[OPE-L:7798] NYTimes.com Article: U.S. Has a Plan to Occupy Iraq, Officials Report

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Fri Oct 11 2002 - 01:02:05 EDT

This article from NYTimes.com

U.S. Has a Plan to Occupy Iraq, Officials Report

October 11, 2002

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 - The White House is developing a
detailed plan, modeled on the postwar occupation of Japan,
to install an American-led military government in Iraq if
the United States topples Saddam Hussein, senior
administration officials said today.

The plan also calls for war-crime trials of Iraqi leaders
and a transition to an elected civilian government that
could take months or years.

In the initial phase, Iraq would be governed by an American
military commander - perhaps Gen. Tommy R. Franks,
commander of United States forces in the Persian Gulf, or
one of his subordinates - who would assume the role that
Gen. Douglas MacArthur served in Japan after its surrender
in 1945.

One senior official said the administration was "coalescing
around" the concept after discussions of options with
President Bush and his top aides. But this official and
others cautioned that there had not yet been any formal
approval of the plan and that it was not clear whether
allies had been consulted on it.

The detailed thinking about an American occupation emerges
as the administration negotiates a compromise at the United
Nations that officials say may fall short of an explicit
authorization to use force but still allow the United
States to claim it has all the authority it needs to force
Iraq to disarm.

In contemplating an occupation, the administration is
scaling back the initial role for Iraqi opposition forces
in a post-Hussein government. Until now it had been assumed
that Iraqi dissidents both inside and outside the country
would form a government, but it was never clear when they
would take full control.

Today marked the first time the administration has
discussed what could be a lengthy occupation by coalition
forces, led by the United States.

Officials say they want to avoid the chaos and in-fighting
that have plagued Afghanistan since the defeat of the
Taliban. Mr. Bush's aides say they also want full control
over Iraq while American-led forces carry out their
principal mission: finding and destroying weapons of mass

The description of the emerging American plan and the
possibility of war-crime trials of Iraqi leaders could be
part of an administration effort to warn Iraq's generals of
an unpleasant future if they continue to support Mr.

Asked what would happen if American pressure prompted a
coup against Mr. Hussein, a senior official said, "That
would be nice." But the official suggested that the
American military might enter and secure the country
anyway, not only to eliminate weapons of mass destruction
but also to ensure against anarchy.

Under the compromise now under discussion with France,
Russia and China, according to officials familiar with the
talks, the United Nations Security Council would approve a
resolution requiring the disarmament of Iraq and specifying
"consequences" that Iraq would suffer for defiance.

It would stop well short of the explicit authorization to
enforce the resolution that Mr. Bush has sought. But the
diplomatic strategy, now being discussed in Washington,
Paris and Moscow, would allow Mr. Bush to claim that the
resolution gives the United States all the authority he
believes he needs to force Baghdad to disarm.

Other Security Council members could offer their own, less
muscular interpretations, and they would be free to draft a
second resolution, authorizing the use of force, if Iraq
frustrated the inspection process. The United States would
regard that second resolution as unnecessary, senior
officials say.

"Everyone would read this resolution their own way," one
senior official said.

The revelation of the occupation plan marks the first time
the administration has described in detail how it would
administer Iraq in the days and weeks after an invasion,
and how it would keep the country unified while searching
for weapons.

It would put an American officer in charge of Iraq for a
year or more while the United States and its allies
searched for weapons and maintained Iraq's oil fields.

For as long as the coalition partners administered Iraq,
they would essentially control the second largest proven
reserves of oil in the world, nearly 11 percent of the
total. A senior administration official said the United
Nations oil-for-food program would be expanded to help
finance stabilization and reconstruction.

Administration officials said they were moving away from
the model used in Afghanistan: establishing a provisional
government right away that would be run by Iraqis. Some top
Pentagon officials support this approach, but the State
Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and,
ultimately, the White House, were cool to it.

"We're just not sure what influence groups on the outside
would have on the inside," an administration official said.
"There would also be differences among Iraqis, and we don't
want chaos and anarchy in the early process."

Instead, officials said, the administration is studying the
military occupations of Japan and Germany. But they
stressed a commitment to keeping Iraq unified, as Japan
was, and avoiding the kind partition that Germany underwent
when Soviet troops stayed in the eastern sector, which set
the stage for the cold war. The military government in
Germany stayed in power for four years; in Japan it lasted
six and a half years.

In a speech on Saturday, Zalmay Khalilzad, the special
assistant to the president for Near East, Southwest Asian
and North African affairs, said, "The coalition will assume
- and the preferred option - responsibility for the
territorial defense and security of Iraq after liberation."

"Our intent is not conquest and occupation of Iraq," Mr.
Khalilzad said. "But we do what needs to be done to achieve
the disarmament mission and to get Iraq ready for a
democratic transition and then through democracy over

Iraqis, perhaps through a consultative council, would
assist an American-led military and, later, a civilian
administration, a senior official said today. Only after
this transition would the American-led government hand
power to Iraqis.

He said that the Iraqi armed forces would be "downsized,"
and that senior Baath Party officials who control
government ministries would be removed. "Much of the
bureaucracy would carry on under new management," he added.

Some experts warned during Senate hearings last month that
a prolonged American military occupation of Iraq could
inflame tensions in the Mideast and the Muslim world.

"I am viscerally opposed to a prolonged occupation of a
Muslim country at the heart of the Muslim world by Western
nations who proclaim the right to re-educate that country,"
said the former secetary of state, Henry A. Kissinger, who
as a young man served as a district administrator in the
military government of occupied Germany.

While the White House considers its long-term plans for
Iraq, Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, arrived in
Moscow this evening for a day and a half of talks with
President Vladimir V. Putin. Aides said talks were focused
on resolving the dispute at the United Nations. Mr. Blair
and Mr. Putin are to hold formal discussions on Friday,
followed by a news conference.

Mr. Blair has been a steadfast supporter of the
administration's tough line on a new resolution. But he has
also indicated that Britain would consider France's
proposal to have a two-tiered approach, with the Security
Council first adopting a resolution to compel Iraq to
cooperate with international weapons inspectors, and then,
if Iraq failed to comply, adopting a second resolution on
military force. Earlier this week, Russia indicated that
it, too, was prepared to consider the French position.

But the administration is now saying that if there is a
two-resolution approach, it will insist that the first
resolution provide Mr. Bush all the authority he needs.

"The timing of all this is impossible to anticipate," one
administration official involved in the talks said. "The
president doesn't want to have to wait around for a second
resolution if it is clear that the Iraqis are not

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company

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