Iraq: June 15, 2003

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Six days of operations by an American brigade north of Baghdad has left 31-113 Iraqis, and no Americans, dead. Hundreds of Iraqis have been arrested and large quantities of weapons, explosives and documents have been seized.

The U.S. now believes that it will take several years for a democratic government to be set up in Iraq. The economy has to be revived after decades of Baath Party corruption and government ownership of many key industries. But establishing local elections may speed up the process if local groups do not try to control and corrupt the elections.

In northern Iraq, American Special Forces are training some 130 Iraqis (90 Arabs and 40 Kurds) to be part of the new Iraqi army. Apparently this is a test effort, to see what problems will be encountered before training is carried out on a large scale. 

In Basra, some 10,000 Iraqis demonstrated in favor of Iraqi control of the city. The British set up a council of local leaders to run the city in May, but dismissed that group, replacing it with a group of Iraqi technical experts led by a British officer. The problem with the Iraqi led council was corruption and the inability to make decisions. 

 

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