Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Mr.Joseph Ghougassian, a former ambassador of the USA to Qatar who also worked as a CPA advisor in Iraq. He had wrote an article about Kofi Annan's latest statement that the war on Saddam was illegal. He asked me to post his essay in our blog. I read it and I found myself agreeing with everything in it, so I decided to post it and share it with our readers. Here is the essay:


On Wednesday, September 15, 2004, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed for the first time his views on the war in Iraq: "I have indicated it is not in conformity with the U.N. Charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal."

From May 1, 2003 to August 31, 2004 I was involved with Iraq reconstruction efforts in several capacities. First, I was sent to Kirkuk to look into the property disputes between the Kurds, Arabs, Turkomen and Christians; in my last assignment I served as a high ranking Advisor to Iraq Ministry of Higher Education and the 68 institutions of higher learning.

I lived and worked in the Green Zone in Saddam Palace along with 3000 military and civilian personnel. I traveled extensively all over Iraq, visiting college and university campuses. When in Baghdad I drove myself almost on a daily basis to my meetings with Iraqis.

Annan calling the war "illegal" at this point in time has many significant and troubling consequences. The logical inferences are such that if I was to defend Saddam Hussein or for that matter any of the 60 held prisoners belonging to his regime, I would quote Annan and argue that the removal from power of these individuals was illegal; the holding them in custody is illegal; the formation of the tribunal looking into their prior activities is illegal. The declarations made by Saddam that he is currently the legitimate President of Iraq would be considered valid. In brief, I would list Annan as my star witness in defense of Saddam.

The ensuing inference from the previous inference is that the government of Iyad Allawi is illegitimate; the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) drafted by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and ratified by the former Iraq Governing Council is void and null. In conclusion there should not be a national election in January 2005.

The reverse side of Annan’s value judgement on the illegality of the war is that the USA, U.K., Italy, Australia, and the other partners in the coalition were thugs and violators of the U.N. Charter and international law. Under Annan’s point of view, a good defense lawyer would argue not only for the release of Saddam and his criminal goons, but also ask for reparations from the coalition nations.

In philosophical parlance, if a war is deemed "illegal" it is also deemed to be "immora"l. This does not bode well on the psychic of our young men and women in uniforms fighting the terrorists in Iraq. Could Annan's definition of the US led war in Iraq as "illegal" and by extension "immoral" has any psychological and moral effects on the coalition forces in Iraq? Does Annan's claim that the US led war in Iraq was "illegal" emboldens and encourages the insurgents, terrorists and mercenaries operating in Iraq? Does Annan's statement increases the security problems for the coalition forces and the civilians involved in the reconstruction efforts in Iraq? Does Annan's position helps the Iraqi police, politicians and government in their discharge of duties and efforts to stabilize the nation under the rule of law?

Kofi Annan's declaration of the war in Iraq by the US led coalition and its logical consequence of occupation as "illegal" is ill timed and no more useful in bringing peace than Senator John Kerry's assertions that the US should have not prosecuted the war against Saddam Hussein. Annan and Kerry are playing with the life of million of Iraqi people and with the life of thousands of Americans and that of others in Iraq. This is not the time to demoralize our forces, nor is it prudent to make statements that will be interpreted by the terrorists as a justification to pursue their criminal ends in Iraq as the case happened when the President of the Philippines caved in to the demands of the terrorists by withdrawing her troops from Iraq.

If I was still in Baghdad, I would feel uneasy and unsafe to conduct outside the Green Zone my usual daily official business given the high rhetoric of Kofi Annan and Senator John Kerry about the war in Iraq. I feel for my colleagues who are still toiling in Iraq; they are caught in the web of politicians making irresponsible assertions that empower the terrorists to continue and expand their evil doings against the Iraqis and foreigners.

Zarkawi, Bin Ladden and the countless terrorist groups operating inside Iraq, listen to American and British media. The criticisms levied by Annan and Kerry play well in the hands of the terrorists and provide the latter the added fuel to brainwash suicide bombers or to incite criminals to behead Americans and civilians of other nations.

At this juncture of time, Annan should become sensitized to the real pains and losses the Iraqi Kurds, Shias, Turkomen and Christians suffered in the hands of Saddam. May be he should apologize to Iyad Allawi, the Interim Prime Minister, for making the undiplomatic faux pas in declaring the war in Iraq as "illegal".

After all, had Kofi Annan been an effective U.N. Secretary General and had he succeeded in persuading Saddam to comply with all the UN security council resolutions, the US and its allies would not be in Iraq.

The US has vital, national and security interests in the region of the Arabian Gulf dating back to 1947. These interests are not subject to U.N. review or approval. Iraq is part of the Arabian Gulf.

Dr. Joseph Ghougassian served as US Ambassador to Qatar and CPA Advisor in Iraq.
His email is

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