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News from the Iraq front (12 May 2003)

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  • Jim Galasyn
    Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40212-2003May10.html Leaders of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 7, 2003
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      Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq
      Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40212-2003May10.html

      Leaders of Task Force 75's diverse staff -- biologists, chemists,
      arms treaty enforcers, nuclear operators, computer and document
      experts, and special forces troops -- arrived with high hopes of
      early success. They said they expected to find what Secretary of
      State Colin L. Powell described at the U.N. Security Council on Feb.
      5 -- hundreds of tons of biological and chemical agents, missiles
      and rockets to deliver the agents, and evidence of an ongoing
      program to build a nuclear bomb.

      Scores of fruitless missions broke that confidence, many task force
      members said in interviews.

      ...

      Task Force 75's experience, and its impending dissolution after
      seven weeks in action, square poorly with assertions in Washington
      that the search has barely begun.

      ...

      "Why are we doing any planned targets?" Army Chief Warrant Officer
      Richard L. Gonzales, leader of Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, said
      in disgust to a colleague during last Sunday's nightly report of
      weapons sites and survey results. "Answer me that. We know they're
      empty."

      ...

      "I don't think we'll find anything," said Army Capt. Tom Baird, one
      of two deputy operations officers under McPhee. "What I see is a lot
      of stuff destroyed." The Defense Intelligence Agency officer,
      describing a "sort of a lull period" in the search, said that
      whatever may have been at the target sites is now "dispersed to the
      wind."


      ---

      Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq threaten war in case of crackdown
      http://66.234.3.46/DisplayArticle.asp?
      xfile=data/focusoniraq/2003/May/focusoniraq_May104.xml§ion=focuso
      niraq

      DIYARBAKIR, Turkey - Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
      has warned that it will retaliate with force if either Turkey or the
      United States move to purge northern Iraq of its militants.

      ---

      Britain Says Progress in Baghdad 'Unsatisfactory'
      http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=2724659

      "The situation in Baghdad is not satisfactory," Straw said. "We
      fully understand our responsibility, as does the United States to
      ensure it becomes satisfactory very quickly."

      ---

      Hussein Backers Regain Role in Government
      http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/inside/la-war-
      supporters12may12,1,5915893.story?coll=la%2Dhome%2Dheadlines

      MOSUL, Iraq -- The U.S. Army has allowed several once-forceful
      supporters of Saddam Hussein's regime back into power here,
      including a religious leader who just weeks ago ordered Muslims to
      fight American troops to the death.

      ---

      Surrounded by Chaos in Iraq, Middle Class Takes Up Arms
      Alarmed by a sharp increase in street crime, professionals are
      joining those who are buying stolen weapons like there's no tomorrow
      http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/inside/la-war-
      guns12may12,1,6406735.story?coll=la%2Dhome%2Dheadlines

      BAGHDAD -- Hikmat, a retired Iraqi accountant, has a gentle,
      distracted, scholarly air. And a problem to resolve: Should he get
      himself a Kalashnikov assault rifle, or go with a Browning 9-
      millimeter pistol?

      "I've pretty much settled on the Kalashnikov," said the balding 67-
      year-old, who has never owned a gun. "A pistol just isn't enough."

      ---

      Fury rises in Baghdad as drugs return to the alleys
      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?
      story=405125

      Anger is growing among Iraqis at the Allies' failure to restore
      order in a cityawash with weapons and gangs. Heroin - banned under
      Saddam Hussein's dictatorship upon pain of hanging - is now being
      traded in back streets.

      ...

      "In Iraq there were no drugs until March 2003," said Salah
      Sha'amikh, a pharmacist. "You would be hanged for trafficking. But
      now you can get heroin, cocaine, anything." He pulled out a Russian-
      made 8.5mm pistol which he says he keeps to protect his wares.

      ---

      U.S. Reaches Cease-Fire With Terror Group
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-2618541,00.html


      CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar (AP) - The United States agreed to a cease-
      fire with an Iraqi-based terrorist group that will be allowed to
      continue fighting against the Iranian government, U.S. military
      officials said Tuesday.

      The deal signed April 15 with the Mujahedeen Khalq doesn't require
      its fighters to surrender to U.S.-led coalition forces - at least
      for now, said a military official, who spoke on condition of
      anonymity.

      ...

      But the cease-fire represents a conundrum of sorts for the United
      States, which has classified the Mujahedeen Khalq as a terrorist
      organization. The United States went to war against Iraq in part to
      dismantle what it said were terrorist networks supported by Saddam
      Hussein's regime.




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