|OIL FOR FOOD RESHAPED. THE MUSHROOMING OF MIDDLE EAST
The irrepressible Benon Sevan is hard at work. From daylight to midnight, the down-to-earth
international civil servant is going through papers, attending meetings, listening, arguing,
joking, being very serious; yet always keeping his eyes and mind on the formidable task:
running the Iraq Oil for Food programme.
Now that the Security Council has regained its unity to resume a key operation interrupted by
war, Sevan has an additional task: to fend off against those individuals angling to maneuvre
their way into influencing that cash studded venture. Particularly now that the Iraq issue
is getting wide coverage, some would wish to at least share some of the limelight. So, an
increasing number of characters within the Secretariat started appearing in meetings, claiming to
have expert knowledge of the Middle East and expressing their views on what should be done mainly
to stake a claim to being part of the "leadership team."
Handling intruders on his work area is not new to our Eastern Mediterranean pragmatist who will
no doubt find his way to pushing on with his own style which clearly received consensus support
by the Security Council. However, the influx of self-appointed gate-crashers will mean more time
spent on less substantive issues. Yet for Benon Sevan, that is just another day of carrying more
weight on his shoulder.