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I have just read on the BBC website that the "US-run Iraqi administration" has cancelled oil contracts signed by Russian and Chinese companies and the former Iraqi regime http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2937702stm and that negotiations for contracts will be entered in to with other international oil companies. I believe this is a significant development as it appears that an unrepresentative body is already in the process of making strategic decisions about Iraq's oil industry, without the consultation of the Iraqi people. The following points are to be considered: -Does an occupying power have the authority under international law, as defined by the Geneva and Hague conventions, to make such sweeping decisions such as privatisation of Iraq's oil industry? Many law experts argue that occupying powers only have the responsibility to administer the occupied territory, provide law and order, and arrange delivery of services. This doesn't include making wholesale changes to a country's economy. -What right does an occupying authority have to make such decisions that should be left to a democratically elected and internationally recognized Iraqi government? If this news report is correct the US run administration is making decisions that clearly should be left to the Iraqi people, who have no input at all into decisions like this. Whether Iraq's oil industry should be privatised, or remains a member of Opec or not, is something that only a sovereign Iraqi government can make. Such decisions should be postponed until Iraq does have a sovereign, representative government in place. It is for these reasons that I have serious misgivings about the way UN sanctions have been lifted, as it is accompanied with giving the US and the UK a free rein to do what they like with Iraq's economy and political make-up, which is far beyond the stated purposes for their invasion of that country. It legitimizes an occupation authority to make significant decisions without consulting the Iraqi people, and as some-one pointed out, international law has been made to suit the occupation, not the other way around. The so called "authority" has been handed extraordinary powers by the UN, power which it has only been able to grab through the use of military force.What they have been granted goes far beyond their stated purposes for the war -- Iraq's disarmament -- which has turned out to be a flimsy pretext. Therefore, in this post-sanctions, occupied Iraq era, it would be good to transfer our energies to monitoring how the occupation auhtority conducts its business in Iraq, how it makes decisions, and what decisions it does make. There is clearly a long way to go concerning Iraq, and something like an Iraq Monitor is an excellent idea. Peter Kiernan _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk