Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Just in case anyone's unsure about how toothless the upcoming UN security council resolution is about US forces in Iraq...

Last week the United States and Britain agreed that the Iraqi interim government had the right to order U.S. troops to leave Iraq and made clear the mandate of the multinational force would expire in January 2006, when a permanent Iraqi government is expected to take office.

France, backed by Germany, Algeria and others, then proposed the resolution spell out that the new Iraqi leaders could exercise a virtual veto over U.S.-led "sensitive offensive operations."

The United States rejected this but agreed late on Monday to write a paragraph on security coordination and "partnership," the same relationship between Iraq and the U.S. command contained in letters between Iraq and the United States. The letters are part of the resolution's annex but France, Germany, Algeria and others wanted a summary in the main text.

The letters from Secretary of State Powell and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi pledged that the American commander and Iraqi leaders would consult and coordinate "fundamental security and policy issues including policy on sensitive offensive operations" through a new security committee.

But the letters do not spell out what happens in case of a disagreement, prompting France to advocate that Iraq had the right to block a major U.S. campaign.

In other words: Iraq can tell the US to leave... but there's nothing stopping the US from saying no.

But why would they? We're liberators, and the Iraqis still have all those vast stockpiles of rose petals to use up.

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