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Old 05-12-2003, 05:28 AM   #1
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Breaking news: Short resigns.

Clare Short has finally resigned. After claiming she'd resign if the UK went to war with Iraq but then staying in the cabinet on the grounds of "helping with Iraq's reconstruction" she's now finally resigned. There's lots of speculation that she's resigned now because she's disappointed at what's happened in Iraq since the war, notably the lack of UN involvement. Plus she probably didn't expect to be in the cabinet after Blair's next reshuffle anyway.

She's not even going to be any kind of influence from the backbenches now, at least if she'd resigned when the war started like Cook did then she'd have kept the support of more anti-war politicians, rather than making everyone think she was completely unprincipled for threatening to resign and then failing to do so.
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Old 05-12-2003, 05:29 AM   #2
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P.S - apologies to anyone who's not interested in UK politics and therefore doesn't have a clue what I'm talking about.
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Old 05-13-2003, 03:24 PM   #3
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So, did she resign because she didn't like the U.S. led reconstruction effort in Iraq? It's pretty damn shakey, according to some pretty reliable sources. A whole slew of articles is posted on an Iraqi site about this. By the same token, "Shame on you, U.N." is on another Iraqi site.
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Old 05-13-2003, 03:48 PM   #4
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Clare Short resigned primarily because Tony Blair lied to her about the role of the United Nations in post-war Iraq. She was considering resigning before the war but was persuaded to stay because as Secretary of State for Internationa Development, she would have a crucial role in rebuilding Iraq.

Here's part of the speech she made to the House of Commons yesterday:

Quote:
However, the problem now is that that the mistakes that were made in the period leading up to the conflict are being repeated in the post-conflict situation.

In particular, the UN mandate necessary to bring into being a legitimate Iraqi Government is not being supported by the UK Government.

This, I believe, is damaging to Iraq's prospects, will continue to undermine the authority of the UN and directly affects my work and responsibilities."

The situation in Iraq under international law is that the coalition are occupying powers in occupied territory.

Under the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague regulations of 1907 the coalition has clear responsibilities and clear limits to its authority.

It is obliged to attend to the humanitarian needs of the population, to keep order and keep civil administration operating.

The coalition is legally entitled to modify the operation of the administration as much as is necessary to fulfil these obligations but is not entitled to make major political, economic and constitutional changes.

The coalition does not have sovereign authority and has no authority to bring into being an interim Iraqi Government with such authority, or to create a constitutional process leading to the election of a sovereign government.

The only body that has the legal authority to do this is the UN Security Council.

I believe it is duty of all responsible political leaders right across the world, whatever view they took on the launch of the war, to focus on reuniting the international community in order to support the people of Iraq in rebuilding their country, to re-establish the authority of the UN and to heal the bitter divisions that preceded the war.

I am sorry to say that the UK Government is not doing this.

It is supporting the US in trying to bully the security council into a resolution that gives the coalition the power to establish an Iraqi Government and control the use of oil for reconstruction with only a minor role for the UN.

This resolution is unlikely to pass but if it does it will not create the best arrangements for the reconstruction of Iraq.

The draft resolution risks continuing international divisions, Iraqi resentment against the occupying powers and the possibility that the coalition will get bogged down in Iraq.

I believe the UK could and should have respected the attorney general's advice, told the US this was a red line for us and worked for international agreement to a proper UN-led process to establish an interim Iraqi Government, just as was done in Afghanistan.

This would have been an honourable and wise role for the UK and the international community would have united around this position.

It's also in the best interests of the US.

In both the run up to the war and now, I think the UK is making grave errors in providing cover for the US mistakes, rather than helping an old friend, which is understandably hurt and angry about the events of September 11, to honour international law and the authority of the UN.

American power alone cannot make America safe. Of course we must all unite to dismantle the terrorist networks and, through the UN, the world is doing this.

But undermining international law and the authority of the UN creates the risk of instability, bitterness and growing terrorism that will threaten the future for all of us.

I am ashamed that the UK Government has agreed the resolution tabled in New York and shocked by the secrecy and lack of consultation with departments with direct responsibility for the issues referred to in the resolution.

I'm afraid this resolution undermines all the commitments I have made in the House and elsewhere about how the reconstruction of Iraq will be organised.

Clearly this makes my position impossible and I have no alternative than to resign from the government.
You can read her whole resignation speech here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3022139.stm
She makes some excellent points about post-war Iraq, as well as about the Prime Minister and the Labour Party.

I think it's really unfortunate that she's been put in this position as she has been doing amazing work at DfID for the last six years, and it's sad to see the Cabinet becoming progressively more likely to simply rubber-stamp Blair's misguided decisions.
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Old 05-13-2003, 06:53 PM   #5
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They need a U.N. mandate for a post-war Iraqi government. The U.S. can't unilaterally clean up that mess. This is the reason the Iraqis can complain about an occupation in the first place. Ooh, not good. This doesn't make me feel safer.
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