of Clubs Out of Play – Another Regime Leader Captured; Coalition
By Jim Garamone,
April 18, 2003 – Iraqi Kurds handed over the Ba’ath Party
regional command chairman for East Baghdad to coalition special
operations forces yesterday, U.S. Central Command officials said
al-Aziz al-Najim was the "4" of clubs in the deck of
cards issued to coalition troops to identify the 55 "most
wanted" members of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
is believed to have first-hand knowledge of the Ba’ath Party central
structure," Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, vice chief of
operations at U.S. Central Command, said during a briefing from
Qatar today. "The coalition is pursuing other regime leaders."
To date, on
April 16, coalition special operations forces captured Barzan
Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein’s half-brother and "5"
in the card deck. On April 14, coalition forces captured Abu Abbas,
a terrorist responsible for the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille
Lauro in 1985. Another Hussein half-brother, Watban Ibrahim Hasan,
was captured April 13 in northern Iraq reportedly trying to flee
to neighboring Syria.
air forces struck a compound in early April, believed to house
Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein. Known as "Chemical
Ali," he is suspected of ordering the 1988 gas attacks that
killed thousands of Kurds in the northern Iraqi village of Halabja.
land forces are expanding the security zones in the country. The
Army’s newly arrived 4th Infantry Division encountered paramilitary
resistance as it moved north between Taji and Samarra. "In
the engagement, the coalition destroyed eight technical vehicles
and captured over 30 enemy prisoners," Brooks said.
of the fresh forces allows coalition commanders to transition
from combat operations to stability operations. Brooks said these
commanders can "consolidate some of the forces on the battlefield,
like the lst Marine Expeditionary Force, and assign them to an
area where they can do more detailed work in establishing conditions
of security and stability."
that the changes will continue and take a few days to accomplish.
The units are conducting what the military calls a relief in place.
"One unit arrives to take over from one in place, and then
it can move to its next destination," he explained. "And
there may be subsequent relief at the location they’re going to."
The lack of
electrical power remains a core problem for coalition humanitarian
efforts, but progress is being made daily, Brooks said. Near the
Hadithah Dam, coalition forces and Iraqis restored electricity
to the surrounding community. In the northern towns of Irbil,
Dohuk and Sulimaniyah, there is sufficient fuel on hand to run
electric powerplants for more than 40 days.
full power to Baghdad will require more electrical managers and
technicians to come back to work," the general said. Brig.
Gen. Steven Hawkins and members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
have formed a team to focus on the efforts of power restoration,
and they began assessments of several powerplants in Baghdad.
team met with power board members and technicians, encouraging
them to return to work and to restore power to the people of Baghdad,"
Brooks said. "As of today, in Baghdad, six diesel-operated
plants are online and generating power, and the south Baghdad
powerplant has resumed operations."
is increasing and becoming more effective, Brooks said. Coalition
forces and some humanitarian organizations are working to ensure
hospitals have the supplies they need to operate.
In some cases,
he pointed out, this means redistributing captured enemy supplies.
In others, it means bringing in supplies from out of the country.
add that there are site surveys that have been conducted by Jordanian
and Saudi Arabian medical teams that have occurred over the last
several days, and more humanitarian supplies and medical supplies
are flowing in all the time," Brooks said.
Qatar are among the countries donating supplies and expertise
to the effort.