Kofi Annan: Iraq situation much worse than civil war

Monday, December 4, 2006

Kofi Annan

In an interview with BBC's Lyse Doucet, retiring Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, confessed to sadness at being unable to prevent the war against Iraq. He said that although Saddam Hussein had been a brutal dictator, at least there had been peace in the streets and people were secure in their everyday lives. Saying the war had caused "killing and bitterness", he said that the situation is now "much worse than a civil war".

Mr Annan’s comments provoked the anger of Iraq's national security adviser, Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie, who said he was shocked by what Kofi Annan had said and, in turn, he accused the United Nations of failing in its duty to the Iraqi people.

Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Defence Secretary and one of the architects of the invasion of Iraq by USA and Britain, admitted in a secret memorandum that the strategy in Iraq is not working properly. Just two weeks before his resignation he advocated a change in policy saying "Clearly, what US forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough".

Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, who heads up the study group commissioned by the President to advise on the situation in Iraq referred to Iraq as being "a helluva mess". On Wednesday, Colin Powell, former Secretary of State who was in post at the time of the invasion of Iraq, told a conference in the United Arab Emirates that Iraq was in a state of civil war. This was an opinion expressed in March by former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi.