US agrees to Int'l control of its troops in Iraq
Mon Nov 17 02:32:25 2003
US agrees to international control of its troops in Iraq
By Leonard Doyle and Stephen Castle in Brussels
[The Independent - 17 November 2003]: The United States accepts that to avoid
humiliating failure in Iraq it needs to bring its forces quickly under
international control and speed the handover of power, Javier Solana, the
European Union foreign policy chief, has said. Decisions along these lines will
be made in the "coming days", Mr Solana told The Independent.
The comments, signalling a major policy shift by the US, precede President
George Bush's state visit this week to London, during which he and Tony Blair
will discuss an exit strategy for forces in Iraq.
Mr Solana underlined the change of mood in Washington, saying: "Everybody has
moved, including the United States, because the United States has a real problem
and when you have a real problem you need help." There is a "growing consensus"
that the transfer of power has to be accelerated, he said. "How fast can it be
done? I would say the faster the better."
He added: "The more the international community is incorporated under the
international organisations [the better]. That is the lesson I think everyone is
learning. Our American friends are learning that. We will see in the coming days
decisions along these lines."
The Bush administration spelt out over the weekend its new plans for the faster
transfer of power from Americans to the Iraqis, with a transitional government
now scheduled to take over from the end of June. Before, US officials had said
that Iraqi leaders should write a constitution first, then hold elections.
As the EU's foreign policy representative, Mr Solana has been playing a
significant, behind-the-scenes role. Until now, the US had resisted putting the
allied forces under international auspices, although there is growing support in
Washington for a Nato role.
Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, arrives in Brussels tonight for talks
with EU ministers, which he will combine with a meeting with the retiring Nato
secretary general, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen. Diplomats say that Mr Powell is
expected to "test the water" about the involvement of the transatlantic alliance
in Iraq. The litany of setbacks, growing US casualties and the recent killing of
18 Italian servicemen has brought intense domestic and international pressure on
the Bush administration to give the occupying force more legitimacy.
Eager to counter this domestic unease, the American military sought to advertise
their latest crack-down. They declared that they had fired a satellite-guided
missile at what they said was an insurgents' training camp west of Kirkuk.
But there was more grim news on Saturday with the collision of two Black Hawk
helicopters after one was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Seventeen American
soldiers died, the worst single loss of life in one incident since President
Bush ordered the US-led invasion.
He insisted yesterday that the US would not "cut and run". In an interview with
Breakfast with Frost on BBC1, the President said the United States would not
spend "years and years" in Iraq. But he rejected as "not a fair comment" claims
that the US was unprepared for winning peace. Mounting violence in Iraq was
"nothing more than a power grab". He added: "There are some foreign fighters,
mujahedin types or al-Qa'ida, or al-Qa'ida affiliates involved, as well."
America's chief post-war administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, also suggested that
US-led forces would remain on a different basis. "Our presence here will change
from an occupation to an invited presence," he said. "I'm sure the Iraqi
government is going to want to have coalition forces here for its own security
for some time.
There have been no specifics yet about how the international community would
control the mainly American and British forces in Iraq. Nato remains the only
strong possibility because it would provide international credibility while
leaving control with a military organisation which Washington dominates.
Nato has already proved its willingness to act outside its traditional sphere of
operations by taking a role in Afghanistan. But to allow it to deploy in Iraq
would mean getting the approval of all 19 Nato allies including France, Germany
and Belgium, all staunch opponents of the war.
They would need to be satisfiedthat the UN had been given a sufficient role in
the political control of Iraq. Diplomats say that the US and Britain will need
to be certain that no one will block an Iraq mission before they make a request.
With the US-led occupation likely to be declared over the next year, Mr Bremer
said that work would start on a constitutional settlement. "We'll have a bill of
rights. We'll recognise equality for all citizens. We'll recognise an
independent judiciary. We'll talk about a federal government," he said.
Mr Bremer explained that the Americans would work with the Iraqi Governing
Council in writing the interim constitution. There would also be a side
agreement dealing with security and the presence of American and coalition
forces in Iraq, he said.
Al-Qa'ida claimed responsibility for the bombings of two Istanbul synagogues
which killed at least 23 people and vowed further attacks, the London-based Arab
newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi said yesterday.
U.S. on the Run?
Yet more troops secretly going both to Iraq and Korea
Exit Iraq... Enter ?
"The United States accepts that to avoid humiliating failure in
Iraq it needs to bring its forces quickly under international
control and speed the handover of power.... Decisions along
these lines will be made in the 'coming days' ."
"Yet thousands more reserverists are in fact being quietly
mobilized and shipped out this week. And
special secrecy orders seem to apply for those
being told they are going west across the Pacific."
MONDAY HEADLINE STORIES IN LONDON
"CHICKEN GEORGE" screams the DAILY MIRROR: "George Bush was branded chicken for
scrapping his speech to parliament because he feared being heckled by anti-war
"FORTRESS LONDON AS RING OF STEEL SURROUNDS BUSH" fronts the DAILY MAIL: "A ring
of steel will be thrown around central London this week amid fears of a possible
suicide bomb attack to coincide with the state visit by George Bush."
'BIGGEST' TERRORIST ALERT FOR BUSH VISIT leads the TELEGRAPH: "Scotland Yard
will mount the largest anti-terrorist operation London has ever seen when
President George W Bush arrives tomorrow for the first State Visit by an
MID-EAST REALITIES - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 17 November 2003:
The US is feeling the pressure; as well as spilling the blood. Just before
President Bush heads to London, the most unwelcome American President ever to
visit, American pro-consul Paul Bremer rushed onto the Sunday talk-shows to
announce his departure by June and a whole new plan for Iraq. Bremer was quickly
followed by European foreign policy chief Javier Solana, a man known to be close
to the Americans, with this clearly orchestrate story suggesting, but not
detailing, that the Americans really do want European and international help
after all...and more importantly are willing to pay the price.
Is it fair to say the Americans are on the run? Not so fast!
First of all the Americans are now rather well-known for their crafty twists and
turns...should we say tricks? So let's just wait and see what they do, not what
Second, the Israelis are a wild card here, and Ariel Sharon is not the kind to
roll over. There are many indications the Israelis themselves are having a major
debate whether and how to escalate to regional war and 'take care of' Syria,
Iran, Hezbollah...not to mention what's left of the Palestinian resistance. And
oh yes, the Israeli-Jewish lobby -- never more powerful in Washington than
now...never more dangerous when a little cornered and afraid.
And third, at the same time that all the rest is taking place and at quite a
pace, Washington rumor mill has it that non-routine semi-secret troop movements
are also escalating...with thousands more fresh troops being rushed to Iraq AND
troops, ships and planes leaving from the west coast to reinforce American
forces in Japan and Korea. More reserverists are in fact being quietly mobilized
and shipped out this week. And special secrecy orders seem to apply for those
being told they are going west across the Pacific.
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Comment on this and other MER Articles in the MER FORUM
BUSH: Rhetoric vs Reality (Something for everybody) Rich Loco, Mon Nov 17 02:41
Iraq: Former CIA Envoy Repeats White House Intimidation nti.org, Mon Nov 17 02:54
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