At UN, Alleged Sanctions-Violator Galbraith In Line for
Afghan Post, UN Jabs and Hides
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, March 17 -- As
the UN refused for the second straight day to confirm it is considering
American diplomat Peter W. Galbraith for its second-highest post in its
Afghanistan -- it declined to back up its claim that March 16 Times of
breaking the news was "factually inaccurate." On March 16, Deputy
Spokesperson Marie Okabe said that
the story characterizes the
relationship between the United Nations and the United States
Afghanistan wrongly. When the Secretary-General met with President
Obama last week,
the President spoke highly of the Secretary-General's Special
Kai Eide... The article is not only factually inaccurate but also
counterproductive of the United Nations efforts, together with the
international community, to bring peace and stability to the long
people of Afghanistan."
article may be "counterproductive of the United Nations efforts" is
not a basis for the UN to publicly criticize it. We'll see if the UN
appointing Galbraith as the UN's Kai Eide's deputy in Afghanistan --
the Washington Post reports
the posting as a done deal, in service of U.S strategy.
City Press had asked senior UN
officials to confirm or deny that Galbraith was being considered for
panel to investigate the murder of Banazir Bhutto. One senior official,
a good source, responded coyly that Galbraith is in line for another UN
which he would not name. Now it appears to be in Afghanistan. Inner
on March 16 asked Ms. Okabe
Inner City Press: on this
Galbraith question: the issue
surrounding his role in, essentially, violating United Nations
bringing in Iranian weapons to Bosnia during the Balkan war. Was that something that was looked at by the
United Nations before considering him either for the Bhutto panel or
post? And this [inaudible], what’s the
United Nations, I guess, response to those -- what many in Congress…
the article. The article says he can’t
be confirmed by Congress because of that issue.
So he’s being foisted on the United Nations. Are you aware of that issue?
Deputy Spokesperson: You’re
talking about an appointment that we
have not made. And we’re… I was just
Question: If you make it, will
you then respond to this
public issue that involves [the violation of a UN sanctions regime]?
Deputy Spokesperson: I have
nothing beyond the fact that the
regular appointment process is ongoing.
17, UN Spokesperson Michele Montas declined at the noon briefing to
specifics about the factual inaccuracies that the UN so publicly
the UN denying that Galbraith will get the post? Or only that he and
get along? While some say Galbraith introduced Eide to his wife, that's
crux of the issue. To Inner City Press, the issue is whether the UN can
blithely give a DRSG post to an individual widely characterized as
violated UN Security Council sanctions.
Peter Galbraith in Croatian, UN sanctions and post not shown
Before the UN announces any appoint of Galbraith, consider the New
Times' 1996 report that Galbraith
"turned a blind eye
to the smuggling of arms from Muslim countries -- including Iran -- to
Bosnian Government. Mr. Galbraith has been accused of everything from
beyond his instructions to running a covert operation... too close to a
Croatian leadership often assailed for its treatment of minorities."
"State Department documents,
some of which were obtained only under threat of congressional
CIA memos suggest Galbraith was more instrumental in the arms transfers
has admitted, government sources familiar with the investigation said.
Investigators also suspect a link between the 1993 Iran-Croatia arms
Washington's decision a few months later, at Galbraith's urging, not to
Iranian arms to the Bosnians.
Galbraith developed a close
relationship with Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak after taking up
post in June 1993, and the two met regularly, including over meals at
ambassador's home. Susak was anxious to get sophisticated weapons the
could provide, especially surface-to-surface missiles that could hit
One-third of Croatia was still in Serb hands following the 1991 war of
secession from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia, and Zagreb's patience with
mediation was over. Additionally, shipments to the Bosnians that passed
Croatia could be screened to keep out strategic weapons, in case of a
Muslim-Croat war. Croatia was under the same U.N. arms embargo that
UN has no confirmation process in which questions are publicly answered
candidate for a post, how can the UN justify, without more, appointing
high post an individual credibly alleged to have been involved in
arms sanctions? The interest here is not in re-litigating Balkans
the partisan breakdown of Galbraith's supporters and detractors --
is, does this UN take UN sanctions seriously? We'll see.
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
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City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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