The world’s eyes are on Iraq this morning as it has been virtually every morning since the global war on terrorism began. The first steps toward Iraqi’s themselves directing their own future have been taken…

The New York Times > International > Bush Administration Welcomes Early Transfer of Power in Iraq: “The Bush administration expressed optimism Monday that the early transfer of power in Iraq would strengthen the new government’s hand to deal with rampant violence and the threat of terrorism.

President Bush marked the transfer with a whispered comment and a handshake with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, gathered with world leaders around a table at a NATO summit. Stealing a glance at his watch to make sure the transfer had occurred, Bush put his hand over his mouth to guard his remarks, leaned toward Blair and then put out his hand for a shake. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a row behind the president, beamed.

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Bush was briefed Sunday that the government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi was ready to take power ahead of Wednesday’s scheduled turnover. The transfer took place as Bush met with Blair, French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and other world leaders. “How will the terrorists react ? Will their frustrations mount as more and more common decent muslims rise up against their satanic message ? Or will they resign themselves to the fact that their efforts will be futile as the Iraqi’s themselves chart the type of future they want for their nation !

Let the birth of a new Iraq today go down in history as a defining moment of change in a region torn by intolerance. — ZZB