UN “Civilians” Killed in Afghan Attack Was a Military Adviser
April 1 -- Amid the tragedy of
the deadly attack on the UN
compound in Mazar i Sharif, and alongside unanswered questions
the integrity of UN security in Afghanistan even after Kabul
guesthouse killings of Louis Maxwell and other staff, an incongruity
Spokesman Farhan Haq repeatedly said that killed in Mazar i Sharif
were three international “civilian” staff and four “Gurkas,”
security officers from Nepal.
when top UN
Peacekeeper Alain LeRoy was asked, he acknowledged that among the
three “civilians” was a military adviser, from Norway.
echoed by the Norwegian foreign ministry's website, stating that
“defense authorities have confirmed that one Norwegian national,
Lieutenant Colonel Siri Skare (53), was killed in the attack on the
UN compound in Mazar-e-Sharif.”
is not a best
practice to blur the line between civilian, humanitarian workers and
Attack on UN in Mazar, blurring of civilian & military & DSS Qs
attack was a lashing out about a Koran
burning far away in Florida, mixing civilian and military staff
creates to some a perception that the UN is a party to a conflict,
and a “legitimate” target.
Security sources tell Inner City Press that the “security
plan at Mazar did not including proximity demonstrations as an open,
no first or second line barricades with cement blocks, no clear
guidelines with to do in a proximity demonstration including when to
use lethal power for compound protection.”
the UN's noon
briefing on April 1, Inner City Press asked UN acting Deputy
Spokesman Farhan Haq:
Press: after that attack that took place on the guest house in
Kabul, were all the UN facilities in Afghanistan [improved,] was
there security plans under MOSS [Minimum Operating Safety Standards]
and otherwise reviewed and did this facility have cement blocks and
Spokesperson Haq: Well, I wouldn’t give you the precise
details of what the security arrangement were, but yes, we did have
security arrangements in place in all of the compounds, including
this one. And we did have heightened preparations among guards. Like I
said, among the casualties, we believe some of them were
guards who were trying to protect the other staff.
remains to be
explained in the wake of the deaths in Mazar i Sharif. Watch this
* * *
Dabbashi Tells Press of Libya Rebel Strategy, Waiting to Take
April 1 -- The Libyan opposition's plans were described
Friday to Inner City Press by former
Gaddafi Deputy Permanent
Representative Ibrahim Dabbashi.
a wide ranging
Q&A session, Dabbashi acknowledged that the rebels' attempt at
this time to take Sirte, Gaddafi's birthplace, was a mistake.
told them to hold at Ras Lanuf, Dabbashi said. He said that those who
pushed forward were mostly volunteers, and that from no one “they
will be at the back,” with professional soldiers and commanders at
argued that UN Security Council Resolution 1973 modifies that arms
embargo to allow arming Libyans to protect civilians. While this
seemed to contradict what he'd said about more and more professional
soldiers in command of the opposition force, he acknowledge that some
countries stick to the “legal” reading: an arms embargo against
Libya as a whole.
to Dabbashi, will be the turning point. If after a pause the rebels
can take the town, he predicts there will be more defections by
senior military figures.
if there are
Western special forces -- or US Central
Intelligence Agency --
personnel working with the rebels, Dabbashi said that wouldn't be
helpful at this time. “The regime would use it,” he said, “even
if they captured only one foreigner.”
a quick entry and exit might be acceptable, in extraordinary
circumstance like a major battle about to be lost -- but not in
Inner City Press had asked UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq to
describe restrictions on Dabbashi's and Shalgam's “courtesy”
passes to the UN. Haq refused to describe the conditions.
Press is reliably informed that Dabbashi and Shalgam have been told
by the UN not to speak to the media inside the UN, and that the UN
understands this to cover even interviews done on the UN press floor
above the library. (For that reason, the location of this Q&A is
not being stated.)
Dabbashi on UN mic, previously, now can't speak there, but yes here
Inner City Press that after he spoke at the UN Television stakeout
after the passage of Resolution 1973, “some member states”
complained, saying he and Shalgam no longer represent Libya. He said
he can no longer speak at the stakeout.
interview by former Nicaraguan foreign minister Miguel d'Escoto
Brockmann in which he called the UN a weapon of the US Empire,
Dabbashi scoffed and called d'Escoto Brockmann a “mercenary
diplomat... trying to represent countries other than his own.” (It
is not clear if d'Escoto Brockmann would be paid by Gaddafi for his
the Musa Koussa letter appointing or purporting to appoint d'Escoto
Brockmann is moot after Koussa's defection, and also wasn't signed by
Koussa but rather his deputy.
however, that the letter was given “directly” to the Secretariat,
something that Haq has denied. (Then again, Haq has also claimed that
the UN canceled d'Escoto Brockmann's 10 am press conference on March
31 because, suddenly, work was needed on the briefing room.)
asked Dabbashi about Gaddafi's and the rebels' relations with the two
opposing forces in Cote d'Ivoire, and in Gabo. Dabbashi said that
Laurent Gbagbo remains close with Gaddafi, so “with the change, we
win one.” He said that Gabon and Ali Bongo have in essence been
bought by Gaddafi.
pointed out that Gabon nonetheless voted in favor of Resolution 1970.
“That was pressure from France,” Dabbashi said. “On their own,
it would have been difficult for Gabon to vote for it.”
what he called
the diplomatic “game” at the UN, Dabbashi said he is trying for a
meeting of the UN Credentials Committee “next week,” to be
recognized as representing Libya. He said that “some countries”
are still resisting it. Watch this site.