Former UN chief: bomb was payback for collusion with US.
The reason the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad were bombed is because the UN has been taken over by the US and turned into a "dark joke" and a "malignant force", according to one of the UN's most internationally respected former leaders. Denis Halliday, the former UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq, attacked the UN as an aggressive arm of US foreign policy in the immediate aftermath of the truckbomb attack on the UN mission in Baghdad which killed at least 23 people - many of whom were Halliday's former friends and colleagues.
"The West sees the UN as a benign organisation, but the sad reality in much of the world is that the UN is not seen as benign," said Halliday, who was nominated for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. "The UN Security Council has been taken over and corrupted by the US and UK, particularly with regard to Iraq, Palestine and Israel.
"In Iraq, the UN imposed sustained sanctions that probably killed up to one million people. Children were dying of malnutrition and water-borne diseases. The US and UK bombed the infrastructure in 1991, destroying power, water and sewage systems against the Geneva Convention. It was a great crime against Iraq.
"Thirteen years of sanctions made it impossible for Iraq to repair the damage. That is why we have such tremendous resentment and anger against the UN in Iraq. There is a sense that the UN humiliated the Iraqi people and society. I would use the term genocide to define the use of sanctions against Iraq. Several million Iraqis are suffering cancers because of the use of depleted uranium shells. That's an atrocity. Can you imagine the bitterness from all of this?
He warned that "further collaboration" between the UN and the US and Britain "would be a disaster for the United Nations as it would be sucked into supporting the illegal occupation of Iraq".
"The UN has been drawn into being an arm of the US - a division of the state department. Kofi Annan was appointed and supported by the US and that has corrupted the independence of the UN. The UN must move quickly to reform itself and improve the security council - it must make clear that the UN and the US are not one and the same."
Halliday said the US should withdraw from Iraqi within six months and allow free elections to be held. The UN could then start the work of helping the Iraqis rebuild their nation. "Bush has blown $75 billion on this war, so he should spend $75 billion on reconstruction - and the money shouldn't just go to Halli burton [an oil firm now operating in Iraqi which was once run by vice- president Dick Cheney] and the boys either. Once the US goes from Iraq, the terrorist will go as well.
"Bush and Blair have misled their countries into war. By invading Iraq and placing the US inside the Islamic world, America is inviting terrorists to come on the attack."
Halliday, who resigned from the UN in 1998, knows his comments will upset London, Washington and Kofi Annan, but he claims many senior UN figures feel the same anger.
[Source: By Neil Mackay, The Sunday Herald, Scotland, 24Aug03]
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