RealNews

Power Transfer in Iraq Starts This Week

After eight months of debate and delay, the United States this week will formally launch the handover of power to Iraq with the final game plan still not fully in place. The United States begins the complicated political, economic and security transfer with a general framework and a June 30 deadline for completion. But critical details are still being negotiated between the Iraqis and U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer, some of which could determine whether the new Iraqi government is ultimately embraced by the majority of Iraq’s 22 million people. “We’re open to refinement, and we’re waiting to hear what people have suggested or will suggest,” Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said in an interview. “What Ambassador Bremer and all of us have been doing in our conversations is listening and hearing and [saying], ‘Are there better ideas that would make the plan more refined, better and more acceptable to a broader group of individuals and leaders within Iraq?’ ” Besides figuring out who will rule in Saddam Hussein’s wake, Iraqis over the next two months will have to answer a host of deferred and potentially divisive questions: What kind of government will Iraq have? What will be the role of Islam? How much local rule will ethnic, tribal or religious groups have? Full Story

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