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  • 19

    Top Wolfowitz Postings Went to Iraq War Backers
    Globalism; Posted on: 2007-04-15 13:48:55 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Embattled neocon faces questions on appointments

    by Emad Mekay
    with Jim Lobe

    Of the top five outside international appointments made by embattled World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz during his nearly two-year tenure, three were senior political appointees of right-wing governments that provided strong backing for U.S. policy in Iraq.

    The latest appointment came just last month when former Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher was named senior vice president for external affairs.

    Muasher served as King Abdullah's ambassador here in Washington in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2002 and reportedly played a key role in ensuring Amman's cooperation in the March 2003 invasion.

    During and after the invasion, when he served first as foreign minister and then as deputy prime minister, he was considered among Washington's staunchest supporters in an increasingly hostile Arab world.

    Muasher's appointment came nine months after Wolfowitz named former Spanish foreign minister Ana Palacio as the Bank's senior vice president and general counsel. As foreign minister, she was an outspoken proponent of the U.S.-led Iraq invasion, to which her government, led by former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, contributed 1,500 troops.

    Also in June 2006, Wolfowitz named former Salvadoran Finance Minister Juan Jose Daboub as one of the Bank's two managing directors. In addition to his financial post, Daboub served as chief of staff to former President Francisco Flores when, as a charter member of the U.S.-led "Coalition of the Willing", he sent nearly 400 Salvadoran combat troops to Iraq, more than any other developing country.

    Wolfowitz is currently fending off growing calls, particularly from Bank staff, non-government organizations and a number of former senior Bank officials, for his resignation over charges that he improperly negotiated a promotion and compensation package for his romantic partner, career Bank staffer Shaha Riza, who was subsequently seconded to the U.S. State Department.

    Wolfowitz, who became the Bank's president in June 2005, has long insisted that his own role as deputy defense secretary under U.S. President George W. Bush, in which he was a key architect of the Iraq war, would never influence his decisions at the Bank.

    As recently as Thursday, as finance and development ministers began gathering here for the annual Spring Meetings of the Bank and its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Wolfowitz again denied that his connection to the Iraq war has played any role in his work at the Bank and suggested that the calls by staff for him resign were motivated at least in part by antiwar sentiment.

    "For people who disagree with things they associate with me in my previous job," he said, "I am not in my previous job."

    But persistent efforts by Wolfowitz to recruit a new country manager for Iraq despite concerns over staff security there as well as the Bank's attempts last month to suppress reports about an incident in which a Bank employee was injured in Baghdad, apparently to avoid derailing his recruitment efforts have lent credence to critics' charges that he has been more than eager to line up the institution and its resources behind U.S. policy there.

    The fact that Wolfowitz also took with him to the Bank several key right-wing Republican aides none with any development experience who had worked closely with him on Iraq-related issues while he was at the Pentagon also bolstered that impression.

    There have been reports of elaborate off-the-record efforts on Wolfowitz's part, during his tenure at the Bank, to persuade prominent journalists that the administration's prewar allegations of an operational link between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda were indeed true.

    It is in that context that Wolfowitz's appointments of non-U.S. individuals who were not already working for the Bank to top posts appear significant.


    Pressure Grows on Wolfowitz to Resign
    News Source: AntiWar.com


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