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Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

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As UN's Iraq Resolution Passes Bombs Drop, UK Leaves and Oil's Still Unmetered

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 18 -- We are a sovereign state, was the message of Iraq's UN ambassador, Hamid al-Bayati, in the run up to Tuesday's passage of "the last" UN resolution authorizing the multi-national force in Iraq. The resolution was passed with a letter annexed from prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, asking that Iraq's "independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity" be respected. But out in the real world, Turkey has bombed northern Iraq, and has sent troops in, hunting down members of the Kurdish Workers Party, PKK. This real-world problem was not allowed to intrude on Tuesday's Security Council love fest. UK Ambassador John Sawers recited that "on 16 December, last Sunday, security responsibility for Basra province passed from Multinational Force to Iraqi control.  Basra was the last of the four southern provinces of Iraq previously under the security control of the UK-led Multinational Division (South-East)." There is, of course, more to this. A poll in Basra, conducted by BBC no less, found that 85% of Basrawiris found the UK's role negative. The UK leaves Basra to a fight of Shia militias, while British Petroleum fights with Total, Chevron and ExxonMobil for contracts in the oil-rich region.

Iraq's al-Maliki, writing to the Council, no mention of Turkey's bombs

            During Tuesday's Council proceeding, UN Controller Warren Sach provided a terse briefing in his role as the UN's representative on the International Advisory and Monitoring Board. He noted that oil is still not metered; afterwards he told Inner City Press that Shell has a contract to look into the problem. He critiqued irregularities in Iraqi procurement procedures, ironic in light of the currently controversy around the UN waiving any competition before awarding a $250 million no-bid contract to Lockheed Martin for Darfur peacekeeping infrastructure. In the hallway outside the Council chamber, Sach told Inner City Press and other media outlet that the oil bartering he'd referred to takes places mostly with Syria, not Iran. And so it goes...

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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

  Because a number of Inner City Press' UN sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the UN agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information flowing.

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540