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March 1, 2011: Libya

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At UN on Libya, US Pushes $1.5 B "Package Deal" Including to "Int'l Mechanism", Snubbing S. African $500 M Offer?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 24 -- While calling the needs of Libya's National Transitional Council "urgent," the US is declining a stated offer from South Africa to immediately release for humanitarian purposes $500 million in frozen Libyan funds.

The US says it asked for $1.5 billion in the UN Security Council's Libya Sanctions Committee on August 8, and that the three $500 million tranches can or will not be separated: they are a "package."

  The draft resolution handed out by the US Wednesday afternoon includes not only $500 million into the UN Appeal, $500 million to third-party venors and an "international mechanism... up to $500 million."

South Africa says that the Portuguese chair of the Sanctions Committee has "in correspondence" confirmed that the humanitarian $500 million could be immediately released. The US is instead circulating a resolution, which could survive a negative vote by South Africa -- but not Russia or China -- for decision "Thursday or Friday."

Some view South Africa as being intransigent, as still being "in the bag" for Gaddafi. In this view, the draft resolution to unfreeze $1.5 billion and release some of it directly to the National Transitional Council will "isolate" South Africa.

Others say it is the US which is playing politics, trying to make African Union member South Africa go along with the full $1.5 billion amount including direct transfer to the TNC, or look like South Africa is, well, in the bag for Gaddafi.

Further background was the repeated reports of South African planes on the tarmac in Tripoli, some said to help Gaddafi flee the country. UN sources tell Inner City Press that the planes got stranded there with a lack of fuel.

Ultimate background is the report from UN "post-conflict" envoy on Libya Ian Martin to Ban Ki-moon, which a well placed UN official tells Inner City Press says we "can't count on the African Union."

Another UN official on Wednesday told Inner City Press that Martin is "taking over" for Al Khatib, who "got hammered" for not having a written post-conflict plan. Meanwhile Al Khatib chafed at Martin traveling to Doha with him as an equal. So, for the on Libya, a Jordanian or a Brit -- or an Italo-Argentine. What about an African? Watch this site.

* * *

On Libya In-Fighting at UN: "Don't Count on AU," Italy, UK v Pascoe's US

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 23 -- As the UN vies for a role in "post conflict" Libya, there is conflict inside the UN about how to proceed. Ian Martin, with outside consultants, prepared a report on the topic. Inner City Press is informed by a source familiar with the report that it advises not to count on the African Union.

  This has increased animosity between mostly African staff in the Department of Political Affairs' Africa Division and Ian Martin. They ask why a Brit who never went to Libya was given this position. Now as the UN considers who would be their top man in Libya, Martin wants the top.

  The Italians, sources say, are quietly trying to replace the UK in the lead of the UN's efforts on Libya. While listed as Argentinian, current DPA official Oscar Fernandez Taranco is also viewed as an Italian candidate for the future Libya job.

  Lead mediator Al Khatib, whose job was partial lost to Martin and is now largely moot, having failed, is also no fan of Martin, and reportedly opposed Martin going as an equal to meet with the National Transitional Council in Doha.

The purpose of that trip, both Secretariat officials and diplomats says, is for the UN to hear what the NTC wants from the UN. But the NTC has itself already prepared reports on that, and it calls into question: what has Ian Martin been doing for all these months?

  Martin has assembled a team, based in the so-called Teachers' (TIAA-CREF) Building on Third Avenue, including staff seconded from the UK, and from UNDP (where Taranco used to work). But what have they been doing?

Ban & Ian Martin, who's yet to brief the press: "post conflict"?

  Inner City Press on Tuesday asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq why a copy of the report UN consultant (and Dartmouth professor) Dirk Vandewalle has been bragging about having written for Ban would not be made available to the press and public, or at least to the member states. It is not public, he said.

  The in-fighting inside Ban's Department of Political Affairs takes place with DPA chief Lynn Pascoe viewed as a lame duck who is leaving, but who wants to undermine the UK which has long sought his job.

 Pascoe promoting Martin for the Libya post is view, by DPA sources, as a way to make UK re-capture of the top job at DPA less likely. But Martin is not a Conservative, these sources say, so it might not work.

  Beyond the in-fighting, many powerful countries don't much care who would lead a UN mission in Libya, as they are assured they could place their people in the mission, for any number of purposes.

  Meanwhile the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, leaderless even as Jerome Bonnafont receives cards from French politicians like Jean-Marie Bockel congratulating him for getting the top job, wants a piece of the Libya action. DPKO argues that they have the capacity, from previous missions, while Martin's team has little experience.

  If there is any police or peacekeeping component of a UN mission in Libya, DPKO takes it over. DPA wants to keep it, and may therefore paint an overly rose picture of the security situation, now and in the future.

  So even if or as Libya becomes "post conflict," it appears that Ban Ki-moon's UN will itself remain "in conflict." Watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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

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