Editorial: Early power transfer in Iraq a good move

June 29, 2004

The decision by the Bush administration and the interim Iraqi government to transfer sovereignty Monday rather than Wednesday was a brilliant move that bodes well for Iraq's future.

By transferring power a couple of days early, the Iraqi leadership derailed plans by insurgents and terrorists to disrupt the ceremonies. Violence in the country had increased following the announcement that the transfer of power would take place on June 30, as insurgents and terrorists sought to prevent the situation in Iraq from moving toward normalcy.

But Iraqi sovereignty is now a done deal, and the Iraqi leadership has the legitimacy of sovereignty behind it. Now the Iraqi troops and Iraqi police fighting the insurgents and terrorists are fighting for their own country, their own government.

The statements of the Iraqi leadership following Monday's transfer of power underscored the importance of the event to the Iraqi people.


"Before us is a challenge and a burden and we ask God almighty to give us the patience and guide us to take this country whose people deserves all goodness," said Interim President Ghazi al-Yawer after taking the oath of office. "May God protect Iraq and its citizens."

The drafters of the U.S. Declaration of Independence could not have said it better.

And Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi made a speech basically reminding the government's foes that they are fighting against the representatives of the Iraqi people, not against a foreign occupying power.

"I warn the forces of terror once again," Allawi said. "We will not forget who stood with us and against us in this crisis."

Backed by the firepower of the coalition forces, which will now have training assistance from NATO, the Iraqi leadership is likely to make more progress in quelling the violence in the country than the former Coalition Provisional Authority headed by U.S. diplomat L. Paul Bremer.

One major element of uncertainty has been removed. As President Bush said Monday after the transfer of power: "The Iraqi people have their country back."

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