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On Nobel Eve, Ban Ki-moon Chances Weighed After Sri Lanka, Haiti Cholera

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 9 -- Ban Ki-moon is said to be lobbying to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as UN Secretary General. Book-makers have put odds on his chances, lower than the Pope or Malala or perhaps most deserving, MSF / Doctors Without Borders.

  But digging deeper, sources close to Ban tell Inner City Press it is another of its advisers, Terje Roed-Larsen, who has “promised Ban a Nobel” or consideration for it, if not this year then before his tenure ends.

If Ban receives it, it will not be based on having made peace, but rather for work on climate change, or perhaps what are called the “post-2015 development goals.”

On the positive side, Ban has linked himself and the UN with combating climate change. During the recently concluded UN General Debate, while most leaders focused on the threats to peace and security posed by Islamic State, or the situation in Eastern Ukraine or the failed or reversed Arab Spring, Ban convened a Climate Change Summit.

Ban also marched, the Sunday before “his” Summit, in the People's Climate March in Manhattan, along with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former US Vice President Al Gore, and movie actor Leonardo DiCaprio. All of them called him a leader.

  In terms of mediating disputes and being an impartial voice in favor of peace, however, Ban has been less successful. His inaction or worse during the slaughter of tens of thousands of Tamils in Sri Lanka in 2009 should, many feel, disqualify him. So too his evasion of responsibility for the UN bringing cholera to Haiti, most recently through his Associate Spokesperson on October 9, video here.

Ban is so closely aligned with US foreign policy that few see him as a mediator. In Ukraine, for example, his statements neatly tracked those of Washington and Brussels, and therefore Russia never accepted him as a mediator.

In Syria, too, Ban stopped talking to Bashar Assad, which might be a position of principle but is not really want the Nobel Peace Prize is about, which is talking with the Devil if necessary in the search for peace.

  This week Ban has called for military action by anyone able -- that would be the US or Turkey -- to defending the Kurdish town of Kobane in Syria. But for example in 2009 in Sri Lanka, he did little to nothing to stop the government from killing thousands of civilians while it sought to “finish” the Tamil Tiger group. Under Ban, protection of civilians is selective -- as are answers.

Ban has allowed “his” chief of UN Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, to openly refuse to answer the questions of particular media, and even to block the Press' camera, on topics ranging from rapes by the UN's partners in the DR Congo to why peacekeepers were ordered to surrender to the Al Nusra Front in the Golan Heights, and covered up attacks on civilians in Darfur.

  On Ladsous and much else, some say it's not so much Ban as some of his advisers and partners, like the UN's Censorship Alliance. They give a false sense of reality.

  If Ban had succeeded in bringing North and South Korea closer during his tenure, that might merit a Nobel Prize. But as a former South Korea foreign minister, he is viewed as too one sided, and as possibly interested in returning to South Korea to run for office, whether or not that happens. Who might be promising him that? And what do the Nobel advisers advice on how to deal with Haiti cholera, if not Sri Lanka, at this point? Watch this site.


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