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On Syria, After Ladsous' June 15 Memo, Mood & Mission Were Active

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 23 -- Eight days after Inner City Press obtained and exclusively published the June 15 notice to the UN Security Council that the UN mission in Syria had limited its mobile operations as of 6 pm that day, Damascus time, the incongruities remain and multiply.

  At 10 pm on June 15 Inner City Press published the notice. At 6 am June 16 it sent questions to Kofi Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi, then to Ban Ki-moon spokespeople.

  Fawzi answered that because of the second round (to Ban's team), he need not answer, and mission chief General Robert Mood would be making an announcement.

  He wrote, "You have already sent these questions to Martin Nesirky; Farhan Haq; Eduardo Del Buey; and Vannina Maestracci. I am also aware that the UNSMIS Spokesperson will issue a statement today."

  Then on June 18, Inner City Press was told that Mood's Saturday announcement was the official one.

  But it now appears that when the June 15 notice went to the Security Council, it was not accurate, and that Mood didn't agree with it, perhaps was even unaware of it.

   Sources staying at the Hotel Dama Rose in Damascus on June 15 and 16 tell Inner City Press they saw and even spoke to Robert Mood on his way to the lounge.

  They say that UNSMIS went out on patrol AFTER the notice said they stopped, including "the Moroccan" deputy of Mood, and that three vehicles returned with windows smashed.

   So who then was behind the June 15 notice to the Security Council, exclusively published by Inner City Press? Well, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations deputy Edmond Mulet confirmed to Inner City Press that he signed the memo.

   But his boss, Herve Ladsous, is the one who would have made the decision. And from sources in Damascus, it appears that Mood did not agree or was not aware. Later they got on the same page. But these sources maintain, even in communications June 23 to Inner City Press, that the patrols did not stop with Ladsous said they did. Watch this site.

From the UN's June 18 noon briefing transcript:

Inner City Press: one follow up, because the notice that he sent to the Security Council, which Inner City Press obtained and published on Friday, says that it is six o’clock local time on Friday they suspended operations. It gives the time and it refers specifically to an upsurge in armed conflict. So back to this question of, what time frame is he talking about, this increase, because many people look at it and they don’t see a difference on Thursday, to days previous. Obviously it's a bad situation, but what led to this notice to the Security Council that, as of 6 o’clock Syria time on Friday, they would return to their hotels, as some put it?

Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq: I wouldn’t comment about the notice to the Security Council. The official announcement, like I said, was the one that General Mood made on Saturday, and that announcement and the decision, which is the important part – the decision to suspend patrols was in fact the result of intensified fighting. We have been warning about the impact of intensified fighting for days – both from here and on the ground from Damascus. And the basic point was that, after evaluating the circumstances of the previous days of intensified fighting, the decision was taken that since the patrols could not be conducted the way that we intended for them to happen; since the observers could not carry out their tasks without undue risk, it was wise at that point to suspend patrols.

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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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