Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » June 2004 » Juan Cole weighs in....

[« Playing catch up?] [A fitting Reagan memorial »]

06/09/2004: Juan Cole weighs in....

on the UN resolution endorsing Iraqi sovereignty:

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a new resolution on Iraq granting legitimacy to the caretaker government of Iyad Allawi. The resolution gives the new Iraqi government substantially more sovereignty than had been envisaged by the US in the initial draft, and the Bush administration essentially compromised in order to have an achievement for the election season.

The resolution will make it easier for the Allawi government to gain the Iraq seat at the UN and at organizations like the Arab League. It also constrains the US from undertaking major military actions (think: Fallujah) without extensive consultation with the Iraqi government, and establishes a joint committee of US and Iraqi representatives to carry out those discussions. This military "partnership" was substituted successfully for a stricter French proposal that the Iraqi government have a veto over US military movements in Iraq. Still, the language went far beyond what the US had wanted.

That the US and the UK had to give away so much to get the resolution shows how weak they are in Iraq. The problem is that they have created a failed state in Iraq, and this new piece of paper really changes nothing on the ground (see the next news item, below).


The Kurds on the other hand were absolutely furious that the UN did not mention the TAL
[Transitional Administrative Law], which they see as their safeguard against a tyranny of the Arab majority. It stipulates that the status quo will obtain in Kurdistan until an elected parliament crafts a permanent constitution next year this time, and that the three Kurdish provinces will have a veto over that new constitution if they do not like it. The Kurdish leaders threatened in a letter to President Bush on Sunday to boycott the elections this coming winter if there is any move to curtail their sovereigny or to rescind or amend the interim constitution. Ash-Sharq al-Awsat's Shirzad Abdul Rahman reports today that the Kurdish street is anxious about the future, feeling that it has been left up in the air.

This entire process is a big win for Sistani. It is now often forgotten that the Bush administration had had no intention of involving the UN in this way in Iraq. The original plan was to have stage-managed council-based elections in May, producing a new government to which sovereignty would be handed over by the US directly. It was Sistani who derailed those plans as undemocratic. When the involvement of the UN was first broached last winter by Interim Governing Council members, the Americans were said to have been "extremely offended). It was Sistani who demanded that Kofi Annan send a special envoy to Iraq. It was Sistani who insisted that free and fair elections must be held as soon as humanly possible. It was Sistani who insisted that the UN midwife the new Iraqi government, and not the US and the UK alone. It was Sistani who insisted that the UN resolution not mention the Transitional Administrative Law.
I've not had time fully to think over all the ramifications of this, but this is quite a different state of affairs than the state of affairs the warhawks were expecting by now. To the extent that this means that Iraq has a government that is not a mere U.S. puppet, that could be good for the Iraqi people. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

On another front, Cole notes how the "yes men" of the bAdministration, and Bush's incurious, "govern by executive summary" management style has apparently come to bite him in the ass with respect to relationships with other nations:
The Wall Street Journal's revelation of White House counsels' memoranda permitting what most people would consider torture-- on the basis of the president's position as commander in chief in wartime-- is among the most chilling things we have seen from a Bush administration not lacking in chills for civil libertarians. It seems clear from the anger expressed by senators like Joe Biden in the hearings addressed by Attorney General John Ashcroft on Tuesday that they now suspect Bush himself authorized the Abu Ghuraib torture routines. And, they are helpless to do anything about it.

The revelations about the torture memos have cast a cloud over Bush's presentations at the G8 summit in Georgia. Since the Bush centerpiece at that conference was supposed to be promoting democracy in the Middle East, the Torturegate revelations pointed to US feet of clay. Wire services noted Bush's complete failure with Middle Eastern leaders at the summit:
"In an effort to demonstrate engagement with Arabs on the issues, Mr Bush invited the leaders of a number of Islamic countries to attend a lunch on Wednesday with G8 leaders, at their own expense. But leaders of some key nations, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco, turned down the invitation, and Qatar was purposely snubbed because of administration anger at al-Jazeera's coverage of the Iraq war. Ms Rice cited scheduling issues as the reason Morocco and Egypt - one of the effort's harshest critics - will not appear."
That sounds pretty sad.
This isn't helping the war on Terra™.

Len on 06.09.04 @ 11:46 AM CST

New Comment

June 2004

Archives of Blogger site

Powered by gm-rss

Len's sidebar:
About Len (The uncondensed version)
Memorial to a dear friend
Frederick W. Benteen
The Web of Leonards
The St. Louis Cardinals
The Memphis Redbirds
The St. Louis Browns
The Birdwatch
Hey! Spring of Trivia Blog
BlogMemphis (The Commercial Appeal's listing of Memphis blogs)
The Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Len's extended blogroll:

Brock's Sidebar:
About Brock
Boing Boing
Crooked Timber
Dispatches from the Culture Wars
Heretical Ideas
John and Belle Have a Blog
Jon Rowe
Letters of Marque
Literal Minded
Marginal Revolution
Matthew Yglesias
Oliver Willis
Political Animal
Positive Liberty
Signifying Nothing
Unqualified Offerings

Karen's Sidebar
About Karen
The Ig-Nobel Prizes
The Annals of Improbable Research
The Darwin Awards
EBaums World
Real Clear Politics
U.S. News Wire
Foreign Affairs
The Capitol Steps
Legal Affairs
Nobel Laureates for Change
Program On International Policy
Law of War
Sunday Times
Media Matters
Is That Legal?
Andrew Sullivan
Literal Minded
Jon Rowe
Freespace Blog
Thought Not
Publius Pundit
Blog Maverick
Rosenberg Blog
Crooked Timber

The Rocky Top Brigade:

Rocky Top Brigade Sampler

A New Memphis Mafia

The liberal alternative to Drudge.

Get Firefox!

Cardinals Countdowns:
Days until pitchers and catchers report:
Your browser doesn't support Java applets.

Days until first Grapefruit League game (3/3/05; @ NYM):
Your browser doesn't support Java applets.

Days until Opening Day (4/5/05; @ HOU):
Your browser doesn't support Java applets.

Days until Home Opener (4/8/05; vs. PHI):
Your browser doesn't support Java applets.

How many visitors are here:

Blogrings/Blog indexes/Blog search:
« ? Verbosity # »

Listed on Blogwise
Popdex Citations
Blog Search Engine

Greymatter Forums
template by linear