- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2003

U.S. Special Forces and Marines yesterday captured another of Saddam Hussein's half brothers, a former head of Iraqi intelligence, as teams of coalition forces focused on finding chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
Barzan Ibrahim Hasan, the second relative of Saddam to be captured, was snatched in a nighttime raid and has extensive knowledge of the regime's inner workings, Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, deputy director of operations for the U.S. Central Command, told reporters in Qatar.
"The capture demonstrates the coalition's commitment to relentlessly pursuing the scattered members of a fractured regime," Gen. Brooks said. "Efforts related to other regime leaders are ongoing.
A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Hasan headed the Mukhabarat, Iraq's intelligence service, from 1979 to 1983, when Iraq executed regime opponents at home and assassinated them abroad.
The official said Hasan, Iraq's U.N. representative in Geneva, was an intelligence official known for ruthlessness and brutality in purging the Iraqi military of anyone seen as disloyal.
The official said there were reports that Hasan enjoyed dinner and drank beer while watching the torture of dissidents. While in Geneva, Hasan was heavily involved in intelligence activities and illicit procurement of arms through front companies, the official said.
Gen. Brooks said the capture of Hasan was aided by information provided by Iraqis and that he is being questioned by the military.
Hasan is the third arrested Iraqi official from the deck of playing cards produced by the military that outlines wanted Iraqi leaders. A fourth Iraqi from the deck, Ali Hassan al Majid, known as "Chemical Ali," was killed in a bombing raid in southern Iraq.
Watban Ibrahim Hasan, another half brother of Saddam, was captured earlier by U.S. forces, and the location of the third is not known. Watban Ibrahim Hasan's standing within Saddam's inner circle declined when his daughter's marriage to Saddam's son Uday soured, the official said.
At a Pentagon "town hall" meeting, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld praised the commanders of military operations in Iraq for the success of the war and said teams are now in Iraq looking for hidden stocks of weapons of mass destruction.
"What's happened is amazing for the speed with which it was executed, but also for all the things that did not happen, all the bad things that could have happened because of that speed," Mr. Rumsfeld said.
Iraqi Scud missiles were not fired at neighboring states; most of Iraq's oil wells were not sabotaged, and there were not thousands of refugees, Mr. Rumsfeld said, noting that the success of the conflict was due to careful planning and not luck.
Mr. Rumsfeld said the search teams will need time to find arms because the Iraqis were good at hiding things and that there are concerns that critics will say that the United States will plant weapons.
"I don't think we'll discover anything, myself," he said. "I think what will happen is we'll discover people who will tell us where to go find it. … The inspectors didn't find anything, and I doubt that we will. What we will do is find the people who will tell us."
Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the war is not over. "I wish I could say that we're winding all this down, but I can't," he said at the same meeting.
Gen. Myers said Syria has not helped the United States in Iraq.
"We know that Syria is harboring some of the senior regime leadership, at least their families, probably some of the senior members. We know that," Gen. Myers said.
"We have good evidence that they sent in jihadists to help fight against the coalition, and they sent in equipment. That sort of behavior just has to stop."
In Baghdad, U.S. military forces helped to restore order in the city, which has been hit hard by looting and electrical outages. Marines yesterday shot at a group of looters attempting to rob a bank, killing one man and injuring others.
Gen. Brooks said coalition special-operations commandos are continuing operations throughout Iraq while conventional military forces conduct mop-up operations against remaining Saddam loyalists.
Commandos have won capitulations or surrenders in the areas of Ar-Rutbah, Kirkuk, Al-Amara, Al-Ramadi, Mosul and Al-Qaim, he said.
"Direct-action missions against regime leadership or terrorist interests are also ongoing," Gen. Brooks said.
The Army's 4th Infantry Division fought a brief firefight with Iraqi troops near Taji Airfield north of Baghdad yesterday, Gen. Brooks said. A number of enemy fighters were killed or wounded, some T-72 tanks were destroyed, and more than 100 Iraqis were taken prisoner.
In southern Iraq, British troops were attacked by Iraqi guerrillas with rocket-propelled grenades near a bridge in Basra.
"The patrols are still finding evidence of armed regime death-squad members in the city, but in general, Basra is rapidly improving in stability and security," Gen. Brooks said.
In the northern city of Mosul, Iraqis opposed to the coalition have carried out attacks that appear designed to foment instability.
Meanwhile, U.S. military forces have been bombing and attacking an Iranian militia in western Iraq "for some time," Gen. Brooks said.
"There's work that's ongoing right now to try to secure some sort of agreement that would be a cease-fire and a capitulation," Gen. Brooks said. "That work is ongoing and will most likely unfold within the coming days."
The fighters belong to the People's Mujahideen, a leftist Iranian group that was forced out of Iran in 1986 and given sanctuary by Saddam's government. London's International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates that the group has up to 15,000 fighters.
The group operated a camp at Falluja, about 25 miles west of Baghdad. The camp was abandoned, according to a report by Agence France-Press.

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