Regarding "Full U.S. Control Planned for Iraq" [front page, Feb. 21]: After World War I, Britain took power in Baghdad. This infuriated Iraqi nationalists, who felt betrayed by the allies. Civil unrest soon forced the British to hand over authority to a provisional Iraqi government assisted by British advisers.

It is equally ill advised for the United States, after courting the Iraqi opposition for almost a decade and giving the clear indication that it would help liberate Iraq and establish a democratic state, to forgo its commitments and take control.

Once Saddam Hussein is toppled, the Iraqis will look for administrative and technical assistance from the United States. They will look to America to support loans from the World Bank, initially on easy terms, to help establish democratic rule in a multiethnic and religious Iraq.

Iraqi Kurdistan shows that these dreams are not farfetched. During 12 years of self-rule, the Kurds have established a system of democratic rule (albeit far from perfect) that could be a model for the rest of Iraq. This was achieved despite extreme financial difficulties and daily threats to its existence. U.S. support was instrumental in achieving the success we have seen in Iraqi Kurdistan. I hope the U.S. administration will not ignore the Kurdish experiment.



The writer is a former minister in the Kurdistan Regional Government and consultant to Iraqi Kurdistan.