Baghdad, 11 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. General Tommy Franks -- commander of coalition forces during the Iraq war -- ordered the dissolution of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party today. In a statement broadcast across Iraq by U.S.-controlled Information Radio, Franks said: "The Iraqi Ba'ath Socialist Party is dissolved." But Franks said freedom of expression -- including political expression -- will continued to be assured under the coalition occupation of Iraq.
Unseating members of the Ba'ath Party from power in Baghdad had been a top priority for U.S. military planners before and during the war.
The Ba'ath Party maintained a totalitarian grip over Iraqi society from the time it took power in 1968 until U.S.-led forces captured Baghdad last month.