New Iraqi Government Announced
How weak the Americans have become in Iraq became clear in Iraq on Tuesday when their choice for the ceremonial post of president of the transitional government had to withdraw in favor of Ghazi al-Yawar, the choice of the Interim Governing Council. Special UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi announced Pachachi as president with the blessing of lame duck American proconsul Paul Bremer. But almost immediately, Pachachi stepped down in favor of al-Yawar, feeling that he lacked the support on the IGC that would be necessary.
Al-Yawar was resisted by the Americans on a number of grounds. They were not sure of his commitment to the Interim Constitution hammered out by the IGC with Mr. Bremer in February. (I suspect he is viewed as insufficiently secular by the U.S. He lived in exile a long time in Saudi Arabia and is supported by the religious Shiite parties, which may suggest he favors shariah or Islamic personal status law–though he doesn’t want religious law to be the only law of the state because of Iraq’s pluralistic population). Al-Yawar also vocally criticized the American-crafted UN resolution now before the Security Council as being insufficiently clear about Iraqi sovereignty and control of military movements on Iraqi soil. Al-Yawar was critical of the US siege of Fallujah and served as a mediator in resolving that stand-off. He is therefore not a secular, pliant, pro-American sort of Iraqi president, and the CPA control freaks were wary of him.
I reported in November concerning the original Nov. 15 plan put forward by the Americans for elections based on the US-fostered provincial councils: ‘ Meanwhile, the leader of the Sunni [Shamar] tribe, Ghazi al-Yawir [Yawer] (a member of the Interim Governing Council), warned of large-scale protests at the secrecy surrounding the processes for electing the members of the new transitional council. He called for “A de facto end to the coccupation, not just in name alone.” ‘ He is now in a prime position to press for such a de facto end to occupation, and that is presumably what the Americans fear.
The new government has two vice presidents. One is Ibrahim Jaafari, leader of the powerful Shiite al-Da`wa Party, the oldest and best organized party in Iraq now that the Baath is gone. Jaafari is now well placed to emerge as prime minister in the January elections. Lakhdar Brahimi had initially desired to avoid giving such posts to people like Jaafari, who will now try to use the advantages of incumbency to come to power. The other VP is the speaker of parliament of the Kurdish assembly, Rowsch Shaways, from the KDP of Massoud Barzani.