Posted 9:57pm November 20
by Vanessa Maltin
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
The Iraqi Governing Council and the U.S. occupation authority agreed on terms Saturday for the speedy end to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq by mid-2004.
Returning to Baghdad after a two-day trip to Washington, D.C., Chief U.S. Administrator, Paul Bremer, received a positive response as he presented the Iraqi Governing Council with a proposal to increase momentum in the process of granting Iraq sovereignty. In an effort to save the distressed political transition in Iraq, Bremer discussed various proposals with senior White House and Pentagon officials including Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and CIA Director George Tenet. The agreed upon plan includes holding elections early next year and forming a new government to write a constitution. President Bush welcomed the new proposal calling it an important step towards realizing the vision of Iraq as a democratic country.
“The plan outlined by the Governing Council meets the key mutual objective of the Coalition and the Iraqi people,” President Bush said in a statement to the press. “It also commits Iraq to a process for drafting a permanent, democratic constitution that protects the rights of all citizens.” And with rising security concerns as the presence of U.S. and coalition troops is gradually reduced, officials eagerly anticipate granting Iraq political independence. White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan said that last week’s announcement by the Governing Council was an important step towards achieving a free and peaceful Iraq.
“Iraqis continue to assume more and more responsibility for their future,” McClellan said. “After 35 years of living under a repressive and brutal regime, Iraqis are learning to take on new responsibilities themselves. They are learning the wonders of freedom.”
McClellan said he thinks everyone recognizes that security is one of the highest priorities for the Iraqi people and that the United States still has an obligation to continue the course and help the Iraqi people build a secure and prosperous future.
“There will still be security issues that will require the help of the U.S. and the international community,” McClellan said.
The decision by the Governing Council means that at the end of May when sovereignty is transferred to the Iraqi people, the job of the Coalition Provisional Authority will be successfully completed, McClellan continued.
“At that point, Ambassador Bremer’s job will be over and the CPA will cease to exist,” McClellan said.
The administrations decision has also sparked interest amongst U.S. college students. Republicans and Democrats agree that political motivations may have played a key role in the Bush Administration deciding to speed up the transition process.
“Bush thinks that the American people want a quick resolution in Iraq,” said Rachel Patton, a sophomore at the George Washington University and member of the College Republicans. “But if the U.S. doesn’t put a strong infrastructure in place the whole process will come back to bite us in the butt.”
Caitlin Lovett, a junior at Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the College Democrats agrees with Patton.
“U.S. forces are having a hard enough time controlling renegade Iraqi groups,” Lovett said. “I can’t imagine that a new government would be able to handle all of this.”
Both Lovett and Patton concur that the situation needs to calm down before another transfer of power is conducted.