Via the excellent Spencer Ackerman, pretty big news that President Obama will tap Peter W Galbraith as a deputy in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). For the uninitiated, Galbraith is a diplomatic heavy weight. As a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer in the 1980s he uncovered Saddam Hussein’s genocide of the Kurds, and for that emerges as a hero in Samatha Power’s A Problem From Hell: American in the Age of Genocide. He is also known as a trouble-shooter. When Yugoslavia dissolved in the 1990s, President Clinton appointed him as the first United States ambassador to Croatia.

The point is, he is a star in the diplomatic world. And now President Obama has seen fit to send that expertise in support of a United Nations mission. The obvious deduction here is that the much heralded Afghanistan/Pakistan policy review, due very soon, will spell out an important role for the United Nations in the region.

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