Do it right...

No U.N. in Iraq's future

By Henry Lamb

France and Russia fought desperately to keep the U.S. from ousting Saddam Hussein. They failed. Then, while the bombs were falling on Baghdad, they proposed a cease-fire before Saddam was ousted. This trial balloon burst when President Bush announced that there would be no solution that left Saddam in power.

Immediately, France and Russia joined hands to announce that the U.N. must be in charge of the reconstruction of Iraq, to give the process "legitimacy."

Get real; it is the U.S. that gives the U.N. legitimacy, not the other way around. The U.N. resolution to oust Saddam from Kuwait in 1991 was meaningless without the "legitimacy" given it by the United States military. It was this same U.N. resolution that prevented the U.S. from taking out Saddam then, which resulted in the slaughter of thousands of Iraqis who tried to overthrow the regime. The people in Iraq do not need the U.N.; they need the U.S.

France and Russia may not want the United States, and the rest of the world, to know the extent and the terms of their past involvement with Iraq. With the U.N. in control, they may be able to keep the world in the dark. With the U.S. in control, the truth will come out.

It's already known that Russian-made night-vision equipment entered Iraq through Syria, before and during the battle. It was reported that Russian technicians were in Iraq just days before the first bombs fell, teaching the Iraqis how to use the sophisticated electronic jamming devices designed to confuse the U.S.'s smart bombs. These facts may be just the tip of the iceberg.

Russia may have much more to hide from the world.

An August 30, 2002 report in Radio Free Europe's Crime and Corruption Watch, says "...Emercom, the Russian government ministry which distributes emergency aid and which signed a $270 million deal with Iraq under the U.N. oil-for-food program in July, have been accused of giving Iraqi officials millions of dollars in bribes."

Two days after this accusation, which Emercom denied, Russia signed a $40 billion "trade cooperation" deal with Iraq. The article quotes an unnamed "western diplomat" saying:

"The Emercom deal, approved by the U.N. on 11 July, is twice the size of any other under the oil-for-food program in the last three months. It was noticeably large. Iraq is having a problem attracting people prepared to break the sanctions. When they find someone who is willing, then they give them the biggest deal that they can."

The 30-year relationship between Jacques Chirac and Saddam Hussein is well known. These two negotiated the deal for Iraq's first attempt to build nuclear weapons, which Israel bombed in 1981. France, along with Russia, has been a primary supplier of Iraq's weaponry. France has supplied Iraq with Gazelle attack helicopters, 155mm howitzers, Exocet rockets, Roland air defense missile systems, the Mirage F-1 jet fighters, and an array of small arms displayed on FOX news in crates labeled "made in France."

No wonder France and Russia are not eager for the U.S. to rummage through Saddam's records.

This, however is a small reason why the U.N. should not be in charge of rebuilding Iraq. The likelihood of corruption is a much more important reason.

While incredible human rights atrocities were taking place in Zimbabwe a few years ago, and white-owned farms were being invaded by government-organized locals, the United Nations looked the other way. Kofi Annan described the situation as "extremely dangerous," but failed to condemn it, nor did he bring the situation to the U.N. Security Council for action.

It may be completely unrelated, but at the same time, Kofi Annan's youngest son, Kojo, only 26 at the time, served on the board of Air Harbour Technologies (AHT), along with the nephew of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. AHT was awarded an $800 million contract to build a new airport at Harare in 1996. By 2000, the airport costs were estimated to be $6 billion.

The Zimbabwe newspaper that reported the details of this relationship also reported that "Kojo's business activities have reportedly raised eyebrows after one of his clients in Nigeria, a consultancy firm called Sutton Investments, won a six-million-British-pound contract to monitor the U.N.'s oil-for-food programme in Iraq last year." Of course, this too, may be completely unrelated.

These few events do not begin to reveal the depth of corruption and cronyism that plague the United Nations bureaucracies. The United States has provided the bulk of the money that has been wasted so far; it is way past time to stop.

France and Russia want the U.N. to lead the post-war reconstruction, not only in hopes of protecting themselves from discovery, but also to insure the U.N.'s future. The U.N. is the only hope they, and the rest of the world have, to contain and control the United States.

The U.S. should keep its focus, ignore the U.N. advocates, and continue to do what needs to be done in Iraq.