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Insurgents might get amnesty

By wire services
Published July 4, 2004

BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister, less than a week after taking power, might offer amnesty to insurgents and could extend it to those who killed American troops in an apparent bid to lure Saddam Hussein loyalists from their campaign of violence.

A spokesman for Iyad Allawi went as far as to suggest attacks on U.S. troops over the past year were legitimate acts of resistance - a sign of the new government's desire to distance itself from the 14-month U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

"If he (a guerrilla) was in opposition against the Americans, that will be justified because it was an occupation force," the spokesman, Georges Sada, said Saturday. "We will give them freedom."

Choking the brutal 14-month insurgency is the No. 1 priority of Allawi's government, and the prime minister is expected to make a number of security-related policy announcements in coming days. Besides the amnesty plan, those include the resurrection of Iraq's death penalty and an emergency law that sets curfews in Iraq's trouble spots, Sada said.

The amnesty plan is still in the works. A full pardon for insurgents who killed Americans is not certain, Sada said. Allawi's main goal is to "start everything from new" by giving a second chance to rebel fighters who hand in their weapons and throw their weight behind the new government.

"There is still heavy discussion about this," Sada said. He said the U.S. Embassy has encouraged Allawi to try creative solutions to end the insurgency as long as they don't infringe on human rights.

Hussein's lawyers delay visit to Baghdad

AMMAN, Jordan - Lawyers claiming to represent Saddam Hussein on Saturday postponed a visit to Baghdad, hours after saying its representative would defy death threats to meet with the deposed Iraqi dictator.

Mohammed Rashdan, who heads a defense team appointed by Hussein's wife, Sajida, said lawyer Ziad Najdawi's trip to Baghdad, originally scheduled for today, "was postponed for a little while because of technical reasons."

Earlier Saturday, Rashdan said Najdawi was making the trip to present Iraqi authorities with the power of attorney signed by Hussein's wife and try to meet Hussein.

Handover provoked fewer attacks on U.S. troops

BAGHDAD - The number of guerrilla attacks on U.S. troops hit their lowest levels in more than two months during the period when the U.S.-led occupation authority handed power to an Iraqi interim government, the U.S. military said Saturday.

Daily attacks on U.S. troops dropped to between 20 to 25 per day from June 28 to 30, defying intelligence reports that predicted a major rebel offensive timed to coincide with the announced June 30 handover date. In a surprise, the handover was conducted June 28.

The military is exploring the reasons for the two-day lull. Since then, attacks have returned to their recent levels of 35 to 45 per day, the military said.

Iraqi lukewarm to offer of troops from neighbors

BAGHDAD - Iraq's foreign minister gave a lukewarm response Saturday to offers by some Arab countries to send troops, saying Iraq would consider help from Arab troops if they come from countries that don't border Iraq and work under U.N. auspices.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari's comments came two days after Jordan's King Abdullah II said he would be willing to send troops to Iraq.

Yemen then offered help in a U.N. mission, provided all coalition forces withdraw from Iraq. Bahrain also offered to send naval forces.

[Last modified July 4, 2004, 01:00:39]

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