Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Anglo-American Occupation of Iraq Is Illegitimate

Just as I have long suspected.

On many occasions in these pages, I have asserted and demonstrated how Busheney's regime of spending our country into the poorhouse in order to prolong an unwanted and unpopular occupation of Iraq is against the grain America's experience and self-interest. Busheney invaded Mesopotamia without United Nations Security Council sanction and yet reached out for the U.N.'s cover to justify the occupation. Now they think they can renew the expiring U.N. mandate by cutting Iraq's frail democracy out of the process. I'm speaking of the government and parliament in/of the Green Zone (GGZ).

My edited excerpts from Joshua Holland and Raed Jarrar,
AlterNet (09-Nov-07):

The biggest headache supporters of the occupation of Iraq have to deal with is the legitimacy of occupation itself. As far back as the middle of 2004, more than nine out of 10 Iraqis said the U.S.-led forces were "occupiers," and only 2 percent called them "liberators."
. . . . Any government - even the GGZ - that represents the will of the Iraqi people would have no choice but to demand a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops. This fact poses an enormous problem, as the great triumph of the Bush administration and its supporters has been in their ability to convince Americans that Iraqi interests and Washington's interests are in harmony, even when they're diametrically opposed.

Crucial to this fiction is a U.N. mandate that confers legal cover on the so-called "multinational" forces in Iraq. The mandate is now coming up for renewal, and a majority of Iraqi legislators oppose its renewal unless conditions are placed on it, conditions that may include a timetable for the departure of American troops.

The process of renewing the mandate is highlighting the political rift that's divided the country and fueled most of the violence that's plagued the new state. That's the rift between nationalists -- those Iraqis who, like most of their countrymen, oppose the presence of foreign troops on the ground,

In the United States, the commercial media has largely ignored this story, focusing almost exclusively on sectarian violence and doing a poor job giving their readers and viewers a sense of what's driving Iraq's political crisis.

An understanding of the tensions between nationalists and separatists is necessary to appreciate the import of parliament being cut out of the legislative process and the degree to which doing so hurts the prospect of real political reconciliation among Iraq's many political factions.

In 2006, Maliki's office requested the renewal of the U.N. mandate without consulting the legislature, a process that many lawmakers maintained was a violation of Iraqi law. The problem was that Maliki didn't have the authority to make the request under the Iraqi constitution. Article 58, Section 4 says that the Council of Representatives (the parliament) has to ratify "international treaties and agreements" negotiated by the Council of Ministers (the cabinet). Specifically, it reads:
A law shall regulate the ratification of international treaties and agreements by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council of Representatives.
Prime Minister Maliki had claimed that the constitution didn't refer to the U.N. mandate. A senior Iraqi lawmaker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of the assertion:
If we are asked to approve a trade agreement concerning olive oil, should we not have the right to pass on an agreement concerning the stationing of foreign military forces in our national soil?
In June, GGZ's parliament had passed a binding resolution that would force Maliki to go to the parliament and give Iraqi lawmakers an opportunity to block the extension of the mandate. It was signed by the majority of the 275-seat legislature, then sent to the president. According to the Iraqi constitution, the president had 15 days to veto it by sending it back to the parliament; otherwise it automatically became a ratified law. The 15 days passed without a veto and the resolution became the law of the land in mid-June 2007.

Something happened, however, between the passage of that law and the latest report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. According to Moon's latest report to the Security Council (PDF), dated Oct. 15, the law that had been passed by the duly elected legislature of Iraq became nothing more than a "nonbinding resolution":
The Council of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution on 5 June obligating the cabinet to request parliament's approval on future extensions of the mandate governing the multinational force in Iraq and to include a timetable for the departure of the force from Iraq.
One might have believed that the disconnect was a simple mistake, if not for the fact that members of the Iraqi parliament, still fuming over being cut out of the process the year before, sent a letter to the U.N.'s special envoy for Iraq back in April clarifying the situation in very clear terms. According to an English translation provide by the Global Policy Forum, it says:
The Iraqi Cabinet has unilaterally requested a renewal of the U.N. mandate keeping the occupation troops (MNF) in Iraq. . . . such a request issued by the Iraqi cabinet without the Iraqi parliament's approval is unconstitutional. . . The Iraqi parliament, as the elected representatives of the Iraqi people, has the exclusive right to approve and ratify international treaties and agreements, including those signed with the United Nations Security Council.
According to sources within the Iraqi delegation to the United Nations, the letter, signed by 144 MPs --more than half of Iraq's legislators -- was received in good order by the special envoy, Ashraf Qazi, but never distributed to the Security Council members, as is required under the U.N. resolution that governs the mandate. The parliament, and indeed the majority of the Iraqi population, had been cleanly excised from the legislative process.

. . . . .In cutting the nationalist majority in the parliament out of the process of governing, the Maliki administration, Bush administration and, apparently, the U.N. secretary-general are making political reconciliation much more difficult. History has offered the lesson time and time again: Deny people the right to participate in deciding their own destiny in a peaceful political process, and they'll try to do so with guns and bombs. The United Nations, like the administration and its supporters, and like Sen. Joe Biden and those who favor his plan for partitioning the country, is taking sides in a political battle that should be exclusively for Iraqis to decide.

. . . . This U.N. mandate issue is not occurring in a vacuum. When it comes to the nascent Iraqi government (GGZ), supporters of the occupation have long had their cake and eaten it too. On the one hand, they deny that the U.S.-led military force is an occupying army at all, maintaining that all those foreign troops are there at the "request" of the Iraqi government. That's an important legal nicety -- occupying forces have a host of responsibilities under international law and acknowledging the reality of the occupation would result in more legal responsibilities for the administration to ignore. At the same time, when the only people who all those purple-fingered Iraqi voters actually elected to office try to attach some conditions to the U.N. mandate, demand a timetable for withdrawal or come out against privatizing Iraq's natural resources, then somehow the legislature magically disappears and the hopes and aspirations of its constituents are discarded as if they never existed.

It's time to force the issue: The Iraqi parliament, the only body elected by the Iraqi people, wants some say over the continuing presence of foreign troops on its soil, and a majority of its lawmakers, like a majority of both Americans and Iraqis, wants a timetable for ending the occupation.
So, as it turns out, both Americans and Iraqis are occupied by a regime alien to both of them through smoking mirrors and a serial maze of non-binding resolutions.

5 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Vigilante said...

Joshua Holland and Raed Jarrar have been pursuing the elusive 'political solutions' in Iraq for some time. On June 5, 2007, a precursor to the articled excerpted above was Iraqi Lawmakers Pass Resolution That May Force End to Occupation. And, on September 10, 2007, they published The Battle for Iraq is About Oil and Democracy, Not Religion!

11/10/2007 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

AGREED

11/11/2007 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Non-Partisàn said...

Nothing controversial here.

11/11/2007 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Urbanpink said...

I think this is very significant and most Americans don't know this. What a sham this whole affair is. The charade is blowing up in our faces every day and our people just turn away and hope it will turn out okay.

11/13/2007 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

If the Maliki government, what you call the 'GGZ', is sovereign, why have three prisoners condemned to death in June by Iraqi courts been in the custody of our American occupational army? Why has not their custody been transferred over to the GGZ? LA Times

11/13/2007 10:29:00 PM  

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