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[casi-analysis] Tun Myat fired and Da Silva demoted

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Two former UN Humanitarian Coordinators for Iraq have been punished pursuant to
the report of the Security in Iraq Accountability Panel.  Tun Myat (who stepped
from the Humanitarian Coordinator role into the top security slot) was fired.
Humanitarian aid expert Ramiro Da Silva was demoted and will return to his
former job at the U.N. World Food Program.

I'm inclined to view the UN's action as scapegoating -- as punishment for Da
Silva and Myat's justifiable yet tragic decision to work with a minimal security
presence to better integrate with the local population (a strategy adopted by
many aid organizations).  The Red Cross/Red Crescent bombing some weeks after
the UN attack amid a heightened security presence argues the risks to such
organizations were endemic and without easy remedy.

Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck are among the former Humanitarian
Coordinators (see  Note that
all Humanitarian Coordinators served under the head of Oil-for-Food Benon Sevan,
whose name surfaced in INC-linked documents that prompted the UN's forthcoming
OFF investigations (and much more on this later).

The UN's SIAP report is here:,
and news summaries follow.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA


Annan Fires Top Security Adviser Over Iraq Bombing

By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 30, 2004; Page A13

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 -- Secretary General Kofi Annan on Monday ousted his
top security adviser and punished several other U.N. employees for failing to
provide adequate security at the United Nations' Baghdad headquarters before the
Aug. 19 attack that killed 22 people there.

The U.N. chief's action marked the largest shake-up of senior staff members in
over a decade. It followed the completion of a confidential 150-page report by a
panel headed by a retired U.N. official, Gerald Walzer, into personal
accountability for the security breakdown before the terrorist attack, which
killed the United Nations' top envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil.

The move was aimed at putting to rest months of criticism of the United Nations'
failure to anticipate the worst terrorist attack against the organization in its
history despite mounting evidence that it was a potential terror target.
Instead, it sparked fresh criticism from some within the organization who noted
that Annan and some other senior officials who hastily led the United Nations
back into Iraq in May went unpunished.

According to a summary of the report prepared by the U.N. secretary general's
office, the United Nations -- facing mounting international pressure to address
Iraq's humanitarian needs -- recklessly rushed back into the country without
conducting a proper assessment of the worsening security conditions.

After the U.N. return, senior U.N. officials in New York and Baghdad, including
Vieira de Mello, routinely dismissed reports from U.N. intelligence officials
indicating "a very real danger to the safety of UN staff" from an increasingly
violent insurgency, the summary said.

"They ignored the warning signs which were becoming more obvious each day," the
summary noted. "They failed to respond effectively to the recommendations and
advice which were coming from their own security advisors."

The panel leveled its most serious charge against Tun Myat of Myanmar, the
United Nations' security coordinator, who was described as "oblivious" to the
worsening security situation in Baghdad in the weeks leading up to the attack.
Myat, a veteran U.N. official with little prior security experience, resigned

The summary concluded that Myat and the top U.N. security officials in Iraq
"appeared to be blinded by the conviction that U.N. personnel and installations
would not become a target of attack, despite the clear warnings to the contrary."

"I am the security coordinator. I cannot shirk responsibility for what has
happened," Myat said by telephone. "I think it is only correct that I tender my

Annan also demoted Ramiro Lopes da Silva of Portugal, a highly regarded
humanitarian relief expert, who served as the United Nations' top humanitarian
coordinator in Iraq. Lopes da Silva, who will return to his former job at the
U.N. World Food Program, was charged with putting "forward a flawed concept of
operation" for the organization's return to Iraq after the U.S.-led war that
included "no prior security assessment."

Lopes da Silva and a U.N. security official, Robert Adolph, who was also ordered
reassigned to a new job, will be barred from taking on new assignments with
responsibilities for the security of U.N. staff members.

Lopes da Silva's security plan was later approved by a senior U.N. advisory
panel, the Steering Group on Iraq, and endorsed by Annan. The panel cleared
Annan of personal responsibility, saying that he "had acted in a proper manner"
because he was acting on the recommendation of his top advisers.

Annan charged two mid-level officials -- Paul Aghadjanian of Jordan, chief of
the U.N. Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, and Gambia's Pa Momodou
Sinyan, the U.N. agency's building manager -- with misconduct and initiated
disciplinary proceedings against them.

The two officials were sharply criticized in the report for acting too slowly to
respond to requests to install anti-blast film, a move that "would in all
probability have saved lives."

The panel faulted the 15-member steering group, which was headed by U.N. Deputy
Secretary General Louise Frechette of Canada, for failing to exercise "due care
or diligence" in weighing the security situation in Baghdad before the U.N.

Annan declined Frechette's offer to resign, noting that the entire steering
group shared responsibility. Annan also chastised the heads of several U.N.
agencies, including the U.N. Children's Fund and the U.N. Development Program,
for ignoring restrictions designed to limit the number of U.N. relief experts
stationed in Baghdad before the Aug. 19 attack.

The summary did not address the controversial question of whether Annan himself
had acted responsibly by urging U.N. staff to remain in Iraq after the attack
despite nearly unanimous calls from his top security and political advisers to
pull out.

The U.N. headquarters staff union said Annan was letting his own inner circle
off too easily. "The punishment for most doesn't fit the crime," said Guy
Candusso, the vice president of the U.N. Staff Union. "We have 22 people dead,
and the U.N. Secretary General lets most senior officials keep their jobs and
their pensions."

March 30, 2004
Five Penalized by U.N. Chief in Iraq Bombing

NITED NATIONS, March 29  Acting on a damning report of United Nations security
failures in the bombing of its Baghdad headquarters last August, Secretary
General Kofi Annan fired his chief of global security, demoted a second senior
official, penalized three staff members and received  but did not accept  the
resignation of his own deputy, his spokesman said Monday.

Deputy Secretary General Louise Frechette of Canada offered her resignation in
response to a letter to her from Mr. Annan expressing disappointment over the
security lapses, said the spokesman, Fred Eckhard. But Mr. Annan declined it,
deeming the failures "collective and not the responsibility of any one

Tun Myat of Myanmar, the global security chief, was dismissed and Romiro Lopes
da Silva of Portugal, the deputy to the Baghdad mission head, Sergio Vieira de
Mello, who died in the blast, was reassigned to a lesser post in the World Food
Program and barred from ever again serving in a security capacity.

On Aug. 19, 2003, a car packed with explosives destroyed part of a hotel in
Baghdad that was serving as headquarters for the United Nations. Twenty-two
people died in the attack, which had a devastating effect on the world

The report, produced by an outside panel commissioned by Mr. Annan, said United
Nations officials were "blinded by the conviction that U.N. personnel and
installations would not become a target of attack, despite the clear warnings to
the contrary." It cleared Mr. Annan himself. The blame lay with security
officials advising him, Mr. Eckhard said.

Two of the three lower-level officials, Pa Momodou Sinyan of Gambia and Boulos
Paul Aghadjanian of Jordan, face internal punishments and are accused of
"profound lack of responsibility and ineptitude" for not having installed
blast-resistant film over windows. Most injuries were caused by flying glass.
The third staffer, Robert Adolph, is to be reassigned to a nonsecurity position.

The bombing led to Mr. Annan's removing all foreign staff members from Iraq in
October. The organization has been conducting its operations from Jordan and
Cyprus and is only now beginning its return to help rescue stalled plans for the
political transition set for June 30.

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