Friday, June 25, 2004

Peter Camejo vs. David Cobb: S/RES/1546

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! interviews Peter Camejo and David Cobb: "To Nader or Not to Nader?: A Green Party Debate" (June 23, 2004). Camejo's opening salvo is that "[t]he Nader-Camejo ticket will clearly be the anti-war ticket in this campaign":
The Nader-Camejo ticket will clearly be the anti-war ticket in this campaign. The polls already show eight million people supporting us. We have a full-time staff of 20 people working on this campaign. And what we're trying to do is get the word out about the truth about George Bush's policies, unlike John Kerry we don't call for more troops to Iraq. We oppose the invasion. We oppose the policies that the United States has carried out. And this will be the campaign that people will relate to and work with and I think the Green Party absolutely needs to become part of this campaign. In fact, it already is. Not only because I'm the Vice-Presidential candidate, but because of the thousands upon thousands of people who are volunteering to work for the Nader campaign, probably half of them are Greens. The fact is there's no question the majority of Greens in the United States who favor having an Independent third-party force out there fighting against this war are working with the Nader campaign. (June 23, 2004)
The reason is not simply wider public recognition and media coverage that Nader and Camejo enjoy than Cobb and his as-yet-unnamed running mate. Cobb has the same problem as what many pro-war liberals do: he believes that "We can't just cut and run and leave the mess for the Iraqi people to deal with" (June 23, 2004). As Camejo reminds us, "You heard him [Cobb] here say we can't cut and run. That is the expression that Kerry uses to justify continued U.S. occupation" (June 23, 2004). Hence Cobb's proposal:
I call upon the American people, including members of Congress, to demand that June 30th truly be a day when the U.S. relinquishes power by announcing that by that date all U.S. troops will be withdrawn, with one possible exception.

A newly-constituted, genuinely broad-based interim Iraqi government should be set up in cooperation with the United Nations within the next month and a half. It will be up to that newly-constituted interim government —- not the U.S. and not the U.N. -- to determine what peace-keeping forces are necessary, from which countries they should be drawn, and if any U.S. troops should stay longer than June 30th while those forces are being assembled, transported and put into place. ("Cobb Calls for End of Occupation by June 30," April 15)
According to his own proviso, however, Cobb would have to support the continuing occupation of Iraq, now that the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted on June 8, 2004 for a new US/UK-drafted resolution S/RES/1546 (2004), conferring legitimacy upon the "interim government" headed by a CIA asset Iyad Allawi:
  • Iyad Allawi, now the designated prime minister of Iraq, ran an exile organization intent on deposing Saddam Hussein that sent agents into Baghdad in the early 1990's to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities under the direction of the C.I.A., several former intelligence officials say.

    Dr. Allawi's group, the Iraqi National Accord, used car bombs and other explosive devices smuggled into Baghdad from northern Iraq, the officials said. . . .

    The Iraqi government at the time claimed that the bombs, including one it said exploded in a movie theater, resulted in many civilian casualties. . . .

    One former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was based in the region, Robert Baer, recalled that a bombing during that period "blew up a school bus; schoolchildren were killed." Mr. Baer, a critic of the Iraq war, said he did not recall which resistance group might have set off that bomb.

    Other former intelligence officials said Dr. Allawi's organization was the only resistance group involved in bombings and sabotage at that time. . . .

    When Dr. Allawi was picked as interim prime minister last week, he said his first priority would be to improve the security situation by stopping bombings and other insurgent attacks in Iraq -- an idea several former officials familiar with his past said they found "ironic." . . .

    Dr. Allawi is not believed to have ever spoken in public about the bombing campaign. But one Iraqi National Accord officer did. In 1996, Amneh al-Khadami, who described himself as the chief bomb maker for the Iraqi National Accord and as being based in Sulaimaniya, in northern Iraq, recorded a videotape in which he talked of the bombing campaign and complained that he was being shortchanged money and supplies. Two former intelligence officers confirmed the existence of the videotape.

    Mr. Khadami said that "we blew up a car, and we were supposed to get $2,000" but got only $1,000, according to an account in the British newspaper The Independent in 1997. The newspaper had obtained a copy of the tape. (Joel Brinkley, "Ex-C.I.A. Aides Say Iraq Leader Helped Agency in 90's Attacks," New York Times, June 9, 2004, p. A1+)

  • "I was the head of a political organization in touch with at least 15 intelligence services across the world and in the region," Allawi said after a cabinet meeting. . . .

    The New York Times reported Wednesday that Allawi's group, the Iraqi National Accord, sent agents into Baghdad in the early 1990s to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities.

    It cited former intelligence officials as saying they used car bombs and other explosive devices smuggled into Baghdad from northern Iraq. . . .

    Allawi did not comment directly on the bombings, which the former Iraqi government claimed caused many civilian casualties. . . . (Lin Noueihed/Reuters, "New Iraqi PM Not Ashamed of CIA Links," June 9, 2004)
As Camejo points out, "Obviously this [interim government] is a puppet government. It is going to call for the U.S. to stay" (June 23, 2004). Rather than Cobb's, the Green Party needs a position that makes it unmistakable that the party opposes any attempt by Washington to establish a puppet government in Iraq, unilaterally or multilaterally or even with unanimous support of the UN Security Council -- least of all, one headed by a man like Allawi.


Below are the key passages of S/RES/1546 (2004) -- The Security Council:
8. Welcomes ongoing efforts by the incoming Interim Government of Iraq to develop Iraqi security forces including the Iraqi armed forces (hereinafter referred to as "Iraqi security forces"), operating under the authority of the Interim Government of Iraq and its successors, which will progressively play a greater role and ultimately assume full responsibility for the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq;
9. Notes that the presence of the multinational force in Iraq is at the request of the incoming Interim Government of Iraq and therefore reaffirms the authorization for the multinational force under unified command established under resolution 1511 (2003), having regard to the letters annexed to this resolution;
10. Decides that the multinational force shall have the authority to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq in accordance with the letters annexed to this resolution expressing, inter alia, the Iraqi request for the continued presence of the multinational force and setting out its tasks, including by preventing and deterring terrorism, so that, inter alia, the United Nations can fulfil its role in assisting the Iraqi people as outlined in paragraph seven above and the Iraqi people can implement freely and without intimidation the timetable and programme for the political process and benefit from reconstruction and rehabilitation activities;
11. Welcomes, in this regard, the letters annexed to this resolution stating, inter alia, that arrangements are being put in place to establish a security partnership between the sovereign Government of Iraq and the multinational force and to ensure coordination between the two, and notes also in this regard that Iraqi security forces are responsible to appropriate Iraqi ministers, that the Government of Iraq has authority to commit Iraqi security forces to the multinational force to engage in operations with it, and that the security structures described in the letters will serve as the fora for the Government of Iraq and the multinational force to reach agreement on the full range of fundamental security and policy issues, including policy on sensitive offensive operations, and will ensure full partnership between Iraqi security forces and the multinational force, through close coordination and consultation;
12. Decides further that the mandate for the multinational force shall be reviewed at the request of the Government of Iraq or twelve months from the date of this resolution, and that this mandate shall expire upon the completion of the political process set out in paragraph four above, and declares that it will terminate this mandate earlier if requested by the Government of Iraq. . . . (June 8, 2004)
As Zeynep Toufe commented on the draft of S/RES/1546 (2004), Clause 12's provision that "the mandate for the multinational force shall be reviewed at the request of the Government of Iraq or twelve months from the date of this resolution" (June 8, 2004) is "meaningless since, of course, the United States has a veto over the U.N. Security Council. In other words, the reviewer is the reviewee" (Zeynep Toufe, "The New Draft UN Resolution Allows for Perpetual Occupation," CounterPunch, May 26, 2004).

Moreover, let's not be fooled by the proliferation of the term "the multinational force" in S/RES/1546 (2004). Clause 31 of the resolution makes clear who is in charge: the Security Council "Requests that the United States, on behalf of the multinational force, report to the Council within three months from the date of this resolution on the efforts and progress of this force, and on a quarterly basis thereafter" (June 8, 2004).

Last but not the least, if the next President of the United States decides to invade Iran or Syria, in the name of protecting "the interim government" of Iraq from "terrorists activities," he will be sure to invoke the following clause of S/RES/1546 (2004) -- the Security Council:
17. Condemns all acts of terrorism in Iraq, reaffirms the obligations of Member States under resolutions 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001, 1267 (1999) of 15 October 1999, 1333 (2000) of 19 December 2000, 1390 (2002) of 16 January 2002, 1455 (2003) of 17 January 2003, and 1526 (2004) of 30 January 2004, and other relevant international obligations with respect, inter alia, to terrorist activities in and from Iraq or against its citizens, and specifically reiterates its call upon Member States to prevent the transit of terrorists to and from Iraq, arms for terrorists, and financing that would support terrorists, and re-emphasizes the importance of strengthening the cooperation of the countries of the region, particularly neighbours of Iraq, in this regard. . . .(June 8, 2004)
Remember that S/RES/1373 was one of the key Security Council resolutions that the White House bandied about in its search for a veneer of legality to cover the illegal and immoral invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq: "President Bush Speaks to United Nations: Remarks by the President to United Nations General Assembly" (November 10, 2001) and "President's Remarks at the United Nations General Assembly" (September 12, 2002)? While neither S/RES/1546 (2004) nor 1373 (2001) nor any other resolution mentioned in the above clause expressly authorizes an act of war, 1373 (2001) does contain a very useful clause that created a number of obligations that even a strong state -- much less a state bordering on a war zone where no effective government exists -- would find it impossible to fulfill completely:
2. Decides also that all States shall:
(a) Refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, including by suppressing recruitment of members of terrorist groups and eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists;
(b) Take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts, including by provision of early warning to other States by exchange of information;
(c) Deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts, or provide safe havens;
(d) Prevent those who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from using their respective territories for those purposes against other States or their citizens; . . .
(g) Prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border controls. . . (September 28, 2001)
The claim that Washington will make is that Iran or Syria violated one of the above.

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