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Iraq: New Civilian Administator Arrives In Al-Basrah

Baghdad, 12 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The new U.S. civilian administrator of Iraq, Paul Bremer, arrived in Al-Basrah today after what is being reported in the United States as a major shake-up of the U.S. team in Baghdad. Bremer, a career diplomat and counterterrorism expert, was asked last week by U.S. President George W. Bush to take over the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in Baghdad. It is the most senior post of the U.S.-led administration for Iraq.

Barbara Bodine, the U.S. official in charge of running Baghdad, is returning to Washington less than three weeks after she took the job in Iraq. Her departure comes amid criticism that public services in Baghdad are not being restored quickly enough.

Both "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times" reported during the weekend that the shake-up also is expected to include Jay Garner, the retired U.S. general who has been in charge of reconstruction in Iraq since last month.

But U.S. General Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in Qatar yesterday that Garner will remain at his post in Baghdad at least for the near future. Myers said Bremer and Garner would work together on a project to rebuild Iraq's armed forces.