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We first reported this last July...
...the United Nations has been unable to secure enough troops to protect a U.N. contingent headed to the country to help with elections and rebuilding.
When the U.N. Security Council voted six weeks ago to authorize a protective force, it expected contributors to step forward. But countries have balked at taking part in a force expected to include 1,000 troops and several dozen bodyguards. Diplomats said many nations were hesitating because of the dangers ? including a wave of kidnappings ? and costs as well as the continuing unpopularity of the U.S. invasion.
But now, months later, Daniel Aronstein, "The Astute Blogger", alerts us to breaking developments:
When the going gets tough in Iraq, and a few new forces are needed to protect to small UN contingent, who steps up to the plate?
The French? NO. The Germans? NO. The Russsians? No. ANYBODY FROM OLD EUROPE, OR NATIONS SERVING ON THE UNSCR?
>From the BBC:
The United Nations says Fiji's government has become the first to agree to provide troops specifically to protect UN officials in Iraq. The 35 UN officials in Baghdad are currently protected by troops from the US-led multinational force. But the BBC's Susannah Price at the UN says there are fears that this could make them more of a target. The UN is very worried about the safety of its personnel after the bombing of its Baghdad headquarters last year.
... on Wednesday UN spokeswoman Maria Okabe announced that 130 Fijians would provide security details for senior UN officials and a guard unit to protect UN facilities in Baghdad. "These contributions are critical to the UN's efforts to strengthen the security arrangements for its personnel in Iraq," she said, quoted by the Associated Press news agency. "This would make it possible for the United Nations to consider expanding its activities in Iraq as circumstances permit."
No Kofi Anan quotes on that, but I'm sure he's appreciative - not to mention busy. We do have an Anan quote in this story from Claudia Rosett:
Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, finds it "inconceivable" that Russia, France or China might have been influenced in Security Council debates by Saddam Hussein's Oil for Food business and bribes. "These are very serious and important governments," Mr. Annan told Britain's ITV News Sunday. "You are not dealing with banana republics."
I for one wish we weren't dealing with them - but I don't think that's exactly what he meant.
But our topic was Fiji, not oil for food. I'll try to stay focused.
Fiji is a small South Pacific island nation, population 880,000, and here, courtesy of the online CIA factbook, is their flag.
Fiji and other small poor countries do this because of the dirty little secret of UN work:
The daily stipend.
It ain't much to us, but that stipend paid to UN blue helmets is bigger than many annual salaries. So, other countries' militaries volunteer for the work.
It makes for a powerful DISincentive for conflicts to end.Posted by Chap at October 21, 2004 05:38 PM
May the Fiji's truly help. Bless them for being willing even if it is because of wages.Posted by Pat in NC at October 22, 2004 12:26 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)