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:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 17, 2019
Manuel García, Jr.
Ye Cannot Swerve Me: Moby-Dick and Climate Change
Charles Pierson
Sofi’s Choice
Gary Leupp
Epstein, Jane Doe, and Trump
Rebecca Gordon
I Had an Abortion and Now I’m Not Ashamed
Peter Bolton
In the US and Brazil, Two Trends Underline the Creeping Fascism of Both Governments
Michael Kidder
“Go Back Where You Came From:” an Episode From Canada
Steve Early - Rand Wilson
How Big Strike 30 Years Ago Aided Fight for Single Payer
John W. Whitehead
Sexual Predators in the Power Elite
Michael Welton
Teach the Children Well: the Unrealized Vision In Teaching and Learning in the Residential Schools
Khury Petersen-Smith
Iran’s Not the Aggressor, the US Is
Russell Mokhiber
Kip Sullivan and Dr. Matthew Hahn on How Value Based Programs Are Undermining Medicare and Single Payer
George Ochenski
A Fearless and Free Press is Essential to Our Democracy
Lawrence Wittner
Billionaires and American Politics
Dean Baker
Cheap Shots at the Trump Economy
July 16, 2019
Conn Hallinan
The World Needs a Water Treaty
Kenneth Surin
Britain Grovels: the Betrayal of the British Ambassador
Christopher Ketcham
This Land Was Your Land
Gary Leupp
What Right Has Britain to Seize an Iranian Tanker Off Spain?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Democratic Virtues in Electing a President
Thomas Knapp
Free Speech Just isn’t That Complicated
Binoy Kampmark
The Resigning Ambassador
Howard Lisnoff
Everybody Must Get Stoned
Nicky Reid
Nukes For Peace?
Matt Johnson
The United States of Overreaction
Cesar Chelala
Children’s Trafficking and Exploitation is a Persistent, Dreary Phenomenon
Martin Billheimer
Sylvan Shock Theater
July 15, 2019
David Altheide
The Fear Party
Roger Harris
UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Bachelet’s Gift to the US: Justifying Regime Change in Venezuela
John Feffer
Pyongyang on the Potomac
Vincent Kelley
Jeffrey Epstein and the Collapse of Europe
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Hissy-Fit Over Darroch Will Blow a Chill Wind Across Britain’s Embassies in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
Juggling with the Authoritarians: Donald Trump’s Diplomatic Fake Book
Dean Baker
The June Jobs Report and the State of the Economy
Michael Hudson – Bonnie Faulkner
De-Dollarizing the American Financial Empire
Kathy Kelly
Remnants of War
B. Nimri Aziz
The Power of Our Human Voice: From Marconi to Woods Hole
Elliot Sperber
Christianity Demands a Corpse 
Weekend Edition
July 12, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Skull of Death: Mass Media, Inauthentic Opposition, and Eco-Existential Reality in a Pre-Fascist Age of Appeasement
T.J. Coles
“Strategic Extremism”: How Republicans and Establishment Democrats Use Identity Politics to Divide and Rule
Rob Urie
Toward an Eco-Socialist Revolution
Gregory Elich
How Real is the Trump Administration’s New Flexibility with North Korea?
Jason Hirthler
The Journalists Do The Shouting
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pâté Politics in the Time of Trump and Pelosi
Andrew Levine
The Electoral Circus as the End of Its Initial Phase Looms
David Swanson
Earth Over the Brink
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail