Burger with no pickle...

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Posted by Esarhaddon from accel12.lax.untd.com ( on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 at 11:53PM :

The U.S. wants to set a new puppet government and with new strings.

Its like going to resturant and ordering what you like what you don't like in your meal.


BAGHDAD - Two months after the United States declared the war in Iraq effectively over, top civil administrator Paul Bremer said Tuesday that reconstruction was on target, despite the slow return of basic services.

Dragging the country from its post-war chaos to prepare for a new government, judiciary and police force, among other things, has been a major state building exercise, while the coalition has faced almost daily attacks and sabotage.

"There have indeed been a number of attacks against coalition forces, Iraqi citizens and Iraqi infrastructure," Bremer conceded Tuesday, at a press conference in Baghdad, adding: "None of this is surprising or unexpected."

But he insisted: "We are well on track to establishing an Iraqi Interim Administration by mid-July as I have all along suggested," judging other rebuilding efforts also to be "on target."

The interim coalition authorities have spent nearly one billion dollars in the last six weeks on thousands of projects in Iraq, he said, although Iraqis have not hidden their anger at the slow pace of restoring water and power supplies.

"We have a lot to do in fixing the economy and fixing the basic services, but we are working hard," he said, emphasising: "It's only 12 weeks ago that we had a war here."

He said that all 240 hospitals in the country were operational - many of them were looted in the anarchy that followed the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime on April 9 - while efforts continued to shore up fragile security.

"We have called the police back, we have 31,000 working in the country and we expect to get at least that many trained up over the next number of months," he said, adding that former soldiers had been recruited as border guards.

Thousands of former Iraqi military were due to start receiving regular salaries from July 14, something that Bremer said would have to continue "as long as is necessary."

He said that with unemployment in Iraq thought to be standing at well over 60 percent, the interim authority was paying more than 1.5 million people regular salaries, describing the cash payments as a major operation.

The coalition had also reopened prisons in the major cities and had 100 courts operating, although the ongoing screening process to weed out former Baathists among the country's 700 judges was delaying the judicial process.

"We need to re-establish the credibility of the judicial system," he said.

The US official was criticised on Monday by top Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who said coalition plans to draft a new constitution should only be carried out after a general election.

The US-led authority says it does not intend to do that for at least one year, citing the lack of an electoral law, voter register, census and law governing political parties.

"There is simply no way to conduct national elections today," he said.

With recruiting for a New Iraqi Army due to go ahead in the coming days, in the northern city of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra in the south, Bremer said the coalition welcomed members of the former Iraqi army to apply.

"We intend to start inductions by the middle of the month," he added.

The army - intended to reach 10,000 people within one year - would be "motorised, lightly armed, largely directed at defending Iraq's borders ... it will not have internal security duties," he said.

And in a further step on the long road to normality, Bremer announced that international airlines had been invited to apply to resume commercial flights to Baghdad airport, in an effort to boost the Iraqi economy.

Without specifying a time frame, a coalition statement said reopening Baghdad International Airport - formerly Saddam International - was "imminent."

-- Esarhaddon
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