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[casi] We came as liberators, the general said!!!!

Long live democracy in Iraq...

I suppose the next in line would be the Communist
Party, followed by Arab Nationalist parties, and then
Muslim parties calling for an Islamic state..

So it is OK for Franks to dissolve the Bath Party, but
not OK for Saddam to dissolve al-Hakim's party...

And we were promised that Iraqis would rule themselves

U.S. Says Saddam's Baath Party Dissolved

By TED ANTHONY, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The American general who commanded the
Iraq (news - web sites) war issued a statement Sunday
saying Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s Baath Party
"is dissolved," ordering the political organization
that ruled the country for 35 years to cease existence

The message from Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of
coalition forces, was read over U.S.-controlled
Information Radio on Sunday afternoon.

"The Iraqi Baath Socialist Party is dissolved," Franks
said in the statement, read by an announcer in Arabic.
The station is broadcast across Iraq on the AM band.

Franks' order came a month after U.S. troops took
Baghdad and unseated Saddam's regime, which had made
sure the Sunni-dominated party  whose formal name is
the Arab Baath Socialist Party  extended its reach
and its control into all corners of the country's

The statement told Iraqi citizens to collect and turn
in any materials they had relating to the party and
its operations. It called them "an important part of
Iraqi government documents."

"Possessions of the Baath Party must be delivered to
the temporary coalition authority," the statement
said. "Anyone who possesses documents related to the
Baath Party or the Iraqi government must maintain and
protect them and hand these documents to the

Unseating the Baath was considered a top priority of
American military planners in the run-up to the Iraq
war, which began March 20 and had largely ended by

The general's order Sunday is in some ways academic,
given that the Baath-controlled government has been
overthrown and both the American military and its
civilian administrative counterparts have occupied the

But some upper-level Baath government and party
leaders, including Saddam himself, remain either
unaccounted for or the run. The United States says it
has made a priority of tracking them down  as
exemplified by its "deck of cards" issued to U.S.
forces and depicting the regime's most-wanted.

In the weeks since fighting ebbed, the U.S. occupying
force's administration has moved to appoint its own
overseers to government ministries and bring people
back to work with an eye toward excluding Baathists
who worked closely with the Saddam regime.

However, membership or affiliation with the party was
required for many if not most white-collar jobs, and
American officials have acknowledged that purging
Baathists from the ranks of Iraq's civil service may
be neither possible nor desirable.

Franks' statement also said that "apparatus of Iraqi
security, intelligence and military intelligence
belonging to Saddam Hussein are deprived of their
authority and power."

But the general emphasized that freedom of expression
 including political expression  would be assured
under coalition occupation.

"All parties and political groups can take part in the
political life in Iraq, except those who urge violence
or practice it," he said in the statement.

The Arab Baath Socialist Party gained a totalitarian
grip over nearly all aspects of Iraqi society since
its first brief lurch to power in 1963 and its final
takeover in 1968, which would last until last month.

Saddam, who reportedly got his start in the party as a
clandestine killer, was a force behind the scenes
starting in the late 1960s but did not formally grab
control until 1979.

Two generations of Iraqis have been indoctrinated with
the party's theory of Arab supremacy. Lower-level
members have managed the institutions of government on
a day-to-day basis.

As many as 1.5 million of Iraq's 24 million people
belonged to the party. But only about 25,000 to 50,000
were full-fledged members  the sort of elite targeted
by U.S. officials now trying who want to the party's

The Baath Party was founded in Syria in 1943 and
spread around the Arab world, promoting Arab
superiority and Arab unity with a violent,
Soviet-style party structure. It took power in Syria
in 1963 and created branches in many Arab countries,
bitterly squabbling both with established governments
and rival, communist revolutionaries.

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