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Last Updated: Friday, 26 March, 2004, 13:13 GMT
UK envoy ponders Iraq's future
Sir Jeremy Greenstock
Sir Jeremy Greenstock leaves his role in Iraq on Saturday

Britain's special representative to Iraq, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, ends his role on Saturday.

He spoke to the BBC's correspondent in Baghdad, Caroline Hawley, of his hopes and fears for the country.

Q: Is Iraq as you expected it would be a year after the war?

No. I think nothing we imagine comes perfectly to being. But we have got fully involved in bringing Iraq to a new state, with democracy a distinct possibility, with the programme laid out.

But there is also a strong element of cynical brutality and violence still in the system and we have to make sure that that is eradicated.

Q: Who do you believe the insurgents actually are now?

Still the two main bodies - Iraqis who favoured the previous regime and have nowhere else to go, and the others who are connected to global terrorism.

These are practising something which is not just happening in Iraq, it's happening in so many other places - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, East Africa, western Europe.

Q: Can more not be done to stop them?

Yes, very fast capacitating of the Iraqi security system. Iraqis have got to recognise the foreigners and the bad people in their midst. We can't do that as easily as they can.

We're training them, we're giving them equipment, we're producing new services, a new ministry of defence, new intelligence service.

Q: Looking back over the past year, what do you believe the coalition's biggest mistakes have been in Iraq?

Everybody's always asking me that and then they just dwell on the mistakes. We misanalysed at the beginning, both before and during the conflict.

The conflict was over very quickly and some of the remnants of the army were left to do a certain amount of damage. But I think that the good decisions have been much more numerous than the bad ones.

Q: A year from now, what do you think Iraq will look like?

Still quite a lot of political competition; maybe a little bit of political turmoil; some occasional security incidents; tremendous debate about the writing of a new permanent constitution.

So turmoil in a good sense and maybe a bit of turmoil in a bad sense. Don't expect a smooth passage.


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