Toward A Practical Peace in Iraq
Project on Defense Alternatives Briefing Report #16
Radical Departure: Toward A Practical Peace in Iraq
Project on Defense Alternatives Briefing Report #16
Progress toward a stable peace in Iraq and the withdrawal of US troops begins with the painful recognition that America's recent troubles are largely self-inflicted. This is due principally to the adoption of mission objectives that far exceed what is necessary or pragmatic.
While much attention has focused on the need to "internationalize" the postwar effort, the shortfall in international support that has beset the mission is a derivative problem. "Internationalization," although a prerequisite of success, is neither sufficient nor even primary. The first and most important step is selecting a practicable set of mission objectives. And these are not yet in sight. For this reason, neither the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1546, nor the 28 June installation of a new interim government, nor the prospect of an increased UN role in Iraq will take the American mission out of the woods. For the same reason, Senator John Kerry's alternative to the Bush administration approach also falls short of being adequate.
The postwar mission in Iraq should have restricted itself to the following essential tasks -- which are daunting enough:
This set of postwar goals might have won broad support both internationally and inside Iraq. Additionally, these goals have the benefit of conforming more closely to what is justifiable under international law. But the Bush administration has had more ambitious objectives in mind.
2. A bright shining Iraq
The postwar mission has sought not only to repair and selectively reform Iraq, but to virtually reinvent the nation -- economically, socially, and politically. The mission also has aimed to substantially decide the future political balance inside Iraq and to establish the country as a reliable ally and base for US operations. In the Administration's vision, Iraq is meant to serve not only as an example, but also as a "lever arm" for a program of coercive transformation throughout the region, affecting both the external behavior and internal constitution of Arab and Muslim states.
These ambitions -- which significantly intrude on the prerogatives of the Iraqi people -- have made the mission an enemy to too many Iraqis and an affront to too many more. They are the source of a series of serious policy blunders and excesses, including:
The combined effect of these decisions was to feed the insurgency and provide it with a resonant base of popular disaffection. This exacerbated the challenge of restoring public order, which the administration was ill-prepared to handle at any rate. The administration's grand plan and the problems it ignited also distracted the mission from the basic tasks of reconstruction, humanitarian relief, and service provision -- a dereliction that further eroded popular support.
It should not be surprising that few nations have been willing to seriously invest themselves in the Iraq project: Its goals constitute a recipe for protracted occupation and insurgency. Nor is it surprising that the response among America's allies in the Arab and Muslim world has been ambivalent, at best: the project displays a vision in which reform is conflated with foreign hegemony. The new UN deal on Iraq marginally softens this impression, but the illusion of progress will not hold.
3. The 28 June makeover
Security Council Resolution 1546 will do little to resolve the Iraq imbroglio. Nonetheless, it represents an important political victory -- a respite -- for the Bush administration. The victory is all the more remarkable for having been won handily despite the mounting controversies over the Administration's manipulation of prewar intelligence and the postwar mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners.
The UN Security Council (SC), by its resolution, has declared the occupation of Iraq to be over, formally, and has declared the handpicked "Interim Government of Iraq" (IGI) to be a sovereign and independent one. Nonetheless, Iraq will remain an occupied country with a non-representative government appointed by foreigners and possessing only truncated powers (as outlined in Appendix 3). The SC resolution has made this simple, important truth easier for leaders to evade and harder for journalists to report in a straightforward fashion. The resolution has cast it into the realm of editorial opinion. Of course, the mass of Iraqis who live this truth daily will not be easily swayed. Their destiny is not yet in their hands and they know it.Disappearing Democracy
Discussion of the 28 June 2004 transition in Iraq has focused mostly on whether the new government is "fully sovereign". A more fundamental issue is whether or not the new government is representative of the Iraqi people. This question seems to have disappeared in the debate surrounding the transition. It has been capsized by the spat between the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the appointed IGI, which wants as much power as it can accumulate. For many members of the IGI, the next six or seven months constitutes a brief "window of opportunity" during which they might accrue what most of them do not yet possess: a power base. But this self-serving drive for power does not alter the fact that the IGI is a creature of the US mission and deeply dependent on it.
In fact, the new government is less representative of the Iraqi people than was its predecessor, and obviously so. Like its predecessor, it is a foreign-appointed instrument -- a product of compromise between the CPA, the CPA-appointed Governing Council, and (to a lesser extent) UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. Notably, the role of the religious parties has been reduced, while their manifest popularity has increased.1 Iraq's new president and prime minister have low popularity ratings, while the most popular figures in the country are either under-represented or not represented at all.
People can disagree about the meaning of the term "sovereignty" and how it should be utilized. For practical purposes, however, there are several issues relevant to the Iraq situation that the discussion of "sovereignty" touches on. Setting aside semantic disputes, these are the issues that should concern us:
By virtue of SC Resolution 1546, we can answer the final question in the affirmative. With regard to all the others, however: the answers are either negative or ambiguous - which should cast doubt on the wisdom of the UN's designation of the IGI as the legitimate government of Iraq.
As noted above, the IGI is not in any sense a "representative" government, which pertains to its claim to legitimacy. Also, the IGI clearly does not enjoy a monopoly on force in Iraq; indeed, it exercises little control over Iraq's security situation. Of all the armed players in Iraq - including the coalition's forces, insurgents, and militias - those controlled by the IGI seem to be the weakest or least reliable. Governments can earn international recognition because they are seen as representative of a people, or because they exercise predominant control over a territory, or both. In the case of the IGI, neither of these conditions pertain.
Turning to the independent capacities of the new Iraqi government: it is best suited to simply carry forward and administer the legacy of the CPA and its chief, Paul Bremer. Although the IGI enjoys more administrative responsibility than did its predecessor, the Governing Council, its powers to legislate are tightly constrained. It is straight-jacketed by a web of previous CPA decrees, contracts, and commissions that it would be hard-pressed to overturn. And the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), which is a temporary constitution effectively penned by the CPA, allows the IGI little freedom to affect Iraq's destiny.2
In order to override or rescind the CPA's ordinary decrees - of which there are 96 - the IGI must muster a majority of ministers plus the unanimous support of the three-person Presidency Council. The TAL, or constitution, cannot be changed until the next government takes control - presumably sometime in 2005. At that point, a democratically-elected Iraqi National Assembly can alter Paul Bremer's TAL with a three-quarters vote plus the unanimous support of the Presidency Council. Thus, for the IGI, the obstacle to changing Bremer's constitution is probably insurmountable; for the next government, it is merely enormous. The TAL will probably remain the supreme law of the land until 2006.
The structure and manufacture of the IGI reveal two types of control mechanisms employed by the US mission. The first involves government appointments; the second involves laws scripted by the CPA that limit the new appointees' freedom of action. Apart from these limits, both the IGI and its successor in 2005 will have to contend with the predominant position of the United States in Iraq. This involves not only military power, but also financial, material, and bureaucratic strength. Not to put too fine a point on it: The United States will retain a unique and profound capacity to shape and crimp the "free will" of the Iraqi government. This circumstance has led Adam Roberts of Oxford University to conclude that Iraq will have "the same independence as a dog on a leash."3
The CPA's influence in deciding who can hold office in Iraq will persist even beyond 2006. This, through the work of special commissions appointed by Bremer to manage ballot access, fight government corruption, and impose sanctions on former Ba'ath Party members. Sanctions against recent members of "illegal" militias will serve this function as well. These commissions and laws provide mechanisms to bar supposed miscreants from seeking office or to toss them out should they get elected. But the protocols and standards of proof governing these processes are not rigorous, in the sense of typical court proceedings. The responsible commissioners - appointed to long terms of service by Bremer - enjoy broad latitude to selectively take action against people who have been convicted of no crime.
The political uses of sovereignty
There is great potential for mischief in the fiction that the new Iraqi government is independent and enjoys sovereign power. It gives the IGI greater credibility as a "spokesperson" for a people it does not represent and who have little confidence in it. This credibility was put to work preemptively on 3 June 2004 when Iraq's appointed Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, called on the Security Council to adopt the US-UK resolution - a resolution that would empower him and his cohort.4 (4) The resolution also gives the Bush administration greater freedom to portray its own policies -- which tightly bind the IGI -- as the independently expressed will of the Iraqi government.
Perhaps what is most relevant to the potential for continuing conflict is that the UN resolution does not promise an early end to occupation (except semantically, insofar as it declares occupation to be over). And it does not ensure that democratic elections will occur before 31 January 2005 -- 21 months after Hussein's fall.5 Until then, most of the CPA decrees in effect on 30 June 2004 will remain in effect; the Interim Government cannot easily contravene them.6
The UN resolution and the 28 June advent of a new Iraqi government give the impression that Bush administration policy in Iraq has tacked toward the United Nations and international opinion. And it has, minimally -- reflecting the power shift between the US departments of Defense and State. But what, in fact, has the UN won?
The United Nations has won a somewhat greater role in shaping Iraq's future and the pledge of some real progress on elections in 2005. Former opponents of the war sitting on the Security Council may also see value in the mere appearance of greater US-UK compliance with international opinion. It boosts their status as arbiters of international affairs. This may explain why the other big powers are willing to give so much (in the way of legitimizing the American mission) while gaining so little in terms of real, immediate progress on the ground. At any rate, it is Iraqis and Americans -- not Russians, Chinese, or the French -- who will pay the greatest price for continuing the misadventure in Iraq.For the Bush administration, the gain achieved through SC Resolution 1546 is two-fold:
First, the resolution will serve the administration well in the US electoral contest by giving the impression that US policy has turned a corner in Iraq and gained greater international support; The Bush administration's gambit shrinks the apparent difference between its position on Iraq and Senator John Kerry's.
Second, it grants the Bush administration greater freedom to suppress the Iraqi opposition.
Trumping the opposition
Throughout the first year of the occupation, the CPA sought to characterize the opposition as solely comprising foreign jihadists, Al Qaeda affiliates, and "Saddam-istas" (that is, remnants of the former regime). Against this reading, there was growing evidence that a large part of the open insurgent activity had a popular base in the Sunni and Shiite communities and that it was new, not residual.7 Moreover, the fact that Iraq was a nation under foreign occupation and rule lent some "nationalist" legitimacy to a part of the insurgency, at least. Resolution 1546 may alter or complicate this perception. The resolution, by recognizing the new Iraqi government as "sovereign" and by declaring the occupation to have ended, may undermine the insurgents' claim to legitimacy.
The Bush administration's new Iraq strategy has combined a drive for international legitimacy with more vigorous action against Iraqi insurgents. This was first evident in the Falluja offensive and the subsequent crack-down on Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Sadr's Shiite militia, especially, presents a problem in that it does not remotely conform to the characterization of the rebels as Hussein regime die-hards or foreign jihadists. So, in tandem with its push for Resolution 1546, the Bush administration formally broadened its Iraqi enemies list to encompass "illegal militias," as President Bush outlined in a 24 May 2004 speech at the US Army War College.8
On 7 June, CPA Administrator Paul Bremer promulgated an order making illegal those militias that fall outside a reintegration and (partial) disarmament plan.9 The list of sanctioned militias, announced by the IGI on 8 June, pointedly excluded Sadr's Mahdi army and the Falluja Brigade. Also by virtue of Bremer's decree, all members of illegal militias -- including the very popular al-Sadr -- are banned from public office for three years after they leave their militia organizations.10 Thus, additional thousands of disgruntled Iraqis join the tens of thousands of former Ba'athists already partially barred from "working within the system."
4. Hard truths, bitter lessons
The prerequisite of real progress in Iraq is a roll-back in US postwar objectives. A sensible postwar mission might, in addition to undertaking humanitarian and reconstruction tasks, seek to establish some guarantees in each of these areas: militarism, human rights, stability, and representative governance. If we are to see our way clear to a practicable mission, however, we first have to face up to and absorb several truths and lessons of the Iraq experience to date:
Appendix 1 of this report presents in greater detail what would have been a sensible approach to addressing the postwar challenge in Iraq. This alternative model might serve today as a touchstone for policy assessment and development. Appendices 2 and 3 offer a detailed critique of the approach taken by the Bush administration, looking successively at pre- and post-30 June circumstances.
What is most difficult is charting a reliable path out of the Iraq mess as we find it today -- after 13 months of policy error and obfuscation. Nonetheless, there are a number of steps that might be taken by the current administration (or the next one) to correct past errors, move Iraq toward a stable peace, and facilitate a timely withdrawal of US troops.
5. Recommendations: Steps toward a practical peace in Iraq
Proposed measures related to peace building
Proposed Measures Related to Security
Proposed measures related to Iraqi sovereignty and governance
Proposed measures related to the Iraqi economic development and reconstruction
Proposed Regional Confidence and Stability Building Measures
Appendix 1. The road not taken: a practicable postwar mission in Iraq
A practicable postwar mission in Iraq would have focused on a more modest and consensual set of objectives than that attempted by the Bush administration. This would have facilitated both international and Iraqi cooperation.
Legitimacy is key to the ability of such missions to win indigenous cooperation, prevent violence, and establish a stable framework of governance. In turn, legitimacy depends on the mission's not reflecting or advancing narrow, partisan interests or views -- especially those of another nation. Instead, it should reflect a few core principles and concerns that enjoy broad assent in Iraq and abroad.
Prior to the war there had been wide concern about Iraqi militarism and military potential --especially regarding weapons of mass destruction -- and about the Hussein regime's gross violations of human rights. What principally divided proponents and opponents of the war was differing assessments of the immediacy of these problems, the means for addressing them, and the priority to be given to Iraq among the universe of international security concerns. There also was a broad desire, both inside Iraq and outside, to see the country evolve a representative form of government -- although, again, no consensus existed regarding how to proceed.
Once the war was a fait accompli, the common desires regarding Iraq might have come to the fore, forming a basis for common action. Similarly, the war itself created requirements for outside involvement that few would dispute, regarding humanitarian assistance, reconstruction, and post-conflict security and stability in postwar Iraq.
Taken together, these goals could have formed the basis for a practicable, consensual postwar mission. In line with this, the postwar mission in Iraq should have limited itself to the following tasks:
To further enhance its legitimacy, the postwar mission should have operated fully within the existing body of international law and institutions. Of course, a fundamental principle of international law is that one nation should not attempt to impose a government or form of government on another. Nonetheless, the international community can have legitimate security concerns regarding the internal affairs of sovereign nations and can be justified in promoting some internal changes on the grounds of overarching collective security interests. Sharp differences exist over the appropriate means and extent of such interventions, but these differences are less acute regarding situations in which a power vacuum already exists.
With regard to international action in postwar Iraq: the creation of some structural guarantees regarding human rights, militarism, and stability would have been within the bounds of international law and consensus. Similarly, the creation of a basic framework of representative governance and elections should have been agreeable and permissible as a means of achieving stability while respecting civil rights.
What probably could not have been sustained in law or consensus, however, was the imposition of policies in those areas of substance (like education and the economy) that are properly the business of the Iraqi people. After all, unlike Somalia, Iraq did not suffer the complete absence of state structures and systems of social service delivery. Also unsustainable would have been efforts to selectively exclude from the political process (or otherwise disadvantage) any of Iraq's legitimate, indigenous political forces or currents. The point of recognizing and respecting these limits is not to ensure an abstract adherence to international law and consensus, but rather to ensure that the mission's goals are practicable.
In addition to the positive objectives outlined above, a practicable postwar mission would have adopted a set of self-limiting guidelines:
In accord with the objectives and self-limiting principles outlined above, the next section of this appendix gives a fuller specification of what would have constituted a practicable postwar mission in Iraq.
A1.2. Fuller specification of alternative postwar goals
In addition to the basic tasks of humanitarian relief, reconstruction of the Iraqi infrastructure, and restoration of civil order, the postwar mission in Iraq should have undertaken a series of initiatives addressing the issues of militarism, human rights abuses, and postwar stability:Implement a Military Monitoring Regime
The interim Iraqi government and its successor should forswear weapons of mass destruction and support for terrorist activity, agree to limit the size and capabilities of its armed forces, and permit unfettered access to its military sites by a multinational corps of monitors under UN auspices. A reasonable term for the monitoring regime would be five years or less, as the Security Council sees fit. A highly effective monitoring corps might comprise 2,000 personnel and could be accompanied by a multinational security detail comprising 8,000 troops. This deployment could be reinforced rapidly, if necessary, by US ground and air units stationed in Kuwait. The mission of these foreign troops on Iraqi soil should be strictly limited, however, as should the duration of their stay: they are there for no other purpose than to protect the monitoring mission for as long as it lasts. (This deployment is an increment to that required for postwar security tasks.)Bring violators of international and humanitarian law to justice
The occupation authority would intern for prosecution those most responsible for the depredations of the Hussein regime and subsequent war crimes: this group might comprise more than 1000 individuals. However, no wholesale program of sanctions against former Ba'ath Party members should occur, although the party's offices should be closed and its assets seized. To ensure the legitimacy of the proceedings, the initial high-profile internees should be remanded for prosecution to the International Criminal Court or a special international tribunal. Additional indictments might occur at a later date based on subsequent investigations by the Iraqi government.Initiate institutional and legal reforms to strengthen the protection of human rights:
A1.3. Mission Framework and Iraqi Governance
Ideally, leadership of the postwar mission should have been the job of the United Nations Security Council, exercised through a special representative acting as the top civilian official in Iraq.
The postwar transition process should have occurred in three phases:
Phase One (lasting no more than 100 days): The head of the external mission would exercise sole authority in Iraq. Among the tasks of this period would be the convocation of an Interim National Assembly of 200-300 Iraqi leaders and authorities -- at least 90 percent of them indigenous. The membership of this Assembly would be chosen to be broadly recognizable to Iraqis as a fair representation of the nation's constituent regions, communities, and groups. This assembly would choose an Executive Council that together with the head of the mission would select an interim government, to take office no later than four months after the war's end.
Phase Two (lasting from month four through 12): a "power sharing" arrangement would exist between the civilian head of the mission and the interim Iraqi government. Although most executive power would reside with the mission leader, the interim Iraqi government might immediately assume administrative control of all ministries except finance and security. It might also be given veto power over long-term contracts and decisions affecting the development of the Iraqi military, parliamentary system, and economy.
Phase Three (commencing with true national elections, one year after the war's end): The external mission would relinquish its executive authority in Iraq. During this period, the principal function of the external mission would be to conduct military inspections and to offer the Iraqi government reconstruction assistance and advice. The new, popularly-elected government of Iraq would be recognized as independent and sovereign. It would remain bound, however, by obligations relating to military inspections and arms control.
A1.4. Multi-national Force Deployment
Ideally, the military component of the mission would have been assumed by NATO acting under and circumscribed by an explicit UN mandate. NATO would have assembled a Combined and Joint Task Force that could have incorporated contingents from both NATO and non-NATO countries. Any significant participation by Germany, France, and Russia would have increased the international legitimacy of the mission. Even more important would have been participation by Arab and Muslim nations which, in addition to enhancing the mission's legitimacy, would have facilitated relations with the local populace. Possible candidates would have been Jordan, Pakistan, and Egypt.
The MNF deployment would have occurred in phases corresponding to the changing relationship between the mission and the Iraqi government as well as to the readiness of the Iraqi military:
Phase One (lasting four months) would involve a deployment of between 200,000-225,000 troops.
Phase Two (lasting from month four through 12) would have comprised between 80,000 and 150,000 troops. During this phase, the size of the MNF deployment would decline as Iraqi police and army units returned to full-readiness. Most of the withdrawn troops would be American. Thus, as the MNF reduced in size, it would become more multinational in character.
Phase Three (beginning no later than 1 December 2004): The MNF presence inside Iraq would reduce to less than 10,000 troops with the limited mission of supporting a five-year program of military inspections to ensure Iraqi compliance with arms limitation agreements, as noted above. This force might involve very few American troops. However, 20,000-30,000 US troops might remain in Kuwait in order to (1) increase regional confidence in Iraqi stability and (2) provide for rapid reinforcement of the MNF mission in Iraq, should it be needed.
A1.5. Regional confidence- and security-building measures
Appendix 2. A bright shining Iraq? How the mission to Iraq overstepped its bounds
As noted in previous sections, a practicable postwar mission in Iraq might have sought, in addition to undertaking humanitarian and reconstruction tasks, to establish guarantees related to concerns about Iraqi militarism, human rights abuses, stability, and representative governance. In several ways, however, the US-UK postwar mission has over-stepped these bounds significantly. The mission has sought to fundamentally transform both the Iraqi economy and state, determine the balance of political forces inside Iraq, and establish the country as a reliable ally and base for US operations.
The next sections look in turn at efforts to (1) transform the Iraqi economy, (2) determine the political order, and (3) entrench American influence.
A2.1. Prying open the Iraqi economy
The planned re-engineering of the Iraqi economy adheres closely to US neoconservative orthodoxy. Along these lines, CPA decrees have: 14
Due to 24 years of war and a decade of sanctions, the Iraqi economy and market are today artificially weak and susceptible to penetration. In this context, the Bush administration's program of radical and rapid economic liberalization may leave many of Iraq's assets in foreign hands, its markets overwhelmed by foreign products, and its economy uniquely vulnerable to the vicissitudes of world financial markets.
The CPA-controlled reconstruction and restructuring process has already given US corporations and banks privileged access to the Iraqi economy, while largely shutting out key foreign competitors.15 Iraq's public firms also have been largely shut out from reconstruction contracts.16 Regarding private Iraqi capital (which is not insubstantial): it might try to compete in sectors where it enjoys local advantage, but presently it is under siege for possibly benefitting from the years of Hussein's rule.17The cumulative effect of these factors could give American businesses a dominant position in Iraq's economic future.
The wisdom and necessity of the Bush economic blueprint for Iraq is debatable. It constitutes a fairly radical instance of trade and market liberalization. What is beyond dispute, however, is that:
A2.2. Beyond government reform: Creating a new political order
Turning to the US program for altering the political balance inside Iraq: US authorities have sought to curtail and supplant the influence of pan-Arab nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq -- two of the three principal political currents in the country. In their place, the Bush administration originally hoped to implant and nurture elites who shared its neoconservative political philosophy and neoliberal economic agenda. With the fall from favor of Ahmed Chalabi, the administration has put more emphasis on moderate Iraqi and Kurdish nationalists with strong ties to the United States.
A2.3. Ensuring US dominance
The administration's postwar initiatives inside Iraq have aimed to structurally ensure America's predominant position in the country -- not only for the transition period but for years to come. Among the earliest acts of the occupation authorities was the enfeeblement of the Iraqi state and the demobilization of Iraq's military, security, and police forces. Almost immediately, 400,000+ military personnel, police, and civil servants were sacked.22The ministries of intelligence and defense were completely disbanded, while administrative leadership in other public institutions was decimated. The remnants of the Iraqi state were made an appendage of the CPA and CENTCOM, while the Interim Governing Council -- a weak advisory body -- served to put an Iraqi face on the occupation.
In essence, the Bush administration established a parallel government in Iraq that exercised determinate authority in all policy areas. The governing mechanism comprised: (i) planning and administrative departments within the CPA and CENTCOM linked to (ii) US-employed manager/advisors in all Iraqi ministries, major public institutions, and governing bodies (federal, provincial, and big city), and (iii) US-contracted private firms in charge of most reconstruction and restructuring efforts. Iraqi expatriates were embedded in this scheme, as government leaders and advisors. Although the Interim Governing Council displayed some independence of thought, control of policy in the "power ministries" -- defense, foreign affairs, interior, oil, and finance -- was effectively controlled by the CPA and CENTCOM, which also carefully managed the Iraqi media.
The influence of US officials and agents derived from the CPA's and CENTCOM's virtual monopoly on instruments of force, their effective control of Iraqi financial resources and security forces, their superior resource base, and their superior organization. This left Iraqi governing bodies virtually powerless to implement any important decisions without US approval and support. Nor were they able to contravene or alter most US policy initiatives. Indeed, throughout the first 13 months of occupation, the appointed Iraqi authorities often learned of US initiatives after the fact. Their one recourse has been an appeal to international opinion. This proved a marginally effective tactic in cases where the United States was eager to gain international approval and support. On balance, however, the United States has called the shots in Iraq -- not only in the realm of security policy, but in all important policy areas.
The main pillars of US control and influence have been:
A2.4. Summary and evaluation
In sum: the effects of the US mission in Iraq have substantially exceeded or deviated from the goals of rolling back the nation's military potentials, curbing Iraqi human rights abuses, establishing order, and supporting the election of a popular government. As outlined above, the Bush administration has also or alternately sought to:
Regardless of how one evaluates the wisdom and value to the United States of these three ends, we should recognize that:
Taken together, these three characteristics of the postwar effort in Iraq are sufficient to generate broad dissatisfaction among Iraqis and significant active resistance. Insofar as this resistance is itself viewed as a reason to delay elections and extend the occupation, the postwar mission as presently defined is a recipe for protracted deployment and low-intensity conflict.
Appendix 3. The July 2004 Transition: Another False BeginningA3.1 Who does the new government represent?
The new Iraqi government is no more representative of the Iraqi people than the one it succeeds; indeed, it is less so. Nor does it rest on or incorporate a broad base of recognized indigenous authorities.
A3.2. Security: a government that does not control its fief
The IGI cannot control the territory it supposedly governs and does not possess a monopoly on the legitimate use of force in Iraq. Quite the contrary: it is almost completely dependent on a foreign force that it does not control.
A3.3. Political power: a government with little freedom to govern
The capacity of the IGI to independently legislate and enact new laws is very restricted, which is to say: its governance powers are stunted. Its activity is mostly limited to administrative functions -- and even these are substantially dependent on coalition support.
1. Geoffrey York and Orly Halpern, "Islamic Parties Get Token Role in New Iraqi Government," Globe and Mail, 2 June 2004; "Public Opinion in Iraq: First Poll Following Abu Ghraib Revelations," Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies, 14-23 May 2004.
2. SC Resolution 1546 (New York: UN Security Council, 8 June 2004), Article 1; available at http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/document/2004/0608resolution.htm
3. Adams borrows the quote from George Kennan's assessment of the German satellite government in Slovakia during the Second World War. Adam Roberts, "Iraq's day of reckoning," The Guardian, 25 May 2004.
4. "Briefing Security Council, Iraqi Foreign Minister Calls for Resolution Endorsing Interim Government, Recognizing Continuing Need for Multinational Force," Security Council Press Release (SC/8111), 3 June 2004.
5. The first direct elections will be to a Transitional National Assembly that will choose a three-person Presidency Council who in turn will appoint ministers, including a Prime Minister. The ministers as a group, the Council of Ministers, will have to stand before the National Assembly for a vote of confidence. Given this process, the Transitional Government may not actually assume power for several months after elections. See Articles 36(a) and 38(a) of the Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period, 8 March 2004.
6. Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period, Coalition Provisional Authority, 8 March 2004, Article 26.
7. Sources on the nature of the Iraqi insurgency:
Tony Karon, "Iraq's Insurgents Look to the Future," Time Magazine, 19 May 2004;
Justin Huggler, "US admits Shia unrest is 'uprising'," The Independent, 17 May 2004;
Jim Krane, "Extent of Foreign Fighters in Iraqi Insurgency May Be Less Than Often Portrayed," Associated Press, 3 May 2004.
Ann Scott Tyson, "Insurgents in Iraq show signs of acting as a network," Christian Science Monitor, 28 April 2004;
"Iraqi Forces 'Turn on Coalition'," BBC, 22 April 2004;
Jim Krane, "AP Interview: Iraqi rebel groups seeking popular support amid political vacuum," Associated Press, 22 April 2004;
Anne Barnard and Thanassis Cambanis, "Anger over Falluja Reaches Ears of the Faithful," Boston Globe, April 11, 2004, p 23;
Thomas E. Ricks, "Iraqi Battalion Refuses to 'Fight Iraqis'," Washington Post, 11 April 2004;
Jeffrey Gettleman, "Signs That Shiite and Sunnis Are Joining to Battle Americans," New York Times, 9 April 2004.
Dahr Jamail, "Following Violent Crackdown on Protests, Anger Rules Shiite Streets," The New Standard, 9 April 2004;
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, "Anti-U.S. Uprising Widens in Iraq: Marines Push Deeper Into Falluja," Washington Post, 8 April 2004;
Katherine Pfleger Shrader, "Experts, officials concerned about growing violence, unrest in Iraq," Associated Press, 8 April 2004;
"Iraq: Historical Enemies To Unite Against Occupation?", Stratfor.com, 7 April 2004;
Karl Vick, "Muslim Rivals Unite In Baghdad Uprising," Washington Post, 7 April 2004;
"Iraq: A Shiite Insurgency?", Stratfor.com, 5 April 2004;
Anthony Shadid and Sewell Chan, "Protests Unleashed by Cleric Mark a New Front in War," Washington Post, 5 April 2004;
Paul Wood, "Analysis: Growing Shia discontent," BBC News, 5 April 2004;
Fawaz A. Gerges, "Sunni insurgency," Baltimore Sun, 4 April 2004, p. 5;
Thanassis Cambanis and Anne Barnard, "Violence Indicates Extent of Resistance," Boston Globe, 2 April 2004;
Brian Bennett, "Who are the Insurgents?", Time Magazine, 24 November 2003;
Joel Brinkley, "Few Signs of Infiltration by Foreign Fighters in Iraq," New York Times, 19 November 2003;
Scott Ritter, "Defining the resistance in Iraq - it's not foreign and it's well prepared," Christian Science Monitor, 10 November 2003;
David Blair, "America stirs hornet's nest of revenge," Daily Telegraph, 8 November 2003;
Patrick Cockburn, "Saddam 'not organizing' Iraqi anti-US resistance," Independent, 4 November 2003;
Zaki Chehab, "Inside the Resistance," Guardian, 13 October 2003;
Dan Murphy, "Jobless Soldiers Fuel Anti-US Riots in Iraq," Christian Science Monitor, 8 October 2003.
Simon Robinson, "Among The Rebels," Time Magazine, 4 August 2003; and,
Robert Collier, "Iraqi attackers -- who are they?", San Francisco Chronicle, 13 July 2003.
8. President GW Bush, "President Outlines Steps to Help Iraq Achieve Democracy and Freedom; Remarks by the President on Iraq and the War on Terror at the United States Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania," White House Press Office, 24 May 2004.
9. Notably, members of those militias included in the re-integration plans are not required to surrender their personal weapons and militias are offered the opportunity to transform themselves into private security firms.
10. Jonathan Steele, "US bans cleric from Iraq elections: Bremer vetoes radical Shia leader in order barring militia members from politics," Guardian, 8 June 2004, p 12; Tom Lasseter, "Cleric al-Sadr Gains Political Ground Among Iraqis," Knight Ridder, 8 June 2004; and, "Al-Sadr Faces 3-Year Ban on Public Office," AFP, 7 June 2004.
11. See Footnote #7 for sources on the nature of the Iraqi insurgency. For Iraqi public opinion regarding the insurgency, occupation, and interim governing council, see:
"Poll of Iraqis Reveals Anger Towards US," Associated Press, 16 June 2004.
Tom Lasseter, "Cleric al-Sadr Gains Political Ground Among Iraqis," Knight Ridder, 8 June 2004;
Public Opinion in Iraq: First Poll Following Abu Ghraib Revelations, Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies, 14-23 May 2004;
James Zogby, "Bend it like Cheney - Polling evidence shows most Iraqis have a negative view of the US-led occupation," The Guardian, 29 October 2003, available at: http://www.zogby.com/search/ReadClips.dbm?ID=6168;
Guy Dinmore, "Opinion poll underlines Iraqi distrust of America," Financial Times, 11 September 2003;
Richard Burkholder, "Baghdad Views US Troops: Protectors or Justifiable Targets?", press briefing, Gallup Organization, 14 October 2003;
Michael Mcdonough, "Most Iraqis distrust coalition troops, survey indicates," Associated Press, 1 December 2003;
Jonathan S. Landay, "CIA: More Iraqis supporting resistance," Knight Ridder, 12 November 2003; and
Maureen Fan, "Poll Shows Most Iraqis Unhappy with Presence of Coalition Forces," Knight-Ridder, 24 October 2003.
12. Douglas Porch, "Germany, Japan, and the De-Ba'athification of Iraq," Strategic Insight, Center for Contemporary Conflict, 7 March 2003.
13. As of mid-January 2004 more than 28,000 former Ba'athists had been removed from public service positions. Ahmed Chalabi, speaking as head of the committee in charge of de-Ba'athification, estimated that a similar number were likely to be removed in the future. Responding to criticism from Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN special adviser on Iraq, the CPA eased the repeal process in April 2004. Explaining the modification, a CPA spokesperson, Dan Senor, said: "Our policy on de-Ba'athification must remain as it is. Its implementation, however, should be reformed."
Sources: Rory McCarthy, "U-turn on hiring of Ba'ath party members," The Guardian, 23 April 2004; Sergei Danilochkin, "Iraq: Authorities Announce New De-Ba'athification Measure," RFE/RL, 14 January 2004; "Iraqi council set to root out Baathists," AFP, 12 January 2004; Ilene R. Prusher, "Jobless Iraqi soldiers issue threats; The US de-Ba'athification policy would not allow senior officers to join a reconfigured military," Christian Science Monitor, 5 June 2003;
Jim Krane, "Many Baathists Banned from Iraq Government," Associated Press, 16 May 2003; and, Peter Ford and Faye Bowers, "Regime Change: How much of a purge is needed?" Christian Science Monitor, 23 March 2003, p 4.
14. Sources on Iraqi economic reform and its effects:
Development Fund for Iraq with Financial Report, Coalition Provisional Authority website, 10 June 2004;
Robert Looney, "Banking on Baghdad: Financial Change in Postwar Iraq," Strategic Insights, Center for Contemporary Conflict, May 2004;
Sabri Zire Al-Saadi, "Iraq's postwar economy: A critical review," Middle East Economic Survey, 5 April 2004;
Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus, "US Administrator Imposes Flat Tax System on Iraq," Washington Post, 2 November 2003;
Philip Thornton and Andrew Gumbel, "America Puts Iraq Up for Sale," Independent, 22 September 2003;
Technical Assistance for Economic Recovery, Reform, and Sustained Growth in Iraq (Mclean VA: Bearing Point, Inc., 18 July 2003), available at: http://www.publicintegrity.org/wow/docs/BearingPoint.pdf;
Neil King Jr., "Bush Officials Devise a Broad Plan For Free-Market Economy in Iraq," Wall Street Journal, 1 May 2003; and
Emad Mekay, "Washington Taps Free Market Alumni to Run Economy," Inter Press Service News Agency, 28 April 2003.
15. "US opens up Iraq contract bids," AFP, 12 February 2004; Sue Pleming, "Iraqi Envoy Critical of U.S. Contracts in Iraq," Reuters, 9 February 2004; Mitch Jeserich, "Banking on Empire," Corp Watch, 4 February 2004; "'Rebuild Iraq' trade fair opens," BBC News, 19 January 2004; Douglas Jehl, "Pentagon Bars Three Nations From Iraq Bids," New York Times, 10 December 2003; and James Ridgeway, "Corporate Colonialism Companies . . . March!", Village Voice, 23-29 April 2003.
16. "Contracts refused cohorts," Miami Herald, 8 June 2004 (from the Financial Times); and, Peyman Pejman, "Iraqis Shut Out of Lucrative Rebuilding Deals," Inter Press Service, 21 November 2003.
17. Sergei Danilochkin, "Iraq: Authorities Announce New De-Ba'athification Measure," RFE/RL, 14 January 2004.
18. Douglas Jehl, "Pentagon Sending Team of Exiles to Help Run Iraq," NYT, 26 April 2003.
19. Sergei Danilochkin, "Iraq: Authorities Announce New De-Ba'athification Measures," RFE/RL, 14 January 2004; "Iraqi council set to root out Baathists," AFP, 12 January 2004; Jonathan Steele, "US decree strips thousands of their jobs; Anti-Ba'athist ruling may force educated Iraqis abroad," The Guardian, 30 August 2003; Jim Krane, "Many Baathists Banned from Iraq Government," Associated Press, 16 May 2003; and Peter Ford and Faye Bowers, "Regime Change: How much of a purge is needed?" Christian Science Monitor, 23 March 2003, p 4.
20. Douglas Porch, "Germany, Japan, and the De-Ba'athification of Iraq," Strategic Insight, Center for Contemporary Conflict, 7 March 2003.
21. The initial de-Ba'athification order, promulgated in May 2003, removed and banned the top four levels of party members from employment in the public sector, which is quite large in Iraq. It also removed and banned all full members from the top three levels of management in all public institutions, including schools and hospitals. The number of people potentially affected certainly exceeds 50,000. Subsequently, the IGC's Higher Committee on de-Ba'athification (under the leadership of Ahmed Chalabi) began the process of screening civil servants.
A revision in CPA policy in January 2004 increased options for appeal and allowed that the lower four-levels of former party members might take a state pension rather than pursue appeals. The adjustment was meant to focus the process more precisely on those accused of having actively engaged in criminal or political activities. Nonetheless, in January 2004, Chalabi estimated that 28,000 former Ba'athists had been removed so far and that an equal number might be sacked before the process concluded.
In Fall 2003 the Chalabi's committee initiated another program -- "economic de-Ba'athification" -- with the aim of preventing former Ba'ath Party members and business people with ties to the Hussein regime from gaining public sector contacts. It also aimed to remove former Ba'athists from trade associations and to recover wealth from those who had benefitted from the Hussein regime.
22. Ariana Eunjung Cha, "Iraqi Experts Tossed With the Water," Washington Post, 27 February 2004; David Enders, "Fighting for a job in Iraq," Asia Times, 16 January 2004; "Desperation grips unemployed Iraqis," Gulf News, 13 January 2004; Richard Sale, "Iraqi CPA Fires 28,000," United Press International, 21 November 2003; and, Dean Yates, "Huge Iraq jobless rate a ticking time bomb," Reuters, 10 November 2003.
23. Donald Rumsfeld, Response to inquiry Congressman Ike Skelton regarding private security companies in Iraq, 4 May 2004; available at: http://www.house.gov/skelton.
24. The United States has provided tens of millions of dollars in support to exile organizations, including the training of 1,000 militia personnel. A team of 150 Iraqi-American professionals from the Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council, who serve as advisors throughout the country, is supported through a CPA reconstruction contract held by the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).
25. David Enders, "Fighting for a job in Iraq," Asia Times, 16 January 2004; "Desperation grips unemployed Iraqis," Gulf News, 13 January 2004; and, Dean Yates, "Huge Iraq jobless rate a ticking time bomb," Reuters, 10 November 2003.
26. Rajiv Chandrasekaran, "Envoy Bowed to Pressure in Choosing Leaders," Washington Post, 3 June 2004.
27. Geoffrey York and Orly Halpern, "Islamic Parties Get Token Role in New Iraqi Government," Globe and Mail, 2 June 2004; "Public Opinion in Iraq: First Poll Following Abu Ghraib Revelations," Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies, 14-23 May 2004.
28. Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period, Coalition Provisional Authority, 8 March 2004, Article 26.
29. SC Resolution 1546 (New York: UN Security Council, 8 June 2004), Article 1; available at http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/document/2004/0608resolution.htm
30. Gareth Smyth and Thomas Catan, "UN slams US over spending Iraq funds," Financial Times, 22 June 2004; "CPA Rushes to Give Away Billions in Iraqi Oil Revenues," Iraq Revenue Watch, 22 June 2004; and Steven R. Weisman, "Reconstruction: US Is Quietly Spending $2.5 Billion From Iraqi Oil Revenues to Pay for Iraqi Projects," New York Times, 21 June 2004.
31. Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Walter Pincus, "US Edicts Curb Power of Iraq's Leadership," Washington Post, 27 June 2004, p. 1; Paul McGeough, "Talk of independence but US wants to keep Iraq on a leash," Sydney Morning Herald, 27 May 2004; Yochi Dreazen and Christopher Cooper, "Lingering Presence: Behind the Scenes, US tightens grip on Iraq's Future -- Hand-picked Proxies, advisers will be given key roles in Interim Government," Wall Street Journal, 13 May 2004. p 1; and, US Sets Limits to Iraqi Self-Rule, BBC News, 27 April 2004.
Citation: Carl Conetta, Radical Departure: Toward A Practical Peace in Iraq, Project on Defense Alternatives Briefing Report # 16. Cambridge, MA: Commonwealth Institute, 07 July 2004.
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