Some important developments last week:
* The United States intends to transfer legal custody of former president Saddam Hussein to Iraq's interim government if asked by the country's new prime minister, U.S. occupation Administrator L. Paul Bremer said. But Bremer indicated that the U.S. military would continue to retain physical custody of Hussein until the Iraqi government has an appropriate detention facility to hold him.
"If they ask for him, which I have every reason to believe they will . . . we'll turn him over," Bremer said. He added, however, that "legal custody and physical custody can be two separate things." Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has been discussing the handover of Hussein with U.S. occupation authorities, although it was not clear whether he is seeking physical as well as legal custody of him and other imprisoned former officials.
* Gunmen continued to target Iraqis who cooperate with the United States, targeting high-ranking figures in the Iraqi transition government, to which the United States is to formally transfer limited sovereignty on June 30. Kamal Jarrah, an Education Ministry official responsible for foreign cultural relations, and Deputy Foreign Minister Bassam Salih Kubba, were shot and killed as they left their homes for work.
Ghazi Talabani, who was chief of security for the state-owned Northern Oil Co., was gunned down as he drove to work in Kirkuk, the center of Iraq's northern oil fields.
* There was increased violence against the occupation, especially in Baghdad, as insurgents apparently continue to try to terrorize Iraqis, sap confidence in the new interim government and inflict casualties on occupation forces, as well.
The most devastating attack was a car bomb that killed at least 35 people Thursday in front of a Baghdad military recruitment center. Following the attack, Allawi pledged anew to overcome the bombings, assassinations and other assaults that have risen in the days leading to the June 30 transfer of power. Allawi suggested that a foreign country could be involved in the increasingly violent insurgency, a charge that was made more explicitly by Interior Minister Falah Naqib, who said support for the violence was coming from some of Iraq's neighbors, whom he refused to identify.
In other violence, a pair of car bombings Sunday killed a U.S. soldier and 12 Iraqis. On Monday, a powerful bomb killed five foreign civilian contractors working to restore Iraq's electrical grid. At least eight Iraqis were also killed in the explosion, which attracted a mob of Iraqi men who screamed their anger at the United States.
On Tuesday, gunmen who fired down from an overpass on a convoy driving near Baghdad International Airport killed three Iraqi security personnel contracted by the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority.
On Wednesday, a roadside bomb blew up near Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad, killing one Iraqi policeman and wounded five Iraqi civilians, while three U.S. soldiers were killed and 21 people wounded when a rocket crashed into a U.S. base near Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad. And not long after the Baghdad attack Thursday, another car bomb went off in a village 50 miles north of the capital, killing six members of the paramilitary Iraqi Civil Defense and wounding four others.
* Two oil pipelines were damaged in southern Iraq, severely restricting exports of petroleum. Repairs are not expected to be completed until the end of this week.