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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #19 - 2 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. US "appointocracy" for Iraq (ppg)
   2. 26 billion yen set aside for hospitals in Iraq (Mark Parkinson)


Message: 1
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Subject: US "appointocracy" for Iraq
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2004 01:55:14 -0500

Of course the White House fears free elections in Iraq

Only an appointocracy can be trusted to accept US troops and corporations

Naomi Klein
Saturday January 24, 2004
The Guardian

"The people of Iraq are free," declared President Bush in his state of the
union address on Tuesday. The previous day, 100,000 Iraqis begged to differ.
They took to Baghdad's streets, shouting: "Yes, yes to elections. No, no to

According to Iraq occupation chief Paul Bremer, there really is no
difference between the White House's version of freedom and the one being
demanded on the street.

Asked whether his plan to form an Iraqi government through appointed
caucuses was heading towards a clash with Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's call
for direct elections, Bremer said he had no "fundamental disagreement with

It was, he said, a mere quibble over details. "I don't want to go into the
technical details of refinements. There are - if you talk to experts in
these matters - all kinds of ways to organise partial elections and
caucuses. And I'm not an election expert, so I don't want to go into the
details. But we've always said we're willing to consider refinements."

I'm not an election expert either, but I'm pretty sure there are differences
here that cannot be refined. Al-Sistani's supporters want all Iraqis to have
a vote and the people they elect to write the laws of the country - your
basic, imperfect, representative democracy.

Bremer wants his Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to appoint the
members of 18 regional organising committees. These will then choose
delegates to form 18 selection caucuses. These will then select
representatives to a transitional national assembly. The assembly will have
an internal vote to select an executive and ministers, who will form the new
government. This, Bush said in the state of the union address, constitutes
"a transition to full Iraqi sovereignty".

__Got that? Iraqi sovereignty will be established by appointees appointing
appointees to select appointees to select appointees. Add the fact that
Bremer was appointed to his post by President Bush and Bush to his by the US
Supreme Court, and you have the glorious new democratic tradition of the
appointocracy: rule by an appointee's appointee's appointees' appointees'
appointees' selectees.___

The White House insists its aversion to elections is purely practical; there
just isn't time to pull them off before the June 30 deadline. So why have
the deadline? The favourite explanation is that Bush needs a "braggable" on
the campaign trail: when his Democratic rival raises the spectre of Vietnam,
Bush will reply that the occupation is over, we're on our way out.

Except that the US has no intention of actually getting out of Iraq: it
wants its troops to remain, and it wants Bechtel, MCI and Halliburton to
stay behind and run the water system, the phones and the oilfields. It was
with this goal in mind that, on September 19, Bremer pushed through a
package of economic reforms that the Economist described as a "capitalist

But the dream, though still alive, is now in peril. A growing number of
legal experts are challenging the legitimacy of Bremer's reforms, arguing
that under the international agreements that govern occupying powers - the
Hague regulations of 1907 and the Geneva conventions of 1949 - the CPA can
only act as a caretaker of Iraq's economic assets, not its auctioneer.
Radical changes - such as Bremer's order 39, which opened up Iraqi industry
to 100% foreign ownership - violate these agreements and so could be easily
overturned by a sovereign Iraqi government.

This prospect has foreign investors seriously spooked, and many are opting
not to go into Iraq. The major private insurance brokers are also sitting it
out. Bremer has responded by quietly cancelling his plan to privatise Iraq's
200 state firms, instead putting up 35 companies for lease (with a later
option to buy). For the White House, the only way for its grand economic
plan to continue is for its military occupation to end: only a sovereign
government, unbound by the Hague and Geneva conventions, can legally sell
off Iraq's assets.

But will it? Given the widespread perception that the US is not out to
rebuild Iraq but to loot it, if Iraqis were given the chance to vote
tomorrow, they could well decide to expel US troops immediately and to
reverse Bremer's privatisation project, opting instead to protect local
jobs. And that frightening prospect - far more than the absence of a
census - explains why the White House is fighting so hard for its

Under the current American plan for Iraq, the transitional national assembly
would hold on to power from June 30 until general elections are held "no
later" than December 31 2005. That's 18 leisurely months for a non-elected
government to do what the CPA could not legally do on its own: invite US
troops to stay indefinitely and turn Bremer's capitalist dream into binding
law. Only after these key decisions have been made will Iraqis be invited to
have their say. The White House calls this "self-rule". It is, in fact, the
very definition of outside-rule, occupation through outsourcing.

That means that the world is once again facing a choice about Iraq. Will its
democracy emerge stillborn, with foreign troops dug in on its territory,
multinationals locked into multi-year contracts controlling key resources,
and an economic programme that has left 60-70% of the population unemployed?
Or will its democracy be born with its heart still beating, capable of
building the country Iraqis choose?

On one side are the occupation forces. On the other are growing movements
demanding economic and voter rights in Iraq. Increasingly, occupying forces
are responding to these forces by using fatal force to break up
demonstrations, as British soldiers did in Amara earlier this month, killing

Yes, there are religious fundamentalists and Saddam loyalists capitalising
on the rage, but the very existence of these pro-democracy movements is
itself a kind of miracle; after 30 years of dictatorship, war, sanctions,
and now occupation, it would certainly be understandable if Iraqis met
further hardships with fatalism and resignation. Instead, the violence of
Bremer's shock therapy appears to have jolted hundred of thousands into

This courage deserves our support. At the World Social Forum in Mumbai last
weekend, the author and activist Arundhati Roy called on the global forces
that opposed the Iraq war to "become the global resistance to the
occupation". She suggested choosing "two of the major corporations that are
profiting from the destruction of Iraq" and targeting them for boycotts and
civil disobedience.

In his state of the union address, Bush said: "I believe that God has
planted in every heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that
desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again." He is being
proven right in Iraq every day - and the rising voices are chanting: "No, no
USA. Yes, yes elections."


Message: 2
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004 18:57:38 -0000
Subject: 26 billion yen set aside for hospitals in Iraq

So these hospitals were damaged by the US/UK wars and sanctions? No
mention of the 'neglect' by SH which would be the line in the western

26 billion yen set aside for hospitals in Iraq

Japan plans to provide a maximum of 26 billion yen in grants to
renovate and rebuild 13 hospitals in Iraq it helped construct in the

One of these hospitals is located in the southeastern city of
Samawah, where Ground Self-Defense Force troops have been dispatched
to engage in noncombat duties, government sources said. Political
observers believe the government is hoping the move will help
convince Iraqi people that Japanese efforts are aimed at providing
humanitarian and reconstruction relief.

The 400-bed hospitals, built in 13 cities in the 1980s with 7.22
billion yen in Japanese overseas aid, have constituted major medical
facilities in the region. But these facilities sustained great damage
during the 1991 Gulf War, as well as during the lengthy economic
sanctions that followed and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March.

The cities in question include Baghdad, the northern cities of Mosul
and Kirkuk, and southern cities of Samawah and Nasiriyah. The
government plans to provide between 500 million yen and 2 billion yen
per hospital to restore medical and electrical equipment such as
independent power generators, as well as water supply and sewage
systems. In particular, the hospital in Samawah is expected to be
prioritized and be handed a 1 billion yen grant. "It is important to
build friendly relations with the local people by improving their
employment and welfare," a senior Foreign Ministry official said.
Japan has announced that it will provide $1.5 billion in grants to
Iraq by the end of this year. The government has already decided that
$120 million will be used to provide police cars and renovate
elementary and junior high schools.

The Japan Times, Jan 25

Mark Parkinson

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