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US plans for post-war Iraq
T V Parasuram in Washington |
February 12, 2003 22:03 IST
The Bush administration has already conveyed its plans for a two-year post-war occupation of Iraq to the Congress, on the premise that the war is unavoidable.
"Americans aim to enter Iraq as liberators and depart after helping to create a stable, democratic government on a path towards economic security," Marc Grossman, Undersecretary of State, and Douglas J Feith, Undersecretary of Defence, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.
Retired army lieutenant general Jay M Garner, as the top-rank officer in post-war Iraq, would be coordinator for reconstruction and humanitarian assistance, the senior officials said.
General Garner would report to Commander-in-Chief of the Central Command General Tommy R Franks, who is responsible for the Middle East.
The Pentagon would play the lead role in relief and reconstruction efforts, but would hope to relinquish some authority quickly to Iraqi ministries, international organisations and groups, they said.
Grossman estimated that Iraqis could regain control of the country in two years.
The officials said the administration is committed to preserve Iraq's territorial integrity and ensure that a broad-based government representing various ethnic and religious groups is established.
Other objectives listed by Grossman and Feith include elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and its ties to terrorists.
On oil, Grossman and Feith said the resource should remain under Iraqi control and the proceeds should be put to use for supporting Iraqis.
The US plans, meanwhile, have alarmed some of the Iraqi opposition leaders who have urged the United States to 'liberate' Iraq.
Leaders of the Iraqi National Congress, the principal exiled group, headed by Ahmed Chalabi, have said the administration's plan risks leaving in place an Iraqi administration dominated by the country's Sunni Muslim minority and veterans of President Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, The Washington Post reported from Sulaymaniyah in Iraq.
They said the American plan, described last week in Ankara, seemed to reflect fears in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt that immediate democracy in Iraq could be destabilising.
A major problem in organising a democratic government in Iraq, analysts said is to give a balanced representation to the non-Arab Kurdish minority, the Shiites who are a majority in the country but who have lacked political power, and the ruling Sunni minority.
Chalabi, who did not attend the briefing by US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Ankara, said the US plan envisions that only the top two officials at each Iraqi Ministry would be removed and replaced by the US military officers.