Bush Plans Rapid Transfer of Power in Iraq

The Bush administration has agreed on a strategy for administering postwar Iraq that borrows key elements from its experience in Afghanistan and emphasizes a rapid transfer of authority to Iraqi leaders, Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

A senior administration official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said the decision had been made to limit US military governance to as short a time as possible.

After entering Iraq, perhaps even before the fighting is over, the United States would sponsor a conference of Iraqis from all the country's ethnic groups and regions who would choose an interim government -- much as Afghans met in Bonn, Germany, in late 2001 and chose Hamid Karzai to serve as interim leader.

The meeting to choose an interim authority would be held in Iraq as soon as adequate security could be provided for delegates, the official said.

The Bush administration hope that certain nonpolitical civilian departments and services -- such as irrigation -- could be handed over to the authority immediately. Other departments would be turned over as soon as political control over them was secured.

Institutions more closely tied to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime, such as the police and the military, would need to be dismantled and rebuilt from scratch and would probably be the last transferred.

The official said the interim administration would draw up a constitution and develop a plan for choosing a permanent government.

The Bush administration has still not decided whether to introduce the US dollar as an interim currency or use something else. But Iraqi dinars would not be used, according to the official.

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