For Yemen UN Post, Saudis' Fisherman No Disclosure, UN Vows to Check, A Female?
By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
UNITED NATIONS, April 17, 215- How weak and untransparent is today's UN?
On April 15 Inner City Press reported that despite UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's claims to stand behind the UN's envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar, who refused to call Saudi airstrikes positive, Ban was planning to replace him.
After that Inner City Press report, the UN Spokesman sent out this a canned statement that Benomar "expressed an interest in moving on" and would be replaced in due course. But by whom?
On April 15, Inner City Press named the name which was floated by Saudi and UN sources, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and linked to its February 15, 2015 exclusive report on this individual's previously "incompetence" in Yemen, and side fishing business. There is yet more on both of these below.
On April 17, Inner City Press Ban's Office of the Spokesperson WHY there is no public financial disclosure for Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and to confirm or deny he has links with businesses -- fishing - with Gulf funders. The response was, We will check and get back to you. Video here. We are waiting.
Inner City Press also asked if Ban was considering any female candidates and if Ban thought Saudi Arabia would or should have to accept one, if selected. We'll see. For now, also on Yemen, here is Iran's letter to the UN:
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
17 April 2015
H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, New York
I would like to draw your attention to the extremely alarming situation in Yemen, exacerbated by the recent provocative foreign military air campaign. It goes on in flagrant defiance of the most basic principles of international law, flouting the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force in international relations.
Foreign military forces have mostly targeted purely civilian infrastructures of Yemen, destroying, inter alia, hospitals, schools, road, food factories and power plants, and thus depriving civilians of basic necessities. They have also indiscriminately targeted residential areas, including refugee camps, killing and injuring innocent civilians, in particular women and children.
This critical situation is escalating and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is approaching catastrophic dimensions. It may result in further exacerbation of the already tense circumstances in a region that has been plagued by one of the most barbaric types of extremism and multi-pronged vicious campaign of foreign-backed terrorists. These terrorist groups have been the main beneficiaries, gaining strategic foothold in Yemen aided by the foreign aerial campaign.
Under these circumstances, it is imperative for the international community to get more effectively involved in ending the senseless aerial attacks and establishing a ceasefire, ensuring delivery of humanitarian and medical assistance to the people of Yemen and restoring peace and stability to this country through dialogue and national reconciliation without pre-conditions.
The Islamic Republic of Iran reiterates that there is no military solution to this conflict. The only way to restore peace and stability is to allow all Yemeni parties to establish, without any foreign interference, their own inclusive national unity government. To this end, the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that all efforts, particularly those by the United Nations, should be guided, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and fundamental principles of international humanitarian law, by the following objectives:
1. Ceasefire and an immediate end to all foreign military attacks;
2. Unimpeded urgent humanitarian and medical assistance to the people of Yemen;
3. Resumption of Yemeni-lead and Yemeni-owned national dialogue, with the participation of the representatives of all political parties and social groups;
4. Establishment of an inclusive national unity government.
I hope that Your Excellency will urgently use your good offices and conduct consultations with the concerned parties to facilitate and encourage an immediate end to these senseless bombardments and initiation of a genuine dialogue to find a political solution to this tragic crisis. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran stands ready to assist you in advancing this objective.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
M. Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
On April 16, Inner City Press exclusively reported another candidate: Martin Kobler of Germany, currently the head of MONUSCO in the DR Congo. Kobler ran for head of the Office of Humanitarian Affairs, but that post "belongs" on the UK, in the person of Stephen O'Brien. Inner City Press' exclusive were credited in the Telegraph and Channel 4. (At least Andrew Lansley was avoided, as Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed should be here.)
Kobler speaks Arabic; as Inner City Press has exclusively reported, some six years ago he was in line to become UN Special Coordinator on the Middle East until a Permanent Five member blocked him (more on that soon), given the job to Robert Serry. Now Kobler is ready. But is Saudi Arabia?
Another name floated by UN sources (also reported exclusively by Inner City Press) is Lisa Buttenheim, currently at the UN mission in Cyprus. Like Kobler, she has more diplomatic experience than Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.She is a woman. For the UN, that should be a plus, given what Ban Ki-moon has said. But as a well placed sources put it to Inner City Press, if Ban gave in to Saudi Arabia and got Benomar out, will he stand up to an edict NOT to name a woman? Watch this site.