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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] Ken, you're right about the US influence over Brahimi's proposal. According to the New York Times : "Ms.[Condoleezza] Rice's chief deputy for Iraq, Robert Blackwill, has been working side by side with Mr. Brahimi in Iraq to come up with the plan proposed on Wednesday, several officials noted" Apart from being a deputy national security advisor, Robert Blackwill is a long-time Bush-follower. He's one of the old guard who also served under Bush senior (including working with Condoleezza Rice on his national security council). He was also mentioned as a possible rival to Negroponte for the position of US ambassador to Iraq. . In short, he is a pretty clear voice for Bush in Brahimi's work. Worth also remembering that Brahimi himself was appointed at the insistence of the US. A Times article from January begins:  "WASHINGTON will press the United Nations today to send a veteran troubleshooter to Iraq to defuse the growing opposition of Iraq's Shia majority to the coalition's plan for the country. Diplomats say that the Bush Administration wants Lakhdar Brahimi, who has just stepped down as the United Nations envoy in Afghanistan, to travel to Iraq to try to broker a deal between the coalition and the powerful Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani." There's not necessarily anything sinister about this. According to the Times article, he has worked closely with the US in Afghanistan and as an informal envoy to Iran, and it could just be that the Bush administration thinks he's an efficient diplomat. Brahimi seems to be trying fairly hard to publicly distance himself from the US: point 8 of his plan is a criticism of US tactics, and he's criticised US support of Israel . Whether that means he's actually independent, or just a sensible diplomat, is anyone's guess. The point of all the above is not that the US is in complete control - it seems clear that circumstances have given the UN a greater say than anyone expected a couple of months ago. But equally it isn't, as Sama seems to imply, the one-sided rampaging of an official with a grudge against the Shia. That means we should be able to discuss it without having to worry which of the US and the UN is the greater evil, or which group of Iraqi politicians we're most favourably disposed towards. Now, as to the facts of the proposal itself... The Brahimi plan itself is below, since I don't think anyone has sent it to the list yet. I've also pasted in an extract from testimony to ... given by Toby Dodge (a historian of, among other things, Iraq under the British mandate. He's also written on modern Iraq). And here are a few, far less well-informed, comments of my own Sama's piece talks about Brahimi wanting to remove the IGC. 3 points it's worth being clear about here: 1) while he wants to dissolve the IGC, this is only to replace it with a larger equivalent - i.e. many of the governing council members will simply be transferred to the new council. In Brahimi's words, "Some of its members are already assuming other responsibilities. Other members will no doubt be called upon to participate in various State institutions." 2) the governing council *couldn't* just carry on for another 6 months. Four of its most prominent members will presumably become president, vice-president, or prime minister. Plus there's the question of whether council members are resigning anyway. If you're replacing half a dozen council members, then you're going to have to rearrange plenty of the others if you want to keep to the Salhuddin or any other percentages. Under those circumstances, choosing a hundred-member council could be better than maintaining the existing one 3) While I agree that the council has been the most representative body in modern Iraqi politics, it has been a failure from the perspective of getting things done. With only 25 members, a substantial portion of the coucnil has always been out of Iraq on diplomatic or other business, and meetings have reportedly been very badly attended. With more members, the diplomatic responsibilities of members would have far less impact on the effective functioning of the council Finally, a couple of asides about Sama's article: a) I don't think it's fair to complain that Brahimi's comment on de-baathification shows a "loathing of Iraq's departure from minority dominance". He didn't criticise the idea of de-baathification, just the lack of review, and the way in which it has affected low-level civil servants, who in many cases presumably had no ideological commitment to the Baath. Even if you think the debaathification process has gone perfectly, you can't equate his opposed views with an opposition to democracy. b) you refer to the 'Sunni Plan', which is a term I haven't come across - is there anywhere you can point me for more information? Obviously, all the above comes with the usual disclaimer that since I'm not Iraqi you should take everything I say with a fairly large pinch of salt. best, Dan 1. NYT, 16/4/04, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/16/politics/16DIPL.html?8bl [this article thinks that Brahimi had the upper hand in drawing up the plan] 2. Times, 29/11/1989 3. AP, 13/4/04, http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/occupation/2004/0413negroponte.htm 4. Times, 19/1/04, 'US demands role in Iraq for Afghanistan envoy' 5. Al-hayat, via Juan Cole, http://www.juancole.com/2004_04_01_juancole_archive.html#108261928241215919] 6. e.g. Adelphi paper 354.1, 'Iraq at the Crossroads: State and Society in the Shadow of Regime Change'. Unfortunately I have no idea whether this is any good, since it's missing from the Cambridge libraries; it's pretty out of date now anyway. 7. The Brahimi plan [http://www.unobserver.com/layout5.php?id=1582&blz=1] 1. We believe that the present security situation makes it more important and more urgent for the political process to continue and we expect all stakeholders to re-double their efforts to ensure this process is successfully completed. 2. Let me emphasise from the outset that in this political process in Iraq, the elections scheduled to take place in January 2005 are the most important milestone. There is no substitute for the legitimacy that comes from free and fair elections. Therefore, Iraq will have a genuinely representative Government only after January 2005. 3. What the aim should be, at present, is to put in place a caretaker Government that will be in charge from 1st July 2004 until the elections in January 2005. We are confident that it will be possible to form such a Government in a timely manner, i.e. during the month of May 2004. We see it as a Government led by a Prime Minister and comprising Iraqi men and women known for their honesty, integrity and competence. There will also be a President to act as Head of State and two Vice-Presidents. 4. According to both the 15 November 2003 Agreement and the Transitional Administrative Law, the Governing Council, along with the CPA, will cease to exist on 30 June 2004. Some of its members are already assuming other responsibilities. Other members will no doubt be called upon to participate in various State institutions. 5. During our consultations, a very large number of our interlocutors suggested that a large National Conference should be convened. We see merit in this suggestion. It would serve the all-important aim of promoting national dialogue, consensus building and national reconciliation in Iraq. A preparatory Committee should be established soon to start the preparatory work and the Conference could take place soon after the restoration of sovereignty, in July 2004. 6. The National Conference would elect a Consultative Assembly to serve alongside the Government during the period leading to the elections of the National Assembly which, it is agreed, will take place in January 2005. 7. To return to the subject of elections, a U.N. electoral team has been in Baghdad for some time now. They are working diligently to help with the preparatory work for the January 2005 elections. They have visited some cities in the North and in the South. Like us, their movements are somewhat restricted at present by the prevailing security situation. But they remain confident that they can help out. But it is important and urgent that, on the Iraqi side, the necessary steps are taken, so that elections can take place at the appointed time in January 2005. Naturally, the security situation has to improve significantly for these elections to take place in an acceptable environment. 8. Last but not least, during our consultations, in February as well as at present, we heard of many grievances which need to be addressed. Detainees are held often without charge or trial. They should be either charged or released, and their families and lawyers must have access to them. The issue of former military personnel also needs attention. Furthermore, it is difficult to understand that thousands upon thousands of teachers, university professors, medical doctors and hospital staff, engineers and other professionals who are sorely needed, have been dismissed within the de-Baathification process, and far too many of those cases have yet to be reviewed. All these are ideas which will be submitted to the Secretary-General and further discussed both during the wide consultations scheduled to be organized by the Committee set up for this purpose by the Governing Council and by our own team. I believe that the political framework that I outlined for the setting up of the interim government, the organization of a national dialogue conference, combined with a number of confidence building measures addressing real concerns of the Iraqis, should, I hope, help this country to move forward towards recovery, peace and stability. 8. Extract from Toby Dodge's testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (given, I think, on 20/4/04). http://www.juancole.com/2004_04_01_juancole_archive.html#108269978878040277 The lack of communication between American civil servants and military personnel, their hand-picked allies on the Iraqi Governing Council and the wider population of Iraq, is one of the key problems undermining the occupation and the CPA's attempts to build a state. From this inability to interact with Iraqi society springs the core problems facing the U.S. and those who will inherit the Iraqi state after the 30th of June. Many Iraqis, aware of the increasing unpopularity of the U.S. presence in their country, and believing it to be temporary, are still sitting on their hands, a skewing involvement in government institutions, political and administrative, until the situation becomes clearer and the risks of political involvement become fewer. Overcoming this problem is clearly the chief concern of Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. envoy in Iraq. Early indications suggest that Brahimi may well be trying to reproduce an Afghan model. This would involve a caretaker government made up of a prime minister, president and two vice presidents. Before elections, scheduled sometime for late 2004 or early 2005, this ruling triumvirate would gain legitimacy from a national conference to be convened a short time after June 30th. It is unclear how this plan would overcome the problems that have undermined the various approaches of the CPA. Firstly, where is Mr. Brahimi going to pick the president and the prime minister from? It seems very likely that he will be forced to choose from the core of the Iraqi Governing Council that has to date formed the revolving presidency of the council. If he does succumb to this temptation, then all the problems that have dogged the Iraqi Governing Council -- it's lack of legitimacy, its inability to forge meaningful links with the population, and the criticisms of it being appointed and not elected -- are likely to resurface. Secondly, because Mr. Brahimi, like his predecessor Sergio Vieira de Mello, is working under the auspices of the CPA, he runs a distinct danger of being perceived of as merely an appendage to the occupation. Finally, with the current poor security situation, the proposed national congress may find it very difficult attracting a large and representative sample of the Iraqi population. If this were the case, it would be very difficult for it to fulfill its dual roles as a forum for national consultation and a source of legitimacy for the new caretaker government. The failure of a national conference to gather momentum and bring together a broad cross section of the population would leave the caretaker government proposed by Mr. Brahimi dangerously exposed and open to similar criticisms and suspicions as those that have been leveled at the Iraqi Governing Council since its formation. The only way to avoid such pitfalls would be to totally internationalize the creation of the governing institutions and democratic structures. This would not mean a partial or token role for the United Nations organizing national conferences or overseeing elections; instead it would involve bringing the whole occupation and state-building under U.N. management. This would reduce the suspicion felt toward the CPA by sections of the Iraqi population. The organization overseeing the move and the creation of a new state would then not be the United States but the international community. Accusations of double standards or nefarious intent would be much harder to sustain. Arguments about the occupiers' willingness to relinquish power -- both economic and political -- would be negated. It will be the Security Council in New York, not the U.S. government in Washington, that would have the ultimate responsibility for Iraq's transition. This would result in many more Iraqis doing the whole exercise with a great deal more legitimacy. The U.N. could then utilize expertise and troops from across the international community. Those involved in the reconstruction, both Iraqis and international civil servants, would not run the danger of being labeled as collaborators. On Thu, 22 Apr 2004, k hanly wrote: > [ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] > > My understanding is that any proposal that the UN comes up with will already > have been vetted by the US. The US is still going to be the real power in > Iraq anyway. Iraq will not have control over security. The US will with UN > blessing. Also, the transitional government will be bound by laws passed by > IGC. The UN is simply being used by the US as a tool to provide a facade of > international legitimacy for the transitional government. The US motto is: > not necessarily the UN but the UN if necessary. The UN was necessary to > impose sanctions but was not necessary for the invasion....but it may now be > necessary...oh yes and relevant..to legitimize the transitional govt. > > Cheers, Ken Hanly _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk