Iraq: November 16, 2003


The date has been set for the end of the occupation; June 30, 2004. There are a lot of unanswered questions with the plan to give a new Iraqi governing council "sovereign" power.  Apparently the deal is contingent on the new Iraqi government agreeing to allow US troops to operate in Iraq until the remnants of Saddam's government are found and arrested. While most Iraqis agree with rounding up Baath, it's a very popular idea in Iraq that Iraqis should do it. But the US does not want to risk failure in this department and is insisting that Baath be run to ground using American troops and under American supervision. Another, unspoken, reason for keeping US troops in Iraq for a few years is to make sure none of the Iraqi factions arm themselves and start a civil war. It's also felt that having US troops around during a census (necessary to accurately register voters) and the first national elections. American forces would tend to discourage cheating.


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