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UN Iraq Envoy Now Acknowledges PMC Use, Ladsous Stonewall Contrasted

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 29 -- Among high UN officials and envoy, there are wide differences in openness to questions, commitment to veracity, and accountability. The UN can only improve if there is accountability for these very differences.

  On the positive side of the spectrum is Martin Kobler, head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq.

  Even before Kobler's July 19 appearance at the UN Security Council and stakeout, Inner City Press had favorably compared the way he decided on and described budget cuts in UNAMI with the Afghanistan mission's lack of transparency, such as moving of favored international staff to Kuwait as a cost-cut.

   But when Kobler on July 19 told Inner City Press that his mission does not use private military contractors other than for dogs, Inner City Press differed in writing, in that day's article and in follow up questions.

  Inner City Press noted for example the Hart Security contract, for $1.1 million, appears to have been signed in August 2011, for "Provision of Security Awareness Induction Training," for a cost of $3,500 per staff member. Here are some budget lines:

HART SECURITY LIMITED    CYP    Training, other    $437,444    11AMI-20387    UNAMI

HART SECURITY LIMITED    CYP    AMI/CON/2011/041    Provision of Security Awareness Induction Training Training (SAIT) for UNAMI    1-Aug-11    31-Jul-12    $1,143,682    UNAMI

  This last runs (at least) through July 31, 2012 - still in force. Inner City Press wrote: We hope to hear more on this.

  Then on Sunday July 29,we did. The following came in:

Subject: message from SRSG Martin Kobler, UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
Date: Sun, Jul 29, 2012 at 12:44 PM
From: Anne Czichos [at]
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]

Dear Mr. Lee,

Thank you very much for your interest in the work of the United Nations in Iraq.

As a follow-up to the media stakeout after the Security Council session on Thursday, 19 July, I would like to apologize for not fully answering your question regarding UNAMI's use of private security companies.

I would like to add that UNAMI is spending approximately USD 1.73 million in 2012 on static security provided by private security companies in Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait. The contract for the SAIT training, which is conducted by a private security company, is for up to USD 1,182,771.50 in 2012.


Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq

  This commendable approach stands in stark contrast to a few other envoy, but most notably to Department of Peacekeeping Operations chief Herve Ladsous, who not only doesn't provide accurate answers -- he provides no answers at all.

  On May 29 and again since, Ladsous had openly said he will not take or answer any Inner City Press questions, for the same type of close and critical coverage that Kobler responded to with an update.

  One would think it obvious, that publicly-paid UN officials would acknowledge a duty to even handedly answer questions, and to provide updates when necessary. But Ladsous and some of the envoys he has "reached" take an opposite approach.

  The UN can only improve it is admits when it is wrong. Under Ladsous' approach, not only will the UN not improve: it is in precipitous decline. Should the Department of Political Affairs, which is over UNAMI, begin to oversee the other peacekeeping operations, so that Ladsous' approach does not spread? Watch this site.

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