The Guardian June 16, 2004


One step forward in Iraq

By adopting a comprehensive resolution on June 8, the United 
Nations Security Council has moved back to centre stage in 
Iraq.

Although the resolution is being touted in the Western media as a 
victory for Bush and Blair, the fact is that they were forced to 
make many substantial concessions and to eat their earlier 
declarations that the United Nations was irrelevant.

The resolution declares that "the occupation will end and the 
Coalition Provisional Authority will cease to exist and that Iraq 
will reassert its full sovereignty" on June 30. It also declares 
that the "sovereign Interim Government of Iraq, will assume full 
responsibility and authority by June 30, 2004."

The reality is somewhat different. The occupation will not end on 
June 30 as US and British troops will remain "at the request of 
the Interim Government" for the foreseeable future. The US, 
British and Australian forces are obliged to work in "close 
coordination and consultation" with the Interim Government. They 
are to "reach agreement on the full range of fundamental security 
and policy issues". The resolution speaks of a "security 
partnership". This terminology is a long way from vesting 
sovereign control in the Iraqi Interim Government over the US, 
British, Australian and other occupying forces.

The resolution also gives power to the occupiers to take "all 
necessary measures" to provide security and reserves the right to 
detain Iraqis viewed as a security threat.

The mandate for the occupation forces is to be reviewed at the 
request of the Government of Iraq or "twelve months from the date 
of this resolution" (June 8, 2004).

In any case the mandate is to expire upon the completion of the 
political process and will be terminated earlier "if requested by 
the Government of Iraq".

This clause would seem to bring the occupation of Iraq by any 
foreign forces to an end, at least by the time an Iraqi 
Government is established but it is certain that the US will 
apply tremendous pressure on the incoming Government to grant the 
US permanent military bases on Iraqi soil. The US military is 
reported to be already building some permanent military bases.

The resolution reaffirms the right of the Iraqi people to 
exercise "full authority and control over their financial and 
natural resources" but whether they will be able to exercise this 
"right" remains to be seen.

The UN resolution says that the Development Fund for Iraq, set up 
by the occupiers, is to be monitored by the International 
Advisory and Monitoring Board with "an additional" representative 
of the Iraqi Government. As with the occupying military forces 
this mandate will also be reviewed at the request of the 
Transitional Government of Iraq or in twelve months time.

A "national conference reflecting the diversity of Iraqi society" 
is to be convened. This has been a consistent demand of the Iraqi 
Communist Party.

There is also to be an international meeting if decided by the 
Government of Iraq but this clause of the resolution is so vague 
as to be almost meaningless.

Direct democratic elections are to be held by December 31, 2004 
"if possible" but in no case later than January 31, 2005. These 
will be to elect a Transitional National Assembly that is to form 
a Transitional Government, draft a permanent constitution for 
Iraq leading to a constitutionally elected government by December 
31, 2005.

While the struggle by the Iraqi people against the occupation and 
the international isolation of the United States has forced the 
US leaders to call in the otherwise despised United Nations and 
to make many concessions, the resolution is still a long way from 
any condemnation of the initial aggression and violation of the 
Charter of the United Nations. Nor does it explicitly require the 
removal of all foreign troops from Iraqi soil, nor does it grant 
complete and sovereign control of Iraq's natural resources to an 
Iraqi Government.

However, the resolution does represent a new stage that will give 
to the Iraqi people the opportunity to elect a government that 
could act to fully restore Iraq's independence and sovereignty 
and free Iraq from foreign occupation.

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