U.N. approves Iraq resolution

Posted 12:01am October 24

by Ilana Weinberg
U-WIRE Washington Bureau

The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution that will establish a multinational force led by the United States in a unanimous vote last Thursday. The resolution appeals to other members of the U.N. in hopes that they will contribute money and support to the U.S. troops occupying Iraq.

Despite opposition from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and other council members, the U.S. sponsored resolution passed by a vote of 15 to zero. The resolution preserves U.S. military and political control over Iraq until an internationally recognized government, established by the Iraqi Governing Council, is sworn in. It also set a December 15 deadline for the council to develop a plan for writing a constitution, and holding free elections.

“Since the UN is still on the ground in Iraq, the Council felt the need to support its own workers, and reassert its own role, by not appearing divided,” said Christopher L. Holoman, Professor of Political Science at Hilbert College.

The vote brought in previous opponents to U.S. policy in Iraq, including France, Russia, Germany, and Pakistan.

“The world is reinvested,” said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee. “That is the single best hope in my view for bringing about a participatory republic in that country, and easing the burden on the United States.”

However, the four countries announced after the vote that they would not make any new contributions to support the rebuilding of Iraq. Many doubt that the resolution will bring about much of a change in terms of military or financial aid.

“With respect to troops, it assists those nations who are interested in providing troops by giving this broader UN mandate for those troops and putting them under a Multinational Force designation,” said Secretary of State Colin Powell in his remarks on the vote. “Don’t see this resolution as opening the door to troops,” he added.

Turkey has so far been the only major nation to pledge more troops, offering as many as 10,000. But the Iraqi Governing Council has not permitted Turkish troops in Iraq due to the rocky history between Turks and Kurds in northern Iraq.

The World Bank has estimated that Iraq will need $35 billion in reconstruction aid through the next five years, in addition to the $20 billion that the administration already requested from Congress. So far, Japan has pledged to provide $5 billion, while the European Union pledged just over $200 million.

The Bush administration began pushing for the passage of Resolution 1511 after the terrorist attack on a U.N. compound in Baghdad killed 22 people on August 19. Since then there has been much opposition to overcome. Annan told Americans last week that he would not send U.N. staffers to act further in Iraq until the UN was given greater independence and safety insurance.

Russia, Germany, and France insisted that the U.S. add a provision for a timetable with a clear deadline for ending the U.S. occupation in Iraq. The U.S. also had to make further concessions to assure Russia that military occupation would end as soon as a new Iraqi government assumes power.

The passing of the resolution could be seen as a diplomatic victory for the Bush administration, but many remain doubtful that the U.S. will see increased foreign support of the occupation.

“It certainly won’t gain the US much, if any, tangible help, either in dollars or soldiers,” said Holoman. “Neither will it push the U.S. into turning over power to either the UN or the Iraqis any faster than they would have without the
resolution.”

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