09 March 2010

Comments on David Aaronovitch commentary: "Iraq has moved forward. It’s time we did too"

David Aaronovitch's latest propaganda piece: "Iraq has moved forward. It’s time we did too" includes the subtitle: "Seven years on, these elections are a miracle. But the anti-war brigade is too blinded by prejudice to see it"

Here are a few comments:

No amount of waffle about 'miracles' or accusations of anti-war prejudice can hide the illegality of everything that happened and everything happening in Iraq today.

The 'conservation principle' intrinsic to the law of belligerent occupation rules out fundamental change in political, economic, legal, and social structure by occupying powers, yet that is exactly what the US 'pro-consul' did immediately after the invasion, with the connivance of local traitors in the mould of Pétain.

The relevant international law of jus post bellum is the law of belligerent occupation and is codified in two key treaties: the 1907 Hague Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, and in the Additional Protocols I and II of 1977.3 These treaties enshrine what is known as the Conservation Principle by prohibiting major changes in the legal, political, economic, or social institutions of the occupied territory. The concepts of belligerent occupation and the conservation principle delimit the authority of the occupier administering a territory he controls by virtue of the purely factual nature of his power — which was assumed to be temporary and provisional. Indeed, “the foundation” of the “entire law of occupation . . . is the principle of inalienability of sovereignty through the actual or threatened use of force.” This is what the conservationist principle “conserves,” as it were, and what differentiates de facto occupation from actual annexation and/or complete and permanent control by outside powers (subjection).

There is absolutely no doubt that the US was in breach of this principle, and that everything that is a result of that breach is neither legal nor legitimate.

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