Our guests were Mary Robinson, former UN Human Rights Commissioner and Domnique Moisi, director of the French Institute for International Relations.
The council appointed to govern Iraq has criticised the decision by the United Nations to withdraw more of its staff from the country.
The council's minister responsible for foreign affairs, Hoshyar Zebari, said the move played into the hands of terrorists.
The majority of non-Iraqi UN personnel are being transferred to Jordan because of concerns about security.
What role can there be now for the UN in Iraq?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:
The UN should support a role that is commensurate with its responsibility in the region. As long as the US continues to act unilaterally, the UN should withhold their full support. Doing more will not only set a dangerous precedent that the US can act with carte blanche but will also undermine the UN's legitimacy as a true governing body for all nations to follow.
Chris, Los Angeles, USA
The UN is far more useful at nation building than it is at engaging in military action to defuse a crisis. If it can't perform this role in Iraq, many Americans will ask why we should continue to support it with taxpayer dollars.
Mark, New Jersey, USA
Since the vast majority of Iraqis are glad Saddam is gone, opposing UN or your country's involvement is simply anti-Iraqi people. Whether you opposed the war or not is irrelevant. The right thing to do is to help the Iraqi people achieve the peace and prosperity they deserve. Saddam is gone, which is a big step towards that goal. He caused this misery - not the US or the UK or anybody else. Where is the outrage over his horrible crimes? Its absence only proves that most people don't care about the people of Iraq at all. They just want to play politics. It's a real shame.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA
The United States led the war with Iraq violating, defying the UN principles, this was apparent to express arrogance and its supremacy. Now as they see situation uncontrollable, the legitimacy of UN is begged to serve their interest. I am doubtful if the (US) would be compelled to justify the WMD claim as they seek for UN role in Iraq.
And exactly how effective was the UN in Iraq for the 13 years preceding this latest war? Not to mention other global 'hotspots', where all they manage to do is cry for US assistance (see Liberia).
UK (currently in US)
Both UN and US are responsible. US responsible for destroying IRAQ and UN are responsible as they are Head of all Nations. All the US people who support US policy, they forgot that US policy has created monsters like Saddam and Bin Laden for their own greed of wealth and oil. After doing such crimes, they are now acting like good guys. US people who blindly support such crimes can not even stand in a debate on such topics.
The US and UN should work through local Arab governments such as Jordan, Egypt and even Syria to rebuild Iraq. As long as there are controls in place to monitor how the money is spent and quality of construction, the entire Middle East could benefit from such a massive humanitarian and economic effort. This would also go a long way towards addressing concerns of Anglo-American imperialism and corporate greed. Even as a Westerner, I'd rather see Iraqi and other Arab firms profit from the reconstruction efforts than the firms of countries that caused the destruction in the first place.
The UN should stay out of it. Let the Americans sort it out!
Imran Bhaiji, Blackburn, UK
The war is over! It's time to get over it and move on. The Iraqi people are anxious to see what will happen with their future, and we won't be able to do anything if these petty squabbles persist. The US army is good at war, not peacekeeping in a country where very, very few soldiers know the customs or language of the locals. It's time for the world to get off its self-righteous backside and help the civilians caught up in this mess.
Sean D, US
Many have said that the UK and US should leave Iraq, which sounds great and I am sure our troops would love to come home. Who fills the void once they are gone?
Michael V, USA
Iraq is a bullfighting arena where Bush is the bull. US troops do not want to die in Iraq, but the Iraqis do. That is the problem, and when US pull out, world terror has escalated. UN should keep out as long as John Wayne is in charge.
Elias Vagnes, Norway
No need for the UN to go looking for money to rebuild Iraq. All they have to do is kick the US out of Iraq and then the Iraqi people can claim compensation from the US (just like Kuwait claimed compensation from Iraq for the 1991 war). Compensation for the tens of thousands of Iraqi people killed by US troops should be based on the amount the US citizens received for Lockerbie.
B.Selvadurai, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Suppose the USA finally DOES decide to hand over control to the UN. Who do you really think would still be footing the bulk of the bill and supplying the bulk of the personnel?
Scott W, USA
The game is over. Saddam does not exist anymore; leave the Iraqis to decide their own fate. American troops are not needed anymore.
To those of you that think the US should leave Iraq: Who is going to keep the peace in Iraq? No one is willing to commit to helping. The quickest way to hand Iraq to the people of Iraq, is with more cooperation and help from other countries around the world. With more troops to ensure security, there can be more rebuilding and our troops can home to their families. The people of Iraq can begin to enjoy their lives in a free society. Everyone wants to see success in Iraq, but no one is willing to put in the work and sweat needed to make a difference.
To Traci, US: There's a simple reason why nobody will commit to helping the US in Iraq - the Bush administration's idea of 'help' is "follow our plan, do what we say, don't talk back". Give the rest of the world a chance to help without those restrictions and you might get a very different answer.
Violence in Iraq, even against UN staff, is a clear indication that the Iraqis have come to a realisation that even Saddam's regime was better than the 'more violence' created by the UN/British action.
A role the UN can play, which it has failed woefully to do so far, is take charge of the transition process fully. That way the 'hawks' can be brushed aside for the Iraqis to have more trust in the transition.
What have the UN ever done to us Iraqis apart from feeding their staff the finest meals in five stars hotel in Iraq during the sanction years while we were starved! Where was the UN when millions of Iraqi refugees were chased like criminals and shown on Western TVs as unwanted illegal migrants! Now the only thing we hear Kofi Anan does is to move his staff out of Iraq without even expressing concern to the safety of the Iraqi people! Aren't we human too?
We are grateful to the allies for helping us get rid of the Saddam nightmare, BUT the people of Iraq are now experiencing wave of crimes that they never had to deal with before. This is damaging the reputation and credibility of the US as well as that of the British forces in Iraq. If this continues Iraqis resentment will escalate to a revolution! Is this what the US wants?! I am sure they don't! So the UN, US and UK must address the issue of security NOW before it is too late!
UK (ORIGINALLY FROM IRAQ-KURDISTAN)
The UN should help Iraq by every means to form a new constitution, to conduct new elections and to fulfil the social investment requirements. Iraq is like a glass shop, where elephants passed through; we - the rest of the world - have to repair what these so called "coalition forces" have done to the Iraqis so far.
Berkant, Istanbul - Turkey
UN should play no role at all unless the illegal American and British forces get out first from Iraq. If they don't, they will only complicate matters by interfering in whatever UN decision making process on the ground in Iraq. The Americans will definitely try to exert their presence there by trying to impose their authority higher than the United Nations.
What I really love about the UN is how it condemns tyrants and dictators...until someone tries to actually remove them. What a paper tiger and a complete joke the UN has become. That's what happens when you allow membership to the same criminals you were created to eliminate.
O-yes, now the whole world can understand that stubbornness, social injustice, human right violation and corruption abounds in the whole world, US and UK in particular. Their divide and rule tactics. What do they want from the UN which they ignored and invaded Iraq without approval? They did not go to Iraq to help her citizens but for oil and gas interest. They should pay the price for invading Iraq alone. They sent war-ship to Nigeria to patrol the Niger Delta instead of Liberia. Americans are wonderful. It's high time they realise that awareness is everywhere; I wish Bill Clinton could be allowed by law to rule the US again for another 8 years.
London Mathias, Niger Delta, Nigeria
UN has a mission; it must supervise the critical election next year. That's the hope of the entire world. Otherwise, I'm afraid, the election will be terribly corrupt. Sorry, I'm talking about UN's role in America.
Masaru, Tokyo, Japan
Those who destroyed the country need to rebuild it. The UN needs to send the war crime tribunal ti Iraq to ensure protection of the human rights or the innocent civilians.
Sarbjit, Cdandigarh, India
I strongly believe the UN should have a role in Iraq. But it should be a major role. In other words, Americans should leave the country, and the UN should shortly devolve power to the Iraqi people. However, what the US wants is to keep controlling Iraq for years, using UN's support to turn the control of a country by another into something legitimated by the international community. The US in not in position to criticise any move by the UN.
Luciano Monteiro, Canoas, Brazil
The UN should take the lead in stabilizing Iraq, but both the US and the UK need to remain to clean up their mess and to support the UN in stabilising the country and getting it ready for a return to a government run by the Iraqi peoples.
Yes, there is a role the UN can play in rebuilding Iraq, as it has did in Cambodia in 1989. USA and UK should transfer more power to the UN to perform its duties. NATO troops should also help provide more security to make Iraq a safer place.
The strongest argument for war is that it allows removal of a tyrant. The UN would never remove a national leader. The UN has to respect the states. It is not the case for a "freedom crusade" managed by the US. The limit of this policy is that the US will limit their crusade to a number of countries, chosen by them, for a normal US interest. I don't believe that the US Policy will become the "gendarme" of the world for a long time. National and internal issues will take precedence for a while.
JF Martinot, Paris France
After it is all said and done, Iraq will be a better place without Saddam and his sadistic government. Sure, everyone likes to condemn the US and UK for going in, but who can say the UN policy of containment was working? How? By letting Saddam further torment his people? It is a shame that everyone is so concerned with UN protocol and not with those one million lives.
Violence will cause more violence. It is an illusion to think that you can control countries like Iraq with weapons. We have to rely on political pressure and programs to decrease poverty in the world. Then terrorism loses its function.
Henry de Hoon, Heerlen, Netherlands
It's the US which is asking for the United Nations to come to Iraq.
The United Nations is being gracious to the US in allowing it to even present its case.
Wellington, New Zealand
The UN over Iraq has now proved on many occasions that it has little impact. It cleared the second resolution unanimously before the war, but failed to enforce it among nations. The UN has served its purpose until now, its move out of Iraq displays a lack of courage and full commitment - it should stay out and let the coalition continue its job without further unnecessary intervention.
Richard Ryan, London, England
I think my tax dollars are being wasted on the UN. It is time for the UN to call it a day and shut down.
Jarred Elias, Arizona, USA
If Kosovo and Bosnia are such shining examples of UN success, why is there still a huge enclave of US peacekeepers in the region?
Lauren, Orange County, USA
I work with UN in SCR 986 program. What about our national staff?
Should they leave Iraq or ..............???
The UN is a toothless tiger without the UK, US and the NATO Allies it is an organization that grinds water and thinks it is has done some good.
UN and rest of the world should stay away and let the coalition US and UK face the consequences.
Hassan Ponda, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
If blue helmets replace stars and stripes on the streets of Iraq's cities then the accompanying retrospective legitimacy may help Bush and Blair squirm away from looming accountability. It's a hard, horrible call to make, with terrible implications for the people of Iraq, US and UK, but is it not better for the US to be bogged down in Iraq than freeing up their military resources for the next country on the New American Century list?
Since US ignored the countries of the UN, now let US solve the problem on its own and give back their UN seat.
Saliefarook, Sri Lanka
Although the UN staff is always coming under attacks almost on a daily bases, it still have an important role to play, such as the building of Iraq and providing food and medicine
ChernorJalloh, Almeria, Spain
What this country needs is lots of money to rebuild the infrastructure that has suffered through decades of neglect and sanctions. The money needs to be spent quickly, honestly and with minimum waste and bureaucracy in order to have a rapid impact on the ground. The UN can do none of these things. I was asked last week by a Regional Manager from the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity whether Britain could come back to run the country. He considers (possibly through rose tinted spectacles) that things have deteriorated ever since.
LST, Baghdad, Iraq
The world will not recognize any administration as legitimate in Iraq unless legitimized by the UN. The effort of US without UN is fruitless considering the huge global opposition to war on Iraq. Kosovo and Bosnia are good UN success examples in the modern history.
The United Nations is not a garbage council for cleaning up dirt done by irresponsible nations. US and Britain should leave Iraq to its people to decide their future. All damages for the war should be borne by the people who started it.
Nor Asma, KL, Malaysia
Yes, there is a role, the United Nations must take control of the political and economical direction of Iraq while the USA and UK take care of security issues under UN political direction.
Artur Freitas, Johannesburg, South Africa
I find it interesting that the UN likes to go around the world and talk about freedom and the self-determination of peoples, and then holds meetings on how best to govern a sovereign nation. It is becoming increasingly clear that the "facts" used by the US to justify the invasion are flawed... so why is the world playing along and continuing to run Iraq like a possession and not let Iraq determine its own destiny? Haven't the Iraqis suffered enough? Let them have their country back.
Jason Konik, USA/Poland
It concerns me that many people are willing to abandon the Iraqi people just because they disagree with the American decision to forcibly remove Saddam. The idea that since the Americans invaded, it's not their mess and don't want to help. What is important is that the UN helps people where it is needed, regardless of the reason. Otherwise it is irrelevant and a colossal waste of resources. The UN's growing list of failures is undermining its credibility and, combined with its lack of backbone, is emboldening tyrants everywhere.
Travis Gruver, Des Moines, IA, USA
Like most endeavours the UN is involved in it is heavy in bureaucrats and extremely light in actions. Without the US and UK the UN is incapable of enforcing any of its resolutions and allowing the UN to implant its inefficient, elitist and self-serving bureaucracy on the Iraqi people would be almost as tragic as allowing Saddam to return to power.
John, Birmingham, USA
The UN that represents the 97% of the population who are not American must ensure the will of the World is paramount. The USA must not be allowed to get away with its illegal invasion - they should be removed from Iraq now and replaced with a true International 'Peace Keeping Force' under the UN banner. Perhaps they should even consider moving their HQ away from NY to Baghdad!
Ian Wyles, Chapel en le Frith, England
I feel that there should only be UN entry on a large scale only if they are allowed a wider role. Otherwise it would just be a case of the US trying to shift the burden of excessive cost and military involved. Furthermore, the lack of WMD so far needs to be examined and if the US/UK case for war is found to be incorrect, action should be taken against these nations by the UN. Multilateralism is in serious danger, and the UN must now use this as an opportunity to regain strength and credibility in the world community. Sending a harsh message to the US/UK would be a first step and by not sending in funds/military but just remaining at the humanitarian level may just prove this point - Don't expect us to clean up your mess.
M Sapra, New Delhi, India
There is something unreal about the notion of the UN being willing now to participate in the occupation of Iraq, when it was not willing to sanction the invasion. We now know for sure that there were no WMD. Before the invasion the majority of UN members allowed the possibility that there might be WMD out of respect for or fear of the US, but almost no-one outside the US and UK really believed they existed. Now there is even less justification for the war than before.
The Irish government bent over backwards to placate the US on the war. Yet there is no chance that they would consider sending any Irish troops to bail out Bush. It would be electoral suicide. If that is true of Ireland, which regards it itself as an economic province of the US, how much more true must it be in other countries less dependent on the US?
Tim O'Halloran, Dublin
The UN should be in the Occupied Territories, enforcing resolutions 242 and 338. That would ease the tensions that are rife throughout the Middle East. Let the S spend it's billions on providing Israel with defences that would keep their homelands secure, if they wish. It's called how to win friends and influence people without the need to have rules of engagement that regularly result in the deaths of innocents in Iraq and elsewhere. Whilst the Arab nations may have their own differences, they are united as far as Palestine is concerned. If the UN did this, then any risk to their personnel in Iraq would disappear overnight.
It's time to draw a veil over the UN for good. It failed in Bosnia. It failed in Rwanda. It failed in Iraq. It failed in Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Congo, Liberia and Zimbabwe. It is an extravagant waste of resources that yields no practical benefits. It's time to drop the charade of cosy internationalism and face facts. The UN is useless.
UN has too many cooks. This has already spoilt the broth. Best to leave Iraq. It is sad. But may be UN may do a better job elsewhere. Look at the Congo, Mr. Taylor, now to be booked in the WAR CRIME after given refugees status, AIDS, cash strapped UN can do little. It is a sinking boat. All for self rule now
Firozali A. Mulla, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania
What alternatives do we have to the UN? The disastrous and bankrupt notion of "Might makes Right" of the 19th and 20th Century?
Lewyn Li, New York, USA
The US and the UK aren't I trying to get the UN into Iraq. They are trying to get extra money and non-voting cannon fodder and are using the UN for this purpose. The UN should stay clear of this. There is no governing institution higher than the UN but placing the UN-forces directly under US command in Iraq would convince the US it is.
While the UN stands in its legal and moral high ground, aid workers are dying on the ground.
I appreciate that the UN feels marginalised and taken for granted, but isn't it there to help people?
I firmly believe that the removal of Saddam was the right (if not legal) thing to do.
I also feel the UN didn't support the coalition because of member states being afraid for reprisals. If that is their attitude, why do we bother with a UN that won't act outside the interest of its member states?
What people who are against the UN involvement in Iraq seem to forget is that it is not the UN asking to be a part in Iraq but it is the US that is trying to get help by using the UN. The fact of the matter is that the US by its contact has seriously undermined the UN authority and now is turning to the UN only because it has been proven to deal with the problem is has created. If the UN approves the US proposition it will be further more undermined.
Papantonioy Kostas, Athens Greece
The Bush Administration is now desperate to reduce the body count that may lose it the 2004 elections, and hopes that involving the UN will both give it justification and reduce attacks on its troops.
The UN is fast becoming irrelevant. The UN has a responsibility to the people of Iraq and they are failing to act responsibly. It appears that they are rejecting the people of Iraq, when more international support is needed, and the UN would be an ideal organisation, as the base of that support.
Bradley Thomas, Evesham, UK
If it is too tough for the UN then where do people turn? Doesn't this kinda motivate a country's ruler to be as nasty as he wants to be to keep the UN out?
The UN has no role at all in Iraq. Let Bush clean up his own mess. The presence of the UN would justify this illegal war.
It is important to define the UN mission in Iraq first. Is it going to be peace keeping, humanitarian or fighting terror? The world community has a responsibility to Iraq because is a member of the UN. It is equally important that any action taken should be within the UN framework and mandate. Mr Annan is right to say we need to redefine the UN in light of these new challenges. Only when this is done will UN have a popular mandate and this will in future prevent unilateral action of powerful countries without UN backing.
Kasirye Edward, Uganda
The US thinks it knows everything. Respect culture, processes and systems that are put in place by people of different backgrounds and race. I think the UN would play a very neutral and democratic role in the process if given the mandate to administer. There is need for quick action. Please put your pride aside and give the Iraqis what they need - the UN.
Bush and Blair thought they would go into Iraq, chase away Saddam and his administration, perhaps set up a puppet administration and enjoy the "oil" proceeds alone. Now their plans have hit on rocks and others must come to help clean the resultant mess. Yes perhaps the UN must come in for the sake of the Iraq people but not under the US/UK command.
Mark Makombe, Cape Town, South Africa
UN should not get involved. Let the USA & UK pay for their mistakes. Let the blood of US troops and those of UK make them remember the mistake Bush made so that they will not dare to support aggression without reason ,imagined or sexed up ,again . Let Americans pay with blood for their mistakes then they will be less inclined to repeat them. If the UN is to take action let the USA & UK pay for the damage.
Siddharth, Kolhapur, India
The UN should play no role in Iraq until the Anglo-US army has been legitimized by an honest Security Council resolution
Harry Taggart, Scotland
The UN doesn't have the courage or the character to play a major role in Iraq. It was the US and Great Britain who got rid of the Saddam Hussein regime. and they are the ones with the guts to see the thing through. The UN is irrelevant in today's world.
To Lynn: US action is quite stupid because this shows that every country in the world will have right to attack any other country with any reason. UN should go to Iraq but with a major role, that's all. If USA still wants to be the chief over there to show their "super-power", just let them do it alone.
I think it is irresponsible on the part of the world to think that it is completely US's responsibility to rebuild Iraq. What about the people of Iraq themselves? First of all they put up with a brutal dictator for decades, who not only loots and kills his own people, but threatens its neighbours as well. So it is high time Iraqis got their act together, elected their own government and started rebuilding their own country. It is a shame that a nation of such history cannot find a few among its millions who can lead their country in the right direction - to a democratic, secular, free trading nation that does not become a victim of extremist Islam like its neighbours.
US has 150,000 + troops and civilian administrators policing, rebuilding Iraq right now. Fact: US is planning to spend up to $87 Billion in next 12 months. Fact: US invasion has removed Saddam/UN sanctions that resulted in 1.3 million deaths in last 12 years with more than 500,000 children.
Fiction: US is plundering and turning Iraq into hell. quite to the contrary, I bet Iraq will be in 12-24 months where every one from middle east would want to live. The only reason US wants UN mandate is internal political reasons. Additional troops will help but US knows that they will remain a fraction of current force levels. UN technical help (WHO and UNDP) are others who can help significantly. US is NOT going to UN because it is in any sort of trouble.
Pankaj Tyagi, Boston, USA
Pankaj Tyagi, Boston, USA, why don't you get the KEY FACT that the only WMDs found in Iraq are the US troops and the US bombs? The second fact: it is Bush who asked for UN help, not vice versa and that speaks volume more than your fancy facts.
Where do people get the idea that the US and UK started this war? It was Saddam Hussein and the UN. Someone had to take responsibility for the actions of the UN.
Rory Macgregor, UK
I agree with the French President Jacques Chirac "there is no alternative to the UN". I think going to war without UN backing is what the US did wrong. No country can act unilaterally even though it is the most power nation in the world. And now I hope leaders recognise their mistakes and compromise and build peaceful Iraq.
The US government needs to realise that if they want to regain any credibility after undermining the authority of the UN and other countries then they should let the UN lead the rebuilding of Iraq. US domination would not help resolve the crisis but simply make things worse. The people of Iraq want peace not US troops.
UN intervention at this stage could set a dangerous precedent for potential unilateral actions by the US/UK in the future. What we are saying is that it is okay to launch an invasion of a sovereign state, however unsavoury that regime may be, without the will or mandate of the majority of world opinion, and then to ask the UN to come in the aftermath to help clean up the mess.
UN should be actively involved. If it does not then its importance and its pivotal role in the world will be greatly whittled down. Both the administrator of Iraq and the composition of the existing force should be gradually changed within a period of three to six months. UN multinational force should take over.
K V Murty, India
President Bush is right. Had the US and like minded countries did not take action to remove Saddam's regime, Iraqis will still be subjected to human rights abuses. The world should focus on helping Iraq to build a better place for its citizens to live in. The opposition to US led war is all about oil money.
UN should play a vital role in all world affairs by scraping the veto power in the Security Council.
S P Joshi, Nepal
I think the UN should do what it thinks is right for Iraq. They shouldn't try and teach the US (mainly the Bush admin) a lesson. By playing the blame game, the UN would be hurting the Iraqi people. Why punish them more and why punish the American taxpayer more? There are a lot of decent people here who did not want war and the majority of American voters did not even vote for Bush.
The UN is incapable of making decisions. It is rife with vested interests and jealousy. The whole organisation needs to be disbanded and a new organisation born that will be much less bureaucratic and more geared to dealing with real problems in real ways. Sometimes this may mean using force.
Peter Ingram, Switzerland
The US and UK started this war despite the objections of other countries. Both countries are still very rich so they should bear the full costs of fixing what they broke. If it hurts their economies to do so, then maybe that will be a good lesson for the future.
If we look at what everybody has been saying in these responses, it seems clear to me that many people are in favour of a UN-backed resolution and a new peacekeeping force in Iraq, composed of more than just the US and Britain. That says to me that the world has become more and more committed to multilateralism and cooperation when it comes to ensuring peace and stability to war-torn countries. I think that is a positive sign. However, it is time for the United States administration to accept that it made a mistake in invading Iraq without full UN and European support and therefore, must now start to reconstruct the country in a multilateral fashion.
The UN should not go to the rescue of those who showed nothing but contempt for its principles and resolutions. The only way for them to go into Iraq is on the basis of a simple and unconditional US withdrawal. The UN cannot be used as a cover for US occupation.
Mansouri M, Morocco
The UN will not be able to defeat the Iraqi resistance any more than the US and UK can. The Iraqis remember that the UN was the agency which enforced the sanctions against them for 13 years. Those sanctions resulted in the death of 1.5 million Iraqis and did nothing to weaken the power of Saddam's regime. Now someone please tell me, why would the Iraqi people welcome the UN with open arms?
Perhaps the ultimate paradox is seeing George Bush come cap in hand to the UN, an organisation ignored and even castigated by his own administration. It should be a lesson to all those 'powers' who seek to act unilaterally.
Stephen Bones, France
What UN are you talking about? I think the organisation died long ago. I don't think it can play any role in Iraq. There's not going be any reconstruction as that was never the agenda. However, the agenda of the occupiers is becoming apparent with the passage of time.
Ahmad Farooq, Pakistan.
Maybe George Bush has forgotten or probably doesn't even know that the UN has actually 191 member states and it is not just compiled of the US and UK to run world affairs. I would gladly see the General Assembly remove both countries from the UN for their illegal behaviour and set some decent sanctions in place. After all that's what the UN did when Iraq invaded illegally it's neighbour Kuwait.
The UN should begin by playing a role within its self: member states that break international rules and agreements should be sanctioned, or even expelled. When the UN shows the will and the "guts" to sanction the US, the rest of the world will again have faith in it. The US, under Bush has destroyed Iraq as a country. And, that says it all. Now Bush wants some kind of international "green light" to continue their plunder of Iraq.
Yes, I agree, the UN should have a role in Iraq: First demand that the US, and Blair, withdraw their troops and after that, and only after that, send a truly International force to restore order in Iraq. Oh well, I am dreming again.....
Aristides Garcia, The Netherlands
One way or another Iraq will have a constitution and a democratically elected government. Either the UN can be a part of the effort and perhaps accelerate the process or the US and the UK will get the job done. A democratic and free Iraq will change the Middle East and the world for the better.
The UN needs to get involved in the reconstruction since the Iraqis need to know that a world-wide agency is committed to their country's problems.
Further the UN must have complete control of the reconstruction because this would convince the Iraqis that they are not puppets in a power-play between the Arab world and the US but the measures being put forward are ultimately in favour of their future.
Also the fact that the resources of the UN are being requested means that the UN alone has the right to control reconstruction efforts
Anand Shridhar, India
I've always argued that as it was the USA, assisted by the UK, who started this mess, they should finish it. But I've come to the conclusion that, ideal as this may be, it just isn't realistic. So, it's a dirty job, and someone has got to do it. Therefore, who else but the UN? At least, the UN's increased involvement might give it back some credibility, following its dismal lack of support for the initiating Resolutions in the first place.
Alan Hall, UK
The U.S./U.K. invasion of Iraq was a violation of the UN Charter. The people of Iraq need the UN expertise at nation-building and creating transitional authority, but the problem is to do this without lending any kind of "post facto" justification for the illegal actions of the UK and US. It's a real dilemma and there are no easy answers to this mess that Bush and Blair have created for the entire world.
I am alarmed that UN Secretary General Kofi-Anan seems to want to change the UN Charter to allow for pre-emptive wars. That is a recipe for disaster!
Michael L. Westmoreland-White, USA
I am thankful for counties like France, Germany, China, and Russia that had enough courage and morality to stand up to George W. Bush. I hope they will keep standing up to him and veto any action in the UN that does not turn over the rebuilding of Iraq to the UN and soon return the government of Iraq to the capable people of Iraq. The UN still has some ethical values and integrity. With George W. and many of his administration members being shown to have been economical with the truth, the reconstruction of Iraq is doomed to failure if they continue to in charge of the rebuilding and reconstruction of Iraq. We already see the pilfering and theft of Iraqi assets by USA corporations who are friendly to George W. Bush. Bush, Cheney, and in my view, the lot need to be sacked immediately.
Norman Harper, USA
The UN should've been involved in Iraq in the first place. It was illegal for Bush to invade Iraq, just as it was illegal for Saddam to invade Kuwait.
Now, the UN should treat the US the same way it treated Iraq after it invaded Kuwait.
Aldo Johnson, Indonesia
Surely questions about an Iraqi Council to govern the country should have been addressed before the US and UK went in 'guns-a-blazing'? I hope the thoughts of the Iraqi people are taken into consideration in all of this. This can be helped by having the UN intervene so as to avoid the complete Americanisation of Iraq.
For the sake of people of Iraq the UN should take responsibility of Iraq. However the US and UK should not be part of the peace keeping force. As they are responsible for the current mess, they should be made to pay for the peace keeping and reconstruction of Iraq.
P.Srinivas Reddy, India
Please don't ridicule the United Nations. It is not the United Nations' business to get involved in Iraq since the war did not get sanction from the Security Council to make it legal. The United Nations must be respected by all member countries in order to make it relevant at all times. Clearly, it is the Bush Administration total responsibility to clear the mess they created in Iraq.
Quite frankly, no - the UN should not be involved in Iraq since they didn't have the guts to back up their resolutions. So, as usual, brave American & British soldiers had to do the dirty work. Now that the heaviest fighting is over, the French and the Germans and their ilk come slithering out and decide they want a piece of Iraq. What needs to happen is for the average decent Iraqis to hold their criminal peers responsible for their murderous actions, turn over Saddam and start making some effort to rebuild their country. As for the UN, move their HQ from New York to Paris or Berlin.
Jason Yount, Nashville TN, USA
Jason, perhaps you haven't been keeping up with current events, but it is the US government which is demanding the UN be involved in Iraq. Even your own soldiers, who unlike you are actually risking their lives in this stupid war, are writing in to papers across the US and letting the world know what they think of your government's policy in Iraq. The Bush administration has bitten off more than it can chew, and now they want the UN to bail them out, so GWB can get re-elected. He's probably counting the votes of people just like you.
Bush swaggered into the UN last winter and threatened that
it was about to become irrelevant. Now he goes to the UN to
bail him out of the mess that he created. The UN should
say to Bush: you made your bed, you lay in it; and leave
him stewing in his own juices
Europe (new or old) have to intervene but I don't want this to happen without the real involvement of the UN. The USA has to recognise the authority of the UN, because if we go there and clean the mess then the US will say: "great, let's go for another war" and that would be worse than the current mess in Iraq.
Without question the UN should be involved with the reconstruction of Iraq's economy and in setting the pace for the Iraqis taking over full political control of their country. There appears, at least to my thinking, a somewhat sinister move by the Bush administration to retain all the political and economic controls in Iraq until the Iraqis concede fully to the American demands for a Western type democracy. Those who have an understanding of Middle East cultures and faiths will know only too well that this will not work. I am also disturbed by what is going on in the economic arena. Just the other day it was announced that thousands of Iraqi businesses are up for grabs, and guess who are doing most of the buying, not the Iraqis who are impoverished for hard cash, but the American business corporations and other foreign interests. Yes, the UN should be completely involved in Iraq and its recovery, and Mr. Bush should listen very carefully to the Europeans and Russians who oppose his belligerent attitude.
Albert E. Slocombe,
The UN should play a supportive role, but the US deserves to lead the efforts, because it committed troops and money when the rest of the world was willing to do nothing but criticize the US. France is jealous of the US and is hungry for future economic benefits in Iraq.
To Simon, USA: Oh, please, do get real! It was your country's aggression that caused this mess in the first place! The last thing the world needs is more US involvement making the situation far worst!
Alan Hall, UK
Despite its weaknesses and failings, the UN is the only credible and legitimate authority that can restore any semblance of peace and stability to Iraq, and put it on the road to democracy. But it can only do so if it is not perceived by the Iraqis as just reinforcements for the American and British invaders.
John Rosenthal, New Zealand
Though it's nice to think that the UN operates for the benefit of everyone, history shows us that it is an organisation fraught with conflicting special interests and agendas. The UN is ill-prepared and lacks the skill sets to perform this increased tasking list.
The UN should put a ban on all actions taken by the Provisional Authority. They are selling out Iraq at top speed to make the process irreversible. These actions cannot be repaired if they are allowed now. The UN should be at the heart of things, not at the tail.
Pierre Beerkens, Netherlands
At this point, I don't think the UN can contribute much to the stabilisation of Iraq. The US and the UK, leading whatever allies they can muster, have to greatly increase the number of troops they currently have in Iraq and aggressively root out Saddam loyalists and other resistance groups. Sending in blue helmets at this time would simply provide more soft targets for the resistance.
Rob M, Canada
Hans Blix and the UN tried to solve the situation in a civilised way but Bush and Blair were very keen on solving it with bombs. Now they want us to pay for their mistakes - NO!
Johanna Widlund, Sweden
UN involvement would help in name only. What Iraq really needs is training to get its own people responsible for the every day security of the country. That is what stands in the way of creating a stable Iraqi government.
I think the civil authority should be turned over to the UN. This would include awarding contracts for reconstruction.
Mari Morsell, USA
Iraq cannot be brought to democratic peace and stability to a timetable any more the Israel-Palestinian conflict can be solved through a roadmap. Both problems require enormous commitment, resources and goodwill from both the US and the rest of the world before even the beginnings of a solution can appear. Both problems have a better hope of being solved by being solved together.
John M, LyneMeads, UK
When the US and UK started this war they were not so eager to have any involvement from the UN. Now when the war is not running as scheduled they want the rest of the world to share the risks and pay the bill. Didn't they say we can do this alone we don't need old Europe? Let Bush and Blair finish what they started.
Maria Carnet, Belgium
The Americans have not given one thought of how to reconstruct a country that they have invaded and occupied. Now that they have their oil they are simply handing over the responsibility to someone else. They want to stay in control of the oil and a Middle East presence and let the world clear up their mess!
Unless America cedes control of Iraq's future to an independent, international body like the UN, it will continue to be viewed as an occupying force with colonial intentions by the rest of the world which opposed the invasion of Iraq.
John Farmer, UK
While the United Nations may not be very effective as a fighting force or
military power, surely it's credible as a peacekeeping, multinational
organisation with proven records in places like East Timor and Sierra
Leone. Only the UN has the means and resources to assemble a global,
multinational force and administration, which could also include Arab, Muslim
nations that can reassure the Iraqis and their Arab-Muslim allies that the
coalition force in Iraq is not an occupying power, but a multinational
contingent committed to rapidly creating democracy in Iraq and
quickly rebuilding the war-torn nation, thus putting her in a position to enjoy her mineral wealth and natural resources, and, at the same time, rejoining the international community, if forces of sabotage, extremism and terror restrain themselves.
Igonikon Jack, USA