The U.N.'s Delicate New Mission In Iraq

The U.N. is taking on a tough new job. A delegation of U.N. experts is expected in Baghdad in early February on a mission to determine whether full-fledged democratic elections can be held to elect a new Iraqi transitional government by a July 1 deadline. The Bush Administration favors indirect elections for the government through caucuses, but a prominent Iraqi Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has been insisting that only a directly elected government will be recognized as legitimate. The U.N. is expected to seek a compromise, such as bigger caucuses or partial elections. Iraq's future depends on finding a solution to the impasse.

Edited by Rose Brady

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