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6/2/04 - A NEW GOVERNMENT FOR IRAQ - 2004-06-02

The destiny of Iraq is now in the hands of Iraqi leaders. The Iraqi Governing Council has been dissolved and is being replaced by an interim government.

On June 1st, Lakhdar Brahami, the United Nations envoy, named Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer as the interim president of Iraq. He is a member of the Shammar tribe that includes both Shiite and Sunni Muslims. Mr. Al-Yawer is an engineer who returned to Iraq after the U.S.-led coalition removed Saddam Hussein from power. “Iraqis are looking forward to a free, independent, democratic, unified, and federal Iraq,” says Mr. Al-Yawer.

The Iraqi interim government also includes two vice-presidents and a prime minister, Iyad Allawi. Mr. Allawi is a prominent Shiite Muslim who was a member of the Iraqi Governing Council.

President George W. Bush says that the naming of the interim Iraqi government is another step for the Iraqi people toward realizing a dream:

“A fully sovereign nation with a representative government that protects their rights and serves their needs.”

Sovereignty will be officially returned to the Iraqi government on June 30th. But, says President Bush, the ongoing attacks underscore that freedom in Iraq is “opposed by violent men who seek not only the failure of the interim government, but of all progress toward liberty”:

“We will stand with the Iraqi people in defeating the enemies of freedom and those who oppose democracy in Iraq. The killers know that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. The return of tyranny to Iraq would embolden the terrorists, leading to more bombings, more beheadings, and more murders of the innocent around the world.”

“The rise of a free and self-governing Iraq will deny terrorists a base of operation, discredit their narrow ideology and give momentum to reformers across the region,” says President Bush. “A free Iraq will be a decisive blow to terrorism...and a victory for the civilized world.”