Why doesn’t somebody tell Kofi Annan to shut up?
The United States, Britain and Iraq on Friday angrily dismissed a warning from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan that a military offensive in the Sunni stronghold of Fallujah could jeopardize the credibility of upcoming elections in Iraq.
In letters dated Oct. 31 and addressed to President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and interim Iraqi leader Ayad Allawi, Annan said using military force against insurgents in the city would further alienate Sunni Muslims already feeling left out of a political process orchestrated largely by Washington.
This leaves no doubt that the U.N. is utterly useless in dealing with global terrorism. Leaving the terrorists in control of Fallujah would seriously damage the credibility of the Iraqi government. It will send a signal to other militant groups that an Iraqi democracy is incapable of dealing with them. If the thugs in Fallujah want to be part “of a political process”, then they need to lay down their arms and accept democratic government. Until they do that any claims to being left out in the cold are fraudulent. But I won’t be holding my breath, waiting for it to happen.
Fortunately, the U.S., British and other coalition governments aren’t heeding Kofi’s “advice”.
Annan pushed for a diplomatic, rather than a military, solution in Fallujah. But Allawi said the “window is closing” for diplomacy, and within hours U.S. warplanes pounded the heavily populated city while Marines and Iraqi troops hovered on the outskirts.
Asked about Annan’s concerns Friday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, “Frankly, we differ.”
Boucher added: “The Iraqi government has made very clear that they do have a strategy for resolving the problems of these towns like Fallujah. It’s a strategy that has worked in some cases already, in Najaf and Samarra and a few other places. It’s a strategy of reaching out politically to local leaders, of reasserting Iraqi government control and of moving militarily where that needs to be done, Iraqis and coalition forces together.”
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell discussed the letter with Annan in a weekend phone call, and the U.N. chief met privately on Monday with John C. Danforth, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Privately, Bush administration officials said they were livid about the letter, which was sent two days before the U.S. presidential election.
It’s good to see cousin Colin (no, he’s not my cousin) telling Kofi where to stuff it.
Captain Ed has some thoughts on Kofi’s cowardice and the U.N. as well.