French think tank slams US failure to plan post-war Iraq

20th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 20 (AFP) - The administration of US President George W. Bush is guilty of an "astounding" lack of preparation for the chaos sweeping postwar Iraq, a prominent French think tank said in an annual report released Monday.

PARIS, Sept 20 (AFP) - The administration of US President George W. Bush is guilty of an "astounding" lack of preparation for the chaos sweeping postwar Iraq, a prominent French think tank said in an annual report released Monday.  

"How can the American administration's negligence in terms of preparing for the postwar period be explained?" wrote the director of the Paris-based French Institute for International Relations (IFRI), Thierry de Montbrial.  

"In retrospect, the extent of the lack of preparation is astounding," he noted in the foreword to "Ramses", a wide-ranging report that includes a large section about the aftermath of last year's US-led invasion of Iraq.  

"If peace had been quickly established and if, in keeping with 'neo-conservative' thinking, a model democracy has rapidly taken the place of a dictatorship, only the disgruntled and the partisan would have dwelled on the validity of previous justifications" for war, de Montbrial said, referring to the ongoing debate over US claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  

"But the neo-conservatives and their followers in Washington and London made a huge mistake."  

"The real question is whether the model of a truly democratic Iraq will be viable once international peacekeeping forces - essentially American and British - withdraw," de Montbrial wrote.  

He warned that fulfilling the scenario outlined in UN resolutions on Iraq, which call for general elections by January 2005 and a constitutionally elected government by the end of 2005, would be "an extraordinary feat".  

But de Montbrial said the transatlantic row over the war that toppled Saddam Hussein - with France fiercely opposing the war - had simmered down.  

"Transatlantic relations were not shattered," he wrote. "A new transatlantic balance seems established, if not yet entirely stable."  

"For the most part, the United States once again recognizes the need, of at least the usefulness, of a relatively strong and united Europe," he added.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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