- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2003

Abu Dhabi TV Friday aired videotape showing a man that appears to be Saddam Hussein greeting a crowd of supporters as coalition forces entered Baghdad.

The new footage came as thousands of worshippers in Baghdad demanded an end to the U.S.-led military presence in Iraq and a senior Baath Party official was handed over to coalition forces.

Abu Dhabi said the videotape was taken April 9 as Saddam was losing control of Baghdad. In the tape, the man purported to be Saddam, in military uniform, is on the hood of a car, waving to supporters in what the network says is the Azamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad.

Saddam's son, Qusay, also appears to be in the videotape. Abu Dhabi did not disclose the source of the tape. The tape was made available early Friday, too early for experts to verify its authenticity. There was no immediate reaction from U.S. officials.

Thousands of Iraqis, meanwhile, on Friday demanded the withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq during a peaceful protest at a Baghdad mosque. The Iraqi capital was reported calm on the Muslim holy day.

Protesters carried banners reading "Iraq ruled by Iraqis" and "No occupation." The rally came as foreign ministers from the countries neighboring Iraq held talks in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, to discuss how to influence the post-war situation in the region, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Earlier Friday, Iraqi Kurds handed over to coalition forces a senior Baath Party official captured near Mosul, authorities said. Samir Abd al-Aziz al-Najim is on the list of 55 regime leaders being sought by the coalition.

"He certainly has an insight on how the Baath Party Central Committee worked," Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said at a briefing in Doha, Qatar.

"We think we have someone here — all those people on that list of 55 have information on the inner workings of the regime — that relates to weapons of mass destruction, that relates to terrorism."

The development came one day after the capture of Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti.

"Barzan is the half brother of Saddam Hussein and an adviser to the former regime leader with extensive knowledge of the regime's inner workings," he said. Acting on information from Iraqis, U.S. Special Forces raided a house in Baghdad early Thursday and detained al-Tikriti.

The United States has sent FBI agents to the Iraqi capital to help recover the priceless artifacts looted from Baghdad's main antiquities museum, but three members of the White House Cultural Property Advisory Committee have resigned in protest over the U.S. failure to prevent the looting.

Martin Sullivan, quit as chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property, saying the devastation of the Baghdad museum was a tragedy.

"The tragedy was not prevented, due to our nation's inaction," Sullivan wrote in his letter of resignation.

The other two members who resigned were Richard S. Lanier and Gary Vikan. All three had been appointed by former President Bill Clinton.

"The report in recent days about looting of Iraq's national Museum of Antiquities and the destruction of countless artifacts that document the cradle of Western civilization have troubled me deeply, a feeling that is shared by many other Americans," Sullivan wrote.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller said agents have been sent to Iraq to investigate the looting and to assist security efforts in Iraqi cities where there has been widespread chaos since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime.

"We are firmly committed to doing whatever we can to secure these treasures for the people of Iraq," Mueller told a news conference Thursday. Baghdad's museum was ransacked last Friday in the chaos following U.S. troops' entry into the city.

In Paris, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization called for comprehensive worldwide emergency measures to recover Iraq's looted antiquities, including a temporary Security Council embargo on the acquisition of any Iraqi artifacts.

"It lies in the hands of the international community as a whole, and the only way that we will be able to safeguard these treasures and give them back to humanity is if we can count on the cohesion, coordination and determination of all concerned, at every level," Director-General Koichiro Matsuura said.

He called on all U.N. member states to adopt emergency measures to prevent the importation of any cultural items that had recently left Iraq, and called on museums, art dealers and private collectors to exclude such objects from any commercial transactions.

Matsuura also called for a database to be compiled as soon as possible to enable customs, police, art dealers and all concerned parties to identify the status of a particular object.

As FBI agents hunt for looted treasure, the United States is also intensifying the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Pentagon officials plan to send about 1,000 experts to Iraq to hunt for chemical and bilogical weapons.

The Iraq Survey Group will include former U.N. weapons inspectors and members of a U.S. military team that is already in Iraq searching for weapons.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday he believes Iraqi help and information is crucial to a successful search. "I don't think we'll discover anything, myself. I think, what will happen is, we'll discover people who will tell us where to go find it," Rumsfeld said.

In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp., chief United Nations weapons inspector Has Blix said his teams could play an important role in helping British and U.S. forces in their search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Blix, 74, said that although no such weapons had been found, it was still too early to say whether Iraq was free of them.

With the question of Iraq's remaining weapons still unanswered, Blix said he believed there was still a valid role for his inspectors to return to Iraq and examine any discoveries by British and American troops.

"We would be able not only to receive the reports of the Americans and British of what they have found or not found, but we would be able to corroborate a good deal of this," he told the BBC. "I think the world would like to have a credible report on the absence or eradication of the program of weapons of mass destruction."


(Reported by Pamela Hess at the Pentagon, Anwar Iqbal at the U.S. State Department; William Reilly at the United Nations; Kathy Gambrell at the White House; Ghassan al-Kadi and Nick Horrock in Baghdad; and Elizabeth Bryant in Paris.)

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