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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 http://www.mees.com/postedarticles/politics/PoliticalScene/a46n40c01.htm). 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) ADMINISTRATION * 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 CONQUERORS * 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.] SECURITY * 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 since] * Car explodes near US base in Kirkuk: four Jordanians shot dead [Thursday 16th October] * Suicide car bomber attacks Turkish embassy in Baghdad [Tuesday, 14th October] * Iraqi oil minister, INC aide escape assassination attempt [Sunday 12th October] * 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) LIBERATED PEOPLES * 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)] COLE'S CORNER * 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 order] * 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 Hussein] and, in News, 14-22/10/03 (3) INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY * 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 1483] * 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] NEIGHBOURS * 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 ...] PRETEXT * 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 Ledeen] * 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.'] RIVER'S CORNER [Riverbend on sniffer dogs and Turks] _______________________________________________ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk