June 08, 2004

Independence Must Mean Independence

George Loves OilThe UN votes tonight on the draft US/UK resolution on Iraq, that will form the basis of international recognition of Iraqi independence. The feeling is that both France and Germany will support the resolution with Russia and China fairly ambivalent so far. However, this sovereignty must really be that. Independence without control over defence, security and finance, including oil, is no kind of independence at all. A UN resolution, even if unanimous, is worthless if real control still lies with the coalition troops.

There are some real questions that need to be answered:

  • Will the Iraqi government have full sovereignty?
  • Can they order out the troops whenever they want?
  • Who controls Iraqi oil?
  • Do the Iraqis have veto over US/UK troop movements?
  • Will foreign troops face prosecution under Iraqi law for any crimes they commit?
  • When will full elections be held?
  • What happens to Iraqi prisoners of war?
  • Who is in charge of reconstruction projects?
  • What happens to Iraqi multilateral debt to the IMF/World Bank?

Unless these questions can be answered the suspicion is that the Iraqi interim government is nothing more than a talking shop and PR front for the Bush administration. The cynic might conclude that the real power will still lie with the Americans until they finally leave the country - which could be as early as 2006 but equally could be much, much later than that. That time frame and a UN resolution will allow the Americans enough time to fix all the relevant long term oil contracts in place and ensure a suitably Americanophile government is 'elected' by the Iraqis when they final get the chance.

France, Germany, Russia and China have an important role to play in keeping the coalition in check. They must stay strong or the wrongs that were committed by launching the war can never be righted in peace. A free democratic Iraq is the only way stability will be achieved and the Iraqi people are not stupid enough to accept anything less than total sovereignty.