Of every UN member state to address the General Assembly Friday, September 24 (19 in all, at least by my count), not only did the UN News Center select the address by the Interim Iraqi Prime Minister to report first, at the top of the entire list. But, more important, the UN News Center adopted the same rhetoric the Iraqi IPM used in his speech to frame its report on the day’s events, and even to lend its report its title: “Iraqi leader appeals to UN Assembly for help to defeat terrorists, rebuild country” (Sept. 24).
To defeat terrorists and to rebuild the country.—Straight from the mouth of the Iraqi IPM to the title of the UN News Center’s report. And since it was all done via the UN News Center, no special P.R. campaign was necessary. Hmmm. How’s this for political foregrounding?
No built-in biases here, I’m sure you’ll all agree. No word-usage worth raising any hackles over. Surely not deliberate biases. Particularly in the choice of that word ‘terrorists‘ to designate the forces the UN has been asked to help the sovereign Interim Government of Iraq and the multinational forces operating under Security Council Res. 1546 to defeat.
(Quick aside. Fragmentary reporting tells me that some time after his General Assembly address, Kofi Annan held a “private” meeting with Ayad Allawi, where the two exchanged their views on whatever.—Would anyone care to wager whether the rule of law, the system of collective security, and the likely grave threats to international peace and security that this world faces going forward—the major themes of the Secretary-General’s own speech before the General Assembly on Tuesday (SG/SM/9491-GA/10258), and of the constantly publicized High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change—were hammered at over and over and over again, with you taking this side of the wager, of course?)
The editorial voice of the Los Angeles Times couldn’t have been more dead-on: “Potemkin Nation” was what it called the portrayal of Iraq during the Washington leg of the Allawi tour. “Parallel worlds,” London’s Independent called the divergence between the real world of Iraq (“large areas of the country are in rebel hands”—i.e., Iraqi hands, other-than-American hands) and its representation among the political leadership of the two states which seized it militarily one-and-a-half years ago. “America does not create terrorists,” Vice President Dick Cheney said in what was one of the more revealing quotes to come from the Republican camp this election year, “but under President Bush we will defeat the terrorists” (Warrenton, MO, Sept. 24). If it was “Ayad Allawi Week” in Washington (Paul Krugman’s phrase—though the first-half of the week had been Ayad Allawi Week in London, let’s not forget), then Friday must have been Ayad Allawi Day at the UN News Center.
Recall that, under 1546 (June 8), these “multinational forces” are only present inside Iraq “at the request of the incoming Interim Government” (par. 9). The difference between now and then being, now the Government is no longer incoming. It’s already been installed there.
Yes. You read that correctly. According to 1546, the multinational (i.e., the American) forces present inside Iraq are present there only because the sovereign Interim Government requested that they remain there and, the Security Council, ever-protective of the
principles—I mean principals—of world order, assented to the Iraqi request. (At least this is what the UN’s official record now states.)
Not only did 1546 place the Security Council’s Seal of Approval on the Americans’ illegal seizure of Iraq. But with 1546, the Americans got the Security Council to affirm the transparent falsehood that 1546 had resulted from a “request [by] the government of Iraq for the continued presence of the Multi-National Force…to help the Iraqi people to complete the political transition and [to] permit the United Nations and the international community to work to facilitate Iraq’s reconstruction,” here quoting the American Secretary of State’s Letter of June 5 to the Interim Iraqi Prime Minister, whose own Letter of the same date to the American Secretary of State sought a “new resolution on the Multinational Force…mandate to contribute to maintaining security in Iraq,” and to help it “complete the political transition process to establish a free and democratic Iraq and to be a partner in preventing terrorism.” (For copies of both Ayad Allawi’s and Colin Powell’s Letters of June 5, now entered into the Security Council’s records as Annexes to Res. 1546, see the very last two documents archived at Press Release SC/8117, June 8, 2004.)
Or, to make a long story short: With 1546, the Americans got the Security Council to affirm that, henceforth, the Security Council would regard their military occupation of Iraq as a response to a request from a sovereign Iraqi Government for a certain foreign power to come and occupy it.—
Now that’s real power for you—what these Americans have pulled off. Nor does any of this represent some silly Project-Censored-appealing, history-denying construct about the “Neoconservatives” in the back-offices of the White House, the Pentagon, and assorted Foundations, Projects, Think Tanks, and pro-Israel lobbying houses suddenly taking hold of the strings of American foreign policy, turning its goals and ambitions upside-down, and using the instruments of the National Security State to do some really brutal things, either.
Not only did the Americans invade and militarily occupy Iraq. (Old story. Lots of precedents. Wake up.)
Not only did the Americans install a puppet regime to try and loan some indigenous political cover to their occupation. (Old story. Lots of precedents.—Including the part about drawing the “indigenous” political cover from the exile community thousands of miles away.—Wake up.)
And not only did the Americans then use their puppet regime to formally extend an invitation back to themselves to stay on as the leaders of the so-called “multinational” force for Iraq. (Old story. Lots of precedents. Wake up.)
But since, when push came to shove, neither Russia nor China could muster a veto, this time around the Americans were able to get the Security Council to pronounce all of the above just fine according to the real principles of world order the Security Council exists to uphold. (Old story for the Americans. Fairly new for the Security Council. Though increasingly common since the collapse of the old Soviet bloc. And this didn’t happen yesterday.)
Indeed. Res. 1546 expunges from the UN’s books pretty much everything the Americans did to set themselves up in Iraq in the first place. The list of their collaborators is a long and dirty one. But to include the United Nations, through the organ of the Security Council, among them? Think about that one. At least a little. Think about what it really means.
Sometimes this past week, it has sounded (to my ear, anyway) like the Bush, Blair, and Allawi regimes have been pleading with the United Nations to line up and play its part in helping them crush the people—whoever these people may be—rising up in resistance to what started out, not very long ago, as an criminal act of American and British aggression, and continues as a brutal military occupation.
But no expunging of the UN’s records—or historical revisionism on the part of the Security Council and the Secretary-General (For what else was Res. 1546, but a rewriting of the history of the criminal aggression that brought this crisis to Iraq and the world in the first place?)—can erase this reality. No amount of denial can change the facts as they exist on the ground. No matter how many times American Power tries to engineer shifts of focus from its own predations to the alleged misconduct of others. However far up the neocolonial food chain this historical revisionism reaches.
Welcome to the New Millennium.
“Rule of Law at Risk Around the World,” Kofi Annan, September 21, 2004
UN Security Council Resolution 1546, June 8, 2004
“Security Council Endorses Formation of Sovereign Interim Iraqi Government” (Press Release SC/8117), June 8, 2004
Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002-2003, Project Censored (Sonoma State University, California)
FYA (“For your archives”): Am depositing here a copy of the Interim Iraqi Prime Minister’s September 24 address before the UN General Assembly. (If I could provide a link to it, I would. But I’m not sure where a permanent copy of it is available online just yet.)
FDCH Political Transcripts
September 24, 2004 Friday
HEADLINE: IYAD ALLAWI ADDRESSES THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
SPEAKER:IYAD ALLAWI, IRAQI INTERIM PRIME MINISTER
ALLAWI: Excellencies, Mr. President, General Assembly, ladies and gentlemen: Peace, mercy and blessings from Allah be upon all of you.
It gives me pleasure, Mr. President, to congratulate you warmly on your assumption of the presidency of the 59th session of the General Assembly,
It gives me pleasure to speak to the assembly today as the prime minister of a fully sovereign state that seeks meritoriously to restore its stature in the rank of the community of nations.
Iraq has remained isolated from the international community for a very long time. And, therefore, it was apart from the important role it deserves in the community of nations, and the Iraqi people aspire to restore that role today.
Iraq is a wealthy nation in its cultural heritage and rich history that made it a (inaudible) civilization. But the regime of Saddam Hussein and his oppression cast long, grim shadows on the sky of Iraq and traumatized and suppressed the people of Iraq for too many years.
For the change that brought down that the oppressive regime, our country and the world has become safer. And the new, wide vistas have emerged for fruitful and constructive cooperation. Quite a new landscape emerged in Iraq. Iraq now is going through a conflict that has wider-ranging repercussions on the future of our country.
It is a struggle between the Iraqi people and its vision of a future for peace an democracy, and the terrorists and extremists and the remnants of the Saddam regime who are targeting this noble dream that was nurtured by our people for a long time.
It is also a struggle of all civilized nations against those who are working to destroy civilizations and world culture. Therefore, I appeal to all representatives of countries assembled here to help Iraq to defeat forces of terrorism and help Iraq build a better future for the people of Iraq.
Mr. President, the brutal dictatorship imposed by Saddam Hussein on Iraq has wreaked havoc on the Iraqi society and brutalized and traumatized the Iraqi people.
That regime killed hundreds of thousands of the Iraqi citizens, arrested and tortured also thousands, and drove millions of Iraqis to leave their country after having been deprived of their most basic human and civil rights.
It also spoiled relations by sowing seeds of division, religious, racial and all sorts of divisions.
My words today cannot express but a minuscule scale of the oppression and suffering endured by the Iraqi people over three decades.
We have indeed discovered 262 mass graves, and we continue to find more of these graves, which proves the corruption of the Saddam regime and its lack of mercy and respect for life.
During the brutal era of Saddam Hussein, the hopes of the Iraqi people were to build a democratic and free Iraq that would ensure dignified life for its citizens. Today we have a genuine opportunity to fulfill that dream.
Iraq has become now a country of laws that respect human rights, human freedom, and there is a government that embodies the diversity of the Iraqi people within the framework of a genuine national unity.
Also, we are preparing today for holding democratic elections next January under the timeline set in the provisional law for the state administration and Security Council Resolution 1546.
We are committed to this time line, despite the complexities and difficulties, and we are capable to meet that deadline thanks to your help.
Holding the elections is a vital and necessary matter to improve the security situation in Iraq. We hope that Iraqis, all Iraqis, would participate in those elections and would contribute to the completion of the political process.
Nonetheless, there is an extreme, tiny minority that seeks to deprive Iraqis from fulfilling their dream of building a democratic future in Iraq. Those who are responsible for terrorism in Iraq hate democracy, freedom and humanity, like all terrorists in all places across the globe. They are abetted and assisted in their criminal endeavors by a number of foreigners who infiltrated into Iraq from neighboring countries.
The other criminals are those criminals from the previous regime who aim at destroying our country and impeding progress.
These are not freedom-fighters, as is claimed by partisan circuits. They do not intend to liberate our country. They aim at the dreams and aspirations of the Iraqi people.
In fact, the crux of the ongoing conflict is to restore stability and the rule of law and to enable men, women and children of Iraq to live free from fear. The aim of the terrorists is to destroy the aspirations of our people and to destroy the physical infrastructure of Iraq and to stop the economic life in Iraq, and to create a state of tension, panic, instability in order to undermine security and peace, and destruction of human civilization in our region and, indeed, throughout the world.
Mr. President, for all of those reasons, the most important priorities of my government are to defeat the schemes of terrorists and to establish security throughout Iraq, and to hunt down terrorists and to bring them to justice.
Also, we have developed plans in order to promote security, as being a vital condition for the construction of Iraq and in order to restore economic progress and completion of the political process and to achieve national reconciliation and to promote the culture of tolerance among all citizens of Iraq.
Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps now you appreciate the daunting task that we are facing. Therefore, we look forward for help from our neighbors and all our friends in the international community in order to achieve security and stability in Iraq.
I do recognize that some countries here objected to the war that brought down the regime of Saddam Hussein and his oppression and liberated the people of Iraq. And that is their right. But difference over this issue should not remain an obstacle to establishing new cooperative relations that would allow Iraq to receive serious international support in order to consolidate security, freedom and democracy in our country and to forget ahead on the path of development and progress.
Iraq welcomes international support for the objectives of the Iraqi people, as outlined in Security Council Resolution 1546, which was unanimously adopted by the Security Council members. That resolution underlines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and the constitution of a national government.
It also underlines the commitments of the international community to support that government in fulfilling the will of the Iraqi people by holding elections and establishing the proper legal framework for political parties and civil society and the re-establishment of an effective governmental structure and the application of the principle of social justice and the promotion of climate of tolerance (inaudible) human rights.
We need more assistance from our neighbors and from the international community as a whole in order to meet all of the objectives and to translate the aspirations of the Iraqi people to concrete realities after so many decades of suffering from the oppression of the previous regime and its preposterous practices.
We are proud of our membership in the League of Arab States, Organization of the Islamic Conference, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. And we have stared a fruitful dialogue with the European Union. We hope that all of that will lead to concrete, positive results in the near future.
Also, I am pleased to announce here that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, has agreed to assist Iraq in the area of training security forces of Iraq.
Especially, I welcome the scheduled conference for the neighboring countries, in addition to other friendly countries in the near future, in order to enable the Iraq people to face the challenges, dangers, and to establish stability in Iraq.
It is, indeed, our duty to coordinate our efforts in our fight against terrorism and to exchange information.
It is also our duty to ensure that our national borders are more secure in order to halt the infiltration of terrorists from and into Iraq and to put an end to their destructive activities. In this context, we call upon all friendly and peace-loving nations to stand fast by Iraq. Because we need the assistance not only in the next year, but right away.
We need more assistance from the multinational force, and we need a broadening of the base of the troop-contributing countries to that force so that we would be more determined and be better equipped to confront terrorism and provide protection, security protection for the United Nations and all its agencies when they return to Iraq.
My government is committed to reconstruction and the development of national economy and works with the World Bank, United Nations system, International Monetary Fund, in order to complete the reforms necessary in order to enhance prospects of welfare and prosperity for Iraq, and so that Iraq would become an effective trade partner with other nations.
But the problem of foreign debt emerges as the most serious obstacle on that front. We are indebted in billions of dollars. And these are beyond our capabilities, and these debts are a burden on the Iraqi people. And they are unjust burdens because they arose from the prohibitive course incurred unjustly by the former regime and its unjustified wars and its support for international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction and looting our national resources.
With good intentions and rational management, Iraq hopes that we reach an agreement with the Paris Club at the end of this year in order to achieve liberal reductions in our debts.
Here I would like to express our gratitude to those countries that decided to write off their debts on Iraq and appeal to debtor nations to show the same generosity.
Without your assistance we would not be able to reconstruct Iraq, and attract foreign investments that would enhance our great investments to the future and consolidate security for the Iraqi people and to ensure the spread of economic benefits to the region and the entire world.
Also, I appeal to the donor community that pledged generous financial assistance to fulfill their obligations in order to help us reconstruct our country. We welcome the meeting of the donor countries scheduled to be convened next next month in Tokyo. This financial assistance would create an atmosphere of optimism that would allow us to leave that past totally behind us, and it also helps us to finance the reforms and development projects on the ground.
In addition to that, we hope that the friends of Iraq will ensure financial assistance for ensuring the success of democratic elections. We seek international assistance from the United Nations and its assistance in the special Iraqi court in order to ensure that all defendants, irrespective of the crimes with which they are accused, would receive a fair trial within the justice system which would help Iraq shake itself free from the pernicious shackles of the past.
From our part, we stress here that the efforts and funds committed by the international community to promote democracy and revive the economy will not be in waste. Perhaps these measures would have a positive impact on the entire region and the whole world and would create a climate that would promote peace, security, international cooperation and regional cooperation on the basis of mutual interests.
Mr. President, we highly appreciate the role of the secretary general of the United Nations, His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, and his good efforts that would help us to lay the foundations for freedom and democracy.
We also pay tribute to His Excellency, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, the former personal envoy of the secretary general, for his efforts toward the constitution of the interim Iraq government.
We also welcome the appointment of His Excellency Mr. Ashraf Qazi as the successor to Mr. Brahimi.
We’ll also welcome the assistance team dispatched by the United Nations to support us to meet our obligations in holding general elections next January.
At the same time, we look for forward to receive the United Nations personnel in Iraq in order to help us to complete an effective political process and in the construction exercise. And we warmly look forward to the return of all United Nations agencies so that they would operate inside Iraq in order to fulfill their mission.
On this occasion, I wish to recall with deep anguish and sorrow the destruction of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, a little over a year ago, as a result of the brutal and barbaric terrorist attack that claimed the life of Mr. Sergio de Mello, the brilliant international figure, in addition to a number of the United Nations workers at the international headquarters.
Their memories will remain vivid in our minds as testimonials for promoting democracy and stability in Iraq.
Also, let me stress our determination to defeat the coward terrorists who aim at targeting the lives of foreign workers who came to help us to achieve our noble mission.
Mr. President, Iraq follows closely the challenges being faced by the countries of the world, primarily the mushrooming of new forms of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the need to reduce poverty and the achievement of the third millennium development cause, and the promotion of human rights and consolidation of democracy and equality.
In this regard, Iraq appeals to the United Nations, in particular, to make more efforts in order to combat terrorism and to curb this horrendous scourge.
ALLAWI: This would presently call for new ideas, perhaps stronger work, in order to implement a greater course. It is important for us to affirm the commitment by Iraq, the government, and people of Iraq to succeed in this battle.
Terrorism is a disease that is spreading all over the world. And some misleading models are used. Terrorists shed blood of innocent people in the name of Islam. Everywhere in New York, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bali, Madrid and in Baghdad, these are criminals who commit their evil acts without showing any mercy and display only barbarism and thirst for blood.
Today they chose Iraq as their battleground because they are afraid of the success of the Iraqi experience and demonstration by Iraq of its stability, its development, and building of its democratic institutions. But they will reap nothing but failure and total defeat.
Therefore, our struggle is your struggle. Our victory will be your victory. And if we were defeated, then it will be your defeat.
In fact, the failures of democracy, freedom, justice and equality for all, irrespective of sex, color, faith, or race, these are common human values. There is no room for those who try to divide our world by putting Muslims (inaudible) This proposition is extremely harmful to the unity of the human society, its peace and security.
Also, we believe in the importance of the conservation of peace and stability in the region of the Middle East on the basis of United Nations resolutions and respect for mutual rights and comprehensive and just peace.
Let me state before the international community today, whether those members of the community who supported or opposed the war and to the United Nations itself: Do not be neutral in this struggle. Do not remain idle. But join us for our own sake and for your own sake. The fulfillment of the dream of the Iraqi people, a free, stable and prosperous Iraq, with good standing in the midst of the family of peace-loving nations, will reinforce our capability and resolve to achieve justice, peace, and defeat terrorism and removal of all forms of divisions and hatred among nations.
Let us stand side by side as one international family in order to achieve our noble goals.
Peace, mercy and blessings from Allah be upon all of you.
I thank you, Mr. President.