Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Sovereign Iraq, my eye

It turns out the Iraqi "interim government" provided intelligence for the air strikes on the Al-Zarqawi "safe house" in Fallujah yesturday.

"After consultations between Iraqi government officials and multinational forces-Iraq, Iraqi security forces provided clear and compelling intelligence to conduct a precision strike this evening on a known Zarqawi safe house in south-eastern Falluja," Mr Allawi said in his statement.

Apparently, the intel wasn't all that compelling and the strike anything but precise. They missed their target, once again, and 15 people were killed.

It's good to see the Iraqis are having "consultations" with us before we go ahead and do whatever we feel like doing anyway.

It's a little difficult to buy the whole notion that we've turned over anything resembling "sovereignty." Besides all the poinson pills Paul Bremer put into the mix before he ran away with his tail between his legs, including unilateraly fixing the tax rate at 15% and making it a crime to drive without two hands; the Asia Times points out:

A barrage of binding decrees passed during the United States occupation of Iraq, combined with a lack of resources, heavy debt and the continuing presence of a massive US force, provide clear evidence that the recent handover of authority to Iraqis does not equal real control over the economy...

Juan Cole, an Iraq expert at the University of Michigan, sees limited sovereignty for the Iraqis from another perspective. He says the new US ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte, will maintain control over some $18.3 billion in US aid to Iraq...

"The caretaker government is hedged around by American power," Cole wrote on his online blog Wednesday. "Negroponte will control $18 billion in US aid to Iraq. [US Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld will go on controlling the US and coalition military. There isn't much space left for real Iraqi sovereignty in all that."

But they'll gain some really great death squads! Negroponte isn't there to dust pottery off in Babylon and he sure ain't there for the waters.


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