The UN Option for Iraq: Guest Comment by Carl Nyberg
Carl Nyberg, a former UN peacekeeper in Cambodia, writes:
“I’m skeptical of putting much hope into a UN solution for Iraq’s security problems.
I was a UN peacekeeper in Cambodia, but don’t want to lean too heavily on my personal experience. What I learned from my experience is that it is almost impossible for one person to capture the full story of something as complex as a UN peacekeeping mission.
Iraq is about twice as large as Cambodia, but Cambodia was 25-30% smaller in the early ’90s. Cambodia was the largest UN peacekeeping mission ever.
In Cambodia the Paris peace accords of ’91 were supported by all four armed factions. This allowed UN peacekeepers to hold individual commanders accountable to agreements that their factions nominally supported.
Part of these agreements were to put the heavy weapons in cantonments.
Iraq wouldn’t have an agreement supported by all factions. I doubt any of the factions in Iraq will give up their weapons.
Also, the UN peacekeepers had a huge advantage in communication over the Khmer Rouge, the chief spoiler in Cambodia. In Iraq the spoilers would have instant communication and therefore could engage in a coordinated strategy to foil the UN that the KR
Iraq is a tough situation.
My best attempt to solve it would include:
1. US military withdrawing gradually, but noticably with a commitment for complete withdrawal.
2. Generous bribes to the people that can cause trouble with strings attached that they can’t cause trouble and keep the gravy train flowing.
3. Creating a political process that is perceived as legitimate. (This is where the UN can help.)
4. Apologizing for specific mistakes and asking for patience and goodwill.
5. Engaging in a global effort to reduce tensions between Islam and the Neo Liberal-led West.
The United States has to express contrition and clearly state that it has abandoned its selfish objectives for invading Iraq. (Part of this is admitting the United States had selfish objectives.) Anything else will be seen as trying to repackage the