Humpty Dumpty Institute Hosts Briefings on the U.N. in Iraq

On Friday, October 26, 2007, the Humpty Dumpty Institute, with the support of the Better World Campaign, organized briefings for Congressional Staff by senior United Nations officials. The briefings, delivered by Dr. Jehangir Khan and Mr. Darko Mocibob, focused on Iraq, and provided a very well-received overview of the role the U.N. can play in the country.

Dr. Khan, a deputy director in the Department of Political Affairs of the U.N. Secretariat, gave an overview of how the U.N., the United States, and the international community can work together in re-building Iraq. He started by mentioning Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon’s fundamental declaration earlier this year—that Iraq should be considered a global problem. Khan went through a timeline of recent Iraqi history, starting with the Iran-Iraq War and onward to the first Gulf War, during which the U.N. acted as a major facilitator. Khan stressed that the international community must look forward on Iraq, and one of their core strategic priorities should be to give the democratically-elected Iraqi government the space to govern. The idea of a “quick fix” is a hoax; quality, not quantity is what is important.

Mr. Mocibob continued the briefings describing the content of what the U.N. is doing in Iraq, noting the U.N. has been in the country since 2003, and its presence has increased tremendously since then. They have set up various offices pertaining to different issues at hand. One office that has been set up deals with political affairs, which is influential because it allows U.N. officials to talk with key people on the ground that others do not have access to. This office is also facilitating the constitutional review process. Mocibob mentioned plans of opening an office dedicated to promoting regional engagement, which the U.N. feels is vital to rebuilding the country. Lastly, there is an office dedicated to humanitarian issues and refugees, because the scale of displacement is massive. Mocibob focused a lot of his briefing discussing the situation with IDPs—Internally Displaced Persons. The Human Rights office sends out quarterly reports that receive significant media attention.

Khan noted that the system of government collapsed after the fall of Saddam Hussein, so Iraq is in transition on every level. The issue of corruption would be better managed if the government was functioning and transparent. Both Khan and Mocibob stressed that the U.N. is willing to work closely with Iraq to achieve a national reconciliation.