Bush Is Urged to Broaden The Administration of Iraq

A group of former senior U.S. officials endorsed a call yesterday for the Bush administration to share influence over postwar Iraq with other countries and a broad spectrum of Iraqis.

Former secretaries of state Lawrence S. Eagleburger and Alexander M. Haig Jr. were joined by former senators Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) and Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.). Others supporting the approach, which favors a central role for Iraqis and a long-term U.S. commitment, were former defense secretary William J. Perry, former CIA director R. James Woolsey and former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

"Only if the United States invests in helping Iraqis build a new Iraq will it have the moral standing and political authority to promote its other objectives in the region," said a Washington Institute for Near East Policy report edited by Robert Satloff and Dennis Ross, a former Middle East envoy. The blueprint also argues that the administration should press Israel to "take steps that buttress Israel's commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians."

Peter Slevin

France Backs Role for U.N.

PARIS -- French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said after a breakfast meeting with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that he backs a pledge by Britain and the United States to give the United Nations a vital role in rebuilding Iraq.

"We agree that the United Nations should be given a full role. The more united the international community is, the better the chances of the [reconstruction] process being successful," Villepin said at a news conference.

Straw said U.S. and British troops would likely remain in place immediately after the war, in the interest of security. "Britain and the United States want to see the creation of a representative, democratic Iraqi government as fast as possible, but it can't happen overnight," he said.

Reuters

Red Cross Worker Killed

GENEVA -- A Canadian worker for the International Committee of the Red Cross was killed when gunfire strafed his car in Baghdad, the agency said. Twelve other people were reportedly killed in the attack.

Vatche Arslanian, 48, who was in charge of logistics for the Red Cross in Iraq, was killed Tuesday, the ICRC said in a statement. Two other Red Cross workers traveling with Arslanian escaped and reached the agency's office with word of the attack.

The ICRC said it appeared the vehicles were caught in crossfire during fighting.

Arslanian was one of six international employees working in Baghdad.

The agency said it was assessing the situation in Baghdad "with a view to decide the future course of action." Staff in the Iraqi cities of Irbil and Basra are continuing their work, it added.

Associated Press

Journalists Snub Allies

MADRID -- Journalists snubbed Spain's prime minister and Britain's foreign minister, putting cameras, microphones and notebooks on the ground to protest the death of a Spanish TV cameraman killed by a U.S. tank shell in Baghdad.

Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, arriving at the Senate for a meeting with his party's lawmakers, found the floor outside the chamber covered with equipment and 30 to 40 journalists standing in stony silence.

In a further display of anger, about 20 Spanish journalists walked out of a news conference with British Foreign Minister Jack Straw and his Spanish counterpart, Ana Palacio, after just one question.

Associated Press

UNICEF Aid Enters N. Iraq

SILOPI, Turkey -- Five UNICEF trucks loaded with hospital beds, medical supplies and latrines entered northern Iraq from Turkey.

About 70 UNICEF trucks have crossed into Iraq in recent days but most have entered from the south.

Aid agencies say Baghdad hospitals have run low on medicines as civilian casualties mounted during the U.S. onslaught, but supplies are also running low in parts of the north. UNICEF spokesman Michael Bociurkiw said the organization intends to increase humanitarian deliveries to the north to the prewar level of 50 truckloads a week.

"There are more than 100 truckloads worth of supplies at the port of Mersin [in southern Turkey], or around $4 million, and another $10 million worth is on the way," he said.

Turkey closed the Habur border crossing to regular traffic more than a month ago but is allowing aid convoys in a humanitarian corridor that U.N. agencies have established since the war began.

UNICEF's executive director, Carol Bellamy, said attempts to reach Iraqi children and women were being hampered by "a residue of fear and chaos."

Reuters

Family Watches Statue Fall

NEW YORK -- The world watched as a Marine corporal clambered up a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and covered its face with a U.S. flag just before the monument was pulled down and torn to pieces by cheering Iraqis.

Also looking on raptly was Cpl. Edward Chin's family in New York.

"I thought, 'Oh, my son, you are making history, you are part of the Iraqis' liberation," his father, Stanley Chin, said after watching the image of his son on television.

Shortly after wrapping the flag around the towering face of Hussein, military officials ordered Chin, 23, to take it down. He then replaced it with an Iraqi flag.

His fiancee, Anne Fu, said she knew Chin meant no disrespect.

"He wanted to show the Iraqi people that they were free . . . that the U.S. was there to help them," she said.

Associated Press