"Progress" Comes a Little Late
By Jean-Marcel Bouguereau
Le Nouvel Observateur
Wednesday 15 October 2003
For its third pass yesterday by the Security Council, the United States proposed a final resolution clearly more conciliatory to the positions France, Germany, and Russia had defended. A resolution that, for the first time, fixes a date for the process of normalization in Iraq. It s not yet a question of transferring all responsibilities to Iraqis or of delimiting an end to what the Iraqis denounce as an occupation , but according to the terms of this new resolution, of asking the Provisional Governing Council to present a schedule for composition of a Constitution and conduct of elections between now and December 15th. It s a step in the right direction, concludes Joschka Fischer, German Foreign Affairs Minister. But if the new American proposal, according to Dominique de Villepin, expresses progress , it does not aim to strengthen the United Nations role. The problem is that American progress comes late, perhaps too late. Six long months have passed, during which coalition troops have multiplied their blunders, while violence continues to strike. Yesterday a Spanish Legion patrol was attacked; a suicide attack targeted the Turkish embassy in Baghdad, while Sunday the Oil Minister and another Member of the Government Council escaped an attack. New sign: while armed confrontations between Shi ite factions were taking place in Kerbala, one of the most radical Shi ite leaders, Moqtada Sadr, crossed a new threshold in his opposition to the American occupation by announcing the formation of an Islamic government : time goes by, Iraqis are getting impatient. The Americans must leave right away. All the more so, as, in spite of their arrogance, the Americans have still not succeeded in guaranteeing order. The reconstruction itself is slow: of the 49 bridges destroyed, only three are in the process of repair. As for the oil that should have made Iraq virtually the richest country after Saudi Arabia, its production has, for the moment, only reached half the pre-war level. Meanwhile, during this period, Iraq, according to a research institute on terrorism, is in the process of becoming a global holy war s new front .
Jean-Marcel Bouguereau is Editor-in-Chief of the Nouvel Observateur. He is also an editorialist at the R publique des Pyr n es, for which this article was written.
Translation: Truthout French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher
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