TITLE

Exiled

AUTHOR(S)
Zacharia, Janine
PUB. DATE
February 2003
SOURCE
New Republic;2/17/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 6, p16
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In December, 2002, at a Kurdish leader's compound in the town of Salahuddin, Iraq, Iraqi National Congress (INC) head Ahmed Chalabi and a group of fellow opposition leaders had hoped in January, 2003, to declare themselves leaders of a government in exile.The administration of United States President George W. Bush appeared to have endorsed the conference via Special Envoy and Ambassador-at-Large for Free Iraqis Zalmay Khalilzad at a conference in London. But the conference never happened. The opposition's official rationale for canceling was that the United States could not provide adequate security. American officials, however, say that's not true. The conference, now tentatively rescheduled for February 15, was in fact put off more for political reasons than security ones. And those political concerns are symptomatic of a more serious rift. Since December, the United States has grown disillusioned with the exiles and is increasingly shunting them off into relatively minor advisory tasks. Administration sources say they worried that holding an opposition conference on Iraqi soil could provoke Saddam into attacking it, prematurely drawing the United States into a military confrontation. But, more than a fear of provoking Saddam, Washington feared that opposition leaders would make good on their vow to create a provisional government in exile, something the Bush administration, which does not want the exiles to make up the core of a government immediately after Saddam is toppled, has rejected in recent weeks. U.S. officials have decided that the exiles do not command sufficient popularity within Iraq to lead a liberated nation.
ACCESSION #
9062024

 

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