Baghdad, Iraq Lakhdar Brahimi, wrapping up his U.N. mission to bring an interim government to Iraq, looked a little tired and disheartened Wednesday as he said the compromise he negotiated was the best possible under American control.
When the U.S.-appointed Governing Council announced this week that it had selected a new prime minister, Brahimi seemed to be caught flat-footed. The man tapped for the post, Iyad Allawi, has close ties to the CIA. Almost immediately after being named prime minister, he called for the United States to keep its troops in Iraq, a position unpopular with many Iraqis.
Asked how big a role the American administration had in forming the government and selecting the prime minister and president, Brahimi reminded reporters that American administrator L. Paul Bremer runs things in Iraq.
"I sometimes say, I'm sure he doesn't mind me saying that, Bremer is the dictator of Iraq," Brahimi said. "He has the money. He has the signature. Nothing happens without his agreement in this country."
He later added: "I will not say who was my first choice, and who was not my first choice ... I will remind you that the Americans are governing this country."
At his first news conference since appointing the government Tuesday, Brahimi said not every Iraqi would be satisfied with the new leadership but under the circumstances, it was the best that could be expected.
The first meeting of the interim government took place Wednesday in the headquarters of the U.S.-run coalition.