Iraq took another giant step forward toward a brighter future yesterday as the United Nations Security Council lifted the last of the remaining sanctions that the international body had imposed on the nation while Saddam Hussein was in charge. Iraqis will now be free to pursue a civilian nuclear power program, take full control of their oil and gas revenues and put the last vestiges of the UN’s oil-for-food racket behind them. It’s another symbolic moment, a milestone that confirms the fact that – whether one believes the price paid was worth it or not – America and our allies have achieved something remarkable in this far-off land.
“This basically is a recognition by the international community of the efforts and progress that has been made in Iraq up to this point to rejoin the international community and their commitment to living within the guidelines of the international community,” a State Department official told FoxNews.com. “It’s a new day for Iraq. It obviously lifts them from the many restrictions that were there under a different era.”
The Security Council passed three key resolutions. In the first, the UN removed the ban that forbade Iraq to acquire weapons of mass destruction. That’s a symbolic gesture, since Iraq’s constitution bars the nation from doing so and since it is party to the major nuclear, biological and chemical weapons treaties designed to prevent the proliferation of WMD. The nation can pursue the development of nuclear power if it wishes, but whether that makes any sense in country so abundant in fossil fuel is a matter of debate. What matters here is the message. The major players in the world now agree that Iraq is no longer viewed as a threat, but as a trusted partner. No one believes that Iraqi instability is sufficient to threaten the nation’s democratically elected regime. It’s not that UN sanctions are ever all that terribly effective anyway, but when the Security Council does away with the pretense, that event represents measurable progress.
The second resolution returned full control of Iraq’s oil and gas revenues to its government. Contrary to popular leftist lore, Iraq’s petrodollars never flowed into the pockets of Exxon-Mobil or other big oil companies. Instead, the Development Fund For Iraq, an internationally-managed organization, was created in 2003 to ensure that profits from the sale oil and gas were used to benefit the Iraqi people. On June 30, 2011 the fund will cease to exist and the Iraqis themselves will have complete control over their economic future. It’s hard to imagine this happening even three years ago. The malice and distrust between the oil-rich north dominated by the Kurds, the oil-rich south dominated by Shiites and the resource-poor center dominated by Sunnis was palatable. The Development Fund existed in large part because no one trusted any of the three major factions to share the wealth on a national basis. And yet, as the result of long, hard and no doubt tedious negotiations, most everyone in Iraq seems satisfied with their slice of the national pie today.
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