The Guardian August 27, 2003


Who benefits?

Many theories are being advanced as to who might have carried out the 
fatal bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad  this or that "terrorist" 
organisation, fighters from outside Iraq, al Qaida (of course), remnants of 
Saddam Hussein supporters, etc.

In investigating any crime, any good detective will consider the question 
of motive and there are many reasons why Iraqis should express hatred 
towards the United Nations. It sanctioned the war against Iraq in 1990. It 
imposed the tragic 12-year long sanctions on Iraq that led to the deaths of 
at least 500,000 Iraqi children. It did nothing to stop the illegal and 
continuous bombing of Iraq by the US and British bombers for the last 10 
years. It failed to stop the US and British invasion and occupation of Iraq 
this year and has now, despite earlier opposition, actually passed a 
resolution legitimising the invasion and the authority of the US in its 
occupation. At the same time, the UN has failed dismally to carry out its 
repeated resolutions regarding Israel. There is a justified opinion that 
the UN is hypocritical.

That some Iraqis carried out the bombing of the UN headquarters is, 
therefore, a possibility. But they are not the only ones who have an 
interest in removing the UN from Iraq, despite its willingness to play 
second fiddle to the US occupation.

It is evident that for the US, the situation is spinning out of control. 
The number of dead and wounded US troops is mounting but more importantly, 
other countries are refusing to come to the assistance of the US by 
providing troops. Another growing problem for the US Government is the 
restiveness of its own troops in Iraq who are voicing a demand to be sent 

It is significant that immediately following the bombing of the UN 
headquarters, Colin Powell moved to get the UN Security Council to adopt a 
resolution that would encourage some other countries (India for example) to 
send sizeable numbers of troops to help the US "pacify" Iraq.

Furthermore, some UN staff are pressuring the US to carry out its stated 
intention  to establish a free and democratic Iraqi Government and get 
out of Iraq. In a recent interview, Hans Von Sponeck, former Assistant 
Secretary General of the UN, in Iraq said, "President Bush again today 
repeated that they [the US] brought freedom to Iraq. This is not freedom. 
An externally imposed rather than an Iraqi made freedom is no real 

Von Sponeck quoted Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN representative killed in 
the bombing, as saying that the first fiddle in the reconstruction period 
must be played by the Iraqis themselves.

Von Sponeck said, "I do not mean that the international community should 
pick up the cost of damages that were created by two ill-directed 
governments that decided to go to war against Iraq."

Salim Lone, spokesperson for the UN in Iraq, said as he emerged from the 
rubble caused by the explosion, "the mission of the UN is to end the 

With such sentiments being expressed and with the arrogant intention of the 
US and Britain to remain in command of all troops in Iraq and the 
"reconstruction" efforts, there are good reasons for the US and British 
Governments to want the United Nations either out of the way or acting 
under US direction.

Whether the UN gets out or helps out, the US has made it clear that it and 
it alone will remain in complete control and that the UN would be no more 
than a sub-agency of the US Defence Department.

It should also be recalled that only a few weeks ago a similar bombing of 
the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad took place. Why should any Iraqis want to 
bomb the Embassy of another Arab country? But it could have been an attempt 
to drive a wedge between Muslim countries as part of a "divide and rule" 

It also has to be recalled that the Israelis bombed a UN-run refugee camp 
in Lebanon in the 1980s.

Who benefits from the bombing of the UN offices in Baghdad? A most obvious 
beneficiary could be the United States.
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