News Release

Bush Rebuffed Plan for Other Nations’ Troops in Iraq; U.S. Setting Stage for Rigged Iraqi Elections?

Newsday has reported that “President George W. Bush rebuffed a plan last month for a Muslim peacekeeping force that would have helped the United Nations organize elections in Iraq, according to Saudi and Iraqi officials.”

The paper reported: “As a result, the UN continues to have a skeletal presence in Iraq, with only four staff members working full time on preparing for elections set for the end of January. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has refused to establish a new UN headquarters in Baghdad unless countries commit troops for a special force to protect it. … Diplomats said Annan accepted the plan. But the Bush administration objected because the special force would have been controlled by the UN instead of by U.S. military officers who run the Multi-National Force in Iraq.”

According to the Associated Press, White House spokesman Scott McClellan “said the interim Iraqi government in Baghdad had ‘some real concerns’ about having troops from a neighboring country inside Iraq.”

But the Newsday report, which was published on Oct. 18, stated that “Iraqi officials already had worked out a deal with the Saudis ruling out the involvement of any country that borders Iraq.” The report stated that, according Saudi sources, “Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Algeria and Morocco were ‘seriously interested'” in contributing troops to fulfill the plan.

JAMES PAUL
Executive director of the Global Policy Forum, which monitors the UN, Paul said today: “The article in Newsday shows that the U.S. government is preventing fair elections, as overseen by an impartial UN staff. Washington wants a free hand to manipulate these elections and get its cronies into office. So much for the claim that the U.S. is bringing democracy to Iraq. … My sources tell me that two nations — Georgia and Fiji — offered troops to a similar effort.”
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FRANCIS BOYLE
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois and author of the new book Destroying World Order, Boyle said today: “The only way to have a free, fair and democratic election would be for the United States and the United Kingdom to terminate their role as the Belligerent Occupants of Iraq, withdraw, and then permit the United Nations to organize elections. It recently did this in East Timor.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167