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Assasination May Lead To Mid-East WWIII


Some elements in the Iraq conflict may have determined to give
those opposed to the invasion a signal taste of the same medicine they have
been dishing out.
By Fintan Dunne, Editor,

Interests outside Iraq may underlie the assasination of one of the most experienced and top ranking UN officials in the world, in a bomb blast at the UN headquarters in Baghdad. At least 20 are dead and scores wounded in the massive blast which severly damaged the Canal Hotel UN building.

The bomb destroyed the office of the UN's special representative to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who used his mobile phone to summon help while still trapped in the rubble. But rescuers, who had to remove rubble by hand, were unable to reach him before he died of his injuries.

Before losing contact, Vieira de Mello, told rescuers an iron bar had fallen on his legs and he could not move.

A UN official at the scene, Salim Lone said Viera de Mello's office, was close to the main explosion. "All this happened right below [his office] window. I guess it was targeted for that," Mr Lone said.

Particularly relevant may be comments during a news conference, August 19, 2003 in Manama, Bahrain. A member of the US/UK-backed Interim Governing Council of Iraq, Adnan Pacachi, was reported saying that the bombing was a message to the United Nations and other countries to change their views towards sending troops to Iraq to maintain security. [REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed]

The explosion follows days after another truck bomb blew up outside the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, killing 17 people. At the time, in his capacity as UN Special Representative in Iraq, Vieira de Mello strongly condemned the attack. An August 10th, 2003 editorial in the Jordan Times speculated the bombing was linked to an ongoing anti-Jordan campaign orchestrated by Ahmed Chalabi through newspapers over which he has influence.

The editorial recounted some eyewitness reports at the Jordanian embassy bombing said the truck did not explode because it contained a bomb, but because it was actually hit by a missile, claimed to have been fired by a U.S. helicoptor seen hovering two minutes earlier above the embassy.

An audio report today by a Global Radio News correspondent in Iraq, said an unconfirmed eyewitness account described a missile striking the UN Headquarters.

The assasination of Viera de Mello comes as both the USA and Russia are engaging in large scale military exercises.


Sergio Vieira de Mello, 55, was the UN's top troubleshooter for hotspots around the world. He was appointed the U.N. special representative to Iraq in late May in what was to be a four-month assignment.

In the 1970's Vieira de Mello served the UN in Bangladesh, Cyprus and Mozambique. In the early 1980's, he was senior political adviser to the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon. In the early 1990s, he was in Cambodia, then in Yugoslavia and later became a special U.N. envoy in Kosovo. Recently, he oversaw East Timor's transition to independence. In September 2002, he was appointed U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. He was often described as a possible future U.N. secretary-general.

Vieira de Mello had said the top of his agenda was to consult Iraqi leaders and opinion makers "to make sure that the interests of the Iraqi people come first" in rebuilding their country.

The U.N. role in postwar Iraq was a major issue during the intense Security Council negotiations on a resolution lifting sanctions and authorizing the United States and Britain to administer the country until a democratic government is established. Under pressure from France, Russia and Germany, the secretary-general's special representative was given "independent responsibilities" besides working with Britian and the US to rebuild Iraq.

Fayssal Mekdad, who represents Syria on the UN Security Council said in a statement: that such terrorist incidents "aimed at undermining the vital role of the United Nations in Iraq" cannot break the will of the international community to further intensify its efforts to help the people of Iraq." U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan will cut short a vacation and return to U.N. headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

In Cairo, the Arab League strongly condemned the attack and urged Iraqi political forces to help prevent such acts from recurring again. "This is a serious, criminal terror act aimed against UN presence in Iraq," the pan-Arab organisation said in a statement.


Yesterday, Russia began large-scale exercises of Russia's Pacific Navy in the Far East. Over 68 ships and boats, 42 auxiliary vessels, 50 planes and helicopters, up to 30,000 servicemen and civil specialists are engaged. It will be the largest exercise of it's kind in the region for over 20 years.

" This exercise is unprecedented in the history of the Russian Navy in terms of scale, range of participants, and area," Adm. Viktor Kravchenko, chief of Russia's Naval Main Staff, was quoted by Itar-Tass.

Meanwhile, 'U.S. Northern Command, which is responsible for military operations inside the United States, also yesterday began an exercise to test its ability to respond to multiple domestic emergencies simultaneously. Twenty-eight active-duty military units are involved, including the headquarters of Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, Va., and Air Combat Command in Langley, Va.

International opponents of the US/UK invasion of Iraq have been content to let the invaders dangle on the end of a guerilla noose of their own making. Their reluctance to contribute to an international peacekeeping force, combined with infrastructure attacks and US casualties meant that in the long term the US mission had already de facto become impossible.

The Jordanian embassy blast and today's UN HQ attack have been characterized as "soft" targets. But they are, of course, also non-US targets.

Some elements involved in the Iraq conflict may have determined to up the ante and give those opposed of the invasion a signal taste of the same medicine they have been dishing out.

But, Mr. Vieira de Mello was not just well connected, he was a pivotal player in the United Nations and the geopolitical elite. His death could lead to an unstoppable cascade of events, or may even directly trigger a scale and scope of retaliation which could plunge the Middle East and the world into a global conflict.


© Scoop Media

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