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Fast Change in Syria of Concern to Iraq -- and UN Envoy Kobler?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 6 -- When Iraq was discussed in UN Security Council meetings Tuesday, both public and behind closed doors, several Ambassadors told Inner City Press it was "pretty routine" or even "same old, same old."

  But tucked in paragraph 23 of UN Envoy Martin Kobler's statement to the Council was a reference to Syria: "unfolding events in Syria are of concern to many of my interlocutors who fear their possible repercussion in Iraq."

  One major Iraq interlocutor, Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki, has offered himself as a mediator between Syria's Bashar al Assad and his opponents, while Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has said "we are worried that radicals may replace the old (current) regime."

  When Inner City Press asked Kobler about this, he said that we -- presumably the UN -- and the Iraqi government "share the same aim, stability in the country." He spoke against "unquiet." Video here, from Minute 3:19.

That Iraqi Shiite leaders might be concerned about particular Sunni leaders replaced Assad in Syria may be understandable. But does the UN envoy in Iraq have to "share this same aim"?

Talabani and Kobler of UN: sharing same aim about Syria?

  A Council representative complained to Inner City Press that Kobler "focused so much on Camp Ashraf." This occupies page 13 to 16 of his statement, and most of his opening remarks at the stakeout.

  Earlier, Inner City Press asked Iraq's Permanent Representative why he hadn't even mentioned Syria in the Council. "Can't mention everything," he answerd, noting that since Kobler devoted so much of his statement to Camp Ashraf, he had too as well.

  Inner City Press asked him about his statement that 900 Camp Ashraf residents have dual citizenship: where did he get that figure? He said, from the UN.

  When Kobler come out of Council consultations, Inner City Press asked him about the 900 dual citizens claim. He said "that has been certified in only a few cases." He is asking Iraq to extend the December 31 deadline it has sent for closing Camp Ashraf. We'll see -- watch this site.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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