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August 26, 2005
UN: You-Know-Who Hindering Hariri Investigation

The United Nations team investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri issued a statement that reveals Syrian interference and lack of cooperation to the UN Security Council. Assad's regime in Damascus has blocked access to witnesses and failed to release documents that relate to the murder which eventually led to the collapse of Syria's position in Lebanon. However, the UNSC failed to directly criticize the Assad government, thanks to their Russian sponsors:

Syria is not co-operating with an international investigation into the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a UN official has said.

Damascus has yet to give investigators access to key witnesses and documents, the UN's Under Secretary General said.

The UN Security Council later passed a motion urging "all parties" to aid the investigation, while the US' UN envoy called Syria's stance "unacceptable". ...

Syria has failed to respond to a request from the investigators to provide key documents and five witnesses for interview, the UN Under Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari said.

"No reply has been received," he said.

He noted that Syria had offered to discuss the investigators' demands - but he said this was no substitute for co-operation.

John Bolton once again proved why George Bush insisted on his selection as UN ambassador. He not only specified the Syrians for their "unacceptable" lack of cooperation, he also scolded the UN Security Council for its weak-kneed response. Russia, as it turns out, would not allow a statement to be issued that named Syria for criticism for its foot-dragging. Instead, the UNSC issued a call for all member-states to fully cooperate with the investigation -- which would mean something if all member-states had assassinated Hariri in the first place. Syria alone has that dubious honor, which is why they won't cooperate.

Even the UN investigation into Hariri's murder has no point; everyone understands who did it and why. At least the investigators have the will to name those who impede them. That exceeds the courage the UNSC showed in supporting the investigation.

This process shows why the UN has disintegrated into farce from tragedy. Thirty years ago, such gamesmanship replaced real warfare between the two superpowers of the US and the Soviet Union, and therefore may have had some value -- perhaps. Even then, it mostly served as a continuous convention for anti-democratic demonstrations and anti-Semitic speechmaking from the kleptocrats of the day. Now we still have all of that, plus rampant corruption and an unwillingness to affect the status quo in any way, shape, or form.

John Bolton got to Turtle Bay not a moment too soon, and thanks to Democrats in the Senate, later than he should have been. Either the UN needs to start getting serious about accountability for both its member-states and itself, or we should pull the plug on the entire mess.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 26, 2005 5:24 AM

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