Bush Willing To Safeguard Russian

Bush willing to Safeguard Russian Economic Interests in Iraq

According to a fine analysis by Knight-Ridder’s William Douglas, the United States will attempt to sideline and isolate France at the UN Security Council. This is because France will only back a new UNSC resolution on Iraq if the US surrenders some political power over Iraq and accelerates the transition to an elected Iraqi government. Secretary of State Colin Powell told al-Jazeera that such a strategy was unworkable.

On the other hand, other countries might be successfully wooed with only economic, not political, concessions. The Bush administration hopes Russia will be one of these. AFP suggests that the US is also willing to safeguard Chinese and French petroleum and commercial interests in Iraq in return for support on the new resolution. China has recently been echoing the French line about an early return (fall 2003) of sovereignty to the Iraqis, though.

The UNSC countries will not send troops. Those would come from other nations, who might be emboldened to help by a UN resolution. The US is still hoping for 10,000 troops from Turkey, according to al-Zaman, though it should be noted that apparently the appointed Iraqi government does not want them. Turkey would want loans in return. The US continues to twist India’s arm. But the Indians are apparently holding out for access to advanced US weaponry (something that has the potential to anger Pakistan, America’s partner in the war on al-Qaeda). See:

http://www.bayarea.com/mld/

mercurynews/news/politics/6756947.htm

The US is in a difficult position and does need military help, because its own forces are stretched to the limit. But it should rethink using Turkey and India. The Kurds are nervous about having Turkish troops in Iraq, and even the Shiites do not have fond memories of Ottoman rule. The potential for long-term mischief by Turkey in Iraq is substantial.

As for India, it is now ruled by a far right fundamentalist Hindu government that has brutalized the Muslim Kashmiri population in response to popular resistance there as well as to terrorist actions by Kashmiri and Pakistani radical groups. Why the Bush administration thinks Indian troops would be popular in Iraq, given this situation, is beyond me. I should think they would be another magnet for al-Qaeda infiltrators. Indian officials so far say they are unimpressed by the draft resolution presented by the US at the UN, and continue to refuse to send troops. See

http://www.spacewar.com/

2003/030912132130.yvimbffl.html

As for the Bangladeshis, apparently they were felt ineffective when deployed in the Balkans. And for General Musharraf to send troops to Iraq from Pakistan would give the religious fundamentalist coalition there, the MMA, a perfect platform on which to mount massive public protests that could paralyze and endanger his government, a government that has captured more al-Qaeda operatives than any other in the world.