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White House Says Iraqi 'Freedom' to be Severely Limited
(Steven R. Weisman, New York Times, April 23, 2004)
The Bush administration's plans for a new caretaker government in Iraq would place severe limits on its sovereignty, including only partial command over its armed forces and no authority to enact new laws, administration officials said Thursday. . . . Only 10 weeks from the scheduled transfer of sovereignty, the administration is still not sure exactly who will govern in Baghdad, or precisely how they will be selected. . . . The administration's plans seem likely to face objections on several fronts. Several European and United Nations diplomats have said in interviews that they do not think the United Nations will approve a Security Council resolution sought by Washington that handcuffs the new Iraq government in its authority over its own armed forces, let alone foreign forces on its soil. . . . These diplomats, and some American officials, said that if the American military command ordered a siege of an Iraqi city, for example, and there was no language calling for an Iraqi government to participate in the decision, the government might not be able to survive protests that could follow. . . . Asked whether the new Iraqi government would have a chance to approve military operations led by American commanders, who would be in charge of both foreign and Iraqi forces, a senior official said Americans would have the final say. . . . "The arrangement would be, I think as we are doing today, that we would do our very best to consult with that interim government and take their views into account," said Marc Grossman, under secretary of state for political affairs. But he added that American commanders will "have the right, and the power, and the obligation" to decide. . . . That formulation is especially sensitive at a time when American and Iraqi forces are poised to fight for control of Falluja. . . . The proposed curbs on Iraqi sovereignty are paving the way for what officials and diplomats say is shaping up as another potential battle with American allies as the United Nations is asked to confer legitimacy on the new government. . . . The skeptical tone of the foreign relations hearing was set by the committee's chairman, Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, who said that without clearer answers, "we risk the loss of support of the American people, the loss of potential contributions from our allies and the disillusionment of Iraqis."
posted by Lorenzo 9:59 AM