Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Strange goings on at the Iraqi Embassy in Beijing

Diplomatic sources told Reuters last week that Ambassador Muwafak al-Ani was resisting a recall order and had asked Chinese police for protection, insisting embassy staff were armed and intimidating him.

But the embassy's number two, who has been in charge since June, said on Tuesday al-Ani and his wife were the ones who were armed, refusing to vacate the ambassador's residence and offices and menacing staff and their families.

"He's the ex-ambassador. He has been dismissed by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, but refused to leave," the minister told Reuters by telephone, speaking in English.

Al-Ani, who presented his credentials to the Chinese government in January, ignored orders from the post-war Iraqi authorities to return home by mid-June, other diplomats said.

"He asked police to come, portraying himself as the victim," said the minister, who requested that his name be withheld.

The minister also denied carrying weapons, although other diplomats said embassy staff had been seen with pistols.

"We've been unable to enter the embassy since June 7. He's armed and unstable," the minister added.

And a little background on the good Ambassador.

In 1991, the Philippines expelled al-Ani, then a first secretary, after linking him to an attempted bombing of the Thomas Jefferson Library in Manila.

An Iraqi national was killed and another injured when the bomb they were attempting to plant exploded prematurely.

< email | 7/08/2003 01:37:00 PM | link

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