Terror brings renewed chaos to shattered Iraq

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2003

If there is any organization in Iraq about which it can be said unequivocally that it is there to help, it is the United Nations. The bombing of its Baghdad headquarters yesterday is thus doubly a tragedy, both for those who lost their lives including the U.N.'s most senior envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello and for the people of Iraq, whose future was as much a target in the attack as was the world body.

It is also further and startling evidence of the vulnerability of the occupation regime to what appear to be new tactics by the diverse saboteurs who have harassed it from the start and who may have more recently been joined by extremists coming from outside. ...

Senator John McCain said in Baghdad yesterday even before the U.N. headquarters were hit that more American troops might be needed, an expansion that would be deeply unpalatable to the Bush administration. If more troops are needed, American or British, they will no doubt be found. The ultimate solution, however, has to be an Iraqi one. Real security can only be achieved by the coalition forces and the Iraqis working in tandem, in policing, in intelligence and, eventually, in military action. In its efforts to expand the Iraqi police and lay the basis for a new Iraqi army, the occupation regime has recognized this truth, but there is unhappily a long way to go.

Yet there is another side to these events. They are not likely to lead to a general repudiation of the occupation, and may even stiffen Iraqi support for the Americans and British, albeit in a despairing way. Whatever the imperfections of the project to bring stability and normality back into Iraqi life, it can be presumed to be still preferable to the chaos and bloodshed which is all that the spoilers have to offer.

The Guardian, London

Aug. 20

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