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"The 100 Order Occupation"

(i) Viceroy L. Paul Bremer III:

As Presidential Envoy and Administrator of the American Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), L. Paul Bremer III had full viceregal power over the executive, legislative and judicial government of Iraq from May 6th, 2003, until June 28th, 2004. The Bush administration gave Bremer such total and complete control over the American occupation that he was widely dubbed "The Dictator of Iraq" by the foreign press. During his fourteen month reign, Paul Bremer enacted exactly 100 executive orders that radically changed the political and economic landscape of Iraq. The majority of the CPA orders were in grave violation of international law which prompted the UN Security Council to pass a resolution on May 22, 2003, calling on the US to "comply fully with their obligations under international law including in particular the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Hague Regulations of 1907." Article 43 of the Hague Regulations (ratified by the US) requires that an occupying power "take all the measures in its power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting the laws in force in the country."

(ii) Order #97 (June 7, 2004), Political Parties and Entities Law:

On June 28th, 2004, the Americans officially handed government authority over to the Iraqi people. Or did they? Predictably, the reality was much different for a variety of reasons. With Order #97, Bremer established a seven-member commission that has the power to disqualify political parties and any of the candidates they support. Political parties or candidates can be disqualified for several reasons, including if they do not follow a code of conduct established by the commission or if they are deemed by the commission to be associated with armed forces, militias, use of terrorism, or incitement to violence, or if they have been directly or indirectly financed by such forces. In this way, the Bush administration retained a firm stamp of approval over any party or individual that was allowed to participate in Iraqi elections.

The Bush Administration claims that the January 30, 2005 elections were a "milestone for democracy" in the Middle East. But by all international standards, the election was completely illegitimate. First and foremost, the elections contravened the 1907 Hague Convention which prohibits the occupying forces from establishing permanent structural changes to the government of the occupied nation. The US-based Carter Center, an agency devoted to election monitoring, openly admitted that the January elections "failed to meet key criteria." According to the Carter Center, the election did not meet international standards because (a) "voters could not vote in a free and secure environment without fear or intimidation;" (b) "voters did not have access to candidates or campaign material;" (c) "the election lacked an independent election commission; and (d) "the election lacked international election monitors."

In fact, on the day of the election the US declared a state of Martial Law and heavily armed occupation troops set up road blocks throughout the country. Florida voters from the 2000 federal election will be familiar with these tactics. The Bush administration declared Iraq too dangerous for international election monitors, with predictable results: American favored candidates won heavily. (It is interesting to note that there were over 800 international observers during the most recent Palestinian elections.)

(iii) Order #39 (September 19, 2003), Foreign Investment:

Foreign investment laws are the back bone of the globalization movement. Nevertheless, the forces of globalization have struggled to legalize them. It was the adamant opposition of developing country governments to foreign investment laws that contributed significantly to the collapse of WTO talks in Seattle in 1999 and again in Cancun in 2003. To avoid another collapse, the provisions were removed altogether from the agenda of the WTO's 2005 Hong Kong ministerial! Foreign investment provisions continue to be one of the most controversial elements of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Mexico and Canada. Global opposition to these laws led to the defeat of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). In Iraq, however, there was no opposition to overcome. Paul Bremer simply put the foreign investment provisions into force with the stroke of a pen.

Order #39 is the Foreign Investment Order. It includes the following provisions: (1) privatization of Iraq's state-owned enterprises; (2) 100% foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses; (3) "national treatment"-which means no preferences for local over foreign businesses, which has allowed for a US corporate invasion of Iraq; (4) unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; (5) forty-year ownership licenses; and (6) the right to take legal disputes out of Iraq's courts and into international tribunals. More than any other Order, it fully embodies the Bush Agenda in Iraq: the creation of an economic zone, free from protectionist government regulations, in which US corporations may prosper.

(iv) The 100 Order Occupation:

The American invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq have not been ratified by the UN Security Council because they violate international law. Paul Bremer and the American CPA openly set out to "lock in" sweeping reforms to the Iraqi economy. The official CPA blueprint and mission statement clearly states that it's goal is to restructure Iraq "from a state-controlled economy to one that guarantees free markets, free trade and private property." Illegal or not, these reforms are widely understood to promote the corporate globalization of Iraq: massive profits for foreign corporations and investors, but also underdevelopment, unemployment, economic inequality and violence for the Iraqi people. Paul Bremer is well aware that the avarice of the occupation will destroy the lives of millions of ordinary Iraqi citizens. In November of 2001 he wrote a paper entitled "New Risks in International Business." In his paper, written directly for international corporations interested in exploiting new markets in Iraq, Bremer accurately warns that "the painful consequences of globalization are felt long before its benefits are clear. Privatization of basic services, for example, almost always leads to price increases for those services, which in turn often lead to protests or even physical violence against the operator."

According to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and other international laws alluded to in the aforementioned UN Security Council resolution on Iraq, it is the legal obligation of any occupation force to ensure that "the basic necessities of life are provided." When the transitional government of Dr. Iyad Allawi pleaded to the world in June 2005 that "we urgently need emergency/humanitarian interventions to provide basic services such as water, electricity, hospitals and schools," the true agenda of George W. Bush in Iraq was exposed. If Iraq still lacked basic services after two years of CPA rule, what had Paul Bremer been up to all this time? Certainly not doing his job as defined by international law. The truth is that Paul Bremer never intended on rebuilding Iraqi society. His real job, conceptualized by the Bush administration before 9/11, was to rebuild Iraq in America's image.

Paul Bremer has admitted that the 100 order occupation would destroy the hopes and dreams of the Iraqi people. Again, in Bremer's own words, "restructuring inefficient state enterprises (privatization) requires laying off workers." Bremer laid off over 620,000 Iraqi government workers. Unemployment skyrocketed to over 70% under CPA rule. Corporate globalization policies promoted by the WTO and resisted by developing countries everywhere, have been implemented with impunity by Paul Bremer. The new Iraqi constitution was written by the CPA and is therefore illegitimate. The laws contained within and forced upon the Iraqi people by the 100 order occupation will ensure two things for years to come: (1) an unregulated market for American corporations to exploit and (2) brave resistance to this agenda by the ordinary citizens of Iraq.

United for Peace and Justice...


By: Max Pollack
Category: Essays
4072 times viewed

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