By Zeynep Toufe
The new U.S.-British drafted Security Council resolution is a scam. Under cover of a “transfer of sovereignty,” it seeks to have the United Nations give the United States legal authority to continue the occupation indefinitely.
You wouldn’t know that listening to Bush or from following most media but it’s there in black and white in the text of the draft resolution.
The draft calls for a “review” of the status of the occupation troops at the end of 12 months, or at any time at the request of the “Transitional Government of Iraq”, by the U.N. Security Council. However, this review is meaningless since, of course, the United States has a veto over the U.N. Security Council.
In other words, the reviewer is the reviewee.
As some media accounts openly acknowledge, “the force’s mandate is open-ended unless the council adopts another resolution to withdraw the foreign troops.” (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=564&u=/nm/20040525/ts_nm/iraq_un_reaction_dc_1&printer=1)
Let that sink for a moment. The Security Council cannot end the mandate of the occupation forces without a new resolution — which would be subject to a U.S. veto.
Here’s the key passage:
“6. Reaffirms the authorization for the multinational force under unified command established under resolution 1511 (2003) â€¦ and decides further that the mandate for the multinational force shall be reviewed 12 months from the date of this resolution or at the request of the Transitional Government of Iraq;” (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&u=/ap/20040524/ap_on_re_mi_ea/un_iraq_text_1&printer=1)
As Rahul Mahajan of Empire Notes points out (http://www.empirenotes.org/may04.html 25may043), this overturns the key decision of the only previous resolution that refers to the status of occupation of forces, UNSCR 1511, passed in September 2003. Resolution 1511 has automatic expiration of the mandate built in. Here’s the relevant part:
“15. Decides that the Council shall review the requirements and mission of the multinational force referred to in paragraph 13 above not later than one year from the date of this resolution, and that in any case the mandate of the force shall expire upon the completion of the political process as described in paragraphs 4 through 7 and 10 above, and expresses readiness to consider on that occasion any future need for the continuation of the multinational force, taking into account the views of an internationally recognized, representative government of Iraq.” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3189270.stm)
In other words, the mandate for the occupation would end the latest upon the “completion of the political process” which is defined basically as a constitutional conference and democratic elections.
Previously, the mandate of the occupation would end unless the U.N. Security Council *affirmatively* authorized its continuation. Now, it will continue unless the United States refrains from vetoing a new resolution ending the mandate. Effectively, all that a future “sovereign” government of Iraq could do would be to ask for the United States to review its own occupation, please.
It’s not like the U.S. is denying this state of affairs as Reuters reports, “Deputy U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham acknowledged there was no authority for Iraq to ask foreign troops to leave.” (http://in.news.yahoo.com/040524/137/2dach.html)
In the meantime, the U.S.-led occupation force “shall have authority to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security.”
Tony Blair and Colin Powell have publicly stated that the troops would leave if asked by an Iraqi government but have not explained why they are refusing to incorporate that into the resolution.
“Just trust us,” they seem to be saying.
After all, it’s not like they would lie to us about weapons of mass destruction, “bullet-proof” evidence of al-Qaeda links, humanitarian treatment of prisoners, the bombing of wedding parties, or, for that matter, the real reasons for the war, is it?
Zeynep Toufe has recently launched the blog http://www.underthesamesun.org. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.