by  Anton Keller, Secretary, Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers, 1211 Geneva 2
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Geneva, 13 October 2002  -  If smart economic sanctions would have been really smart and would have properly reflected the true ownership of Iraq’s oil, they might have worked a long time ago. It‘s not too late for giving Caesar what belongs to Caesar, i.e. honor the "internationally guaranteed" oil property rights( of the Arab, Assyrian, Kurdish and Turkoman families, tribes and communities, thus avoiding the potentially messy last-resort option of using military forces in Iraq for "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic."  Conceivably, also on the upcoming election days, American voters might thus be able to express their relief and gratitude for an imaginative, courageous and successful - and congressionally supported (.../HELMS.htm) - White House leadership on pressing Middle Eastern issues. To that effect, the following elements are submitted for consideration as a basis for a corresponding plan of action:

1.    As specified in an internal UN memo of April 1992 (.../UN92.htm),

"The attached League of Nations documents reflect Turkey's concerted efforts to obtain international recognition for its legal claims to the Mosul Vilayet, northern (Kurdish) Iraq, which the League of Nations Council conditionally attached to Iraq in 1926. The principal document in the annexed collection is Iraq's Declaration of 30 May 1932 [.../a3a.htm].  ... The 1932 Declaration appears to have fixed the limits of Iraqi sovereignty in that the detailed minority rights thus prescribed take precedence over subsequent Iraq "laws, regulations or official actions" (art.1) and are even "placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations." (art.10)  Moreover, "all rights of whatever nature acquired before the termination of the mandatory regime by individuals, associations or juridical persons shall be respected." (art.14).  In 1945, Iraq joined the United Nations while it was still a member of the League of Nations, i.e., without altering the "obligations of international concern" (art.10) which Iraq incurred as a condition of its independence. The articles mentioned above, some of which have a direct bearing on the question of oil ownership, could not have been unilaterally abrogated by Iraq and consequently, remain fully in force."  Indeed, according to a 1950 Advisory Opinion on an analoguous case, the International Court of Justice found: "These obligations represent the very essence of the sacred trust of civilization. Their raison d'être and original object remain. Since their fulfilment did not depend on the existence of the League of Nations, they could not be brought to an end merely because this supervisory organ [i.e. the Council of the League of Nations] ceased to exist. Nor could the right of the population to have the Territory administered in accordance with these rules depend thereon." ( I.C.J. Reports 1950, p 133)
2.    The UN Secretary General, in his 1951 study on the subject (E/CN.4/367/Add.1), drew attention to these "considerations which may also be relevant to the question of the continuing validity of the obligations arising under minorities undertakings."  Recognition and enforcement of Iraq's thus still valid minority protection and property servitudes (.../a3a.htm#367/Add.1) by the US government in particular would immediately deprive the Iraqi leadership of much of its current power basis, including its control over most oil-for-food funds (now placed in escrow accounts in a New York bank).  And it would close out any attractive prospect for its future both individually and jointly.  On this background, negotiations might quickly succeed over a timely and properly communicated offer to Saddam Hussein, his family and his key associates to set up, e.g., the internationally recognized oil-bearing Principality or Sheikdom of Tikrit on the Euphrates river in return for his prompt and orderly abdiction of power for the rest of Iraq.

3.     Like other patchworks, Iraq risks to remain a festering wound of the Ottoman Empire break-up, unless a more imaginative approach to current and future political, cultural and religious questions is provided for.  Revisiting the Lausanne Treaty of 24 July 1923 (.../Lausanne.htm) and drawing inspiration from its history, promises and failures, might thus be mutually agreeable and helpful.  As a point of departure, corresponding academic and other review meetings (.../1923.htm ¦ .../invitation.htm | .../workshop.doc) may be called by interested parties in order to examine related questions. As proposed in UN document E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48 (.../a3b.htm#1994/NGO/48), existing or yet-to-be created UN institutions, like its Trusteeship Council, and Security Council mandates for all or different parts of Iraq (.../opinion.htm), might indeed serve as practical vehicles to address pressing issues on the road to long-term regional stability and security, economic well-being and dignity for the residents of all constituant parts of that part of the Middle East.  Eventually, this may involve not only a ground-breaking US leadership role but an active participation of some European countries, incl. Turkey (.../workshop.doc | .../rebirth.htm).  It may provide for a challenging interim solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, inspired by the first Babylonian exile (.../mvciht | .../homeland.htm | .../gridlock.htm).  And it may wind up in an adapted remolding of some ancient empires (.../a1.htm) which, initially, might take the form of a United Kingdom of Jordan and Iraq.