Saturday, August 23, 2003

Iraq a theatre for terrorists, says France: "In New York, France's envoy to the UN, Michel Duclos, told the Security Council that Iraq had become a 'theatre for terrorists' since the war. He said the transition to democracy should have been managed by the Iraqis with the assistance of the UN, rather than by the US. 'Only the United Nations has the impartiality and expertise to ensure this process.'

"Germany and Russia agreed that the UN would be reluctant to endorse a multinational force unless it was also involved in the reconstruction of Iraq. But the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who visited the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday, gave no hint that the US was prepared to give up any authority. The US is pushing for a new UN resolution that would effectively endorse the presence of international troops in Iraq. It hopes that nations such as India and Turkey would then be willing to help the US keep the peace."

The Baghdad UN bombing was a savage strike against not only the UN but the US itself. Its evident purpose was to isolate the US in Iraq. To get out of this mess Bush would probably have to sack Rumsfeld and seek broad UN sanction for the Occupation and Reconstruction of Iraq, with a substantial pullout of US troops. But Bush probably cannot contemplate a climbdown of this magnitude. He can only hang on and hope, and risk defeat at the next election.

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