UN Wire : New U.N. Authority For Troop Contributors To Iraq Considered
- UN Wire Thursday, July 17, 2003
New U.N. Authority For Troop Contributors To Iraq Considered
Thursday, July 17, 2003
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell,
as well as some other countries' foreign ministers, have begun discussing
the possibility of new U.N. authorization for any countries that contribute
troops to the U.S.- and British-led peacekeeping effort in Iraq, Powell and
Annan said yesterday.
France, Germany and India have ruled out sending such troops to Iraq without
an explicit U.N. mandate. Powell said yesterday that U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1483 confers "sufficient authority" on countries to participate
in Iraq peacekeeping but added, "There are some nations who have expressed
the desire for more of a mandate from the United Nations, and I am in
conversations with some ministers about this, as well as with the secretary
general of the United Nations."
Annan said he talked about the matter Monday with Powell, that members of
the U.S. Congress such as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist have referred to
a need for more international participation in Iraq peacekeeping and that
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov called him yesterday to encourage
efforts to "broaden the U.N. mandate and internationalize the operations."
Annan said some countries are considering new Security Council action that
"expands U.N. activities and perhaps appeals to member states to make more
troops, policemen and other resources available for the stabilization of
Iraq." He added that it is up to the Security Council to decide on the
U.N. diplomats cited by the Washington Post said a delegation of
U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council members could next week ask the
Security Council to support a broader peacekeeping role for U.N. members not
under U.S. command in Iraq. Annan said the delegation is expected to address
the Security Council Tuesday (Colum Lynch, Washington Post, July 17).
Following a 97-0 U.S. Senate vote last week in favor of a nonbinding
resolution calling on U.S. President George W. Bush to consider a NATO force
deployment in Iraq, NATO Secretary General George Robertson yesterday said
he has since contacted U.S. senators to make it "perfectly clear" that NATO
is supporting a U.S.-organized peacekeeping force now being put together and
wants the force to succeed before it considers new commitments
(Reuters/Jordan Times, July 17).
Annan's top Iraq envoy, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Sergio Vieira de
Mello, said yesterday that the United Nations will send a team early next
month to Iraq to help the Governing Council organize elections for next
year, "hopefully, as early as possible" (U.N. release, July 16).
New U.S. Commander Cites "Guerrilla" War
The new top U.S. commander in Iraq, John Abizaid, used his first briefing at
the U.S. Defense Department yesterday to express the first U.S.
acknowledgment that U.S. forces are faced with a "guerrilla" war in Iraq.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said as recently as Sunday that the
war U.S. troops are waging in Iraq did not qualify as a guerrilla war.
Abizaid, who speaks fluent Arabic, also said, "You look at the Arab press,
they say, 'We drove the Americans out of Beirut. We drove them out of
Somalia. We'll drive them out of Baghdad.' And that's just not true. They
are not driving us out of anywhere" (Vernon Loeb, Washington Post, July 17).
Yesterday in Iraq, a surface-to-air missile missed a U.S. military aircraft
as it descended to land at the Baghdad airport, while a U.S. soldier, an
8-year-old Iraqi and the mayor of a western town and his son were killed in
separate incidents. The events came on a day members of ousted President
Saddam Hussein's Baath Party celebrate Hussein's rise to the presidency in
1979. Today is the anniversary of a 1968 coup that brought Hussein's
predecessor, Ahmad Hassan al-Baqr, to power (Stephen Farrell, London Times,
IAEA Wants To See Any Secret British Iraq Uranium Evidence
Controversy continues over prewar statements by Bush and British Prime
Minister Tony Blair about alleged attempts by Hussein to buy uranium in
Africa for use in nuclear weapons development, a key aspect of the
U.S.-British case for going to war in Iraq.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said this week that the United
Kingdom's belief in the claim rests on documents other than those now
acknowledged to be forgeries. He said the documents in question were
provided to London by a third country and that neither the International
Atomic Energy Agency nor the United States has seen them.
IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said yesterday that it would "still be
appropriate" for the IAEA to see "any other evidence" of the claim "in order
to verify its veracity."
"The IAEA still has a mandate ... to ensure that Iraq has no nuclear weapons
program, and the obligation stands for countries to assist us with any
information relevant to our verification mandate," Fleming said (Reuters
II/Jordan Times, July 17).
A Western diplomat described by the London Independent as close to the
workings of the IAEA said, "Despite requests, the British government has
provided no such evidence. Senior officials at the agency think it is
involved in an information blackout" (Andrew Buncombe, London Independent,
CIA Director George Tenet has taken responsibility for the Bush
administration's failure to remove from Bush's January State of the Union
speech a discredited claim about an alleged attempted Hussein uranium buy in
Niger. Tenet testified yesterday behind closed doors before a U.S. Senate
committee about the matter.
A Democratic U.S. presidential candidate, Senator John Edwards, said Tenet
"has accepted his responsibility, and that's good, but at the end of the
day, the president, when he speaks, has to take responsibility for what he
"The responsibility is not the CIA's. It's not anyone else's. It is the
president's responsibility," Edwards said.
The Senate voted 51-45 yesterday along party lines to reject a Democratic
bid to create a 12-member independent panel to investigate Bush
administration assertions made before the war about Iraq (Julie Hirschfeld
Davis, Baltimore Sun, July 17).