A Diplomatic Scandal Brewing up in Iraq / News / News agency Inforos
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A Diplomatic Scandal Brewing up in Iraq

Russian diplomats insulted and humiliated

Russian-American relations are again on the verge of a serious test. Our correspondent has learned from diplomatic sources of cases of flagrant violations of the norms of the international law in Iraq whose victims have become Russian diplomats. These incidents have been occurring with such regularity that they have virtually become common practice with the American troops and armed detachments of the countries that vie to be called US allies.

On completion of the active stage of the military operation in Iraq, the US and its allies concentrated on assuring their own safety (which, incidentally, has not resulted in any significant drop in the number of casualties), as well as on assuring the functioning of the Iraqi government institutions in the so-called "green zone" – the only part of Iraqi territory completely controlled by the 100,000-strong contingent of the occupation force.

As it happens, Russian diplomats have been actually denied access to these institutions, and they have to wait for several hours in car queues in front of the American checkpoints of the first ring of the defense of the "green zone", running all the while the risk of falling victim to a terrorist attack directed against the Americans and Iraqi administration personnel.

The American military are averse to recognizing the rights of the diplomats to priority access to the "green zone", demanding a special pass issued by the occupation troop command that, in its turn, finds many pretexts to delay its issue. In a kind of a priority order for the issue of the passes Russian diplomats are rated behind the service personnel attending to the utilities of the "green zone" buildings.

However, real problems for the diplomats come after the receipt of the pass. Their cars are subjected to an intentionally protracted search - the troops are evidently trying to find the mass destruction weapons in search of which they have come to Iraq.

But the main humiliation awaits Russian diplomats at the checkpoint of the second ring of defense manned by Georgian soldiers. There the diplomats are subjected to a body search, which is a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention. While doing that, the Georgian soldiers are sparing no effort to humiliate the diplomats.

This fact is beyond the comprehension of anyone who is familiar with diplomatic practice and the norms of the international law. Several explanations may be given for this kind of behavior of the Georgian guards.

First, they simply do not know how they should act in such a situation. It can be assumed that the American commanding officers failed to tell the wild highlanders of the existence of such complicated notions as "international law", "diplomatic immunity" and the "Vienna Convention", which is hardly likely, knowing the Americans.

Second, the Georgians are only self-asserting themselves in such a way and taking revenge on the great country, which looks like being true considering the many representations and pronouncements made by the Georgian leadership to humiliate Russia.

And thirdly, which is most probable, the Georgians are just being used. In their habitual style, the Americans are doing the dirty and scandalous work using their newly-fledged minions who are bending over backwards to prove their loyalty and usefulness.

Possibly, the Americans and Georgians are looking for the so-called "Russian advisors" of the Iraqi underground. This is a phenomenon of the same order as "Saddam's chemical weapons", a product of the wild imagination of the American propagandists of the initial stage of the second Iraqi war. The proof of the talent of the "new Goebbelses" is in the US military themselves believing the myth conjured up to justify the high casualties inflicted by the Iraqi guerrilla actions.

Now the Americans are using the Georgian detachment to try and find the mythical "advisors" by means of the body search of Russian diplomats, intending thus to distance themselves from a potential conflict, should the Russian Foreign Ministry call the attention of the world community and US authorities to the mistreatment of the Russian diplomats.

Also, it is not to be ruled out that the Foreign Ministry officials are just waiting for some obliging Georgian corporal to spread-eagle the Russian Ambassador at the checkpoint and thus definitely involve his American masters in a diplomatic scandal.
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