The Washington Post reports today:
Thousands of Iraqis marched through Baghdad Monday demanding elections to choose a sovereign government, ahead of talks later in the day at the United Nations on the country's political future.I'd say that's a hard point to answer. The answer appears to be this one:
"Just as there are elections in Europe and America there should be elections here," said one of the demonstrators, Abu Qarar al-Bahadiri.
"America says it is democratic and brings freedom to countries. Well then it should bring us elections. Especially as we lived through 35 years of darkness, we need to have an election that represents the people."
Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Baghdad, has said elections would take too long to prepare, and holding them would delay the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis next June. Yesterday he travelled to Washington for consultations.This is a practical difficulty, and therefore should be open to negotiation on all sides, whereas the issue of direct elections is one of fundamental principle. Returning, now to the first (WaPo) report, I find this - about the UN - perplexing:
U.N. officials have not ruled out sending a team to Iraq, in addition to one already planned to look at security. But they have given many reasons why the world body should not send a sizable complement of foreign political staff back to Baghdad.If this is the more decisive reason, then it has to be said that the UN is playing the fool in a double sense. First, because the UN Security Council has already validated the existing arrangements in Iraq - as embodying 'the sovereignty of the State of Iraq'. (See The Security Council resolution, old normblog site October 17; and the text of the relevant resolution itself.) Second, whatever the arguments might have been before the war, the question, now, is whether the UN is intent on a constructive role in easing a transition to democracy in Iraq, or an obstructive one.
Security is the main concern...
But a more telling reason, that has annoyed the United States and Britain for weeks, is reluctance to intervene and validate a process the world body had no role in formulating.