Dail Eireann re-elected Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach on 14 June 2007 on the basis of a programme agreed with the Greens and the PDs. It contains a section on foreign policy entitled Ireland in the World, which begins:
“We want to ensure that
Neutrality Count” is to be
“Neutrality is central to our vision of
“We believe neutrality enhances our standing internationally. Our goal is to use that standing to build peace and deliver development.”
this, you could be forgiven for thinking that
reality is that
(a) the US/UK wars in
(b) the US/UK punishment of Iran for enriching uranium, which is Iran’s right as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); and
(c) the US/UK backing for the Israeli occupation and colonisation of Arab lands.
“Up to the end of September this year, 1,059,382
“Figures released by the Shannon Airport Authority have
confirmed that since March 20th 2003 an average of 640 troops on five flights
every day have stopped off at Shannon on their way to
was established, initially for 6 months, by Security Council resolution 1386,
passed on 20 December 2001, shortly after the US/UK military intervention in
“to assist the Afghan Interim Authority in the maintenance of security in Kabul and its surrounding areas, so that the Afghan Interim Authority as well as the personnel of the United Nations can operate in a secure environment” 
Afghan Interim Authority, headed by Hamid Karzai, had just been put together by
ISAF was established, it could be said to have had a peacekeeping role. At the same time, much larger forces under
Irish Government justifies its participation in ISAF on the grounds that it was
established by and continues to operate under UN Security Council
resolutions. This is true: all military
action taken by ISAF in
Irish Government justifies allowing the US the use of Shannon by saying that
military action by the US-led occupation forces in Iraq is authorised by the UN
Security Council. Again that is true today,
but it wasn’t true at the time of the invasion in March 2003, when
is more, paragraph 14 of resolution 1511 “urges
Member States to contribute assistance under this United Nations
mandate, including military forces, to the [US-led] multinational force” in
Iraq. The Irish Government can say that
it is responding to the UN request in resolution 1511 in allowing the
Green Party breaks commitment
to the elections in May 2007, the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM) attempted to
get candidates to pledge that, if elected, they wouldn’t enter a government
that continued to allow the
6 Green Party candidates signed the pledge. More fundamentally, Section 13 of the Green Party manifesto committed all its candidates unequivocally to
“end the use of
programme for government that the Green Party agreed with Fianna Fail 
doesn’t mention the use of
EU Common Foreign and Security Policy
each of two other areas –
CFSP mechanism was initially established by the Maastricht Treaty, which came
into force on 1 November 1993. Under
this mechanism, member states seek to arrive at common foreign policy
positions. In theory, each state has a
veto, but in practice the large states, and especially the
Where there is a common policy, the EU speaks and votes as a bloc in international organisations, for example, in the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and the Board of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA).
In the Amsterdam Treaty, which came into force on 1 May 1999, provision was made for the appointment of an EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, with the task of representing the EU abroad where there is a common policy. The former Secretary-General of NATO, Javier Solana, has been the sole holder of this post.
December 2003, the EU adopted a “security strategy” drawn up by Solana,
entitled A Secure Europe in a Better
World . It is an imperialist document, dedicated to
remoulding the world beyond the boundaries of the EU. It could have been written in
“Spreading good governance, supporting social and political reform, dealing with corruption and abuse of power, establishing the rule of law and protecting human rights” are declared to be key objectives of EU foreign policy (page 16).
These objectives are to be achieved primarily by the exercise of the EU’s economic muscle but the document looks forward to the strengthening of its military muscle as well. The document says:
“Trade and development policies can be powerful tools for promoting
reform. As the world’s largest provider of official assistance and its largest
trading entity, the European Union and its
“Contributing to better governance through assistance programmes, conditionality and targeted trade measures remains an important feature in our policy that we should further reinforce.”
“A number of countries have placed themselves outside the bounds of international society. Some have sought isolation; others persistently violate international norms. It is desirable that such countries should rejoin the international community, and the EU should be ready to provide assistance. Those who are unwilling to do so should understand that there is a price to be paid, including in their relationship with the European Union.”
On developing the EU’s military muscle, the document says:
“We need to develop a strategic culture that fosters early, rapid, and when necessary, robust intervention.
EU “security strategy”, to which
to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is central to the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). By signing
up to the NPT, as
“Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.” 
International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) hasn’t found any evidence that
You can see what the EU means when it states in A Secure Europe in a Better World (page 14) that “a rule-based international order is our objective”.
“Whatever the Quartet was at the inception, let us be frank with
ourselves: today, as a practical matter, the Quartet is pretty much a group of
friends of the
a member of the Quartet, the EU with
June 2007, the EU went further and supported the overthrow of the
democratically endorsed National Unity Government in
Annex A Security Council Resolution 1511
Security Council passed resolution 1511 on 16 October 2003. Since that date, all military action by the
US-led occupation forces in
On 16 October
2003, the Security Council passed resolution 1511 authorising the US-led
occupying forces in
The authorisation is given in paragraph 13 of the resolution, which states:
“[The Security Council] Determines that the provision of security and stability is essential to the successful completion of the political process as outlined in paragraph 7 above and to the ability of the United Nations to contribute effectively to that process and the implementation of resolution 1483 (2003), and authorizes a multinational force under unified command to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq” 
“All necessary measures” is the phrase customarily used in Security Council resolutions to mean military action. It is derived from Article 42 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which states that the Security Council “may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security”.
Paragraph 14 of resolution 1511 urges states to “contribute assistance” to the “multinational force”:
“[The Security Council] Urges Member States to contribute assistance under this United Nations mandate, including military forces, to the multinational force referred to in paragraph 13 above;”
there be any doubt that the entity referred to as “a multinational force under
unified command” is the occupying force commanded by the
“[The Security Council] Requests that the United States, on behalf of the multinational force as outlined in paragraph 13 above, report to the Security Council on the efforts and progress of this force as appropriate and not less than every six months;”
And here is what
“ … the resolution
establishes a United Nations authorized multinational force under unified
1511 was passed unanimously. In March
Annex B The present Palestinian “government” is not legitimate
The present Fayyad-led Palestinian “government” is not a legitimate government formed according to the requirements of the Palestinian constitution (the Basic Law). It is not legitimate because it has not been endorsed by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
Article 79(4) of the Basic Law  states:
“The Prime Minister and any of the Ministers shall not assume the duties of their positions until they obtain the confidence of the PLC.”
Article 67(3) of the Basic Law states that
“Confidence shall be granted to the government, if it obtains the absolute majority of the PLC Members.”
In other words, the Palestinian constitution forbids a new set of Palestinian ministers from assuming “the duties of their positions until they obtain” the endorsement of “the absolute majority of the PLC Members”, that is, 67 members since the PLC has 132 members in all.
Hamas won 74 seats and Fatah 45 in the January 2006 PLC elections. Both of the Hamas-led governments formed since these elections did receive proper PLC endorsement and were therefore legitimate governments under the Basic Law. The present Fayyad-led entity has not received proper PLC endorsement and is therefore not a legitimate government under the Basic Law.
On 14 June 2007, President Abbas declared a state of emergency and dismissed the second Hamas-led government (the National Unity Government). He is entitled to do this under Article 45 of the Basic Law. He then appointed Salam Fayyad, the Finance Minister in the previous government, as Prime Minister and invited him to form a government.
Salam Fayyad is an elected member of
the PLC and the leader of the 2-member
Salam Fayyad nominated a set of ministers as requested by the President, with himself as Foreign Minister and Finance Minister as well as Prime Minister. However, he has not made any attempt to obtain the confidence of the PLC for himself and his ministers, so the Basic Law bars them from assuming “the duties of their positions”. In fact, the PLC has never met. So, the Fayyad-led entity is not a legitimate government under the Basic Law.
State of emergency
President Abbas has attempted to give the Fayyed-led entity legitimacy by describing it as an emergency government, which, it is implied, does not require the normal constitutional procedure to be followed, in particular, endorsement by the PLC. It is true that Abbas was entitled to declare a state of emergency under Article 110(1) of the Basic Law, which states:
“The President of the National Authority may declare a state of emergency by a decree when there is a threat to national security caused by war, invasion, armed insurrection, or at a time of natural disaster for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days.”
Since the Palestinian territories are under Israeli occupation (and have been for 40 years) it would seem that a state of emergency could lawfully be declared at any time. But, the President cannot maintain it for more than 30 days without the support of two thirds of the members of the PLC, since Article 110(2) says:
“The emergency state may be extended for another period of thirty (30) days after the approval of two thirds of the Legislative Council Members.”
That would appear to mean two thirds of the 132 PLC members, that is, 88.
President Abbas declared a state of emergency on 14 June 2007. It hasn’t been renewed by the PLC under Article 110(2), so it came to an end on or about 14 July 2007.
More fundamentally, the Basic Law provisions with regard to a state of emergency (Articles 110 to 115) don’t allow the President to amend the Basic Law itself to do away with the Article 79(4) requirement that
“The Prime Minister and any of the Ministers shall not assume the duties of their positions until they obtain the confidence of the PLC.”
The Basic Law is unambiguous on the question of its own amendment, Article 120 stating:
“The provisions of this Basic Law shall not be amended except with two thirds majority of the Members of the Legislative Council.”
So, with or without a state of emergency, the Fayyad-led entity is not a legitimate government under the Basic Law.
From the horse’s mouth
This conclusion is confirmed by Anis al-Qasem, who led the drafting of the Palestinian constitution. Questioned by Reuters on 8 July 2007 , he said:
“It is clear from (Basic Law) Article 45 that the president has the power to dismiss the prime minister. However, under Article 78(3), the dismissed government continues to run the affairs of government temporarily as a caretaker government until the formation of the new government in the manner provided by the Basic Law.
“Under Article 79(4) of Chapter 5 (on executive authority), neither the prime minister nor any minister shall assume his office except after a vote of confidence from the Legislative Council (parliament) ...
“Conclusion: The president has the power to dismiss the prime minister and to start the process of the formation of a new government. The basic ingredients of this process that give legitimacy to the new government are a vote of confidence by the Legislative Council and the oath of office.
“Until the formation of the new government in accordance with the procedure laid down in Chapter 5 of the Basic Law, the dismissed government continues to act as a caretaker government. The Basic Law contains no special provisions for what is sometimes called ‘emergency government’.
“As to the powers of the president in a state of emergency, the only power specifically given to him is to declare the state of emergency in the manner provided in Article 110. He cannot issue decrees suspending any provisions of the Basic Law.
“The Legislative Council continues to function (Article 113), and none of the other provisions of the Basic Law may be touched except as provided in Article 111, which deals only with restrictions that may be imposed on basic rights and freedoms, and even these may only be affected to the extent necessary to fulfil the objective of the emergency as stated in the emergency decree.
“It is worth remembering that the whole Basic Law has been amended to reduce, rather than increase, the powers of the president as a result of the power struggle between Mr Abbas when he was Prime Minister and the late President Arafat.
“Of course we anticipated that, in a system where both the president and the legislature come to power through popular elections, there is the likelihood that the president may belong to one political party while the majority in the legislature may belong to another, with the possibility of divergence of policies, as it has happened frequently in democracies like the United States and France.
“In a situation like this, compromises through dialogue are struck and neither the president nor the legislature would attempt to thwart the will of the people. If a deadlock is reached, the president may exercise the power given to him by the Basic Law and dismiss the government and appoint a new government that would, ultimately, receive the approval of the Legislative Council. Through this requirement of approval the elected representatives will determine the propriety or otherwise of the action of the president and the will of the electorate will not be thwarted. That was the expectation.”
Irish Political Review