Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Iraq Mandate with Limits?

We have all heard at one time or another -- more likely many times -- the question, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”

Well, as has been mentioned on this site in the past, there is a new question that, finally, is going to be discussed next week in Baghdad: “What if we gave a war and asked one of the participants to go home?”

That’s not quite the question that members of the Iraqi parliament plan to discuss, but what they intend to do is to develop limitations on activities by U.S. and coalition military forces. These might be geographic limits such as no air operations in urban areas to restrictions on types of activity such as training and border security. There was even the suggestion that a conditiin for renewing the mandate was the development of a withdrawal plan by coalition force

The Blackwater saga and the deaths of 17 and 49 Iraqis, including women and children, in two encounters in the last week seem to have been enough for Sunni and Shi’a in parliament to come together to demand conditions be attached to the renewed UN mandate authorizing the presence of coalition troops in Iraq. That renewal will be considered by the Security Council probably in late November or early December -- unless the Bush administration tries to beat the Baghdad process by seeking a vote on a “clean” resolution in early November.

Of course, should restrictions attached to the mandate not be to Bush’s liking, he can instruct the U.S. ambassador to the UN to cast a veto. Even the threat of a veto might be enough o silence the Iraqi parliamentarians.

The game is called “chicken.”

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