Iraq needs stability for reconstruction
Iraq is still in chaos.
Following the transfer of limited sovereignty to its interim government in late June, the spiralling violence in the war-shattered country shows no sign of abating.
A spree of kidnappings is the latest outrage. Muhammad Mamdouh Qutb, an Egyptian diplomat, was among those abducted after Egypt told the interim Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, in Cairo last week that it would help train Iraqi security forces.
But the captors released Qutb on Monday when they saw that their protest over Egypt's willingness to meet with the interim prime minister had registered.
However, the spate of kidnappings continued on Monday, with two Jordanian truck drivers taken by a group demanding that their employer stop doing business with the US military in Iraq.
The steadily escalating spike in violence reflects the uphill resistance that the occupation forces continue to meet after the handing over of sovereignty to Iraqis.
But no political pretext can justify targeting innocent civilians.
What matters most to the reconstruction stage is restoring stability and bringing a speedy end to the violence-plagued occupation.
The practice of taking foreign hostages and the unrelenting violence against the occupation forces have no doubt overshadowed the new Iraqi Government as it wrestles with a security crisis.
Outside the Kurdish north, there is almost universal animosity for the occupation, and the US-engineered transition that analysts feel has enough holes to ensure continued repression and corruption, despite its veneer of democracy.
The real test is whether the new Iraqi Government can master its own fate.
Will Allawi's fledgling government, which was selected in large measure by the United States, win hearts, minds and security control?
The hope is that if the new government wins the support of its people, this might in turn chasten the militants to end the insurrection.
Nevertheless, there are constraints on the caretaker government's regained "sovereignty." It is barred from making long-term policy decisions, and security remains in the hands of over 160,000 occupation troops.
A return to stability in Iraq is imperative for the entire world.
It is impossible to build a better Iraq unless the United States speeds up the end of the occupation and the United Nations gets to have the loudest say during post-war reconstruction.