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UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council quietly dissolved a high-profile independent U.N. panel last month that was established more than 21/2 years ago to prevent the al Qaeda terrorist network from financing its war against the United States and its allies, U.S. and U.N. officials said.
The move comes six weeks after the panel, headed by Michael Chandler of Britain, concluded in a stinging report that a number of Security Council sanctions against al Qaeda had failed to constrain the terrorist network.
But Security Council members have denied the move was retribution for the panel's conclusions, saying that the quality of the group's work was uneven and that the group had outlived its usefulness.
The 15-nation council on Friday adopted a new resolution sponsored by the United States, Russia and Chile that would replace Chandler's panel with what they say will be a more professional body. The new panel is expected to keep monitoring the global war against terrorism but would be subject to closer Security Council coordination and oversight.
The dispute underscores the challenge of managing an international counterterrorism operation through an organization whose 191 members are frequently criticized for failing to cooperate. It also reflects growing frustration among members that sanctions have done little to interrupt the flow of money and arms to al Qaeda.
Chandler criticized the decision, saying it would undercut the United Nations' capacity to combat al Qaeda. He suggested that his panel's demise was a result of pressure from influential U.N. members who had been singled out in his reports for failing to take adequate measures to combat al Qaeda.
"A number of people were uncomfortable with our last report," Chandler said. He said that the Security Council was sending the wrong message and that one of the "key elements" of a successful counterterrorism strategy is "a strong independent monitoring group."
"I am at a loss to understand why the United States is one of the main players in redrafting the new resolution and allowing the monitoring group to lapse," [Chandler] added. "The United States was the greatest beneficiary of the monitoring group because it gave them a lever to name and shame" countries that failed to combat terrorists.