They call it "conditional democracy" with a very small "d" :
(To be read while listening to the Platter's "The Great Pretender")
IRAQ: WASHINGTON STILL MUCH IN CONTROL
MILAN RAI, ELECTRONIC IRAQ - A prominent Iraqi politician in the Shia
coalition told the New Yorker in January that the US had quietly told
the parties before the election that there were three conditions for
the new government: it should not be under the influence of Iran; it should
not ask for the withdrawal of US troops; and it should not install an
Islamic state. . .
What has been off the agenda, due to a colossal act of media
self-censorship, is the division of power between the elected Iraqi
National Assembly and the unelected US-led occupation. There are
several levers of power that the US has created to retain control.
One US device is the Transitional Administrative Law, an interim
constitution written in Washington and imposed on Iraq in March 2004.
Jawad al-Maliki, member of Daawa, one of the two main Shia parties, has
pointed out correctly that 'the body which we have elected has more
legitimacy than this document.' Unfortunately, the TAL is self-defined
as the default constitution of Iraq until a permanent constitution has
been adopted in a referendum.
In a clause bitterly rejected by the Shia majority parties, the TAL
states that the permanent constitution must obtain the approval of at
least one-third of the voters in sixteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces.
This was put in to give Kurdish provinces a veto over the final text. .
. If this veto is used by the Kurds, the TAL continues to be the
constitution. (And, according to Article 59 of the TAL, the Iraqi
military will continue to function under US command.)
The effect of these provisions of the Transitional Administrative Law
is to give Washington's most loyal clients in Iraq - the Kurds - a
powerful veto over political progress.
Another device for US control is the debt relief plan put together in
November 2004, under which some of Iraq's creditor nations will forgive
some of Iraq's debt (in stages), conditional upon the Iraqi government
following an IMF 'liberalization' program. This program will prioritize
foreign investors, privatization, and 'tax reform', but not
unemployment or poverty in Iraq. . .
The main tool of US control is, of course, military. As the FT pointed
out recently, 'US leverage rests upon awareness among the Shia that
their government is unlikely to survive a civil war without continued
US support'. The Shia coalition that won the greatest number of votes in
the election had to announce its list of candidates in the Convention
Centre in the US-controlled 'Green Zone' in Baghdad, 'protected by US
soldiers'. . .
Another device for maintaining control was Paul Bremer's appointment of
key officials for five year terms just before leaving office. In June
2004, the US governor ordered that the national security adviser and
the national intelligence chief chosen by the US-imposed interim prime
minister, Iyad Allawi, be given five-year terms, imposing Allawi's
choices on the elected government. Bremer also installed
inspectors-general for five-year terms in every ministry, and formed
and filled commissions to regulate communications, public broadcasting and securities markets.