Richard Wolffe

Stories by Richard Wolffe

  • Force Versus Diplomacy

    The world has split into two. On one side, there are the anti-war peaceniks who thought the United Nations and its weapons inspectors could keep Saddam Hussein in his box. On the other, there are the hawkish warmongers who thought Saddam was already out of his box and building the bomb. Both sides know in their heart of hearts that they are right and their opponents are both dangerous and dumb. If anything, in the months since Saddam fled Baghdad, the divide between them has only grown deeper and more scornful.But what if both sides were right? What if the U.N. had worked in part and failed in part? What if war had succeeded and faltered at the same time? Then where would we be?We'd be living in the real world--which turns out to be the same world as David Kay's, the man leading the hunt for Saddam's weapons in Iraq. Most of the headlines about Kay's interim report picked out one glaring fact: Kay has found no weapons of mass destruction. That is indeed striking, and worrying for...
  • Phoenix From The Ashes

    Inside the dowdy lobby of the United Nations headquarters, opposite a collection of children's paintings about world peace, there's a photo display of about two dozen U.N. officials. Through the course of last week, as the world's leaders met nearby, a steady procession of U.N. staff would walk up to the photos, shake their heads and sigh.The photos are only the most visible reminder of the United Nations' trauma since a truck bomb destroyed its offices in Baghdad last month. To U.N. officials, the pictures of their fallen colleagues are a daily reminder of the deep sense of dismay and discomfort they feel about rebuilding Iraq.For Kofi Annan, the United Nations' mild-mannered secretary-general, Iraq has become the biggest personal and professional crisis of his career. Annan was already taking the heat from world leaders--especially in South Africa, Brazil and the gulf states--to condemn President George W. Bush's war and his roughing up of the Security Council earlier this year....
  • Diplomatic Diary: Credibility Gap

    It started out as just 16 words in the president's State of the Union address. But like all good examples of political chaos theory, it's the smallest details that can cause the biggest dislocations. If only the White House had dropped the brief line about Saddam's nuclear program and the link with Africa. That, at least, was the sentiment inside the Bush administration back in July, when it first got a taste of the kind of trial by fire that Tony Blair, the British prime minister, has been enduring for months.Back then, at the start of summer, the White House halted the runaway train by tying two senior officials to the track: George Tenet, the director of the CIA, and Stephen Hadley, deputy national security advisor to the president. With not one but two officials sacrificing themselves (at least with public admissions of guilt), the seemingly technical story just evaporated into the summer heat. But the truth is that the story never went away. The White House tactics of dumping...
  • Diplomatic Diary: Short On Friends

    One year ago, George W. Bush stood in front of the green-marble podium inside the United Nations to issue a stark challenge to the rest of the world. Iraq, he said, was a mortal threat to the U.N. and to peace. "All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment," he warned. "Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?"By most measures, the U.N. flunked the Bush test. The Security Council spoke of serious consequences, but refused to support the war. In the president's terms, the U.N. was now irrelevant.Yet there was President Bush again on Tuesday, standing by the same green marble. On the sidelines, his diplomats were pressing for U.N. help to rebuild Iraq while Bush made his own case. Rather than irrelevent, the United Nations he described in his speech is doing "vital and effective work" in Iraq. According to the president, the U.N. is now even united about its "fundamental principles" including global...
  • Here We Go Again

    Another Iraq resolution, another go-round at the U.N. Security Council. Surely it couldn't be as bad as the last time, when those warmongering Americans and Brits slapped down the Franco-German "axis of weasels" and invaded--right on schedule. The war was won, Iraq was liberated. True, there's the matter of the missing WMD, not to mention a spot of bother on the postwar road to peace and reconstruction. Now come the Americans, hat in hand, asking the United Nations for a little help. Surely, we'll all be spared the rancor and recrimination of last winter, won't we?Not a chance. If anything, the next confrontation promises to be as nasty as the last, and possibly more damaging to the transatlantic relationship. Reason: the Bush administration is desperate. With Iraq in chaos, it needs the semblance of multinational cooperation more than ever. And this time, it's personal. President George W. Bush was angry with Germany and France half a year ago; this time, with the 2004 elections,...
  • Diplomatic Diary: Style Over Substance

    It's turning into an end-of-summer ritual, as seasonal as the cooler air and the start of the school year. If it's September, it must be time to talk Iraq to the United Nations.This year, judging by the press coverage, you might think we're headed for one of two versions of fall at the U.N.. Either the Bush administration has just reversed its go-it-alone policy and the world is about to give itself one giant group hug in Iraq. Or the rest of the world (led by those ever-untrustworthy French and Germans) are going to slash and burn the latest olive branch from President Bush.In fact, there is a third scenario that is far more likely--and far closer to what happened in New York last year. Amid all the fanfare about Bush's challenge to the U.N. last September, and the anti-Saddam resolution that followed, one thing is now clear: nothing much changed. The United States invaded Iraq with just the British on board, and most of the rest of the world turned away. In reality, all sides got...
  • Diplomatic Diary: The Failure Of Rhetoric

    Just one week after the war against the Taliban began, George W. Bush issued a series of promises that might sound a little familiar by now.He pledged to work with other nations to make the country stable once the battle was won. He suggested the United Nations could play a vital role by taking over "the so-called nation-building" after the war. "I would call it the stabilization of a future government," he told reporters at a White House press conference. He even promised to "stay the course" to win the wider war against terror.That was October 2001 and the country in question was Afghanistan. Almost two years later, it's worth looking back at the first battleground in the war on terror if you want to look forward to figure out the future of Iraq.Two years is hardly staying the course, but even in that short period, the White House--along with its allies--has largely failed to live up to its rhetoric in Afghanistan. Take the Bush administration's current focus, for instance. In...
  • Diplomatic Diary: The Ever-Expanding War on Terror

    Make no mistake: the war on terror just expanded. As President Bush and his senior officials fan out across the media and the country making big speeches this week, it's clear they are preparing America and the world for what's to come in Iraq. And what's to come is a far longer, more ambitious project than anyone imagined.Of course, the White House always said it would be long. But that was in the days when it was just fighting Al Qaeda, and the shadowy terrorist network was hard to hunt down. After those post-9-11 weeks, the war expanded in two other ways. The first was the shift from Al Qaeda to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The second was what we've seen over the last week or so: the shift from Iraq to the broader Middle East.The war on terror is such an elastic phrase, it can mean almost anything you want. Today, White House officials say the war on terror that began on 9-11 has moved to what they call "three main theaters"--Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian...
  • Diplomatic Diary: The Real Target

    It wasn't just the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad that was blown apart by Tuesday's truck bomb. It was the long-standing hope and belief inside Washington that some day soon the reconstruction of Iraq would turn around from torment to triumph.The deaths of at least 20 U.N. workers and Iraqis--including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N. Secretary General's special representative in Iraq--were devastating in themselves. But like all acts of terrorism, the political target was just as important. That target was the reconstruction process itself, especially the prospect that Iraqi citizens or the international community could help the United States in its grand vision for Iraq's democratic future.In the past week alone, terrorists blew up the water supply to parts of Baghdad as well as the newly reopened oil pipeline to Turkey. The former was supposed to keep Iraqis alive in the searing heat of the summer; the latter was supposed to keep the new Iraqi government alive with some...
  • Diplomatic Diary: Two Allies--And Two Brothers

    What kind of alliance is there left between the United States and Saudi Arabia? First came the second-guessing over the pre-9/11 intelligence after last week's congressional report. Now the really lasting impact of that report looks like the further weakening of ties between Washington and Riyadh.Prince Saud Al Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, pleaded with President George W. Bush on Tuesday to declassify some 28 blank pages dealing with Saudi Arabia. Saudi officials said they were desperate to rebut in public the suggestion that Saudi officials supported the 9/11 hijackers. Yet in an unusually public dispute for what is traditionally a highly private relationship, the U.S. president said no. "It makes no sense to declassify when we've got an ongoing investigation," Bush said at a Rose Garden news conference. "That could jeopardize that investigation. And it made no sense to declassify ... during the war on terror, because it would help the enemy if they knew our sources and...
  • Walking Into Trouble

    The phone rang at 5 a.m. in early July at the home of a North Korea expert in the Bush administration. The caller had serious news from the U.S. Air Force's nuclear-detection team. For months the team had been sampling the air above the Yongbyon nuclear complex, looking for evidence that the facility was back in the arms business. Now there was no doubt: the team's sensors had detected the radioactive gas Krypton-85--proof that the North was turning its stockpile of spent fuel rods into weapons-grade plutonium, just as dictator Kim Jong Il had been threatening. And what was the reaction to the dawn alert? "I was back to sleep in 30 seconds," the expert told NEWSWEEK.If Bush's advisers are at all worried by North Korea's doomsday behavior, they're doing a great job of hiding it. South Korea's military analysts are predicting that military conflict could come before winter. The warning was echoed in a Washington Post interview last week by former Defense secretary William Perry. Yet U...
  • Diplomatic Diary: The End Of The Crown Princes

    Call it the tale of three corpses. The first two marked the end of one of the biggest mysteries in Iraq. The third marks the beginning of one of the biggest mysteries in London.The deaths of Uday and Qusay--confirmed on Tuesday by U.S. CENTCOM in Iraq--represent more than just the delivery of American justice to the murderous and sometimes psychotic sons of Saddam Hussein. Their demise in a protracted battle in the northern Iraq city of Mosul is one of the single most important stages in helping to rebuild the traumatized nation.As critical as repairing the decrepit electricity network, their deaths should lay to rest two of the ghouls haunting Iraqi citizens, and blocking their cooperation with the occupying forces. Iraqis have been terrorized by decades of Saddam's tyranny and remain terrified of the criminals and militias operating as saboteurs and guerrillas today. But the terror really lies within: the terror of Saddam's return. According to one group of Pentagon advisers, a...
  • The Best-Laid Plans

    Chatting on a shaded veranda at one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces, the American general spoke with disarming candor. It was mid-May in the dictator's hometown of Tikrit, already a month after the regime's fall, but no one could say when or how genuine peace would be established. Asked if the Army had a template for peacekeeping in Iraq, V Corps commander Lt. Gen. William Wallace laughed softly to himself. "Well," he answered, "we're making this up here as we go along."They had no choice. Bush advisers never guessed that the postwar reconstruction would be so difficult. After months of denial, senior officials now admit there has been serious frustration at the White House over the unexpectedly slow pace of restoring civil order and rebuilding the country. Many of the problems may have been inevitable consequences of Saddam's misrule. But the difficulties have been multiplied by conflicts and confusion within the administration. The brief term of retired Gen. Jay Garner, the...
  • Diplomatic Diary: Giving Peace A Chance

    The way the president greeted the first reports of a Palestinian ceasefire, you could be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss was about. Standing beside the leaders of the European Union inside the gilded East Room of the White House, Bush poured scorn on the whole story. ...
  • The Next Flashpoint

    After three nights of protests in Tehran, the plainclothed militia decided to send a message to the students on the other side of the barricades. "First they tear-gassed the building, then they came in swinging their batons," says a gaunt-faced student who was in the Shahid Hemat dormitory on the night of Friday, June 13. A handful of his terrified dorm mates jumped out of a second-floor window. When they hit the ground, members of the Ansar-e-Hezbollah militia were waiting for them with brass knuckles, knives and electric batons. "There were people with stab wounds and broken noses. One guy was beaten unconscious," says the student, clasping his fingers together tightly. "I've never seen anything like it." Yet despite the crackdown, the protests--demanding greater political and social freedoms--spread to nearly a dozen cities across Iran last week.To many inside the Bush administration, however, the bloody clashes look like a godsend. For months President George W. Bush's foreign...
  • Firefight Over Iran

    After three nights of protests in Tehran, the plainclothes militia decided to send a message to the students on the other side of the barricades. "First they tear-gassed the building, then they came in swinging their batons," says a gaunt-faced student who was in the Shahid Hemat dormitory on the night of Friday, June 13. A handful of his terrified dorm mates jumped out of a second-floor window. When they hit the ground, members of the Ansar-e-Hizbullah militia were waiting for them with brass knuckles, knives and electric batons. "There were people with stab wounds and broken noses. One guy was beaten unconscious," says the student, clasping his fingers together tightly. "I've never seen anything like it." Yet despite the crackdown, the protests--demanding greater political and social freedoms--spread to nearly a dozen cities across Iran last week.To many inside the Bush administration, however, the bloody clashes look like a godsend. For months, George W. Bush's foreign-policy...
  • Diplomatic Diary: Stymied By Iran

    For an administration that likes to think of itself as straight-talking, there is something less than Texan about the way it handles Iran. One minute it's all apocalyptic and axis of evil. The next it's all nuance and inertia. One minute the president refuses to wait while dangers gather. The next he's hanging around for U.N. weapons inspectors to trawl for Iran's nukes.By any measure, Iran deserves to near the very top of the foreign agenda. Iran has a hand in every hotspot the United States is trying to clean up: Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East. Moreover, it poses enough threats to earn priority status all on its own. During the run-up to the war in Iraq, senior U.S. officials repeatedly justified the conflict by describing what they called "the nexus" between terrorists and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. If any regime brings together support for terrorists and the pursuit of such weapons, it's Iran. And unlike the current controversy about the pre-war...
  • Diplomatic Diary: Rerouting The Roadmap

    It's one thing to be committed to the dream of peace in the Middle East. It's something altogether different commit yourself to overcoming the biggest single roadblock on the Roadmap to a Palestinian state: security.Security (or the lack of it) is one of those rare things on which everyone agrees in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides want it for their own people. Both sides use it to intimidate the enemy. And the whole world knows that there can be no serious peace talks until the streets of Jerusalem and Jenin feel less like a war zone and more like civilization.The Bush administration has faced this simple truth for its entire time in office. Yet even now--as the president has ordered his most senior foreign policy officials to make the Middle East their highest priority--there are precious few new ideas about how to establish security in the region.For an administration that prides itself on taking the tough decisions and smashing the orthodoxy of the Clinton years,...
  • (Over)Selling The World On War

    George Tenet, the director of Central Intelligence, was frustrated. For four days and nights last winter, some of the most astute intelligence analysts in the U.S. government sat around Tenet's conference-room table in his wood-paneled office in Langley, Va., trying to prove that Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to America. The spooks were not having an easy time of it. On Feb. 5, Secretary of State Colin Powell was scheduled to go to the United Nations and make the case that Saddam possessed an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. But the evidence was thin--sketchy and speculative, or uncorroborated, or just not credible. Finally, according to a government official who was there, Tenet leaned back in his chair and said, "Everyone thinks we're Tom Cruise. We're not. We can't look into every bedroom and listen to every conversation. Hell, we can't even listen to the new cell phones some of the terrorists are using."Tenet was being truthful. Spying can help win wars (think...
  • Diplomatic Diary: The 9-11 Effect

    Let's face it: terrorism works. It works in the short run, blowing up the Middle East road map along with dozens of Israeli citizens. And it works in the long run, bringing the terrorists closer to their political goals.What we've witnessed in the space of one brief, bloody week is yet another display of how effective terrorists can be. Not just in terms of killing people. But by changing the political landscape they leave amid the wreckage-whether it's Saudi Arabia in the East, Morocco in the West or Israel at the heart of it all.Take Israel. After five suicide attacks in less than 48 hours, the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon drove a stake through the heart of the road map process. Sharon, who postponed a trip to the White House this week, is now more determined than ever to rewrite the road map on more favorable terms, according to Israeli officials.Sharon never liked the plan as constructed, and his aides were openly scornful of the philosophy behind it. Whether it was...
  • Diplomatic Diary: Whatever Happened To Mideast Stability?

    Let's rewind the tape a few months. As the Bush administration geared up for war in Iraq, many senior officials spoke glowingly about what victory in Baghdad would mean for the Middle East peace process. "If there were a change of regime in Iraq, would it help us in the peace process?" Paul Wolfowitz, deputy Defense Secretary, asked rhetorically a year ago. "You bet it would."So now that Saddam is out, what has happened to the peace process? Colin Powell, on his second trip to the region in as many weeks, is finding out the hard way. Monday's suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia underscored just how hostile the region remains to Americans and U.S. policies--a message the Secretary of State has been hearing at almost every stop. President Bush may have released the long-delayed roadmap to a Palestinian state, and he may have won an astonishingly fast victory in Iraq. But the Middle East has slipped back into its bad old political morass with the same astonishing speed.In Cairo, Powell...
  • Diplomatic Diary: Lessons For The Future

    Maybe it's too soon to tell whether or not Colin Powell's latest visit there made any difference. Or maybe it's the same old hollow words, the same old empty gestures that have made the Middle East so frustrating for so long. ...
  • Nuclear Chicken

    What are they smoking?" asked one exasperated State Department official after last week's abrupt and abrasive talks with North Korea. "Which alternative universe do they inhabit?" He wasn't talking about the eccentric North Koreans and their nuclear brinkmanship. Instead the senior diplomat was frustrated by an equally tenacious foe: the conservative in-house critics of Secretary of State Colin Powell.It's a mark of just how deep the wounds go inside George W. Bush's supposedly self-disciplined administration. While Kim Jong Il pushes Asia to the brink of a nuclear arms race, Washington's best and brightest push each other over the edge of patience and civility. Of course, friendly fire between the State and Defense departments has ricocheted around the Bush administration for the past two years. But after the failure of the latest attempt to negotiate with the Stalinist regime in Pyongyang, the administration faces its worst infighting to date--worse even than the prewar skirmishes...
  • The Chinese Puzzle

    The most important VIP to visit Beijing last week arrived in a military uniform without fanfare or journalists in tow. Less than 48 hours before critical negotiations between the United States, North Korea and China got underway, the No. 2 man in Pyongyang's communist hierarchy, Vice Marshall Cho Myong Rok, met quietly with Chinese President Hu Jintao to ask for military assurances should the United States attack his country. Although details of their encounter remain sketchy, Cho clearly came away with less than he wanted. Publicly, Hu merely reiterated Beijing's desire that the Korean Peninsula remain "non-nuclear" but offered no overt assistance. His obvious intention: to warn "Great Leader" Kim Jong Il not to declare North Korea a nuclear power.Two days later Kim did just that. North Korea's delegate to three-way talks in the Chinese capital, a mid-level diplomat --named Ri Gun, told Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly over a meal that his country had developed atom bombs,...
  • Diplomatic Diary: Lessons Of War

    Will the real Syria please stand up? Depending on whom you believe, the Syrian Arab Republic is a repressive state that harbors Saddam Hussein's weapons, maintains its own arsenal of chemical and biological weapons and supports international terrorist groups. Or it's a multiparty democracy with an undying hatred for Saddam and his arsenal, and a simple desire to see an end to Israeli occupation of Arab lands.When Secretary of State Colin Powell visits Syria this week, he will be straddling these bipolar views of President Bashar Al Assad's regime. The Bush administration currently subscribes to the first view of Syria: a threat to the region and the world. The second--that the country is a modernizing, principled Arab state--is the self-styled view of the latest generation of Syrian officials. Whether Washington accepts the former or the latter, or ends up somewhere in between, will effectively set the course for its relations with Damascus. Powell told the Senate's foreign...
  • Second Guessing

    The search is on for krypton 85. At this moment American EP3 spy planes are probably sniffing for trace elements of that radioactive particle floating in the atmosphere near the North Korean shore. If they detect any atypical isotopes, the United States will have the chemical "fingerprints" it needs to prove that Pyongyang is making atom bombs.The North already claims to be doing so. At the end of a week in which nuclear tensions had fallen palpably in Northeast Asia, Pyongyang dropped its latest bombshell. "We are successfully reprocessing more than 8,000 spent fuel rods at the final phase," North Korea's official news agency, quoting an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman, declared last Friday, suggesting that its stockpile might already have been largely converted to weapons-grade plutonium.But, as is often the case with North Korea, nothing is certain. White House and State Department officials say so far there is no evidence that Pyongyang has jump-started its mothballed...
  • North Korea: Should We Talk, Kim?

    Two perplexing outbursts from the North Korean government last week have Bush administration officials in a bitter debate about how to handle a possible three-way nuclear-arms talk with Chinese officials in Beijing this week. Just last week North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had opened the door to discussions with the United States by dropping his insistence on direct negotiations with Washington, D.C., alone. At the State Department, Colin Powell's aides were celebrating that shift as a foreign-policy triumph and began planning the three-way session. But then Kim dropped a diplomatic bombshell: the Hermit Kingdom's Foreign Ministry announced that it was successfully reprocessing its 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods because it needed a "powerful physical deterrent"--nukes, in other words--after the U.S. victory against Iraq. Moreover, the North made it clear that the Beijing meeting would be only a head-to-head session with the Americans. That undercut George W. Bush's desire for a...
  • Syria: The Road To Damascus

    The call went out from the mosques of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley as the Iraq war began: the time had come to defend Islam. And Zein Ali Othman answered. The unemployed 38-year-old veteran of the Lebanese Army, along with three others, was able, he said, to travel into Syria and across the country without stopping for the usual formalities. At the desert frontier with Iraq, he claims, they boarded a convoy of Syrian food trucks guided by local Bedouins and headed to Baghdad. Two days later Othman rejoined some 200 other volunteers from the Bekaa in Iraq's holy city of Najaf. A Shiite cleric gave them a choice. They could go fight the Americans or defend the shrines. Othman chose defense, and insists he never fired a shot. Most of those who chose to fight, he says, are dead.Did Syrian agents facilitate the volunteers' odyssey to and from the Iraqi battlefield? Othman, now back in his hometown of Baalbek, refuses to talk about that. But Washington has plenty to say on the matter....
  • Diplomatic Diary: Dealing With The Nuclear North

    To the outside world, the eternal struggle over American foreign policy may seem perplexing. But for those at the heart of it all, every punctuation mark in every policy paper represents part of a much bigger challenge: how to exert American power in the world. Even the smallest battles are fought as if the entire direction of U.S. policy depended on their outcome.Take North Korea. You might be forgiven for thinking that it would be relatively easy to find agreement within President George Bush's administration on how to deal with the weird world of Kim Jong Il, one of the planet's last Stalinist leaders. After all, the administration managed to hold itself together in the buildup to war in Iraq--a conflict that most of the rest of the world found unpalatable.But the policy debate over how to deal with the communist North is once again tearing apart the administration's foreign policy team. Often, in journalistic shorthand, it gets boiled down to a simple formula: hawks versus doves...
  • Looking For A Leader Amid The Ashes

    Nobody blinked when Tommy Franks, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, told President Bush's senior advisers that he would be flying free Iraqis into southern Iraq at the start of this month. After all, the U.S. military needed all the help they could muster to separate friend from foe on the road to Baghdad. But Franks never mentioned that his group of free Iraqis would be led by Ahmed Chalabi, the controversial former banker who heads the London-based Iraqi National Congress, senior administration officials tell NEWSWEEK. Many of Bush's closest aides were surprised by the news that Chalabi and about 700 of his fighters were already operating in the newly liberated regions of Iraq. Onboard Air Force One, flying back from Northern Ireland with the president last week, Condoleezza Rice could only sputter as she was quizzed about Chalabi's activities. "I'm sorry, I was in Moscow. I'm a little bit unsighted on this," said the normally polished national-security adviser. "I just don't...
  • Diplomatic Diary: Target Syria?

    Throughout the long buildup to war in Iraq last year, the Bush administration insisted it was sorely misunderstood. While the Arab world and much of Europe accused the United States of warmongering, the administration clung to another mantra. Far from seeking war, the White House insisted, America wanted peace. All the drumbeats of war and all the military buildup in the region were part of a strategy, Washington said, that could be distilled into a single phrase: diplomacy backed by the credible threat of force.Now that the war is over, the residents of Damascus are experiencing their own taste of that style of diplomacy. What started with a cursory warning by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during the war--about the flow of arms through Syria to Iraq--has rapidly evolved into a full-blown diplomatic assault on the Syrian government. President George W. Bush himself, as well as Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz and Secretary of State Colin Powell have each stepped up the...
  • Iraq: Who's Going To Lead The New Government?

    In the heavyweight prizefight over Iraq's future, the winner of round one seems to be Secretary of State Colin Powell. For months the Bush administration has been deeply split over how to move from a U.S. military occupation to a new government run by Iraqis. One of the biggest rifts is over what the role of Iraqi exiles--led by the London-based Iraqi National Congress--will be in the newly liberated Baghdad. While some Pentagon officials support a prominent role for the INC and its controversial leader, Ahmed Chalabi, Powell's State Department and the CIA favor a government led by Iraqis currently living in Iraq.At least for now, Powell has won the support of the White House. On March 12, President Bush formally signed off on a plan to create an interim authority that would balance the role of Iraqi insiders and exiles. Given the sheer number of Iraqis living inside the country, compared with the relatively small numbers of exiles, administration officials say that "balance" means...