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As Obama Deploys on LRA, It's Not With UN, ICC Coverage Unclear

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 14 -- As the UN Security Council discussed the fight against the Lord's Resistance Army on Monday morning, a topic left unclear was whether the American military personnel being sent for that purpose by US President Barack Obama were coordinating with the UN.

  US Alternative Representative Jeffrey DeLaurentis, polite but tight lipped with the press, told the Council that as "graciously mentioned by the ambassador of Gabon this morning, President Obama announced last month the United Nations* would deploy a small number of military personnel to the LRA-affected region, in consultation with host governments, to act as advisers to regional militaries pursuing the LRA."

  Many speakers did not mention the US deployment, and when Inner City Press after the meeting asked UN Office for Central Africa chief Moussa if the US was coordinating with the UN, he said no, "that's bilateral."

  Some wonder why the Obama Administration, so often arguing how good it is to work with the UN, is not working with the UN on this. Weeks ago the UN answered Inner City Press that its Congo mission

"MONUSCO was not consulted about the US decision to send a small group of military advisers to assist the forces that are countering the LRA, before it was officially announced on 14 October. Regarding coordination, there are currently two US information analysts based at the Mission's Joint Information and Operation Centre in Dungu, in Province Orientale... MONUSCO is undertaking operations in a number of areas where armed groups are active. The Mission is also providing support to some FARDC operations in compliance with the human rights and due diligence policy."

  So the Obama administration did not consult with the UN Mission on the ground, but has two " information analysts" based at the UN in Dungu. Some also wonder how or if the US is exempting its personnel from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, which the Obama adminstration found so important to do in connection with the Council's Libya resolutions this year.

(c) UN Photo
Obama & Ban Ki-moon: good enough to shake but not coordinate with?

  Inner City Press went from UN to the Council on Foreign Relations, where US Congressman Barney Frank was speaking from 1 to 2 pm, hoping to ask about Obama's deployment against the LRA, which Frank foil Rush Limbaugh strangely praised a month ago. But all journalists except CFR members were shunted into the side Cyrus Vance room, from which no questions could be asked.

  Frank said that UN troops play more of a role that people think. Why doesn't the Obama administration's LRA deployment work with them, then?

Footnote: Frank had his audience, including representatives of JPMorgan Chase and other institutions, laughing with jokes about whether "tilting toward China" connoted a pinball machine.

 Frank said while Democrats chose the term "recovery" over "stimulus," most people he knows preferred being stimulated to recovery. He said he met "Les Gelb as a section assistant in a foreign relations course taught by Henry Kissinger" -- recently protested as a war criminal at the Waldorf - Astoria. And so it goes.

* - United States.

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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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