Is this a freaking joke?
WARNING: this is a political rant. If you don’t want to read it, please don’t.
Annan: Iraq too dangerous for U.N.
(CNN) — U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Wednesday that it is too dangerous for the United Nations to return to Iraq at this time.
“Under the circumstances, it is difficult to envisage the United Nations operating with a large number of international staff inside Iraq in the near future unless there is an unexpected and significant improvement in the overall security situation,” Annan said in a report released Wednesday.
“The security environment is unlikely to improve in the short to medium term and could deteriorate even further,” he wrote.
He said that U.N. facilities would be “high-value, high-impact” targets for terrorists in Iraq for the foreseeable future.
Annan is seeking an agreement from the United States on protection for U.N. staff, according to the report.
“Formal agreements should be concluded between the United Nations and the Coalition Provisional Authority with regard to protection, exchange of information, emergency medical evacuation and the possible use of coalition or multinational force facilities as required,” Annan said in the report.
I’d note that the UN is still set up in the West Bank and Gaza in a non-military capacity, not to mention that they were perfectly willing to send troops and people to such garden spots as Afghanistan, Rwanda, Somalia and Cyprus. Why is the UN perfectly willing to not help the people of Iraq? It couldn’t be because of this, would it?
Nations react angrily to contract ban
The Pentagon plans to bar France, Germany and other countries that opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq from competing for $18.6 billion worth of contracts in the Mideast nation’s reconstruction efforts.
A memo posted Tuesday on a Pentagon Web site restricts the list of countries eligible to compete for the contracts to nations that participated in the coalition effort in the Iraq war or supported it.
The memo, signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, said that “international support and cooperation are necessary for progress in Iraq.”
“It is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States to limit competition for the prime contracts of these procurements to companies from the United States, Iraq, coalition partners and force contributing nations,” Wolfowitz said in the memo, dated Friday.
An attachment lists 63 countries eligible for contracts to improve Iraq’s ravaged infrastructure — including electrical, water, transportation, housing and health systems — as well as to arm the new Iraqi army and restore oil production.
Noticeably absent from the list are France, Germany, Russia, Canada and China — countries that strongly opposed the war.
Amazing how that list of “absent countries” include the majority of Saddam’s European creditors, who are now yelling through diplomatic channels about how their being left off the list of “acceptable contractors” may not be legal and how unacceptable it is. Amazing.