June 28, 2004

Coup de Theatre?

A Parisian source informs me that Radio France International's breaking news bulletin on the early sovereignty handover declared it a coup de theatre.

Maybe, but a helluva smart one.

Attacks (bloody ones) will neverthless doubtless occur through the week and beyond.

But if anyone was planning some mega-attack on the Green Zone Wednesday--hoping to somehow scuttle the handover (or, more likely, simply to overshadow it)-- they have just been outsmarted rather handily.

It's been a good week for Bush, I'd say.

On top of this smart move on the handover, NATO looks to be getting involved, perhaps in significant fashion, with the Iraq troop training effort (btw, why don't we ask the Turks to let NATO train Iraqi forces in Turkey if NATO members like France and Germany don't want to do it in Iraq itself--and if Jordan and the UAE don't want too many more Iraqi trainees milling about?)

Of course, no one should get carried away about what the handover means.

As Richard Murphy puts it well:

Washington has oversold the significance of the June 30 handover and must now work to give substance to this symbolic step. Our problem is that the Iraqi people still perceive little improvement in their personal lives and no end to violence in their country. Abu Musab Zarqawi, al Qaeda's leading associate in Iraq, months ago advocated sparking a Sunni-Shiite civil war before July 1. We can assume that he and his followers will continue to decry the American occupation and, now, the "American transitional government."

All very true.

Still, all told, a pretty good week for the U.S. in Iraq.

And it's good to see that Dubya is looking to avoid a Houston '92 redux for the Republican Convention.

He's certainly trying hard to avoid repeating his father's mistakes.

Posted by Gregory Djerejian at June 28, 2004 10:24 AM