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A Jesuit in NY on Syria Notes Saudi But Neither Qatar Nor the Ben Ali Role of UN Peacekeeping Chief

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 6 -- When Jesuit Paolo Dall'Oglio took questions from a small press conference in the Millennium Hotel across First Avenue on the UN Monday morning, he called for a new diplomatic initiative on Syria to both Russia "and NATO."

  Inner City Press asked Dall'Oglio about the role of Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He replied that yes, Saudi Arabia's "project" was to beat Iran in Syria. He noted that some might like a long civil war in Syria, and speculated that even if Damascus falls, fighting may continue to break off the Western or Alawite zone by the sea, on the theory there is enough natural gas there to make autonomy viable.

  But Dall'Oglio did not say a word about Qatar.

Inner City Press tweeted out a photo of Dall'Oglio along with this portion of his non-answer.

  Replies ranged from questioning why he was under the "rebel" flag -- he called it the flag of the "New Syria" -- to stories of Christian martyrs killed by Syria rebels to, who is he?

  Dall'Oglio seems to have faith that a "post-Assad" UN Peacekeeping mission could be even handed -- ignoring the fact that UN Peacekeeping is run by a Herve Ladsous long in the French foreign service, from defending the Hutu government in Rwanda in 1994 to arranging the flights of Michele Aliot-Marie on planes owned by cronies of Tunisian dictator Ben Ali in 2011. Even handed?

  Inner City Press has previously covered other Jesuits, including liberation theologicals from Latin America. When these called for class war, not even regime change, they were ordered to be quiet and generally complied. And here?

  Dall'Oglio went to Canada to meet with foreign minister Baird; he went and spoke in Vancouver and now here, to a small audience dominated by Italian and Saudi media, along with an on-camera question from Voice of America.

  In a sense, after Kofi Annan's resignation and before the anticipated kill-off of the UN observer mission, he functions to keep the spin wheels turning. And so, not without interest, we turn them. Watch this site.

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