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OP/ED: Myths of the Iraq Handover.

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posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 07:20 PM
Current mainstream media reports of the handover of power to Iraq on June 30th are contradictory at best and deliberately misleading at worst. There are a lot of games being played with this transfer and a lot of information being left out or overlooked. I’ve tried to collect some details here to add to, though not instead of, the mainstream reports which together might give a clearer picture of what’s going on.

The transfer is being described as giving power to a sovereign government, though in reality it will be an interim government unable to make or change basic laws, including at least 100 western style laws put in place by Paul Bremer.

Seattle Post

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

The main reason for calling the government sovereign is that it will have the right to ask the foreign forces to leave, though that is entirely unlikely as in the main the chosen government supports the U.S position and they also have little alternative given the current violence and the state of the Iraqi Army and Police force. The Complete withdrawal of foreign forces would likely result in a civil war.

The most important post of Prime Minister (the Presidential post is largely ceremonial) will be filled by Iyad Allawi, a man with admitted links to the State Department, the CIA and MI6.

138,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq after the handover. Legal jurisdiction over U.S forces will remain with the U.S, in accordance with the American Constitution. All US, U.K and other troops will be endorsed by the U.N and under usual U.N practice will be exempt from local law.

The big question is how long will the troops, and America, be staying. The U.N mandate for foreign troops will expire at the end of 2005 by which time a fully elected government should be in place, though technically this new government could ask the troops to stay on. Some projections have troops staying on till 2010 and beyond.

The U.S presence after the handover will also be bolstered by one of the largest U.S embassies in the world, with the largest staff in American diplomatic history, estimated at between 2000 and 3000 people. It will also contain a large contingent of CIA agents and contractors charged with putting an end to the insurgencies. The current construction of 14 permanent bases across Iraq for troops and policy advisors, cited as "a blueprint for how we could operate in the Middle East," by Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy chief of operations for the coalition in Iraq is another factor pointing to U.S plans for a long stay.

Although the CPA and Paul Bremer will be gone, as was said his laws will remain and additionally the US will also retain influence over every ministry in Iraq:

Global Policy.Org

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.

The fate of Saddam is also tied into the technicalities of the handover:

Sunday Herald

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 view of the Iraqi insurgents of the handover are obvious and vicious, as has already been seen by the upsurge in violence in recent weeks, and they are making it clear there is more to come:

Sunday Herald

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.

In my opinion for the normal Iraqis nothing will have changed on July 1st. For Bush and Blair a little face will have been saved with those adept at not asking too many questions. The media protrayal of the Iraqi handover is far more for our consumption than the Iraqis.

[edit on 27-6-2004 by Banshee]

posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 07:23 PM
I give this poor man one month and he will be kill, this is not funny but that is the true, he is nothing more and nothing else that bush politics in Iraq.
I mean not Sadam but the new president of Iraq.

[Edited on 28-6-2004 by marg6043]

posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 08:02 PM
There was a report on the Sherman Skolnick site, just after they "found & captured" Saddam that the reason he is still alive is that he has some codes to Swiss accounts and vaults that the Bush Crime Family wants and that he will remain their property until they have those codes. This is why I believe that he probably is being tortured but not enough to kill him. Too bad that the Red Cross can't effect his release/handover, we might learn something definite. Even if he is handed over to the coalition govt, they probably won't kill him unless the Bushes approve.

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