14 November 2003

The case for a provisional government

Pachachi, who served as Iraq's foreign minister from 1965 to 1967, says that many challenges must be met before Iraq can achieve full sovereignty. An election law should be adopted, a voting system established, the judiciary reformed, and a draft constitution submitted for a referendum.

But Iraqis, he says, are growing impatient under CPA rule - something a provisional Iraqi government could solve. The Sunni statesman adds that the UN Security Council resolution passed last month sets the conditions needed for such a government. Resolution 1551 says that the CPA will cede authority 'when an internationally recognized, representative government established by the people of Iraq is sworn in', Pachachi said.

'It will mark the end for the CPA,' he added. 'Once there is a representative Iraqi government, provisional or not, and internationally recognized, that's the end for the CPA because it is said very clearly in the council [resolution] that when this happens, the CPA has to transfer all its power to the Iraqi government.'

Such a government, Pachachi stresses, does not have to be elected in a popular vote. Its members can be appointed by the IGC, which could then expand in size and act as a legislative body in tandem with the provisional executive.

Asked whether the IGC has the authority to appoint a provisional government, Pachachi turns again to Resolution 1551, which states that the IGC is the principal body of the Iraqi interim administration and 'embodies the sovereignty of the state of Iraq during the transitional period'.

Still, it is the approval of the US, and not the UN, that Pachachi's proposal will need before it can move ahead. The IGC member says that the idea has been under discussion with CPA officials, but that a clear 'yes' or 'no' has yet to be heard: 'We have been discussing this with them for some time now. It's nothing new, you know. And we hope that perhaps finally we may have persuaded them. I don't know. We'll see, we'll keep on trying.'

This really marks the collapse of the neotrot fantasy. If they cannot govern without a provisional government then what is the rationale for the whole bloody adventure, anyway? The CPA's failure was always predictable. Dumping a few US bureaucrats into the republican palace and assuming everything would be wonderful, even though neither the CPA or the US command has much understanding of Iraq, was a fool's project and a fool's policy.

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