Shifting Power

The Bush Administration backs a U.N. diplomat's plan for handing over control of Iraq. But stopping the violence is still America's job

Lakhdar Brahimi is a diplomat by trade and a political conjurer by necessity. An 11-year veteran of the U.N., Brahimi, 70, has the unenviable job of trying to make normal governments suddenly appear in places where in the past normal was defined at the barrel of a gun. In 2001 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan dispatched Brahimi to cobble together a new government in Afghanistan after the U.S. military had run the Taliban out. Today that government controls the capital city of Kabul and not much else, but make no mistake: success in the places where he works is a relative term....

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