June 2, 2004
The New York Times

Iraq's New Government Faces Bargaining Over Its Power

by Steven R. Weisman

WASHINGTON, June 1 -- The new caretaker government in Iraq was hailed Tuesday by President Bush as ready to assume "full sovereignty" after June 30. But its first job, according to American officials, will be to negotiate sharp limits on that sovereignty in many vital areas, particularly security matters.

Less than a month before the scheduled transfer of power, it remains unclear exactly how much power will be transferred.

The continued presence of nearly 140,000 American troops, and American diplomats in the ministries of the new government, virtually ensures that significant power will remain in American hands. To some, the limits that are emerging are so constraining that they make a mockery of the process.

"It's a charade," said a diplomat at the United Nations, . . .

As for "full sovereignty," American officials have said decision-making authority over security matters will be shared. But according to a second draft of an American and British resolution for the United Nations Security Council on Iraqi sovereignty, circulated among Council members on Tuesday night, the United States security mandate would extend to December 2005, after a constitution had been approved and a permanent government put in place. . . .

Confusion over sovereignty extends beyond military matters to questions of legal immunity for Americans, accounting practices, treatment of prisoners and oversight of government ministries.

Americans in the military and in private business now enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution and liability in Iraq. But some lawyers say the issue will have to be renegotiated once sovereignty is restored.

In addition, American officials say from 110 to 160 American advisers will be layered through Iraq's ministries, in some cases on contracts signed by the occupation, extending into the period after June 30.

. . . the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the Arab Development Bank supervise an "advisory and monitoring board" that is supposed to keep tabs on Iraq's revenues and expenditures. . . .

Still another matter to be decided, administration officials acknowledge, is the status of thousands of Iraqis to be detained by American military authorities even though many of them have not been charged with any crimes. . . .


Yochi J. Dreasen and Christopher Cooper, "U.S. Tightens Grip On Iraq's Future," The Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2004

[The administration has yet to confront squarely the fact that the deteriorating situation both in Iraq and in the region will not improve without a politically comprehensive and coldly realistic revision of current policies that addresses four key points: (1) The transfer of "sovereignty" should increase, rather than discredit, the legitimacy of the emerging Iraqi government, and hence it should issue from the United Nations, not the United States; (2) Without a fixed and early date for U.S. troop withdrawal, the occupation will become an object of intensified Iraqi hostility; (3) The Iraqi government should reflect political reality, not doctrinaire American delusions; and (4) Without significant progress toward an Israeli-Palestinian peace, post-occupation Iraq will be both anti-American and anti-Israel.--Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Face Reality," The New Republic, May 28, 2004]

"Interim Iraqi government named: U.S.-appointed council disbands,", June 1, 2004

[In the end, hemmed in by hovering U.S. officials and their present and former Iraqi allies, Mr. Brahimi acquiesced to a cabinet led by the same former exiles and Kurdish politicians who populated the discredited Iraqi Governing Council.--Editorial: "In the Iraqi Interim," The Washington Post, June 2, 2004]

[. . . outspoken war advocates in Washington are already proclaiming failure. . . . fear that the US might be left alone to cope with conflict in Iraq has driven significant policy shifts. Washington has come to realise it must confer real authority on the new government on June 30.--Guy Dinmore, "US starts to think the unthinkable about Iraq," Financial Times, June 3, 2004]

[The United Nations special envoy has called on the incoming Iraqi government to broaden discussions to include Iraqis who oppose the US occupation. He also suggested his authority in shaping the new government had been severely limited by US officials.--Dexter Filkins, "Brahimi critical of heavy-handed US," Sydney Morning Herald, June 4, 2004]

[Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most powerful Shiite leader, said in a cautious statement Thursday that he hoped the new interim government would prove its "competence and decency," but he also noted that the body had not been formed through legitimate elections.

Sistani also urged the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution that granted Iraqis full sovereignty and did not compromise the government's power in political, military and security matters. He insisted that the new government "seek the elimination of traces of occupation completely."--Edward Wong, "Cleric offers cautious hope for new Iraqi government," International Herald Tribune, June 4, 2004]

[. . . the draft allows the multinational force to take "all necessary measures" to provide security and reserves the right to detain Iraqis viewed as a security threat.--Robin Wright and Dana Milbank, "U. S. Bends to France, Russia on U.N. Iraq Resolution," Washington Post, June 8, 2004]

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