INTERNATIONALIZING IRAQ

WaPo reports that the Administration is of mixed minds on how far to go to get more UN participation in the reconstruction of Iraq. Colin Powell is eager for it but Don Rumsfeld and others are unwilling to have too much power taken away from Paul Bremer.

Britain, Germany and Russia enthusiastically embraced Powell’s talk of a second U.N. resolution. But in private they acknowledged that any deal leading to a significant increase in troop contributors would require a number of Bush administration concessions. The administration, they said, would have to open the Iraqi reconstruction market to international competition, set a timetable for the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis, and cede significant authority to the United Nations.

But they said they expected little movement for the time being.

John J. Hamre, president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who led the Pentagon-funded fact-finding mission to Iraq, said that the Bush administration and some U.N. member nations are still nursing grudges from the prewar period, when the Security Council refused to endorse a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

“There’s too much ideology and score-settling here,” Hamre said, adding that some U.N. mechanism must be found to grant greater legitimacy to the newly created Iraqi Governing Council and to provide a means for a far broader international coalition to participate in Iraq, including a reconstruction fund administered by the United Nations or some other international body.

Without this, Hamre said, “I don’t think the international community is going to open its wallet.”

Given that the US shouldered most of the burden of the invasion, it’s understandable that we’d want to maintain substantial authority over the reconstruction. Opening the competition to non-Coalition partners, even France, would be a sacrifice I’d be willing to make and giving nominal control to the UN would have some advantages. The question, unanswered in the article, is how much of the peacekeeping burden would be picked up by those not already participating.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.