The era of the American civil administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, which lasted more than a year, witnessed a series of fateful transformations that left their clear effects on the country’s present and future.
Since he was appointed by the US administration on May 6, 2003, Bremer has issued dozens of controversial decisions and laws, some of which are still in effect today. Read also He made disastrous and dubious decisions … on the day Bremer became the ruler of IraqLe Monde presents the documentary “Iraq, the Destruction of a Nation” … a tragedy in 4 stations Corruption of politicians in front of Bremer … an Iraqi protester criticized from satire to sniper bullets and bombs Paul Bremer … an American who ruled Iraq
Most of Bremer’s information about Iraq was translated information and similar to tourism information, as he obtained it from American sources and some non-neutral Iraqi sources, so he had an incomplete picture of the country that was entrusted with the task of governing him, according to political analyst Jabbar Al-Mashhadani.
Al-Mashhadani explains to Al-Jazeera Net that this made Bremer’s policies in Iraq deficient and contain a kind of clear hostility, although many believe that his decisive decisions were taken under pressure from Iraqi forces, and among those decisions was the dissolution of the army, de-Baathification, and others.
It is likely that one of the reasons for the imbalance of Bremer’s policy in Iraq is his lack of accurate knowledge of the situation in the country, estimating that 80% of Bremer’s decisions were improvised, and most of them were reactions to what is happening, which is what Bremer mentions in his book (A year I spent in Iraq).
The political analyst expresses his belief that Bremer’s policies changed over time according to what was happening in Iraq, and the Iraqi parties opposed to the former regime that came with the invasion tried to influence Bremer’s decisions and used all methods, including soft power through banquets, gifts, etc., and this applies. On their dealings with international organizations.
Although Bremer endorsed the sectarian quota system through the Governing Council and others, he did not establish that system – as al-Mashhadani says – stressing that the Iraqi opposition conferences before the invasion of Iraq were the ones that enshrined quotas through committees, assigning tasks and even sitting on the podium and political agreements concluded on power sharing.
He believes that “the quotas was not an emergency option, but rather a deliberate policy, as Iran, which embraced the Iraqi opposition, was planning from the beginning for sectarian domination of Iraq.”
He points out that the repercussions of the quota system have made Iraq ahead of the countries of corruption in the world, with its backwardness in all economic, security, military and social fields, as this system excluded many competencies that do not meet sectarian specifications, and the state turned into rival cantons.
For his part, the Kurdish writer and political researcher, Kifah Mahmoud, says that Bremer was not qualified in terms of studying the reality of Iraqi society and its history, so he collided with many walls and was unable to overcome them, so he made decisions that had serious repercussions, such as dissolving the army and dissolving the ministries of culture, interior and endowments.
Mahmoud added to Al-Jazeera Net, we did not see successes during Bremer’s administration of Iraq, and the evidence for this is that after his administration, the decline of the State of Iraq began, indicating that “we are still suffering from 2005 until today, from the measures that Bremer took.”
He does not believe that all Iraqi parties consider that Bremer’s term was bad, stressing that there are many parties who have benefited from Bremer and view his term in a positive light.
Mahmoud adds that Bremer had a negative perception about the Kurdistan region of Iraq, pointing out that he wanted to abolish the military and security establishment in the region, and interfered in other affairs of the region.
Disbanding the army
Regarding the circumstances that prompted Bremer to dissolve the former Iraqi army, researcher and security expert Muayyad Salem Al-Juhaishi says that the decision to dissolve the army came with the agreement of all the personalities of the political process on the basis of which the Governing Council was formed at that time, and in agreement with the Americans and the British.
In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Juhaishi attributes the reason for the dissolution of the army to the Iraqi opposition that met in London and sent a message that the former Iraqi army is the Baath army, and they accused all of its members of criminality, and the dissolution of the Iraqi army was part of the process of overthrowing the former regime.
He believes that the best solution was to take the measures in force in all countries, represented in the formation of a transitional government that only investigates those who committed crimes and those with high ranks in the party, and the appointment of other officers from within the army who have no suspicions, and this procedure keeps three-quarters of the Iraqi army in its work instead. From disbanding an entire army, bringing in new elements, and asking countries to train them.
Al-Juhaishi points out that the decision to dissolve the army was counter-productive, as it pushed officers and elements of the dissolved army, including intelligence services, special forces and others, to form the nucleus of armed resistance.
He adds that the solution of Military Intelligence, Public Security and Intelligence allowed external parties to intervene in Iraq, and led to the strengthening of terrorism that attracted some former intelligence officers and their intelligence became stronger than government intelligence, according to Al-Juhaishi.
The Bremer administration issued laws for de-Baathification and dissolution of institutions with the aim of liquidating the political and social atmosphere of the rise of political parties and movements that came with the entry of US forces into Iraq, according to professor of political science, Dr. Asaad Kazem Shabib.
He added to Al-Jazeera Net that after the de-Baathification law was passed, political parties and paramilitary organizations began to liquidate their opponents in various ways, including assassinations, arrests, or dismissal from jobs, and these issues were supposed to be decided by the judiciary alone.
Shabib explains that these liquidations have caused the emigration of many Iraqis to other countries, and this included various segments, including pilots, doctors, engineers and those with rare specialties.
He stressed that the cases of loyalty to the previous political system were a policy that many Iraqis were obliged to submit to, so political forces and all governments from the Bremer era to the present day were supposed not to deal selectively in issuing such laws.
Shabib confirms that Bremer’s decisions – including the de-Baathification law – established a state for political and social components, and there has been a clear separation in all provinces on a sectarian or national basis, as it created a great and dangerous social rift.
The majority of Bremer’s decisions are still in effect, and despite the amendment of some laws, the largest part has not been approached, especially with regard to economic aspects, according to the economist and academic Dr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Mashhadani.
He adds to Al-Jazeera Net that one of the things that Bremer was working on was spreading a culture of corruption. When he demolished and rebuilt civil institutions, he handed them over to people with many indicators, and that is why corruption is so rampant.
He shows that despite the formation of anti-corruption bodies such as the Inspector General and the Integrity Commission, they did not have an effective role in curbing the corruption that was established in most of the joints of the Iraqi state, and this did not come out of a vacuum, but rather is part of the policy of destroying Iraq and the region, he said.
On the manifestations of rampant corruption, Al-Mashhadani mentions the law to abolish customs tariffs and abolish foreign transfer restrictions, which allowed the transfer of Iraqi funds abroad without accountability, through the currency auction that led to the smuggling of billions of dollars from Iraq in an official manner.
He continues by saying that the agricultural sector before the invasion contributed to the GDP by about 16%, and today it has decreased to less than 4.5%, as well as the industry’s contribution decreased from 22% to 1.5%, only because it does not have the ability to compete with imported goods from abroad and the policy of dumping the market. Iraq, and thus agriculture and industry were destroyed under Bremer’s gaze.
In his speech, Al-Mashhadani considered (Resolution 81) one of the reasons for the destruction of agriculture when Bremer dismantled the Ibaa center, which had housed the Iraqi store of seeds he had owned since the days of the Babylonians, and Iraq became subject to the conditions of international organizations that supply him with seeds.
Laws in force
The period of power of the civil ruler and the military authority that preceded it legalized many laws that are still in effect to this day, according to Hussein al-Uqabi, a member of the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
He explains to Al-Jazeera Net that Bremer’s authority, which extended until June 2004, was an actual authority in accordance with international law and its decisions had some legitimacy, even if it was an occupying power.
The member of the Legal Committee reveals the existence of multiple contradictory legislations, and the first of these legislation is the legislation of the occupying power, which must be amended according to the constitutional contexts in force, as well as the legislation of the previous regime, because most of them are inconsistent with the current constitution.
Al-Puni talks about amending many legislations, including the Bremer Financial Management Act, which was canceled, and the enactment of a new law, as well as laws that regulate the telecommunications sector and other laws on the agenda.
The reason for the delay in issuing alternative legislation is the political and parliamentary problems that plague the country and hinder the legislative process in general, and the legislation of the occupying power in particular.