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Feltman Thanks Ban But Should Thank Obama, Knows Maged, Eliasson Redux

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 2 --On Monday morning Jeffrey Feltman, until recently the top US official on the Middle East, was sworn in by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as the head of Ban's Department of Political Affairs. Inner City Press photo here, YouTube channel video here and below.

  Back on March 28, Inner City Press exclusively and accurately reported that Feltman would get the job because the Obama administration through its State Department choose him.

 Ban had little choice in the matter, just as Ban had no choice in France putting Herve Ladsous atop UN Peacekeeping, the fourth Frenchman in a row in that post.

  Ladsous was at Monday's swearing in of Feltman and Jan Eliasson as Ban's new Deputy Secretary General, replacing Tanzania's Asha Rose Migiro. (As if it made up for this diss of Africa, Ban last week gave Migiro another UN job, envoy to Africa on HIV / AIDS.)

  Both men swore allegiance to the UN and its Charter's Article 100, to not accept instructions from any country. But since particular countries control the highest posts -- France with Peacekeeping, the US with DPA, for example -- how can this oath be taken seriously?

  Feltman in brief remarks after the swearing in thanked Ban for "selecting me for this position," and recounted spending Sunday reading the UN charter. Better late than never, said one wag. Reading it is one thing; abiding by it is another.

  Feltman shook hands with the assembled Ban Under Secretaries General. Before him, Eliasson had made a point of showing previous interactions with many of the USGs - with Diarra, for example, on the 2005 reforms, with Susana Malcorra on turf wars, and so forth.

  Feltman did not know many of the USGs, the exception being Maged Abdelaziz, the Mubarak era Egyptian Ambassador to the UN who Ban gave his "Special Adviser on Africa" job over the objection of major sub Saharan African countries. "We know each other," Feltman told Ban, of Maged. You don't say. Inner City Press photo of the Feltman - Maged greeting is here.

  Last week Inner City Press wrote of the tenure of Lynn Pascoe, and noted that he had grown into the job. Will it be so with Feltman? Watch this site.

Footnote: Eliasson, who as Inner City Press reports is being a transition staffer from the UN mission in Libya at a cost that bothers whistleblowers, reminisced about his dealing with Ban in 2007 "during the Darfur crisis" -- as if that crisis is over. Inner City Press photo of Ban and Eliasson on July 2 is here.

In the weeds: in covering the Geneva "Action Group" on Syria meeting on June 30, Inner City Press reported that the UK's former political coordinator at the UN David Quarrey was there with William Hague. On July 2 Inner City Press asked what Quarrey's position is and learned: UK Middle East director.
  So if, as the UK wants, they ever took back DPA from the US, could Quarrey replace Feltman? By that token, why shouldn't Robert Mood, soon to be decommissioned from Syria, by considered to head UN Peacekeeping? If Ban's claim that experience is paramount is true....

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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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