Letter to Kofi Annan on Brahimi Mission
Office of the Secretary General
United Nations Headquarters
New York NY 10017
Thursday, May 20, 2004
“The notion of an honest puppet is a contradiction Washington has failed to resolve anywhere in the world since 1945” – Gabriel Kolko, Confronting the Third World, 1988
Dear Mr. Secretary General,
First of all, I want to commend you on the diplomatic skills and indeed great wisdom that you have shown during an extremely difficult time for the United Nations and the world. When my country invaded Iraq, failing to honor its commitments to peace and collective security under the U.N. Charter, we placed the United Nations and you personally in an extraordinary position, and the whole world owes you a debt of gratitude for preserving the integrity of the U.N. during this difficult period.
I have held onto the hope that my government would eventually realize its mistake and ask the United Nations to resolve this crisis, and that you would be able to help the people of Iraq at that point. I am not sure that we are there yet. I have been encouraged by some of what I have read of Mr. Brahimi’s mission, but I have been disturbed by other reports that my government still wishes to install a modified version of the “Iraqi Governing Council” as a transitional government. The Kurdish news agency al-Taakhi has reported that the three senior positions will go to three pro-American Iraqi exiles from the I.G.C., Ibrahim al-Ja’fari, Iyad Allawi and Adnan Pachachi.
The role of exile groups in Iraq during the occupation has been extremely controversial and divisive. They have little popular support and are seen as puppets, collaborators and profiteers by most Iraqis. Some of them have been linked to a string of political assassinations in Baghdad. Stephen Grey, a journalist from New Zealand, investigated the murder on January 19th of Professor Abdullatif Ali al-Mayah of Baghdad University, a prominent human rights activist who opposed the U.S. occupation (New Statesman, 3/15/04). A senior U.S.-trained police officer working on the case spoke to him on condition of anonymity, and told him, “Dr. Abdullatif was becoming more and more popular because he spoke for people in the street here. He made some politicians quite jealous. You can look no further than the governing council. There are political parties in this city who are systematically killing people. They are politicians that are backed by the Americans and who arrived in Iraq with a list of their enemies. I’ve seen these lists. They are killing people one by one”.
I hope that Mr. Brahimi is insisting on a transitional government comprised of people with popular support in Iraq, not of exiles. This is surely the only way to avoid a further escalation of this crisis. I know that he attended the Iraqi Council for Peace and Security, which brought together many Iraqi political groups, and that he has held meetings all over the country and must by now have a good idea who is who in Iraq. I would also hope that, behind closed doors, you and he would receive assurances from my government that it has relinquished its original goal of a neo-colonial Iraq, with a pro-American government, permanent U.S. military bases, and the sale of public assets to foreign investors, and will now allow the formation of a truly independent Iraqi government. Obviously this government must be allowed to hold free and fair elections in January and to define its own security requirements. Under such conditions, I am sure that the United Nations could play a valuable and constructive role.
Lastly, I must tell you that many Americans share my appreciation of your work and that my country is learning what Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt understood from the beginning, that the United Nations carries many of our hopes for the future of the world, for peace, justice and fairness, and for all the things we can do better together than on our own. I know this has been a difficult time for you. Thank you for carrying the cup that holds so many of our dreams without spilling a single drop.
Cc: Secretary of State Colin Powell
Congressman Kendrick Meek
Senator Bob Graham
Senator Bill Nelson