Tuesday, June 01, 2004

speaking of iraq

the picked a leader. thank g-d. he's critical of americans and is a law-and-order type. good work, iraq. here's the story:

Iraq Council Disbands; CPA Still in Power

Associated Press

The U.S. and Saudi-educated head of Iraq's Governing Council was named president of the interim Iraqi government Tuesday, after the Americans' preferred candidate turned down the post.

The selection of Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer to the largely ceremonial position broke a deadlock over the makeup of a new Iraqi government set to assume power June 30. Iraqi leaders said the Americans were trying to force them to accept the U.S.-backed candidate. The Governing Council then decided to dissolve immediately rather than remain in office until the transfer of sovereignty to the new government, said council member Younadam Kana.

A senior Bush administration official said the council dissolved to allow the new government to begin taking over responsibilities immediately. Still, the U.S.-led occupation authority will continue to run Iraq until June 30, the official said on condition of anonymity.

"We Iraqis look forward to being granted full sovereignty through a Security Council resolution to enable us to rebuild a free, independent, democratic and federal unified homeland," al-Yawer told a press conference.

The prime minister of the incoming government, Iyad Allawi, also announced his 30-member Cabinet. The administration official said the new Cabinet would begin negotiations on the status of U.S.-led international forces in Iraq after June 30 "fairly soon."

In those talks, the Iraqis are seeking greater say over the operations of Iraqi security forces as well as the 135,000 American troops and other coalition forces on Iraqi soil.

The new Minister of Industry Hajim al-Hassani told Al-Jazeera that as of Wednesday there would be "no more American coordinators to impose their will on Iraqi ministries."

"The ministries can make use of their available expertise but the final decision will be an Iraqi one," he said.

Al-Yawer, a Sunni Muslim who has sharply criticised U.S. policy in Iraq, will hold the largely symbolic post of president, while the more powerful position of prime minister goes to Allawi, a U.S.-backed Shiite Muslim with military and CIA connections.

Allawi, whose appointment was announced Friday, was chosen because he was considered the best candidate to cope with the deteriorating security situation.

As word of the appointment was announced, a car bomb blew up outside the offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which is located just outside the green zone U.S. coalition headquarters in central Baghdad.

The Arab language television stations Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya quoted police as saying about 10 people were killed, but the information could not immediately be confirmed. Another blast, followed by gunfire, sent a mushroom cloud billowing into the air. Coalition aircraft could be heard flying over Baghdad.

The PUK is seen as being close to the Americans, and fighters from the party backed American forces in last year's invasion. Under the leadership of Jalal Talabani, the party represented one of the main anti-Saddam forces on Iraqi soil after the Gulf War.

It was not immediately clear if the blast was tied to Tuesday's government announcement.

A roadside bomb also exploded near a U.S. military base in the northern town of Beiji, killing 11 Iraqis - including seven members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps - and wounding more than 22 people, including two U.S. soldiers.

Council members had angrily accused the American governor of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, of trying to install Adnan Pachachi, a former foreign minister, over their opposition.

Sources had said earlier that the Americans warned that if the members went ahead and voted for al-Yawer, the United States might not recognize the choice.

Al-Yawer, who routinely wears traditional Arab robes and head gear, was sharply critical of the American occupation in a recent television interview, blaming U.S. ineptness for the deterioration in law and order. Al-Yawer also has denounced violence against American and other coalition forces.

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