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How Much Power Will the Iraqi Government Really Have?

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poe Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:18 PM
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How Much Power Will the Iraqi Government Really Have?
There has been much attention given in the run-up to this Sundays elections in Iraq regarding how the lack of security in much of the country, combined with the decision by major Sunni Arab parties to boycott in protest of recent U.S. attacks on several major urban areas, could thereby skew the results and compromise the resulting governments credibility. Related concerns include the prospect of this election and the government that emerges exacerbating the divisions between Shiite Arabs, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds.

Perhaps an even bigger question is what kind of power this new government will actually have.
The transitional Iraqi government has not had the power to overturn many of the edicts of the former American viceroy Paul Bremer and his Iraqi appointees in the IGC, and was therefore unable to chart an independent course. Even in cases where the transitional government technically could have overturned U.S.-imposed laws, it required a consensus of the president, prime minister, vice premiers and other government officials, sonot surprisinglyvirtually all these laws have remained in effect.

These include such important decisions as the privatization of public enterprises, the allowance for 100% repatriation of profits by foreign corporations, a flat tax of 15%, the right of foreigners to own up to 100% of Iraqi companies, and other neoliberal economic measures. While there is little question that at least some liberalization of the economy, after years of state control under Saddams dictatorship, is necessary for the countrys economic health, Iraqis resent such important economic issues being decided by an occupying power which clearly has a strong vested economic interest in their country.Similarly, the U.S. ambassador John Negroponte, has not beenas the Bush administration has claimedjust like any other ambassador, given that many of the more than 1500 Americans attached to his embassy hold prominent positions throughout virtually every Iraqi ministry and his office controls much of the Iraqi governments budget. (Negroponte has had some practice for this sort of thing: He was widely considered to be at least the second most powerful man in Honduras when he was U.S. ambassador in Tegucigalpa in the 1980s, given the large numbers of American troops in the country and the dependence of the regime on U.S. military and economic support.)
Despite the reluctant stamp of approval by the UN special envoy and the UN Security Council of the transitional government, the fact remains that the president, prime minister, and virtually all other major positions in the interim Iraqi government were filled by members of the IGC, which was appointed by U.S. occupation authorities.
Even if the United States allows the new Iraqi government to assert their authority, however, it will still face serious problems with its credibility.

Perhaps most important is the restoration of basic services. Everyone from the General Accounting Office to various development agencies has underscored the fact that Iraqis are worse off now than they were prior to the U.S. invasion.

In contrast to the 1991 Gulf War, wheredespite severe economic sanctions and heavier bombing damage inflicted upon the Iraqi infrastructure than in the 2003 invasionthe Iraqi government was able to restore electrical power and most other basic services on its own within months; large areas of Iraq still lack electrical power and basic services nearly three years after the war began. While sabotage by anti-occupation forces has certainly made reconstruction difficult, there are also widespread charges of incompetence and corruption by U.S. contractors, who have shown a clear preference for bringing in skilled workers from the United States and elsewhere despite the presence of large numbers of qualified Iraqis desperately in need of employment.

Whatever the reason, the ability of the new government to rebuild the infrastructure and restore basic services is far more important to most Iraqis than its ideological orientation or ethnic makeup. The big question is whether the United States will forgo the bonanza offered to American contractors under the present arrangement in order to allow the new Iraqi government a chance to prove itself capable of providing basic services and tackling the countrys debilitating high rate of unemployment.
What the Bush administration and most members of Congress of both parties fail to acknowledge is that Iraq cannot be pro-American without being at least somewhat autocratic and it cannot be democratic without being at least somewhat anti-American. The United States can have an Iraq that serves as a key strategic ally and close economic partner or it can have an Iraq with a legitimate representative government. Unless there is a radical change in U.S. policy, it cannot have both.
www.fpif.org/papers/0501power.html

To get a clear idea of what the rules of the game will be go to the CPA website and look at their Executive Orders. Yes even the well manicured warlords have a website.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:33 PM
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1. As much as Bush and cronies allow it to have.
As long as they sign over all oil rights to Halliburton, they can do whatever else they want, I'm sure.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Not just the OIL rights.
EVERYTHING in Iraq has been privitized. Foreign Corporations are allowed to buy everything previously held by the Iraqi government. ALL public programs and services are available to whoever bush* wants to give them to. ALL profits can be shipped OUT of Iraq.
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