Global Policy Forum

Iraq Tells UN it Wants Multinational Force to Stay


By Irwin Arieff

June 13, 2006

Iraq has formally notified the U.N. Security Council that it wants the U.S.-led multinational force to remain in place for now as Iraqi troops and police are not yet ready to ensure security on their own. "While great achievements have been gained by the people of Iraq in the realm of political development, the continuation of the mandate of the multinational force in Iraq remains necessary and essential for our security," Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said in a letter dated June 9 and circulated at the United Nations on Tuesday. The letter's release coincided with a five-hour visit to Baghdad by U.S. President George W. Bush, who told Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that "when America gives its word, it keeps its word."

A resolution adopted by the 15-nation Security Council in November extended the force's mandate through the end of 2006 but called for a review by June 15. The resolution said the council would terminate the mandate at any time if Iraq's government asked it to do so. Some 130,000 U.S. troops are now in Iraq, making up the vast majority of the multinational force. The U.S. death toll in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion is nearing 2,500, fueling U.S. public unease. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed.

The Nov. 8 resolution also required Iraq to keep depositing the money from its oil sales into an international account monitored by an outside watchdog to demonstrate it was using its oil wealth for the benefit of its people. Zebari said his government still welcomed that arrangement as it showed Iraq's donors and creditors that it was "managing its resources and debts responsibly to the best benefit of the Iraqi people." The Security Council initially set up the special account, and created an international monitoring board to watch over it, in May 2003 to ensure the U.S.-led occupation did not misuse Iraqi resources. The resolution also authorized the multinational force to continue taking and holding its own prisoners in Iraq. There were 15,387 detainees in the force's custody as of the end of April, 7.5 percent more than at the end of February, according to the latest U.N. report on human rights in Iraq.

More Information on Iraq
More Information on the UN Role in Post-War Iraq
More Information on the International Law Aspects of the Iraq War and Occupation


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