June 25, 2004

Iraqi 'sovereignty': The continuing story.

Now that the US has failed to get the UN to make US soldiers immune from prosecution by the International Criminal Court, guess what? The US-led occupation government has extebded an order making occupations troops and other occuaption personnel immune from prosecution by the Iraqi government.

This is an even more cynical move than it appears, since one of the main reasons for extending the order is to make it unnecessary for the 'sovereign' Iraqi government to have to make one of its first acts a grant of blanket immunity to US forces. Even Dubya's administration has figured out that such an act by the new government will make the limitations on its sovereignty quite obvious to Iraqis and to the international community.

As the Washington Post points out, this is not the first time the US has sought and obtained immunity for its troops stationed in the Mideast:

The issue of immunity for U.S. troops is among the most contentious in the Islamic world, where it has galvanized public opinion against the United States in the past. A similar grant of immunity to U.S. troops in Iran during the Johnson administration in the 1960s led to the rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who used the issue to charge that the shah had sold out the Iranian people.

"Our honor has been trampled underfoot; the dignity of Iran has been destroyed," Khomeini said in a famous 1964 speech that led to his detention and then expulsion from Iran. The measure "reduced the Iranian people to a level lower than that of an American dog."

Ironically, Khomeini went into exile in Iraq, where he spent 12 years in Najaf -- the Shiite holy city that is now home to Sistani and his followers and where Iraqis still remember the flap that led the shah to deport a cleric who later led Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

Posted by Magpie at June 25, 2004 06:22 AM | Iraq | Technorati links |