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Iraq: U.S. Captures Iraqi Disarmament Liaison Chief


As-Saliyah, Qatar; 27 April 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) says that U.S.-led forces are holding the former head of Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate, who figures on a list of 55 wanted Iraqis. CENTCOM said today that General Hossam Muhammad al-Amin, who was in charge of the body that liaised with U.N. weapons inspectors, is number 49 among the most wanted Iraqis and six of clubs in the deck of cards put together by the United States. In Abu Dhabi, the commander of U.S. forces in the Gulf area, General Tommy Franks, says the U.S. military will set about rearranging its disposition of forces in the region in the aftermath of the Iraq war.

Franks said that does not necessaily mean there will be a reduction of U.S. forces in the region. He noted that since the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq has gone, there will no longer be a need for Operation Northern Watch and Southern Watch. They are the patrols by U.S. and British warplanes since the 1991 Gulf war to enforce no-fly zones over the north and south of Iraq.

Franks was speaking at a press conference at Abu Dhabi airport. About 150,000 US and British troops are now in Iraq.

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today met with leaders of the United Arab Emirates to thank them for their support in the Iraq war and to discuss possible new U.S. military arrangements in the Gulf.

Rumsfeld landed in Abu Dhabi several hours late after his plane had a mechanical problem during a stop in Ireland. The stop caused him to cancel a planned visit to Afghanistan today but U.S. officials said he plans to visit Kabul later this week.

The United Arab Emirates gave key support to the U.S.-led attack on Iraq in the war to overthrow Hussein.

Rumsfeld has said that the United States is considering reducing its presence in the Gulf region now that the Iraqi regime has been toppled.

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