Sunday | April 13, 2003
Who runs Iraq?
Baath officials backed to rebuild Iraq
"They had a system of administration that will deliver," the defence secretary told The Observer.
And many were "perfectly decent people who have not participated in any atrocities".
There has already been anger in the southern city of Basra after the man chosen by the British forces there to run the city was revealed to be a Baath Party member.
Mr Hoon told the newspaper: "It is understandable people that have lived in dread and terror of this organisation should go and kick in a few doors."
But he added: "We have to ensure it does not get out of hand."
How long will the Shia tolerate a continuation of Sunni rule?
This is clearly the break point between the Iraq system of religious apartheid. After this, the Shia may no longer choose to go along with Sunni rule, no matter what guise it comes under.
SAVIDGE: But I'll tell you one of the problems is that police officers in this country are seen in a number of ways. Many of the police officers under the old regime were Baath Party members, and they were sort of the enforcers, not necessarily the protectors, of the people.
And so now if you send some of these police officers back into the same neighborhoods where they used to enforce, the people who live there will wake up and say, "What has changed? The same bad man who was on the street before is back on the street again."
This possibility is what the military has to be cautious about. They want to make sure these people are truly there to keep the peace, and to not try to say, "The old ways are back."
The first question for the US occupation is can they convince the Shia to accept transitional Sunni rule and to convince the Sunni that they have to share power?