[editor’s note, by rba] Links to references/sources below.
On 8 June 2004 a unanimous United Nation Security Council voted to adopt Resolution 1546, which set the timetable for ending the “mandate for the multinational force” in Iraq:
12. Decides further that the mandate for the multinational force shall be reviewed at the request of the Government of Iraq or twelve months from the date of this resolution, and that this mandate shall expire upon the completion of the political process set out in paragraph four above, and declares that it will terminate this mandate earlier if requested by the Government of Iraq;
As is normally the case there was also a “savings clause” allowing for extension of the mandate.
UNSCR 1637 granted the extension requested by the Iraqi government, pushing the date back exactly one year to 31 December 2006, with a review required no later than 15 June.
It is important to note that the extension dates were also agreed to by unanimous vote of the Security Council. Further, and critical to the debate, is the fact that UNSC Resolutions legally bind the parties under the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, and the United Nations Charter.
In the many, many “plans for withdrawal” submitted by a wide variety of politicians, academics, and military and diplomatic experts over the past three years, I have yet to find other than a casual reference to the work conducted by the Security Council. Senator Kerry is only the latest to advocate a “deadline”, yet he fails to mention the timetable already exists as a matter of international law.
The Iraqi government is painted as dysfunctional, and incapable of taking the actions necessary to reassert control over the security of their own Country. Because this birth of a new nation is difficult at best, our politicians argue that we must forcefully coax the bastard child of the Bush Administration into existence by jumping on it’s swollen stomach.
What colossal arrogance. In conjunction with the nations of the world and the Iraqi people’s representatives, a timetable was set that forced the creation of a nation out of whole cloth in less time than it took for our founders to even draft the Constitution of the United states.
This “nation” will be created by people of three discrete religious groups, over one hundred tribes, in an area defined by British lines on an oil map, and one which has been in a state of conflict for a minimum of the past thirty years. (No, I won’t go back to Mesopotamia).
Yet even under the severe time constraints enacted by the UN Security Council – with Iraqi cooperation – the process leading to self-determination has moved forward. Each benchmark set by the Resolutions has been met, and of all the people on the planet, the Iraqis are the most anxious to have the “multinational force” leave their Country.
The next mark is set at 15 June for the Iraqi review of the mandate. Barring a further Resolution by the Security Council altering the dates, it is more than likely the Iraqi government will call for the withdrawal on time, on schedule, for 31 December of this year. While demogogues in the U.S. continue to consume newsprint and attempt to diminish the importance of both the Iraqi people and the UN in the process, the process nonetheless continues.
It is important to remember that fact. Whether “the plan” is one drafted by John Kerry, or any other U.S. politician, it must still conform to the already exsiting timetable for termination of the mandate set by the global community of nations.
Reference Sources (Specific):
- Security Council Meets on Iraq, 8 June 2004.
- UNSCR 1546, US Institute for Peace
- PBS Newshour, 8 June 2004
- State Department compilation, 28 June 2004 (Transfer of Power)
- World Press Org: United Nations, International Law, and the War in Iraq
- ePM, Huber: Top Ten War Powers Myths
- Letter dated 7 June 2004 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council (Brahimi Letter) [.pdf]
- S/PV.4987, UNSCR Voting Record, 1546 [.pdf]
Reference Sources (General):
- Project for Defense Alternatives, Exit Plans
- United Nations Security Council
- U.S. Constitution (Annotated), LII @ Cornell.edu
- Presidential News and Speeches (June 2004)
- State Department, Office of Near East Affairs (Iraq, 2004)