Monday, August 20, 2007
Once again, UN staff are being sent to Iraq in order to provide cover for predetermined US policy
Monday August 20, 2007
".......That same scenario is being played out again. At a time when nation after nation is abandoning Iraq, a supine security council and the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, agreed last week to a US-UK proposal to send new UN staff. Iraq is much more perilous than it was at the time of the UN bombing. Ban has stressed that his first consideration in the deployment of the 30 staff will be their safety. This means they will be mostly confined to their bunkers.
These 30 are charged with promoting reconciliation - in a country where four years of ethnic cleansing, amid a brutal occupation and terrorism, have left nearly a million Iraqis dead, with 4 million fleeing their homes. The full military, political and economic might of the US has been unable to pacify the country or prevent its internecine destruction, but this small, mid-level UN group will supposedly make a big difference.
The US in Iraq has often turned to the UN, but always to provide cover for its pre-determined policy. That is why Vieira de Mello and Lakhdar Brahimi, leading experts in reconciling bitterly divided societies, could do little to prevent Iraq from unravelling. The US would countenance no proposal from them that might undermine its hold on the country.
None of this is to say that the UN cannot help. I have argued on these pages since 2003 that only the UN can lead the effort to help Iraq come together again. But for this to happen, US and UK forces would have to leave, and a new UN mission and peacekeepers, independent of US influence, would have to be assembled. This is fantasy as long as George Bush is running the show. But if a new US administration in 2009 decides that holding on to Iraq is not feasible, even a neutral, UN-led process to reunite the nation will carry no promise of success."