The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Iraqi International Initiative

November 29, 2007

Today, I received an email asking me to endorse the Iraqi International Initiative for Refugees. Basically, the sponsors want to convince the UN to mandate that Iraqi oil revenues be shared with the 4.5 million refugees and displaced persons dispersed throughout the Middle East and the world. Many are living in poverty in neighboring states.

Here is their argument in a nutshell:

The international community, the occupation powers, and the government in Iraq are legally required to support and protect Iraqi refugees

Iraqi refugees are Iraqi citizens who have a full right to live in dignity, a right to benefit equally from national resources, and a right to return to their homes

The UN Security Council, as the highest body of the UN, has the power and legal duty to ensure that the needs of Iraqi refugees are met by passing a resolution to require that the Iraqi state allocate proportionate revenue to responsible agencies and hosting countries

The proposal is footnoted with references primarily to UN documents and NGO statements of various types.

These are their most important signatories to date:

Hans von Sponeck, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (1998-2000), Germany.
Denis Halliday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (1997-1998), Ireland.

I’m not sure those are sufficiently heavy hitters to garner the campaign the attention they seek.

Perhaps Charli has something to say about this transnational advocacy campaign? As this report by the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children makes clear, “In any refugee crisis,the vast majority of the displaced are women and children;they are also the most vulnerable.”

In any case, between 15 to 20% of the population is living abroad or displaced, so this would be a significant policy. As I’ve previously noted, distribution of oil revenues is one of the sticky points that precludes Iraqi political reconciliation.

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Rodger A. Payne is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville. He serves on the University’s Sustainability Council and was a co-founder of the Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice program. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and book chapters and coauthor, with Nayef Samhat, of Democratizing Global Politics: Discourse Norms, International Regimes, and Political Community (SUNY, 2004). He is currently working on two major projects, one exploring the role of narratives in international politics and the other examining the implications of America First foreign policy.