Introduction by Dr. Michael Hudson
You know we have been attending our activities over the last three years. Iraq has been one of the themes that we have been following for quite some time, and we have heard a number of speakers and panel discussions on different aspects of Iraq.
Tonight we are very fortunate to be able to attract a visitor, not from Iraq itself, but from Beirut, Lebanon, where he has been working for a long time– Dr. Khair El-Din Haseeb. A native of Iraq, he is the Director General of the Center for Arab Unity Studies, one of the leading, most productive think tanks in the Arab world. Dr. Haseeb helped co-found it in 1976. Many of the students who read Arabic will be familiar with the journal AlMustaqbal AlArabi, one of the leading political cultural journals in the Arab world. Dr. Khair El-Din Haseeb is British-educated, holds an MS in Economics from the London School of Economics, and a PhD from Cambridge University. He lectured at Baghdad University in the sixties and early seventies. He served as Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq. He was President of the Central Organization of Iraqi Banks as well as Director General of the Iraqi Federation of Industries. Among other high profile jobs of economic responsibilities in his country, he was appointed Chief of Natural Resources in the Science and Technology Department in the U.N. Economic Commission for Western Asia, a position he held for nearly a decade.
So, Dr. Haseeb, having resided outside of Iraq since 1974, never gave up his Iraqi nationality. He has devoted his time to the Center for Arab Unity Studies (CAUS) in pursuit of many political and national issues. He was elected Secretary General of the Arab National Congress and he was a key founder in 1991. He also played a pivotal role in the National Islamic Congress, the Arab Organization for Human Rights, the Arab Organization for Translation, and the Arab Anti-Corruption Organization, which is a new one founded in 2004. So all of these organizations are active NGOs promoting democracy, civil and human rights, and national independence in the Arab community.
I have known Dr. Khair El-Din Haseeb for many years. We invited him quite a number of years ago, too long ago, to participate in one of the center’s symposiums and he has been kind enough to invite me to speak and publish with CAUS. So it is a real personal and professional pleasure to welcome him back and ask him to speak on probably the most burning issue of the day. So without further ado, I will pass the microphone to him, and he will speak as long as he cares to, and then I hope there will be time for questions, answers, and discussions after he’s finished. It’s a pleasure to have you.
Dr. Khair El-Din Haseeb’s lecture
Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like first to thank Dr. Michael Hudson for inviting me to talk to you this evening, and also to thank the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.
There are certain aspects of the invasion of Iraq which probably most of you know. It was an illegal war; there was no decision from the Security Council. It can’t be justified by Chapter Seven of the United Nation’s charter as self-defense because Iraq didn’t attack the United States, and didn’t constitute an imminent danger for the United States, so there was no justification for the preemptive war. No weapons of mass destruction were there; no link with Al-Qaeda terrorists was proven. Lastly, they said it was about democracy, to make a model of democracy in Iraq, which was to be initiated in the Middle East.
I want to say a few words on this issue of democracy and taking down the Iraqi regime because of its dictatorial nature. Saddam’s regime, or the Baathist regime, came as a result of a coup d’etat in 1968. The main characteristics of the regime were there by early 1980. The regime liquidated the Iraqi Arab Nationalists, especially the Nasserites, then the Communists, and then the Kurds. So the methods and the character of the regime were there. When President Reagan was in power, he sent Donald Rumsfeld as a Special Envoy to the Middle East in December 1983. Rumsfeld went to Baghdad and met with Saddam Hussein for three hours. Afterward, he submitted a report saying that Saddam is “a good guy and we can deal with him.” After three months, Rumsfeld returned, they resumed diplomatic relations, and there was cooperation between the United States and Iraq throughout the Iraq-Iran war, with the exception of 1986. I don’t have the time to go through this.
Regarding democracy, this issue is not valid. We agree that it was a brutal dictatorship, but it was not the only dictatorship in the Arab world. The Iraqi people were not the only Arab people who didn’t freely choose their president. The Iraqi people were not the only Arab people who were unhappy with their president, and the Iraqi people were not the only Arab people who could not– until 2003– change their president. So why was Iraq chosen among all the rest?
If one can list the different possible objectives for the Bush administration to go into war and occupy and invade Iraq and use the process of elimination including different things that I mentioned, one is left with three possible objectives for invading Iraq: the first is strategic, the second is oil, and the third is the security of Israel. I can’t go into details of these objectives, but as far as oil is concerned, there are people who argue that this was not the concern of the United States. There is a lot of documentation about this, but I only want to refer to the statement made in 2002 by an economic advisor of President Bush, who was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying: “One way of preventing the rise of oil prices is to go and occupy Iraq.”
Now, I want to make a clarification, in referring to the occupying forces, and the CPA (Coalition of Provisional Authority), the administration there. Sometimes I refer to them as Americans. I don’t mean the American people, when I use the term American, I mean the American administration. So, I am quite aware of the objection of the majority of the American people to go to war against Iraq, so I wanted to make this clear.
What did the Bush administration do when they occupied Iraq? Condoleezza Rice said quite recently that thousands of tactical mistakes were committed in Iraq. What were the mistakes? I am going to discuss some of them and examine if they are tactical or strategic. One of these mistakes is the failure to estimate the required number of soldiers to control the situation in Iraq after the occupation. The second is failure to anticipate the size of the resistance to the occupation. The third failure is to understand the consequences of using Shias against Sunnis, then Sunnis against Shias; they used both, and lost in both cases. They also failed to anticipate the role of Iran. And they miscalculated in declaring Iraq as a model for democracy in the Middle East, and in considering it as an option for all Arabs. The result is that all Arabs now, and even the Americans, are scared that this model might be repeated in another Arab country.
Another mistake they made, according to Geneva Convention, was to have the occupying forces responsible for law and order in the occupied country. So let us see what happened in Baghdad when the American army occupied Baghdad and the rest of Iraq.
First, there was the looting of Baghdad, starting with the National Museum, in other words, the looting of Iraqi history and records, regardless of who got hold of them.
Second, the dissolution of the Iraqi army and the release of hundred of thousands of Iraqi soldiers is simply the dissolution of the main instrument for keeping law and order in the country and leaving soldiers without work, which encouraged many of them to join the resistance.
Then there was the de-Baathification of all government employees at all levels, regardless of which administration they were. This meant the paralysis of the official administration, schools, etc., which left a great vacuum, as well as hatred and a reduction in the level of already deteriorating services for Iraqis.
If these are not strategic mistakes, then what are the strategic mistakes? I am trying to outline for you the present U.S. policy or strategy in Iraq, and to share with you to what extent this strategy is likely to succeed; and, if not, whether there is an alternative for the American forces and for the Iraqi people and for the country.
The present strategy, as one can find out from different statements and declarations, depends on the completion of what they call the political process. There was a referendum of a draft constitution in October 2005, then an election of a new parliament in December. They were hoping to succeed in forming a client government that would sign a defense agreement so that they could maintain some permanent military bases. They tried, or they are still trying, to form a new Iraqi army and police forces so they can maintain security in the cities, and the Americans will withdraw to their military bases and confine their support to air coverage for the Iraqi Army.
To what extent is this strategy likely to succeed? There are a few aspects which I need to explain to you so you can understand why I am claiming that this strategy is unlikely to succeed. First, the issue of sectarian and ethnic differences. Since the invasion of Iraq, the CPA and Mr. Bremer were in charge until June 2004. The CPA never used the term Iraqi people in their different dealings with Iraq. They started using “Kurds,” “Turkmen,” “Arabs,” “Sunnis,” “Shias,” etc. So the first provisional governing council appointed by Bremer himself was based on sectarian and ethnic bases, and all the other parts of the political process went along these lines.
To what extent does this reflect the realities of the Iraqi people? To start with, Arabs make up 80% of the Iraqi population, and 95% of those are Muslims. Since the independence of Iraq in 1920 until 2003, Iraq never had any sectarian conflict, unlike Lebanon or other countries that have sectarian difficulties. Of the different prime ministers who took office between 1920 and 2003, eight of them were Shia and four were Kurds. Out of eighteen military chiefs of staff, eight were Kurds. As for the Baath party itself, the majority of the members were Shia. The majority of the leadership of the Baath party were Shia, regardless of what authority it had. Out of the fifty-five people on the “Wanted List” that the occupying authority published, thirty-one were Shia. So what the occupying authority was practicing in Iraq was something new; they started supporting Shia against Sunnis, and Sunnis against Shia, and now they are harvesting what they have planted.
Also, it is important to know the percentage of Kurds in Iraq. According to the 1957 census, the percentage of Kurds is 16.4%. That was the only census in which there is a question about the mother tongue, and from it we know the number of different ethnicities. This is the census that the Kurds look at as a basis for their percentage because it is pre-1958 revolution. In Kirkuk itself, which the Kurds are trying to claim now, the majority are Turkmen and Arabs, according to that census. In Kirkuk province, the majority are again Turkmen and Arabs.
Well, these facts are ignored by the occupation forces or occupation authorities. In the media, things are distorted. There is no counter explanation or media to explain things to people. Now, I should also mention something about democracy. Since the revolution of July 14th 1958, the Iraqis have never practiced real voting in elections. So from 1958 to 2003– we are talking about 45 years– if we assume that a person is politically mature by the age of 15 or 18, then we can say that all Iraqis who were age 60 and below when the occupation took place have never practiced democracy in Iraq. What about the political forces in Iraq? Almost none of the leaders of the political parties that came with the occupying forces practiced any democracy. The leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution was appointed, never elected. He was Baqer El-Hakeem; he died in 2003. The same applies to Ibrahim El-Jaafari and to Ahmad El-Chalabi, and even to the Kurds. Sometimes it is said that Kurdistan is a model for democracy. Well, in Kurdistan, they only once had an election of Parliament– a Kurdish parliament in 1994– and it lasted only for one year. There was one unified government, and after that, they split into two governments: one in Sulaimaniah, and one in Erbil. Fighting took place to the extent that Masood Barazani, the leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party, sought the help of Saddam Hussein to get the followers of Jalal Talabani out of it. Masood Barazani never had an election in the party and he is the leader of the party. The same applies to Jalal Talabani up until now. They said they are going to unify their governments again within the next two years, but it is over three years and they haven’t done anything. So, these are militias and leaders of militias, so we have to take that into consideration when we talk about the future of democracy in Iraq.
I didn’t want to imply that we should not start with the democratic process, but we should be aware of the limitation of this process. The other main difficulty, which is obvious now after the election, is how to form an Iraqi council of ministers. There are no leaders with the strength or credibility, or even desire, to rally anyone but their own co-religionist or ethnic groups. How to form a unified government out of these groups? This is the dilemma that the Bush administration is facing now in Iraq.
One can safely say by now, that the constitutional referendum and the election of a new council of representatives in December 2005 have not brought added security or stability. They have instead exposed the depth of the sectarian and ethnic divisions in Iraq, and raised serious questions as to whether any form of unified or inclusive national government can be effective. They have been deliberating for over three month to agree on a Prime Minister and they couldn’t. Even if they agreed to choose a prime minister, then they have to form a government and to agree on the share of each group. Afterward, the new Parliament needs to pass fifty-five laws for the implementation of the constitution, because a lot of things were left deliberately vague in the constitution.
Apart from that, according to the constitution that was passed in October, they have to set up a committee for the division of the constitution. This committee has to present the amendments needed for the constitution within four months. If these recommendations are accepted by the government and the House of Representatives, then it has to be put into a referendum within sixty days. Even if this referendum is accepted, then any political party or any political group, if it can command two-thirds of the votes in three provinces against that constitution, then it will be considered null and void, and they have to start from scratch.
That is as far as the political aspects are concerned. As far as the building of a new army and police forces, I can only refer you to the last report published by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Called “Iraqi Force Development: A Current Status Report,” the report will show to what extent the so- called Armed forces and police forces are national ones and not militias. During some of the hearings in the Congress about a year ago, General Abi Zeid and General Casey said that at that time they had three battalions ready to work independently with the Americans. Later, the three became two, and later on, two became one. Then it became zero. The majority of the so-called army was recruited from militias, either from the Badr group, the Shiites or the Bishmerkah of the Kurds. Their loyalty is to their political parties and groups, and so they can’t defend Iraq.
This is the situation facing the political process, the pitfalls and the shortages and deficiencies in new Iraqi army and police forces. Then what could one expect from the present political process? I think within the next two or three months, the political process will come to a standstill, and the United States will start looking for another solution. Shortly, I am going to suggest a solution.
Now, I want to say before I am back to presenting the alternative solution, I want to say a few words about the Iraqi resistance. We have first to differentiate between terrorism and resistance. In American literature, it is called insurgency and insurgents. As far as terrorism is concerned there are five types of terrorism in Iraq.
The first is that carried out by occupation forces. I think by now all of you know what happened in Abu Ghraib and other incidents. A report was published very recently about four nights ago by Amnesty International, about the detention and torture of Iraqis by the American forces and the government forces in Iraq. I don’t have time to go into it, but it is available on the website of Amnesty International. I don’t think it is a credit for any army in the world; it is a shame.
The second type of terrorism is force used by the existing interim government. Some parties of the existing interim government are exercising terrorism. The Kurds have the Beshmergah, the Supreme Council has Badr, etc.
The third type of terrorism is practiced by the main political parties governing Iraq at present and their militias. The fourth one is the intelligence of foreign governments who are interested in weakening and disintegrating Iraq, such as the Israeli Mossad and others who are operating all over Iraq, and including also the Iranians.
Fifth, forces who claim that they are resistance and which the national genuine resistance has nothing to do with. This includes what is usually called in the media “Al-Qaida” or “Zarqawi” groups. You might ask whether there is a real Zarqawi or not. There is a real Zarqawi, but there is more than one Zarqawi, there is an American Zarqawi and other Zarqawis.
There are terrorist groups formed by Special Forces who also practice terrorism. A report in the March 31 Al-Hayat newspaper tells us there is a third Iraqi army in Iraq that is not under the control of the Ministry of Defense. It is only under the control of the American forces. They are the ones who undertake dirty jobs.
What about the resistance? I don’t want to go into the history of the resistance of Iraq, whether it was planned before the occupation or started after the occupation. There are reports published in the Financial Times where Scott Ritter and other Arab sources say that Saddam Hussein formed more than a nucleus for resistance along side the Iraqi army, which started after the occupation. Regardless of whether this is true or not, it was surprising that although in cases of occupation it takes six months to one year time lag for the resistance to be formed and to start. The resistance in Iraq started immediately after the occupation of Iraq during April and after a while, it increased.
Who is the resistance now? I am quite satisfied with the analysis and the description of the capabilities of the Iraqi resistance as presented by Anthony Cordesman in a 200-page report dated March 23 or 26, and by the International Crisis Group report, which was published in February and titled “In Their Own Words: Reading the Iraqi Insurgency.”
As things stand now, who is the main resistance movement? The first and most important one is called the Islamic Army. The name could be misleading. It doesn’t mean that the ideology of this resistance is Islamic, but it was a convenient name used at the beginning and continued, and is composed of ex-army officers, soldiers from the experts from the previous Iraqi military industries, and other ex-intelligence officers in Iraq. This is the backbone, as far as I know, of the resistance, the planning, the sophistication, and the road side bombs called IED, improvised explosive devices. The second one is called “Kataaeb Thawrat Elashreen” battalion of the 1920 revolution. The third one is called “Jaish ElMojahedeen,” and the fourth one is called “Jaish ElFateheen.”
I don’t want to go into the details of the different reports about the insurgency in the resistance, but let me just quote one of them. Peter Spiegel in the Financial Times of February 15, 2006, says “the Iraqi insurgency had become dominated by four large well-organized groups with sophisticated communication and surprisingly centralized leadership.” Another evaluation by Stratfor, which is a global intelligence organization, says “in the years to come, the lessons learned from the U.S. military’s inability to quickly quell Iraqi insurgence will be studied by government and guerrillas movements the world over.” So there is no use denying the strength and the existence and the expansion of the Iraqi resistance.
It is often wondered “what are the programs of resistance, and what is their ideology?” If we don’t know certain things, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The resistance declared their first program in March 2004, and since then, they have increased their capabilities. One of the most interesting stories is the race between the Iraqi resistance and the Pentagon as far as the roadside bombs are concerned (IED). Over 50% of the deaths suffered by the American army in Iraq were the result of IED. 70% of the injuries were the result of IED. I don’t have time to quote to you some of the reports of the Pentagon, but quite recently the Pentagon was forced to bring back a retired General who specialized in these IED. They had allocated $3.3 billion for him to try to do something about these IED. The human costs to the American forces are a result of this.
There are four categories of Americans who have sustained casualties in Iraq. First, there are those who are of U.S nationality. The official figures reported are related to these. The second group is those who have only a green card; these are not included in the official figures. The third ones are those who have neither U.S. nationality nor a green card; they are not included. The fourth are called contractors.
As far as the first group is concerned, the published figures up to the 31st of March, five days ago, were 2400 deaths and over 17,000 injured. This estimate is not in line with many other estimates which put the number injured at over 50,000. Of those injured, over 50%, according to the Pentagon report, can’t go back to the army. There were 6,000 evacuated from Iraq because of mental illnesses. By now, about 8,000 soldiers have deserted the army, 4,000 went to Canada, and sought refugee status there. The United States is facing difficulty in meeting the recruitment quota, and the cost is increasing. Also, there is increasing resistance in Afghanistan, which is drawing some of the resources of the United States. There was, in my view, nothing the United States could have done other than the invasion of Iraq to turn the overwhelming majority of international public opinion, and especially Arab public opinion, and, even more, Iraqi public opinion, against the Bush administration.
So, what is the alternative if the United States can’t continue and can’t succeed in the present political process? What is the way out?
We have been working at the Center for Arab Unity Studies for a program for Iraq after liberation, that took most of 2005. This included a draft constitution, law for political parties, law for the election, law for the Iraqi army, oil policy, a program for reconstruction, the Kurdish issue and the media, etc. Then a conference was convened– we call it a seminar– in the end of July 2005, attended by 108 Iraqis of different political leanings, two-thirds from inside Iraq, and one-third from outside Iraq. They discussed these programs, and on the basis of their discussion and comments, we finalized this program as a program to be adopted by the Iraqi resistance as part of the initiative I am going to refer to. The program is published in Arabic and English. This is the English one, which includes the draft constitution, the Iraqi parliament election, draft law, the law of national supreme court for election, draft law concerning civil associations and political parties, the reconstruction of Iraq, oil industry and policy in Iraq, the financial compensation imposed on Iraq, the media in Iraq, rebuilding the Iraqi army, and the Kurdish issue.
In addition to that, and in preparation for the case of the anticipated failure of the political process, we created an initiative for the solution of the present crisis which reflects the will and view of the Iraqi national resistance and other political forces opposing the occupation. I think we have distributed the full text of the initiative and this should be looked at in conjunction with the program I referred to.
I will just summarize the main points:
1- A declaration by the American side of an unequivocal decision to withdraw fully from Iraq according to a short time-table of no more than six months. In consequence, all American, and other occupying contingents, should withdraw their forces from all Iraqi cities toward temporary and recognized military bases in agreement with the new Iraqi government. These forces should not engage in any security or military operations during the time of their withdrawal. Furthermore, by the end of the six-month period, all of these forces should have completed their withdrawal from those bases [in Iraq].
So, a precondition for this initiative is that the United States administration should agree to withdraw within a very short period of time, not more than six months, and with no military bases in Iraq.
2- The Iraqi National Resistance will declare a ceasefire, while keeping their arms, until the final withdrawal of American and other national occupation forces has been completed.
Once the United States withdraws from Iraq, all resistance and militias will be dissolved. Then,
3- An agreement should be reached, under the auspices of, and with guarantees from, the U.N. Security Council, and in consultation with the Iraqi National Resistance and other political forces that have not collaborated with the occupation, on selecting a Prime Minister for Iraq for a transitional period of no more than two years. The chosen PM should have the authority to select Iraqi cabinet ministers, in non-committing consultation with the U.N. representative in Iraq, from among neutral technocrats and nonpartisans. The PM and his ministers will have to abide by the rule of refraining from nominating themselves in any elections that would be taking place thereafter. The PM should have, in non-committing consultation with the U.N. representative, the authority of discharging ministers and appointing alternatives as needed and as necessitated by circumstances. The Cabinet will be authorized during the transitional period, for all of the legislative, executive and financial powers necessary to implement their duties. The Cabinet should also have the authority to reconsider, nullify or modify the laws, rules and orders introduced since the beginning of Iraq’s occupation to the date of this agreement. The same authority applies to laws, rules and instructions that were issued before the occupation.
4- The U.N. Security Council should be committed to preserving Iraq’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
5- The new Cabinet should immediately commence, in consultation with the Iraqi National Resistance and the other main national forces opposing occupation, to reconstruct the Iraqi Army and other security forces, according to appropriate rules and criteria. The Army and other security forces should be supplied with needed modern equipment and from suppliers that the Cabinet considers adequate. All military militias in the land of Iraq will have to be dissolved in a manner specified by the Government.
6- All squads of the Iraqi National Resistance that abide by the above ceasefire will be dismantled within six months of this agreement upon the full withdrawal of the U.S. and other foreign forces from Iraq, and after the re-establishment of a minimum size of the Iraqi army and other Iraqi security forces.
7- The army and other security forces will not be allowed to engage in politics or join political parties. They will be under the complete authority and leadership of the new government. In addition, all political parties and other political entities are to be prohibited from engaging in political activities within the military establishment and within other security forces of Iraq.
8- The Iraqi government, in non-committing consultation with the U.N. Secretary General and the Iraqi National Resistance, have the right to invite limited numbers of Arab forces of some Arab countries, who did not encourage or participate in the occupation of Iraq, to perform peacekeeping missions in Iraq. Their size and duration of stay in Iraq will be decided by the Iraqi government.
9- The new Iraqi government will be empowered to achieve the following tasks, in addition to those mentioned above:
(a) Selecting a consultative council of 100 to 150 persons from among political forces, public personalities and Iraqis of special talents, who did not collaborate politically with the occupation. The meetings and debates of this consultative council will be held behind closed doors and its proceedings will not to be publicly announced.
(b) Abrogating the so-called constitution adopted by a rigged referendum on October 15, 2005, (especially in the governorates of Mousil–Nainawah, Muthanna, Diwaniyya and Ziqar) as being illegal as it had been already rejected by two-thirds of the voters in three governorates. All actions taken based on that constitution are to be abrogated as well.
(c) Preparing, within one year of putting this agreement into force, a law on elections and a law on political parties and the holding of elections for the two houses of parliament, the deputies and the Senates, taking its guidelines from the provisional constitution drafted by the Beirut Symposium (July 2005) (in Arabic) and published in the book titled “A Program for the Future of Iraq after Ending the Occupation: the Constitution, the Law on Election, the Law on Political Parties, the Reconstruction, the Oil, the Media, the Army, the Kurdish Question, and the Reparations.” In achieving this task, the government is not committed to stick to the letter of the proposed programs exclusively, and should be in consultation with a large number of Iraqis inside and outside of the country regarding these issues.
(d) The holding of general elections within the second year of the transitional period, under the auspices of the U.N., the League of Arab States, the European Union, the Arab Organization for Human Rights, Amnesty International and other Arab and international organizations, in order to secure a free, honest and transparent elections. The elections will be organized on the proportional list’s rule and governorate districts as stipulated in the draft constitution mentioned above (9-C).
10- During the transitional period, the new government will abide by the oil policy agreed upon by the Beirut Symposium. All oil agreements (contracts) signed during the occupation are to be declared null and void as violations of the U.N. Security Council resolutions No. 1456 and 1483. All agreements (contracts) signed by the National Kurdistan Party and the Kurdistan National Union Party during the period 1991-2003, as well as all agreements signed during the occupation, with foreign firms for the exploration, development and oil production in the governorates of Suleimania, Erbil, and Duhok, are to be declared null and void as well. The Iraqi government will demand from all concerned firms the halt of all of their operations in those governorates. These companies will also be subjected to legal proceedings, inside and outside of Iraq, for contracting for oil investments with illegal Iraqi bodies in these areas.
11- The Security Council, based upon a U.S. initiative, is to abrogate all sanctions that are not yet alleviated, that were imposed on Iraq by the Security Council in the aftermath of Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, including the halting of any further deductions from the exported Iraqi oil revenues, and to release all frozen Iraqi assets.
Now, in compensation for the damage sustained by the Iraqi people and Iraqi infrastructure as a result of the invasion:
12- The U.S. and the U.K will have to provide financial assistance, in the form of grants, for no less than U.S. $50 billion from the former and U.S. $20 billion from the latter, to be deposited within six months of the date of the agreement and to be under the disposition of the new Iraqi Government for the purposes of Iraq’s reconstruction and for compensating for the damages inflicted on the Iraqi state and the Iraqi population by the illegal U.S–U.K. occupation. The total of these amounts would be less than the actual financial expenditure for keeping the U.S and the U.K. forces for another year in Iraq. Furthermore, the U.S. and the U.K. governments will strive to use their contacts with Arab governments to eliminate the debts owed to them by Iraq, to waive Iraqi reparations allocated for them by previous Security Council resolutions, and to reimburse Iraq for the reparations received by those governments (except from individuals and firms) that were extracted through the U.N. reimbursements from the Iraqi oil revenues under the oil for food program.
13- The elected Iraqi Parliament will write a draft constitution based on the guidelines of the draft constitution for the Beirut Symposium, and to be submitted to popular referendum. Until this constitution is adopted, the new government will adopt the draft written by the Beirut Symposium as a provisional one that expires by the adoption of the final constitution.
14- The Iraqi-elected Parliament will select a President of the Republic according to the constitution adopted by the popular referendum.
15- The new Iraqi government will deal with the Kurdish issue in accordance with the draft constitution written by the above-mentioned Beirut Symposium.
16- The governments of the U.S. and the U.K. will commit themselves to non-intervention, directly or indirectly, in the internal and security affairs of Iraq.
17- The new Iraqi government will commit itself to not develop weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This commitment does not deprive Iraq of the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes in accordance with international law.
18- The new Iraqi government will commit itself also to peaceful means and not to resort to force in cases of dispute with other Arab states and neighbor countries, including those that encouraged, assisted or participated in the occupation of Iraq, except in cases of self-defense and within the rules of the charters of the U.N. and the Arab League.
Now there is a provision to deal with different crimes of Kurds in Iraq;
19- The new Iraqi Government will establish an independent judicial panel, composed of Iraqi and neutral international legal experts, to investigate all complaints about crimes, human rights violations in Iraq, the collaboration with the occupiers, as well as state-terrorism including kidnappings, killings based solely on identity papers, and blackmailing. These include all crimes that were committed in Iraq since the revolution of July 14, 1958, and until the time of departure of the occupying forces from Iraq. This panel will collect information on all of these crimes in order that the newly elected Parliament would define the manner of implementing their retribution in the light of world experiences in dealing with such crimes.
20- Upon agreement to the above, and implementation by the U.S. and the U.K. of the points related to them as mentioned above, the new Iraqi government will deal with all U.S. and U.K. companies and firms on issues of the reconstruction of Iraq, oil investment, on an equal footing with other world companies and firms, without political prejudice, and on the basis of the oil policy and the reconstruction program to be adopted by the new Iraqi government.
21- This initiative is to be seen as an integral whole and not to be dealt with selectively.
You might ask “What are the chances that this initiative will be accepted or dealt with by the American administration?” This initiative and the accompanying program was prepared, as I said, in consultation with the Iraqi Resistance and the main Iraqi political parties and groups opposed to occupation as preparation for the stage after the failure of the political process. We know that the United States will not come now to the negotiation table. It is only after they are convinced of the failure of the political process that they will look for another solution or way out of Iraq, a way out of the present quagmire which they are in. We also think that because of the forthcoming midterm election in November, they will try to seek a solution, a way out in order not to loose their majority in both the Senate and the House.
This is a peaceful initiative that allows the American administration to save face. If this is not accepted, then the resistance will continue and I think we will see the liberation of one city after the other, including Baghdad. The American forces will be forced to leave, and in that case they will cut and run. I hope for the sake of Iraq, the Iraqi people, and for American lives, that the United States once they are convinced of the failure of their political process, will come to its senses and started negotiating this initiative. Thank you.
Hudson: Thank you very much. I think there will be many questions and comments for Dr. Khair el-Din Haseeb. So I will open the floor and will ask you to identify yourself quickly and then ask your question or note as precisely as possible. We will try to get to as many as we can within the next 15 minutes. So, the floor is open for comments or questions.
Question and answer session
This has been submitted to the American administration, the British administration, all members of Congress, all members of the House of Commons, etc. and this is going to be based on agreement with the United States, the U.K. government and Security Council, so that the Security Council will adopt a resolution appointing a prime minister, and then government etc.
Q: Could you say something about the offer of the initiative? What authority did they offer for the initiative to be a negotiating partner?
As was mentioned, this initiative was made after consultation with the main resistance groups in Iraq and main political groups in Iraq.
The proposal is posted online at the Center for Arab Unity Studies website. The link is www.caus.org.lb.
Well, thank you for your question, the U.S. and the U.K. are the occupying forces in Iraq now, so the solution is for these occupying forces to withdraw from Iraq and this is where the Security Council comes in.
As I mentioned there is going to be a transitional period for two years, during these two years the government is going to be from technocrats, not participant members, so no political group will complain that they are not presented. During the second year, there will be a law for election and there will be an election supervised by the United Nations, international organization, human rights groups, etc., to make sure that it is a free election, and then the parliament that will come out from this election and will draft the constitution, a referendum, and then elect a president.
Q. Last night, here in Georgetown there was an event ** in which a number of American ** covered Iraq, discussed Iraq, and almost all of their discussions had to do with ** among the established official Iraqi partition ** these Journals can deal which are of course within Baghdad and ** safe. But they were not talking too much about the resistance or the groups that made up this initiative, they were talking about people we all know, talking about scary power Talabani Barazani the Hisbel Islami, the Pachachi, the Chalabi and these groups. I think you are saying that these people simply are out of the picture?
At the beginning, all the political groups are out of the picture during the transitional two years.
Q. Including the organized militias, Badr?
Yes, but the militias should be dissolved, and as I mentioned just for the justification of the formation of this nonpolitical cabinet. There are no leaders at the present with the strength or credibility or even to rally anyone but there own religionist or ethnic group. So this is a practical way suggested for forming a government to run the country for two years.
Q. You mentioned the issue of the technocrats, and also there are politicians who collaborated with the occupation.
No, it will be a government of technocrats and, as I said, not participants, also those who have not collaborated with the occupation.
Q. What is your estimation if the situation goes in that direction? What might happen to the figures that collaborate with the occupation again about the special leaderships that came ****
Well, as I mentioned, the new Iraqi government will establish an independent judicial panel composed of Iraqi and neutral international legal counsel to investigate all complaints about the crimes, human rights violation in Iraq, the collaboration with the occupiers, as well as state terrorism including kidnapping, etc. These will include all crimes that were committed in Iraq since the revolution of July 15, 1958, and until the time of departure of occupying forces from Iraq.
Q. ***** I think **** having personal work for election in Iraq. You have mentioned that it is illegal war and I don’t want to discuss this issue, you had mentioned while Iraqi **** my question is ** over the Iraqi violence **** away from Iraqi American forces to exist *** what we see today about Iraqi violence ****** those *** process, I would like to take your feedback why this report *** American violence, why you don’t talk about the Iraqi/Iraqi violence **** report didn’t mention ***** and as you mentioned the ** process not mentioning that ***** so there ***** between Iraqi and Iraqi violence I would like to hear your feed back about this.
This was mentioned in the American media that this sectarian conflict is likely to reduce the casualties among the American army. If you take the last ten days and see how many soldiers were killed, and the two helicopters that were brought down, this is a false expectation. Time will show that the resistance is going to continue and increase in strength, because, as I mentioned, the Iraqi resistance is different from terrorism. It has nothing to do with the sectarian violence in Iraq. Their concern and efforts are directed at occupation forces. As far as the election is concerned people in the American administration think that once you go and vote, that is democracy, while this is not democracy. Democracy under occupation is not democracy. The Iraqi election commission, the law of the election committee was put in place by Bremer, the members of the commission, which are supposed to be independent, were appointed by Bremer. If you want to read some details about the 15th of January elections, go and read Seymour Hersh’s report in The New Yorker about distortion of that election. In the last election, hundred of thousands of Iranian were given Iraqi nationality and voted, hundreds of thousands of Kurds from Iran, Turkey, and Syria were given Iraqi passports and participated in the elections. The election commission itself, after the referendum on the constitution, said publicly, and it is on its website, that 83,000 from the Kurdish area voted and should not have voted. Then they increased the number to 200,000, but when the election of December 15 came, the Kurdish leaders asked them to reinstall these 200,000 names. This is not a free election. There was no supervision whatsoever. The United Nations offered technical assistance, but no supervision.
Thank you very much for this question, because it will give me the chance to explain to you why we don’t expect any assistance from Arab governments for Iraq to get out of this mess. There is something called the Arab National Defense Joint Agreement, and, according to that agreement, any attack upon an Arab country by a non-Arab country is considered to be an attack on all Arab countries, and they should come to the aid of that country. That was in 1951, but all newly independent Arab states joined that agreement, and it is applicable to all Arab countries. Even if they are threatened by a non-Arab country, then the other Arab countries should come to help. What happened in the case of Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan helped the American administration and encouraged them to go and invade Iraq. If you read Bob Woodward’s book The Plan of Attack, read pages 313 to 315, and you will find out that before the war the Saudi Ambassador was in Cairo and met President Hosni Mubarak and told him that we have good intelligence in Iraq and know that Iraq has mobile laboratories for making weapons of mass destruction. Ambassador Bander went back and informed President Bush of that. President Mubarak was not satisfied with that, so he sent his son Jamal in a secret mission with a letter also to explain this. Both Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah assured Tommy Franks, and this was mentioned in his book, which was published. Tommy Franks was in charge of the operation that claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. As to the other gulf countries, the American and British forces came from Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. They all participated in one way or another, and offered other facilities. Some ten thousand special American forces which you might know went, some of them, before the war and, some of them, during the war across Saudi Arabia to the west part of Iraq through Aaraar. The air campaign on Iraq came from the Sultan base. Jordan did something similar, so if one can categorize the positions of the Arab countries in contradiction with their obligation to the Joint Arab Defense Agreement, they were either silent or scared or in collaboration with the United States openly or covertly. So, neither I nor the Iraqi resistance nor people who are against the occupation expect any help from them to liberate Iraq.
The existing Iraqi army and police forces formed by the occupation forces, as I said, are mostly militias– either Shiite militias or Bashmerka militias. The resistance is already working on the reconstitution of the Iraqi army. Once this initiative is accepted, then they will put their plan into practice.
One of the responsibilities of the new government is to find jobs for people, and there is a sophisticated and detailed program for the reconstruction of Iraq, which will give work for people.
Hudson: Can I go back to a point a couple of people pursued? Many Americans, including some members of Congress, some opinion makers and so forth who are opposed to, very critical of, the American involvement in Iraq, nevertheless insist that it will be morally wrong for the U.S forces to leave any time soon. And I am still wondering why one could expect the withdrawal to take place, given the low level civil war the Iraqis are very involved in.
Thank you for this question. In a number of hearings before the Congress by senior American military people, it was said more than once by General Abu Zeid and General Casey that one of the reasons for the resistance of Iraq is the American occupying forces, and if they withdraw, this will partially solve the resistance issue. Well, the question is if the American and British forces withdraw, what will happen? With their existence, we see what is happening, there is more or less civil war, which they encourage themselves. Iraq didn’t practice any sectarian violence before the invasion of Iraq, so even with the existence of the so-called army and police forces which they formed, this is what is going on in Iraq. So, I think Iraq will be better if they leave, so even if such an initiative is agreed upon, there will be a new army taking care of law and order in the country to prevent civil strife.
The United States administration, once it is interested in this initiative and at the negotiating table, is entitled to know who the resistance group is, who are the political forces associated with this initiative. But, now there is no point in declaring this, and there are other aspects of this initiative dealing with the Kurds, Turkey, Iran. They are not included in the initiative, they are part of the initiative and there is a special arrangement for the six-month transitional period on how to maintain law and order during this period.
Well, I mentioned the four main groups of resistance. Once the Americans come to the negotiation table we can arrange for these four resistance forces to make public statement approving this initiative and the negotiation.
No, that is not true, it did nothing. In 1973, in the war between Egypt, Syria and Israel, the Iraqi army went to the help of Syria. I categorized the Arab regimes, as I mentioned, and it is only Syria in relative terms that stand better off, but it did not reach the minimum required from them, according to the Joint Arab Defense Agreement.
Hudson: Question on international intervention, if this is true as you indicated that the Arab states are completely uninterested in protection of Iraq in the past, why should these Arab states be interested in helping this resistance movement now? In reality, why don’t some of these regimes feel threatened by the nationalist, ideological, or even sectarian or religious character of some components of the resistance?
Well, if you read the initiative carefully, it is mentioned that the new government has the right to request the support of armed forces from any Arab country that didn’t encourage or participate or help in the invasion of Iraq. So this excludes Egypt, Jordan, and all the Arab gulf countries, it is possible to get peace-keeping forces, if necessary, from Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Syria.
Well, I think we should judge the resistance by what they say and not by the intentions. We don’t know the intentions of anybody. I mentioned the statement declaration by the resistance on March 2004, and it is clear they don’t want to go back to the previous system and regime. They want a democratic regime, and they are favorable to the solution of the Kurdish problem, etc. This initiative explains that these resistance groups are going to be dissolved after the six-month period and the withdrawal of American and British forces. Some of them might be a part of the newly formed army.
Hudson: I would like to thank our distinguished speaker and all of the audience for what I think it was an interesting session. Thank you.