U.S. administrative chief to arrive on Monday
Marines leave Baghdad
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- With much of Iraq still without formal government following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, the former U.S. general who will head an interim administration in Iraq is due to arrive in the country within hours.
Retired Gen. Jay Garner, who will head Iraq's civil administration while a new government is established, will arrive in Iraq Monday, with the Bush administrations' preparations for postwar Iraq coming under fire from both sides of the congressional aisle and fears for the future being expressed inside Iraq.
The United States has not adequately prepared for postwar reconstruction, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press," also predicted that democracy in Iraq is at least five years away.
"They started very late," Republican Sen. Richard Lugar told NBC's Meet the Press. "The military strategy, tactics and execution have been brilliant. But we needed to be doing something similar (in the reconstruction phase)."(Full story)
Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democratic presidential candidate, also praised the U.S. military performance in Iraq but urged the United States to accelerate its postwar reconstruction efforts.
"We've got to work hard to win the peace" in Iraq and transform the nation's political structure into a "representative, democratic government," Lieberman told CBS's "Face the Nation" television show. "Obviously, we don't want this to turn into a theocracy." (Full story)
Garner and his team face a daunting task which ranges from restoring power and water to establishing the rule of law in the war-shattered country.
On Sunday, U.S. Marines pulled out of Baghdad, leaving it in the hands of the U.S. Army, which is working with Iraqi police to try to bring order to the still chaotic capital.
Various religious observances Sunday reflected the new face of post-Saddam Iraq but also raised the specter of the religious divides that remain deep despite 20 years of oppression under the former regime.
Members of the tiny Christian minority -- just 1 percent of the population -- celebrated Easter as thousands of Shiite Muslims made the pilgrimage to the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, banned by Saddam's regime, which was largely secular and oppressed the nation's Shiite majority while favoring Sunni Muslims.
In the coming week, 2 million Shiites are expected to attend services in Najaf and Karbala.
Some Iraqis are concerned a new Iraqi government could give too much authority to religious leaders and fear a surge in Islamic fundamentalism among Shiites
Christians fear Shiite rule
Such a scenario is especially frightening to Christians who fear Shiite rule could force women to wear veils, shut down restaurants, ban singing, dancing and alcohol and lead to persecution of their faith. (Full story)
Mohamed Mohsen al Zubaidi, a member of the Iraqi National Congress, has declared himself ruler of Baghdad and said Sunday that Iraq's new constitution will be derived from Islamic law. But it was not clear whether he has any real authority in the city.
But Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, told ABC's "This Week" that "there is a role for the Islamic religious parties. ... But they are not going to be forcing any agenda or forcing a theocracy on the Iraqi people."
Many Iraqis have also expressed concern over the chaos that still grips much of the country.
With the Marines out of Baghdad, the U.S. military presence is visibly reduced, but Army units and police are working to bring order. People caught looting are being put in jails, but released in a day or two because there is no court system and no fully operational jail system.
U.S. Marines are consolidating in other cities, where they are working with locals to build police units and security infrastructure.
• The Bush administration is looking to maintain access to military bases in Iraq, though an agreement will have to be negotiated with a future Iraqi government, a U.S. Central Command official told CNN on Sunday. (Full story)
• The U.S. military announced it has taken another leader of Saddam Hussein's regime into custody. Abd al-Khaliq Abd Al-Gafar, who served as minister of higher education and scientific research, was taken into custody Saturday, U.S. Central Command said. He was number 54 on the U.S. list of most-wanted Iraqis.
• President Bush said the United States would not declare victory in Iraq until Gen. Tommy Franks, the top U.S. military commander in the region, said the war was complete.
• Bush added there were "positive signs" that Syria would heed U.S. demands that it not harbor members of Saddam Hussein's former regime. "There's some positive signs," he said. "They're getting the message that they should not harbor Baath Party officials, high-ranking Iraqi officials." (Full story)
• Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Jamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan, surrendered to the Iraqi National Congress (INC), which would hand him over to U.S. troops, the anti-Saddam group said Sunday. Sultan, on the U.S. military's list of 55 most wanted Iraqis, would be the first close family member of Saddam's to surrender. Sultan is the nine of clubs in the deck of playing cards featuring regime leaders that was handed out to U.S. troops.
• A convoy carrying food for the surviving animals at the Baghdad Zoo arrived in the Iraqi capital, Central Command said. U.S. troops have been caring for the animals, who were abandoned when Baghdad fell to coalition forces. The food, donated by the Kuwait government and transported by the coalition, includes a two-week supply of fruits, vegetables and meat and a one-month supply of dry feed. (Full story)
• At least 20 antiquities suspected of being looted from Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad were seized by Jordanian officials at the Iraqi border, according to a source in Jordan's Information Ministry.
-- CNN Correspondents Jim Clancy, Michael Holmes, Jamie McIntyre, Tom Mintier, Nic Robertson and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.
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