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28 June 2004

Early, almost secret handover - is it coalition's first smart move?

The Guardian's Brian Whitaker comments on today's handover of power to the Iraqi government, a move which was brought forward two days and accomplished with no fanfare whatsoever.
"It was all over - and Mr Bremer had hastily left the country - before anyone outside the heavily-guarded Green Zone even knew the handover was happening.
"Disappointing as this may have been in terms of pomp and circumstance, it could be considered the first smart move the US has made since arriving in Iraq. Officials have finally learned - at the last possible moment - that a bit of guile goes much further than brute force in the Middle East.
"The big question, though, is whether the handover will make things better or worse. The US and British hope it will take some steam out of the insurgency because the troops in Iraq are, technically, no longer an occupation force.
"Legal niceties, however, are unlikely to cut much ice with the insurgents - so long as foreign troops remain, they will provide both a sitting target and a rallying point for discontent."

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