Small Wars Journal

On the Front Lines With the Red Cross

On the Front Lines With the Red Cross by Kimberly Dozier, The Daily Beast

… This is the International Committee of the Red Cross at work. But these frontline professionals find themselves somewhat at sea—under fire by an enemy that does not respect the laws of war, and uncertain that the incoming administration in the White House understands what they do, and will keep funding it.

Their concerns reflect that of a wide spectrum of non-governmental agencies who have read draft executive orders from the new Trump administration that aim to pare down U.S. contributions overseas, in deference to rebuilding American infrastructure at home. A draft Trump administration executive order that would re-open CIA “black sites” and ban Red Cross access to detainees caused another wave of concern for an organization founded to spread understanding of the Geneva Conventions, although President Donald Trump has since pledged to reject a return to Bush-era harsh interrogation measures.

The organization granted The Daily Beast rare access to their mission in Iraq because they are concerned the incoming administration may not know what they do, or how carefully they count the costs—concern leavened by President Trump’s tweet in December aimed at the United Nations, which he said “has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.”

The ICRC has been at pains to point out they work alongside United Nations aid organizations—but they don’t work for them.

“We are masters of our own decisions and we are not influenced by security council resolutions or political negotiations about where aid should go,” ICRC operations chief Dominik Stillhart said in an interview…

Read on.