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Former Iraqi General Not To Head Al-Fallujah Security

3 May 2004 -- The top U.S. military commander has denied that a former general from Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard has been put in charge of Iraqi forces that are planned to provide security in the city of Al-Fallujah.

General Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on U.S. television yesterday that a background check on General Jassim Muhammad Salih is still being conducted, and that he will probably not get the job as commander of the new Al-Fallujah Brigade.

Myers added that U.S. Marines are not withdrawing from Al-Fallujah, which has been the site of recent heavy fighting between U.S. forces and insurgents.

Earlier on 2 May, Salih appeared to be at odds with U.S. military commanders when he told Reuters that there were no foreign fighters in Al-Fallujah. The U.S. military says there are such fighters in the town.

Eleven U.S. military service members were reported killed in Iraq on the night of 1-2 May, including six who died when a barrage of mortars hit a U.S. base near the city of Al-Ramadi.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday he expects the Security Council to adopt a new resolution authorizing a multinational force to remain in Iraq after sovereignty is handed over to Iraqis on 30 June.

Annan, speaking on U.S. television, also said he believes the United States is intensifying its diplomacy with France, Germany, and Russia -- the three leading opponents of the Iraq war. But Annan said he does not believe the three countries would decide to send their own troops to Iraq any time soon.