U.S to run Baghdad after war

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    Article in the SMH. - say no more.


    Life after Saddam: US to run Baghdad
    By David Sanger and Eric Schmitt in Washington
    October 12 2002

    The White House is developing a detailed plan, modelled on the postwar occupation of Japan, to install an American-led military government in Iraq if the United States topples Saddam Hussein, senior
    administration officials said.

    The plan also calls for war-crimes trials of Iraqi leaders and a slow transition to an elected civilian government that could take months or years.

    In the initial phase, Iraq would be governed by an American military commander - perhaps General Tommy Franks, head of US forces in the Gulf, or one of his subordinates - who would assume essentially the role General Douglas MacArthur served in Japan after its surrender
    in 1945.

    News of the plan came as the US Senate authorised President George Bush to wage war if necessary against Iraq.

    Handing Mr Bush a major victory, the Democratic-led Senate voted 77-23 for a war-powers resolution backing a possible use of force to rid Iraq of suspected weapons of mass destruction and possibly oust the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein.

    One senior official said the Administration was "coalescing around" the concept of a US-led military government in Iraq, following discussions of various options with Mr Bush and his senior aides. But the official and others cautioned that there had not yet been any formal approval of an occupation plan, and it was not clear whether allies had been consulted on it.

    In contemplating an occupation, the Administration is scaling back the initial role for Iraqi opposition forces in a post-Saddam government. Until now it had been widely assumed Iraqi dissidents both inside and outside the country would form a government, but it was never clear when they would take full control.

    Thursday marked the first time the Administration has discussed what could be a long occupation by coalition forces, led by the US.

    Officials said they want to avoid the chaos and infighting that have plagued Afghanistan since the defeat of the Taliban. Mr Bush's aides said they also want full control over Iraq while US-led forces carry out their main mission of finding and destroying weapons of mass destruction.

    The description of the emerging US plan and the possibility of trials of Iraqi leaders for war crimes could be part of an Administration effort to warn Iraq's generals of the unpleasant future they face if they continue to support Saddam.

    Asked what would happen if US pressure prompted a coup against Saddam, a senior official said: "That would be nice." But the official suggested the US military might enter and secure the country anyway, not only to eliminate weapons of mass destruction but to ensure against anarchy in the weeks and months after Saddam's removal.

    The revelation of the occupation plan marks the first time the Administration has described in detail how it would administer Iraq in the days and weeks after a possible invasion, and how it would keep the country unified while searching for weapons of mass destruction.

    It would put an American officer in charge for a year or more while the US and its allies searched for weapons and got Iraq's oil fields working.

    For as long as the US and its coalition partners ran Iraq, they would essentially control the second largest reserves of oil in the world, comprising nearly 11 per cent of the world's proven resources. The United Nations oil-for-food program would be expanded to help finance the country's stabilisation and reconstruction, a senior Administration official said.

    Officials said the State Department, CIA and, ultimately, the White House were not keen on the idea of a provisional Iraqi-run government. "We're just not sure what influence that groups on the outside would have on the inside," one said. "There would also be differences among Iraqis, and we don't want chaos and anarchy in the early process."

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