UN, Kai Eide's Swansong and Ban's Prerogative, Afhgan Veto in Wings
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 6, updated Jan. 7
-- As outgoing UN envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide
spoke in the Security Council Wednesday morning, Russian Ambassador
Vitaly Churkin slumped next to him, non-plussed. Eide fell under fire
not only for allegedly covering up President Hamid Karzai's election
fraud in 2009, but also from Russia and others for being, in their
view, too willing to talk with the Taliban.
who will replace Eide has already been decided by Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon, a senior Ban advisor told Inner City Press on the
evening of January 5. Publicly, it's between Staffan de Mistura,
favored by the U.S. and Ban, and Jean-Marie Guehenno, favored by
France (and pronounced by the Russian mission as "Gavno,"
self-styled Paper of
Record slammed both Kai Eide and de Mistura's "low key
style" and "bureaucratic instincts." The UN's
response, seeming decided on at a meeting Monday morning and
crystallized in talking points, was to question why the paper chimed
in with an editorial at this time.
the Security Council's gabfest on Afghanistan came to an end, Inner
City Press asked Ban Ki-moon what he made of the New York Times
editorial. He said he had read it, but that choosing the replacement
of Kai Eide is his "prerogative." But what about Hamid
to the origins
of the Gray
Lady's editorial, while the U.S. State Department is
pushing de Mistura, there are other views in Foggy Bottom, with direct
access to Times Square. The finger points at Richard Holbrooke,
and as the
actual author the retired op-ed writing Robert Unger. Last time,
Holbrooke lobbied Ban to get Peter Galbraith appointed. Given how that
worked out, the theory goes, Holbrooke couldn't lobby Ban directly, but
rather had to
work through the Times. But Ban has in essence shot it down.
UN's Ban, Kai Eide moving out of focus, Karzai veto
for a week now are questioned posed to spokesman Martin Nesirky about Ban
Ki-moon's son in law Siddarth Chatterjee, hired by de Mistura in
Iraq, later promoted by Jan Mattsson at UNOPS in Copenhagen, in both
cases reportedly to gain favor with Mr. Ban. On January 6, Nesirky
for the first time cut off questions, saying at 12:30 that Ban was
about to speak at the Security Council stakeout. But up to 12:50, Ban
had still not appeared.
Ban Ki-moon's call for NATO to name a civilian / humanitarian czar is
a fall back position. If de Mistura is vetoed by Karzai, he could go
for the UN-urged NATO position. It would be nice to get more of these
questions answered, but at this UN it is not happening. Watch this
Footnote: as the
Council meeting broke up Mona Jul, Norwegian Deputy Ambassador, and
lambaster of Mr. Ban, waited and greeted Kai Eide. In her anti-Ban
memo, the only SRSG she praised was... her paisan Kai Eide. Eide will
hold a press conference at the UN on January 7. We'll be there.
January 7, 8:21 a.m. -- And then it was canceled:
note that the press briefing that had been scheduled for 10:00 am on
Thursday by the Secretary-General's Special Representative for
Afghanistan, Kai Eide, has been cancelled. Mr. Eide is traveling to
Washington, D.C. today and is unavailable for the briefing.
so Kai Eide
goes out as he came in. Al Kai Eide, we hardly knew ye...
* * *
Afghan Selection Colored by Nepotism and No-Show Jobs, Karzai
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 1 -- With the short list for the UN's top post in
Afghanistan reportedly narrowed down to three, UN sources confirm to
Inner City Press that the push is on to get approval for Staffan de
Mistura, currently in a virtually no-show job with the World Food
many in the UN
but few outside it talk about is di Mistura's
previous choice of UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's son in law Siddarth Chatterjee as his
deputy in Iraq, and the role they think this plays in de Mistura's
Mr. Ban has shown
discomfort and anger about any questions concerning the fast
promotions his son in law has received since he became Secretary
General, few explanations have been given.
officials like de
Mistura and now Jan
Mattsson of the UN Office of Project Services,
where Chatterjee has been given a D-1 position that is quietly being
upgraded to D-2, ingratiate themselves with UN Headquarters by
promoting the Secretary General's son in law has also not been
both of these Chatterjee promotions, the latter
exclusively, was chided by Mr. Ban's previous Spokesperson Michele
Montas to stop asking about Chatterjee in the UN's noon briefings,
but rather to get answers from Ban's senior advisor Kim Won-soo.
quickly changed to be "off the record," and then canceled. South
Korea's Deputy Permanent Representative then took Inner City
Press to lunch and provided a detailed defense of the promotions and
of Mr. Ban. (Later, he claimed the lunch was only about September's
UN General Debate.)
took to calling and making legal threats to journalists who had
picked up on Inner City Press' reports on his promotions, and getting
them removed from the Internet, at least from web sites hosted in his
It is not
clear if Chatterjee made these calls during
time he was being paid by UNOPS. It is clear, however, that UNOPS
devoted staff time to media strategies to defend Chatterjee's
promotions and Chatterjee himself, work it hard to imagine being
if he was not the UN Secretary General's son in law.
the week between
Christmas and New Year, Inner City Press submitted to Mr. Ban's new
Spokesman Martin Nesirky questions about Siddarth Chatterjee,
including about his promotions, qualifications and fitness.
the afternoon of Christmas Eve Mr. Nesirky's office provided at least
cursory answers to other questions asked, including referring
questions about possible nepotism by a Ban appointee to another
spokesperson, the questions about Ban's son in law not only were not
answered, they were not mentioned. But they will not go away. The
responses are being sought only in fairness, explicitly on deadline.
Watch this site.
UN's Ban and de Mistura, son in law answers
and Karzai veto not shown
other two named
candidates are Jean Marie Guehenno, strangely with the backing of the
New York Times, and Ian Martin, currently in an ill-defined role with
the UN Department of Political Affairs. What the Times did not
mention about Mr. Guehenno, in fairness, is that after he was
replaced by fellow Frenchman Alain Le Roy, he was given a no show UN
Under Secretary General position for "Regional Cooperation."
should have involved liaising between the UN and NATO, for example,
or ECOWAS or even the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, months into
the job Guehenno candidly admitted to Inner City Press that he had
done no work at all. He was shut in writing a book. How its
publication, or the timing of its publication, may be related to the
current campaigning for the Kabul post is not clear.
candor, Guehenno clammed up. At a recent forum about illegal mining
in the Congo, at which questions about the UN Peacekeeping Mission in
the Congo's involvement with rogue Army units who mine and massacres,
Guehenno explicitly refused to answer any questions from Inner City
Press. While in the midst of his campaign for Kabul he perhaps felt
he had nothing to gain, ham handed rebuffing of the press would not
make Guehenno that different front Kai Eide, outgoing in only one of
the word's two senses.
Guehenno is also mentioned by human rights groups as a candidate to
take over from Alan Doss at the UN Mission in the Congo. Doss is
himself embroiled in a nepotism scandal since Inner City Press
received and published his e-mail telling the UN Development Program to
bend and break UN rules and give a job to his daugther.
Mr. Ban five
months ago promised an investigation, but some attribute the delay to
Ban's own resistance to nepotism questions. Doss may be allowed to
serve out his contract then Guehenno, if still available, be given the
appeared to go a good job in Nepal, although it appears now to be
unraveling. When Inner City Press asked him in a UN hallway about
Kabul, Martin laughed. Later he clarified he was not laughing with
Inner City Press, only laughing. And laughter may be one of the many
things there is not enough of in Kabul.
Inner City Press is also told that the U.S., not wanting to be
upstaged in Afghanistan, has joined Ban in pushing President Hamid
Karzai to accept de Mistura. But Karzai, who previously vetoed the
proposal to make Paddy Ashdown a "Super Envoy" to
Afghanistan, is near to issuing a similar veto of di Mistura. Watch