Events seem to be coming to a head in Iraq. As the country lurches towards the creation of a transitional authority, the US ﬁnds itself pressed with an increasingly determined Shi’i demand for full democratic elections. In the north, once peaceful Kurdistan has been rocked by devastating explosions, killing some of the region’s most inﬂuential and able politicians. In the centre, the insurgency against the occupation continues to go from strength to strength, with the US seemingly unable to prevent escalation.
Faced with increasingly polarised positions quite clearly following ethnic and sectarian divides, the United Nations has returned primarily as a negotiator between the US and the Shi’a. But it must also contend with Kurdish demands in the Iraqi Governing Council and operate in an environment where terrorist cells strike with apparent ease. The stakes are high.