Iraqis want leaders who can end chaos

BAGHDAD — BAGHDAD - While U.S. officials hailed appointments to an Iraqi interim government yesterday, a small sampling of Baghdad residents found little interest among them in the pedigrees and parties of the new leaders and Cabinet.

What interested them most, they said, was bringing an end to the country's violence, crime, power shortages and joblessness.


The new government, which will be in place until elections next year, also includes a prime minister, Iyad Allawi, who will have greater day-to-day authority than Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, the tribal chief who was named interim president yesterday; two vice presidents, and 33 Cabinet members.

"I personally do not care about who would be chosen, but rather about what kind of person he is, and how much he will bring to the Iraqi people," said Esam Mohammed, a hospital pharmacist. "We now want deeds, not promises. The Iraqis have suffered a lot."


Iraqis who were familiar with members of the Governing Council - the body from which many interim government officials were drawn - said the officials knew little of the suffering of average citizens.

"The GC are all freaks," said Maan Dawood Akram, an unemployed teacher who was exchanging money at a roadside kiosk in the Harithiya district - the neighborhood where a car bomb killed four people and injured about 20 bystanders Monday.

"Did they suffer like the rest of us? No," Akram said. The only ones who really deserve to be rulers are those who have suffered under the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein."

There were those, however, who believed that some members of the temporary government had the best interests of Iraqis in mind.

What they objected to was the large representation of political parties.

"My personal opinion is that all these parties have to be disbanded," said Basil Daghistani, an employee of Iraq's Power Ministry. "All of them have blood on their hands, without any exception."

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.