[Marxism] Annan said to back US, oppose direct elections

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at rogers.com
Thu Feb 19 06:58:37 MST 2004

Thanks to Fred Feldman for the referral to this article in the NY Times.

> Annan Is Said to Have Doubt on Iraq Voting
> Published: February 19, 2004

There's another twist to this story, which is also covered in today's
Los Angeles Times.

The Times suggests the UN, in supporting the plan to transfer political
"sovereignty" to the US-appointed Iraqi council in June, may be acting
more in accord with European than American interests in doing so.

It would seem France and Germany (undoubtedly with Russian and Chinese
support) see the renewed UN involvement as an opening to again try and
loosen US control and secure some concessions for their firms in Iraq.
Yesterday, they announced they want a new UN resolution to sanction the
transfer, which the Times says has the Bush administration worried and
primed for a confrontation with their European rivals.

Apparently, Bush officials are concerned a UN debate would require
postponing the turnover date, which was selected with Bush's reelection
campaign in mind. But the Times also reports they're worried - and
probably more so, because the effect would be more lasting - that a new
resolution could "force an overhaul of major infrastructure projects in
the country, such as those for power plants and oil field redevelopment"
, which have already been allocated to Halliburton and other US

Although unmentioned in the Times article, other reports have indicated
that the leading cleric Ali Sistani also favours a new UN resolution,
which may be have been his quid pro quo for his reported agreement to
the US plan in a meeting with UN special envoy Brahimi in Baghdad last

We can't be certain, of course, that the UN is acting as a stalking
horse for the Europeans, or that Sistani is in full agreement. And
whether the matter will be voted on in the UN, and to what extent, if
any, a resolution might loosen the US's political and economic control,
is also up in the air.

I suspect the Europeans won't be able to accomplish very much. The US
has committed substantial ground forces to Iraq and, though it might
agree to the fig leaf of "UN command under a US general", they're there
for a reason, after all, which is to secure US control of Iraq's oil and
other assets, and consolidate its control of the Persian Gulf-Caspian
Sea region. So the upshot may again well be that, after some noise and
fury, the US still gets its way and the UN and Europeans continue their
exercise in collective begging. But the political and diplomatic
manuvering is still interesting to watch.

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