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 Saturday, April 14, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz : Why He Should Resign as President of the World Bank

  Excerpts: Read here for more by Rupert Cornwell in The Independent (UK ) and HERE


Directors of the World Bank on Friday faulted institution’s chief Paul Wolfowitz for pushing through the promotion and salary package of his girlfriend and pledged to take quick action.

The 24-member board of governors, which met in Washington, said it found that Mr Wolfowitz signed off on Shaha Riza’s promotion and salary increase without a review by an ethics committee or the board’s chairman.

The promotion came shortly after he joined the institution in 2005.

The board’s statement has apparently weakened Mr Wolfowitz’s position, creating a situation which may lead to his resignation.
Read here for more

Paul Wolfowitz carries a good deal of baggage.

Wolfowitz, it will be remembered, fervently believed that the American invaders would be hailed as liberators, and that the occupation would require no more than 100,000 troops at most.

These surely rank as two of the more disastrous military misjudgements of recent times.

Like his former master in the White House, Wolfowitz (at least in public) has NEVER admitted responsibility for the debacle that is Iraq.

Indeed, some believe that he sees the Bank as another means of bringing democracy to the developing world, the very goal the Iraq war was meant to achieve in the Middle East. That grand notion has failed.

Read below: Wolfowitz and the Iraq War Fiasco

When he was named by Bush to head the Bank in early 2005, an in-house survey found that nearly 90 per cent of staff opposed the choice.

Rather than choose Bank people as his top aides, Wolfowitz brought in Republican political operatives, at least two of whom - Robin Cleveland, a former senior White House official, and Kevin Kellems, who had worked in Vice-President Dick Cheney's office and the Pentagon - had been deeply involved in pre- and post-war Iraq policy.

  • Kevin Kellems previously served as Communications Director and Spokesman for Vice President Dick Cheney and Advisor to Richard Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

A host of senior staffers, including six vice-presidents, left after Wolfowitz's arrival.

He is an intellectual, who was Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington for eight years, before becoming Donald Rumsfeld's deputy at the Pentagon.

Wolfowitz's career has followed the familiar neo-con path, from the young man who espoused liberal causes and marched with Martin Luther King in the early 1960s to the foreign policy hawk of little more than a decade later, convinced that only by projecting its strength and its values abroad could America defend itself at home, first from the Communist, then the terrorist, threat.

Like many neo-cons, he is Jewish, and a passionate supporter of Israel, where his sister now lives.

He was also a prime mover in the neo-con manifesto of the 1990s, the Project for a New American Century.

This same archetypal champion of the Jewish state was actually booed at a pro-Israel rally in Washington in April 2002 for daring to remind them of the sufferings of the Palestinians.

The real problems with Wolfowitz in high office, whether at the World Bank or at the Pentagon, are his shortcomings as a manager. That was one reason Paul Bremer and not Wolfowitz, was chosen to be the US pro-consul in Iraq after the 2003 invasion.

He is not the hands-on, all-action, deftly self-promoting chief executive that was Wolfensohn.

Nor is he a proven corporate manager, spewing out plans and bullet charts, like Robert McNamara, the defence secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and the World Bank President with whom Wolfowitz is often compared.

The random fashion in which Wolfowitz applied the corruption sanctions fanned a third suspicion - that his hit list had been drawn up not by the World Bank, but by the Bush administration.

He is in more trouble over the promotion and lavish pay rises accorded to his partner, a former senior employee of the Bank. New documents released by the World Bank on Friday that show Wolfowitz had a direct hand in arranging her promotion and generous pay package.

German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said Wolfowitz needs to do some soul-searching about whether he can continue to lead the bank.

"At this point, it is my conclusion that he has to decide for himself whether in regard to this mistake, he can credibly fulfill his duties," she said.

Presidential hopeful John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina who weighed in Friday. "America's ability to lead in the fight against global poverty is undermined with Paul Wolfowitz at the helm of the World Bank," Edwards said.

He said Wolfowitz's tenure at the World Bank has been marked by some of the same "failures as his term managing the war in Iraq - cronyism and rhetoric that does not match reality - and now serious questions of financial integrity."

Joaquin Almunia, the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs suggested there is concern. "It seems there has been a scandal. I don't know what the consequences will be," Almunia said. "I have been this morning with the European secretary directors of the World Bank and they have transmitted to me that it is a real concern."

The Girl-Friend Scandal

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Shaha Riza, Wolfowitz's Girlfriend

Shaha Riza is a British national of Libyan ancestry who grew up in Saudi Arabia. She and Wolfowitz have been together since his previous marriage broke down in 2001.
Indeed, her strong belief in bringing democracy to the Arab world is said to have only strengthened her partner's determination to confer that boon on Iraq.

Their relationship became public when Wolfowitz succeeded James Wolfensohn at the helm of the Bank in mid-2005.

At first he attempted to keep her in her job as communications adviser at the Bank's Middle East department, even though that was flatly against the ethics rules of the organisation. In the end she was sent to the State Department, but stayed on the World Bank's payroll.

She was promoted and given two rises well above staff norms, bringing her salary to $193,000 (£98,000) - more than Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State.

Riza has left the State Department. She is now said to be working for the Foundation for the Future, an international group largely funded by the US, whose prime mission is (you've guessed) to advance freedom and democracy in the Middle East and north Africa.

But will that be the end of the matter ?

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