Ex-general who will lead reconstruction heads firm behind Patriot missiles
Jay Garner, the retired US general who will oversee humanitarian relief and reconstruction in postwar Iraq, is president of an arms company that provides crucial technical support to missile systems vital to the US invasion of the country.
Garner's business background is causing serious concerns at the United Nations and among aid agencies, who are already opposed to US administration of Iraq if it comes outside UN authority, and who say appointment of an American linked to the arms trade is the 'worst case scenario' for running the country after the war.
Garner is president of Virginia-based SY Coleman, a subsidiary of defence electronics group L-3 Communications, which provides technical services and advice on the Patriot missile system being used in Iraq. Patriot was made famous in the 1991 Gulf war when it was used to protect Israeli and Saudi targets from attack by Saddam Hussein's Scud missiles. Garner was involved in the system's deployment in Israel.
SY Coleman has also worked on the Arrow missile defence system, deployed in Israel, and is involved in the US national missile defence programme. Garner joined SY Technologies, taken over last year by L-3, in 1997, after leaving the US army.
Defence analyst David Armstrong of the Washington-based National Security News Service says: 'It seems inappropriate for somebody to step into a humanitarian and administrative role from a company with a role in providing equipment which, albeit defensive, is vital to the success of the US operation.'
Phil Bloomer of Oxfam said 'The worst case scenario would be to put in charge of the reconstruction someone from the US or UK linked to the arms or oil industries.'
According to its website, SY Coleman provides technical services such as missile system engineering and target system design for a wide range of US military programmes, and also makes some components. It also provides operational services such as battle management and 'warfighter support'.
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that it was a Patriot missile that was involved when a British Tornado was hit last week.