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Who Is Governing
A Guide to Understanding the U.S. Military Occupation
Who is governing Iraq?
The ultimate authority for the U.S. military occupation of Iraq is Army Lt. Gen.
David D. McKiernan. The top civilian authority is a former State Department
official named L. Paul Bremer III. As head of a Pentagon's Office of
Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), Bremer is supposed to
administer the country on an interim basis and to provide humanitarian aid,
rebuild damaged infrastructure and help establish a representative government.
Bremer reports to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and his top aides, Deputy
Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and Under Secretary for Policy Douglas J. Feith. As
the Post reported in early May "Control of the reconstruction agency remains
firmly with a tight-knit group of Pentagon officials and handpicked former
What are they doing?
For administrative purposes, Iraq has been divided into three sections: the
north, the south and metropolitan Baghdad. There are coordinators for each
region, plus U.S. officials running each of 23 governmental ministries.
These jobs are just beginning to be filled. The city of Baghdad was originally
placed under the control of Barbara Bodine, a State Department official, but she
was transferred less than a month later and has yet to be replaced. Southern
Iraq will be administered by Roger "Buck" Walters, a retired military man and
Texas businessman. W. Bruce Moore, a career military man who saw combat in
Vietnam and Somalia, will run northern Iraq.
Walter B. Slocombe, who worked in the Pentagon in the Clinton administration,
will oversee the transition of the Iraqi defense ministry. Peter McPherson,
former administrator of the U.S. Agency for international and a friend of Vice
President Cheney, is the "financial coordinator" for ORHA. Former U.S.
ambassadors Robin Raphel and Timothy Carney are in charge of trade and industry.
The foreign affairs portfolio is held by David J. Dunford, a former U.S.
ambassador to Oman.
How are they doing?
The biggest challenge for U.S. authorities in Iraq has been simply to restore
public order and public services. Widespread complaints about the slow pace of
recovery efforts prompted the Bush administration to bring in Bremer as the top
civilian in Iraq. At his first press conference in mid-May, Bremer painted a
romising picture. "This is not," he declared, "a country in anarchy."
What about the oil?
The U.S. is seeking a United Nations resolution granting it broad control over
the country's oil industry and revenue until a permanent, representative Iraqi
government is in place. Philip J. Carroll, a former executive of Shell Oil Co.,
has been selected to lead the rebuilding of Iraq's petroleum industry.
What is the role of the U.S. military?
The post-combat force is big and growing. As a result, commanders of the 160,000
U.S. soldiers in the country are playing a leading role in governing the
country. U.S. commanders appointed the mayor of Najaf, the Shiite holy city in
the south. Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the Army's 101st Airborne
Division serves as "a viceroy" for the northern Iraq, according to a recent Post
story. In mid-May 18,500 additional U.S. soldiers moved into Baghdad, operating
checkpoints, protecting Iraqi facilities, conducting manhunts and patrolling the
streets as a quasi-police force.
What about the Iraqis?
For now, Iraqi leaders serve in an "advisory" capacity to the U.S. officials.
The Bush administration has said that an interim Iraqi authority will eventually
be established to take over from the Americans. On Bremer's orders, members of
the Baath party have been banned from government jobs.
Among the Iraq people, many say they would like to see the U.S. forces leave the
country as soon as possible. This feeling is especially strong in the southern
Iraq where most of the people are adherents of the Shiite branch of Islam. U.S.
officials have expressed fears that the Shiite clerics may support the
establishment of an Iranian-style theocracy hostile to U.S. interests. But
representatives of the four supreme Shiite leaders in the country have expressed
cautious support for a temporary U.S. presence, mixed with distrust of American
Who are the Iraqis who will take over?
That is not yet known. In early May, Garner identified several five likely
leaders of an Iraqi interim government. One was Ahmed Chalabi, a former banker
who heads the Iraqi National Congress and is a favorite of the Pentagon. Two
others were well-known Kurdish leaders from the northern part of the country:
Massoud Barzani of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Jalal Talabani of the
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Another possible Iraqi leaders is Abdul Aziz Hakim
of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shiite group that
fought Saddam Hussein from exile in Iran. A fifth came from a secular group
called the Iraqi National Accord.
Opposition figures have voiced concern over the U.S. intention to push back the
creation of an interim authority and, once established, to delegate it with
powers far more modest than those leaders had originally expected.
How long will Americans run Iraq?
Unknown. Gen. Garner spoke off transferring authority to an interim Iraqi
government within 90 days. Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, has
said it may take longer than six months to do so. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld
said recently that "anyone who thinks they know how long it's going to take is
By Jefferson Morley