Iraq Sovereignty Timetable Set

Iraq Governing Council member have announced that a new sovereign Iraqi government will take control of the country by June of 2004, at which time the current Coalitional Provisional Authority will dissolve. It is likely that US troops will continue to remain in the country to improve the security situation even after sovereignty is restored.

Returning Iraq to the Iraqi people is an important step, but it is also absolutely important to restore civil society to Iraq. Democracy is more than a system, it is a mindset, and I’m skeptical as to whether the Iraqi people are ready for democracy at this time. Then again, considering the way in which local elections have been a great success, these fears could be unfounded. However, it will take some time after sovereignty is restored for Iraq to have a chance to become a true democracy. There needs to be an active and flourishing party system that respects the legitimacy of the political system in order for democracy to be even remotely viable. Without that, this transition will still be largely symbolic.

It is also crucial that the US continue to work to improve the security situation in the country by actively routing the terrorists operating in Iraq. Ba’athist remnants such as Khamis Sirhan Al-Muhammadi, who planned the al-Rashid hotel attack as well as the Qaeda cells operating in the country must be destroyed. The transition to democratic rule will be difficult enough as it is without having terrorists working to undermine the new government.

The road to freedom in Iraq is still a perilous one, however, the restoration of Iraqi control is an important first step towards a free and democratic Iraq. However, it must not be the last step. Restoring democracy is not a process that can occur in just over a year – it will take many years of developing and fostering democratic values before the job can be considered even remotely finished.

4 thoughts on “Iraq Sovereignty Timetable Set

  1. The administration seems to be reinventing its position on “Iraqi sovereignty” as often as Al Gore reinvented his campaign image three short years ago. It seems as if it was just last week that the administration insisted we would stay in Iraq “as long as took to finish the job” before having the sudden epiphany that they won’t tolerate an occupation beyond June of 2004 due to the sudden “clamoring” by Iraqis to take the reins of their post-Saddam government. Oh that’s right….it was just last week that we were told the former. If I were more cynical towards this administration’s motives, I might suggest that the June deadline for passing the baton to the Iraqis is timed as conveniently as possible to coincide with Bush’s re-election campaign next summer. But that couldn’t possibly be the case with the guy who’s “restoring honor and dignity to the White House.”

  2. Somebody screwed up royally. This is not a statement that one should release during a period of increased resistance and guerialla attacks. Essentially, we just told Saddam and al-Qaeda fighters how long they have to hold out to effectively “win” the occupation. Now, the problem is one of stabilizing and consolidating the Iraqi ruling body into an effective central authority, and that simply will not happen within the bounds of democratic methods. In order to achieve that rapid of a consolidation, the IGC will have to secure the backing of a sizeable chunk of the population AND control the dominant military force in the country–I don’t see that happening if the council members are all running for elective office. More likely is that they’ll play off of each other, each vying for a more nationalistic image, and the way to go about that is to invoke fundamentalist Islam to the Shi’ites and stir them up. That might consolidate a government, but it will be a death knell to any ongoing democratic transitions.

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