Czech Republic considering to help UN in Iraq
The United Nations withdrew from Iraq after a devastating attack on its headquarters a year ago. Now they are to come back early next year to help with preparing free elections. In order to avoid a similar tragedy to the explosion that among many others killed the UN special envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello, they have addressed several countries, which are perceived in a positive light in the region, to help protect their employees. The Czech Republic was among them.
But Radek Khol from the Institute of International Relations believes that the CR should help.
We asked a few people on Prague's streets how they felt about the possible renewed engagement in Iraq.
"Czech troops in Iraq are necessary help, but I think it's very dangerous because it will leave us open for potential terrorists."
"I don't know if it brings stability in Iraq. They don't want U.S. soldiers, they don't want anybody!"
"It's the best way how to represent the Czech Republic - the Czech Army. It's also one way to how to protect the Czech Republic from terrorist attacks."
Although Czech public opinion has expressed skepticism about the US-led invasion in the past, Radek Khol believes that many people will see things differently this time.
"I would say that this kind of unit would be slightly more acceptable, both because it would be tied to the United Nations and at the same time it would provide a self-protection. So there would be a mark difference between the public appearance of those units which might be part of an attacking force in the public imagination or those who are oriented in humanitarian activities like the field hospital that the Czech Republic deployed in Iraq shortly after the fighting stopped last May."
The Czech Republic was asked to help only last week. The final decision will depend not only on the will of the government but also on the position of the Czech parliament, which would have to approve either financial support or military deployment.