Iraq - Policing and Rebuilding: Share the Burden

By the beginning of September, Iraq appeared on the verge of imploding. Coalition soldiers were being cherry-picked on a daily basis, critical infrastructure destroyed, and large car bombs killed hundreds at the UN compound, the Jordanian Embassy and a mosque in Najaf. The loss of life in all these attacks has been devastating, with some of the best and brightest Iraqis, international civil servants and soldiers murdered. President George Bush is keen for help to defeat those he calls the ‘enemies of freedom’. But who should help – the United Nations or even NATO?

The World Today Updated 21 October 2020 Published 1 October 2003 3 minute READ

Karin von Hippel

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Defence Studies, King's College London

The United States, as the main occupying power, is becoming more and more anxious to share the burden in Iraq. An average of one American soldier has been killed every day since the official end of hostilities, and the US treasury is forking out $1 billion a week of taxpayers’ money on military costs alone, from an already over-stretched economy. President George Bush has now asked Congress for $87 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Potential contributors – of soldiers, civilian personnel and finance – are wary of entering a situation that would not give them commensurate decision- making authority, nor grant the UN significantly more power, particularly as many of them were against the war in the first place.

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