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Thursday, August 28, 2003

US open to leadership role for UN in Iraq?

Don't miss this one from today's FT:

US and allied forces in Iraq could be placed under United Nations leadership but commanded by an American, according to a senior US official describing the search for a new and more internationally acceptable Security Council resolution defining the role of the occupying powers.

Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state, said the formula was one of several ideas being "explored" at the UN. While a State Department spokesman clarified that this was "not an idea that we are necessarily putting", the proposal is likely to fuel a debate within the Bush administration on the degree of dominance the US wants to maintain in Iraq as its casualties and costs mount.

According to a transcript of an interview released by the State Department on Wednesday, Mr Armitage, who has clashed before with hawks in the Bush administration, said one proposal was "a multinational force under UN leadership, but the American would be the UN commander". He declined to give details but said "widening decision-making" was also under discussion. In reply to another question, he said "one of the interesting ideas" was for the US to maintain control of the military while the UN took over civil affairs.
Source: Financial Times

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