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[casi] News titles, 14-22/10/03

News titles, 14-22/10/03

Back in May, when the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1483, I thought,
and said, that they had, retrospectively, legitimised the invasion,
recognising 'the Authority' as a legitimate authority. A more attentive
reading of the resolution showed I was wrong. It gives 'the Authority' no
authority whatsoever. The invaders still have the legal status of an
occupying force and are therefore bound to the terms outlined in Lord
Goldsmith's advice to Prime Minister Blair (given in eg
They cannot make radical changes to the constitution and economy of Iraq. Of
course, as these introductions have often pointed out, they can in fact do
whatever they like since, under the UN Charter, the permanent members of the
Security Council are formally allowed to break the law with impunity. But it
can still be said that, by reorganising the Iraqi economy for example, they
are breaking the law.

The situation has shifted slightly with the passing of Resolution 1511. The
main new element, so far as I can see, lies in para 4, which 'determines
that the Governing Council and its ministers are the principal bodies of the
Iraqi interim administration, which, without prejudice to its further
evolution, embodies the sovereignty of the State of Iraq during the
transitional period.' Thereafter it treats the Governing Council as if it,
not 'the Authority', was the main interlocutor for the UN acting in Iraq.
The Council is given the obligation to start a process of changing the
constitution and I rather assume it also possesses the right to change the
economic system. The Council, not 'the Authority'. Most of us assume that
the Council is under the thumb of 'the Authority' but this may not be a safe
assumption and this resolution certainly gives it a status of its own, which
it could use, if it was capable of acting collectively, to assert its
independence of 'the Authority'.

On the great question of the establishment of a multinational military force
the resolution is extraordinarily vague. It 'authorises a multinational
force under unified command to take all necessary measures to contribute to
the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq' (para 13) but it sets up
no mechanism for bringing this about. Para 25 'requests that the United
States, on behalf of the multinational force as outlined in paragraph 13
above, report to the Security Council on the efforts and progress of this
force as appropriate' which implies that the command belongs to the US but
still does not state it in so many words. Of course we all know what the
words 'unified command' signify in the context, but obviously Security
Council members, for whatever reason, did not want to spell it out.

If only one could think that said Security Council members were working to a
coherent strategy.

The strongest power given to 'the Authority' is the control over the
International Development Fund (Resolution 1483, para 13) but this is only
as strong as other participants in the Fund want it to be. It seems
reasonable to assume that their generosity will be related in some way to
the size of their share in the contracts.

The invaders, then, are not getting much out of the UN, and yet, as many
commentators have pointed out, they are no longer treating the UN with the
contempt they showed prior to the war. From my peculiar point of view (I
want the US to cut loose from the UN altogether) this is regrettable, but it
is still interesting. It is interesting to see how much weaker the US
appears to be after its mighty victory in Iraq than it did before. The term
'Masters of the Universe' no longer flows as unthinkingly as it used to do
from under my pen.

This may be only a temporary development, but all the signs are that the
invasion of Iraq was a dreadful error which will involve a much heavier and
longer commitment than was originally envisaged and seriously inhibit the
wider policy of world domination than was implicit in the War Against All
the Wickedness on the Earth. It is to be hoped that both Iran and North
Korea, and other countries that are not yet in Mr Bush's sights but may be
soon, are taking advantage of the opportunity to develop the nuclear
capacity which appears under the New World Order to be the only means
possible of preserving national independence.

Though why, one might ask, should I be interested in the 'national
independence' of countries with disagreeable or tyrannical regimes? The
answer is a matter of respecting the right of the different peoples of the
world to go through their own process of historical evolution even if it
involves (as it has abundantly in the case of Western Europe) periods of
brutality and civil war.

Res 1511 tells us that the 'Governing Council ... embodies the sovereignty
of the State of Iraq.' But at the present time, there is no 'State of Iraq'.
There was a State of Iraq under Saddam Hussein: at that time 'Iraq' had a
corporate existence. It does so no longer. The process of creating a state -
and eventually the process of creating a state with which all the different
individual members can feel at ease - is long and hard. Some progress had
been made under Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party. In the 1970s, there was
every reason to believe that this progress could be rapid and spectacular. A
huge progress could also have been made had the Iraqi government succeeded
in overcoming sanctions, as it almost did. That achievement would have been
so enormous it might have subsumed many of the existing differences into a
unifying sense of national pride (leaving aside the Kurds - who would
perhaps have been able to form their existing enclave, sans Kirkuk and
Mosul, into a small independent state of their own).

Such possibilities are now excluded, and no-one who has followed the efforts
of the individuals who make up the present Governing Council to form a
unified opposition can imagine that their prospects of succeeding where
Saddam Hussein failed are very great - the more so since no-one else, not
their neighbours, not the occupying powers, not the Kurds, have any interest
in seeing the emergence of a strong, unified Iraqi state. Yet nor does it
seem likely that Iraq, given its historical experience of such things, will
be able to settle down into a stable state of dependence that will be
profitable to the hegemonic powers.

Soon after the invasion, Adnan Pachachi argued - and I found the argument
credible - that the occupation had to be accepted because Iraqis were simply
too tired to resist. But already he seems to have been proved wrong.
Everyone - even to some extent the more representative elements on the
Governing Council - seems to be finding their own method of resistance,
small or great. Which is good news for the enduring resilience of the human
spirit, and bad news for the prospects of a quality of life that will be
other than nasty, brutish and short.

[NOTE: I know I've said this before but owing to largely domestic pressures
this mailing service will now have to go into a more or less indefinite
period of suspension. Again, anyone who would like to take it, or a reduced
version of it, on is welcome to get in touch with me.]

News, 14-22/10/03 (1)


*  Another Challenge in Iraq: Giving Up Food Rations [This is one nasty
article from the New York Times. It appears that what was wrong with Saddam
Hussein was not so much that he brutalised the Iraqi people but rather that
he mollycoddled them by giving them free food and secure jobs. This is on
the strength of the food ration that kept the nation alive despite the best
efforts of Mme Albright.  Once the planners manage 'to get all Iraqis
accustomed to shopping for themselves' then everything will be all right.]
*  Drugs crisis threatens to break fragile health service [Continued
difficulties of obtaining drugs in Iraq]
*  Al-Basrah Airport opening delayed again


*  UK Contractors in Iraq Accused of Importing Labor and Exporting Profit
[This article is interesting for what it says about foreign labour hired to
feed US troops. We begin to understand why contracting out services for the
military to low paid foreign workers is such an attractive prospect and we
learn (or are reminded) that the phenomenon is not new: 'The recourse to an
Urdu-and Bengali-speaking workforce has historical echoes for Iraqis, who
recall the south Asian workers the India Office imported to maintain the
British army following their invasion of Iraq during the first world war.'
And how splendid that the First World War intervention in Iraq is called an
'invasion'. At the time it was being spun as a 'liberation'!]
*  Senate Defies Bush On Iraq Assistance [The Democrats prove themselevs to
be even more meanminded and lacking in any sense of moral responsibility
towards the people thay have been torturing for the past ten years than
their Republican mirror image. It is also difficult to see how it is
possible to give a loan to a country that has no government that is at least
theoretically in a position to refuse it. No future Iraqi government will be
under any moral obligation to repay.]
*  No let-up in violence in Iraq [Extracts: 'the US House of Representatives
voted 398-4 to sanction Syria' thus proving yet again that when it comes to
international villainy there isn't anything to choose between the Democrats
and the Republicans. But here's something. A sensible remark from L.Paul
Bremer III, opposing the Democrats reluctance to help repair the damage the
US has done to Iraq: "Imposing unpayable debt burdens on Germany following
World War I is now recognized as a major contributing factor to German
economic and social collapse in the 1920s -- the collapse which cleared
Hitler's rise to power."]
*  The Enron Pentagon ['the private military industry is actually our
largest ally in the "coalition of the willing" ... For example, Global Risk
Managment of the United Kingdom has 1,100 personnel in Iraq, including 500
Nepalese Gurkha troops and 500 Fijian soldiers, ranking it sixth among troop
donors.' And Gurkhas and Fijians come cheap.]


*  Senior Terrorist Figure Captured in Iraq [Aso Hawleri of Ansar al-Islam.
At the time of this account the story was not yet confirmed but it has been
*  Car explodes near US base in Kirkuk: four Jordanians shot dead [Thursday
16th October]
*  Suicide car bomber attacks Turkish embassy in Baghdad [Tuesday, 14th
*  Iraqi oil minister, INC aide escape assassination attempt [Sunday 12th
*  Two troops die in Iraqi ambush on US convoy [Incidents on Saturday 18th
(Kirkuk) and Sunday 19th (Fallujah)]
*  U.S. soldier killed in Iraq ambush [Monday 20th October, Fallujah]

and, in News, 14-22/10/03 (2)


*  Rival Shiite Factions Clash in Iraqi City [This article was commented on
in the introduction to last week's mailing. See also the commentary in Juan
Cole's Corner]
*  Kurdish Parliament takes down Iraqi flag
*  Shi'ite religious official targeted in explosion [Husayn al-Shami, an
official of the Iraqi Awqaf Commission]
*  Shi'ite cleric advises Iraqis not to trust Coalition [Grand Ayatollah
Bashir al-Najafi, who appears to be involved with SCIRI]
*  Tehran debates SCIRI's role in Iraq [Fraught relations between Abd
al-Aziz al-Hakim and the Iranian government, mainly over apparent Iranian
sympathy for Muqtada Sadr]
*  Clash in Karbala leaves 3 Americans, 10 Iraqis dead [Friday 17th October.
Clash with guards of a senior Shi'i Muslim cleric, Mahmoud al-Hassani. It is
surely very ominous for the Americans that the 100th soldier should have
been killed by Shia in Karbala]
*  As the tide of violence recedes, Marsh Arabs hope for new start [Extract}
*  Shiite Demand to Elect Constitution's Drafters Could Delay Transfer of
Power [Account by the Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran]
*  The misuse of polling in the case of Iraq [James J. Zogby in person
counters the American Enterprise Institute and Richard Cheney spin on the
Zogby Opinion Poll in Iraq. See News, 10 17/9/03 (1)]     


*  Juan Cole on disputes among the Shia [I have divided the selection from
Juan Cole's 'Informed Comment' into two parts - an account of the disputes
mostly involving Muqtada al-Sadr, arranged in chronological order, and a
miscellany of other items which have remained in the blog's reverse date
*  Cole miscellany
‹ Evangelicals in Congress seek to Shape Iraqi Constitution [to ensure their
right to proselytise in Iraq]
‹ Human Rights Watch: US killings of Civilians are not Investigated
‹ IGC hopes new Finances will Grant more Autonomy from US [the piece also
mentions that Pachachi, the most interesting IGC member, has proposed a
means by which, under a temporary constitution, elections to a new, more
authoritative council could be held quite quickly]
‹ New UN-controlled Fund for Iraq
‹ Sharon's attack on Syria Soured Plan to provide Electricity to Iraq
‹ Iraq not on Turkey's Agenda [Turks quite rightly await a serious
invitation, backed by the Iraqis]
‹ Kurds uneasy in New Iraq
‹ Conference on Human Rights and the Environment [which impresss Juan Cole
as at least one thing that is an improvement on the days of President

and, in News, 14-22/10/03 (3)


* A Toothless Resolution [Pointlessness of Res 1511]
*  A Solid Vote That Buttresses 'Made in USA' [The impression left by the
article is almost diametrically opposed to the impression given by the
title: 'a range of analysts said the final vote, while far better than a
withdrawal or a resolution approved with numerous abstentions, is too weak
to be considered much of a victory.']
*  U.S. presents draft Iraq resolution to UN [Quote from White House
spokesman Scott McClellan: 'the resolution also says that the occupying
power is the authority, and is the government'. Which so far as I can see is
simply untrue unless the mere use of the words 'the authority' is of itself
enough to confer authority - but in that case it was already done in Res
*  Upcoming donors conference shaping up [with some of the expected sums]
*  Contentious Iraq resolution withdrawn by OIC leaders [under pressure from
the IGC under pressure from the USA]
*  Jews rule world but Muslims can win [sez Malaysian Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad at the OIC conference]


*  Iraq appeals to Kuwait to forego war reparations [We learn that the
Kuwaiti Parliament's legal and legislative panel has unanimously approved a
draft law banning the Kuwaiti government from foregoing war reparations from
Iraq. The Kuwaitis aren't fooled by the notion that the invasion of Kuwait
was an aberration on the part of Saddam Hussein. They know that ANY Iraqi
government will believe in its heart of hearts that Kuwait has been
artificially sliced out of Iraq to deny access to the Gulf. The last thing
the Kuwaitis want to see is Iraq restored to a position of strength. They
also know that if ever a government is established in Iraq that is a genuine
expression of Iraqi society, it will want revenge.]     
*  Iraqis force rethink on Turkish help
*  Kuwaiti Cabinet forms committee to examine Iraqi war crimes
*  Time for Arabs to stop saying 'no' [Complaint that Arab states have
excluded themselves from  any settlement in Iraq. Trouble is that what the
Arab states would have to say 'yes' to is an apparently endless series of
outrages ...]


*  CIA and Pentagon split over uranium intrigue [Manucher Ghorbanifar and
his very useful tale of Iraq passing uranium to Iran, thus killing two
members of the axis of evil with one stone; though it takes great
determination to be able to believe that Iraq would help Iranian efforts to
get a nuclear weapon. A real 'triumph of the will' on the part of Michael
*  Powell 'Misled Public over Iraq Threat' [TV interview with 'Greg
Thielmann, who retired last year as the State Department¹s expert on
chemical, biological and nuclear weapons' and Steve Allinson, a British-born
chemical engineer who was a member of UNMOVIC]
*  Experts Downplay Bioagent [Conversations with Dr. David Franz, 'a former
chief U.N. biological weapons inspector who is considered among America's
foremost experts on biowarfare agents', and Dr. Raymond Zilinskas, another
former U.N. inspector who is now director of the chemical and biological
weapons nonproliferation program at the Monterey Institute in California. On
ricin, Zilinskas says: 'it is so difficult to produce the proper powdered
form for aerosol distribution, he added, "you almost need to be hit by a
brick of it to kill you."' But wasn't ricin what Ansar el-Islam was supposed
to be producing in a shed in the mountains near Halabja? and a couple of
kids in a bedsit near Wood Green tube station? The article also claims that
'According to U.N. reports, Iraqi scientists produced more than 19,000
liters of botulinum A and poured about 10,000 liters of the toxin into
missile warheads and 400-pound bombs.' But last week we learned from the
article by Ron Manley (News, 8-14/10/03 (2)) that 'no munitions filled with
biological agents were ever found, either during Unscom's or Unmovic's
operations in Iraq.']

[Riverbend on sniffer dogs and Turks]

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