Iraq as a US Trusteeship: UN Approval sought for seizure of the Oil Industry

An initial look at the Security Council resolution submitted by the US calling for an end of the sanctions against Iraq reveals that it is nothing less than a bold attempt to take over the UN sanction funds, to secure the blessing of the UN for all the actions of the occupying authorities and the granting of unlimited powers to a future US trusteeship. It should be rejected by the Security Council unless drastically amended.

And this is likely just step one. Step two will be the “reorganization” of the Iraqi oil industry under US direction during the trusteeship probably to include some “privatization” of at least part of the Iraqi oil industry. Iraqi oil technicians who run the industry will not be in a position to refuse orders of the new rulers although protests are even now being heard.

Three fundamental things should be kept in mind when viewing the US proposals. (1) Nobody really wants to continue the sanctions which have caused great harm to the ordinary people of Iraq notwithstanding Madeleine Albright’s claims that “it was worth it”, (2) that the Iraqi “interim authority” now being assembled by the occupying forces and which is given a seeming role in the new scheme will really be a puppet for the occupiers. It will not be able to operate as an independent representative of the Iraqi people. And (3) it is the power over the disposition of the revenues from Iraqi oil that counts.

The plan itself is simple. The UN will relinquish control over the present sanctions funds, now $3.2 billion and possible greater, and the control of the funds will be turned over to the occupying authorities to use essentially as they see fit – “for the benefit of the people of Iraq” as they determine it. This will include paying the bills of the “reconstruction and disarmament”, a vast cornucopia of gravy if there ever was one! The promised “significant UN part” in this turns out to be a vague “consultation” right and a promise that the new Assistance Fund into which the funds will flow (together with future oil export revenues) will be subject to audit. Since the occupation forces will have the power to decide on the appropriate disbursement of the funds one wonders what it is that the auditors will be left to consider. Perhaps pilferage from the petty cash box? This power over the disposition of the funds amounts to the seizure of the Iraqi oil industry. The nationality of who is pumping the oil is not significant.

Almost insultingly the UN is invited to pitch in to raise outside contributions to relieve the occupation from its responsibilities to care for the Iraqi population. To put it bluntly, the part of the international community in all this is sheer window dressing, designed by the same confidence men who gave us Secretary Powell’s failed show about weapons of mass destruction. It should be laughed off the stage. Unfortunately the world community shows signs of not wanting to pick another fight at the UN although doubts have been expressed about the lack of serious UN participation. So far the huge problem related to the control over oil revenues hasn’t seemed to have dawned on the critics.

The twelve months life for this arrangement is somewhat of a puzzle. The trusteeship will continue indefinitely unless terminated by the Security Council which of course increases the odds of continuance. It also makes one think that the US believes that it will have the UN Security Council well under control in a year.

An unnamed senior US administration official was quoted as saying that the proposal was designed to secure unanimous approval from the Security Council since he believed those members who “lost their way this spring” will now come around. This arrogant talk may yet be regretted if the Security Council members show any integrity.

Albert Doyle, a free-lance writer, is a retired Attorney with US Treasury Dept., and General Tax Attorney Texaco Inc. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Florida, USA.