"Iraq" govt asks UN to okay continued US occupation
- Posted on Tue, May. 31, 2005
Iraq asks U.N. to renew U.S. troop mandate
By Nancy A. Youssef
Knight Ridder Newspapers
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's prime minister asked the United Nations on
Tuesday to extend its authorization for U.S. forces to stay in the
country, underscoring the fragile hold of the newly elected government
at a time of rising insurgent violence.
Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said his government would decide the
role of American and other foreign troops, a particularly sensitive
issue as the new government tries to establish its legitimacy among the
Iraqi people and secure the country against an entrenched insurgency
while depending heavily on the U.S. military.
Al-Jaafari said he'd like the U.N. Security Council to extend Resolution
1546, which authorizes the U.S. presence until June 8. He made his
comments while addressing the Iraqi National Assembly.
"It is true that (the multinational forces) are not Iraqi forces but
their task is to secure the country under the Iraqi will and Iraqi
timetable," al-Jaafari said after the assembly session. "So if Iraqis
choose, through their elected government, that they need extension (of
Resolution 1546) in order to improve the security situation, the
decision will be Iraqi."
Lt. Steve Boylan, a U.S. military spokesman, said everyone understood
that American troops were here at the request of the new government. "We
are here in partnership to help them win the war against terrorism,"
More than 140,000 American service members are in the country.
Some members of the National Assembly were still reeling from the
earlier detention of Mohsen Abdel Hamid, the secretary general for the
Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest Sunni Muslim political party. After
ransacking his home and detaining and interrogating him for about 12
hours Monday, the U.S. military released him and called the detention a
The Iraqi government denounced Hamid's detention, saying it undermined
efforts to include Sunnis in the political process.
During Tuesday's session, some members of the assembly said the
coalition forces were overzealous and disrespectful of Iraqis, and
conducted raids without the new government's approval. At times, the
assembly members were passionate in their frustration with the troops.
"The involvement of the multinational forces in Iraqis' lives is
excessive and unacceptable," said Rassim al-Awadi, who represents the
Iraqi National Accord party. "All Iraqis should be respected by the
multinational forces in Iraq."
Said Fraidoon Abdul Kadr, a Kurdish assembly member: "Our friends in the
multinational forces bear the great responsibility of bringing peace.
They should be aware of the Iraqis' dignity and what is important and
holy to us."
Hamid said Tuesday that when the American forces arrived at his Baghdad
home, they asked for him by name. During his detention, he said, the
troops asked him general questions about topics including his party and
U.S. and Iraqi officials have said the political process must include
Sunnis, the nation's largest minority sect and a group that's said it
feels marginalized in the new government.
The National Assembly and al-Jaafari's government have appealed to the
Sunnis - including Hamid - to help draft the nation's permanent
constitution, which must be completed by Aug. 15, according to the
interim governing document.
They also believe that including Sunnis will curtail the surge of
violence that began after the newly elected officials announced the
government April 28.
On Tuesday, Laith Kubba, al-Jaafari's spokesman, announced that the
governor of Anbar - who'd been kidnapped earlier in May - was found dead
after U.S. forces and insurgents battled in Rawah. He said they found
the body a few days ago. Gov. Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi had been
snatched during an American offensive in al Qaim, a city that borders
Syria and that U.S. officials think is an entry point for foreign
In addition, a truck bomb exploded as an Iraqi army patrol passed in the
western city of Baqouba, killing two soldiers and wounding eight people,
Youssef reports for the Detroit Free Press. Knight Ridder Newspapers
special correspondents Mohammed al Awsy, Alaa al Baldawy and Yasser
Salihee contributed to this report.