By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, February 14 – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has extended the contract of Obama-nominee Jeffrey Feltman, as Inner City Press first reported on January 27 (leading the UN Spokesman to call it "despicable.")
Also on February 13 Guterres has put atop UN Peacekeeping its fifth Frenchman in a row, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, whom Inner City Press named as one of three Francois Hollande nominees on February 8.
Meanwhile news wire Reuters, whose Stephen J. Adler vows to cover Washington aggressively, has done little but retype the UN's press release, here and here. Reuters does not mention that France has controlled UN Peacekeeping for 20 years, despite sexual abuse and negligent sanitation scandals, much less that Feltman was Obama's nominee.
This is not mentioned by AFP either; a Google News search 10 hours after the UN's announcement didn't even find a Voice of America story on Feltman. Why is the UN so UNaccountable? We'll have more on this.
Hollande is soon to leave power; Obama has already left. Do these choices signify the claimed meritocracy? Are they smart for the UN? Has there been enough House-cleaning? Seems not.
There was a female candidate for UN Peacekeeping, also French, Sylvie Bermann. While the UN may claim, as it did in the case of Salam Fayyad, that they consulted with the US about Feltman, Inner City Press predicts Feltman's extension, like Fayyad, will bring conflict. News, too. Watch this site.
Antonio Guterres was chosen as the UN's new Secretary General in a closed-door process that was paradoxically praised as transparent. Forty two days into his tenure, he is on a 12-day trip to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, accompanied and led by his predecessor's (and Hillary Clinton's) Gulf political adviser Jeffrey Feltman. His holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric is spinning UN-friendly scribes with quotes about how Guterres was ostensibly misled by US Ambassador Nikki Haley. This is not propitious.
Who is traveling with Guterres? Unlike many countries, it has not been announced or disclosed. But Inner City Press, which Dujarric and the UN's Cristina Gallach evicted from the UN (and restrict it still) understands from sources it includes not only Dujarric and Feltman but also Feltman's "plant" Katrin Hett. When Inner City Press asked about her position, Dujarric called the question "despicable." Who is running this show?
When Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, in his first meeting with Guterres in the last nine days, effusively greeted Feltman, it should have set off alarms. But it didn't. What was the role of the UAE, along with Feltman, in telling Guterres to appoint Salam Fayyad to the Libya envoy post previously occupied by Bernardino Leon, bought by the UAE? Questions, questions.
It is reminiscent of one of Ban Ki-moon's trips to Egypt, when Mubarak asked him why there were no Arabs in the UN delegation. No, Ban said, we have an Egyptian - as a security guard. This story long circulated among the Arab heads of state the inept Ban met with. We want Guterres to be different - for the good of the UN. Watch this site.