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Inferior News, 28/5-4/6/03 (3) PROBLEMS WITH THE PRETEXT * 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 ... PROBLEMS WITH THE PAST * Former regime members captured * Remember Sardasht * Saddam bunker targeted on opening night of Iraq war never existed ‹ report * 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 MILITARY PROBLEMS * 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 PROBLEMS WITH THE PRETEXT http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=676&ncid=721&e=5&u=/usatoday /20030529/ts_usatoday/5196685 * CIA OPENS REPORT ON IRAQ TRAILERS 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 GlobalSecurity.org, 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 search. 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, www.cia.gov, 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. NO URL * WMD JUST A CONVENIENT EXCUSE FOR WAR, ADMITS WOLFOWITZ 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 acknowledged. 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. [.....] http://slate.msn.com/id/2083760/ * VANISHING AGENTS: DID IRAQ REALLY HAVE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION? 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 program." 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 balloons. One could ask: Since when was Saddam's Iraq considered a model of efficiency? 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. [.....] http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,967548,00.html * 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 to. 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 programme. 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. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq-Weapons-Hunt.html * U.S. STRATEGY SHIFTS IN IRAQ WEAPONS HUNT 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 team. 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." http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=411300 * THE LIES THAT LED US INTO WAR ... 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 inspectors. 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 destroyed. 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 PROBLEMS WITH THE PAST NO URL * FORMER REGIME MEMBERS CAPTURED 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 (http://www.centcom.mil/) 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) http://www.rnw.nl/hotspots/html/ira030530.html * REMEMBER SARDASHT 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 laboured. 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. http://www.jordantimes.com/Fri/news/news8.htm * SADDAM BUNKER TARGETED ON OPENING NIGHT OF IRAQ WAR NEVER EXISTED ‹ REPORT 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. http://www.dawn.com/2003/05/31/int14.htm * SADDAM HUSSEIN'S SUDDEN FALL: WHAT HAPPENED 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 unit. 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 http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/5986372.htm * IRAQIS OUTRAGED AT RELEASE OF TRIBAL LEADER LINKED TO THOUSANDS OF DEATHS 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 Iraq. 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." http://observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,968181,00.html * REVEALED: THE CLUSTER BOMBS THAT LITTER IRAQ 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 country. '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.' http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/06/01/MN203466.DTL * GORY REVELATIONS STUN IRAQIS by Anna Badkhen San Francisco Chronicle, 1st June Baghdad: Like so many Iraqis these days, Chedha al Awsi feels betrayed and confused. 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 backs. 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 newspaper. "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 secret." 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 happened." MILITARY PROBLEMS http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/05/29/sprj.irq.main/index.html * U.S. CONSIDERS MORE DEPLOYMENTS AROUND BAGHDAD 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) [.....] NO URL * CENTCOM'S NEW IRAQ WEAPONS POLICY ACCUSED OF FAVORITISM 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 (http://www.centcom.mil/), 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. http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/05/30/sprj.irq.main/index.html * U.S. CASUALTIES PROMPT IRAQ SECURITY CRACKDOWN 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 capital. 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. [.....] http://www.iht.com/articles/98264.html * U.S. SOLDIER WOUNDED IN BAGHDAD FIREFIGHT 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. [.....] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk