Did Shaha Ali Riza Unwittingly Do What Monica Liwinsky Couldnt Do?

World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz on Thursday bowed to weeks of international pressure and quit. But not everyone is happy.

After weeks of wrangling in the media and questions about will-he, won’t he, Wolfowitz has thrown in the towel and resigned from his post as president of the World Bank (WB).

Seemingly due to favouritism, “Wolfie’s” decision to resign, which he announced himself, was done “in the best interests” of the institution he chaired since 2005, and will take effect at the end of this fiscal year, June 30. Mr Wolfowitz reiterated none the less that he acted in “the best interests” the WB also when he had got a promotion and pay rise for his girlfriend Shaha Ali Riza.

The bank’s 24 executive directors who pushed for him to go said they had accepted his assurance that he had acted “ethically and in good faith”.

Wolfowitz’s and the directors’ press releases were prepared together as face-saving way out for the WB president with both side acknowledging each other’s errors and good faith.

The White House, which backed Wolfowitz till the end, said it regretted the decision but accepted it.

At the European parliament an emergency resolution against Wolfowitz was being prepared by the Greens and the Socialist Party. Usually, emergency resolutions are called only in case of gross violations of human rights.

For the past month, “Wolfie” was under pressure to leave the WB, the international organisation that provides about US$ 25 billion in interest-free loans to poor countries.

In addition to his personal foibles, critics ganged up against him because of his role in the Iraq War and his close alignment to the policies of the US administration of George W. Bush.

AsiaNews sources confirm however that Wolfowitz’s real detractors were the neo-Malthusians within the WB who want the organisation to make a greater effort to fund abortion practices in the Third World.

These groups have been trying to boycott the economic rebirth of Iraq and had it in for Wolfowitz because he had ordered the reopening of the WB offices in Baghdad and wanted the organisation to jumpstart financing reconstruction in Iraq in close co-operation with the Iraqi government.

African countries are also happy to see Wolfowitz go because he had tried to hold them more accountable in the fight against corruption or risk a suspension in WB aid.

By contrast, Japan’s Finance Minister Koji Omi said that Wolfowitz was doing a good job. Many Asian economists are of the same opinion.

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