UNITED NATIONS. GET SERIOUS ON IRAQ

 

1 SEPTEMBER 2013

GET SERIOUS ON IRAQ

More than 1,000 human beings were killed in Iraq during the month of July. Yes, 1,000. One car bomb alone killed 80. So far this year, 4,137 have been killed and 1,684 wounded. They were mostly civilians, ordinary people searching for their daily bread, trying to survive in an increasingly rough neighbourhood. Those killed in Iraq from 2003 to 2013 range between 200,000 and ONE MILLION, depending on the announcing source.

If the U.N. needed any wake up call, the Tenth Anniversary of its dedicated staff killed at its Canal Hotel offices was just held at U.N. Headquarters in New York.

The regrettable question that should be asked now is whether the U.N. is really serious about what is going on in Iraq. It became more urgent with an announcement on 3 August that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria as his Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). His immediate predecessor, Martin Kobler (Germany) was moved elsewhere in the musical chairs appointments chain.

As the ironic farce continues, Mr. Mladenov, who had served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria for three years (February 2010 - March 2013), neither speaks the language nor has any practical experience in the field. He had worked with some non-governmental organizations and served for a limited time at the European Parliament. It is obvious that the appointment is to do him (and possible his backer?) a favour. But it gives a regrettable signal during these delicate days in that volatile region that Secretary Ban Ki-moon's leadership does not take Iraq seriously. Particularly with neighbouring Syria in a state of civil war and armed groups crossing borders in both directions, it was hoped that someone in New York would get it; that Ban Ki-moon or anyone around him would realize that some serious enlightened action should be taken by selecting an envoy who could help ease tensions rather than accommodate a Hungarian political loser!

We tried to nudge discreetly for more serious and considerate action to avert worse developments. But to no avail.

First, Secretary General Ban appointed Meeter/Greeter de Mistura, who only made occasional visits to his designated country, spending more time between Amman and Cyprus. Adding insult to injury, "Demess" appointed with him Mr. Ban's son-in-law, offering him a promotion. In a black joke, the mission was referred to as "Abu Chatterjee." As is well known, the Italian/Swede/Swede/American (as required) Meeter/Greeter had done a similar ploy before when he took along Mr. Annan's Chef de Cabinet's son, Imran Riza, and promoted him to a P-5 post in return for his own promotion from D-2 in Rome to Assistant Secretary General, Special Envoy to South Lebanon.

After leaving Iraq for Afghanistan, and "Chatterjee's" promoted move to Copenhagen under another promoted Swede, "Demess" is reportedly seeking to replace Lakhdar Brahimi on Syria. It would be a really farcical black joke if the perpetually haughty Meeter/Greeter met with the clueless Bulgarian along the intricate Borders under the protective gaze of the notorious "Abu Brahimi"!