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New UN Iraq Resolution Gets Mixed Reviews from Iraqi Governing Council - 2003-10-17

Thursday's U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraqi reconstruction got a mixed reception at the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council. Some council members fear Thursday's resolution gives them no authority to govern.

While the Iraqi Governing Council unanimously supported the U.S. sponsored resolution before the United Nations Security Council, some council members are complaining that the resolution leaves control over Iraq firmly in the hands of the Americans.

The Coalition Provisional Authority still has final say over all aspects of Iraq's security, military, reconstruction and ultimately the U.S. appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

Some council members, like Samir Shattar Mahmud el-Sumaidy, say the U.N.- approved resolution should have given the Governing Council more authority, something he says he hopes the Coalition Provisional Authority will now do.

"On the amount of authority the governing council has and actually exercises, there are two limitations," he said. "One, our own limitation in terms of how much we can actually exercise because we have not yet built the institutions and instruments of power which allows us to actually exercise full authority, but we are well on the way. The other limitation is how much the coalition is prepared to divest or relinquish. That's very crucial."

Mr. el-Sumaidy says without greater power the council will be seen as lacking teeth, and credibility.

But, another member, Yodamin Genna, says the council would become meaningless if the Coalition Provisional Authority hands over power too soon, including control over its own security as many Iraqis are calling for.

"This would be reason for a big crisis and a big disaster in Iraq, crimes and civil war maybe, and many other problems," said Yodamin Genna. "So, we need the CPA forces to protect us now and to support us to rebuild in the construction and in rebuilding Iraq or re-establishing our state."

Mr. Genna says, despite the fact that the Coalition Provisional Authority maintains control over Iraq, the Iraqi Governing Council is winning the support of the Iraqi people. And, he says, the recent rise in the number of attacks against Iraqi and coalition security forces clearly proves that those opposed to freedom and democracy are growing increasingly more desperate.