Friday, May 23, 2008

Alleged plan to activate 2005 bilateral agreements that combine economic and military advantages for the US

The semi-official Syrian paper Al-Watan published a story on Monday May 19, citing "journalistic sources in Baghdad" on the subject of Iraqi-government plans to implement four bilateral US-Iraqi agreements signed in 2005 by then State Dept official Robert Zoellick and the then Iraqi finance minister Ali Adbul Amir Alawi. The signing, in July 2005, took place only 10 weeks after his appointment as finance minister by the incoming Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari (May 2005). Although they had first and second reading in the Iraqi parliament in early 2007, they were never approved by parliament. I did not see the Al-Watan article at the time. It was dug up and translated yesterday by an outfit called Global Policy Forum, which among other things monitors UN policies.

The four agreements in question are the following:

The US-Iraq Investment Incentive Agreement
The US-Iraq Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
The US-Iraq Agreement for Economic and Technical Cooperation
Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Cooperation

There is a lot in this short article, and the translation is good, so you should read it. Two points immediately stand out:

(1) Plan to circumvent legislative approval

The sources told Al-Watan that the plan is to implement these agreements before the end of 2008 without parliamentary approval. Although the explanation isn't 100% clear, it appears the justification would be that when they were signed, there was a provision in place that permitted entering into international agreements by representatives assigned by Cabinet with the approval of the Presidential Council. (I haven't found any such provision in the Coalition Provisional Authority acts, but who knows?)

(2) "Economic" agreements including important military concessions

A second point worth underlining is that the sources' description of the agreements included this, according to the paper:
"The sources continued: "These pacts are closer to commandments imposed on Iraq than agreements between two independent states. They grant the American side immunity, all the traveling prerogatives from and into Iraq and the right to protect the undefined American missions with American military troops that can roam the country without any restraints"
In other words, these agreements with "economic development" titles incorporated important military components as well.

The Al-Watan story unfortunately doesn't include the text of the agreements, but according to the description they included a broad plan for privatizations:
"Moreover, [the sources continued],the agreements exempted all the American companies and individuals from taxes and customs in what contradicted even the controversial Iraqi investment law... The pacts also proposed a transitory plan through which the remains of the Iraqi public sector are to be privatized and destroyed.
There is a lot that isn't completely clear in this, and the other caution is that the story doesn't appear to have been picked up anywhere, so corroboration is a problem. However, it stands to reason that in the current climate the Maliki/Bush team would be on the hunt for any available means--plausible or otherwise--to lock in the colonial relationship over the long term, while minimizing disclosure.

Morever: It does seem too much of a coincidence that this should have surfaced just at the time that the Maliki administration is rolling out its "Iraq--Foreign investment paradise" campaign. The fact this surfaced in Syria suggests the point here could be "Paradise--for whom exactly?"


Blogger annie said...

we knew the maliki/bush treaty (that isn't according to our executive branch therefore doesn't need to be radified by US congress)first signed last fall, was due to be finalized in/by june. this must be it, or part of it. hooray for executive power. what is the difference between executive power and dictators?

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The disclosure of these commandments again shows the Green Zone process for what it is: an attempt to construct the conquest state. There is no way the process can, by the likes of Sadr, be taken away from the would-be conqueror. Liberation means its destruction, there is no other way.
Marx said the working class can only come to power only by the violent overthrow of the bourgeois state. Generations of reformists have worked for "socialism" by electoral means (Tony Blair's British Labor Party for instance) only to prove Marx right by their repeated betrayals of the working class.
Likewise Moqtada: he got into a scuffle with Maliki and spoke fine words about open war until liberation, even though he is a Green Zone player. A thousand people were killed in Sadr City following his fine pronouncements. Then he cut a deal with the occupation and let the US/Green walk into bis stronghold in Baghdad.
So there we have our "Green Zone liberator:" the masses gave him a thousand lives and he cut a deal. Let's see what his constituency makes of it!
-one who doubts Sadr

8:55 AM  
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