< < <
Date Index
> > >
NYTimes.com Article: Bush Sees Limited Role for U.N. in Iraq
by threehegemons
08 April 2003 17:46 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
This article from NYTimes.com 
has been sent to you by threehegemons@aol.com.

"Evidently there's some skepticism here in Europe about whether or not I mean 
what I say," Mr. Bush said. "Saddam Hussein clearly knows I mean what I say."

This quote seems to provide remarkable evidence of Wallerstein's thesis that 
this war is as much about trying to intimidate Europe as it is about Iraq.

Steven Sherman


Bush Sees Limited Role for U.N. in Iraq

April 8, 2003


HILLSBOROUGH, Northern Ireland, April 8 - President Bush
and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain pledged today to
grant the United Nations a "vital role" in post-war Iraq,
but Mr. Bush described that role as largely humanitarian
and advisory rather than one central to overseeing the
country and eventually establishing a new government. 

During a break in a second day of meetings here with Mr.
Blair, the president said he envisioned the United Nations
providing food and medicine, collecting donations and
offering suggestions about the composition of an interim
governing authority, composed of Iraqis from inside and
outside the country, to be set up by the United States and

But Mr. Bush appeared intent on retaining for the United
States and Britain the right to decide on the members and
powers of the temporary authority, effectively holding the
United Nations to a more limited role than sought by many
European nations and, to some extent, Mr. Blair, the
president's main ally in the conflict with Iraq. 

The disagreements between the two leaders over the role of
the United Nations were muted and were played down by
officials from both sides. But the officials hinted at a
broader debate to come about how the United States will
deal with the United Nations and how the other members of
the Security Council will view the United States,
especially following the breach over whether to back Mr.
Bush and Mr. Blair in waging war against Iraq. 

Speaking at a news conference this morning in between
meetings here, the president said he did not know whether
Saddam Hussein had been killed by an attack on a
residential complex in Baghdad on Monday. If Mr. Hussein is
still alive, the president said, his grasp "around the
throats of the Iraqi people" is loosening. 

"I can't tell you if all 10 fingers are off the throat, but
finger by finger, it's coming off," Mr. Bush. 

The meeting between Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair, held in a
castle in this village south of Belfast, was their third in
as many weeks. In addition to allowing them to plan for
what comes after the war, it provided a forum for Mr. Bush
to throw his weight behind Mr. Blair's efforts to bring
Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland into a
power-sharing arrangement intended to end their
long-running sectarian strife. 

Nearly three weeks into the war, with the allies securing
control over much of Iraq, American forces well into their
effort to take Baghdad, and Mr. Hussein's fate unclear, Mr.
Bush appeared more relaxed than during his last session
with Mr. Blair, at Camp David on March 27. 

But the president showed a flash of annoyance at skepticism
among other nations and in the questions he got here today
about whether he truly sees the United Nations playing an
important role in Iraq. 

"Evidently there's some skepticism here in Europe about
whether or not I mean what I say," Mr. Bush said. "Saddam
Hussein clearly knows I mean what I say." 

Mr. Blair has been under pressure at home and from other
European nations to insure that international authority
over the course of post-war Iraq rests primarily with the
United Nations and not just the United States and Britain.
On Monday, Koffi Annan, the United Nations secretary
general, said United Nations involvement would be essential
to establishing the legitimacy of any new Iraqi government.

Mr. Blair appeared to have gotten only some of what he
wanted from Mr. Bush, but also to be intent on warning the
rest of the Security Council, where divisions over the war
still run deep, not to get into another fight over the
future of Iraq. 

"The important thing is not to get into some battle about
words of the precise role here or there," Mr. Blair said.
"But let's all work together internationally the coalition
forces, the international community together to do what we
really should be doing, which is making sure that the will
of the Iraqi people is properly expressed in institutions
that in the end they own, not any outside power or

With fighting still raging in Baghdad, American and British
officials here stressed that the war was not yet over. But
the two leaders spent most of their time looking ahead to
what happens when the fighting stops. The White House has
made clear that it will seek and welcome financial
assistance, humanitarian aid and logistical support in
post-war Iraq from other countries and international
institutions including the United Nations. 

It is also grappling with how long to keep American troops
in Iraq, and whether there will be a need for a
peacekeeping force, possibly provided by NATO, which like
the United Nations was deeply divided by Mr. Bush's
hardline against Iraq. 

The tension over the role of the United Nations centers on
the establishment of the so-called Iraqi interim authority,
a quasi-governmental operation that would take over much of
the day-to-day administration of the country from American
and British military and civilian overseers. The interim
authority in turn would give way at some undetermined point
to a full-fledged Iraqi government. 

Mr. Bush appeared intent on preserving the right to name or
approve the authority's leaders, and to limiting the United
Nations to suggesting names of Iraqis to serve on the
authority and and endorsing its legitimacy. Mr. Blair had
been seeking a plan that would have given the United
Nations a more direct role in naming the interim authority.

In their joint statement today, Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair said
the interim authority would be "established first and
foremost by the Iraqi people, with the help of the members
of the coalition, and working with the secretary general of
the United Nations." 

The statement said they would seek United Nations
resolutions "that would affirm Iraq's territorial
integrity, ensure rapid delivery of humanitarian relief and
endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration for

When pressed at the news conference to explain what he
meant by a "vital role" for the United Nations, Mr. Bush
responded with a narrow definition that seemed to grant the
body only a supporting role in establishing a post-war

"That means food, that means medicine, that means aid, that
means a place where people can give their contributions,
that means suggesting people for the IIA, that means being
a party to the progress being made in Iraq," Mr. Bush said.
His reference was to the Iraqi interim authority. 

Both leaders stressed that the interim authority would be
comprised of Iraqis and would be a step in an effort to
create a full-fledged government as soon as possible. 

"This new Iraq that will emerge is not to be run either by
us or, indeed, by the U.N.," Mr. Blair said. "That is a
false choice. It will be run by the Iraqi people."


For information on advertising in e-mail newsletters 
or other creative advertising opportunities with The 
New York Times on the Web, please contact
onlinesales@nytimes.com or visit our online media 
kit at http://www.nytimes.com/adinfo

For general information about NYTimes.com, write to 

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >