Middle East


A Multinational Force for Iraq

An Iraqi child carries spent shells
An Iraqi boy carries spent shells from the former Al-Rashid military base in Baghdad, Oct. 6, 2003. The base, Baghdad's largest under Saddam Hussein, now houses poor families squatting in the abandoned facility (Photo: Ramzi Haidar/AFP-Getty Images).

Karachi Dawn (centrist), Sept. 4: Washington is not repenting the folly of unilateralism and acknowledging the wisdom of multilateralism. It is seeking United Nations support solely out of expediency....The international community should not bail it out of Iraq.
—Iffat Idris

New Delhi The Indian Express (liberal), Sept. 5: The United States unquestionably has the most powerful military in the world. But today it does not have the quantity or quality of military force to manage the postwar peace, leave alone enforce it as the primary occupying force.

Mexico City Reforma (independent), Sept. 6: With extreme cynicism and without remorse, Bush now appeals for international assistance for an Iraq he destroyed alone....And now, are we to return to the multilateral order that maintained peace during the past 50 years? Well then, in good faith, some Security Council members might consider it—but under the condition that the U.N., not the United States, head the process of reconstructing Iraq.
—Carlos Fuentes

Tokyo The Asahi Shimbun (center-left), Aug. 31: We believe the time is right for the United States and Britain to recognize the failure of the occupation strategy to date, and speed up the process of forming a new government run by the Iraqis themselves.

Athens Eleftherotypia (liberal), Sept. 7: For a number of reasons, the government in Washington has again “discovered” the U.N. The appeal to the organization has become necessary, as there is no other way to diminish the political and economic cost of the war, as well as the cost of human lives.
—Nicolas Zirganos

Dar es Salaam Majira (privately owned, Swahili-language), Aug. 29: The ability of the United States to win a military war against Saddam was not in doubt. But the ability of the United States to restore peace in Iraq was a different matter altogether....Today, Iraq is under the rule of the army that won the war against it, but the country is still not peaceful. —Maggid Mjengwa

Paris Le Figaro (conservative), Sept. 5: Why should France spill her soldiers’ blood and sacrifice its diplomatic credibility simply to guarantee the re-election of George W. Bush?....The reality is that the United States, having failed in its postwar planning, is only trying to make others share a burden it finds increasingly heavy.
—Charles Lambroschini

Budapest Nepszabadsag (liberal), Sept. 4: The fact that Bush is coming back to the U.N. and for all intents and purposes requesting help is a signal change in American politics....For the second time,...the direction represented by [Colin] Powell, according to which the United States must resolve the Iraqi crisis in concert with its allies, has come to the fore.
—Gabor Horvath

Oslo Dagsavisen (liberal), Sept. 2: The developments in Iraq show that the United States cannot manage the situation alone. It needs help: from the U.N. in the form of an extended mandate, from neighboring Arab countries in the form of peacekeeping forces. But primarily from the Iraqis themselves.
—Erik Sagflaat

Sydney The Australian (conservative), Sept. 3: For the United States, Iraq was a war of choice that is imposing an unacceptable price on the U.S. political system....The Bush hardliners are trapped. The choice they face is between The Weekly Standard’s logic of more pain to keep U.S. control, or the [Colin] Powell-[Richard] Armitage line of cutting a deal to internationalize postwar Iraq.
—Paul Kelly

Cairo Al-Ahram (semi-official), Sept. 4: Many observers believe that security in Iraq will not be achieved until the U.N. is given a mandate to supervise the phase of political transition. This is something the American administration seems belatedly to be beginning to comprehend as the occupying forces increasingly lose their grip on Iraq and violence and terrorism escalate under the rule of Paul Bremer.
—Salama Ahmed Salama

Madrid El País (liberal), Sept. 4: The United States can no longer act alone in postwar Iraq. Out of convenience rather than conviction, and without any sign of self-criticism, Bush has decided to turn toward the U.N., which he had denigrated as “irrelevant.”

Bogotá El Tiempo (centrist), Sept. 3: This call for [U.N.] help comes from the same President George W. Bush who, a year ago, referred to this organization as an “irrelevant debating society.” The explanation of such irony can be summarized in the form of a classified ad: “Superpower in trouble seeks endorsement of prestigious international organization to turn its military occupation into a reconstruction operation and a multinational peace effort.”
—Víctor Manuel Vargas

Beijing Guangming Daily (government-owned), Sept. 3: It is a blind alley for the United States to continue involvement in Iraq....If the coalition forces remain in Iraq, they will pay a heavy cost. The best way for the United States to step out of the quagmire is to hand over control directly to the U.N.
—Su Bei

Kathmandu The Kathmandu Post (independent), Aug. 21: It is important that the occupation of Iraq cease as soon as it is practical and that Iraq’s own government, chosen by its own people, get in place. The role of the U.N. in any future development of that country will remain necessary.

Seoul The Korea Herald (independent), Sept. 2: To win the consent of Europe, ...Washington had better not insist that the United States command the entire contingent....Further snubbing the world body after bypassing it when America started the war will isolate the United States when it tries to tackle problems elsewhere.

Rome L’Unità (left-wing), Aug. 30: George W. Bush declared one year ago that a refusal from the U.N. to support the war against Iraq was irrelevant. But the paradox is that to pick up the pieces, now Washington needs the U.N.’s help much more than it did before the war began....The other side of the paradox is that now it cannot be taken for granted that the U.N.’s taking over from the United States will re-strain the fury unleashed by the opening of Pandora’s box.

Sofia Sega (independent, left-leaning), Aug. 25: U.S. troops in Iraq are worn out, jumpy, and bloody eager to go home, as the few news stories dedicated to the soldiers’ morale testify....In the U.N., the United States is trying to find a formula that could dispatch more international troops to Iraq without undermining the monopoly of Washington as an occupying force....The goal, of course, is to help as many Americans as possible to get out of the Iraqi morass and for the death toll to be reduced to a minimum.
—Georgy Gotev

Nairobi The East African (independent weekly), Aug. 25-31: Only a new resolution by the U.N. Security Council establishing a multilateral force would firmly address the current security situation in Iraq. Such a resolution would establish a mandate that goes beyond the use of the U.N. to prop up the American and British troops and deal with the humanitarian disaster enhanced by the illegal war.
—L. Muthoni Wanyeki