It sounds like the ultimate Dog-Bites-Man story — ho hum, there’s the UN climbing into bed with yet another terror-linked outfit. Does it really matter?
You bet. Given the UN’s rapidly expanding resources and reach, and its proclivities for providing opaque, diplomatically immune conduits worldwide for men, materials, money and bad ideas, it actually does matter what the UN gets up to. For the case at hand, see the recent Fox News story headlined “UNICEF Partners With Islamic Charity Linked to Terror Groups” — this about UNICEF hooking up with a Saudi-based charity, the International Islamic Relief Organization, or IIRO, whose Philippine and Indonesian branches have been designated by the U.S. Treasury and the UN itself as terrorist entities linked to Al Qaeda. The article begins: “An Islamic Charity with ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban is now collaborating with an unlikely new partner: UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.”
There’s just one point on which I would disagree. There is nothing “unlikely” about this charity, the IIRO, collaborating with UNICEF. This same Saudi charity, the IIRO, already has ties to the UN. The IIRO has held consultative status since 1995 with the UN General Assembly’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, or ECOSOC. It also partners with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) — see pages 9 and 21— the kind of connection the UNHCR has particularly come to prize because of the potential for Saudi money — just search in this UNHCR document on “donor.” The Saudis say there’s nothing wrong with the IIRO, and we can only hope they’re right — because once something takes root at the UN, it almost never goes away. Last year, Reps. Zach Wamp, Thaddeus McCotter, Scott Garrett, Cliff Stearns and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen introduced a bill calling for the Secretary of State (see post below on Condi Rice, Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Fool) to withhold some U.S. taxpayer money from the UN’s ECOSOC “until such time as the UN and ECOSOC have withdrawn consultative status for all organizations with any affiliations to terrorist organizations.” The bill mentioned one organization by name, the IIRO. Results to date: IIRO, still involved with ECOSOC and the UNHCR, now teams up with UNICEF. Dog bites man. That can hurt.