Iraqis Should Seek Creation of an International Tribunal

The Iraqi issue has been an international concern since the beginning of Iraq-Iran War in September 1980. When war came to Kuwait, internationalization was established in the form of a global military coalition led by Washington and U.N. Security Council resolutions that imposed an embargo on the Iraqi people. This is to say nothing of laws passed by the U.S. Congress such as the Iraq Liberation Act, which became law in the mid-1990s .

As a consequence, all matters pertaining to Iraq have become internationalized, from the chambers of the U.N. Security Council to the embassies of superpowers and in the corridors of international organizations. When the American war to occupy Iraq began, President Bush sought to mobilize international support for the purpose, although the war didn’t obtain legitimacy from the U.N. or from international law. But that isn’t the issue now.

Despite the conceit that the American victors exhibited in the first month or even first year of the war – and due to their attempt to declare internationalization at an end and to deal with Iraq unilaterally – the need for an international role in sorting out Iraq was quickly felt. International summits and donor conferences were held and international debt relief meetings were convened. Even Arab support should be construed as a way of internationalizing the Iraqi situation.

However, all of this has failed to resolve one of Iraq’s biggest crises, which is – for the most part – a result of the U.S. occupation. Domestic problems can now undermine any international effort aimed at restoring stability. This is because Iraq is a country and people hardly understood by a world utterly dependent on the most naive sort of tourist and intelligence information, gleaned from press pool reports and statements by the former regime’s opponents who in their thirst to gain power, didn’t give a fig about destroying the entire country.

Even assuming a great patriotic attempt to sort out the unparalleled crisis that Iraqis need to address, the emergence of sectarian, racial and communitarian factionalism will dramatically outweigh any tendencies toward national integration, and will badly handicap any future basis for such endeavors.

Since stable nations have recourse to the International Court of Justice to resolve conflicts amongst themselves, and since some of the problems of Iraq are international in nature, whether we like or not – such as the problem of Kirkuk and whether to create a federation – we should resort to such a court when it doesn’t appear that Iraqis are capable of reaching a final solution, where progress would result in a historic opportunity, and where the situation threatens to collapse due to the actions of outside parties and a lack of competent Iraqi parties.

A tribunal should be convened at the International Court of Justice in The Hague or at a similar court to look at the issue of the displacement and distribution of the population not only in Kirkuk, but in Baghdad itself, where nearly a million people migrated from the south during the reign of General Abdelkarim Qassim [toppled in 1963]. The issue of emigration and population redistribution effects everyone, and a solution will be in everyone’s interests.

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