The Corner

Loya Jirga

We are supposedly looking at three options for the post-handover government. One is sticking with the current governing council. Another is expanding the current governing council. Both of these would seem to be mistakes. The governing council does appear to have legitimacy problems. Exiles are heavily represented on the council. And they just don’t cut it in what is still largely a tribal society where personal connections matter hugely. The best option then is for some sort of loya jirga-like process to choose an assembly. It might look something like this. Iraq has 18 provinces. We would pick three guys in each province and give them the responsibility for picking 10 representatives to send to Baghdad. That would create a broadly representative assembly of—if my math is correct—180 people, who could in turn elect a cabinet. This process would give us some loose control, since we would be selecting the people at the beginning of it, while ensuring that all factions in the country get a voice. This is the process we should be lobbying U.N. representative Lakhdar Brahimi to bless.

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