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Re: [casi] Questions Raised by Lifting of Sanctions

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  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

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

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