Kofi Annan says the UN will continue its work in Iraq despite Tuesday's massive suicide bombing of its headquarters in which 24 people died.
A US military spokeswoman said the huge explosion was caused by a bomb in a cement truck parked outside the building.
Among the dead are top UN envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Iraq co-ordinator for the UN children's fund Unicef and a number of World Bank staff, as well as UN staff from the Philippines, Egypt, the UK, the US and Canada.
What is your reaction to the blast? What are the implications for future UN humanitarian operations globally? Should the UN increase security at the risk of losing its image of accessibility? You can also send us your tributes to Sergio Vieira de Mello.
The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:
The UN presence in Iraq is seen by many Iraqis as supporting the US/UK invasion and as such are a common enemy. Until a meaningful resolution is passed at the UN, giving them total control of the country's reconstruction, then the UN should withdraw from Iraq.
Colin Hoyle, England
Every single life on this earth is valuable and should be respected, however when the US and UK invaded Iraq, they were outside the UN's backing. Did they therefore not murder thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, before the war (sanctions) and during the war? Why is nobody concerned about that rather than the hundreds which will be killed out of protest?
It's about time for peaceful or "moderate" Muslims, if they exist, to stand up and courageously rescue their religion from the extremists. I have seen no substantial effort from within the Muslim community to condemn this element of their religion. Until they do, the extremists will continue to sabotage the Muslim world's efforts to create better lives for their people. This is because we cannot allow those who intentionally target innocent children to advance their "agenda", for to do so would justify these reprehensible acts as a negotiating tool. The apologists of the world, who want to examine the "causes" of these murders, bear responsibility for these deaths by cloaking these murderers in "justification" and shifting blame to the victim.
C. Thompson, US
An old saying goes, "From the lack of wisdom, man fails". An uneducated mass is the best way to produce idiots like this. It will take many years to undo what idiotic uneducated leaders have done to this part of the world.
We should come to our senses, the international community has reduced the people to beggars, they virtually beg for everything from drinking water to electricity from foreign occupants, what options do they have!
Sylvester R, Uganda
The bombing was unfortunate for so many - not least Sergio who was so well respected. The fact of the matter, however, is that Iraqis may not view the UN in the positive light that they should be viewed in because while they (the UN) opposed the invasion, they also bowed to the pressure and removed their staff prior to the war. They had no choice but the Iraqis would have felt abandoned at that time by the UN hence there is now no conscience when these acts are committed. The solution is to end the occupation but in the interest of saving face, we all know that would never happen. There will be many more lives lost, more bombs, more attacks on the infrastructure. Nothing will be done. These comments are also a reflection of the helplessness the general world population feels.
Ginny Ince, UK
Sympathy to all those who died in this explosion, and during the war. I wish people would stop calling this an act of terrorism. It is part of a war which ultimately the USA et al cannot win. Put it this way, if Iraq attacked and occupied the UK, do you think the population would just roll over and say "oh thank you for liberating us". I think not. I for one would probably be doing all I could to persuade the occupying force to get out of my country!
Tim Linney, England
My deep condolence goes to the families of Mr Vieira de Mello and all other victims in this barbaric attack. I was hurt to know that these victims were in Iraq to provide foods or to arrange shelters for the Iraqi people. They had no intention to track down any terrorist groups in Iraq. It's pretty obvious to the world that these attackers do not want peace in Iraq. Any countries or organizations, who are involved in this attack, neither have any interest on Iraqi people, nor do they want Iraqi people to live in a peaceful democratic government. They just want to spread some kind of hostile act in the name of jihad, but these people should know that if their numbers are in thousands, the peace seeking people in this world are in billions. Therefore, the Iraqi people will definitely live in a democratic government no matter how hard these tourists try.
First of all my sincere condolences to all the family and friends of the victims who died in this cowardly attack. From recent events I have seen that the world is no longer a safe place. I would just like everyone to sit back and think who would be responsible for this. The answers can be guessed over and over so let's not just dwell on terrorists.
My sister was in the building, she works for the UN, her name is CAROLINA LARRIERA. PLEASE, any notice you have about her, send a mail. Someone notice me that she appears in the BBC TV broadcast. THANK YOU.
Pablo Larriera, Argentina
Pablo Larriera: I am a colleague and friend of Carolina, working at headquarters in NY. Colleagues told me they saw Carolina on BBC TV after the explosion. She seemed OK. Families of staff members can call this number in NY for information on their loved ones: (1) 212-963-5418. It's the Deparment of Peacekeeping Operations hotline for the tragedy in Baghdad. Courage.
Pablo Larriera: I am a friend of Carolina's and understand from mutual friends and colleagues in New York that she is safe. Apparently she was seen on television trying to enter the site after the bomb had exploded. However, Pablo can also try the UN switchboard in New York on (+1) 212 963 1234 and ask to be put through to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations's (DPKO) helpline to assist family members affected by the attack.
UNMIK, Pristina, Kosovo
Kofi Annan describes this terrible event as 'senseless'. One thing we can be sure of: Those who carried out this attack did not do so senselessly: they had a clear purpose. And only when we stop dismissing them as 'mindless', 'senseless' and 'cowardly' and strive to gain insight into why they do these things, will there be any hope of bringing them to an end.
Joseph Dormer, UK
And so we lose one of the rare pearls of the international community, Mr de Mello, one of the true humanitarians of this world who ends his extraordinary career in a bombing. Thanks to the US' sabotaging of the multilateral system we are now all seen as part of one big monster. The UN should never have accepted to clean up this mess and now scores of professionals have paid the ultimate price for this folly.
Richard Cox, Belgium
This attack appears to have been a mistake, the bomber perhaps believing the building was occupied by US personnel. It's hard to see who would benefit from an attack on the UN but I'm not surprised that Iraq is becoming a quagmire of death as no significant effort has so far been made to improve the lot of ordinary Iraqis.
John M, Lyne Meads, UK
Sergio Vieira de Mello - what a tremendous man, such a tragic loss of life. To his and all the families that lost loved ones in this tragedy, may God bless you.
Getting food, water, electricity and medical supplies to the people of Iraq needs to be the Americans' priority, if they can drop bombs with pinpoint accuracy then they can do it with aid. They need to have a good long hard look at their perception in the rest of the world, and so does their pathetic little lap-dog.
I am very sorry to hear that. I was working with the UN for about three years back in East Timor and Mr Sergio de Mello is a well known and very kind person. I wish from the bottom of my heart that Mr Vieira's death should be paid. Please find whoever did this and give him or his leader what he deserves... peace!
Sonnia Silveira, East Timor
It is tragic to see the UN building attacked and people, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, killed. The occupying forces, including Australia, call Iraq a war zone. When Iraqi innocents are killed or put into jail they say that "It happens in a war zone." Let us then accept that in a war zone people die... Iraqis, occupying forces and also, unfortunately, the peacekeepers! My sympathies with all those who have been killed in Iraq... the Iraqis (most unjustifyingly), occupying soldiers and all others! Peace, peace.
I would just like to send my condolences to Sergio Vieira de Mello's family. May they find the strength to carry on. I don't know what can be done to stop these tragedies but something needs to be done.
What a sad day for the whole world when peacemakers are targeted to enkindle civil disorder and chaos. I can't imagine any Iraqi doing this, and the attack has all the hallmarks of al-Qaeda. These attacks will, unfortunately, continue until a massive effort is made by peaceloving Muslims all over the world to discredit the warped theology which is so cynically exploited to drive young men and women to commit barbaric acts.
The only thing that strikes terror into the terrorists themselves is the threat of retribution from Allah, so the sooner Muslims come together to convince fanatics that they themselves will suffer retribution, not their victims, can the "moral blank cheque" mentality and rationale for the attacks be defused.
I am devastated by this attack. It is a setback for the rebuilding of post-occupation Iraq. Whilst I was against military action and the subsequent occupation I believe it is in the interest of Iraq and the international community that we work together to build the country. An attack on the UN is an attack on all the international community. This should not stop the UN work in Iraq and as a Muslim I send my condolences to the victims and their family and friends. These fanatics do not represent Islam and are cowards and should be hunted down and punished severely.
Mohammed Shafiq, UK
Some of you seem to have the US and UN confused. I thought most of you wanted the UN presence increased in Iraq while decreasing US control. If the UN is incapable of even providing simple common sense security at its own HQ then what chance does if have in initiating and maintaining a meaningful mission there?
My most sincere condolences to the families of Mr Vieira de Mello and all other victims of this attack. They did not deserve what happened. The attack seems like the handiwork of the Al Qaeda and not of Iraq. If the Iraqis had the capacity to use such tactics I am sure they would have used it sooner.
And what are the occupied forces in Iraq doing? They go around killing innocent journalists but cannot stop a huge truck from getting to the U.N. building. Shame on them!
Shikha Menon, India
The terror attacks in Iraq must be stopped by the Iraqis themselves ultimately. Iraq must have their own strong judicial system, police, and military and these should be the instrument of ending terror. Foreign troops who are only convenient targets. Iraq is currently like the American "Wild West" with a lot of bad guys taking advantage of the instability and without any respected Sheriffs and deputies sworn to uphold the law. The more that Iraqi authorities take charge the less terrorist attacks will occur. Let's face it, the Iraqis know their own enemies (former Baathists, Moslem Militant extremists, etc.) better than we ever can.
John, NJ, USA
When the world understands that terrorism is an attack on civilization itself and is the enemy of every sane human being, then perhaps no one will hold back evidence, knowledge or even suspicion of those whom they think might commit such acts. Until then, it will continue to be a struggle to protect all of us from those in our midst who would kill anyone and everyone of us given the opportunity. When people do not feel safe anywhere including their own homes and offices, there should be no surprise when civil rights are suspended and the population at large is ready to sacrifice freedom for security.
More troops for security, more resources for the infrastructure. The quicker the coalition gets things up and running, the more local support they will have and the quicker they can hand-over to a secure local govt and pull out.
Peter, London, UK
Mr. Vieira de Mello was an excellent ambassador of peace and accepted the responsibility he was charged with passionately. I trust he will be properly recognized in Brazil and the world for his great achievements in attempting peace to our world. Mr. Vieira de Mello, "Rest in Peace" with all the other victims of these wicked and evil acts of terrorism.
My deepest sympathies go to the families of all casualties of the bombing. A soft target such as this will always be open to these sorts of attacks. The Iraqi people must start to police themselves in cooperation with the US and Brits, instead of relying upon them solely to root out the terrorists in their midst. Only then will they be truly able to take responsibility for their own future and their country once again.
What an amazing, heart wrenching tribute on Mr De Mello rendered by his colleague, Salim Lone. Clearly, the world has just lost a great man and the progress being made in Iraq has suffered a huge, perhaps debilitating setback. All the UN personnel try to do is help.
US. (British Citizen)
Iraqi's are being brainwashed by militants and unfortunately they do not know the difference between who is genuinely there to help them and who are the occupying forces. It is ignorance. Maybe they should have loud-speakers on the streets in every town telling Iraqis' that terrorism is going to delay reconstruction which means occupying forces will be there even longer. Since that is want they really don't want.
The worst outcome of the reckless Iraq war was to create a new fertile breeding ground for future al-Qaedas, the same way as we did 10 years ago by "liberating" Afghanistan. There we helped Taleban to bring down the Soviet-backed regime and plunged Afghans into years of medieval darkness and suffering. It amazes me to see our short-sighted leaders (republican and democratic alike) failing to learn from the history recent lessons. This new reckless, unwarranted unsanctioned war will bring only one result - not a "free democratic Iraq", but a new al-Qaeda, 10 times as vicious and powerful as the old one. It will grow in a place were none existed (under Saddam) before May 2003.
Sergio Vieiria de Mello was a great man and peace maker who will be sadly missed by all but most of all by the Iraqi people. There are no words to describe his callous murder along with the other victims of this atrocity. All we can do to stop the attacks is to maintain and strengthen the war against the evil Islamic terrorists.
Terrorism in Iraq. Or is it? Indeed the bombing of the UN was senseless, but it is not the work of the terrorists. It is the voice of the common Iraqi man who has grown tired of the occupation of his country, and has resorted to violent means to express the foreign occupation of his motherland. But it is too late to simply leave, and leaving is something that is not an option for the USA or UK. Now that they are in here, they have to finish the task they undertook. India did it in a very civilized way when we fought for freedom from the British under the leadership of Gandhi Nehru, Tilak and Patel. The Iraqis have no leadership to fight, and they have focussed their energy into violent means as is easy to do in a very different world from pre-independent India. The UN is now seen as the US/UK, and therefore the Iraqis justified its bombing to punish the invaders, and gain attention. My sympathy to Mr. de Mello and his family for I understand he was fighting for the same Iraqi man who took his life.
Yatin Chachad, Bombay, India
The death of a UN diplomat as dedicated and hardworking as Sergio Vieira de Mello leaves an uneasy silence, the feeling of a brilliant career abruptly interrupted. In all likelihood Vieira de Mello would be a strong candidate for the post of secretary-general somewhere down the line. It is a setback, a serious blow to the demanding cause of peace.
Berilo Vargas, Brazil
The world community has lost a great humanitarian, Mr. Vieira de Mello and we have also miserably failed the Iraqis. The US, UK, France and Russia all have unclean hands when it comes to Saddam Hussein. We turned our back to the Iraqi's suffering during Saddam's regime when it suited us, and let many UN resolutions be ignored. Rather than collectively standing together against him, the security counsel, each due to their own economic and political self-interests engaged in petty bickering that still continues today. We now have well intentioned US, UK and other "coalition" soldiers in Iraq on an impossible, illegitimate mission. Countries such as France and Russia, holding on to these grudges, stand by rather than coming together to assist the Iraqi people. If we, the world community, really believe in the UN then we must stand firm behind the resolutions passed and be willing to put petty self-interest aside. I'm sick of some countries gloating as if they have been on the "right" side of this conflict. You don't have to delve too far into Iraq's history to see that we, as a world community, have all failed and an attack on "our" United Nations drives that point home.
I met Sergio Vieira de Mello last January in Angola, at that time he was the UN High Representative for Human Rights. The world lost a good negotiator, a good diplomat, a good person. I would like just to express my condolences and reaffirm that the War in Iraq was, and still it is, a big mistake.
Killing the terrorists is the best way to stop the attacks. Full support from the international community from the start would have avoided much of the bad things that are happening and have been happening to the Iraqis for decades.
Nathan Barker, USA
The attacks will not end until someone influential within Islam and within the pseudo-intelligentsia in the West has the courage to criticize suicide bombers who kill innocents under the apparent "glow" of religious martyrdom and the false and cynical promise of a wonderful afterlife.
I am deeply moved because the UNO personnel are very good people, they help people in troubles. Mister Vieira de Mello was an innocent victim as others people of UNO in Baghdad. I hope the Lord embrace him in His Glory. With much, much love to his family.
Jorge Luis Carrasco, Chile
Many people suggest leaving Iraq and its governance to the Iraqi people. How could we! Which people? The ones who rose to power by creating widespread oppression and fear? We cannot abandon Iraq to a fate worse than it would have suffered had we never entered the country in the name of freedom. We must press on to help those who have no chance of helping themselves without us. These terror attacks will not stop until the majority of Iraqi people see a visible and viable alternative to regimes such as the one most recently toppled. To give up or fall back now would be a betrayal of all who have died thus far in the name of freedom. Those who sponsor terrorism fear change above all else. So let's give it to them.
Terrorist attacks such as this can be stopped by renouncing political correctness and taking decisive action. Full military occupation and governance of Iraq and Afghanistan. Strong warnings to Iran, Pakistan and Syria to stop aiding and abetting people and materials crossing into Iraq and Afghanistan. Political sanctions, aerial bombardment and even partial occupation of border zones. Neither the Iraqis nor the Afghanis are capable of restoring a semblance of normality on their own anytime soon. The consequence of letting them attempt that are demonstrated clearly in today's tragedy.
I believe it is inappropriate to say these terrorists are fighting the occupation, and not because I have a problem with saying the US is occupying Iraq. Terrorists are flowing into Iraq from outside the country with the goal of establishing an "Islamic" government as defined by their radical religious views. The US wants to forcibly turn Iraq into a democracy and they want to forcibly turn Iraq into a theocracy. The terrorists don't want to end the occupation, they want to become the occupying forces.
The pictures of the press conference being blown up were very upsetting. However, many innocent Iraqis were injured and died in a similar fashion during bombing by the coalition. We did not see them being blown up, just sanitised VR clips. This attack only brings home what a deadly mistake Bush made in waging an illegal war on Iraq. The genie is now out of the bottle and the US is paying the price for this calamitous invasion!
Here in Brazil, we pray for Sergio Vieira de Mello, he is the most important Brazilian in the world. Attacking the UN, the terrorists attack the whole countries of the world, including Brazil.
Leandro Cardoso, Brazil
The UN endorsed a government chosen by invaders. That is tantamount to endorsing the invasion and occupation. The legitimacy of the much touted governing council is far from clear. A great deal has been said about its religious breakdown, but I have heard nothing about its political, and more importantly, business affiliations. I would wager that, to a person, the council members are all very friendly to US business. Iraqis do not want an 'Arab Facade' similar to the Saudi Royal family that the US military props up in Saudi Arabia. That is exactly what they are getting and exactly what they are fighting. The way some Iraqis surely see it, the Security Council endorsed that future for Iraq, and in so doing made the UN an enemy of the Iraqi people. I'm sure it does not matter to many Iraqis that the UN did not have much choice in the matter. But let's also be honest and admit that the US and UK are not the only ones poised to profit from the Iraqi oil industry.
I am so sad for what have happened, but it just reflects how bad the situation in Iraq is. Here, we have forgotten something called safety and security. And every day it becomes worse instead of getting better. And I think the reason is the carelessness of the occupiers in handling the people's needs. And it is the US's fault from the beginning in deciding to invade Iraq when they were not efficiently prepared.
Anmar Saad, Iraq
A senior British police officer currently seconded to Iraq to help set up their new police force today stated that the bulk of the crime is being committed by the 120,000 convicted criminals released onto the streets by Saddam just before the war. He felt that as these folk are recaptured, legitimately convicted of new crimes then jailed, the problems would reduce. Local people in Baghdad are behind this effort but it will take time for the results of "the rule of law" to become apparent. I think we should support this effort and not think that all Iraqis are anti US, anti UK or anti UN.
John R Smith, UK
This attack against the United Nations, being represented by a Brazilian diplomat, feels like an attack against Brazil itself. No doubt that this barbaric act of violence which ultimately claimed the life of at least one Brazilian will only strengthen the Brazilians' opposition to this pointless occupation. And by the way, isn't it a responsibility of the occupying powers to provide the security for civilians like the UN's Human Rights High Commissioner and his staff?
Diogo Bastos, Recife, Brasil
This is a horrible crime as well as a strong message to UN. We could have expected such development, as the UN did not fulfil expectations of the Iraqi people, being nothing but a smoke screen for occupational forces. The UN failed to explain to the inhabitants of Iraq that it is not the USA or Great Britain but the world itself. The UN came to help as much as it was possible under the circumstances, but the killers were not convinced. Our arguments were not strong enough.
This terrible miscommunication had as a result despicable crime against all of us and against Iraq.
Surely now, after all that has happened, the Security Council members opposed to the war in Iraq, could do something to help. They cannot just sit on the fence, these people need help and they need it now. I feel the UN must act now, in an all out (all countries involved), security force in Iraq. This will give the task of reconstructing and readministration of Iraq the massive push it obviously needs.
Andy B, UK
My condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Vieira de Mello. He was clearly a brave, caring man. Regarding Iraqi terror, you just don't get it. Human motivations are often quite simple. The previous Iraqi regime was run by ruthless tyrants who used terror to retain power - against both external and internal competition. They are still clinging to the hope that less centralized terror will drive out the liberating forces while keeping the population in line. The UN, regardless of it's hostility to the liberating forces, switched from a role of sustaining the old regime via oil for food, to improving the lives of ordinary Iraqis. These attacks will continue for some time. So either stiffen your resolve or flee.
Robert G, USA
The Brazilian nation, and the rest of the world, has lost a great statesman who would undoubtedly have risen to even greater heights given more time. My condolences to his family and many friends.
One must question the coalition forces' security controls surrounding Sergio and other prominent officials - they would appear to be totally out of their depth and that must be a huge concern for all who are attempting to restore order to a nation that has been tyrannically ruled for so long.
I recently ended my UN career after spending 8 years at UNOG in Geneva. I never met Mr. Vieira, but you did not have to have met him to have been aware of the impact he had on both the humanitarian and human rights fronts. The loss of Mr Vieira de Mello to the world is so great as to be beyond comprehension. This outstanding humanitarian was the best friend any victim of human rights abuse and nation in desperate need could ever have. There are lot of people in the UN who claim to care about those in dire straights, those who are victimized and those who suffer gross oppression at the hands of their leaders. The difference between them and Mr. Vieira de Mello was that HE really meant it. HE CARED. And he was in a position to do something about it. His loss is a global one which will have repercussions for years to come, but to his family, I extend my sincerest condolences at their immediate and profound grief.
Mona Lisa Wessel, Canada
The one thing I don't understand about all this is how after so many explosions due to car bombs there is still not a decent security system to prevent them from taking place in such an important facility as that of the UN.
Deepest sympathy and prayers for comfort go out to all who mourn the victims of terror in Baghdad. There are many of us throughout the world who mourn along with you. It is a dangerous and unreasonable world we live in, and such cowardly and senseless acts accomplish nothing good. The only ones to blame are the terrorists who engage in such futility. It is disheartening to read numerous posts where there is great finger-pointing and blaming toward the coalition forces. Change is never an easy task, especially where a people have lived in such horrid oppression for an extended period of time. When the time is right, the Iraqi people will have a "brand new" country in which they can determine their own fate, but for the coalition to depart now would throw them into greater chaos and despair and open them up to takeover by other psychotic dictators like Saddam. It is for their protection that the coalition's presence is most important.
My heartfelt sympathies to the family of Senor de Mello, and to the families of all those lost in this barbaric and cowardly attack. The U.N. now must dig its heels in and not be intimidated by these terrorists. The people of Iraq need them now more than ever.
Chris, Nova Scotia, Canada
This is appalling. The people of Iraq have suffered so much. I still believe that the actions of the coalition were correct. In time the situation will improve because the majority want it.
The UN is seen as a method for the US to spread the cost of policing the Iraq. It has no real teeth. The US dictates what it can and cannot participate in. It is no wonder that as far as the Iraqi see it the UN is run by and for the US.
These attacks will only cease when the Iraqi people are allowed to govern themselves and spend the revenue from country’s resources as THEY see fit.
These attacks are unlikely to stop while the occupation forces remain in Iraq regardless of whether Saddam is captured or not. The US in Iraq is the sitting duck and its presence will continue to draw in all those with anti-US agenda to take their best shot. US in its search for a way out may in the end need to call upon Saddam-like character to restore order.
Why was there no security? I bet the bombers would not have been able to drive their car right outside the US or British barracks.
Richard Boardman, England
I have seen many comments where the people of Iraq are mentioned as ungrateful to the liberators. The problem is many people consider them as unwanted occupiers and not liberators. So instead of talking about taking out the US/UK forces from Iraq they should put more manpower and stamp out the chaos in Iraq and restore a semblance of authority and rule of law. Anything less than that is a recipe for a even bigger humanitarian disaster for which the US/UK forces will be held responsible.
As Timorese and also as an UN former staff who work during 2 years with Mr. Vieira de Mello, I want to express my sincerest condolences to his Family for their loss. Thanks for what you've done for East Timor and R.I.P. I also want to extend my condolences to the family of all the victims of this terrorism attack.
Alipio Godinho, East Timor
A large majority of Iraqis presumably want to live in peace and security. But a tiny number of terrorists can drag a whole country into chaos and devastation. I think most of the extremists come from outside Iraq and are members of al-Qaeda or other terror networks. Now that they attack anybody, anything, anywhere, anytime, I believe a growing number of Iraqis no longer sympathise with their ideology but want to get rid of these criminals. To fight the menace of terror, the build-up of the local police should be extended further, officers should exchange information with the coalition authorities, and the ordinary people should be encouraged to report unusual occurrences. Hopefully, the atrocities can be stopped when all who want a happier future for Iraq work together.
We are all heartbroken by the loss of this remarkable man in such tragic circumstances.
I am terribly grieved to hear about the death of our Brazilian charismatic Sergio Vieira de Mello. The loss is no doubt irreparable within the UN community and to the world in general. I am totally devastated, I was just about to leave my apartment to do some sports when BBC reported this despicable news. I simply don't have the strength to go out anymore as I mourn...
The blast is wake up call for the Iraqi people to be united against the terrorists and the former regime who do not want Iraq to be a free and independent country. The UN will get over it and will continue to work for Peace in Iraq and any where in the world. It is sad news that the UN has lost one of the brave men Mr Mello
Sasi R. Zenen, Libya
One of my friends called this afternoon to say, you'll have heard about the attack, and I was in the building, but I'm ok. He has worked in Kosovo, has worked in Afghanistan, and is now working in Iraq, reconstructing and restarting these communities. The UN and other humanitarian organisations do not go into countries where everything works; the point is, they go in to offer assistance in helping broken countries rebuild their basic services and overcome amazing tragedies. The terrorists win when the reaction is to say 'pull everyone out'. And make no mistake, this is done as terrorism - and is obviously succeeding. Just as obviously, we have to stand firm and do what we set out to do in terms of reconstruction. C
Susan Cunningham, UK
It's a real tragedy that Mr. Vieira de Mello had to lose his life. Unfortunately this and other attacks will continue until the USA leaves Iraq to the Iraqi people. The idea from the get go was to get rid of Saddam and the mission was accomplished. Now its time for the US to get out of Iraq and leave it to the people to decide their fate. But unfortunately those words fall on deaf ears, since we all know that the whole basis behind the attack was not to liberate the people from one tyrant but replace it with another. Because this new tyrant will do what other powerful countries have done to other 3rd world countries and that is to exploit them as much as possible. Not just the natural resources but its people as well. If anyone thinks that this is the act of so called "Saddam" loyalists and not the act of the people at large they have got to be kidding themselves. Iraqi people are very intelligent. They will get fed up and they will retaliate. They will want their country back.
What have the Iraqi's got from the invasion of their country? A smashed infrastructure, an equally oppressive regime which is more concerned with protecting oil than Iraqi people whilst on the streets there is mostly anarchy. No wonder the Iraqi's are getting angry and forming terrorist factions. Saddam was bad but what they have now is causing even more suffering and yes people are still dying just as much in Iraq now as they were under Saddam. If I were an Iraqi I would be looking back at those halcyon days under Saddam.
The attack shows in my opinion that there is still a great dissatisfaction in Iraq about the way the invasion of coalition troops happened. Also the lack of finding WMD in Iraq can only stimulate those who are anti-western. It also shows again that the way how the US and the UK started the invasion, was short term thinking..
Michiels, Brussels, Belgium
To all my colleagues working from the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, god watch over you and may you all be safe.
Paul Smith, UN Worker in DR of Congo
I just have to say that only cowards would attack the relief workers who are trying to help them. I am not a big supporter of the war and especially not interested in our troops being there indefinitely. If the Iraqi people were even remotely interested in rebuilding their country, these things would not be happening and maybe we could leave in 2004 and let them run their own affairs. I do not see that happening now, if anything they are making it worse for everyone involved by dragging
this out. They will not be satisfied until they put in another oppressive regime themselves.
Eugene Ionoff, United States
As Iraqis, me and my family we were totally shocked at the news of the ruthless and coward bombing of the UN building. We have no doubt these horrific crimes were carried out by foreign terrorists. No Iraqi would want to hurt its own nation. The only to make Iraq safer, is by UN sending substantial number of security forces right across the country and also securing the borders should become top priority.
This is clearly the work of al-Qaeda. Watch the leftists on this board use it to attack the US leadership in the war against terror. The Iraqis did not fight, the Arab Afghanis are fighting. And now the hand of treason is moving in the west.
An attack upon the UN is the equivalent to an attack upon the world. UN member states have had varying opinions on the war and occupation in Iraq, but the desire to help those in need through humanitarian and development programs has until I guess now, been non-controversial. I think whatever insurgent force in Iraq that has committed this act has truly blundered. This will only emblazon U.S. and U.K. military and government officials to stay longer in Iraq.
While one may question the merits of the US-led war in Iraq, it seems quite clear that right now the UN is the only legitimate body that may help restore peace, order and democracy to Iraq. The killing of innocent UN staff, aid workers, journalists and Iraqis is appalling and senseless. The UN and the other international agencies operating in Iraq are not lackeys of the US and in no way should be seen as legitimate targets. They are the only hope that exists of helping Iraqis getting out of this tragic mess.
The occupation of Iraq should never have happened, and now that it has, no one should be surprised if there is increasing resistance to the occupying forces and those that are perceived to be their allies. Any nation that is occupied by foreign armies will resist. As to what happens now, the only hope that I can see is if the Western forces are replaced by Arab peacekeepers, but as it is the aim of the United States to maintain power in Iraq ready for the time when they are forced out of Saudi Arabia, I cannot see this happening.
Patrick Nairne, England
Its going to be a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" If the occupying forces stay, they will be accused of taking over the country and swapping a dictatorship for an invasion force, if the forces leave, the US and UK will be accused of abandoning Iraq, and will also be blamed for a chaos and disorder thereafter. In short, this war should never have occurred in the first place.
We went without power for a day or so. I suppose that was a very small taste of what it must be like to be an Iraqi living in Baghdad right now. Clearly enough, the Iraqi people do not want the US there at all, it is not just "Saddam loyalists' as the US tries to claim. The US needs to fix what it tore apart, and it needs to be done fast. Immediately after this, the US should apologise for illegally occupying the country and should leave.
David Morel, NYC, USA
I worked as a humanitarian worker in East Timor while Mr de Mello was there. He was a blessing and a source of organized strength in a time of chaos; exactly the type of leadership needed in Iraq now. It is a shame that he and the organizations supporting him have been attacked before we had a chance to see what possibilities and future he could have facilitated for Iraq.
Miriam Bialik da Silva, USA
It would be a greater moral failure for the US and the UK to pull out now. As two of the major parties that have contributed to the chaos in Iraq, it is beholden to them to create a better stability and deliver what was promised. To leave Iraq in chaos and ordinary Iraqis in potentially greater fear than when Saddam held power would be a moral abdication that would rightly bear poor comparison to historic abuses under Saddam. If a car bomb, then some simple steps might go a long way to prevent such attacks, why were cars allowed so close to such a sensitive and critical meeting?
Barry B, UK
Perhaps a TRUE UN mandated international force with new UN resolution to execute such plan which can bring the true confidence of the Iraqi people.
Abdulhuq Ingar, Toronto, Canada
I'm beginning to wonder if these people deserve to have Saddam back in power. It seems to me that the only way they can be controlled is by a dictator. If they can't help themselves why should the rest of the world put their lives at risk to help them?
The blast doesn't surprise me. It's very likely that it's going to get worse before it gets better. The attacks won't stop until a stable and popular government is in place, (preferably not a US puppet regime) and until people stop using religion as a call to arms to suit their own private agendas.
What a pity, however, American forces are now in Iraq and any quick withdrawal would be disastrous for all the Middle East region. The best way may be turning up the speed of reestablishment of new Iraqis administrations and having a free election as soon as possible. By the way, don't forget the role of Islamic regime in Iran in any problems come up in Iraq. Mullah are so keen to see Americans defeated and to establish some sort of mullahcratic regime over there. Too many Iranians/Iraqis agents have been deployed there to trace the mullah's interests.
If these guerrillas can be alienated by their own people then they would become unpopular. Maybe we need to be more subtle in getting the people to co-operate in identifying them. Sending in more troops is not always the answer
Chris Rose, UK
We have to forget about winning the hearts and minds of the people - and conquer them. It's not the nice thing to do, but it is the best thing to do. These fanatics are not going to stop doing what they do - ever - until they are all dead. Not all Muslims, of course, just those radicals who insist on making all of Islam seem militant and aggressive. Anyone who disagrees is not being realistic about the situation. Like I said, it's not the nice thing to do, but it is the best thing to do.
Who can blame the Iraqis for wanting to reclaim their country from the occupying forces?
However, if the coalition leaves now, what will happen to the people of Iraq if Saddam were to take control again? The power might be put back on and the water supplies may be restored but the people of Iraq who have co-operated with the coalition will face terrible reprisals.
Time to look out for an international organisation that still has credibility within Iraq. How about the Arab League for rebuilding Iraq? The coalition should leave because they have no legal right to be there.
Pierre Beerkens, Netherlands
Pull out the troops, all the aid workers, all the special representatives and envoys and leave these ungrateful people to their own devices.
Ed Bowden, Alabama
We're in a tough spot - if we stay, we will continue to be targets of resistance and terrorism. If we leave, we will be viewed by the world as heartless conquerors not concerned with fixing the destruction that we cause. It shines a clear light on one thing, however - the human race has ceased to evolve in a positive manner.
The attack of the UN building in Iraq is another profound example of the failure of the US to protect aid agencies, journalists and humanitarian organizations within the war zone.
These terrorist actions are the very reason why coalition forces should remain in the country. Without them to ensure the security of Iraqi people and ultimately a democratically elected free government, Iraq would degenerate into a chaos of Baathist and militant Shia inspired terror. The US and UK soldiers are there to protect the moderate majority and should stay until the country is free.
Nothing will stop these attacks - not even the death or capture of Saddam Hussein. Loyalist groups will continue to launch these attacks, simply because Iraq was invaded. They don't need any other reason and we can't turn the clock back. Its time to deal with the consequences that 50% of the world's population were concerned about in pre-war times.
This just goes to show that it doesn't matter who is doing the peacekeeping in Iraq, whether it be coalition forces or UN forces. The Saddam loyalists will attack anyone with only one thing in mind, to bring Saddam back into power. So for those of you who say that only the UN can do the peacekeeping this should be a wake up call to you, the Saddam loyalists won't spare attacks on anyone.
Peter, NYC, US
When a population is under occupation, some will stop at nothing to expel the occupants. These attacks will only escalate as the anger to the occupation grows, and the reluctance for the US/UK to install any formal Iraqi Authority will mean more innocent people will die.
The only thing that can stop the cycle of violence is to give the Iraqi people the democracy they were apparently liberated for.
Najem Hasan, Scotland, UK
I just think it is wonderful that we spent all this money liberating Iraqis from the oppression of Saddam Hussein and all we get back is a bomb at the UN building.
Take the troops out and let the Iraqi people decide what's best. We have helped them all we can and if they want to go on killing each other and behaving in a backward way, let them do it. How about sorting our country out before we help people too backwards to appreciate or even realise that we are trying to help?
Jeremy Jones, Wales
This is obviously the work of the same band of fundamentalists that are causing havoc throughout Iraq. The people of Iraq may well resort to supporting these people when we have heard nothing on the news but the power cuts in North America and these people have had no power or water for so many months now. Come US and UK and UN get your fingers out and help the people to help themselves
Steven Clark, UK
What a shame some people around the world fail to see the bigger picture, resorting to their narrow perspectives and motivations to drag on the pain and suffering of many not even responsible for their ill-feeling.
Paul Edmonds, UK
The longer this conflict continues the more it is looking like another Northern Ireland-type conflict. The priority is to implement effective policing, a fully functioning judicial system, and hand over ruling of the country to the Governing Council as soon as possible.
The people of Iraq, if genuinely interested in the welfare of their country, need to take a more active role against those who wish their destruction. They can't continue to sit back and whine and moan and wait for the U.S. to do everything for them. There is no helping these people and their kind and therefore I agree with Neil, USA/Europe. There is nothing in this part of the world to win, or to lose.
Make the US leave immediately. I don't think leaving the UN in charge will solve the problem either as they have lost all credibility too. To most Iraqis the UN is just another US government agency.
TS, Surrey, UK
Does this mean the UN is now stuck in a "quagmire in Iraq" and should pull out? It will be interesting to see Europe's reaction to this, though I expect, of course, the US to be blamed and not the actual perpetrators of this attack.
The only thing that can possibly stop the attacks in Baghdad and the Middle East is a political solution to the problems between the combatant nations. This is a war that cannot be won by anybody. It is a meat grinder type of war. And, the longer it goes, the higher
the number of casualties. There is no end in sight at the present. That is bad for the economies of all countries and is utterly absurd.
Dave Adams, USA
I believe that all these attacks are the Iraqi citizens saying they want coalition forces to leave their country. Coalition forces haven't given any hope to the people of Iraq, they are still without adequate water, food and electricity. Maybe we should hear their voices, put someone in charge of the country that the Iraqi's want, and let them rebuild their own country.
The answer is actually quite simple. Let the Iraqis have free and fair elections monitored by the UN and then everybody get the hell out and let the Iraqis determine their own fate.
Who's carrying out these attacks? Is it the pro-Saddam militia still in the Iraq, or isn't more sinister infiltration by Al-Qaeda. Whoever it is, the motive seems clear. They will continue attacking till the withdrawal of all foreign troops. And that will lead to a complete breakdown in Law and Order and rival groups try and gain control. As was always the case with this war, the Iraqi people still continue to lose.
It's becoming quite obvious that US and its coalition allies are losing the guerrilla war currently being waged in Iraq. For weeks it has been reported that the US did not have the amount of personnel to properly assume control. It's time for Rumsfeld to understand that the problems in Iraq are here to stay unless the US becomes serious about regaining control of the country.