Monday, June 28, 2004

Iraq Under Self Rule Two Days Early
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

In an apparent attempt to thwart any planned terrorist attacks, the U.S. formally handed control of Iraq over to the interim government today. Smart move in my opinion.

From Reuters:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United States handed sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government two days earlier than expected Monday, aiming to forestall guerrilla attacks with a secretive ceremony formally ending 14 months of occupation.

Iraq's outgoing U.S. governor Paul Bremer handed a letter to Iraq leaders sealing the formal transfer of powers before immediately flying out of the country.

The low-key ceremony was over before it was announced and came as a surprise to ordinary Iraqis. Its hurried and furtive nature appeared to reflect fears that guerrillas could stage a spectacular attack on the scheduled date of June 30.

At a second ceremony in the afternoon -- this time broadcast live on Iraqi television -- the government was sworn in and Prime Minister Iyad Allawi urged all Iraqis to stand together against foreign militants wreaking havoc in the country.

"I call on our people to stand united to expel the foreign terrorists who are killing our children and destroying our country," Allawi said, in comments broadcast around the world.

At the earlier ceremony, which formally transferred sovereignty at 10:26 a.m. (0626 GMT), President Ghazi Yawar hailed "a historic day, a happy day, a day that all Iraqis have been looking forward to."

Read the rest!


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