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Morning Report 4/5/05 The Wolf’s at the Door


That’s why they’re rattling the cages at the World Bank about Wolfie and Shaha

All smiles: Wolfowitz (left) and Wolfensohn. Soon, the Pentagon hawk will be smiling with his girlfriend in public. (World Bank photo)

DID ANYONE OUTSIDE of you two American fans really believe that Bono was going to be named the world’s most powerful development banker?

The decision to replace James Wolfensohn with Paul Wolfowitz was the Bush regime’s. All that talk about an “outside search” was hooey.

It appears that the fix is also in regarding the World Bank’s “inside search” for the permanent post that Wolfowitz’s girlfriend, Shaha Ali Riza, now holds on an “acting” basis.

Riza has been working as basically the chief flack in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) division. Now, a World Bank staffer tells the Voice, the job is being posted internally, but no one dares challenge her for it.

On April 2, World Bank Staffer wrote to me:

Thank you for your articles on Wolfowitz.

Here’s some info on Shaha. You know that she’s been the acting manager in this position, but only at the “officer” level. Now she’ll be an “advisor”—a much higher grade level.

They pretend to advertise this job internally, but no one will apply for it. They’d risk pissing her off, and nobody here’s under any illusion that she won’t get it.

That’s bank “transparency” for you.

Thanks for writing. As promised, I will protect your anonymity, World Bank Staffer, although it’s not like you’re exactly alone: 92 percent of the bank’s 9,300 employees were opposed to Wolfowitz’s appointment, according to published reports.

There’s a hell of a lot of rumbling going on among them. Do your one-stop shopping for gossip, news, and chat on the subject at

But the bank’s officials are trying to stop the internal bleeding, according to the Financial Times, which reported yesterday:

Inside the World Bank, internal polls showed almost 90 per cent of respondents opposed Wolfowitz. Despite this—or because of it—the bank’s senior communications director called the staff together to deliver a new message: Pipe down.

The FT continued:

[Communications Director Gerry] Rice explained that it would be an “uphill battle” for Wolfowitz, but that from now on “his problem will be ours,” and staff would have to work with him.

Rice further cautioned staff to be professional, and be careful about making comments about Wolfowitz in e-mails or in the World Bank corridors.

“These things leak these days,” he reminded staff.

Riza will have the opposite problem; She won’t be able to keep quiet about her guy. As World Bank Staffer told me:

Here’s a person who promoted the war in Iraq and is dating the chief architect of that immoral war. It’ll be amusing to see how is she going to present Wolfowitz when he comes in and she’s the bank’s chief public spokeswoman in the Middle East.

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