29, 7:04 AM PST
Interim Iraqi Government Delays American
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Despite handing over control of Iraq
to an Iraqi government yesterday, American diplomats weren't
able to leave the country for several minutes due to last-ditch
attempts by the new prime minister to delay their departure.
During a secret ceremony marking
the handover, Allawi yammered on and on and on with a
"long-ass speech" to celebrate the occassion, seeming
to ignore the steady streams of impatient sighs from the nervous
is the big day for Iraqi democracy, yes?" Allawi declared
several times in Enlgihs during the handover ceremony. "This
day is the first democratic day of Iraq, yes?"
"Well, it was really great
working with y'all..." U.S. Governor Paul Bremer kept interjecting,
constantly glancing at his watch. "You take care, hear?"
"Is great day, this day,
the day Iraq gets democratic government," Allawi answered,
The prime minister's words were
met with a spatter of applause from the small group of American
diplomats, many of whom were confirming their flights out of
Iraq even as Allawi spoke.
Most Iraqis on the street, arming
themselves for the inevitable civil war that is to follow the
U.S.'s departure, weren't impressed by Allawi's enthusiasm.
"The Americans do right
to leave now, they avoid switft and total death," said Mossama
Malud, a baker. "Instead we destroy this undemocratic government
imposed upon us by the United States! We are not a Florida!"
Many Iraqis are comparing the
establishment of the interim Iraqi government to what occurred
in Florida in 2000, when the Republican Party hijacked the democratic
process to secure the White House for George W. Bush.
Unlike the United States, however,
many Iraqis aren't likely to passively accept an unelected government
installed by a non-democratic power. Even as Bremer handed over
legal authority to Iraqis, resistance groups were gearing to
battle the "puppet regime of American corporations."
"This rebellion by dozens
of Iraqi terrorist cells, it does not frighten us, yes?"
declared Allawi at the end of his speech. "The U.S. is still
in charge of security for Iraqi and will put the resistance groups
in their place, yes? Yes? Guys? Hello?"
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