INTERNATIONAL

Tuesday, June 29, 7:04 AM PST

Interim Iraqi Government Delays American Exit

by Brent the Johnson,
NA!P NewsWire

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 Americans.

"Today 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, nodding. "Yes?"

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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