It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
As Iraq's highest authority, Bremer has issued more than 100 orders and regulations, many of them Western-style laws governing everything from bankruptcy and traffic, to restrictions on child labor and copying movies.
Some are likely to be ignored. One law requires at least a month in jail for people caught driving without a license - something many Iraqis do not have. Another demands that drivers stay in a single lane, a rule widely ignored in Iraq's chaotic streets.
Others are more controversial. On Saturday, Bremer signed an edict that gives U.S. and other Western civilian contractors immunity from Iraqi law while performing their jobs in Iraq. The idea outrages many Iraqis, including Othman, who said the law allows foreigners to act with impunity even after the occupation.
See Also BBC Q&A
As Washington prepares to hand over power, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer and other officials are quietly building institutions that will give the U.S. powerful levers for influencing nearly every important decision the interim government will make.
In a series of edicts issued earlier this spring, Mr. Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority created new commissions that effectively take away virtually all of the powers once held by several ministries. The CPA also established an important new security-adviser position, which will be in charge of training and organizing Iraq's new army and paramilitary forces, and put in place a pair of watchdog institutions that will serve as checks on individual ministries and allow for continued U.S. oversight. Meanwhile, the CPA reiterated that coalition advisers will remain in virtually all remaining ministries after the handover.
In many cases, these U.S. and Iraqi proxies will serve multiyear terms and have significant authority to run criminal investigations, award contracts, direct troops and subpoena citizens. The new Iraqi government will have little control over its armed forces, lack the ability to make or change laws and be unable to make major decisions within specific ministries without tacit U.S. approval, say U.S. officials and others familiar with the plan.
Nothing symbolises just how cosmetic the entire handover process is more than the fate of Saddam Hussein. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says Saddam’s detention by US forces must also end on Wednesday. From the moment that the handover takes place, the US no longer has the power to hold Saddam and he must either be given to the Iraqis or released.
Under the Geneva Convention, a prisoner of war can only be held for as long as they are considered “enemy combatants” who are not charged with any crime. Once the conflict ends, the prisoner must be released.
“His case is the same as all other prisoners of war,” said Nadia Doumani of the ICRC. “Saddam can be convicted for war crimes, for crimes against humanity … he can be tried and prosecuted. If he is not charged, then the law says that at the end of the war, of occupation, he should be released.”
Officials in the US State Department have referred to the possible transfer of Saddam from American to Iraqi custody, saying that they are “not aware of any plan that’s been worked out on this”.
The determination to keep Saddam under US control comes from the very top. President George W Bush has said Saddam will only be handed over when “appropriate security” is in place in Iraq. In other words, the US doesn’t believe that the Iraqis would be able to have Saddam in custody without him escaping or being lynched.
The Centre for Global Research recently published interviews with two Iraqi generals and a colonel who are among the main leaders of the resistance movement. The trio, who are being hunted by the coalition, said they were happy to talk “because today we are sure we’re going to win”. Their words confirm fears that the handover of power will be played out against a background of bloodshed and mayhem.
Speaking before Thursday’s bloodbath, the generals made clear they had no weapons of mass destruction, but added: “On the other hand, we have more than 50 million conventional weapons.” On Saddam’s instructions, an arsenal of mortars, anti-tank mines, rocket-launchers, missiles, AK-47s and ammunition was stored in secret locations across Iraq.
The generals said they knew at the time of the invasion that the Iraqi army had no chance against US and UK forces –“the war was lost in advance” they said – so they fought briefly to save their honour and then dispersed. This strategy had been planned for up to a year before the invasion in March 2003. Their current plan is simple – “to liberate Iraq and expel the coalition – to recover our sovereignty and install a secular democracy, but not the one imposed by the Americans”.
They claim there is no lack of volunteers. Some 5000 “kamikazes” – both men and women – are ready to launch suicide missions. The generals say that 90% of them are Iraqi, with the rest made up of foreign fighters.
“The resistance is not limited to a few thousand activists – 75% of the population supports us and helps us, directly and indirectly, volunteering information, hiding combatants or weapons,” they said.