SADDAM Hussein's regime may have disintegrated, but the Coalition Forces still face serious military and political dangers.

Even though most of Baghdad is under US control, it is clear there are pockets of resistance. The attack by the suicide bomber in the capital yesterday is ample evidence that the war is not yet over, and that for the thousands of Iraqis celebrating liberation there is a small minority still willing to continue the struggle.

However, over the coming days, possibly weeks, the threat from the dwindling band of Saddam loyalists will disappear.

Then will begin the arduous task of bringing a genuine and lasting peace to Iraq.

In the north of the country all eyes will be on the Kurdish forces, for the moment content with clearing away the remnants of Saddam's army.

But it is clear Turkey is concerned that the Kurds have long-term plans for independence. And Turkey will be prepared to flex its muscles if such plans come to fruition.

The uncertainty in the north adds to the confusion that exists already in the rest of Iraq over the make-up of the future administration of the country.

There will be little by way of victory to celebrate by the US or Britain if, by ridding Iraq of Saddam Hussein, they leave it riven by civil war and division.

The meeting scheduled this week between US officials and Iraqi opposition leaders close to the White House has already raised concerns from some groups in Iraq that the future government will be little more than an American puppet regime.

Those suspicions should alert the US to the danger of keeping the United Nations frozen out of the post-war political process.

Effectively, the UN has remained neutral during the war. And its growing role in bringing humanitarian relief to Iraq makes it the preferred broker of a settlement on how and by whom the country will be governed in the future.

The claim by the Coalition Forces that Iraq is to be returned to the Iraqi people must be seen to be genuine and honest.