News from the Iraq front (12 May 2003)
- Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq
Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons
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
"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
Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq threaten war in case of crackdown
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'
"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
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
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-
"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
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
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
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
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