WASHINGTON - April 9 - Win Without War called today for an end to the US led military occupation of Iraq and for the United States to seek an immediate transfer of authority to the United Nations to oversee the transition to Iraqi self-rule. The mainstream coalition of 42 national organizations called for the convening of an emergency session of the UN Security Council and an international summit on Iraq.
Our nation is in a death-spiral in Iraq that continues to be fueled by a stunning degree of arrogance and ignorance by our government, said Win Without War National Director Tom Andrews. From insulting our allies, dismissing the United Nations, declaring Mission Accomplished last May, goading Iraqi insurgents to Bring em on! to shutting down a Baghdad newspaper ten days ago, it is clear that this government hasnt a clue and that is has become a dangerous impediment to resolving the tragedy in Iraq.
There is no military solution in Iraq because we have lost legitimacy in the minds of Iraqis who perceive us as occupiers who plan to hand authority to a government we control and that will serve our interests, Andrews said. Our reliance on fire power simply pours gasoline onto a raging fire.
We are in a dangerous hole in Iraq and the first principle when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging. The risk of civil war is growing, and it will intensify as the chaos deepens. The longer the US remains and attempts to impose its will by military force, the greater the danger that the situation will spin completely out of control, said Robert Edgar, Win Without War Co-Chair and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches.
Win Without War called on the US to ask the UN to immediately convene an emergency session of the Security Council to increase its authority and address the immediate crises while setting a date for an international conference on Iraq. The international conference would include nations who opposed the US led invasion, following the model of the December 2001 Berlin conference that provided international support for the transition in Afghanistan. Germany, France and Russia have called on the UN to convene such an international conference.
A recent report by the International Crisis Group argued that ultimate oversight responsibility for the political/constitutional process should be given to the UN . . . Such a transfer of responsibility from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to the UN is required to endow both the governance and the constitutional processes with the necessary domestic and international legitimacy.
Win Without War argued that the involvement of the UN would also provide valuable technical expertise.
The UN has considerable experience in nation building and post-conflict political transitionsin Cambodia, Mozambique, Namibia, and East Timorand it has played a key role in creating and assisting the transitional authority in Afghanistan. The UNs knowledge of electoral and political transitions in war-torn countries could be helpful to Iraqi officials. The support of the UN will also ease the suspicions of those in the region and beyond who believe that the United States intends to dominate a future Iraqi government, said Susan Shaer, Co-Chair of Win Without War and Executive Director of Womens Action for New Directions (WAND.)
Taking these steps does not mean abandoning American responsibilities, said Robert Edgar. As the occupying power the United States is bound by international law to guarantee the security and well being of the Iraqi people. The US will remain responsible for helping to finance humanitarian relief and economic reconstruction. Substantial US economic assistance will be necessary to facilitate Iraqs economic recovery. These obligations will continue even after the transition process is complete and a fully representative elected government is established, he said.