First Protectorate of 21st Century

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dr. Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh

The adoption of the US-Iraq security agreement by the Iraqi parliament had become predictable after the government of Nuri al-Maliki approved it. At any rate, Iraq’s political arrangements and structures from “arbitration council, “provisional government”, “present government” and “parliament” were the outcome of an agreement by political, ethnic and religious groups who eventually endorsed the accord. The same is likely to repeat in the next year’s referendum.

Amidst these developments, concerns by certain Iraqi political and religious officials over the future are voiced with an aim to avoid of a “historical label” and it seems to be their only alternative in preventing further violation of Iraq’s national sovereignty in the future.

The question of “national sovereignty” is more significant because the American party in the said agreement has accepted a series of general commitments in this respect. On the other hand, in the process of execution, some articles of the agreement would have no result other than the breach of Iraq’s national sovereignty. In the meantime, US efforts to achieve its only main goal, namely “keeping Iraq within its strategic territory” would entail challenges both inside Iraq and in Baghdad’s relations with its neighbors.

In the following columns, we are going to discuss some major chapters of the security agreement:

1. The right of self-defense for the parties

The agreement recognizes the right of the parties (US and Iraq) for self-defense as an exception. According to the United Nations Charter no country has the right of self-defense within the territory of another country. In other words, this right pertains to foreign interactions between governments, particularly because the Americans in the history of their military presence in different regions of the world have often interpreted measures violating internal rights of countries as well as international laws within “self-defense”.

In future we will hear more about this type of interpretation in security and military developments inside Iraq.

2. Iraq as a new American military-strategic base

Before formulating the draft agreements, the Americans tried to receive authorization for stationing certain military bases in Iraq. Due to oppositions voiced to this specific demand, it was replaced by a thematic allusion in the agreement according to which despite withdrawal of American troops from Iraqi cities and villages by 2009 and from entire Iraq by 2011, they can at the same time maintain “sensitive bases”. Moreover, these dates can be extended too.

If the Americans manage to take the initiative in Iraqi developments they would postpone declaration of state of security and stability in the country until Iraq is annexed to their strategic domain. Moreover, in their political-intelligence interactions the Americans will also try to commit the Iraqis to give in at least 16 US military bases. They would justify the presence of these bases by carrying out joint command arrangements or in the form of “partnership for NATO peace”.

3. Will any aggression take place against neighboring countries?

The agreement has apparently a negative response to this question. But the fact is that in the action plan of the Department of Defense for the Middle East (2001) the US has no plan on its agenda for a full scale military operation in the Middle East after the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The plan of action stresses that countries such as Iran, Russia and Lebanon must be subjected to political-information pressures. Therefore, the ban on use of Iraqi land, water and air space against other countries is not an intelligence-security ban and US persistence to use this option in the future would pose a threat to Iraq’s relations with its neighbors.

4. Suspicious Shipments

The US military or those whose mission is described “military” by the US government would be exempted from any prosecution, trial, inspection, tariff, tax, etc.

Meanwhile, any conventional weapons could also be carried into Iraq. This item is in serious violation of Iraq’s national sovereignty and judicial independence. In the future we will be hearing more about American shipments into Iraq to perpetuate its repressive policies and maintain security in the region. These authorizations have not only weakened the central government in military and security spheres but paved the way for economic, trade and border disorders in Iraq.

5. Authority of occupiers in suppressing unlawful gatherings

The Americans have been authorized to suppress gatherings held in violation of Iraqi and international laws. Considering that the interpretation of `international laws’ is left open, the Americans would suppress the opponents of their strategies in Iraq without authorization of the UN Security Council. In other words, if their presence was subject to UNSC resolutions until now they would maintain their presence in the form of 21st century protectorate from now on. In future we will witness pressures on assemblies to be held by such groups as Sadr advocates and opponents of the present security agreement.

Despite all these conditions, the US-Iraq agreement was modified due to the following reasons: Failure of the occupiers in accomplishing their military-security goals; prolongation of the crisis; popular discontent in Iraq and the region; coming to power of a political system and statesmen in Baghdad not favored by Washington and particularly failure of the US regional strategy in using the missing chains in the regional political developments such as “Iran”.

Therefore, the Obama administration will try in the future to make up for the weak military-security achievements of his predecessor by strengthening a softer strategy in Iraq and by establishing more efficient economic, security and intelligence strategies in Iraq. Like his predecessor, Obama too will try to keep Iraq within US strategic domain.


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