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Iraq's New Leaders Ease Purge of Baathists
Reuters ^ | 6/30/04 | Khaled Yacoub Oweis

Posted on 06/30/2004 7:35:14 AM PDT by Valin

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's interim government is working to ease rules under which former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party are excluded from the administration and security forces, a government spokesman said Wednesday.

The move, which follows an order by Iraq's former U.S. governor Paul Bremer to rescind a "de-Baathification" law, has outraged some former exiles who opposed Saddam Hussein.

One tribal leader said uprisings could erupt in the Shi'ite south as people see their former oppressors back in power.

But Georges Sada, spokesman for Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, said the policy that removed Baathists from the government and army, regardless of their record, was unjust.

"The interim government wants to make de-Baathification a judicial matter, not a political one. One cannot equate Baathists who killed and stole with those who have not committed crimes," Sada said.

"Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is working on issuing new orders in this regard. There are honorable and very good Baathists, including senior people. They joined the party out of patriotism and principle."

Syrian intellectuals founded the Baath (Resurrection) in the 1940s as a secular pan-Arab movement. Allawi himself was a party member as a student before breaking with it in the 1970s.

The Iraqi branch seized power in 1968 and became dominated by Saddam and his Tikriti tribe.


The U.S. policy against Baathists eased as violence against the occupiers gathered pace and a decision by Bremer to dissolve the 375,000-strong army was widely criticized as raising unemployment and fueling hostility toward occupying forces.

In one of his last acts before leaving Iraq Monday, Bremer rescinded the de-Baathification order, whose workings were overseen by a commission of Iraqis. That commission's spokesman, Ali al-Lami, said the body was still working on reinstating 30,000 sacked Baathists, including teachers, whom Bremer fired without checking their rank or degree of involvement with the party.

"The system in place is a safety valve, helping to protect the lives of Baathists," he said, warning of disorder if the government scrapped the commission. "We are going to see chaos."

The Iraqi Baath party became dominated by Saddam's fellow Sunni Muslims and oversaw oppression of the Shi'ite majority, including the bloody suppression of an uprising in 1991.

Shi'ite leaders warned of unrest if senior Baathists returned: "The people in central and southern Iraq will be furious. They will revolt," said Abdul Karim al-Mohammadani, a southern tribal leader on the commission.

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: allawi; debaathification; iraq

1 posted on 06/30/2004 7:35:15 AM PDT by Valin
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To: Valin

We turn an entire system...economy...all it's institutions...and infrastructure on it's order to bring real JUSTICE....the kind Christians are revered for....(in some circles)

And we bring it to an Islamo-fascist society...what? think there aint gonna be some 'bumps' in the road?...put down that Khat!...

It's up to them...what kind of a world they want to build....if they return to what they were...
next time...I hope we just send the AirForce


2 posted on 06/30/2004 8:16:19 AM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: Valin

Clinton was right, the Islamic terrorists/terror-sponsoring states problem really is merely a legal problem

In that light, I suggest that the firm of Dewey, Nukem, & Howe be retained.

Please note the use of 'retained', not 'restrained'.

3 posted on 06/30/2004 8:58:23 AM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon liberty, it is essential to examine principles - -)
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