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On Syria, Houla Probe Not Done, Third Force Barely Seen, Ladsous on Run

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 19 -- The UN Security Council was briefed on Syria Tuesday by mission chief General Robert Mood and then UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations boss Herve Ladsous. Then the two came out and took media questions, chosen by DPKO spokesman Kieran Dwyer.

  One would have thought they'd address, or take a question, about the belated investigation of who killed who in Houla, a task assigned to the UNSMIS mission. But the question was not taken, Dwyer saying "we have meetings to go to." Then he stood to the side of the stakeout, spinning.

  When Chinese Ambassador Li Baodong, June's President of the Security Council, came out he called on Inner City Press which asked the question Ladsous and Mood should have taken: what ever happened to the investigation in Houla?

  And why do both men repeatedly refer to "the two sides" when even Ban Ki-moon (mis?) spoke about a Third Force?

  Li Baodong replied that more information is still needed on Houla. He said the Third Force is a serious threat; previously he has said it must be investigated.

  Syria's Bashar Ja'afari said the Third Force is, in essence, Al Qaeda and is supported by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. This is ironic, given that Saudi Arabia recently paid to sponsora counter-terrorism conference and center, despite its nationals' role for example in the 9/11/01 attacks.

  Ja'afari praised Mood and Li Baodong. Inner City Press asked him why he didn't mention Ladsous, does he agree with those who say in essence that Ladsous works for his native France?

  Ja'afari began hyper diplomatic, praising Mood as fair, Mood as balanced. But then he chided a "UN heavyweight" -- literally -- who said there is a civil war in Syria "as if it is a joke."

That would be Ladsous, in his side walk with hand picked journalists. As we've reported, Ladsous thinks it's legitimate to openly say he won't answer any questions from the Press until it provides positive coverage.

  Ladsous' unique approach has become something of a matter of mockery for many even Westerners in the Security Council and beyond. Now it is resulting in the lack of basic information. Mood, for example, is badly served by it.

The Western Ambassadors, for example Gerard Araud who on the way in spoke of moving to a Chapter 7 mandate, never came to the stakeout. Inner City Press was able to ask UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant, "what's the general mood in the consultations?"

"Gloomy," Lyall Grant answered. Watch this site.

Footnote: at 7:15 pm, just before publication of the above, the UK mission put out the following, which we include in full:

Responding to the remarks made at the Security Council Stakeout today by the Syrian Ambassador comparing the situation in Syria to riots in England last year, British Ambassador and Permanent Representative Sir Mark Lyall Grant said:

"Coming from a representative of a regime that is now responsible for the deaths of well over 15,000 citizens, the Syrian Ambassador’s comparison of his regime’s response with what happened in England last summer was utterly grotesque. It just goes to show how untenable the position of the Syrian regime has now become, and how desperate are the few remaining people willing to defend it. I once again call upon the Syrian regime to implement Kofi Annan’s six-point plan in full and end the killing of its own civilians, starting with an immediate withdrawal of forces and an end to targeting Syrian population centers."

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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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