Iraqi Interim Government
A plan for an Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) dates from the March 8, 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority document "Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period" (TAL).
During Phase I, a 'transitional period' shall begin June 30, 2004, "with the formation of a fully sovereign Iraqi Interim Government. The IIG will continue "until the formation of an elected Iraqi government pursuant to a permanent constitution as set forth" in the Law. The transitional period is anticipated to "be no later" than December 31, 2005.
During Phase II, "the formation of the Iraqi Transitional Government ... will take place after elections" for the Iraqi National Assembly "have been held as stipulated in this Law, provided that, if possible, these elections are not delayed beyond 31 December 2004, and, in any event, beyond 31 January 2005." The second phase "shall end upon the formation of an Iraqi government pursuant to a permanent constitution."
The New York Times' Dexter Filkins reported on June 1, 2004, that an "Iraqi President Is Chosen; Governing Council Disbands."
- "Led by a new prime minister, Iyad Allawi, a diverse cabinet of 33 Iraqis accepted their appointments in a ceremony marked by extraordinary security, a somber tone and measured promises of better days.
- "The formation of the new government ended weeks of bruising negotiations that prompted complaints of American heavy-handedness and a last-minute deadlock over the choice of a president. The impasse was broken Tuesday morning, when Adnan Pachachi, a former foreign minister, said he was turning down the job.
- "Mr. Pachachi, who did not attend Tuesday's ceremony, said the notion that he was the favorite candidate of the Americans appeared to have wrecked his credibility with the Iraqi people. ... Mr. Pachachi's withdrawal cleared the way for Sheik Ghazi al-Yawar, a Sunni tribal leader who had been backed by the members of the Iraqi Governing Council.
- "After agreeing on giving him the presidency, the Governing Council, set up by the Americans last summer, dissolved itself. Members of the new government, only a handful of whom served on the council, said they planned to start moving into their offices as early as Wednesday."
- "The cabinet includes Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians; Iraqis who fled Mr. Hussein's government; and those who were tortured in its prisons. Six of its members are women, and 16 of them were educated in either the United States or Britain.
- "Mr. Brahimi, along with American and Iraqi leaders, agreed to the formation of a quasi-national assembly comprising 100 Iraqis. Under the plan, the National Council, as it is called, will be chosen at a gathering of at least 1,000 Iraqis, after what is described as 'a genuine national dialogue' in July. The National Council would be empowered to veto -- by a two-thirds majority vote -- laws approved by the interim government."
See the list of Iraqi Interim Government Members scheduled to take power effective June 30, 2004.
"Officials Explain Plans for Sovereignty Transfer in Iraq." Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman and Lieutenant General Walter L. Sharp, director of Strategic Plans and Policy of the Joint Staff, testified before the International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives May 13 about the administration's plans to transfer sovereignty to Iraq on June 30, 2004.
- "At the national level, our focus today is on forming the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG). At the invitation of the Iraqi Governing Council, and with our full support, the UN is playing a vital role in the formation of the Iraqi Interim Government by June 30 and in preparing for national elections by January 2005.
- "In April, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi conducted extensive consultations with Iraqis as part of this process. On April 27, Ambassador Brahimi briefed the UN Security Council on his preliminary ideas for the formation of the IIG.
- "Based on his consultations in Iraq, Ambassador Brahimi has proposed establishing by the end of May an interim government led by a Prime Minister that also includes a President and two deputy presidents. A council of ministers would report to the Prime Minister. An Advisory Body, selected in July by a National Conference, would serve alongside the Executive but have no legislative authority."
- "The Iraqi Interim Government will be the sovereign governing authority of Iraq on June 30. But it will also be a temporary government. As Ambassador Brahimi has noted on several occasions, the priorities of this government should be the day-to-day administration of the country, the preparations of elections for the Transitional National Assembly, providing for the security and safety of the Iraqi people, and continuing economic reconstruction and development.
- "On June 30, Iraq will be fully sovereign. Iraqis have told us, however, of their desire to have limits on the authorities of this government -- an unelected, short-term interim government. This reflects the view among Iraqis that there are some issues best left for decision to an elected Iraqi government."
- "Iraqis have told us that only a government chosen by democratic elections will be viewed within Iraq as fully legitimate. We agree. The call for national elections in early 2005 was a key part of the November 15 agreement.
- "The UN's involvement in helping Iraqis prepare for elections has been, and will remain vital to Iraq's political transition. The UN election team, headed by Carina Perelli, has a close, productive working relationship with Iraqi and CPA officials. Ms. Perelli has recently reported that preparations for the establishment of an Independent Election Commission are in good shape. A nationwide nomination process, endorsed by the Governing Council, to select the commissioners is now underway. The plan is to select seven commissioners through a careful review process. As its name suggests, the Commission will be independent and nonpartisan. Even with this progress, we continue to face a very tight timeline."
"The Iraqi Transitional Government, which is also referred to in [the TAL] as the federal government, shall consist of the National Assembly; the Presidency Council; the Council of Ministers, including the Prime Minister; and the judicial authority." (Chapter 3, Article 24)
The Law provides some interesting guidelines, particularly since the provisions of both Patriot Act I and Patriot Act II don't apply in Iraq.
- Article 4: "The system of government in Iraq shall be republican, federal, democratic, and pluralistic, and powers shall be shared between the federal government and the regional governments, governorates, municipalities, and local administrations. The federal system shall be based upon geographic and historical realities and the separation of powers, and not upon origin, race, ethnicity, nationality, or confession."
- Article 5: "The Iraqi Armed Forces shall be subject to the civilian control of the Iraqi Transitional Government..."
- Article 7A: "Islam is the official religion of the State and is to be considered a source of legislation. No law that contradicts the universally agreed tenets of Islam, the principles of democracy, or the rights cited in Chapter Two of this Law may be enacted during the transitional period. This Law respects the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and guarantees the full religious rights of all individuals to freedom of religious belief and practice."
- Article 9: "The Arabic language and the Kurdish language are the two official languages of Iraq."
- Article 13E: "Each Iraqi has the right to demonstrate and strike peaceably in accordance with the law." See treating dissent as treason.
- Article 13H: "Each Iraqi has the right to privacy."
- Article 15B: "Police, investigators, or other governmental authorities may not violate the sanctity of private residences, whether these authorities belong to the federal or regional governments, governorates, municipalities, or local administrations, unless a judge or investigating magistrate has issued a search warrant in accordance with applicable law on the basis of information provided by a sworn individual who knew that bearing false witness would render him liable to punishment." See enemy combatant, which applies to this as well as the following subsections of Article 15.
- Article 15C: "No one may be unlawfully arrested or detained, and no one may be detained by reason of political or religious beliefs."
- Article 15D: "All persons shall be guaranteed the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, regardless of whether the proceeding is civil or criminal. Notice of the proceeding and its legal basis must be provided to the accused without delay."
- Article 15G: "Every person deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall have the right of recourse to a court to determine the legality of his arrest or detention without delay and to order his release if this occurred in an illegal manner."
"In a morning meeting on Wednesday [March 17, 2004], Mr. L. Paul Bremer warned the Iraqi leaders that they risked isolating themselves and their country if they continued to snub the United Nations. According to Iraqi and American officials, Mr. Bremer pointedly warned them of a 'confrontation' with the United States if the Iraqis failed to invite the organization back." New York Times, March 18, 2004.
According to a December 5, 2003 Statement to the Iraqi People by the Coalition Provisional Authority, and the Iraqi Governing Council, sovereignty will be restored to Iraq by June 30, 2004. See Iraqi sovereignty: June 30, 2004 for details.
- "The Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority L. Paul Bremer and the President of the Iraqi Governing Council Jalal Talabani issued a statement to the Iraqi people December 1 saying that their sovereignty will be restored by June 30, 2004 in the form of a Transitional Iraqi Government.
- "A permanent government chosen through direct national elections will replace the transitional government by the end of 2005 after a new permanent constitution has been drafted and ratified, the statement said."
The prospects for a democratic government in a "New Iraq", even a viable interim government, hinge upon a comprehensive nationwide census of the Iraqi population and the political process of national elections.
Based on a December 4, 2003 New York Times Op-Ed piece by Thomas L. Friedman, another hurdle towards a democratic government may also be the name for the "New Iraq" itself. Friedman says that "The first post-Saddam democratic government that the U.S. gives birth to in Iraq may be called the Islamic Republic of Iraq -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing."
- "The challenge of reforming any of the 22 nondemocratic Arab states [Friedman says,] comes down to a very simple question: How do you get from here to there -- how do you go from an authoritarian monarchy or a military regime to a more representative government -- without ending up with a Khomeini-like theocracy A la Iran or a civil war A la Algeria?
- "Virtually all of these Arab states suffer from the same problem: because of decades of political repression, one-man rule and economic stagnation, there is no viable middle class and no legitimate, independent political parties and institutions to fill the void once the authoritarian leadership is removed. Iraq exhibits this problem in spades."
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Agreement on Political Process
- Iraqi Constitution
- Iraqi Governing Council
- Iraqi census
- Iraqi national elections
- Post-war Iraq
- State of Iraq
- US Mission in Iraq
- Ali A. Allawi
Articles & Commentary
- Molly Ivins, "Won't Run, Will Bug Out," AlterNet, November 14, 2003: "Now we're going to bug out before next year's election, Paul Bremer has been called in for an emergency confab, troops must be down to 105,000 by spring. The CIA, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, has sent a report from Baghdad saying the whole thing's going south. We're back to bombing Baghdad. Forget a constitution, we have to hand it all over to the Iraqis right away. ... I'm glad all this bug-out stuff is coming from the administration - if some liberal said it, we'd all be accused of treason." (See Treating dissent as treason for reference.)
- George Packer, "War After the War. What Washington doesn't see in Iraq," The New Yorker, November 24, 2003.
- Joel Brinkley, "A Region Inflamed: Interim Government; Some Members Propose Keeping Iraqi Council After Transition" (Abstract), New York Times, November 25, 2003: "Leaders of Iraqi Governing Council, who promised to dissolve body when new provisional government is elected in June, are now lobbying to stay in power as second legislative body; opponents suspect leaders like Jalal Talabani and Ahmad Chalabi are afraid they will not win in elections."
- Bill Berkowitz, "Bombing and blasting while cutting and running. 'Operation Iron Hammer' aims to keep lid on resistance until after election," WorkingForChange, November 26, 2003: "Now, in one of the more cynical twists to the entire cockamamie Iraq saga, the Bush Administration has decided that come June 2004, it will turn over authority in Iraq to a provisional government. No constitution will be in place; no elections will have been held; the resistance will still be resisting. After June 2004, the U.S. -- especially the military -- will remain in Iraq as 'invited guests'. ... In effect, the Bush Administration is 'cutting and running'."
- Peter Beaumont, "Iraq morass will take years to fix. Long-term commitment is required, not Rumsfeld's rose-coloured glasses," Guardian/UK, December 7, 2003: "And the greatest problem in both [Iraq and Afghanistan] is the one that George W. Bush's great experiment to bring Western-style democracy tends to forget: the fact that self-interested local power structures continue to operate pretty much unchallenged in both countries."