Friday, April 11, 2003

Some links. The New York Times is reporting that heavy fighting is going on around the Iraqi town of Qaim, on the Syrian border, "where American Green Berets and British commandos have been attacking units of Iraq's Special Republican Guard and Special Security Services, according to senior military and defense officials." There is some suspicion the site contains banned weapons, given that the Iraqis are fighting almost as hard as Saddam's statue did in Al-Firdaws square.

The article noted that another possible reason for the heavy fighting is that the Iraqi troops are shielding officials trying to flee to Syria. However, it did add: "Today, defense officials said there was no evidence that those believed to have fled [to Syria] included any senior Iraqi leaders."

Meanwhile, the Washington Post yesterday ran a profile of Jay Garner, the man who will head the civil administration in Iraq, and who still refuses to talk to anybody. The article is useful inasmuch as it tries to tell us more than the fact that he is a "Zionist", as many papers in the region have called him. While I agree that his reputation as a supporter of Israel will not help him in Iraq, and could indeed impede his effectiveness, I do think that his efforts during Operation Provide Comfort in Kurdistan merit much closer review in order to judge his capabilities.

Somehow I've been pegged as a "Garner expert", whether by Business Week or (egad!) Austrian radio, though I've always insisted I know very little about him. That comes from sleepily writing an introductory piece on Garner (and one of his possible future deputies) for Beirut's Daily Star, which Reason magazine charitably reprinted.

The Post story even has a link to a new anti-Garner website.

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