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On Syria, Moroccan Follows Mood, Still Mystery, Guehenno in NY, Annan to Doha

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 16, updated below -- As Kofi Annan and his Arab League selected deputy Nasser el-Kidwa head to Doha, and his first chosen deputy Jean-Marie Guehenno has been spotted in New York by Inner City Press, the mystery of Annan's Norwegian General Robert Mood remains unresolved, even to some senior UN officials.

  Saturday at the UN Russia's Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin told Inner City Press that Mood was unprofessional for leaving Damascus while Foreign Minister Moellem was away from a day in Moscow. Meanwhile Syria's Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari told Inner City Press his government wanted Mood to return.

  On Monday after Inner City Press asked about it at the noon briefing, Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey provided the same answer as Annan's Amhad Fawzi, with the additional detail of Mood's replacement's name and nationality:

Subject: Your question at the briefing
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 4:34 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Major-General Mood went to Damascus from 5 - 10 April to discuss the modalities of the eventual deployment of a UN supervision mission. He then came to Geneva to report to the Joint Special Envoy on 11 April. As is mission was accomplished, he returned to Norway. The advance team in Damascus was being led by Moroccan Colonel Ahmed Himiche.

Update of April 18: Inner City Press is informed by a non-Secretariat source that this Ban spokesperson's email's spelling is incorrect, it is "Hemaish."

Even among Ban Ki-moon's inner circle some drew a link between Morocco leading an advance team to Syria for which Ban demands freedom of movement, and Ban's UN in Western Sahara accepting limitations on its free movement, as reflected even in the final MINURSO report as watered down, allegedly by not only Morocco but France.

In front of the Security Council on Monday it was argued that France has made it a mission to undermine democracy in Western Sahara. The briefing on that will be April 17 at 10 am, bookended by a briefing about Sudan by Thabo Mbeki at 11:30 am.

Update of 5:50 pm -- in a closed door meeting Monday afternoon of troop contributing countries on the "Advance Team to Syria" held by the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations Office of Military Affairs, sources complained to Inner City Press that a representative of Syria was present. But they remain a member state, no? And many countries attended which will never send personnel to Syria. Why all the secrecy?

  Asked who made the presentation, an attendee said, "you know, that guy with DPKO's Military Adviser, the French guy."  Which of the many French guys? Watch this site.

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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

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