Military Covenant of Honour

Statement issued by the Military Alliance of the Iraqi National Coalition on 14 July 2002 at the end of a three-day conference in London. This is the organisation's own translation of the original Arabic version.

EXPLANATORY NOTE (from al-Bab): The main context of this document was a debate among exiled officers about the role of the army in a post-Saddam Iraq - it makes a clear commitment to allowing civilian rule once regime change has been achieved. This view was opposed by some officers (not present at the meeting) who had argued in favour of military rule, mainly on the grounds that this would be necessary to preserve the territorial integrity of the country.

Article 1 makes a commitment to "democratic, federal and plural" government. Interestingly, it does not mention retaining the republican system - thus allowing the possibility of a constitutional monarchy.

There was also debate at the meeting, especially between theKurdishandTurkomanrepresentatives, on the question of federalism. The Kurds, who acquired de facto autonomy after the 1991 Gulf war, insisted on a federal system. The Turkomans, who suspected they would be disadvantaged by that, sought a national referendum on the issue.

Article 2, in effect, is a compromise wording inserted to placate the Turkomans. As a result, the document contains a built-in inconsistency: while Article 1 prescribes a system of government, Article 2 says the matter will be left for the Iraqi people to decide.

Article 5 - about welcoming foreign intervention to overthrow the regime - illustrates a problem faced by many in the opposition who risk losing credibility inside Iraq if they appear too close to the Americans. The subtle wording of this article makes its point without mentioning the United States.

Article 8 may be interpreted as confining any punishments for atrocities in Iraq to the highest levels of the regime. Its intention may be to reassure those at lower levels and encourage their defection.

Iraqi National Coalition:Military Covenant of Honour

Our beloved homeland, Iraq, faces a complicated crisis owing to the policies of the ruling regime. This regime has turned the Iraqi armed forces to a tool for its own protection and for threatening and terrorizing the people of Iraq as well as to wage wars of aggression against neighbouring countries, thus causing the destruction of our homeland Iraq and the wrecking of sound military standards and values, and therefore, hampering the role of the Iraqi army in the protection of our homeland.

The patriotic Iraqi military who are concerned about the destiny of their country and of its national army have called upon each other and exchanged views in order to agree on aMilitary Covenant of Honourenclosing the following articles:

1. Express full willingness to take part in the opposing military effort and shoulder the responsibility in the quest to change the dictatorial regime, to participate in laying the foundation of a democratic, federal and plural Iraq based on the rule of law and to establish the civilian society institutions.

2. The Iraqi military shall be committed to the wishes of the Iraqi people in deciding the ruling system for the country.

3.The role of the Iraqi military shall end after the process of change, as soon as agreement is reached on the format of the civilian rule and the pursuit of building the civilian institutions.

4.Reject ethnic, national and sectarian segregation and the spirit of revenge, work towards the removal of injustice caused to Iraqis as a result of deportation, forced migration and expulsion and reinstate their rights and property as stipulated by the law, and spread the spirit of religious tolerance and secure the national, cultural and political rights of all the citizens of Iraq, including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians and other minorities.

5. Welcome all regional or international support to the Iraqi opposition aiming at the deliverance of Iraqi people from dictatorship and the establishment of the aspired democratic alternative.

6. Confine the power of general call to arms and mobilization in any case of defending the homeland after the process of change to parliament alone. Confirm, within a limited period of time, a new permanent constitution for the country, which shall secure the unity of Iraqi territories, the peaceful transition of authority and full freedom of all the citizens of Iraq to practice their religious rites in accordance with the principles of human rights.

7. Reform the military and civil legal system and reorganize the armed forces to secure their ability to defend the homeland in accordance with a sound military doctrine, which forbids the interference of the army in the internal affairs and political orientations of the country.

8. Charge the leadership of the regime and its hierarchy with the responsibility for crimes committed by the authority during the years when they were in power, whether such crimes were committed against Iraqi citizens or on a regional or international level.

9. Set down a foreign policy in which Iraq shall be an active element of regional stability, a participant in the international peace, an example of good neighbourly relations and a base for forming friendships, which shall secure the interest of its people without any infringement to the interests of others.

Whereas, we the Iraqi officers of the Iraqi armed forces, confirm the above as a charter for our current work and endeavour in the future, we declare to our brother members of the Iraqi armed forces inside Iraq and abroad and to our Iraqi people our commitment to this Covenant of Honour and full solidarity in the quest to its realization.

Iraqi Military Council

14 July 2002