Suggesting a New Direction in Iraq

From Informed Comment. Juan Cole’s guest writer apparently chose to remain anonymous.

Guest Op-Ed: US Foreign Policy; the Principle of Non-Intervention
Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A seasoned observer writes:

‘ The complexity, interrelationships, results and consequences (intended and unintended) of US Iraq policy – one of the seven foreign interventions by the Bush Administration – were on confused display this week. While the sequence was to have been Iran sanctions followed by the Iraq matter, because of manipulations by the regime in Iran, the two matters were taken up in reverse order by the Security Council and President Bush. Additional Iran sanctions, originally scheduled for not later than November 30, have been delayed, and it is probable that there will be no additional sanctions. The Security Council extended the Iraq mandate on December 18.

Prime Minister Maliki’s submission to the Security Council, presumably with the assistance of General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker and the White House, requested an extension of the Iraq mandate. He did not present the submission to the Iraqi Council of Representatives for approval, as required by an Iraqi statute. The Sadr Movement and others did not have the opportunity to block it.

The letter of Secretary of State Rice was correspondingly deficient in relation to the subsequent enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 and the votes by the Senate December 18 and the House one day later with respect to the Emergency Supplemental Request of President Bush.

The Security Council extended the Iraq mandate for “only one more year.”

The bottom line is that:

(1) the commitment made in the Rice letter is supported by funding of US troops in Iraq only through June 30 and (2) the request made by Prime Minister Maliki was not supported by necessary approval of the Iraqi Council of Representatives.

In short, the extension of the Security Council mandate was based upon materially deficient submissions by Secretary of State Rice and Prime Minister Maliki, and is “illegal,” joining the “illegal” invasion of Iraq in the first place.

In effect, having granted a one-year extension, the members of the Security Council were relying upon the mid-March 2008 assessments of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker and upon the US Congress to do the “right thing” before June 30, 2008.

President Putin and the PRC leadership went along, as they have done in the three previous resolutions, for extrinsic reasons relating to other US interventions or other matters, notwithstanding the otherwise strongly held principle of non-intervention of the PRC.

The Security Council mandate, which authorizes the MNF-I (with the UK on the way out of Iraq, the US military) to use “all necessary measures,” provides legal authority for the US military to be in Iraq and, among other things, to arrest and detain insurgents. If there were no mandate, the US military would be subject to Iraqi law, including the Emergency Law under which only Iraqi “government officials” can make arrests, and would be unable to make arrests or to conduct operations without a court order. Until a US-Iraq SOFA or Strategic Partnership Agreement is finalized, signed and delivered, which is now contemplated to happen some time before July 2008, there will be no legal permission from the Iraqi Government for US troops to be in Iraq.

“AINO” (All In; None Out) is still possible with respect to all seven foreign policy interventions by the Bush Administration (except that Iraq will have been invaded and there could be a definitive settlement with North Korea). The Democrats will find it difficult to reverse the New World Order because it would require the PRC to change its principle of non-intervention, which is beyond the control or determining influence of the US Government. The best they can hope to do is wind up the Iraq War by withdrawing substantially all US troops. With respect to Afghanistan, they will be stuck with a war in perpetuity, which cannot be stopped until Osama bin Laden and Dr. Ayman Zawahiri are “captured or killed,” which will not happen. Under the Pakistan Constitution, the limited measures available to the President with respect to the North-West Frontier Province, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan cannot be delegated.

The foregoing indicates that it would be appropriate and sound policy for the next Administration and Congress to adopt the principle of non-intervention, joining with arguably leading Russia and the PRC. In all events, it would appear that substantially all US troops will have to be out of Iraq by the end of 2008, with or without a “victory.” ‘


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