Friday, December 10, 2010

The National Council for Strategic Policies

The most recent draft of the legislation to govern the proposed National Council for Strategic Policies (NCSP) leaked to an Iraqi news website yesterday. This is the body which Ayad Allawi is supposed to chair under the deal between him, Barzani and Maliki. Allawi has set this as the condition for his bloc's participation in Maliki's government. The parliment is supposed to vote on this next week.

Here's my rather quick, not so fancy translation:

The National Council for Strategic Policies

The structure of the Council

A. The presidency of the council: Consists of the president of the council and the secretary general.

B. The members of the council: Include the president of the republic and his deputies, the presidency of the parliament, the presidency of the federation council, the PM, his deputies, the presidents of federal regions, and the president of the supreme judicial council.

C. Participants in the council meetings: concerned ministers, by invitation from the presidency of the council. Those ministers do not have the right to vote.

D. Advisors and experts.

E. Administrative staff.

F. Independent budget.

G. The council is part of the executive branch and its president has a rank equivalent to the Prime Minister.

H. The ministers are required to attend meetings concerning their specialties, without affecting their work at the council of ministers.

I. The Council has the right to appoint advisors in various fields of expertise as needed.

J. The Council is the place where the three branches of government work in cohesion in an integrated manner to build the state. The Council is not a replacement for either branch.

The functions of the council:

1. Domestic policies:

Achieving national reconciliation and supervising its implementation. Repatriation of refugees and internally displaced people, and compensating them in a manner commensurate with damages and suffering. Expediting the processing of detainees and the release of the innocent. Dealing with the decisions of the Justice and Accountability Committee within the judicial framework and recommending that the Parliament close this file. Building a common vision for constitutional amendments to overcome previous loopholes and improve the efficiency of the political system.

2. Foreign policy:

Preparing the prerequisites for:

a. regaining Iraq’s status within the Arab and Islamic community.

b. creating constructive relations with the regional and international surroundings.

c. removing Iraq from under Chapter VII of the UN charter.

3. Monetary and economic policy:

Planning national strategies for various economic activities to secure prosperity and decent living standards for the people. Adopting specific guidelines and standards for achieving sound economic growth and harmony between federal budget allocations and the priorities of the strategic goals and the investment and development plans and programs.

4. Security and military policies:

Planning the high strategic policies for Iraq’s internal and external security. To secure Iraq’s stability and the nation’s ability to deter and defend against any aggression. These policies include the following areas:

a. Defense policy

b. Armed forces buildup

c. Military doctrine

d. Procurement policy

e. Training doctrines

f. Military service policy

g. Unit deployment

h. Force employment

i. Internal security policy (nationwide)

j. Command structure, and defining powers and responsibilities (supreme commander, commander in chief, defense minister, interior minister, chairman of the join chiefs)

k. Intelligence strategy, and coordinating the functions of the different intelligence agencies

5. Oil, Gas and Electricity policy:

Establish a special commission, attached to the Council, to be comprised of experts, as well as the ministries of oil, electricity and water resources. The commission’s function is to review the principles and foundations of contracts and agreements, to make amendments to traties, and to expedite the drafting of the oil and gas law, and any other legislations, prior to sending them to the parliament.

6. Administrative policy:

Amending the CPA-issued Inspector General law. The Council also plays a role in planning and overseeing the execution of high policies for the preservation of national culture, heritage, and education.

7. Policies concerning the sovereignty and integrity of the judiciary:

Preparing a list of priorities to enact the necessary legislations, in coordination with the council of ministers. Evaluating the framework of active laws and legislations to identify and address weaknesses. Abolishing legislations, rules and regulations that were made by the former regime.

8. Constitutional amendments:

Building a common vision for constitutional amendments to overcome previous loopholes and improve the efficiency of the political system and support the nation’s stability (examples include the dispute over the definition of the “largest bloc”, fluid timetables for transfer of power, etc).

9. National priorities:

Since the Council deals with the highest policies of the nation, the matter requires adopting the following pattern:

1. Defining the concept of national reconciliation

2. Defining the objectives that must be met to achieve national reconciliation

3. Designing the grand strategy (the policies required to achieve the objectives), by defining the tasks, assigning duties, timeframes, alternatives, etc.

10. General considerations:

a. This Council does not act against the constitution

b. Technical meetings shall be held with concerned ministers and advisers.

c. The political meetings of the Council are convened by the presence of the members as explained above above.

d. The duties, specialties and decision-making mechanism are to be decided, and shall become part of the Council’s internal charter.

e. This Council is established by law for one electoral cycle, and may be extended for more than one cycle according to future agreements among the members of the council of representatives.

f. The decisions and recommendations of the Council are binding to all concerned entities.

g. The Council reserves the right to establish permanent or temporary commissions or workgroups to address specific issues.