The staff of Sergio Vieira de Mello, special representative of the UN secretary-general in Iraq, recently started working in Baghdad. German Wave reports that the Brazilian diplomat will coordinate the UN’s humanitarian aid to Iraq. In addition, according to resolution No. 1483 adopted by the UN Security Council he and coalition troops will have to contribute to post-war restoration of Iraq and the creation of the Iraqi government. The radio station notes that this is a very challenging task for Mr. de Mello. Observers say that Iraq is occupied by coalition troops, and the US wants to meet UN representatives there as seldom as possible.
In the meantime, this appointment gave birth to rumors in Moscow that Russian rescue-workers and servicemen will take parting the peacekeeping process in Iraq. Well-informed sources in the Russian Emergencies Ministry say that the ministry intends to send a mobile hospital and a motor unit to Iraq.
Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu stated in an interview: “We hope that all political problems will soon be solved, and Kofi Annan will ask members of the UN to held Iraqi civilians.” According to Shoigu’s plans, the ministry will also cooperate with the refugee department of the UN High Commission, the world food program, and the department for coordinating humanitarian issues.
The plans are very impressive. However, the ministry intended to realize them in April. Summer has come but nothing has happened. The point is that the UN has not yet deployed its staff in Iraq, and all humanitarian operations are controlled by the US and its allies. As is known, they did not permit the Russian Emergencies Ministry to offer humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people during the war. The ministry planned to extinguish fire at oil wells and treat injured people.
At present, US specialists extinguish fires at oil wells, and foreign doctors treat Iraqi people. The winners decide who will be able to join the coalition peacekeeping force. The UN will play a secondary role in Iraq, like in the Balkans in 1999. Nothing doing – this is the will of the superpower. However, the Russian Emergencies Ministry hopes that the UN will permit Russian rescue-workers and doctors to work in Iraq.
The situation over the prospects of sending Russian peacekeepers is similar. The UN does not handle such issues, and the US does not want to see Russian servicemen in Iraq.
Russia is the main rival of the US in this region. This is why the winner is trying to solve all problems without Moscow’s participation. For instance, the US deprived Russian diplomats working in Iraq of diplomatic immunity. The Russian Foreign Ministry recently submitted an official protest regarding this decision. It’s an open secret that Russian servicemen prepared for landing in Iraq; warships of the Russian Navy carrying landing troops are now waiting in Indian bays. The US does not allow them to Iraq. De facto, this means that the Kremlin cannot control the situation.
In the meantime, Yevgeny Marchuk, Ukrainian Secretary of the National Defense and Security Council, acknowledged that nations, which are members of the stabilization force deployed in Iraq, have a priority right to conclude contracts to restore the Iraqi infrastructure. This argument encouraged Ukrainian parliamentarians to send a brigade of Ukrainian peacekeepers to Iraq. At the same time, Washington assured Moscow that oil contracts concluded before the war will remain valid. This thesis was announced by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on June 9. He said that Washington promised that no one will encroach on the interests of Russian companies in Iraq. Meanwhile, he noted: “At worst, part of these contracts will be suspended until the new government of Iraq makes a decision regarding their destiny.”
The point is that precisely the US will create the Iraqi government. It is very likely that this government will be loyal to Yankees. The US civil administration in Iraq stated that it will not create the Iraqi national congress (to all appearances, the US fears that the Islamic fundamentalists will strengthen their positions). Instead, the US will create a so-called political council consisting of 25-30 people. This body will become a predecessor of the Iraqi interim government.
In other words, Russia has remained aside from processes linked with settling the situation in Iraq. The US faces problems too but the status of the winner gives it a good chance to gain control over Iraq. Russia has to put up with this and wait. Perhaps, it will be invited to the coalition.