffusion of terrorism. There is a growing number of so-called failed states. A growing number of assassinations, cruelties, murders, annihilation of cultural monuments, like in the case of Palmyra. And so on, and so on. We cannot deny this growing process.”

Mr. Zeman said reducing the threat to Islamic State alone was a mistake and listed several other terror groups. Two leading Arab politicians had told him that the Muslim Brotherhood was the “cover organisation” for this network, he said.

The Czech head of state told the assembled that the US, Russia, European states and other countries had been the direct victims of terrorism.

This new threat required a new approach on the part of the international community, he said; sending in troops is no longer the answer.

Illustrative photo: Menendj,  CC BY-SA 2.5
“All generals prepare for the previous war. What I propose as a fight against terrorism is no tanks, no infantry, no artillery. We need to seek new forms of the fight. And because unilateral actions are heavily criticised – and more than that were completely unsuccessful, like in the case of Iraq – I do not recommend the massive occupation of any territory.”

What the Czech head of state does recommend is targeted attacks against the leaders of terror groups. These would be carried out under what the umbrella of the UN Security Council, whose members have differences but share a common enemy, he said.

“What we need are small military units equipped with drones, helicopters, cooperation with secret services, commandos, or if you wish rangers, small blue helmets of some sort – which would eliminate the leaders of terroristic organisations, the nerve centres of those organisations.”