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U.S. Eases Ban On Iraqi Ba'athists

Bremer: re-Ba'athification? 23 April 2004 -- The U.S. civil administrator for Iraq today announced the easing of a ban on former members of Iraq's disbanded Ba'ath Party joining the country's army and civil service.

L. Paul Bremer said in an address on U.S.-run Al-Iraqiya television that former military who have clear records will be allowed to join the new Iraqi army.

He also said teachers and professors who did not use their position to harm Iraqis will be allowed to return.

Bremer said de-Ba'athification was a good policy but acknowledged that many Iraqis have complained about it.

Around 400,000 people lost their jobs last spring when coalition authorities disbanded the armed forces and security services following the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

U.S. officials said earlier that high-ranking Ba'ath Party members and those who committed crimes will still be excluded from public jobs.

A leading member of the Iraqi Governing Council and former exiled head of the London-based Iraqi National Congress, Ahmad Chalabi, criticized the move.