Relief agencies refuse to work with US
Aid agencies are refusing to work with the administration being set up by the Americans in southern Iraq and some are accusing the US of deliberately undermining the UN's role in post-war relief.First, there's still pockets of "war" going on. Second, the UN is made up largely of pussies who wouldn't do jackshit to stop any violence toward aid workers. Third, seems to me if you were actually concerned with people's welfare, you'd worry more about logistics and materiel and a fuck of a lot less about who got the goddamned credit.
Tensions are growing between international aid groups and the Americans. Several are turning down their aid grants.
As British aid workers waited for security clearance to enter Iraq, there were concerns that looting and crime in towns held by the British and Americans would undermine their operation and endanger staff. The UN aid mission for Iraq said coalition forces had a duty under international law to maintain a safe environment for civilians and health workers. Widespread disorder could hamper their efforts in Baghdad and Basra, said a spokesman.
In the south the Americans say humanitarian assistance is high on the agenda of the interim administration, being set up in Umm Qasr under Jay Garner, the retired US General. The team will co-ordinate relief, rebuild infrastructure and start setting up a "democratic" government.The US is doing nothing stealthily. We've been pretty clear about taking the lead role in reconstruction from the outset; if you're surprised that we meant what we said, you haven't been paying attention.
But some relief agencies suspect that while it is not safe for them to work in Iraq the US is stealthily carving its own role as administrator, overseer and grant provider.
Many are refusing to touch money offered by Gen Garner's Organisation for Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction and several aid agencies walked out of an OHAR meeting this week.Good God. Look, you can't have it both ways; if the US has an obligation to maintain law and order, you have to work with the military. Better yet, just stay the fuck out of the way. The last thing the military needs to take on right now is the task of babysitting a bunch of socialist agitators.
Alistair Dutton, emergency officer for Cafod, the British agency, said the setting up of OHAR was an attempt to take control. "We fully expect to go to work in Iraq under the UN, but that is not the message coming from Jay Garner."
Tensions between the US and independent agencies could hinder the efficiency of an aid operation in Iraq. "There are going to be enormous problems about organisation with a US military-run country and aid agencies that don't want to work with the military," said a relief worker in Kuwait. Several groups hope to move into towns and cities within three days.
[Link via Winds of Change, from an article about how well the rebuilding efforts are doing in Afghanistan.]