Robert Mood

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Lieutenant General
Robert Mood
Born (1958-12-08) 8 December 1958 (age 58)
Kragerø, Telemark, Norway
Service/branch Norwegian army coat of arms.svg Norwegian Army
Years of service 1977–present
Rank NOR OF8.png Lieutenant General
Commands held United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria
Telemark Battalion
Awards Defense Service Medal with Laurel Branch
Armed Forces Medal for International Operations with three stars
Army National Service Medal with three stars
United Nations Medal for UNTSO
United Nations Medal for UNIFIL
NATO Medal for Kosovo
Norwegian Veteran Association of International Operations badge of honor

Robert Mood (born 8 December 1958) is the head of the United Nation Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS). He was previously Inspector General of the Norwegian Army and Chief of the United Nations truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).

Personal life[edit]

Born in the small coastal town of Kragerø, Norway, Robert Mood hails from a family which immigrated from Sweden in the 19th century, adding the second "o" to the family name (mod means courage in Swedish).[1] He grew up with two sisters, one older and one younger.[2] His family was always involved in nature activities, such as sailing, hunting, mountain hiking,[1] and he has stated a wish of being able to live on an old sailboat, immersing himself in that lifestyle, after he retires.[3]

Mood graduated in Bergen.[4][5][6][7]

Mood has a son.[2][8][9]

Robert Mood is said to possess resolve as well as diplomatic skills unusual for a high-ranking military officer, and also a laconic wit.[2] His military career has come about more by accident than by any persistent decision. In his late teens when adults were advising him to enter the non-commissioned officers' school, he did. Once inside the military, one year simply succeeded another.[1]

He does not consider himself a Christian, perceiving himself more in the Humanist tradition: "I believe in something which is bigger than humans, but what that is I find difficult to define."[10]

In an interview with Norwegian public broadcaster NRK Mood compared opera to his own work; "A good opera is all about combining very different elements into a piece that eventually becomes very impressive."[2][3]

Military career[edit]



Robert Mood's military career began in 1977. In the Brigade in Northern Norway he ascended orderly as squad leader, platoon and company leader. He was operations officer with the Norwegian Battalion in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) during the Lebanese Civil War which ended in 1990.[2] Mood was lieutenant commander at Telemark Battalion 1993-94. He was promoted lieutenant colonel in 1996.[13] Following training from the US Marine Corps he acted as operations officer for the 6th Division until 1998. He then became head of Telemark Battalion, which was deployed in Kosovo from 1999 through 2000. He held this position for two years, as his predecessor Jon B. Lilland had done. He was promoted to colonel in 2000 when he was appointed as Chief of Planning Branch of the Norwegian High Command. In 2002 he was promoted to brigadier and was appointed as chief of Hærens kampvåpen. In 2004 came his appointment to chief position in the Army Transformation and Doctrine Command (TRADOK). After the financial scandal in the army in 2005 and the departure of Lars Sølvberg, Mood became Inspector General of the Army.[14] Robert Mood has limited conventional warfighting experience.[2]

In January 2009 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed major general Mood for a new chief of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).[15][16] Serving as Head of Mission and Force Commander at Assistant Secretary General level in the UN, he was UNTSO chief until February 2011, holding offices in Beirut, Damascus, Cairo and Jerusalem (also covering Amman).[citation needed]

On 1 August 2011 he became the first director and veteran inspector of Defence Veteran Services (FVT),[17] a temporary project, under the academic supervision of Head of Defence Staff/P. FVT has been commissioned to implement improvements and fill the role as advisor and spokesperson for veteran affairs to the Chief of Defence of Norway.[citation needed]

In January 2014 Mood was appointed Lieutenant General and chief of the Military Mission in Brussels.[citation needed]

UN commission in the Syria conflict[edit]

In April 2012 Mood was commissioned to assist Kofi Annan in Annan's work as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General and the Arab League in Syria in connection with the conflict there.[18][19] The Kofi Annan peace plan for Syria was worked out from 5 to 8 April with the negotiations being carried around the clock under Mood's leadership. The greatest challenge was that Syria insisted on maintaining its sovereignty. According to Mood, "Syria insists on the right to use military means also against its own population when they find that necessary."[20] Mood's good relations with the Syrian military has been seen as a threat by the Syrian government, according to the state-owned Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.[3] The ceasefire went into effect on 12 April.

Following 21 April decision by the UN Security Council to dispatch 300 military ceasefire observers to Syria under UN auspices[21]—the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS)—Robert Mood was tipped as a possible, even likely, candidate for the Force Commander position (Special Representative of the Secretary-General – SRSG). On 25 April news emerged that he would get the appointment,[3][22] and the selection was announced on 27 April.[2] In the weeks before the appointment questions had arisen about the process that led to Mood's selection. Mood was present at a meeting in the Security Council on 23 April, but neither the UN Secretary General's deputy spokesman nor the US ambassador would give details on his status vis-à-vis the UN.[23] Mood himself also refused to answer media questions about his presence at the SC meeting wearing military uniform.[24] Information about who was paying for his travel activities also remained unanswered. Earlier in the process Mood's candidacy had been opposed by Russia.[3] On 10 April Mood left Damascus for Geneva,[3] and Russia's UN ambassador strongly criticized his leaving Syria at a critical juncture, insinuating this was unprofessional conduct. Russia in the end did approve his appointment.[24][25][26] UNSMIS established itself in three weeks as a full mission with presence from Deraa in the South to Aleppo in the north and later Deir E Zoor in the East and opened dialogue with rebels and officials at local level as well as in Damascus with Government officials. In mid June the violence had increased again to a level that according to Mood made it impossible for UNSMIS to carry out its mandated tasks and operations were frozen. The UN Security Council decided in July not to extend the mandate of UNSMIS beyond a final 30 days and Mood left Syria.[citation needed]

He has expressed a personal infatuation with both Damascus and Syria where he has spent much time during his 2009–2011 leadership of UNTSO, accompanied by his family.[2][20]


Mood has been awarded the following decorations:[27] Defense Service Medal with Laurel Branch, Armed Forces Medal for International Operations with three stars, Army National Service Medal with three stars, the United Nations Medal for UNTSO, the United Nations Medal for UNIFIL, NATO Medal for Kosovo and the Norwegian Veteran Association of International Operations badge of honor.


  1. ^ a b c Blystad, Stig-Øyvind (10 October 2011). "Veteranenes general" [The veterans' general]. Vårt Land (in Norwegian). p. 26. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Koranyi, Balazs; Apps, Peter; Charbonneau, Louis; Nichols, Michelle; Scrutton, Alistair; Elgood, Giles; Allen, Vicki (27 April 2012). "Cool Nordic head faces uphill task as Syria U.N. monitor". Reuters. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Aanensen, Kristian; Tvegård, Anders (25 April 2012). "Ban Ki-moon har utpekt Robert Mood til observatørsjef" [Ban Ki-moon has appointed Robert Mood to chief of observers] (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Nye jurister tok eksamen i Bergen" [New jurists graduated in Bergen]. Aftenposten (in Norwegian). 5 October 1992. p. 10 (morning edition). 
  5. ^ Trine, Dahl; Ingvild, Gjerstad (25 January 2001). "Oslo-folk klager mye mer enn før" [Oslo people complain more than before]. Aftenposten (in Norwegian). p. 7 (evening edition, news section). 
  6. ^ Ask, Alf Ole (31 May 2006). "NORDMENN I BRUSSEL Byråkrater jobber gratis for EU 12 år gammel ordning - ...sikrer EU billig arbeidskraft Skaffer kompetanse til nytte for Norge." [NORWEGIAN IN BRUSSELS Bureaucrats work for free for EU 12 year old arrangement - ...securing EU cheap labour Obtaining skills useful for Norway.]. Aftenposten (in Norwegian). p. 16 (morning edition, section "Innsikt"). 
  7. ^ Guttormsen, Irene Hegge (12 September 2009). "Departementsnei til ja takk-merker" [Ministry no to yes stickers]. Agderposten (in Norwegian). 
  8. ^ "Født" [Born]. Aftenposten (in Norwegian). 12 May 2009. p. 12 (morning edition, section Navn, part 2). 
  9. ^ "Babyfoto mandag" [Baby photo Monday]. Bergens Tidende (in Norwegian). 25 May 2009. p. B005. 
  10. ^ Winge, Åge; Nordahl, Aleksander (photographer) (10 January 2009). "Kan denne mannen sikre fred i Midtøsten?" [Can this man secure peace in the Middle East?]. Dagens Næringsliv (in Norwegian). p. 47. - Jeg betrakter meg mer på den humanistiske tradisjonen, enn det å beskrive meg som personlig kristen. Jeg tror på noe som er større enn menneskene, men hva det er har jeg vanskelig for å definere. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "CV Robert Mood". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). 19 April 2009. p. 4. 
  12. ^ "Secretary General Appoints Major General Robert Mood of Norway to Head United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria" (Press release). United Nations. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "Nytt fra statsråd" [News from the Council of State]. Atenposten (in Norwegian). 29 June 1996. p. 19 (morning edition). 
  14. ^ Bakkeli, Tom (1 April 2005). "Generalinspektør Sølvberg slutter i Forsvaret" [Inspector General Sølvberg quits from Defence]. Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). p. 24. 
  15. ^ Major General Robert Mood Appointed Head of Mission, Chief of Staff of United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), Secretary-General, SG/A/1172, BIO/4058, PKO/203. Department of Public Information, News and Media Division, New York.
  16. ^ "Norwegian to head UN observers in the ME". The Norway Post. Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. 14 January 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  17. ^ Bakkeli, Tom; Solberg, Trond (25 August 2011). "Åpen dør for veteranene" [Open door for the veterans]. Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). p. 22. 
  18. ^ Nordmann blir Kofi Annans høyre hånd i Syria, VG Nett, 4 April 2012.
  19. ^ Mood om situasjonen i Syria, NRK, 20. juni 2012.
  20. ^ a b Fondenes, Eivind (13 April 2012). "Forelsket norsk general ordnet fredsavtale i Syria" [Infatuated Norwegian general fixed peace agreement in Syria] (in Norwegian). TV 2. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  21. ^ CNN Wire Staff (22 April 2012). "UN Authorizes 300 unarmed Syria Monitors". CNN. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  22. ^ "Norwegian general Robert Mood to lead UN Syria mission". National Post. AFP. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  23. ^ Lee, Matthew Russell (25 April 2012). "After Syria Blocked a Swede, Finns Ready With 10, UN Stonewalls Still". Inner City Press. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  24. ^ a b Lee, Matthew Russell (24 April 2012). "Mood Is In Security Council, But UN Won't Say Who Pays Him Or Status in Syria". Inner City Press. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  25. ^ Lee, Matthew Russell (14 April 2012). "On Syria, Mysteries of Mood, UK on Transition, Morocco Asked of Free Movement". Inner City Press. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  26. ^ Lee, Matthew Russell (23 April 2012). "UN Leaps Palestine to Syria, Mood Looks Like the Man, Saudi Snark on Abu Musa". Inner City Press. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  27. ^ «Døren er åpnet»,, 24 August 2011.