22 September, 2020

Our Man In Baghdad

Prakash Shah's appointment as UN envoy to Iraq is seen as a move to undercut US influence

Our Man In Baghdad

IT'S an astute move in a game of global chess. The naming of Prakash Shah as UN secretary general KofiAnnan's personal envoy to Baghdad is seen by diplomatic sources as yet another decisive move by Annan to wrest the initiative on the Iraq issue away from the US. "Kofi Annan wanted his own man on the ground in Baghdad. He wanted someone who was skilled, but also in whom he could trust. In Prakash Shah, Kofi has found that person," observes a senior UN official.

Western sources have a different take on the Shah appointment. They see it as a move to undercut the influence of the US on the Iraqi imbroglio. Says a Western diplomat: "UNSCOM (United Nations Special Commission) is their baby, full of gung-ho arms control chaps from the Marines and the CIA and what not. The secretary general has no means of communication in Baghdad politically with the Iraqis. Now, he has somebody who knows the game and who he will use."

 Says Ambassador Shah, who is preparing to leave for the Iraqi capital where he will serve for an...



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