BUSH, BLAIR, AND THE UN: It looks like there will be some role for the UN in post-war Iraq, if only to placate Tony Blair:
Bush has said he supports a U.N. role and the creation of an interim governing authority for Iraq. But he has not provided key details, such as the exact nature of the U.N.’s role and the makeup of the authority.
“There will be a vital role for the U.N. in the reconstruction of Iraq,” Blair said. “But the key is that Iraq in the end will be run by the Iraqi people.”
Questioned for details on that “vital role,” Bush said the body could provide humanitarian assistance, collect donations and make suggestions about the makeup of the interim authority. It was far from the broad mandate sought by some allies, and could undermine Blair’s efforts.
Fortunately, it sounds like the UN will be kept on a short leash by President Bush and the US.
UPDATE: Steven Den Beste agrees:
What that doesn’t mean is that the UN actually will control the interim administration. And it doesn’t mean that the UN bureaucracy gets to decide who gets post-war reconstruction contracts, so that it can assign the majority of them to French companies.
What it means is that the British and Americans are going to set up interim governments and get on with the job, UNSC action or no UNSC action. Which means that Bush didn’t budge.
Which means that TotalFinaElf is going to be out on its ear. Watch for major moves on the French stock market today.
Den Beste adds, “Bush has all the cards”. Read the whole thing, as somebody once said.