*The formula for the transitional government in Iraq keeps changing an almost daily basis as Paul Bremer searches for a way out of the various dead ends that his predecessors had set up for him. Now he is talking, according to various reports including Az-Zaman and al-Hayat, about cancelling the Iraqi convention planned for July altogether. Instead, he will just appoint a large 30-member cabinet with representatives from various prominent existing parties, along with indepdents, prominent women, and minority Christian and Turkoman leaders. The Communist and al-Da`wa Parties would be included. The new cabinet will be appointed within 6 weeks, observers say. It is amazing to me that there is not more comment in the US press about this toing and frowing in Iraq on the part of the American team. The virtue of a convention that elected the transitional government was that it had some claim to representativeness and indigenousness (though I know there are problems with that image). But to just have a 30-member cabinet appointed by Bremer sends all the wrong signals. And, it is likely that the Shiites will, as usual, end up being shortchanged, since only two of their parties are being mentioned as contributing to the 30 seats.
About the Author
Juan Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment and Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He is author of, among many other books, Muhammad: Prophet of Peace amid the Clash of Empires. Follow him at @jricole.