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Can the UN Stabilize Iraq? Or can the US?
Publication date: 2004-05-20

Some people hope that the US predicament in Iraq can be helped by involving the UN.

But can the UN stabilize Iraq?

To answer that question we need to understand why the US cannot stabilize Iraq without the UN, and what could the UN provide that the US cannot provide itself.

Is it lack of material resources?

The US has more material resources than the UN.

Is it lack of military might?

The US has more military might than the UN.

Is it lack of legitimacy?

But would the involvement of the UN in Iraq legitimize the American presence there?

The true legitimacy does not lie in the names, labels, uniforms, or even "official capacity" of the parties. It lies in the actions of the parties and their motives for these actions.

Thus, the actions of a policeman in uniform braking into a shop, shooting dead the shopkeeper, raping his daughter and helping himself to the cash in the till would be just as illegitimate as the same actions performed by an ordinary criminal. Nor would these actions of the policeman be legitimate, if he tried to justify them by saying that the shopkeeper was a crook who used to overcharge his customers, so he had to "remove" him.

On the other hand, if an ordinary person would have overpowered that "rogue" policeman and handed him over to the police, he would have been acting legitimately, even though he was not wearing a police uniform, and was not acting in any "official capacity".

The only valid reasons for a war are: (1) self-defence, (2) enforcement of law and order.

The US have failed to establish a valid case for either self-defence or for enforcement of law and order. This is why the US war against Iraq has no legitimacy.

Had the UN attacked a country without a valid reason, such act would have been just as illegitimate as the American war against Iraq, or a rape by a policeman in uniform.

Having attacked Iraq without a valid reason, the US have bestowed upon any Iraqis the right of self-defence against an unjustified attack. This exercise by Iraqis of their right to self-defence found its expression in the present resistance to the American occupation.

Subsequent attempts by the US to suppress the resistance have resulted in further violence by the Americans against Iraqis, such as arrests, torture, killings and destruction of property. Which in its turn generates still more violence by the Iraqis against the Americans.

And it is this situation that some hope to remedy by the involvement of the UN.

But, if the UN were an effective means of supranational government, then it would have prevented the American war against Iraq in the first place.

Failure by the UN to prevent the US war against Iraq, as well as its failure to prevent the lawlessness of the so-called "Middle East Conflict" are clear proofs that the UN is not an effective instrument of global government.

If the UN were an effective means of global government, it would have ruled the world by applying supranational laws, based on the principles of justice, rather then letting the world be ruled by nationalist politics of nation states which happen to have greater military power.

And as the UN is not an effective instrument of global government, then its involvement in Iraq will not help the US to stabilize the situation in Iraq, and the US will have to deal with this problem on its own.

So, how could the US stabilize the situation in Iraq without the UN?

It has to begin with legitimizing its presence there.

How can the US legitimize its presence in Iraq, now that it had occupied Iraq without a valid reason?

Having committed illegitimate acts of invasion and occupation, the US cannot claim the right of self-defence. It is the Iraqis who have been invaded and occupied that have the right to defend themselves against the foreign invaders and occupiers, who in this case are the US.

The US can, however, legitimize its presence by assuming on itself the task of enforcement of supranational law and order.

The reason that they can do so, is precisely, because neither the UN, nor any other entity existing today can perform that task. And in a situation of anarchy, and this is the present state of the global law and order, anybody who can successfully perform the task of law enforcement will acquire legitimacy.

The key point in this case is that whoever takes upon himself the task of law enforcement must act with totally objectivity and impartiality. Because it is this objectivity and impartially that is the source of legitimacy of a law enforcer. A person (or a nation) who takes upon himself the task of law enforcement but fails to act objectively and impartially, will be seen as an unjust tyrant and will have no legitimacy. And those who will see themselves as victims of such tyrant will resist that tyrant and this will lead to violence and instability.

So what steps must the US take to legitimize their presence in Iraq?

They must openly acknowledge all the crimes that they have committed against people and property under the slogan of "War on Terror" in Iraq, Afghanistan, and everywhere else in the world.

They must acknowledge that any form of politics is abuse of government powers, condemn politics in any form and proclaim that they will abandon all politics and become honest and competent administrators rather than incompetent and dishonest politicians that they have been up to now.

They must proclaim that from now on they will limit their activities in Iraq and everywhere else in the world to protection of person and property and that they will value life, freedom and property of each and every Iraqi, Afghani, Palestinian, Chechen, or anybody else greater than they value their own life, freedom and property.

They must release all prisoners of the War on Terror and compensate them for all the mistreatment and humiliations caused to them by the Americans or those acting on their behalf.

They must compensate all Iraqis and any other victims of the War on Terror for any damage to person or property caused by the War on Terror warriors.

They should not seek to influence whatever government emerges in Iraq or anywhere else in the world, except as required by enforcement of supranational law and order, that is, protection of person and property.

If they succeed becoming such honest and competent impartial global administrators, then they will have greater legitimacy and respect than the UN ever had. If they fail, they will be hated and despised not only in Iraq, but all over the world, and no UN resolutions or involvement will change that.


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