Iraq: February 18, 2003


Iraqi opposition newspapers citing sources in Baghdad, as well as the Cairo-based al-Ahram newspaper, claimed that Saddam Hussein had placed his defense minister under house arrest on the night of the 17th. This extraordinary move was apparently designed to prevent a coup. Iraqi military head Lieutenant-General Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Jabburi Tai is now effectively a prisoner in his home in the capital. 

Not only is he a member of President Saddam's inner circle, but also a close relative by marriage. al-Jabburi Tai's daughter is married to Qusay Hussein, the dictator's 36-year-old younger son (considered by many as Saddam's heir apparent). These reports came amid signs of growing apprehension in Baghdad that the Iraqi army, including the elite Republican Guard, might desert in the event of an attack on Iraq. - Adam Geibel

The US training program for Iraqi exiles, with a camp set up in Hungary, is only being used to train a few dozen Iraqis. The camp has a capacity of 3,000. The Iraqis being trained are meant to help US forces keep the peace after the fighting. 

U.S. and British warplanes bombed Iraqi air defense targets in southern Iraq. 


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