FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Circus in Baghdad

The so-called constitutional crisis in Iraq is nothing short of a scandal. The analysts who have been assigned by the forces-that-be to cover the negotiations in Iraq have adamantly blamed the obstinate “Sunnis” for the failure of negotiations. And once again, rather than dealing with the facts, the media coverage has been complicit in perpetuating illegality. Instead of silencing international law, as they did during the elections, the media has now conveniently chosen to ignore the basic legality of the drafting process. The political events currently taking place in Iraq are in violation of the Transitional Administrative Law, the very law the US so carefully put together during their “official” occupation of the country. The United States, in the person of Zalmay Khalilzad, is once again wheeling forward another authoritarian regime in the middle east at the expense of law, process and human rights.

According to the TAL, the committee assigned to draft the country’s constitution had until August 1 to request a deadline extension from the National Assembly. The reason for this mechanism was to allow for more time in the event of political deadlock, a situation we are currently seeing in the country. The international community has largely forgot the August 1st deadline; it was assumed that a reasonable committee would acknowledge the need for more time a full two weeks before the actual deadline. With all of the explicit pressure being placed upon the committee by the United States, however, the August 1st date was blown by with little regard for its significance. Needless to say, the committee failed to request an extension by the deadline and, therefore, had no legal basis for receiving one on the 15th. More pathetically minutes before midnight on the 15th. According to the TAL the committee’s failure to produce a draft for approval by the 15th means nothing less than the National Assembly’s dissolution, a political fact that has major implications for the US occupation.

There is an evident stupidity in placing a deadline on writing something as serious as a constitution; it is just another indication of this administration’s childish obsession with dates-similar to a toddler’s passion for his birthday or December 25th-thinking about free toys instead of adult costs. Notwithstanding the immaturity of the deadline itself the failure to meet the deadline is indicative of just how serious we should take the Iraqi government and its political inclinations. When observing the law meant conceding political power, both the National Assembly and its American caddy Khalilzad did not hesitate in completely ignoring it, a common dance between American and “friendly” Arab administrations.

Before proceeding to the strategic implications of a dissolved National Assembly, we are obliged to acknowledge not just one, but three flouts of the TAL. The unwarranted extension offered on the 15th provided the committee seven days to present a draft for approval. In the late evening of the 22nd, hoping to avoid embarrassment and placate an American administration reeling from events in Crawford, the committee chose to present an incomplete draft which was not to be approved. Instead the committee asserted a de facto extension, which it had no legal basis for doing; once again flouting the very law that largely formed the basis of its being. Thus the committee had failed to meet its legally compelling deadline. To indulge in the third time the committee did this, on the 25th, is redundant; the current National Assembly in Iraq simply has no basis for continuing to exist. The severe legitimacy problem that this Assembly has always suffered has thus been compounded by the clearing of the proverbial smoke and mirrors-the facts have been revealed and it seems that Khalilzad was unable to slide a constitution out of his sleeve in time.

To quote an Arab proverb: “If something happens once it does not necessarily happen again, if something happens twice, it will likely happen all of the time.” There can be little doubt that regardless of the official outcome of this convoluted constitutional process, the general political process will continually be marred by a philosophy of convenience. Under the auspices of the Bush administration the future of Iraq is inevitably doomed to such a fate. It is now widely being reported that large parts of the constitution are being translated from English into Arabic, revealing the genealogy of the draft itself. As Robert Fisk and others have reported two of the “advisors” to the drafting process remain “anonymous;” significantly the Americans have assured a prominent role for such “advisors.” But American tampering has not been limited to the constitution. Seymour Hersh has recently exposed American meddling in the Iraqi elections of this past January. While no doubt many will not be surprised by Hersh’s investigation, the exposure also reveals the administration’s serious investment in the current Iraqi government.

The ideology of occupation that the Bush administration now employs is largely based on the political “progress” of Iraq, a failure of the magnitude of which we now speak would certainly severely damage this ideology. The growing public pressure being placed on the administration from Crawford augments the ideological problem we have just referred to. Considering Bush’s shameless direct response, or lack thereof, to the protesters in Texas it seems American opinion is not high on the Bush agenda. The neo-cons and oilmen who pervade this administration, however, do have a great deal invested in maintaining an Iraq that suits their ambitions. To dissolve the National Assembly means to hold new elections in the fall and there is not only no guarantee that another complacent puppet government will emerge, it is highly unlikely. Khalilzad, an oilman himself, is therefore doing everything in his power to salvage the current regime. Thus while the National Assembly contravenes the law to maintain power, they do so under the auspices of the United States, just another example of the US shoring up an authoritarian regime. As the Arabs say, if something happens more than once it is likely to happen all of the time.

LAITH AL-SAUD is an academic researcher and lecturer in the United States. He can be reached at: laithalsaud@aol.com

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail