- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2003

BAGHDAD — The Bush administration yesterday approved a $30 million payment to the tipster who led U.S. troops to Saddam Hussein’s two sons, and two of Saddam’s daughters took refuge in Jordan.

Earlier, two American soldiers were reported killed as troops chased the ousted dictator in northern Iraq, and the country’s U.S. administrator said the U.S.-appointed Governing Council could be replaced through general elections held within a year.

Raghad Saddam Hussein and Rana Saddam Hussein, whose father had their husbands killed in 1996, arrived in Jordan with their nine children yesterday, Jordanian Information Minister Nabil al-Sharif said. They were allowed into Jordan on the orders of King Abdullah II.

“They are Arab women who have run out of all options,” he said. The U.S. military had no comment on the development.

In Washington, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell decided to give the tipster both $15 million rewards, one for each man, for information that led authorities to Uday and Qusai Hussein’s hide-out in the northern city of Mosul.

The brothers were killed during a July 22 firefight with American troops.

Some U.S. officials believe they are closing in on Saddam, but it is unclear whether his daughters’ arrival in Jordan indicates the hunt for their father is nearing an end.

Saddam has been replaced by a 25-member Governing Council. L. Paul Bremer, the country’s U.S. administrator, said he believes a new constitution could be written and accepted by the Iraqi people in a referendum, followed by general elections by the middle of next year.

“It is certainly not unrealistic to think that we could have elections by midyear 2004,” Mr. Bremer said while touring the partially refurbished Iraqi Foreign Ministry with members of the interim government he appointed July 13.

“And when a sovereign government is installed, the coalition authority will cede authority to the government and my job here will be over.”

In the past, Mr. Bremer has said a government could be in place by the end of 2004.

The 25 member Governing Council was unable to select a single president, so it decided on a nine-member team whose members each will hold the presidency for a month.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a spokesman for the Islamic Dawa Party, was chosen as president for August. He has not spoken yet to Western reporters.

The legitimacy of Iraq’s government is key to rebuilding the country. On Wednesday, World Bank President James Wolfensohn said it was unclear whether the council had the legitimacy to receive international loans.

“Clearly a constitution and an elected government would constitute a recognized government, but what do we do in the meantime?” Mr. Wolfensohn said during a one-day trip to Baghdad. “It’s a subject that needs interpretation.”

A U.S. soldier was killed yesterday when his armored personnel carrier hit a land mine on the dangerous road from central Baghdad to the city’s airport, the military said. Three other soldiers were wounded.

Earlier, the military reported the death late Wednesday of a soldier from small-arms fire northeast of Baghdad.

The deaths brought to 51 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in action since President Bush on May 1 declared an end to major combat.

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