The Daunting Aftermath
WHAT comes after the war with Iraq will be even more challenging and riskier than the military campaign being waged today. The tasks confronting the US, its coalition partners, and the UN are daunting, extending far beyond the liberation of Kuwait and any peace process that might address the Israeli-Palestinian problem. The ``new world order'' at stake in the Gulf war will not be realized until the burden of enforcing international law and paying for ``peace and security'' is shared equitably among nations.
If Iraq implodes and falls victim to its neighbors' ambitions, then this war may have been fought to contain one aggressor only to open the gates to others. The justified use of military force to restore the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Kuwait cannot become the pretext to permit the decimation of those principles for the nation of Iraq.
The sovereign borders of a defeated Iraq may need to be guaranteed by force of arms. A threat from Syria, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, or even free Kuwait or Saudi Arabia to settle old scores and seize Iraqi territory must be challenged. The only military force that will be able to defend Iraq in the short term is the US Army.
If the war brings massive destruction to Iraq's cities and power facilities - as well as dislocation and large-scale casualties among Iraqi civilians and soldiers - then the rebuilding of Iraq will become an urgent task demanding international aid. A crippled Iraq will not enhance stability.
If Saddam's regime collapses and no reliable alternative emerges, UN peacekeepers and administrators may be needed.
Indeed, the UN, a bit actor in the war, becomes a major player when fighting ceases. A hefty, well-armed UN peacekeeping force should be deployed to Kuwait for political as well as military reasons. Arab nations will want to see Kuwait's border with Iraq guarded by UN, not US, forces.
The UN peacekeepers would serve the highly symbolic role of monitoring Kuwait's security and maintaining law and order within Kuwait until the legitimate government can build up its own police and military capabilities to restore domestic tranquility.
The administration of a liberated Kuwait may be a UN role. The Emir of Kuwait will return to a decimated government. There will be an urgent need to restore Kuwait's government agencies and public services. The recent experience in Namibia, where the UN took on duties prior to independence, as well as UN work in Cambodia, show the UN's potential for a key role in Kuwait.
The Security Council could set up a special war crimes tribunal in liberated Kuwait or Saudi Arabia to try Iraqi war criminals in a manner similar to the military tribunals of Nuremberg and Tokyo after World War II.
The list of Iraqi violations of the laws of war grows every day. Judges for a war tribunal should be drawn from Arab nations participating in the coalition, the five permanent members of the Security Council, and from among prominent Palestinian lawyers.
The Security Council already has held Iraq liable for damages arising from its ``invasion and illegal occupation of Kuwait by Iraq.'' The collection and disbursement of war reparations and compensation from Iraq's frozen overseas assets as well as its national budget in years to come may be a UN responsibility.
HOWEVER successful the war with Iraq is for the multinational force, the ad hoc manner in which Iraqi aggression was challenged cannot become the model of a new world order. The framers of the UN Charter had the right idea when they provided for the creation of military forces of member states ``on call'' by the Security Council to enforce international law. But the major powers never entered into the special agreements with the Security Council that would provide for what in effect would be a UN rapid deployment force.
The US should take the lead in implementing the UN Charter's original design. Negotiations should be initiated by the major powers and other nations to enter into special agreements with the Security Council. A UN conference to coordinate those negotiations is desirable. The task is to devise an equitable sharing of the military commitments among major powers and smaller states.
The cost of these endeavors will be staggering. The White House and Congress are only beginning to appropriate Washington's share of the current UN budget and are far from erasing the $621 million owed the UN and its agencies. At a time when foreign aid options are limited, the UN must adopt unorthodox funding mechanisms.
A good place to start would be the James Baker School of Solicitations. The UN needs big-dollar donations from Japan, Germany, and oil-producing Arab nations to rebuild the Middle East after the war. These governments will demand a significant role in how their money is spent. That is a political cost the cash-poor permanent members of the Security Council should absorb to help build the new world order.