by Madrid Social Forum –
Ten Conditions for a Just Reconstruction of Iraq
Report, Madrid Social Forum — 23 October 2003
Mobilising the streets in Madrid around the donor conference on the reconstruction in Iraq and the preparation for the European Social Forum, the Madrid Social Forum suggests ten conditions for a just reconstruction of Iraq.
1. The destruction of Iraq is consequence of an occupation war.
The quantification of the damages in Iraq shouldn’t be carried out only in view of the damages caused by the occupation war at the beginning of this year; those provoked by the military actions during the 1991 Gulf War (which were estimated to 22 billion US$) should also be considered, as well as the consequences of the UN economic sanctions which caused more than a million and a half dead (hundreds of thousands of children). Apart from that, Iraq is required to pay its external debt (the war debt included), which was estimated to 400 billion US$ by the G8. And, the indemnifications to the civil victims should be added to all this.
2. The war was illegal
What motivated the occupying coalition was the hypothetical danger of the weapons for mass destruction in hands of the Iraqi government and the supposed relations of this government with the terrorist networks. The mass destruction weapons, which were the motive for the war, were not found. The Iraq Recognition Group, whose job was to seek those armaments, found no military arsenal whatsoever, nor has it been proved that the weapons for mass destruction have been taken out of Iraq by ship towards countries like Syria before the war. Likewise, the hypothetical relations of the Iraqi government with the terrorist networks, an information provided by the sources close to the occupying forces, have been denied.
3. The Spanish government can’t stay isolated from its responsibility of supporting an illegal war and participating in the occupation.
The Aznar government is the only one that has lacked of public appearances to explain its aggressive decision against Iraq. The government has lied in a continuous way: about the causes of the war, about the information sources who assured of the existence of the mass destruction weapons and about the mandate of the Spanish troops in Iraq. The political decision to support the war had no consensus, nor the necessary legallity for carrying out an agressive action (and not a peace action), nor it had support from the people in Spain.
4. The reconstruction cannot be a business deal
The responsibility for the destruction of Iraq implies directly all those countries that started the war against Iraq, first of all the US and Great Britain and others who supported different types of occupation, which was the case of Spain. These countries caused the destruction of civilian targets during the operations, and therefore it is their responsibility to undertake the economic aspect of the reconstructions and also the indemnifications. The funds for the reconstruction cannot be administrated by the occupying forces, nor can these forces use the resources which belong to Iraqi people to their own benefit.
The lifting of the sanctions imposed to Iraq turned into US companies’ control of the economic activities related to the reconstruction of Iraq; also, the Iraqi government bonds abroad, which were frozen during more than twelve years, were unblocked. According to the Financial Times, this allows the US to use them as refund of the war expenses and of the reconstruction; and those bonds shall never return to the Iraqi people. The Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury, John Taylor, acknowledged on Friday that a great part of the US economic cooperation with Iraq shall be carried out “through bilateral assistance”; an aid model, which the country’s legislation reserves for the contracts with American companies.
5. No conditions for the cooperation with Iraq
At the same time as the Donors Conference, on October 23rd and 24th, a business summit was called in order to deal with the private sector’s role in the future Iraqi development after its government announces a wide program for liberalization of its economy. The program allows foreign possession of all the sectors, except for the oil sector.
This economic reform plan was presented the first time in Dubai, before the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and according to the Finance Minister of the Cabinet imposed to Iraq by the occupying troops, Kamel Al-Kilani: “These reforms shall create significant progress in the efforts to construct an economy based on free and open market.” The new rules will allow foreign banks to open branches or to create alliances with local entities. The IMF Director, Horst Koehler, greeted the plan and labeled it as “an enormous step forward”. The cooperation with Iraq cannot mean implementation of a Structural Adjustment Plan nor privatization of its companies.
6. The aggressor forces have to pay for the destruction of Iraq
The Conference called for October 23rd and 24th in Madrid tries to achieve collection of $56 billion for the necessary investments during the next four years in Iraq; initially it is aimed at acquiring some $7.5 billions for the first year. The Spanish Foreign Minister expresses her content even if less than $4 billion is collected.
The international donors, the “Core” group, for the supposed reconstruction of Iraq, met previously in Madrid and agreed to establish a fund for Iraq out of Washington’s direct control, in order to administrate a part of the donated funds. On this previous meeting participated the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, United Nations, United States, European Union, United Arab Emirates, the Iraq Government Council appointed by the US and the US provisional authority in Iraq.
On this meeting it was stipulated that the donors may choose between the project they are willing to finance, which explains why they agreed on creating a separate fund, controlled by the UN and the World Bank, apart from the already existing one which is used by the US provisional authority in Iraq. Later on, the US Senate approved a proposal that the 20 billion US$, which the Government has sought for the reconstruction of Iraq, and originally destined as lost fund assistance, should be diverted to loans. Which means that the Donnors Conference could represent an increase of the Iraqi external debt.
7. The occupational forces should guarantee the security in Iraq so that the emergency aid could be possible
United States and the rest of the occupying forces, performing as the Occupational Authority, have specific obligations in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, like, among others, to provide that the food and medical supplies reach the civilian population on the territories under their military control. There is no mechanism in Iraq that would permit a denunciation of an offence at the time of its commitment, and there is a serious doubt that the situation would change in a chaotic atmosphere.
From the beginning, the occupying forces have treated favorably this situation of impunity, when not of complicity; sadly famous were the cases of “spontaneous” sacking of the Baghdad Museum or the burning of its library. The aid that gets to Iraq represents at the same time an increase of business activities, speculation and benefit for the American companies.
Some democrat Senators have publicly that Halliburton, the company that was directed by the North American Vice President Dick Cheney and which acquired a majority of the contracts in Iraq has inflated the fuel prices for $249 millions.
According to the Amnesty International “at the moment there is no mechanism that allows us to identify the specially vulnerable populations who need to receive special humanitarian assistance and to provide that this necessary aid gets to them” and “Until the security in Iraq is reestablished, neither the US efforts nor the efforts of the humanitarian entities can achieve that the people in necessity receive help in a fast and efficient manner”.
These difficulties, fostered by the occupying forces, do not invalidate the necessity for the emergency aid, which should be centered in consolidation of a security situation, related directly with the leaving of the occupying troops, rather than in the economic quantity of the help. Until an effective security situation is reestablished, no mechanism for helping the vulnerable population can be implemented.
8. The United Nations role
The role of the UN was dubious: genocide sanctions, abusive inspections, and legitimation of the occupation. The recent Security Council decision on consenting retroactively the occupation, in a situation that represents a direct violation of the United Nations Charter, has only achieved the increment of the mistrust in this institution. Any new decision has to stop the discredit of the organization in Iraq. The only clear form of doing it is by taking over fully the administration of the country and its transition towards a democratic system, where the security is guaranteed by an armed force that really represents the international community.
According to the Resolution 1511, recently adopted by the UN, the Secretary General should have the major role in the creation of the new Iraqi constitution. In the economic aspect, the UN should administrate the donations that come in, due to the general discomfort and in accordance with what Julia Taft, the UN Secretary General Assistant for the Development Programs, said in a press conference: “There was a certain discomfort of some donors who don’t want to put their money in a mixed bank account, administrated by the US provisional authority in Iraq, and they preferred identifying the sectors and the institutions who wanted to help.”
9. The sovereignty should be granted immediately to the Iraqi people
The UN had stipulated that the international force mandate, authorized by the resolution shall be finished when the Iraqi people elect their government. This affirmation is not but a form of justifying and legalizing the occupying troops. But, the political situation in Iraq can be labeled as shaky and the solution is not an increase of the number of troops, use of force or making the neighbor countries, like Syria, responsible. The solution lies in the obligation of the UN to provide for a short deadline for the occupying troops withdrawal from Iraq and devolution of the sovereignty to the Iraqi people. Any other political arrangement seeks legalizing the military aggression and institutionalizing the occupation.
10. Right to resistance
While these conditions are not given, and while the occupying troops control a country on the basis of repression and phantom cabinets situated in the same facilities as the CIA, while the images that show massive arrests, people with their heads in bags and with their hands tied, while the reports of the independent organizations tell us of detentions without trial, without concrete accusations, without detention period, without trial guarantees, the Iraqi people have the right to resist the occupation using all means they can. The Iraqi resistance is not a case of fanaticism or madness, it is a direct consequence of the occupation.
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