'Failed' American envoy to leave Iraq
By Patrick Cockburn in Arbil, northern Iraq
Independent" -- -- Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy
in Baghdad who tried to conciliate the Sunni people, is to leave
his post in the next few months said a senior member of the US
"Khalilzad really failed because greater Sunni political
participation has not reduced the violence and has at the same
time angered the Shia," said a senior Kurdish political figure.
Appointed ambassador to Iraq in April 2005 Mr Khalilzad played a
highly active role in Iraqi politics but the crisis has worsened
dramatically during his tenure.
The Afghan-born Mr Khalilzad was more effective than his
predecessors in cultivating Iraqi political leaders. He sought
to amend the Iraqi constitution before it was approved in a
referendum in October so it would be more acceptable to the
Sunni community that largely supports armed resistance to the US
occupation. Mr Khalilzad also played a central role in getting
rid of the prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari only to find that
his successor Nouri al-Maliki was more resistant to US demands.
Mr Khalilzad was skilful in cultivating good personal relations
with Iraqi politicians but often found they did not have the
power to deliver what he wanted.
His critics say he did not appreciate that Iraq is very
different from Afghanistan where he was US envoy.
While willing to open talks with some Sunni insurgent groups Mr
Khalilzad found the most powerful ones wanted to expel the US,
Mr Khalilzad is likely to stay into the spring the US official
said. His likely successor will be Ryan Crocker, a senior career
diplomat who is currently US ambassador to Pakistan.
In Baghdad, the chief prosecutor said the Iraqi appeals court is
expected to rule on the guilty verdict on Saddam Hussein by
mid-January. If affirmed he could be hanged within 30 days.
© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited
Click on "comments" below to read or post comments