Iraqi Government to UN: 'Don't Extend Mandate for Bush's Occupation'
Bush needs the UN's cover to justify the occupation, but the only way he can renew the expiring UN mandate is to cut Iraq's frail democracy out of the process.
The United Nations Security Council, with support from the British and American delegations, is poised to cut the Iraqi parliament out of one of the most significant decisions the young government will make: when foreign troops will depart. It's an ugly and unconstitutional move, designed solely to avoid asking an Iraqi legislature for a blank check for an endless military occupation that it's in no mood to give, and it will make a mockery of Iraq's nascent democracy (which needs all the legitimacy it can get).As you can see Democracy can not only be messy but get in the way of hegemony and lust for oil and power. Of course none of this should come as any surprise since the administration and the Bush/Cheney Republicans have shown both here and abroad that Democracy is something to talk about and subvert.
While the Bush administration frequently invokes sunny visions of spreading democracy and "freedom" around the world, the fact remains that democracy is incompatible with its goals in Iraq. The fact remains that the biggest headache supporters of the occupation of Iraq have to deal with is the fact of the occupation itself. As far back as the middle of 2004, more than nine out of 10 Iraqis said the U.S.-led forces were "occupiers," and only 2 percent called them "liberators." Things have only gone downhill since then, and any government that represents the will of the Iraqi people would have no choice but to demand a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops. This fact poses an enormous problem, as the great triumph of the Bush administration and its supporters has been in their ability to convince a much of the Americans population that Iraqi interests and Washington's interests are in harmony, even when they're diametrically opposed.
Crucial to this fiction is a U.N. mandate that confers legal cover on the so-called "multinational" forces in Iraq. The mandate is now coming up for renewal, and a majority of Iraqi legislators oppose its renewal unless conditions are placed on it, conditions that may include a demand for a timetable for the departure of American troops. The process of renewing the mandate is highlighting the political rift that's divided the country and fueled most of the violence that's plagued the new state. That's the rift between nationalists - those Iraqis who, like most of their countrymen, oppose the presence of foreign troops on the ground, the wholesale privatization of Iraq's natural resources and the division of their country into ethnic and sectarian fiefdoms, and Iraqi separatists who at least tolerate the occupation - if not support it - and favor a loose sectarian/ethnic-based federation of semiautonomous states held together by a minimal central government in Baghdad.
In the United States, the commercial media has largely ignored this story, focusing almost exclusively on sectarian violence and doing a poor job giving their readers and viewers a sense of what's driving Iraq's political crisis. An understanding of the tensions between nationalists and separatists is necessary to appreciate the import of the parliament being cut out of the legislative process and the degree to which doing so hurts the prospect of real political reconciliation among Iraq's many political factions.