The definition of insanity is giving money to the United Nations. Not only will it not end well, but it will usually end in the worst possible way. If you can imagine the most horrible thing that the United Nations can do with your money, it will probably find a way to do it. And then to do something even worse.
Does it really make sense to transfer more than $519,000,000 worth of international aid to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, when nearly every major world leader has predicted the imminent dismemberment of the Assad regime, if not the man himself?
If your only point of reference is the January 19 UN document explaining the rationale for the transfer to Syria of more than $500,000,000, you would be hard pressed to understand exactly what is happening in that country that has caused the huge increase in need for humanitarian aid. The deaths of more than 60,000 in less than two years, which most people call the Syrian Civil War, are instead referred to in UN-speak as “the events in Syria since March, 2011,” or, sometimes, as “the current events.”
According to the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan for Syria contemplates the transfer of $519,627,047 to cover the period of January 1, 2013 to the end of June, 2013.
Incredibly, the report states that it “aims at supporting the Government of Syria’s [that's the Assad regime] efforts in providing humanitarian assistance to the affected populations.”
The UN Plan has as one of its four objectives: “Support the government in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of critical infrastructure and vital public services affected by the current events through rapid repairs.”
The Response Plan reads like a document from another planet.
The Government of Syria, in collaboration with UN agencies, is launching a new HARP for the period from 1 January 2013 to the end of June 2013. This plan will serve around four million people, as estimated by the UN, that have been directly or indirectly affected by the current events
All humanitarian assistance is, and will continue to be, delivered with full respect to the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic during the implementation of this Response Plan.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) has been designated as the leading national provider of humanitarian relief and through its thousands of trained and committed volunteers has provided the bulk of humanitarian assistance to date.
The current affiliation of SARC is a matter of some debate. Their headquarters was bombed and rebel groups have been claiming that all the aid given to them is seized by the regime, but international NGOs have denied that this is the case. Some SARC personnel have claimed that they were arrested and tortured by the government. It is doubtful however that the Assad regime would allow SARC to go on operating if it wasn’t under the control of the regime and there is a huge amount of propaganda being generated by both sides in the Syrian Civil War.
To date, most relief items have been purchased in-country. While this continues to be the preferred approach, other complimentary options may have to be explored, especially because essential supplies, like for example medicines are less available compared to the situation before to the current events. Purchases inside the country will also be affected by inflationary pressures.
And purchases in country also help provide funding to the Assad government.
This Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan aims at supporting the Government of Syria’s efforts in providing humanitarian assistance to the affected populations. It will cover the period from 1 January 2013 until the end of June 2013. The financial requirements amount to $519,627,047.
Although no new comprehensive needs assessment has been conducted recently, sector needs assessments, combined with the figures provided by the Government, give an indication of the actual number of people affected and in need of humanitarian assistance. Additional sector needs assessments are on-going, jointly with the different governmental counterparts and their findings will be used to respond to the identified growing needs.
This aid plan is running on figures from the Syrian government in a region where stealing aid is practically a national sport. Why not hand Assad a 519 million dollar check directly and save everyone the time and effort needed to redirect that money back into the regime’s pockets?