Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz, who helped craft the suspension of military aid to countries that refused to exempt U.S. military personnel from prosecution by the International Criminal Court, has used his position as World Bank President to reward with debt relief those nations that signed the exemption agreements, so-called Bilateral Immunity Agreements, or "Article 98s, with the United States. Wolfowitz was the subject of a puff piece in yesterday's Washington Post as part of a campaign to makeover his war hawk image. But Wolfowitz's actions at the World Bank demonstrate he still takes his orders from his right-wing neocon friends in the White House and Pentagon.
The countries granted debt relief that signed the Article 98s with the United States, include Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia. Three countries that have not signed Article 98s with the United States -- Mali, Niger, and Tanzania -- are under intense pressure to do so and the Wolfowitz debt relief action may be a tool to pressure them into signing the agreements. The Bush regime is attempting to get Niger to amend its constitution to permit it to sign an Article 98. Tanzania is embarrassed to sign such an agreement as the host of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The Bush administration brought direct pressure on the Malian President to sign an Article 98 in exchange for the financial assistance now being dangled by Wolfowitz and his neocon cabal at the World Bank.
Wolfowitz: Bringing his neocon "cabal" to the World Bank
Wolfowitz has isolated himself with two neocon advisers from the Iraq war planning cabal and an old friend from East Asia policy planning, resulting in the same type of exodus by senior officials that is plaguing the CIA, Pentagon, and State Department. Wolfowitz's coterie of neo-cons include his one-time special adviser at the Pentagon Kevin Kellems; Robin Cleveland, a radical right-wing White House staffer with the White House Iraq Group who was also embroiled in a conflict of interest with ethically-tainted former Air Force Secretary James Roche; and Karl Jackson, an old Wolfowitz colleague on East Asia policy issues when Wolfowitz was Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs during the elder Bush administration.