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Ban Thanking Qatar for Freeing of Peacekeepers UNexplained, Others UNnamed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 13 -- On Sunday when the release of UN Peacekeepers by the Yarmouk Martys Brigade was credited to Qatar "and others" by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the obvious question raised was and is what are Qatar's relations with the kidnappers and the kidnapping?

On Monday May 13, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky just that: why was Qatar in particular thanked, and is it Ban's understanding that Qatar has some special connection with the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade? Video here, from Minute 13:43.

  Nesirky replied by twice re-reading the statement, emphasizing that not only Qatar but unnamed "others" were thanked. Some wondered: Saudi Arabia? And why the others were left unnamed, but Qatar wanted or got credit?

  More generally, Inner City Press asked, isn't it a contradiction to say that Ban doesn't want countries arming the rebels in Syria, then thanking one of the arms and funding providers, Qatar, for its connection with the rebels who kidnapped UN peacekeepers?

  Nesirky said what was important was the release. Yes. But since this same group previously kidnapped 21 UN peacekeepers, have they this time made a commitment, if only to Qatar, not to do it again?

  Other wonder if the situation can't be described as one involving ransom: if a group that Qatar funds can thereby be convinced to release hostages, isn't that a ransom?

  Tellingly, when ostensibly independent Agence France Presse got around to typing up Ban's thanks to Qatar, it did not ask the obvious question either. Instead, with a UN dateline, and as is typical using anonymous diplomatic -- read, French -- sources, AFP reported

"'This time the rebels felt under pressure and took more convincing to free the soldiers,' said a UN diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. 'Qatar's role was important.'"

  What was Qatar's role IN the kidnapping? AFP didn't ask. Instead it runs a quote from a spokesperson for Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to head UN Peacekeeping, on whose behalf AFP's Tim Witcher has filed complaints against Inner City Press, first within the UN Correspondents Association (which Inner City Press left, to co-found the Free UN Coalition for Access), then on March 8, 2013 with the UN.

  Witcher claimed that by asking a question, Inner City Press "abused" Ladsous, who is the fourth Frenchman in a row to head UN Peacekeeping. Once this and Ladsous' role in the Rwanda genocide as France Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN arguing for the escape of the genocidaires into Eastern Congo were noted, Ladsous began refusing to answer any Inner City Press questions, video here.

  Now when peacekeepers are killed, as in the past week in Abyei and Congo, Ladsous does not even like his predecessor Alain Le Roy hold any question and answer stakeout. His spokespeople issue selective information, here, to AFP.

And Ladsous goes gallivanting, spreading France's policies, now in Lebanon. Watch this site.

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