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[casi] Inferior News, 28/5-4/6/03 (3)

Inferior News, 28/5-4/6/03 (3)


*  CIA opens report on Iraq trailers
*  WMD just a convenient excuse for war, admits Wolfowitz
*  Vanishing Agents: Did Iraq really have weapons of mass destruction?
*  Straw, Powell had serious doubts over their Iraqi weapons claims - Secret
transcript revealed
*  U.S. Strategy Shifts in Iraq Weapons Hunt
*  The lies that led us into war ...


*  Former regime members captured
*  Remember Sardasht
*  Saddam bunker targeted on opening night of Iraq war never existed ‹
*  Saddam Hussein's sudden fall: what happened
*  Iraqis outraged at release of tribal leader linked to thousands of deaths
*  Revealed: the cluster bombs that litter Iraq
*  Gory revelations stun Iraqis


*  U.S. considers more deployments around Baghdad
*  Centcom's new Iraq weapons policy accused of favoritism
*  U.S. casualties prompt Iraq security crackdown
*  U.S. soldier wounded in Baghdad firefight


by John Diamond
Yahoo, from USA TODAY, 29th May

WASHINGTON -- The CIA took the unusual step Wednesday of making public an
intelligence report concluding that two equipment-packed trailers seized in
Iraq were intended to make biological agents, the only solid evidence to
date supporting the Bush administration's allegations about Iraqi weapons of
mass destruction.

The administration and the CIA have come under fire for failing to find
proof of chemical and biological weapons. The administration cited such
weapons in justifying the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Responding to what a
U.S. intelligence official called "public interest" in the issue, the CIA
posted on its Web site Wednesday a nine-page illustrated "white paper" with
its assessment of the two trailers.

Though fermenting tanks inside the trailers could have non-military uses,
such as the manufacture of pesticide or hydrogen for weather balloons, the
CIA report concluded that biological weapons production "is the only
consistent, logical purpose for these vehicles."

No trace of biological agent has been found in the tanks or other hardware
mounted on two military-style heavy equipment transporters in U.S.
possession in Iraq. Some of the equipment had been looted and some of what
was left was rusted and showing signs of having been hastily abandoned. One
of the tanks had a manufacturing date of 2003, suggesting it was in use for
only a few weeks by the time the war started.

Iraq expert Anthony Cordesman with the Center for Strategic and
International Studies said the CIA report "looks convincing." He said the
mobile labs were probably built as backup sources of biological agent for
military emergencies.

But the continuing failure to find weapons weeks after the end of the war is
causing lawmakers from both parties to raise questions about the quality of
U.S. intelligence. The doubts arise as the Bush administration claims the
right to take pre-emptive military action based on intelligence, before
crises emerge. And release of the report comes as the administration is
advancing new charges about weapons programs in North Korea and Iran.

"The administration has got a serious credibility problem," said John Pike
of, a Washington-area think tank. Pike called the CIA
report credible but added, "This long after the war, for them to come up
with two rusting trailers, it's pretty thin."

The White House considers the hunt for proof of Iraqi weapons a high
priority: A 1,400 member Pentagon team is deploying to Iraq to take over the

At the same time, though, administration officials have begun to publicly
downplay the issue. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was quoted in
the magazine Vanity Fair on Wednesday as saying the decision to cite weapons
of mass destruction as the reason to invade Iraq was made for "bureaucratic
reasons . . . because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."

Wednesday's CIA report, available on the agency's Web site,,
compares one of the captured trailers with an illustration used by Secretary
of State Colin Powell in his presentation to the United Nations in February.
"The design, equipment and layout of the trailer found in late April is
strikingly similar to descriptions provided by (an Iraqi) chemical engineer
that managed one of the mobile plants," the report states.

A second U.S. intelligence official, one of several who briefed reporters
anonymously in a conference call Wednesday, said the CIA considered the
information collected from the Iraqi engineer the "centerpiece" of Powell's
presentation. When Kurdish authorities gave U.S. forces a trailer seized at
a checkpoint in April, "the feeling we had was a mixture of excitement and
skepticism," the official said.

The Iraqi engineer told the CIA in 1999 and 2000 that Iraq had established
seven biological weapons production plants on as many as 20 trailers to
evade detection by U.N. inspectors or Western intelligence. The two trailers
seized by U.S. forces in April and May were built more recently.

Workers at the Baghdad factory that made the equipment in the captured
trailers said they were told by Iraqi officials that they were for making
hydrogen. The workers told U.S. interrogators that they knew from experience
not to ask questions.


by David Usborne
Independent, 30th May

The Bush administration focused on alleged weapons of mass destruction as
the primary justification for toppling Saddam Hussein by force because it
was politically convenient, a top-level official at the Pentagon has

The extraordinary admission comes in an interview with Paul Wolfowitz, the
Deputy Defence Secretary, in the July issue of the magazine Vanity Fair.

Mr Wolfowitz also discloses that there was one justification that was
"almost unnoticed but huge". That was the prospect of the United States
being able to withdraw all of its forces from Saudi Arabia once the threat
of Saddam had been removed. Since the taking of Baghdad, Washington has said
that it is taking its troops out of the kingdom. "Just lifting that burden
from the Saudis is itself going to the door" towards making progress
elsewhere in achieving Middle East peace, Mr Wolfowitz said. The presence of
the US military in Saudi Arabia has been one of the main grievances of
al-Qa'ida and other terrorist groups.

"For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass
destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on," Mr
Wolfowitz tells the magazine.


by Fred Kaplan
Slate, 30th May


Much has been made this week of two trailers, found in northern Iraq near
Mosul, that the CIA says are "mobile biological-weapon production plants."
In a May 28 report, considered so significant that the administration
released it to the public, the agency goes so far as to call the trailers
"the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological-warfare

The report notes that the trailers contain a fermenter, water-supply tanks,
an air compressor, a water-chiller, a device for collecting exhaust
gases‹just the right components for an "ingeniously simple, self-contained
bioprocessing system." The trailers are also "strikingly similar" to
descriptions of mobile-bioweapons plants provided by Iraqi exiles who claim
to have worked in them or witnessed others who did. Secretary of State Colin
Powell displayed drawings, based on these descriptions, during his Feb. 5
"smoking-gun" briefing to the U.N. Security Council.

Read closely, though, the CIA report reveals considerable ambiguity about
the nature of these vehicles. For example, it notes that Iraqi
officials‹presumably those currently being interrogated‹say the trailers
were used to produce hydrogen for artillery weather-balloons. (Many Army
units float balloons to monitor the accuracy of artillery fire.) In response
to this claim, the report states:

Some of the features of the trailer‹a gas-collection system and the presence
of caustic‹are consistent with both bioproduction and hydrogen production.
The plant's design possibly could be used to produce hydrogen using a
chemical reaction, but it would be inefficient. The capacity of this trailer
is larger than the typical units for hydrogen production for weather

One could ask: Since when was Saddam's Iraq considered a model of

The report concedes that U.S. officials found no traces of any bioweapons
agent inside the trailers. "We suspect," it states, "that the Iraqis
thoroughly decontaminated the vehicle to remove evidence." That's possible.

The report also notes that, in order to produce biological weapons, each
trailer would have to be accompanied by a second and possibly a third
trailer, specially designed to grow, process, sterilize, and dry the
bacteria. Such trailers would "have equipment such as mixing tanks,
centrifuges, and spray dryers"‹none of which were spotted in the trailers
that were found. The problem, the CIA acknowledges, is that "we have not yet
found" these post production trailers. Question: Is it that they haven't
been found‹or that they don't exist?

It could well be that the CIA is right about its inferences. Either way,
these trailers‹simply by being capable of producing biotoxins‹constituted
violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions barring such technology.
However, we're beyond U.N. resolutions at this point. We're looking for
evidence that Iraq actually did produce such weapons. From what we know so
far, the trailers constitute less than airtight proof.


*  Straw, Powell had serious doubts over their Iraqi weapons claims - Secret
transcript revealed
by Dan Plesch and Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian, 31st May

Jack Straw and his US counterpart, Colin Powell, privately expressed serious
doubts about the quality of intelligence on Iraq's banned weapons programme
at the very time they were publicly trumpeting it to get UN support for a
war on Iraq, the Guardian has learned.

Their deep concerns about the intelligence - and about claims being made by
their political bosses, Tony Blair and George Bush - emerged at a private
meeting between the two men shortly before a crucial UN security council
session on February 5.

The meeting took place at the Waldorf hotel in New York, where they
discussed the growing diplomatic crisis. The exchange about the validity of
their respective governments' intelligence reports on Iraq lasted less than
10 minutes, according to a diplomatic source who has read a transcript of
the conversation.

The foreign secretary reportedly expressed concern that claims being made by
Mr Blair and President Bush could not be proved. The problem, explained Mr
Straw, was the lack of corroborative evidence to back up the claims.

Much of the intelligence were assumptions and assessments not supported by
hard facts or other sources.

Mr Powell shared the concern about intelligence assessments, especially
those being presented by the Pentagon's office of special plans set up by
the US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz.

Mr Powell said he had all but "moved in" with US intelligence to prepare his
briefings for the UN security council, according to the transcripts.

But he told Mr Straw he had come away from the meetings "apprehensive" about
what he called, at best, circumstantial evidence highly tilted in favour of
assessments drawn from them, rather than any actual raw intelligence.

Mr Powell told the foreign secretary he hoped the facts, when they came out,
would not "explode in their faces".

What are called the "Waldorf transcripts" are being circulated in Nato
diplomatic circles. It is not being revealed how the transcripts came to be
made; however, they appear to have been leaked by diplomats who supported
the war against Iraq even when the evidence about Saddam Hussein's programme
of weapons of mass destruction was fuzzy, and who now believe they were lied

People circulating the transcripts call themselves "allied sources
supportive of US war aims in Iraq at the time".

The transcripts will fuel the controversy in Britain and the US over claims
that London and Washington distorted and exaggerated the intelligence
assessments about Saddam's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons

An unnamed intelligence official told the BBC on Thursday that a key claim
in the dossier on Iraq's weapons released by the British government last
September - that Iraq could launch a chemical or biological attack within 45
minutes of an order - was inserted on the instructions of officials in 10
Downing Street.

Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, admitted the claim was made by "a
single source; it wasn't corroborated".

Speaking yesterday in Warsaw, the Polish capital, Mr Blair said the evidence
of weapons of mass destruction in the dossier was "evidence the truth of
which I have absolutely no doubt about at all".

He said he had consulted the heads of the security and intelligence services
before emphatically denying that Downing Street had leaned on them to
strengthen their assessment of the WMD threat in Iraq. He insisted he had
"absolutely no doubt" that proof of banned weapons would eventually be found
in Iraq. Whitehall sources make it clear they do not share the prime
minister's optimism.

The Waldorf transcripts are all the more damaging given Mr Powell's dramatic
75-minute speech to the UN security council on February 5, when he presented
declassified satellite images, and communications intercepts of what were
purported to be conversations between Iraqi commanders, and held up a vial
that, he said, could contain anthrax.

Evidence, he said, had come from "people who have risked their lives to let
the world know what Saddam is really up to".

Some of the intelligence used by Mr Powell was provided by Britain.

The US secretary of state, who was praised by Mr Straw as having made a
"most powerful and authoritative case", also drew links between al-Qaida and
Iraq - a connection dismissed by British intelligence agencies. His speech
did not persuade France, Germany and Russia, who stuck to their previous
insistence that the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq should be given more time
to do their job.

The Waldorf meeting took place a few days after Downing Street presented Mr
Powell with a separate dossier on Iraq's banned weapons which he used to try
to strengthen the impact of his UN speech.

A few days later, Downing Street admitted that much of its dossier was
lifted from academic sources and included a plagiarised section written by
an American PhD student.

Mr Wolfowitz set up the Pentagon's office of special plans to counter what
he and his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, considered inadequate - and unwelcome -
intelligence from the CIA.

He angered critics of the war this week in a Vanity Fair magazine interview
in which he cited "bureaucratic reasons" for the White House focusing on
Iraq's alleged arsenal as the reason for the war. In reality, a "huge"
reason for the conflict was to enable the US to withdraw its troops from
Saudi Arabia, he said.

Earlier in the week, Mr Rumsfeld suggested that Saddam might have destroyed
such weapons before the war.

New York Times, 31st May

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As a new U.S.-led team of international experts is
heading to Iraq to intensify the search for weapons of mass destruction,
President Bush says banned armaments already have been found -- even though
administration officials have said they have only located mobile
laboratories suspected of producing them.

In an interview with Polish television, Bush provided no details, but he
followed his statement with comments about the labs. It was not clear
whether he was equating the labs with weapons.

The U.S. Army general heading the effort, Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton, said
Friday that his team would change the focus from sites identified as
suspicious before the war and instead concentrate on areas where documents,
interviews with Iraqis and other new clues suggest biological or chemical
weapons could be hidden.

The shift comes amid growing questions from allies and some members of
Congress about why no actual chemical or biological weapons have been
unearthed. Bush said Iraq had chemical and biological weapons, as well as a
nuclear weapons development program, and used their elimination as
justification for invading Iraq and overthrowing its government.

In the Polish TV interview, conducted Thursday before Bush left for a
seven-day trip to Europe and the Middle East, the president cited the two
equipment-filled trailers found in northern Iraq that American intelligence
agencies say were mobile biological weapons production facilities.

Bush and other administration officials say the finds show Iraq did indeed
have clandestine programs to make germ weapons.

"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological
laboratories," Bush told Polish television. "They're illegal. They're
against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two.

"And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we
haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're
wrong, we found them," Bush said.

Dayton, who will head the Iraq Survey Group, leaves Monday for Baghdad. The
team of about 1,400 experts from the United States, Great Britain and
Australia will take over the weapons search from a smaller U.S. military

Before the war, the United States drew up a list of more than 900 "suspect
sites" where weapons of mass destruction or evidence of such programs might
be found. Military teams have visited more than 200 of those sites without
finding any actual weapons.


Dayton, a top official in the Defense Intelligence Agency, said he remains
convinced his team will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He said he
believed the information the United States had before the war indicating
Iraq had the banned weapons and continues to believe that.

His group will begin a two-week transition period to take over the weapons
hunt in Iraq no later than June 7, Dayton said.

The group includes both military and civilian experts, including former
United Nations weapons inspectors. Stephen Cambone, the Pentagon's top
intelligence official, said he did not know whether the United States would
agree to have U.N. inspectors return to Iraq.

Critics say the Bush administration should let U.N. inspectors back in.

Cambone and Dayton said they did not know why no chemical or biological
weapons have been found so far. Dayton echoed comments by Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld earlier in the week speculating that Iraq could have
destroyed such weapons before or during the war.

"These things could have been taken and buried. They could have been
transferred. They could have been destroyed," Dayton said. "That doesn't
mean they weren't there in the first place."

by Glen Rangwala
The Sunday Independent, 1st June

One key tactic of the British and United States governments in their
campaign on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction was to talk up
suspicions and to portray possibility as fact. The clearest example was the
quotation and misquotation of the reports of United Nations weapons

Iraq claimed it had destroyed all its prohibited weapons, either
unilaterally or in co operation with the inspectors, between 1991 and 1994.
Although the inspectors were able to verify that unilateral destruction took
place on a large scale, they were not able to quantify the amounts

For example, they were able to detect that anthrax growth media had been
burnt and buried in bulk at a site next to the production facility at
al-Hakam. There was no way - and there never will be - to tell from the soil
samples the amount destroyed. As a result, UN inspectors recorded this
material as unaccounted for: neither verified destroyed nor believed to
still exist.

Translated into statements by the British and US governments, it became part
of "stockpiles" that they claimed Iraq was hiding from the inspectors. Both
governments knew UN inspectors had not found any nuclear, chemical or
biological weapons in Iraq since at least 1994, aside from a dozen abandoned
mustard shells, and that the vast majority of any weapons produced before
1991 would have degraded to the point of uselessness within 10 years.

Even the most high-profile defector from Iraq - Hussein Kamel, Saddam
Hussein's son-in law and director of Iraq's weapons programmes - told UN
inspectors and British intelligence agencies in 1995 that Iraq had no more
prohibited weapons. And yet Britain's dossier last September repeated the
false claim that information "in the public domain from UN reports ...
points clearly to Iraq's continuing possession, after 1991, of chemical and
biological agents and weapons produced before the Gulf War".

There is no UN report after 1994 that claims that Iraq continued to possess
weapons of mass destruction. This was well known in intelligence circles.
That such a claim could appear in a purported intelligence document is a
clear sign that the information was "pumped up" for political purposes, to
support the case for an invasion.

The Government began to resort to more direct misquotation in the immediate
prelude to war, with UN chief inspector Hans Blix reporting on 7 March that
Iraq was taking "numerous initiatives ... with a view to resolving
long-standing open disarmament issues", and that this "can be seen as
'active', or even 'proactive' co-operation".

In response, Mr Blair and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, seized on the
Unmovic working document of 6 March entitled "Unresolved Disarmament
Issues",about matters that are still unclear. Although Mr Blix acknowledged
Iraqi efforts to resolve these questions, the Prime Minister and Foreign
Secretary repeatedly claimed that the document showed Iraq still had
prohibited weapons, a claim the report never made. They relied on the
presumption - probably accurate - that few MPs would have time to go through
its 173 pages, and would accept the Government's misleading précis.

Mr Blair quoted from the report in his speech to the Commons two days before
the war began, to the effect that Iraq "had had far-reaching plans to
weaponise" the deadly nerve agent VX. Note the tense: that quotation was
from a "background" section of the report, on Iraq's policy before 1991.

US and British leaders repeatedly referred to the UN inspectors' estimate
that Iraq produced 1.5 tonnes of VX before 1990. But in March Unmovic
reported that Iraq's production method created nerve agent that lasted only
six to eight weeks. Mr Blair's "evidence" was about a substance the
inspectors consider to have been no threat since early 1991. The Prime
Minister didn't mention that.

Glen Rangwala is a lecturer in politics at Newnham College, Cambridge



RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 24, 30 May 2003

CENTCOM announced the capture of three members of the former Hussein regime
in recent days. Mulhana Hamud Abd al-Jabar, a brother-in-law of Saddam
Hussein, was arrested by coalition forces in the early morning hours of 25
May, Reuters reported on 26 May. Major Josslyn Aberle, spokeswoman for the
U.S. 4th Infantry Division, announced the arrest, telling reporters that Abd
al-Jabar was arrested when he was identified by a doctor at a hospital in
central Tikrit. Abd al-Jabar was reportedly transporting two unidentified
Iraqis suffering from gunshot wounds to the hospital. Division commander
Major General Raymond Odierno told reporters that Abd al-Jabar was in
possession of $300,000, 8 million dinars (approximately $6,000), three AK-47
assault rifles, and a rocket-propelled grenade, Reuters reported. He was not
listed on CENTCOM's list of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis from the deposed
Hussein regime.

Meanwhile, a 27 May press release on the CENTCOM website
( announced the arrests of two men on the
most-wanted list. Sayf al-Din al-Mashhadani served as a Ba'ath Party
chairman and was commander of the Ba'ath Party Militia in the Al Muthanna
Governorate in southern Iraq. He was 46th on CENTCOM's list of the 55 most
wanted Iraqis from the Hussein regime. Sa'ad Abd al-Majid al-Faysal served
as a Ba'ath Party chairman and was commander of the Ba'ath Party Militia in
the northern governorate of Salah Al-Din. He was last on the list of the 55
most-wanted Iraqis from the deposed regime. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

by Lovejit Dhaliwal
Radio Netherlands, 30th May
Almost 16 years ago, Iraq launched its first chemical weapons attack against
civilians. It came at the height of the Iran-Iraq war and the target was
Sardasht, a city of 12,000 in northwestern Iran. The following year, Saddam
Hussein used poison gas against his own people at Halabja, killing thousands
of Iraqi Kurds.

But the attack on Sardasht stands out as a tragic precedent, affecting the
lives of those who survived right up to today.

Omran Jangdoost was too young to have a clear memory of what happened, but
he's dedicated his life to campaigning against all chemical weapons.

"I was only a child - a 2-year-old boy - I can only tell you what my
relatives told me, when they dropped a bomb on my city," says Omran
Jangdoost. Now 18 years old, the war has dominated his life:

"It was in the afternoon, when an Iraqi airplane came over the city and
dropped many, many bombs on the city and the smoke was everywhere. I was in
the bedroom; my mother was in the street and rushed over to take me to a
safe place. But, unfortunately I was taken to a place where the poisonous
gas had already been released."

The gas that was released was mustard gas, which can have devastating
effects on the lungs, the eyes and the skin, leaving severe burns and
blisters. Omran describes how the gas affected him:

"When my mother took me from the room to the safe place, we inhaled poison.
And my mother and three sisters and two brothers were killed. I was taken to
a hospital. As an effect of the poison there were blisters all over my skin.
They were everywhere on my body. They removed my skin and I remained in
hospital for three months. Then we left the city, as we were all still
scared of another attack. But from that time onwards I've had problems with
my skin, my breathing and my eyes. At one point I couldn't even walk... I
had to be taken everywhere in a wheelchair."

Even now, there are tubes coming out of Omran's nose that go round the back
of his neck and connect to a portable oxygen canister. He carries it
everywhere to help him breathe... but still his breathing is difficult and

Yet despite his difficulties, he's busy campaigning against the development,
the stockpiling and the use of chemical weapons. And he applauds the
American intervention in Iraq:

"I'm very happy that the weapons of mass destruction of this regime were
destroyed and the regime collapsed. This is good news. But, it doesn't have
the meaning that the world will be in peace and there is no danger of
chemical attack again. Unfortunately, there are still many countries that
have chemical weapons, that even produce this chemical agent. So, until even
one kilogram of this agent is in the world, another part of the world is in
danger. There can be no sense of peace or tranquillity. The world community
must think about the destruction of all chemical weapons, from all parts of
the world. I hope that a child like me will never have to suffer such a
tragedy again."

Soon Omran Jangdoost will return to Iran, to his city of Sardasht. But he'll
continue to campaign and tell his story, hoping that a total ban on chemical
weapons - not just in Iraq but worldwide - will some day be a reality.

Jordan Times, 31st May     
WASHINGTON (AFP) ‹ An underground bunker in Baghdad which the United States
said it targeted on the first night of the Iraq to assassinated President
Saddam Hussein never existed, a US television network reported.

US planes hit the Dora Farms complex in southern Baghdad with bombs and
cruise missiles on March 20 but US teams who have searched the site since
the fall of Saddam's regime on April 9 have found no trace of the bunker or
any bodies, CBS news reported late Wednesday.

"When we came out here the primary thing they were looking for was an
underground facility, or bodies, forensics," CBS quoted Colonel Tim Madere,
the head of the search operation as saying.

"And basically what they saw was giant holes created. No underground
facilities, no bodies."

CBS, which said it was the first news organisation to visit Dora Farms,
reported that every structure in the compound was destroyed, except the main
palace, which was hidden behind a wall topped by electrified barbed wire.

"It's a shambles, windows have been blown out, but it is not destroyed,"
said CBS reporter David Martin.

Madere said a person in the house "could have survived."

The US Air Force dropped four 2,000-pound (900 kilo) bombs on the site
because intelligence said there was a bunker complex hidden beneath the
buildings. But Madere has yet to find it.

The compound has been searched three times, once by the Central Intelligence
Agency and twice by Madere, who is trying to find traces of Saddam's DNA to
see if he has been killed.

The fate of the Iraqi leader and his family remains unknown though press
reports have said that one of his notorious sons, Uday, has tried to
negotiate his surrender with the US authorities.

After the March 20 raid, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld insisted that
the strike had been "successful" while other military leaders said that
Saddam had been in the bunker he would probably have been killed.

But the United States acknowledged the likely failure of the spectacular
opening night assault when it launched a second raid aimed at killing Saddam
on April 7.

by Simon Apiku
Dawn, 31st May

BAGHDAD: Why did Saddam Hussein's regime collapse in the manner it did? What
factors were at play in the days preceding his downfall? And what happened
to his much-touted Republican Guards?

In an interview, a former Iraqi army officer with close ties to Saddam
Hussein's elite Republican Guards explained why he thought the regime was
doomed from the outset.

The officer, who introduced himself only as Abu Ahmed, said three factors
were mainly responsible for the swift victory achieved by the United
States-led coalition in Iraq and particularly in Baghdad.

He cited the coalition forces' military superiority and aggressive
intelligence activities in the country, especially in northern Iraq, but
more importantly, the recruitment of "traitors" from within the upper
echelons of the military brass.

The Iraqi army, said Abu Ahmed, completed its war preparations months before
US President George W. Bush launched "Operation Iraqi Freedom". Soldiers
were deployed at various locations up and down the country, where they dug
trenches and hunkered down in protected defensive positions.

Days before the war, hundreds of mainly Iraqi opposition military personnel
trained by the US entered the country disguised as many things, from taxi
drivers to shepherds, according to Abu Ahmed. Their mission: To identify
potential targets and military movements and relay their coordinates.

Saddam Hussein realized early on that it would be detrimental for the
military to use conventional means of communication, as this would give away
their positions, so it was decided that communication between units would be
through other means.

"Men in civilian clothes rode around on motorcycles carrying messages and
relaying orders," Abu Ahmed explained. But soon, the spies found out and
when the war began, these messengers were targeted, along with the trucks
bringing supplies to the entrenched soldiers.

"Then strange things began to happen," said Abu Ahmed. Army units were
ordered to leave their well-protected positions and redeploy elsewhere,
often to less secure locations. Some met their fate halfway on the road.
This was the case with the Republican Guards' al Medina division, who were
ordered in early April to attack a group of US soldiers on the highway
between Baghdad and Hilla in broad daylight and without air support.

"They lost about 20 tanks in less than one hour," Abu Ahmed said. Worse
still, the division was ordered to proceed on in the direction of al-Suwera,
35 kms south of Baghdad on the Basra highway. They later found themselves
sandwiched between US soldiers and only a few made it to al-Suwera, a
Republican Guard base and institute. "It was very strange," said Abu Ahmed.

Junior Iraqi military officers in the north were also having a difficult
time understanding the actions of their senior commanders, including
Brigadier Salem Hafez, a regime loyalist and General Emad al-Douri, a
relative of Ezzat Ibrahim al-Douri, vice president of the Revolutionary
Command Council.

In one case, a commander ordered an artillery unit outside Arbil not to
shell the advancing Kurdish Peshmerga forces, according to an officer in the

Other strange things also happened. Commanders would vanish for hours, in
some cases more than twice in one day. Arab volunteers, especially those in
the Tikrit area, suffered the worst fate. In addition to light weapons, each
of them was given four shoulder missile launchers, three of which were
faulty. The only one that fired gave away their positions.

A sympathetic cleric later found the dead and buried them near a mosque in
Samara north of Baghdad. General Sufian al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein's cousin
and a close associate of Saddam's son, Uday, acted the strangest in Baghdad.
He and Uday were responsible for the special security forces protecting the
president. Some of these forces were stationed at the airport.

The general reportedly pulled these forces from their positions shortly
before US forces entered the city, facilitating US access to the main
republican palace in downtown Baghdad.

According to Abu Ahmed, the military's top brass, including those who were
actively collaborating with the coalition forces, bailed out of the theatre
much earlier than suggested. Soldiers stationed in the north, unaware that
Baghdad had fallen, continued to resist the invading forces.

"When we found out what happened, we simply dropped our weapons, changed
into civilian clothes and melted away," said Abu Ahmed. "We were convinced
Baghdad would fall, but not in the fashion it did."-DPA

by Natalie Pompilio
The State, 31st May

MAHAWIL, Iraq - (KRT) - Iraqi Shiites swarmed the U.S. military internment
camp holding Mohammed Jawad An Neifus back in April, keen to seize and kill
him. They hold the tribal leader responsible for the deaths of thousands of
Shiites buried in mass graves at Mahawil.

At the time, U.S. officers held the bloodthirsty crowd back with the promise
that An Neifus would be tried and justice served.

Now, news that Saddam Hussein's most loyal tribal leader was mistakenly
freed after convincing a U.S. interrogator that he was a mere tomato farmer,
has incensed the city.

Local Shiites are talking about "a revolution" against the Americans who let
them down, Mayor Moayad Ali Khlaif said. Already some carry signs reading
"American Troops, Go Home."

According to a U.S. Central Command statement on the matter, U.S. Marines
arrested An Neifus and three of his sons on April 26. Three days later, the
Marines moved him to the Bucca internment facility at Umm Qasr in southern

He underwent a military court screening on May 18, Centcom said, but "there
was nothing unusual about the story he told that alerted the JAG to his true
identity. Therefore, he was cleared for release."

The significance of the release only became known when Marines sought to
visit the prisoner last week, said U.S. Marines First Lt. Ernest Adams.

"Somebody messed up," Adams said. "He told them he was a tomato farmer"

Mayor Khlaif was incredulous. "It's a mistake? That's hard to believe,"
Khlaif said.

"All the people in this town, all the people in the world, they know An
Neifus is guilty. It was a shock to people to know that An Neifus is free.
They are very angry, and only God can save us when they are angry."

An Neifus, who is about 80 years old, was head of the Albu Alwan tribe.
Saddam showed his appreciation to An Neifus with gifts of money and cars,
like a 1991 Mercedes An Neifus received after a public statement promising
to "kill the sons of bitches" who were rising in opposition to Saddam.

An Neifus was referring to Shiites in southern Iraq and Kurds in the north
who had rebelled against Saddam after President George H. Bush urged them to
"take matters into their own hands."

The regime fought back, killing thousands of rebels. Iraqis say An Neifus
was paid a bounty for every person he killed. The dead and missing include
men, women and children.

Some say An Neifus shot people himself; others say he was primarily
responsible for rounding up victims and bringing them to the mass graves.
One of the graves is said to be on his property.

In a press release, U.S. Central Command said the military takes full
responsibility for the error and the incident is under investigation. It's
upped from $25,000 to $50,000 its reward for his recapture.

"If I can catch him, I'll eat him, starting with his throat," said Noor
Mehson al Ethary, 70, grabbing his own prominent Adam's apple.

On Saturday, al Ethary was at a mass grave site searching among the
dirt-coated plastic bags of clothing and identification papers for signs of
his nephew, Aed Abdullah, who was 38 when he disappeared. Abdullah left
behind three daughters and a six-month old son.

The boy, Mohamad, is now 13, and he joined in Saturday's search, a creased
black and white photo of his father in his hand.

"Why did they kill him? Did this face deserve to be killed?" al Ethary
asked, gesturing to the photo as he started to cry. "He did not deserve to
die. He did not deserve to die. An Neifus deserves to die.",12239,968181,00.html

by Kamal Ahmed, The Observer, 1st June

The shocking extent of unexploded cluster bombs dropped by American and
British planes, which litter Iraq eight weeks after the conflict, is
revealed in detail for the first time today.

The first map based on military intelligence to show the exact location of
unexploded anti personnel mines, cluster bombs and anti-tank mines, obtained
by The Observer, shows the vast area of the country which is at danger from
live munitions.

Experts in clearing conflict zones of unexploded bombs say that millions of
Iraqi adults and children are at risk, along with humanitarian aid workers,
United Nations personnel, civilian staff and military officials.

Its revelation raises fresh questions for Tony Blair and George Bush, who
insisted that post conflict Iraq would be a safer place than it was under
Saddam Hussein.

It also reignites the controversy over the use of cluster bombs by the
coalition forces. The map reveals that hundreds, or possibly thousands, of
the bombs - which produce hundreds of 'bomblets' scattered out over a large
area - failed to detonate.

Anti-landmine campaigners are insisting that American and British troops
make clearing the 'lethal legacy' an urgent priority.

'This shows an appalling level of contamination,' said Richard Lloyd,
director of Landmine Action, who is travelling to Iraq this weekend to
assess the extent of the danger. 'It also confirms that American and British
forces attacked built up areas in cities with cluster bombs.

'The coalition forces have a responsibility to protect those Iraqi civilians
who now live with this lethal legacy all around them.

'It has to be highly questionable whether the use of such weapons in
built-up areas is legal under international law.'

The map, dated 13 May, was produced by the Humanitarian Operations Centre
based in Kuwait, which is staffed by military personnel from the US, Britain
and Kuwait and is based on the latest intelligence assessment of the danger
of unexploded bombs.

It was given to selected Non-Governmental Organisations tasked with
providing humanitarian aid to the country. The map depicts a mass of green
circles, diamonds and rectangles, each showing an individual site of what is
described as an 'explosive location'.

Although it is impossible to judge precisely the number of unexploded bombs,
landmine experts say that up to 10,000 separate cluster bombs and bomblets
could be lying in cities, farmland and on the main road arteries across the

'We will see the desperate affects of this conflict, just as we have seen in
Kosovo and Afghanistan, for years to come,' said Sarah Green of Amnesty
International, which has campaigned for a ban on the use of cluster bombs.

Each green circle, rectangle or diamond is an example of an unexploded
anti-personnel mine, anti-tank mine, a mixture of both or what is described
on the map as a 'SubMunition', otherwise known as a cluster bomb. Yellow
rectangles are described as 'unknown' unexploded munitions.

The greatest concentration is seen in the centre of the map, around Baghdad
and on the main road routes between the capital and the British-controlled
regions of Basra and Umm Qasr in the south-east. There are further
concentrations around the southern Iraq town of Nasariyah and the mountains
to the north and east of the Kurdish city of Kirkuk.

Although some of the munitions are from the 1991 Gulf war and will have
originally been fired by Iraqi forces, experts in the field believe that
most have been left since the recent conflict. Officials also say that
cluster bombs were only used by coalition forces. 'SubMunition' diamonds
make up the bulk of the unexploded locations around Baghdad, Nasariyah and
north of Basra.

Aid agencies say that hundreds of civilians have already been maimed after
tampering with unexploded cluster bombs. The victims are often young
children scavenging for the valuable metal that encases the explosives.

Last week Adam Ingram, the Armed Forces Minister, admitted that cluster
bombs were used in built-up areas in 'specific circumstances where there is
a threat to our troops'.

Defence officials said that British and American troops were engaged in
clearing as much of the land in Iraq as possible.

'We have a lot of Army people there helping make the country safe,' said one
government official.

'We will be sending more people to continue the work. We are well aware of
the seriousness of the issue.'

by Anna Badkhen
San Francisco Chronicle, 1st June

Baghdad: Like so many Iraqis these days, Chedha al Awsi feels betrayed and

On a computer screen before her, poorly recorded footage shows half a dozen
laughing soldiers of Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard as they beat
and kick civilian men kneeling on the ground, their hands bound behind their

There is a glitch in the recording, then the screen shows soldiers tying
dynamite to the chests of their prisoners and blowing them up, one by one.
Pieces of human flesh and bone fly in all directions. Al Awsi jolts in her
seat, her face distorted by a grimace of pain.

For much of the rest of the world, the gruesome crimes of Hussein's rule are
familiar, if tragic, knowledge. But for al Awsi and for millions of her
fellow citizens, they are shocking news.

"You just suddenly realize that you didn't know what was happening. I feel
deceived," said al Awsi, a 31-year-old office manager at a private trading
company, her eyes glued to the computer screen.

After Hussein's Baath Party seized power in 1968, it executed hundreds of
thousands of Iraqis and destined many more to the hell of Hussein's torture
chambers. But criticizing the president and his party was a crime punishable
by death. The combination of Hussein's brutal security police and his
totalitarian propaganda machine sufficiently silenced any dissent from
reaching ordinary people.

"It's very important now that people come to grips with Iraqi history, with
their own history," said Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, the New
York- based advocacy group. "It is true that a lot of Iraqis believed the
propaganda of this government. It's easy to deny the past. To build false
local histories of what happened."

While they had a vague idea about Hussein's despotism and quietly hated his
rule for its authoritarian repression, many people were unaware of the scale
of his atrocities -- especially if, as in al Awsi's case, none of their
relatives were victimized.

"Halabja?" said al Awsi's friend, Thanaa al Taee, 34, an arts critic and a
ceramics teacher who is now completing her fourth master's degree. Al Taee
struggled to remember what she has heard about the notorious site of a 1988
chemical attack on the Iraqi Kurds, which killed about 5,000 people. When
she finally replies, there is a note of uncertainty in her voice.

"I've heard of it, but I'm not sure," she said. "I think -- did Saddam kill
some people there?"

When the Baath Party rule collapsed in Iraq six weeks ago, the magnitude of
Hussein's crimes came crashing down in an avalanche of gruesome information.

In a sign of the changing times, street vendors sell for $3 apiece bootleg
CD-ROMs featuring video recordings of Hussein's executions of his political
opponents and relatives fallen from grace. Iraqi television -- only
sporadically available because of the irregular electricity supply --
broadcasts reports from mass graves that are being exhumed across the
country's fertile marshes, rolling mountains and arid deserts.

Newspapers that have sprung up since the fall of Hussein's regime print
daily accounts of past atrocities. "The dictator had an ugly voice to
conceal the truth. You have been fooled by his media and by his slogans.
Wake up and see his crimes," read an opinion piece in Wednesday's Al Adala

"It is a very big shock. People will suffer from this shock for a very long
time," said Mazin Ramadhani, professor of political science at Baghdad's al
Nahrein University.

The revelations are bound to continue. Volunteers have dug up crumbling
remains of about 10,000 people in mass graves across southern Iraq, said
Bouckaert, of Human Rights Watch. "On an average day we see six or seven
mass graves. New ones," said Bouckaert, who has been working in Iraq for
more than a month.

Because of lack of record-keeping, it is difficult to estimate the number of
victims who have been exhumed, he noted. Most of the bones belong to men,
women and children executed in Hussein's effort to crush a Shiite Muslim
rebellion in 1991.

Bouckaert estimates that about 290,000 people have disappeared in Iraq
throughout Hussein's rule.

"There has to be accurate documentation so that our grandchildren, Iraqi
grandchildren, can read about what happened," Bouckaert said.

At the crowded office of the Committee for Free Prisoners, an Iraqi
grassroots organization that is trying to collect information about the
victims of Hussein's political repression, files documenting thousands of
lives are piled high on the tiled floors and desks. Dozens of men pore over
archives of the feared Mukhabarat security police, many of them marked "top

Surrounded by a crowd of men and women, a volunteer stands on a desk,
reading out names from small pieces of paper he's holding in his hand.

One woman, a college professor looking for records of her brother, who
disappeared in 1991, is on her way out the door. Suddenly she leans against
a wall, her back to the world, her forehead resting on her forearm, and
begins to weep silently.

"It is difficult, maybe impossible for some people to understand the scale
of the atrocities. Some people knew nothing about it," said Ibrahim al
Idrisi, the founder of the committee. "It's our job to show people just how
bad the regime was. The most important thing in Iraq right now is to inform
the people here how we really lived in those three decades."

But the information is often distorted, exaggerated or simply too
overwhelming to comprehend.

For example, the Committee for Free Prisoners claims it has execution
records of 8 million Iraqis -- an incredible number for a country with a
total population of about 22 million.

Najim Aboud, a guard at the al Mohsin Mosque, where Hussein's security
police slaughtered hundreds of worshipers during a Friday prayer service, in
an effort to thwart a Shiite uprising in 1999, says he knows for a fact that
Hussein liked to hang two men every Wednesday.

And al Awsi has heard a theory, which she admits she somewhat believes, that
Hussein was an agent of the CIA -- "because why would a true Iraqi want to
kill his own people?"

Looking out at the arches and domes of Baghdad's exquisite skyline from the
rooftop of Qasr al Musannat, the 12th century palace of Abbasid Caliph Al
Nasir Lidin Illah, al Awsi struggled to make sense of it all. In her head,
she is trying to piece together her own version of the recent history of
Iraq, the long-suffering country she loves so much.

"There are so many blank spots," she said, listening to sporadic bursts of
gunfire on the other side of the Tigris River. "I don't know so much of what


CNN, 29th May


The latest attack on U.S. forces killed a soldier Thursday northwest of
Baghdad, U.S. Central Command said.

"A U.S. soldier was killed by hostile fire while traveling on a main supply
route in Iraq today," a statement said. Pentagon officials said he was in
the last vehicle in a 15-vehicle convoy.

The soldier was evacuated to a combat hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The incident occurred at a U.S. military logistics support area northwest of
Baghdad, according to Central Command spokesman Capt. Jeff Sandrock. He
declined to pinpoint the location, citing security concerns.

The U.S. Army's V Corps is investigating the shooting, Central Command said.
The soldier's name and unit are being withheld until family members can be
notified. (Full story)



by Kathleen Ridolfo
RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 24, 30 May 2003

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced a new policy on 24 May regarding
the possession of weapons in Iraq. The "Iraq Weapons Policy," detailed in a
press release on the CENTCOM website (, calls on all
armed groups and citizens to relinquish "unauthorized weapons" to coalition
forces. Specifically, beginning on 1 June, Iraqis will have 14 days to
surrender unauthorized weapons to coalition forces at "control points"
throughout the country. "Unauthorized weapons are defined as: automatic
firearms firing ammunition larger than 7.62mm; machine guns or crew-served
weapons; anti-tank weapons; anti-aircraft weapons; indirect fire weapons;
all armored vehicles or self propelled weapons; and high explosives and
explosive devices," the press release states.

The new policy also bans the sale, trade, barter, or distribution of
automatic or heavy weapons to individuals not authorized to collect them by
coalition forces. The Iraqi public will still be permitted to possess small
firearms, "including automatic rifles firing ammunition up to 7.62
millimeters, semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and pistols." These weapons,
however, must be kept in homes and businesses and may not be carried in
public. "Only authorized persons may possess small arms in public places and
those authorized persons will be issued a temporary weapons card (TWC) by
coalition commanders," the statement reads.

Any Iraqis caught with banned weapons after 14 May will be detained and face
criminal charges, according to CENTCOM. Those authorized to possess
automatic or heavy weapons include police, security and "other forces in
uniform under the supervision and authority of the coalition." Confiscated
weapons will either be destroyed or turned over to the new Iraqi army or
police forces.

However, not all Iraqis will be disarmed. MENA news agency reported on 28
May that a meeting held earlier this week between Kurdish leaders and U.S.
officials determined that Kurdish peshmerga fighters would be exempt from
the decision to disarm all Iraqi factions. U.S. Lieutenant General David
McKiernan, commander of allied forces in Iraq, told a press conference on 23
May that there "will be no militias inside of Iraq" but added that the
peshmerga were "a different story," "The New York Times" reported on 24 May.
"The peshmergas fought with coalition forces and we look to leave them with
some of their forces north of the green line," the daily quoted McKiernan as
saying. The "green line" refers to the line that once divided
Hussein-controlled areas of Iraq from the self-rule Kurdish enclave
established after the 1991 Gulf War.

It appears that U.S. administrators are fearful that armed militias might
degenerate into armed gangs, vying for power on the streets of Iraq. And
they have reason to be concerned. Numerous reports of armed gangs committing
acts of violence -- from looting and armed robbery to kidnapping and murder
-- have circulated in the international press. Even "sanctioned" groups have
been accused of unlawful behavior. Reuters reported on 26 May that Iraqi
National Congress-led (INC), 700-strong "Free Iraqi Forces" were reportedly
caught up in a gunfight with what they said were unidentified Iraqis during
a search for Ba'ath Party members in a Baghdad neighborhood on 22 May. "The
New York Times" reported on 24 May that U.S. forces subsequently raided the
INC's Baghdad headquarters, arresting 35 militiamen and seizing their
weapons, and Reuters reported that U.S. forces disarmed the entire Free
Iraqi Forces on 25 May. This was not the first incident in which the Free
Iraqi Forces have elicited complaints of improper conduct.

The United States is also eager to reduce the armed power of
Iranian-influenced Shi'ite groups -- specifically, the Supreme Council for
the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). SCIRI head Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir
al-Hakim has publicly expressed concern at the U.S. decision to disarm
Iraqis, Al-Jazeera Television reported on 27 May. Al-Hakim suggested that
citizens should be able to defend themselves against the pervasive
lawlessness that exists in Iraq. "Certainly, this is a wrong decision
because no coordination has been made with the Iraqi political forces that
should participate in realizing security and stability in Iraq. The question
of disarmament is a correct idea in principle.... However, if there is no
state, regime, or anybody capable of keeping law and order, one must be
given the right to defend himself," al-Hakim told Al-Jazeera.

But other statements by the ayatollah indicate that his group might resist
the U.S. demand to disarm. Al-Hakim recently told the Voice of the Mujahedin
Radio, an Iran-based station linked to SCIRI, that SCIRI's 10,000-strong
Badr Corps military wing has no weapons, the BBC reported on 28 May.

Another SCIRI member, Adil Abd al-Mahdi, has criticized the U.S. decision on
slightly different grounds. "Maybe we didn't fight with the coalition, but
we didn't fight against them," "The New York Times" quoted al-Mahdi as
saying on 24 May. "We want conditions where all militias are dissolved and
we will not accept that other militias will be allowed to stay there with
their weapons while we will not be there with ours," he said. Tehran
supported SCIRI had led an active resistance against the Hussein regime for
over 20 years. SCIRI head al-Hakim was arrested several times by Hussein's
henchmen, and he claims that at least 18 members of his family were executed
by the regime. Al-Hakim fled Iraq in 1980 and founded SCIRI in Iran in 1982.

The U.S. policy on disarming groups and individuals with heavy weapons is a
logical step in preventing armed -- even sanctioned -- groups from gaining
an excessive amount of real or perceived power. But a policy of allowing
some groups to remain armed might be interpreted as favoritism, something
U.S. administrators have been careful to avoid up to this point. A quick
solution might be to integrate Iraq's armed groups into an "interim" militia
that works alongside and under the direction of U.S. forces. Such a group
would not only fill in the gaps of the security vacuum, it would also foster
stronger relations among Iraqis belonging to different factions, as they
work towards a common goal. It might also serve as a model for the future
Iraqi armed forces.

CNN, 30th May

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. forces in Iraq are working to tighten security and
crack down on remaining pockets of resistance in response to a series of
attacks against American troops, military officials said Friday.

Four soldiers were wounded in five incidents over 36 hours Thursday and
Friday, they said, and five U.S. soldiers were killed in a spate of attacks
earlier this week.

Sources say commanders are considering whether the situation warrants a
major military sweep through Fallujah and other pockets of resistance from
regime loyalists in the areas around Baghdad and west of the capital city.

In the latest incidents;

‹ Two soldiers were wounded in Ba'qubah, near the Iranian border, when a
suspected rocket-propelled hit their vehicle.

‹ In Mosul, a soldier was wounded when their vehicle was fired on at an
American military checkpoint.

‹ A fourth soldier was wounded in Baghdad when the convoy he was riding in
was attacked.

‹ Two other U.S. positions were attacked in Baghdad, but no American
soldiers were wounded, officials said. In one of those attacks, at a
military checkpoint two attackers were killed.

Pentagon officials said any operation to crack down on militants would have
its own difficulties because resistance is scattered and it remains
difficult to pinpoint precise targets.

In Baghdad Lt. Gen. David McKiernan said that deploying more troops
northwest of Baghdad is an option.

McKiernan said the area in which the attacks occurred -- between Fallujah
and Hit along the Euphrates River -- was an escape route for some Iraqi
leadership figures who tried to sneak out of Baghdad. A Republican Guard
unit was also active in the area as U.S.-led coalition forces approached the

U.S. Central Command reported that in the past 24 hours eight raids and
2,315 patrols were conducted across Iraq. Some 226 patrols involved Iraqi
police forces working with coalition military forces. It was reported that
175 people were detained.


by Patrick E. Tyler
International Herald Tribune, from New York Times, 2nd June

BAGHDAD: Gunmen firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles have
attacked an American military convoy in the neighborhood where Saddam
Hussein made his last public appearance on April 9, the day the capital fell
to allied forces.

At least one American soldier was wounded and one Iraqi civilian was killed
in the firefight that erupted late Sunday on the busy square in front of the
Abu Hanifa Mosque, according to an Iraqi hospital official who treated the
wounded. Other medical workers said three Iraqi civilians were wounded.

"This is just the beginning!" shouted a woman who identified herself as
Shahrezad, a bank manager. "You are our enemy. You entered Iraq searching
for weapons, but where are the weapons?" she asked, referring to chemical,
biological or nuclear weapons.

Some residents cheered the attack and said they longed for the return of
Saddam. But others in the crowd said they were happy Saddam was gone, and
blamed hard-line supporters of his Ba'ath Party for firing on U.S. forces.

The assault followed an early-morning mortar attack on an American base on
the outskirts of the city in which one soldier was slightly wounded by
shrapnel. Three mortar rounds were fired on the encampment of the 2d
Battalion, 70th Armor, of the 1st Armored Division. It was the first mortar
attack in Baghdad since the end of the war, according to a military
intelligence officer at the scene.


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