Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Oil-for-Food Audits: A Damning Indictment of U.N. Operations in Iraq

So, the jist of the Volcker investigation/audit is that the REAL purpose of the audit was to investigate the UN Oil for Food Program and the Volcker Audit did not cover this??

The newly released U.N. audits further undermine the credibility of the United Nations. They provide a glimpse of the culture of mismanagement and unaccountability within the U.N. regarding the administration of the Oil-for-Food program.

The audits also further undermine the standing and reputation of Kofi Annan. They reinforce the impression that Mr. Annan either deliberately turned a blind eye to widespread failings in the Oil-for-Food program or was staggeringly incompetent. Their release will no doubt add to the mounting pressure for the Secretary General to stand down.

The U.N. audits should be considered, however, as just one part of the bigger Oil for Food puzzle, now under investigation by five Congressional committees. While the audits contribute to a broader understanding of the failings behind the administration of the world’s biggest humanitarian program, they do not shed light on the role of U.N. officials in the web of bribery and corruption spun by Saddam Hussein’s regime. Nor do the audits illustrate how Saddam attempted to influence decision-making in the U.N. Security Council in an effort to lift sanctions against Iraq. The bigger picture of Saddam’s manipulation of the Oil-for-Food program and the part played by U.N. officials will likely only be fully revealed by the Congressional investigations now underway.

So, Volcker is the person highly recommended by Colin Powell to be selected by Kofi Anan to perform an Audit of this program and after what a year of investigation what have we found out? Seems to me we already knew most of this from Claudia Rosett. This whole audit was a sham to start since Volcker had no subpoena power and interviews with UN staff was by their permission only. The Tsunami Disaster only accentuates the total abject failure of the UN.

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