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[casi] von Sponeck: Does a Parachute Democracy Loom?

Hans von Sponeck
  The UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid to Iraq from 1998 to 2000

 Occupation Regime Installed in Iraq: Does a Parachute Democracy Loom?

Junge Welt [Translated]
29 May 2003

Junge Welt’s Karin Leukefeld spoke with Hans von Sponeck, the UN Coordinator
for Humanitarian Aid to Iraq from 1998 to 2000.

Q: The UN Security Council lifted the embargo against Iraq on 22 May. You
had long called for this. Are you now pleased?

I am pleased for the Iraqi people, who deserve to be able to live normal
lives once again. On the other hand, however, it has once again been
demonstrated in the Security Council how little respect there is for
international law. Its no surprise that the Americans want to get rid of the
sanctions even without confirming that Iraq is free of weapons of mass

It was a surprise, however, that the other members of the Security Council
supported this course of action. That is a violation of international law.
One can only lift the sanctions when paragraph 22 of Resolution 687 has been
fulfilled, namely, that Iraq no longer has any weapons of mass destruction.
The new Resolution ought to have approved sending Dr. Blix and Dr.
El-Baradei to Iraq once again. The Security Council simply knuckled under.

Q: The USA and Great Britain won the war militarily; who are the losers?

Everyone, with the exception of the victors: international law, the people
of Iraq, since the Resolution does not ensure that the resources of Iraq
will be used effectively in the interests of the Iraqi population.

Europe, which with the exception of the British and the Spaniards had
supported dialogue, has also lost. The war itself, and the role of the
occupying power, are being legitimized after the fact. This is a
documentation of weakness.

Q: The Iraqi oil revenues will now be controlled by the USA and Great
Britain. Contracts are going to American and British firms. Was this thus a
war for the benefit of the American economy?

The economic crisis in the USA is getting deeper and deeper, and the
Americans will use Iraq in order to ameliorate this crisis. All the war
damages, however, have to be paid by those who initiated the war.

The reconstruction of the country must be led and supported by an
international group, as weakly identified in the UN Resolution, until an
Iraqi face takes over the affairs of government. The money that is urgently
needed for the reconstruction of the country cannot be touched in order to
give a boost to American companies and the American political system.

Q: How long could it be until Iraq once again has its own face, an Iraqi

That is a difficult question. Many people are saying that we are now seeing
a systematically constructed chaos in Iraq. For chaos means, for the
victors, the right to administer things.

We must not allow the population to be freed from one dictator in order then
to be handed over to an occupation.

The victorious powers are obliged to strengthen the security of the country,
and otherwise to leave it up to the Iraqis to define their own political
future. Leadership forces will form themselves out of discussions of the
Iraqis amongst themselves, and these can develop a political system that
grows organically.

A foreign body from outside, democracy dropped in by parachute, will lead to
a catastrophic situation. The country does not need some artificially
propped up system with people who have their own interests and do not even
know their country anymore, Iraqis from exile or overseas, whose backbone is
American power politics.

Q: You have been in Iraq frequently in the past few years. Will you travel
there again?

Absolutely. I see it as a duty to make use of my experience in Iraq in order
to follow the political developments from here on, and to comment on them. I
also, naturally, have friends there, which are sufficient grounds in
themselves to travel again to Iraq. But first the muddy waters have to clear
a bit.

Source: Translated from German by; originally published in
Junge Welt newspaper, 26 May 2003

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