Jean-Christophe Rufin, the head of the French aid agency Action Against Hunger, urged European nations to get more closely involved in order to limit the damage in Iraq.

  

"There is no point in rejoicing over the chaos. No one can snigger because the Americans are getting themselves beaten and the situation is slipping out of control," Rufin said.

 

Fears

  

ACF on Monday ordered its expatriate staff to leave Iraq because of growing fears for their safety sparked by the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August.

 

"We do not want to have armed protection, but we are not there to get ourselves shot either" 

Jean-Christophe Rufin, Head,
Action Against Hunger

"The UN was attacked because -- by virtue of the empty chair policy of the Europeans - it became in the eyes of the Iraqis an instrument of the coalition," Rufin said. "The Europeans are playing a waiting game."

 

"We do not want to leave (Iraq). We are not deserting the country. We do not want to have armed protection, but we are not there to get ourselves shot either," Rufin said.    

 

ACF said there were parallels between the failures of US policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We have the feeling that civilian populations are sacrificed for operations of a political nature," said Thomas Gonnet, the agency's director of operations.