”Sovereignty means that… It’s Sovereign”

From Holden:

Last year Chimpy famously told Unity Conference attendees, “Tribal sovereignty means that. It’s sovereign. You’re a … you’re a … you’ve been given sovereignty and you’re viewed as a sovereign entity.” I wonder how that applies to Iraq.

“It is a matter of public record that in the final weeks of the process, the newly arrived US ambassador [Zalmay Khalilzad] took an extremely hands-on role,” Justin Alexander, legal affairs officer for the office of constitutional support with the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq told Inter Press Service (IPS). “Even going so far as to circulate at least one US draft.”

Alexander, who oversaw the recent proceedings in Baghdad, added: “This involvement was highly inappropriate for a country with 140,000 soldiers in country.”

Zaid al-Ali, a legal expert who also oversaw the drafting process in Baghdad, made a similar case at a meeting at the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies in London.

“There are three ways in which the occupation intervened in the context of Iraq’s constitution-writing process,” he said. “First, the occupation authorities selected and affected the makeup of the commission that was charged with drafting Iraq’s transitional law and its permanent constitution. Second, the occupation determined the limits and parameters within which the constitution was to be drafted. Third, the occupation authorities intervened directly in order to safeguard its interests in the context of the constitutional negotiations.”

Al-Ali said it was significant that one article in the draft constitution on foreign military bases was dropped from the final version. “One article contained in a previous draft provided that setting up foreign military bases in Iraq was to be forbidden, and that the only way in which this could be deviated would have been by a two-thirds majority vote in parliament.” [emphasis added]


Dr. Marinos Diamantides, senior lecturer of law at the University of London, said the entire drafting process could be illegal under international law.

“One could argue the entire process is against the law,” Diamantides told IPS. “According to the 1907 Convention for the pacific settlement of disputes, the occupying power has a duty to maintain the legal system of the country it occupies. This is the first time ever that an occupying power has dismantled the internal law system of the country it occupies.” [emphasis added]


Justin Alexander said Iraq might need a new constitution. “If Iraq creates a progressive and effective constitution and laws to implement the constitution, then this could benefit Iraqis. But in the absence of mutual reconciliation and an end to the occupation, this is all futile.”