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Dutch Investigation: Iraq Mission Ruled Illegal [Update]

by Oui Tue Jan 12th, 2010 at 04:52:47 AM EST


Investigation publishes their report on Dutch participation in Iraq War alongside Bush

Content and conclusions to follow asap.

1. U.N. resolution not sufficient for Iraq invasion

  1. Dutch military support in pre-war planning
  2. FM Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (JdHS) gave early support to President Bush
  3. Dutch parliament not fully informed by cabinet ministers
  4. Dutch military intelligence had a more profound view of WMDs in Iraq
  5. Dutch military not involved in invasion, limited to political support
  6. US official request to particpate in pre-war planning kept secret by JdHS
  7. Political decision has no link to appointment JdHS as SG NATO

LIVE: press conference

Most important conclusion: Iraq invasion violates International Law.
Affirms the conclusion of Hans Blix in his report on August 7, 2003 - Iraq invasion violated international law

The Hague, 12 January 2010
Summary of conclusions of the Committee of Inquiry on Iraq

49 Conclusions of commission report (English)

Basilica Santa Maria della Salute / Venice, Italy  

Five main conclusions of Davids' Iraq Report

Press conference on March 22, 2003 with U.S. coalition partners.
To the far right Dutch Lt-Col Jan Blom to everyone's surprise.

A leaked document to NRC Handelsblad shows an internal Legal advice to Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, dated 29 April 2003, with arguments there is no legality for Iraq invasion.

Internal Memo DJZ/IR/2003/158

Dutch decision to join Iraq war "ill-founded"

(RNW) - Did Dutch PM Jan Peter Balkenende misinform parliament about the Iraq war? That is the unspoken question hovering over the Davids Committee inquiry whose report was published on Tuesday. The independent committee was asked by the PM to investigate the political process which resulted in the Netherlands' joining George W. Bush's "coalition of the willing".

Dutch politics at the time was self-centred and showed little awareness of the outside world, committee chairman Willibrord Davids said when he presented his report. Hardly any thought was given to what should happen once the invasion had taken place and Saddam Hussein's regime had been toppled.

The Netherlands lent explicit "political support" to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003, while rejecting any form of military involvement. Mr Balkenende, who was caretaker prime minister at the time, argued that Saddam Hussein had consistently flouted UN resolutions and possessed weapons of mass destruction. The prime minister later said he had based his decision to join the war on a letter by his British counterpart Tony Blair, "for his eyes only". Mr Blair's letter apparently convinced Mr Balkenende that Saddam Hussein was able to hit Europe with weapons of mass destruction at short notice.

The Davids committee was not allowed to publish the contents of the letter in its report.

Dutch inquiry says Iraq war had no mandate

(BBC News) - A Dutch inquiry into the Iraq war says that military action was not justified by UN resolutions on Iraq. The Committee of Inquiry on Iraq said security council resolutions did not "constitute a mandate for... intervention in 2003".

The inquiry was launched after foreign ministry memos were leaked that cast doubt on the legal basis for the war.

The Netherlands gave political support to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but has denied having any military role.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence." "But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

The Dutch military became involved after the United Nations agreed to be part of the relief effort and reconstruction in Iraq. Prior military participation by Special Forces for reconnaissance, the Navy including a submarine, would have been the end of the ruling coalition with PM Balkenende. This is not the case, although there will be plenty of firework from opposition parties like D'66 and GreenLeft with Femke Halsema. The Liberal Party VVD is in the political spectrum to the right and always debated in support of a military effort in Iraq.

Main theme will be the legality of the war without the second resolution of the U.N. Security Council and a number of decisions made by the Dutch cabinet in reference to the Constitution, article 100. Placing Patriot missiles in Turkey on the Northern border, sending a battleship Van Nes to guard U.S. commercial vessels on its journey in the Iraq War build-up and the participation of a Walrus submarine. Participation of NATO based on its article 5 commitment.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Tue Jan 12th, 2010 at 08:32:05 AM EST
force to protect Iraqis from the Anglo-Americans...


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue Jan 12th, 2010 at 05:33:25 PM EST
Balkenende is the sole member of this Cabinet who was involved in the decision to give poltical support for the U.S. and British attack on Iraq in March 2003. A few hours after receiving the Iraq Report from the Committee chairman Davids, Balkenende made his position as Prime Minister impossible by criticising the conclusions. After a very long delay to start a review and investigation of the Dutch participation in the planning and preparation of the Iraq War, PM Balkenende refused an investigation by Parliament.

Under great pressure, he himself appointed this Iraq commission to provide an impartial review. It is not wise to take this path of attack, the commission has performed an excellent task and gives support to the many objections vented throughout the years. The present coalition partner, the Labour Party (PvdA), was in the opposition in the fall of 2002 and opposed the War. In Februari 2003 they joined a new Cabinet under leadership of Balkenende and made a compromise to offer only political support, based on knowledge released by the previous administration with Jaap de Hoop Schepper as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

With Balkenende's line of attack yesterday, the Labour Party became furious and went into the opposition. Would the PvdA members in Parliament join the opposition parties in any major vote, then Balkenende and his Cabinet will fall.

Balkenende should have accepted some responsibility, he refused to acknowledge making any mistakes or misjudgements. Must have to impressed by George Bush.

Damage control, do's and don'ts

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Wed Jan 13th, 2010 at 04:49:27 AM EST
Balkenende is playing by neocon rules -

  1. There is no problem
  2. If there is a problem, we did the right thing
  3. If we didn't do the right thing - which we did, because there's no problem - someone else is to blame, and we're just innocent bystanders.
  4. I have complete confidence in my own majesty, which you can share by believing all of the above.
  5. See 1.

What happens now is a battle of narratives within the PvdA, depending on whether or not they're principled enough to sacrifice power for political integrity - and also whether or not political integrity can be transformed into more power.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 13th, 2010 at 05:02:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dutch PM clings on as inquiry finds invasion had no mandate - Times Online

Mr Balkenende rejected calls to resign last night and said that he disagreed with the commission. "The Cabinet's view has always been that a new Security Council resolution [authorising the invasion] was desirable but not necessary," he said...

Allard de Rooi, of Transparency about Iraq, said: "I cannot imagine a world in which the Prime Minister of a Western country just ignores the verdict of senior judges in a inquiry which he ordered.

"He has got to resign. He is saying that there are two kinds of law -- one for him and one for the rest of the world."

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 13th, 2010 at 05:22:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour clashes with PM over Davids report | Radio Netherlands Worldwide
The Labour Party, a member of Mr Balkenende's tri-party coalition, says the Davids report is "disturbing" and that Mr Balkenende's response is not on behalf of the Labour Party.
Mariëtta Hamer, leader of Labour's parliamentary party, says she was "unpleasantly surprised" by Mr Balkenende's response to the report. Labour has called on Mr Balkenende to emphasise the difference between the 2003 cabinet - the party was in opposition at the time - and the current one. The party has called for another response to the criticisms in the Davids report this week.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 13th, 2010 at 05:24:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Labour Party became furious and went into the opposition

I can't find evidence of this. Handelsblad reported an hour ago that Bos and Rouvoet are meeting Balkenende right now.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 13th, 2010 at 05:35:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the article you link to, Rouvoet, leader of the third coalition partner, comes out and says that Balkenende's statement was reconciled before release with six other cabinet member, including minister Bos (who is both minister of Finances, and PvdA party-leader).

But the PvdA as party has protested.

Either Bos silences the dissent in his own party, or he is faithful to the party-line and upsets the coalition. So far Bos is staunchly carrying through as member of the cabinet and keeps a stiff upper lip.

I note that Mariette Hamer, who leads the PvdA in Parliament, and Wouter Bos have a cordial relationship. If this is a pre-conceived stratagem by Bos and Hamer (which I think rather unlikely), it's a game of high stakes - I doubt whether the PvdA is actually capable of that.

Rouvoet is ass-covering Balkenende - no surprises there.

by Nomad on Wed Jan 13th, 2010 at 06:11:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Balkenende, Bos and Roevoet still in talks - which at minimum means things are not going smooth in The Hague.

According to unnamed sources within the PvdA a cabinet crisis is in the air. Smoke and mirrors at this point.

by Nomad on Wed Jan 13th, 2010 at 07:53:01 AM EST
Minister President Balkenende and Vice-premier Bos (PvdA) have been meeting most of the day to make amends and come with a single opinion on the conclusions of the Davids Iraq Commission Report. Balkenende has accepted the most important issue: the U.N. mandate was insufficient to take military action against the regime of Saddam Hussain. The International Law has been laid down by the Commission with legal heavyweights. This is a 180 degree turn-around to his response yesterday afternoon in a press conference. His apparent attack of major conclusions of the Report angered the members of parliament of the Labor Party. The coalition remains united and will look forward to the coming debate in Parliament with Balkenende and Cabinet members. A crisis has been avoided postponed.

Iraq war was illegal, Dutch panel rules

by Oui on Wed Jan 13th, 2010 at 06:11:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
coalition, at this time, would be thrown out of office by voters?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Jan 13th, 2010 at 06:44:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the 150 seat Parliament (Tweede Kamer), the present coalition has an 80 seat representation, according to a weekly poll this has dropped to a minority of 59 seats, a loss of 21. The PVV party of Geert Wilders would be a winner, climbing from 9 to 22 seats.

Today's opinion poll, should Balkenende meet the demands of Labor coalition party - 83% YES;
Should the Labor Party (PvdA) quit the Cabinet if Balkenende holds his line of reasoning - 66% YES.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Wed Jan 13th, 2010 at 07:42:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Professor Philippe Sands is a leading international lawyer. In an interview he spoke with respect over the distinguished legal panel of the Dutch Iraq Commission. The Iraq War has no legal base was a important statement and conclusion witl all clarity and lack of ambiquity. This must have an impact across the channel in the Chilcot Inquiry, which has no member as legal expert. The Dutch panel had several members of the legal profession. Philippe Sands was heard behind closed doors by the Commission in The Netherlands last September 2009.

Blair Iraq war admission sparks fresh outrage

Blair is due to give evidence to the inquiry into the war, led by former civil servant John Chilcot, early next year, and the commentator in the Sunday Telegraph said the investigation's focus must now change.

"Mr Blair's game-changing admission gives them a licence to be tougher and more prosecutorial," he wrote, a call echoed by campaigners at Stop the War Coalition, who urged Chilcot's inquiry to recommend legal action against Blair.

Professor Philippe Sands, a leading international lawyer, said he believed Blair's comments had left him open to legal action.

"The fact that the policy was fixed by Tony Blair irrespective of the facts on the ground, and irrespective of the legality, will now expose him more rather than less to legal difficulties," Sands told The Sunday Herald.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Wed Jan 13th, 2010 at 12:41:59 PM EST
Role played by FM Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

People walk past a wanted poster created by artist Naleye Buddista of Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Amsterdam January 16, 2010. The Dutch government supported an invasion of Iraq that had no legal backing and did not fully inform parliament about its plans in the run-up to the conflict, a long-awaited investigation concluded on Tuesday. Scheffer was the current Foreign Minister at the time of the 2003 US-British military invasion of Iraq.

Wanted poster created by artist Naleye Buddista. Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Sat Jan 16th, 2010 at 02:39:18 PM EST

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