[JURIST] A report released Tuesday by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group [advocacy website] on potential political structures for post-Saddam Iraq rejects the alternatives of direct US authority and interim Iraqi authority in favor of a UN interim administration:
[W]ho should run Iraq once hostilities have ceased? The first option, assumption of full authority by the United States, has been roundly criticised by members both of the Iraqi opposition and of the international community. Even many U.S. policy-makers acknowledge that it risks alienating Iraqis, exposing Washington to accusations that it nurtures imperial designs and further undermining its posture in the region. An alternative proposal, based on the rapid establishment of an interim Iraqi authority to which the U.S. would transfer power and with which it would jointly govern, has received more support, as necessary for domestic legitimacy. This interim authority would give way to a permanent Iraqi authority once political conditions (e.g., agreement on a constitution, national elections) permit. But this proposal, too, is flawed. The fundamental problem is that no pre-identifiable, optimal Iraqi candidates exist whom either the United States or the international community can handpick to run an interim authority. Socio-political dynamics in Iraq are complex and too little is known of the actual preferences or aspirations of those inside the country....Read the complete text of War in Iraq: Political Challenges after the Conflict.
The best road for Iraq and for the international community, therefore, is to set up a United Nations transitional civil authority with full executive and legislative powers to run the country until a legitimate, democratic, permanent Iraqi authority can be established. This authority would not have security responsibilities, relying instead on a U.S.-led multinational force (MNF) presence throughout Iraq, which itself would optimally, though not necessarily, be endorsed by the Security Council.