Iraq handover branded false

Veteran Mideast correspondent Robert Fisk, who reports for The Guardian in Britain, has branded the U.S. plan to transfer control of Iraq to a provisional government as a farce and a fake.

Interestingly, the Bush administration recently admitted to a congressional hearing panel that real authority would remain with this country after June 30, the designated date for handing over sovereignty. The new political-speak phrase is “limited sovereignty.”

Bush administration spokesmen, in sometimes heated response to questions from the congressmen, also admitted they don’t know what form the new government will take, what powers it will have, or what sort of resolution may be obtained from the U.N. Security Council.

Fisk noted that the present governing council was appointed by the U.S. and would be turning over power to another group of American-chosen Iraqis. Neither group is to be democratically elected.

Fisk also said that Lakhdar Brahimi, the special U.N. envoy to Iraq, was startled when President Bush, at a news conference, told the press that Brahimi was working on the new form of government there. Fisk pointed out that Brahimi is not trying to establish a future government, he is trying to arrange for elections, but they may not happen before next year.

Marc Grossman, under-secretary of state for political affairs, said the U.S. would put “a very important Iraqi face” on much of Iraq’s national life, but the American military, not Iraqi security forces, would be in charge of all security matters.

Fisk observed: “I can’t see a way out at the moment. Ultimately, I think it will have to be…an Arab league force. We’re going to have to see Syrians in there, Emirates, the Saudis, Egyptians, but even that will start to fracture across the Arab world in the Middle East.

“I simply can’t see a way out, when you build a war on illusions and fantasies, and you don’t get an international mandate to run it, then your occupation will fail,” he said.

Fisk also noted that in the British occupation of Iraq, it took three years, from 1917 to 1920, to unite the Sunnis and the Shiites and cause the occupation to fail. Bush and company, he said, have achieved that unification in just one year.

Unlike most of the Western press, Fisk does not foresee a civil war in Iraq. He said claims of that happening are simply neo-conservative propaganda. Fisk said there has never been a civil war in Iraq. “I think the reason they (Washington) are wrong and why I was wrong, is that they never appreciated that the Iraqi tribal system covers both communities—many Shiite tribes also are Sunnis, they’re in the same tribes.”

Sen. Joe Biden, senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said: “On 1 July, Iraqis will wake up and there’s going to be 160,000 troops and a U.S. ambassador pulling the strings. How does that take the American face off the occupation?”

Source: The Independent,

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