So is Iraq a sovereign country?

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

We all remember the fanfare of the Bush administration declaring Iraq a sovereign country. Our war criminal king George stuck his thumbs into his arm pits and crowed.

“After decades of brutal rule by a terror regime, the Iraqi people have their country back,” Mr. Bush said in Istanbul at a gathering of NATO leaders, who agreed Monday to help rebuild Iraq’s security forces.


And who can forget the touching love note from Condi to Bush announcing that L. Paul Bremer had finished rewriting Iraqi laws and handed over the keys to Saddam’s palaces to the interim Iraqi government.


My question is what does Iraqi sovereignty mean? I have to ask because Iraqi airspace and territory have been repeatedly violated by Turkey, with the United States supplying the Turkish military with intelligence to conduct “incursions” into Iraq.  

The basic foundation of international law with respect to sovereignty is often traced back to the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. The principle is that the sovereign ruler has absolute authority within the borders of the country.

Here are some key points made by Kal Raustiala, professor of international law at UCLA Law School, about the meaning of sovereignty.

Sovereignty is conventionally defined as supreme political and legal authority within a given territory.

Formally, sovereignty is absolute and total. As a legal matter, sovereign states are equal to one another–regardless of their size or military power–and their territorial integrity and political independence are protected by international law. The principle of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state was expressly written into the U.N. Charter in 1945, and remains there.

And over the centuries since Westphalia, powerful states have paid lip service to the principle of sovereignty, even as they intervened in the domestic affairs of their weaker brethren.


Even with lip service often given to sovereignty, Raustiala highlights several indisputable principles of sovereignty. Namely, a “sovereign” country has the right to control foreign troops within its borders, including ejecting them on demand.

The United Nations also highlighted Iraq’s newfound territorial integrity in 2004.

The members of the Security Council welcome the handover of full responsibility and authority for governing Iraq to the fully sovereign and independent Interim Government of Iraq, thus ending the occupation of the country.  The members of the Council reaffirm the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Iraq.


The latest instability in the region exposes Iraq’s sovereignty as a complete sham.  Did Turkey approach the United Nations or NATO about the supposed attacks on its territory originating from Iraq?  No. Did Turkey pursue diplomatic resolutions to its grievances before taking military action?  No. It merely appealed to the country supposedly protecting the territorial integrity of Iraq and asked permission to attack. Bush gave them the green light, intelligence to plan the attack, and polite requests to keep the incursions relatively brief.  It sure looks like the United States rather than Iraq has control over the territorial integrity of Iraq.  

The Iraqi Parliament, that freely elected, democratic body of the people promoted as the sovereign authority in Iraq by the Bush administration, rejected the Turkish incursions and told the Turks to leave.

“The council expresses its rejection and condemnation to the Turkish military incursion which is considered a violation to the Iraqi sovereignty,” the Iraqi cabinet said in a statement. “The cabinet stresses that unilateral military action is not acceptable and threatens good relations between the two neighbors.”


“The Turkish incursion into Iraqi Kurdistan is a violation of Iraqi sovereignty,” Falah Mustafa Bakir, head of the Department of Foreign Relations of the Kurdistan Regional Government, said in an interview on Tuesday.


The national and regional representatives of the Iraqi government do not want Turkish troops in Iraq and Turkish jets bombing Iraq.

The Turks response?

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Turkey declined to give Iraq a timetable for withdrawal of troops fighting Kurdish guerrillas on Wednesday, resisting pressure from the United States and other allies for a quick resolution.


“Our objective is clear, our mission is clear and there is no timetable until…those terrorist bases are eliminated,” Turkish envoy Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference after talks in Baghdad with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari.


It looks like Iraqi sovereignty means nothing since they have no control over foreign troops within their borders. Iraqi sovereignty is just another neocriminal myth, along with Saddam’s nuclear program, Iraq as a threat to the United States, and this war not being about oil.

We found excuses to violate the sovereignty of Iraq in deposing Saddam Hussein. We still find excuses to violate the sovereignty we supposedly restored to Iraq in 2004. Think about this. Instead of letting Turkey invade and bomb Iraq to get at an organization we call terrorists, why didn’t we mount an operation in Northern Iraq with the Iraqi Security Forces?  Why didn’t we work together with the Kurdish Pershmerga to secure the border area in question? Iraq is a sovereign state and we are still the sovereign.


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    • DWG on February 27, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Rep Lynn Woolsey has sponsored a bill to restore Iraqi sovereignty, including prohibiting the building of permanent bases on Iraqi soil.

    • brobin on February 27, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    breaths of fresh air in Congress and I’m so looking forward to more like her being elected this November.  

    Lets help Lynn help us any way we can.  Please call and/or write your Congressional Representative and ask them to support HR508.

    • Edger on February 27, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Sure it’s sovereign. Poland was sovereign under the Soviet boot too, wasn’t it?

    Of course Iraq is sovereign. What’s left of it…

    It’s just been “reordered” a little bit, but Iraqis will be throwing flowers any day day. Just you watch.

    They’re already pushing up daisies, for chrissakes. What more could you ask for?

    The massive use of depleted uranium in American munitions has made this reordering invisible, microscopic and eternal. It will forever be re-constructing the very architecture of human beings and their environments, both in the Middle East and around the world:

    “Most American weapons (missiles, smart bombs, dumb bombs, bullets, tank shells, cruise missiles, etc.) contain high amounts of radioactive uranium. Depleted or non-depleted, these types of weapons, on detonation, release a radioactive dust which, when inhaled, goes into the body and stays there. It has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. Basically, it’s a permanently available contaminant, distributed in the environment, where dust storms or any water nearby can disperse it. Once ingested, it releases subatomic particles that slice through DNA.

    At the Uranium Weapons Conference held October 2003 in Hamburg, Germany, independent scientists from around the world testified to a huge increase in birth deformities and cancers wherever NDU and DU had been used. Professor Katsuma Yagasaki, a scientist at the Ryukyus University, Okinawa calculated that the 800 tons of DU used in Afghanistan is the radioactive equivalent of 83,000 Nagasaki bombs. The amount of DU used in Iraq is equivalent to 250,000 Nagasaki bombs.

    The results have been devastating and heartbreaking. As Dr. Jawal Al-Ali revealed in his presentation to the 2003 World Uranium Weapons Conference, Iraqis have been suffering from massive tumours and lesions, but also giving birth to horrifically malformed babies — babies born without heads, or deformed to such an extent that they bear little resemblance to human beings.

    The U.S. and Canadian mass media have been reluctant to address this issue, but it is a story that will literally never go away: with a half-life of 4.5 billion years — much longer than life has lived on planet Earth — DU will continue to swirl through the atmosphere and destroy the DNA of every living thing it touches, for as long as there is a planet Earth.

    Clearly, this is an environmental catastrophe of the first order: there is nothing else save an actual nuclear war that can compare to it.

    — Depleted Uranium and the “Unbuilding” of Iraq

    Iraq is the Cradle of Civilization. The Garden of Eden.

  1. of acting in their own best interest….it’s sooooo frustrating…

    • documel on February 27, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    When colonialism created artificial borders, it made a mockery of the term sovereignty.  A nation is made up of similar people with similar histories and language.  Iran never was a sovereign entity–it always was the ruler and the ruled.  Turkey is both victim and villain in this–attacked and attacking.

    The US had little to do with the mapmaking in this area, and has no legitimate reason to be part of the equation.  This part of the world will see more than 100 years of war, America should not pay any price for Britain’s slice and dice of peoples.

    Crusaders will never help out here–can and have made everything worse.

    • documel on February 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    The US screwed around with governments and people–Britain deliberatly drew up maps to forment civil unrest–with Brits performing “White Man’s Burden.”  I believe Iraq’s borders are of English design.

  2. I would say that Iraq is a sovereign country whenever America says it is 😉  Best diary inviting each of us to enjoy our own sovereign gray noodle matter that I’ve read all day.  Occupation: Dreamland trailer link from Guerilla News Network uses Quicktime on my puter, just click play if you get it up.

    GNN Occupation: Dreamland

    • OPOL on February 28, 2008 at 12:43 am

    now it’s occupied territory (illegally occupied territory).

    • Turkana on February 28, 2008 at 1:35 am

    is that gates says they hope turkey can wrap this up quickly- no more than a week or two…

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