Iraqi Governing Council Fractured

Financial Times:

The US-led administration in Baghdad was on Friday night fighting to keep Iraq’s Governing Council intact after two ministers quit in protest at the US crackdown on Shia and Sunni unrest. The interior minister, Nouri Badran, and the human rights minister, Abdul-Basit Turki, stepped down, as others among the US-appointed representatives threatened to resign unless occupation forces reined in their assault.

“There will be many resignations,” said Haider Abbadi, communications minister, before an emergency session of ministers and the Governing Council – Iraq’s representative body handpicked by the US governor, Paul Bremer, to discuss their future.

Leading members of the Governing Council blamed the US siege of the rebel Sunni town of Falluja and its assault on forces loyal to a radical cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, for inflaming tensions.

Adnan Pachachi, hitherto touted as a future president, condemned the siege as “illegal, ferocious and completely unacceptable”, and described it as mass punishment of its 200,000 residents.

Shias focused their attacks on the American counter-offensive dubbed “Resolute Sword”, aimed, US generals said, “to destroy Mr Sadr”.

“It’s as if the US army is out of control,” said Mr Abbas, the communications minister. “Iraqis can no longer afford to been seen siding with the Americans.”

Obviously, not good. This makes the June 30 handoff seem even less likely, not to mention logical.

Of course, the idea that we were supposed to ignore a private militia taking over a city, murdering American workers, and desecrating their bodies is baffling. As is the notion that responding–in an amazingly restrained way–to aggressive acts somehow provoked the acts to which one responded.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. US Citizen says:

    I hear about JUNE 30, often. What exactly is going to happen on June 30? As I understand it, there is no fully agreed to provisional constitution, nor is there any set of laws, or procedures in place by which Iraqis will govern themselves. American Soldiers will be removed…to about 14 megabases that are being built in Iraq in full anticipation of staying for as long as we want (There will be no “pullout”, fellow citizens. Why do you think they dismantled the Iraqi Military in the first place? So that we could then offer to “protect” the defenseless Iraqis, perhaps?). The Iraqi government will be handpicked by the Americans as the present governing council has been (In Iraq, the IGC are referred to dismissively by Iraqis as “The governed council” and even they are starting to come apart). I hear that Chalabi supporters are getting some of the minister spots which will NOT be subject to election by the populace, when voting comes around(Chalabi, a convicted embezzler with his own US funded militia, is as despised by Iraqis as he is loved by the NeoCons). Bremer’s group will be replaced by the Gigantic “US Embassy” which will continue to run things behind the scenes (Did anyone really THINK that the largest embassy we have ever built, anywhere, is going to be for diplomatic purposes?). Could it be that Iraqis are rising up, not because they are part of the “Freedom Hater’s Club” that Bush refers to, but because they are fed up with the LACK of democracy and freedom (not to mention security and stability)in their country. IN THE END, we cannot give over to Iraq, that which we do not possess, no matter how much our government and media spin this. At this moment, it is the REALITY that is speaking to us from across the world. Our duty as citizens is to listen, to learn, and to VOTE in November.

  2. Jim Henley says:

    There will be no “pullout”, fellow citizens. Why do you think they dismantled the Iraqi Military in the first place? So that we could then offer to “protect” the defenseless Iraqis, perhaps?

    Oh you noticed that, did you? I said months ago that the single most important number in the Saban Center Iraq Index tables was the stated goal for the Iraqi Army: 40,000 soldiers. In that neighborhood?

    The conclusion is inescapable: Iraq is supposed to remain incapable of defending itself on its own for as far as the policy-making eye can see.

  3. McGehee says:

    My latest understanding is that what happens June 30 is that a step is taken toward restoring actual full sovereignty. I heard a spokesman for the CPA on the radio yesterday pointing out that the best measures of Iraqi opinion say:

    1. Iraq is better off now that Saddam is gone.

    2. They want the occupation to end.

    3. They don’t want the coalition to leave.

    Those last two may seem contradictory at first glance, but the sense seems to be that Iraqis consider “occupation” not to mean the same thing as “coalition troops in country keeping (or, more accurately at this point, trying to keep) the peace.

    It would seem then that the idea is to try to satisfy the Iraqi definition of “ending the occupation” on June 30 if at all possible, but that will be largely a formal matter of setting the country on the path back to self-government and then to sovereignty.

    That’s the way I was able to make sense of it. Grains of salt mandatory.