Our guests on Talking Point were Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN's special envoy to Iraq and Dr Hussain al-Shahristani, who was an early favourite to become head of the new interim government.
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has said the handover has been brought forward - two days earlier than expected.
This came as a surprise at the start of the Nato Summit in Istanbul after he'd been speaking with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Officials have said it might have been done in an effort to thwart guerrilla attacks.
Reports from the Iraqi capital suggest sovereignty has already been handed over at a ceremony there.
Was it a good idea to bring the handover forward? What difference will it make? How much real power will the interim government have? Can it bring stability to the country?
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received.
Iraq will be stable once the occupying powers leave after the handover. No occupiers... no one for the so-called terrorists to fight against. And once the Iraqis have true control of the country, including its oil, they will be able to fix the problems on their own.
Umer, MI, US
The prime minister installed by the American occupational force is vowing to crush his enemies. How it will affect the handover? - It already has, is it not obvious? Allawi should be calling for dialog and sharing of political power with leaders of the armed patriotic rebellion, if he has any brains.
Fred Laine, Canada
It seems yet another romanticized liberation deal, in the murky world of hideous agendas and hegemonic policies.
Ahmed Faraz, Pakistan
None of us here want democracy contrary to what people in the Western media portray. We would rather have basic necessities then the democracy that America is trying to impose on us.
M. Hussein, Iraq
Lots of top officials have been murdered in Iraq, it did not delay the handover. Violence now will not delay it either.
Our government is being given back to us, that is the power we are being given. And I think that over a period of time the fighting will cease, and we can all get along with our lives.
Adam Mirani, Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq
As usual, the Americans will do the work while weaklings with no moral compass cry for UN involvement. The UN has been invited, but decided it was too dangerous. They sat by while the Iraqi people were robbed. I watch young American men and women risk their lives and stand by the Iraqis. The critics should come down here and do some of the heavy lifting and less complaining. We Americans will wear your scorn like a badge of honour
Jack, Baghdad, Iraq
I think the solution should be for George Bush to go to Iraq as a Sheriff. I am sure with his military experience he will be able to solve all the problems, arrest the terrorists and bring back peace to Iraq. I am surprised why he has not done this yet. What's holding him back??
If violence isn't tolerated by Iraqis there is a good chance Iraq will emerge as a free country. What the Kurds do in the North and in Turkey will be the true test at the beginning of next year. Iraq's neighbours could help or put severe stress on the situation in many ways.
Dale Lanan, Longmont, Colorado USA
Americans are determined to wash their hands of another blunder they have made in this world, they have no care how many Iraqis, Afghans, or other people are killed in their struggle to capture all the world assets while giving back the burger, obesity, mind destructing moves, bad English language and corruption.
Of course the handover is just by name NOW, but it is a START. A start of a great idea, of what's to come. Do all you people really expect the US Military to all of a sudden pack their bags and ship out? Listening to what other Iraqis have to say, they don't want them to leave right away either.
Tim, Atlanta. USA
Would supporters of a pull-out have been in favour of British troops pulling out of Northern Ireland 25 years ago and leaving the IRA and Republicans to fight it out, leaving hundreds or thousands of Irish innocents dead?
To those who say we should "hand over to UN troops" - have the UN offered troops?
My hopes and prayers are with the Iraqi people that the new administration can bring about a stable country with food, water, electrical power, and the other things that are taken for granted in the West.
Stu, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
I don't know about handover, but I really feel bad about Iraqi people who are stuck between these two violent groups. Both trying to push there way of life on Iraqis.
The violence won't affect the handover because Bush and Blair are too proud and won't admit to the fact that the insurgents have an influence on the Iraqi people. The interim government won't have any power, after all they are just pawns in a game created by Bush.
If Bush really wanted to help Iraq, maybe he should address the people of Iraq, and ASK them what they want!
Alex, Toronto, Canada
Reading all these opinions is just a reminder that it seems no one blames the terrorists for the killings. It seems that everyone uses the expressions such as "the real problem" or "main roots of terrorism" and yet no one dares to look in the eyes of the terrorists and fight back.
Saffar, Dayton, Ohio
To Saffar, Dayton, Ohio. You say that "no one dares look into the eyes of the terrorists and fight back." Do you dare look into the hearts and minds of the terrorists, and ask yourself why? If the best answer you can come up with is they are evil or they hate freedom - basically, you are right and they are wrong - then you, like your President, are simply not looking hard enough. It takes not only open eyes, but compassion and understanding to win a war of hearts and minds.
This is a response to Joe from LA who said "The violence will continue until ALL foreign troops leave Iraq. For all those who think otherwise, I suggest you read a few history books." Hmmm. Are we not still in Germany, Japan, and Italy???
Darren, Atlanta, USA
The violence will not affect the 'handover' because there is no 'handover'. The US now 'owns' Iraq and if the new interim government does not fulfil it's master's wishes, it will be replaced. The violence will continue until ALL foreign troops leave Iraq. For all those who think otherwise, I suggest you read a few history books.
Joe, Los Angeles, USA
I will be the first to admit that the Bush administration bit off more than it can chew by invading Iraq. Nevertheless, why are so many people more set on seeing the United States fail than the Iraqi people succeed?
Kevin, Houston, Texas
It is so pathetic to see all these people complain about the US and UK, specifically President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. It is so easy to complain from a comfortable seat in a free country. Pathetic that these people will not give the same comfort to Iraqi people. It leads to the fact that these people truly are upset that Saddam Hussein was removed from power and it also leads to the notion that Saddam was much more peaceful than Al-Qaeda or the insurgents.
Well ask the Iraqi families who they pick as peaceful? The American leadership or Saddam/Al-Qaeda/insurgents? Truly their hearts state that they want democracy like the West. Too bad the complainers from the free, rich countries wont give it to them. Sad!! truly Sad!!
Anil Mathai, North Bergen, NJ USA
Anil Mathai: I am very grateful that someone from the US knows just how we Iraqis feel. I suggest that you do ask the Iraqi people what we want - it is not Saddam but it is not what happened in our country. We know nothing of Democracy and it does not matter at all to any of us. I wish you all just left us alone.
Omar, Baghdad, Iraq
The handover is a sham. Continuing violence is now inevitable whatever happens. Well done Blair and Bush for making this world a less safe place and for creating utter carnage in Iraq. In my opinion they are both guilty of crimes against humanity.
Anon, Staines, UK
The implementation of democracy in Iraq does not mean that Iraqis will start talking with American accents, it means that every Iraqi will have the choice to speak the way they want. The militants cannot justify their cause by killing people. Mandela and Ghandi made real their beliefs and that wasn't because they used a Kalashnikov or a bomb, but because they used their voice.
I don't think that any number of assassinations would stop the handover; puppet governors are interchangeable. No matter how much real power they have, the interim government will suffer from the perception it's controlled from abroad with so many foreign troops yet remaining in Iraq.
Legitimate elections surveyed and guarded by the UN are the only reason foreign forces should remain; let Iraqis guard their own facilities and people.
Paul Connor, Toronto, Canada
If the US sets up a government, they're puppets. Holds free elections, they're rigged. Hands over power, it's fake. Leave, and it's blamed for collapse. Ah politics, you are a cruel mistress.
The 30 June handover is an olive branch; a beginning, which is all one can really ask for at this point. I know the international community would prefer a greater gesture, but you can't build a house without laying the foundation first. It's a step for a Iraq, now keep walking.
Jenn, CA, USA
The insurgents are running rings around the coalition and Iraqi collaboration forces, and are far more organised and professional than Bush and Blair will ever admit. Maybe we should ask them to take over and look after security - after all, if they're not fighting who would be?
J FM, London, UK
Democracy is irrelevant in Iraq. They need a strong, united and incorrupt government with international backing to provide for the people. Democracy does not fill stomachs.
Alex Mangan, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK
Please keep your democracy. We Iraqis have no need for these lofty notions of "freedom" and "power". All we want is water, food and a job. You have failed to give us even these basic necessities. If you can't deliver, let us do it ourselves and take the puppets with you.
Sayeed Al-Awad, Iraq
Look, the Iraqis are more than capable of looking after themselves. In recent weeks we saw relative peace and calm in Falluja since an Iraqi force took control of the town. Chaos only resumed when the Americans started to interfere. The Americans don't want a stable Iraq since it will increase calls for the occupying force to leave.
Fuwaid Hussain, UK
The Iraqi people have a great opportunity to finally run their own affairs - we should stay for as long as they require us. We must help them to flush out the foreign fighters and other fascists that threaten the fledgling democracy. Then the country will be stable.
The saying goes 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread' and the invasion of Iraq was a rushed job based on phoney evidence. Without a clear exit strategy and plan for handover sorted out before an invasion is planned, any achievements or benefits of toppling Saddam are quickly forgotten and gratitude quickly turns into anger and irritation. The longer the handover is delayed the more time for people to become disillusioned and blame the troops and the more time for terrorists to enter the country to wage war on the west using Iraq as their battlefield.
Sadly, this was all inevitable and widely predicted but, now we're there, we have to finish the job rather than pull out and leave the country in chaos. I just hope that next time the politicians listen to people with common sense rather than the 'yes men' they obviously heeded this time round.
Nik, Reading, Berkshire, UK.
With more and more violence occurring in Iraq how can we contemplate the handover, surely this is going to put the current interim government at risk.
The legal hand over or the physical hand over. Violence will only end when the Americans scurry home.
The violence is intended to affect the handover therefore the only way to deal with it is to make sure it does not affect the handover. If, as a result, there are security problems after the handover then this is clearly the fault of the bombers not the Americans, the British or the new Iraqi government.
The terrorists and Arab separatists don't want a free, democratic Iraq as it is bound to be liberal and pro-western. However the handover should establish once and for all that Iraq is a free country with the Iraqi people in charge. Yes, they will need foreign armies to maintain law and order but the sooner they can leave the better, for Iraq, Bush and Blair.
Ed, Bournemouth, UK
Bush-haters can say what they like but look at the comments from actual Iraqis in this forum. Theirs is the only opinion that matters for it is their country, their homeland. If they feel good about it, then it is a success and the coalition is deserving of their appreciation.
Jack, Memphis, USA
Ordinary people warned Bush and Blair by protesting against the war but they did not listen, this is the outcome of not listening. They started it let them sort out. UN should not get involved, UN did not approve this war.
J A Khan, Middlesex
As an Iraqi, the only way to get our country back from Bush is to fight for it. If is necessary die for Iraq, we must die. We prefer be rule by a dictator and have our oil in our hands and not rule by an American puppet and the Americans steal our oil forever.
Interesting to note how much more optimistic the Iraqi and Iranian commentators are than their western counterparts. They are starving for freedom while many western liberals are choking on it.
Simon Irving, Bristol, UK
The greatest military force in the world today very quickly did a perfect job. It is now time for these great warriors to leave. The Iraqis are now responsible for their own fate. Our troops are trained to win a war not baby-sit.
Joe Pepe, New York, USA
Will the political, social and cultural rights of the Kurdish minority be efficiently guaranteed?
Hildegard, Vienna, Austria
As an Iraqi, I think it will make a difference as Iraqis will make decisions regarding their future and will be a positive step towards the democratization of Iraq. It will prove false the accusation over Iraq being an American colony. Security is essential to hold free elections in Iraq, as anti-democratic forces of so-called insurgents want to destabilise the country and stop its march toward democracy.
Hilal Chalabi, London, UK
The position of those who criticise Bush for this step (handover of power) can't be reasonable. There is no other way to reach democratic Iraq. Those who move ahead accordingly to the plan are worth to be respected and supported. Americans and other boys in Iraq, Bush and Blair do their job properly. Those who criticise them sitting in a quiet place and proposing nothing are not worth listening to.
Kozlovsky, Moscow, Russia
To Kozlovsky, Moscow, Russia: You are so correct! Those who sit and watch and criticize progress are nothing more than instigators and are not looking for the best for the Iraqi peoples. Bush and Blair have what it takes to stand up to what they and most freedom loving people believe in. Unlike the leftist liberals whom want to negotiate with terrorists and extremists. That cannot be done!
Chris, Phoenix, USA
The total chaos which will follow such a premature pull back, for US electoral reasons, will make the Afghanistan withdrawal look like a paragon of efficiency, especially in the light of the latest threats to murder the first prime minister.
Charles, São Paulo, Brazil
There will not be much difference initially but it is another small step along the way and acknowledges that Iraq is an independent nation.
Keith L, Rayleigh, England
Despite how loudly the UK and US forces claim this will be a true handover of power; I wonder how long this would last if the interim government started to disobey the inevitable political pressure from the US (and UK). Remember Saddam was supported by the US in his rise to power, only denouncing him after he began to disobey them.
The insurgents aim to create conditions in which the Western Powers withdraw their forces before an effective Iraqi government is put in place. They will undermine efforts to create a credible Iraqi police and army. The interim Government will continue to depend for security on the occupation forces and will quickly come to be viewed as puppets by the population which will become increasingly radicalised. The interim authority will face prospect of holding elections that they will to lose to radical anti-western elements (Islamic or otherwise). My prediction is elections will be postponed indefinitely.
Alastair, Glasgow, Scotland
The interim government has enormous similarities to the Petain regime in Vichy France. A meaningless puppet regime that only exists because of the military power of its sponsor.
There should have been a handover to a UN backed interim government and all US and UK forces should have withdrawn to be replaced by a UN force, ideally one with a large Arab contingent.
Carole, Bristol, UK
The Iraq Handover will now make the Iraqi interim government speak on behalf of the American government. It is clear that the US will be the biggest policy maker in Iraq; whether through its biggest number of diplomats in a single country, or the 30,000 troops or so that will remain in Iraq's future US Military bases. Iraq is the most recent state added to the United States.
SR , Homs, Syria
It's good to see that progress is being made. There were certainly be speed bumps along the way but you have to start somewhere. Perhaps there won't be a visible difference in the immediate future, however, this is a step in the right direction. We all need to think a little more positively.
Dave, Boston, USA
Yes, it will make a difference. They were ruled by an Iraqi dictator earlier, now they will be ruled forever by an American president!!
Amit, Seattle, USA
I doubt that the handover will make any difference. The problem remains that despite the UN involvement the interim government is still viewed as a puppet regime. I suspect that very little can be done to stop the disarray...until the natural forces take over and bring a semblance of harmony.
Uday, New York, USA
Please do not insult our intelligence by suggesting that the June 30th "handover" is anything more than a formality and cheap PR ploy that will change very little on the ground in Iraq. US and British interests in the region are transparent and are part of a long-term strategy to control the vital sources and supply-lines of the life blood of the world capitalist economy. The role of the new Iraqi puppet government will be to attempt to "pacify" the resistance to the country's vassaldom.
With rare exceptions, this US-managed strategy has largely worked in Latin America over the past century. It remains to be seen if it can succeed in a more complex context. Time, and the loss of far too many lives, will tell.
Robert, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The handover is meaningless. The future elections, if & when they happen is what's important. Unfortunately, I see another strong man stepping in, when the worlds attention is no longer on Iraq. This cycle is too often repeated, in countries where the US has decided a change of leadership is required.
Joe, London, Canada
Firstly, let's get one thing clear. We do not have "insurgents fighting the US occupation". We have terrorists fighting - in particular - the Americans. Plus their allies. Every Iraqi who holds a position of power or is there to represent the Government, e.g. Police, will become a target of the terrorists. Iraq is not yet ready to do battle with these people and to "hand over power" is to condemn many of them to certain death.
Terry, Epsom, England
The hand over of power will only work if it is to be a true Iraqi government not led by the oil consuming countries. Isn't it about time us so called civilised technologically advanced countries started seriously using alternative fuels? After all oil will run out in some of our lifetimes!
Laurence Markham , Birmingham UK
The situation in Iraq would improve when general elections are held and a leadership elected my majority of Iraqis is put in place. This will ultimately silence the fanatic insurgents who will then begin to face the wrath of Iraqis and the scapegoat of coalition forces would then stop.
Jenkins Vangehn, Monrovia, Liberia
Of course it will. Already, in news reports and official statements, the Iraqi governing council and officials are making statements regarding daily situations in Iraq. US officials have stepped back and given away their voices. This is a huge step for Iraqi freedom. God bless them all. Add something constructive/positive to Iraq, or else keep your tired, cynical, over-used mouth shut.
No. The Bush fascists will still be running the country for its oil! The poor Iraqis are still under a dictator.
Brian, Seattle USA
To start with your question needs correction. It is US AND UK occupation that will theoretically end on June 30. Symbolically yes. Substantively no. Because sovereignty implies that the interim government is independent economically, politically and militarily. Iraq will not be that on July 1, 2004. The difference will be that Iraqi security officers will be the ones to catch hell.
Solomon Terfa, Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA
What's sad about the take over is, its not going to do any good if the Iraqi's are killing their own people. Which has been the case so far. We are dealing with Insurgents who would do anything to prevent a peaceful transition.
The Iraq handover is the best thing that has happened to the Middle East for decades. It could be THE turning point for political reform in the region. Thank you, Mr. George W. Bush.
Marcin Wilk, Freiburg, Germany
Handover of the power to Iraqis is frightening but necessary .The first step is always the hardest one. This may become the start of new era in the Middle East. Neighbours of Iraq like Iran do not want to see democracy to be exercised by Iraqis because it will endanger mullahs regime in Iran, people of Iran are watching their neighbour closely.
This is not a real handover, it is a just a symbolic handover.
The Iraqis will have no vote on security matters, nor will they have veto over the US military.
What is more, I doubt that the Iraqis will have full autonomy to make business decisions about their oil assets.
The handover will only make a difference, if the Bush administration withdraws US forces and hand over full control to the UN and its security forces.
Tony, New York, USA
What is it that the Americans plan to hand over to whom in Iraq? There is no current infrastructure in Iraq, the country is virtually lawless, there are no credible political characters that the people in Iraq recognize, this is more like handing a bag of dust to a bunch of patch eyed pirates in the middle of a dessert storm.
Blanshard Meheux, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Please don't leave Iraq, otherwise Iran will take the control in the Middle East, and it could be the worst effect of the Iraq War in the world history. Please be aware of Iran danger in Middle East and for the entire world.
The "handover", a truly arrogant gesture, will accomplish nothing other than an acceleration for the splitting of Iraq into different regions, perhaps even "republics". The members of the so-called Iraqi government are not known to the rest of the Iraqi people. The only thing that is being secured is the oil flow.
Aristides Garcia, Amsterdam, Holland
Ironically the Iraqi authority will have a large amount of sanction over the US. It is, after all, an election year and Iraq is a sore point with US voters. The Bush government will be very sensitive to criticism of the interim Iraqi government, unwilling to confront it, and skittish about any criticism that comes from it, particularly in the run-up to the elections.
Mike, London, UK
I think a handover so soon is a bad idea. The region is to unstable and terrorist have to much of an opportunity to cause havoc within the Iraqi infrastructure. However a deal is a deal.
Machiavelli wrote that one who puts another into power is doomed, for that power is bestowed either by force or astuteness, neither of which is trusted by the one to whom power has been given. It has happened before many times with the US, in Iraq especially with Saddam Hussain. I doubt that it should be any different this time around.
It will make some difference presidential campaign. It will also make little difference in the oil exports. Since no one seems to care enough about Iraqis (even for keeping track of casualties for purely statistical reasons) that is all that matters.
I think it won't make any difference. The terrorists will always find a plausible excuse for their actions. Now they say they don't want to be under control of the coalition, they will demand the coalition army to leave and then they will say they don't want a US puppet government. I am afraid it won't stop that easily and as sad it sounds - without a resolute and hard hand that place will never get to peace.
Jan Frater, Prague
History tells us that change in the political situation of an Arab country just means the change of power from one group to another while the majority of people continue their lives unchanged or for the worse usually. This is what has happened to Iraq. The Iraqi people never chose Saddam and they never chose the 'interim' government.
So until, the Iraqis do chose someone can any real change come around. As for power, if the interim party call for martial as they are considering at the moment, then it is very likely they will decide that in the safety of their people democracy maybe too early- a story repeated many times in this part of the world.
The people of Iraq are much more optimistic about their future under democracy than the armchair politicians on this forum. That is more telling of impending success than anything else.
Aaron, Munich, Germany
The meaning of "hand over" will be in the minds of the beholder. Real sovereignty can come to Iraq only when people's democracy has been allowed to take root through a free and fair election. Only a government elected by the people can be considered to be truly sovereign. Unfortunately, the movement towards such a process seems to receive minimal attention because most of it is concentrated on entrenching the interim government. As a result the UN has expressed its unwillingness to step in, which will rebound on the real goal of electing a representative government by mid-2005. It's an imbroglio for which no one seems to have the answer while the people keep suffering in the meantime. There are lessons for the future.
This handover is purely for the purposes of the November election. It is a cynical callous approach that typifies the American policy in the region
Richard Corless, Bridgend, S Wales, UK
Power should be handed over slowly. Besides, the tug of war between different political and power hungry elements is quite natural for a newly liberated country. Experienced force is needed to maintain peace. Presence of coalition or American forces, even after handover, is imperative!
Agha Ata, Houston, Texas
The occupation of Iraq shall continue through the puppet regime. Therefore, no difference. Unless Iraq is completely free, this mess will continue.
Yes, the handover will make a difference. Iraqi oil will generate funds controlled by an Iraqi government which will spend it on the Iraqi people. This is much better than the UN oil for food fiasco which allowed Saddam henchmen to sell the food and become rich.
Gary Alles, New Hampshire, USA
It's not a handover it's an underhander. It's not a handover it's footsie under the table. It will make as much difference as painting coal black. You can't handover freedom, it is taken.
Michael Harris, Cork, Ireland
The more the Iraqi people want stability, the more likely it will happen. If they show resolve then the task of the international community will be made easier. If they buckle under to the terrorists then it will be a long slow vortex into chaos.
I do see a glimmer of hope in Iraq. It is important for Iraqis to see and feel Iraq belongs to them first. Of course there is no ideal hand over, but this is forward progression.
Marcus, Stockholm, Sweden
No, the handover of sovereignty will not make much of a difference. It's a public relations ploy to save face. The atrocities and the killings will continue. The US and Britain have been successful only in getting rid of the old Baath party and Saddam. However, a new more cruel, repressive, and dictatorial Baathist regime is lying in wait and will eventually emerge. Democracy will not come to Iraq. This Western adventure in Iraq has been nothing more than a gigantic waste of US and British tax payers' money and a useless waste of human lives.
Johnny Franco Arboine, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
It is time for the Iraqis to stand up on their own two feet again. We'll be there to help them of course, but in the weeks and months after June 30th, you'll see the Iraqi people find their inner strength to consolidate stability in their nation. July 1st will look just like June 29th, but every day after June 30th means that the Iraqis take another step into a stable democratic future. Its a shame that some people here and in the international community are more interested in failure for the US than success for 24 million people starving the inalienable rights they deserve by the very nature of them being human.
Jonathan Navia, Boston
The timing of this makes it look like a cynical attempt at getting votes for Bush at the next election. If it's not, then it's incredibly premature - the country's still a war zone with a demolished infrastructure. Hand control back? Hand what back?
I sincerely believe that the June handover would make a difference and put to rest the sinister motives of people who dislike democracy and liberation of innocent people who also deserve the right to live in peace. And above all, Iraq would move a step forward in weeding out those detractors of peace and democracy.
David Adom, UK
I must agree that the handover is an important step in what will be a much longer rebuilding process than our current administration will admit. However I cannot help but wonder if the timing of the handover isn't completely politically motivated. I've seen no evidence that Iraq is ready for self-regulation, but I have seen evidence that Bush needs a boost in the polls.
Jon, SC, USA
Such a mess has been made in Iraq that all I can see, for the immediate future, is more chaos and death, no matter who's technically in charge.
Kim, Calgary, Canada
Iraq will remain occupied. The "handover" will allow the oil and rebuilding contracts to be legitimised when they can be legally signed by an Iraqi sovereign state. Even an American appointed one.
Gerry Noble, Salisbury, UK
As a member of the armed forces recently returned from Iraq I am excited about the handover of political power. It is a positive move towards the country's future. With the US military remaining to ensure security, the new Iraqi government can begin to rebuild their nation and establish their security measures. This is a necessary step towards rebuilding the culture and economy in Iraq.
I don't think Iraqis are ready for handover yet. The place is not yet secure, bomb explosions are daily occurrence and the killing is continuing.
Kathaab Afandi, Spain
How can it make things better? The country is decimated by 12 years of sanctions, bombings and continued corrupt leadership! People in Iraq don't want hollow promises (like those made to Afghanistan) - they need help! Didn't the US claim they would rebuild Afghanistan too and it is still in the same boat as when they invaded - except there are 20,000 more civilians dead! You cannot impose a rule of law and occupy a country and then impose a bunch of stooges to run it. If the USA was serious about helping Iraq it would leave!
This is a desperate attempt by the Bush administration to gain popular support. It is absolutely certain that this Iraqi puppet regime will fail. What the population there wants (like in Iran, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and many other Muslim countries) is an Islamist government.
America needs to shift the burden of security in Iraq to other nations so that it can free up its military for other "assignments" in Iran, Syria, and North Korea. We have Iran surrounded on two sides and are on Syria's border. Either of them should present no military difficulty. North Korea is another matter if we want to prevent the deaths of millions of our friends in the south.
So what's going to be different on July first after the handover? The US will still be running the show there, it certainly won't stop the suicide bombings. Of course Bush can now blame the new Iraqi government for any security failures, hoping to take the heat off of him before November.
Scott Peck, Tucson. AZ
The international community should supply all the help Iraq asks for and not indulge in populist Bush-bashing. The new Iraqi government will only succeed in seeing off the terrorists if it can provide basic security and to achieve that they need our help.
Robert, Zürich, Switzerland
It will have a big difference in the psychology of the Iraqis. There is going to be an Iraqi face to the government. There will be violence, that's to be expected, but it will eventually subside.
Behzad, Washington, DC
There will be a power struggle in Iraq after the handover. The instability will continue until the strongest group asserts themselves. The Americans knew this going in, though.
Charles , Montreal, Canada
The handover may not yield any significant changes in the short term. With the growing surge in attacks, it is clear that the Iraqi government will need as much security help as possible. if the new government should request that foreign troops leave, then we should be prepared to do so. I am hoping that the handover goes well, and the new government takes root quickly. The sooner, the better for all of us.
Maggie, Clackamas, OR. USA
I believe that handover is a huge stepping stone. I am sure that most of the responses will say that it means nothing but those people want instant gratification. It takes time to incorporate the different facets of democracy before it is stable. In short, the Iraqi handover is a huge step in the right direction and hopefully it will lead to a democratic power in the Middle East that will prosper and be at peace with the international community and especially its neighbours.
Brian Quinn, Pittsburgh, USA
This so called hand over is something for Bush's election and it has nothing to do with Iraq or its people. When we have a broken bone we use a cast for at least six weeks and we do not use band aids. The handover is a band aid case. This will never help to set the bone in place.
Thomas Kantha, Japan
The handover IS a turning point for Iraq. It is a lesson in democracy's greatest virtue: personal responsibility. Critics and detractors will bemoan the lack of full sovereignty; some will use it as an excuse for further international inaction. I'd point that, though flawed, U.S. policy is at least trying to adapt in a helpful way. It's all too easy to subscribe to conspiracy theories about U.S. involvement, but we should all ask what I (or my country) am doing to help?
The handover is a step. Many will criticize it for not being two steps, or three. But neither Germany nor Japan were rebuilt in a year. It took 7 years to rebuild Germany and 9 for Japan. Progress was slow then as it is now. But if Iraq follows the pattern of these two countries it will be a peaceful member of the international community and have one of the largest economies in the world in 50 years.
Iraqis will be very pleased to know they are getting there country back from United States, which it should never have been taking away from them to start! I believe as an American that GW made a huge mistake by starting this war. I feel our country will never been the same again. In regards to the insurgents, I truly do not feel it will stop as long as you have the Mullah's next door in Iran.
I truly feel bad for the New Prim Minister Iyad Allawi, I hope he will get the assistance of the EU and the world to help and secure Iraq and the folks in Iraq. No one should be subject to such a style of living. No One!!! God Bless Us All
The biggest difference is the terrorists will lose credibility in claiming they are freedom fighters against the occupying coalition. They will be seen by all for what they really are. Brutal animals who want to rule by tyranny over the everyday citizens of Iraq. They are the enemies of freedom.
Jason, Detroit, USA
The occupation of Iraq will continue after the 30th June with the Anglo-American forces still in control. The puppet government installed by the USA needs the US military presence to ensure its own survival and security. The Anglo-American global hegemony will continue to get consolidated.
It should make a difference, however the terrorists will do everything they can to keep the Iraqi people from ever having true freedom. Creating instability and chaos shows that they do not want a free and prosperous Iraq. If they did, they would be helping to create stability so that the coalition will get out and stay out.
Kenneth, Edinburgh, Scotland
This is a response to Darren, Atlanta, USA, to read the history again. The countries you mentioned were invaded and occupied by the USA for a right reason. The Iraq case is different. Iraqis will never accept US troops on their soil. Handover or no handover, the violence and insurgency will not ease until the USA leaves Iraq. The longer it stays in Iraq, the more Osama will be born. The more Bush talks about terrorism the more bombings going on. Darren, you and your country have to learn many things from history.
Saifudeen, Bombay, India
I will not call it a "handover" unless the invaders leave the country. Secondly, patriotic Iraqis will not listen to a prime minister who was installed by the invader(s).Thirdly, the violence will continue even after the invaders leave Iraq. Because I foresee a multifaceted civil war and power struggle among Saddam loyalist, Kurds, Shias and Sunnis. Invaders have to leave but they can't. It is a no-win situation for the US and its allies.
Abdul Wahid, Madras - India
This handover is not a real handover. The "Interim Administration", formerly known as the Governing Council, did not suffer with the people of Iraq. Some of them even terrorised the Iraqi people, including Iyad Allawi in 1992. Minorities like the Assyrian Christian (my people) and Turkmen have been all but ignored, and some friends of the Government are trying to convert them to Islam. This is not a democracy. This is just another dictatorship.
Nasim, Melbourne, Australia (from Mosul, Iraq)
The so-called handover of power is just a hoax. It was invented just to show the world that progress is being made in Iraq despite the daily killings of Iraqi civilians and American invaders. But the fact of the matter is, there has been no progress made, the interim government will have no real power and their will not be any stability in Iraq until the Americans leave. The Americans must try and understand that they just can't impose democracy and their way of life onto a people who don't want it.
Can someone please help me figure out how the Iraqi freedom fighters are the ones who are being labelled as insurgents and terrorists rather then the Americans. Shouldn't they have the right to defend their country, their people and their religion, against a foreign invader? Lest we forget the tens of thousands of Iraqis killed by either the American sanctions or forces.
Mohammad, Sydney, Australia
It's really amazing to me that my country can come under attack - the USS Cole, The Twin Towers , 9/11 etc. - for years by terrorists and the world didn't blink an eye. But when we strike back, we are the bad guys.
To Kozlovsky in Moscow- Right on! I couldn't have said it better. It's obvious to any reasonable human being that this was the right thing to do, and that the hand over is the next step.
Janet, Nashville, TN USA
Security is going to be difficult, because of all sorts of fighters that were allowed to enter and/or grow in the country in the past year or so of the occupied forces rule. The occupied forces now even take comfort in 'they're not targeting Americans, they're killing Iraqis' - well, they seem to be able to protect themselves in Iraq, finally.
But since it is about Iraqis and their security, the (insurgent) foreign troops should just leave hoping that oil will have to follow, given they are the biggest consumers. Iraqis sure have good brains to take care of themselves, even though the American muscles have done too much damage. They need to be able to act acc to their brains, that's all.
The Iraqi resistance sees Alawi and his incoming government as puppets of the Americans, so how can the violence stop? What will happen eventually in Iraq is what happened in Vietnam, with the Americans fleeing and Alawi rushing to board their helicopter?
Reme Bursa, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The US must remain steadfast. Terrorism is a form of thuggery. Any appeasement or compromise will be interpreted as weakness. Terrorism and the closet cheerleaders of terrorist ideology need to encounter a brick wall of Western intransigence when violence is used for political gain. Furthermore, US strategy should not end in Iraq. Syria and, especially, Iran, are imminent threats. They are, and should be, targeted next.
There will be a paradigm shift in the Middle East. Its theocratic Augean stables, stuck in the Middle Ages, will be cleansed. The process will take time. There will be upheavals. Historians will record the same gratitude from the Middle East that the US got from Japan and Germany, which the US dragged, kicking and screaming, into the Age of Reason.
Adam, Raleigh, NC
The June 30th "handover of sovereignty" is a myth. Instead, painful realities will continue to haunt Iraq for years to come. Iraq's infrastructure has been destroyed. Iraq's once vibrant economy has been devastated by 13 years of US-led sanctions. Iraq has lost over 10,000 innocent citizens during the unilateral US invasion in 2003.
Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib have received no restitution for their suffering and humiliation. Almost 1,000 Fallujans have been killed as a result of an ongoing US military campaign against Falluja. And a CIA-supported puppet regime now rules Iraq under the military command of 140,000 US soldiers. The June 30 myth of sovereignty will slowly fade away as the painful realities the Iraq occupation continue.
Why has violence and terror in Iraq continued and escalated? The refusal of the western powers to unite behind a democratic Iraq is a prime reason. France, Germany and Russia (the same nations that benefited so handsomely from the 'oil-for-food' corruption) refuse to commit to an independent and free Iraq.
The corrupted people of Europe continue to voice protests against America's efforts to make Iraq a responsible member of the world community. Of course the Iraqi jihadists are encouraged by this. A united front in support of the free people of Iraq would have been a great help in quelling the violence. It's not too late.
Kurt, Chicago, IL., USA
The most brutal dictator since Hitler has been toppled but all of the world media are highlighting minor prison abuses by a few US troops. Over 20 million people have been liberated and a country like France that was oppressed and suffered under German rule for 3 yeas before D-Day is against the war in Iraq.
What is wrong with the world today? America was attacked by nations like Iraq that sponsored terror but the world is influenced against the US by France and Germany.
I don't think the violence will stop. The Iraqi people are paying a very high price indeed for so-called western democracy.
Kate Dorrington, Perth Western Australia
Another puppet government...another human tragedy in the making. Well done cheeky Cheney and Rummy the dummy-maker. Hats off to the brave American soldiers who fought for team-Cheney and Halliburton.
Joe Markan, Toronto, Canada
Let us be honest. Bush and Blair's murderous thugs are the only terrorists in Iraq. The insurgents are freedom fighters trying to liberate their country from foreign occupation. As for the ridiculous drivel about liberation and freedom, Britain made the same promises to the Iraqis after WWI, yet betrayed them and occupied their country to plunder their resources. The US is just a replacement for the UK. Eisenhower said so.
Hanna, Arab in Canada
Now that the US has adopted the Israeli technique of randomly murdering civilians as "punishment" for "insurgent" attacks we can clearly expect rapid escalation of the violence. The US will rewrite the meaning of the word "sovereignty" to encompass US martial law. Handover? - You must be kidding!
Dr Frederick Hause, UK/Australia
Active, selfless involvement from the UN and the world community is the need of the hour¿ to isolate the terrorist elements and make the people of Iraq feel more secure. So long as the occupying powers stay, the extremist elements will retain some legitimacy and sympathy in the eyes of the Iraqi people and the cycle of violence will continue - handover or no handover.
Girish Punjabi, New York, USA