IRAQ AND THE UN….Apparently everyone agrees that the military force in Iraq should remain under U.S. control regardless of whether or not other countries agree to send additional troops, but France and Germany are proposing an extremely rapid turnover of civilian authority to Iraq’s Governing Council:

France and Germany have called for the United Nations to endorse Iraq’s Governing Council and cabinet as the “trustee of Iraqi sovereignty” until an elected government takes over, in a move likely to test the US’s avowed commitment to the speedy transfer of authority.

….Diplomats say that the French-German ideas, which come ahead of Saturday’s meeting of foreign ministers in Geneva, would not imply an immediate wresting of authority away from the US-led provisional authority, but are intended to signal a “radical” change of pace in ending the occupation.

They call on Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, to report within a fixed period ? perhaps 45 days, according to one diplomat ? on the “expeditious and orderly” transfer of “effective and substantial” authority.

….Diplomats in New York insisted the interchange of ideas marked a genuinely constructive attempt to find a workable solution. Nonetheless, it is far from clear that the US will be willing to accept the concessions that France and Germany seek.

The plot thickens….