The Fight of His Life

Kofi Annan built a reputation as the world's most trusted diplomat, but the oil-for-food scandal has riled U.S. critics. Is his job in jeopardy?

The sonorous voice is familiar around the world. No matter what the crisis of the day, Kofi Annan's soft baritone always manages to convey a sense of imperturbable gravitas. Yet his calm must have been sorely tested last week when the U.N. Secretary-General learned more about the latest trouble lapping at his door. Annan had gathered a few top aides at a private site to discuss the scandal over the U.N.'s management of the oil-for-food program during the reign of Iraq's Saddam Hussein. In the middle of the discussion, a staff member's cell phone rang with unsettling news: another story was...

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