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1/29/04 - IRAQ RECOVERS - 2004-01-29

The people of Iraq are recovering from decades of brutal misrule by Saddam Hussein and his Baath party. The former dictator sits in captivity, while the country prepares for self-government.

Adnan Pachachi is the current president of the Iraqi Governing Council. Mr. Pachachi was in Washington, where he met with President George W. Bush, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and others. Mr. Pachachi said that Iraqis are looking forward to the day when a provisional Iraqi government will have “full sovereignty”:

"The great thing in Iraq is that Saddam is in jail and that there is an open, democratic political process in Iraq. There is a free media in Iraq and we are moving to improve our situation. And the United States is, for some time to come, engaged in a serious way in Iraq.”

Iraq’s recovery, says Mr. Pachachi, will not be easy. But he says that, “The ideologies that have bedeviled the Arab world in the past century have been starkly defeated in Iraq”:

“The debate in Iraq now is focused on the rights of the communities of Iraq. Platitudes about large phrases -- nationalism, anti-imperialism, anti-Zionism -- are no longer the vocabulary of Iraqi politics. The vocabulary of Iraqi politics is the protection of Iraq’s unity. Giving the various communities their rights, removing oppression, and removing the scourge of the Baath party from Iraqi society.”

As the Iraqi Governing Council faces the challenges of creating a new democratic system, it must also deal with the practical aspects of building a modern, thriving nation. Among the steps taken by the Iraqi Governing Council is to permit foreign investment in Iraq. The council has also passed an income tax law with a cap of fifteen percent and enacted a customs law that encourages trade.

“We were torn from the inside, and we were destroyed politically, economically, and socially,” said Sayeed Farqat Al-Husseiny-Al-Qizwini, Director of Iraq’s Hilla University for Humanitarian, Scientific and Religious Studies. He speaks for many others when he says, “Let us not turn on each other, and let us not create another dictator that will oppress us. Together we can build a new free and democratic Iraq.”