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The newly elected government of Iraq has requested an extension of the US mandate for providing their security from the United Nations, telling the world body that arbitrary timetables should be put aside and the Iraqis themselves should determine when the US presence would no longer be necessary. The Shi'ite Prime Minister, Ibrahim al-Jafaari, emphasized that American forces are not occupying Iraq but serve as "friendly forces" assisting the newly elected democratic government:
Iraq's month-old transitional government announced Tuesday that it had asked the United Nations Security Council to extend the mandate of the American-led forces here beyond the end of this year, and said Iraq's need for outside military assistance, not pre-set deadlines, should determine when American troop withdrawals should start. ...
Mr. Jaafari said Iraq's need for outside military assistance, not pre-set deadlines, should determine when American troop withdrawals should start.
"The multinational forces are not occupying forces, they are friendly forces, and they are helping us to establish security, carrying out missions in the interests of the Iraqi people, and under the authority of the government," Dr. Jaafari said. The government, he said, wanted an extension of their mandate "until we have defeated terrorism and restored security across the country."
The UNSC immediately and unanimously extended the mandate into 2006 as a result of Jafaari's request.
This development will surprise those who assumed that radicals like Muqtada al-Sadr spoke for the Iraqi majority -- a forgivable impressions for Americans who rely on the American media to inform them. Sadr gets a lot of press, but has only a small minority of the Shi'ite population behind him, especially since he lost Najaf and Karbala so badly during his own fight against the Americans. Sadr's vacillation between politician and warlord has mostly revealed him to be equally inept in either role. (See here for John Burns' own evaluation of Sadr from last year.)
Regardless, many Americans still see ourselves as an oppressive occupying force that creates strife in Iraq. Now we have two successive Iraqi governments, this one elected by the Iraqis directly, who have told us otherwise. They understand that American and British power stands between them and complete chaos while they complete the process of de-Baathification and rebuilding of a reliable and subservient security force that will enforce the law and defend their elected government. The Coalition doesn't create the violence in Iraq, and an early withdrawal would only encourage the terrorists there to step up their efforts to topple democracy and install a Taliban-like oppression across Iraq.
Jafaari doesn't want that, and his stand against it demonstrates once more that the secularists have taken charge in Iraq -- probably strengthened by the fanatical nuts like Zarqawi who insist that Islam demands the indiscriminate murder of Iraqis by the hundreds. We need to stay until the job is finished and Iraq can stand on its own as a democracy, able to defend itself against internal terrorists and external enemies. The Iraqis themselves know this and want us to stay. We should listen to them instead of the defeatist voices of our own media.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on June 1, 2005 8:08 AM
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