New Government Will Not Be Expansion Of

New Government will not be “Expansion” of Governing Council

The Iraqi newspaper az-Zaman managed to get an interview with an unnamed Coalition Provisional Authority official who sketched in some ideas about the shape of the new Iraqi government to which the US and the UK will transfer sovereignty on June 30. He expected a large body of technocrats, businessmen, and tribal leaders to be chosen jointly by the CPA, the United Nations and the current 25-member Interim Governing Council. He said that the current IGC would be dissolved before the transfer of sovereignty. Asked if the new government will be an expansion of the Interim Governing Council, he replied, “I don’t know what that would mean.” I take it he is declining to promise that the current members will be carried over.

The admission that the UN will have a role in choosing the transitional government is extremely interesting. If this step is actually taken, it will certainly add to the legitimacy of the government, which is only supposed to last for 6 months before new elections. Of course, many of us feel that the UN Security Council should appoint the transitional government itself.

I am disturbed at the list given, of “technocrats, businessmen and tribal chiefs.” That’s the closest the Iraqis come to a bourgeoisie. Why should such a conservative and unrepresentative group be given power (and a good platform for running for the subsequent election)? Why not include labor leaders? Is there a farmers’ association of any sort? I hope that the commission that forms the transitional government can manage to dump the expatriate politicians with no real grass roots in Iraq, such as Ahmad Chalabi and Iyad Alawi.

Meanwhile, the IGC has agreed to invite UN Secretary General to send a team back to Iraq to continue discussions about how transfer of sovereignty will be arranged.

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is denying that he sent a letter to the UN, and wants clarification from Lakhdar Brahimi.

The UN is denying that Sistani opposes its playing a bigger role in Iraq.

ash-Sharq al-Awsat/ AFP reports that Mahdi al-Hafidh, the minister of planning in Iraq, affirmed Wednesday that the UN would play a fundamental role in the political reconstruction of Iraq. He pointed to th international organization’s extensive experience in presiding over such reconstruction and development efforts. Al-Hafidh here was clearly attempting to offset criticisms of Brahimi’s report that issued from 12 of the Shiite IGC members, especially Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress.