Resolution 1511 - What does it accomplish?

Sticking very close to the script of this macabre play, Resolution 1511 is passed by the UNSC. The resolution does appear to be very weak, accomplishing nothing materially but it does raise the floor - by judiciously NOT attempting to lower the bar of international expectation of the U.S. handling of the occupation - for the next round of negotiations.

"THE SECURITY COUNCIL, REAFFIRMING its previous resolutions on Iraq, including resolution 1483 (2003) of 22 May 2003 and 1500 (2003) of 14 August 2003, and on threats to peace and security caused by terrorist acts, including resolution 1373 (200 1) of 28 September 2001, and other relevant resolutions,

REITERATING its resolve that the day when Iraqis govern themselves must come quickly, and RECOGNISING the importance of international support, particularly that of countries in the region, Iraq’s neighbours, and regional organisations, in taking forward this process expeditiously,

RECOGNISING that international support for restoration of conditions of stability and security is essential to the well-being of the people of Iraq as well as to the ability of all concerned to carry out their work on behalf of the people of Iraq, and welcoming Member State contributions in this regard under resolution 1483 (2003 ),

DETERMINING that the situation in Iraq, although improved, continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,


11. REQUESTS the Secretary-General to ensure that the resources of the United Nations and associated organisations are available, if requested by the Iraqi Governing Council and, as circumstances permit, to assist in furtherance of the programme provided by the Governing Council in paragraph 7 above. and encourages other organisations with expertise in this area to support the Iraqi Governing Council, if requested;

13. DETERMINES that the provision of security and stability is essential to the successful completion of the political process as outlined in paragraph 7 above and to the ability of the United Nations to contribute effectively to that process and the implementation of resolution 1483 (2003 ), and AUTHORISES a multinational force under unified command to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq, including for the purpose of ensuring necessary conditions for the implementation of the timetable and programme as well as to contribute to the security of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, the Governing Council of Iraq and other institutions of the Iraqi interim administration, and key humanitarian and economic infrastructure;

14, URGES Member States to contribute assistance under this United Nations mandate, including military forces, to the multinational force referred to in paragraph 13 above;

  1. DECIDES that the Council shall review the requirements and mission of the multinational force referred to in paragraph 13 above not later than one year from the date of this resolution, and that in any case the mandate of the force shall expire upon the completion of the political process as described in paragraphs 4 through 7 and 10 above, and expresses readiness to consider on that occasion any future need for the continuation of the multinational force, taking into account the views of an internationally recognised, representative government of Iraq;

16, EMPHASISES the importance of establishing effective Iraqi police and security forces in maintaining law, order, and security and combating terrorism consistent with paragraph 4 of resolution 1483 (2003), and calls upon Member States and international and regional organisations to contribute to the training and equipping of Iraqi police and security forces;

25. REQUESTS that the United States, on behalf of the multinational force as outlined in paragraph 13 above, report to the Security Council on the efforts and progress of this force as appropriate and not less than every six months…"

It is not difficult to forsee the U.S. taking these words back to the UNSC in a few months and berating the other members for paying only “lip service” to the cause of securing and rebuilding Iraq and thus failing the Iraqi people. The UN will once again be on the verge of becoming an irrelevant organization for it’s inaction. Using Resolution 1511 as a platform combined with continued violent resistance in Iraq, the U.S. will have a much easier case to make to the international community for a strong multinational military pressence on Iraqi soil.


It’s like any other UN resolution. Purely symbolic. Much like the UN itself.

I dare say, you are getting ahead of the Administration here. You need a few more months before you level the threat of imminent irrelevance on them, again. Be patient…

When were they ever relevant?

The only times they’ve ever accomplished anything from a security standpoint was when the US did the heavy lifting.

So why is it that we’re hitting them up for money and troops again?

Truth be told, it seems like we are “hitting up” the individual member states from the UNSC for troops and cash. I think that the UN is primarily being asked for humanitarian support.

If that is true then why did the Bush Administration go through so much trouble to get the resolution passed by the UNSC? Why is it being hailed as such a “great achievement” by Powell ( and equally lauded by other Bush Administration officials? Is the UN only irrelevant when they don’t agree with U.S. policy?