[This story was updated on 04.06.03 at 6:50 p.m. ET.]
The whereabouts of Saddam Hussein remain unknown and Iraq's largest cities
have yet to succumb completely to coalition forces. Despite this current uncertainty, the debate over how to govern and rebuild a post-war Iraq picked up steam, both in
Washington and abroad, on Sunday.
Among the key questions facing policy makers: Which agency within the U.S.
government should take the lead in administering the peace? What role should
Iraqis who were exiled by the Saddam regime be allowed to play? And, perhaps
most importantly, where does the United Nations fit into the picture?
President Bush has designated the Department of Defense to take the lead in
the aid and reconstruction of Iraq, The Washington Post reported
Sunday. But Secretary of State Colin Powell has reportedly lobbied the White
House with a plan of his own about how post-war Iraq should be administered.(Click for map of the battlefield)
For now, members of Congress appear to be siding with Powell. The Senate
recently re-wrote parts of the $2.5 billion request for reconstruction aid
the administration submitted to Congress to ensure that State, not Defense,
distributes the funds.
"The secretary of state is the appropriate manager of foreign assistance,
and is so designated by law," said Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) of the House
There is also apparently no consensus on the role exiled Iraqi leaders
should play in post-war Iraq. Hard-line conservatives within the Pentagon
and elsewhere in the administration favor installing them in Baghdad as soon
as possible once the hostilities conclude, but the State Department and
others say that Iraqis within the country should take precedence over
Finally, there is the all-important question of the role the United Nations
should play in Iraq. In meetings with European leaders last week, Secretary
Powell said he believed the U.N. should be involved in some way, but
declined to commit to any specifics. Over the weekend, Deputy Secretary
of Defense Paul Wolfowitz staked out a somewhat different position.
Asked if he thought Iraq could be administered by the U.N. in the way that
international agency manages Kosovo, he said, "It's not a model we want to
follow, of a sort of permanent international administration."
Writing in The Washington Post, two key members of Congress advocated
for the involvement of the U.N. and of NATO.
"America need not and cannot take sole responsibility for the challenges of
a postwar Iraq," said Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE). "And we must not allow the U.N. Security Council and our Atlantic allies to
become casualties of war."
France, Germany and Russia have all called for the U.N. to be integrally
involved in post-war Iraq. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has expressed
similar sentiments. Bush and Blair are scheduled to meet Monday in Northern
Ireland. Undoubtedly, the shape a post-war Iraq should take will be on the
In addition, U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice arrived in
Moscow Sunday for a series of talks likely to focus on Iraq.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, U.S. officials say American forces have encircled
Baghdad and now control all major roads into and out of the city of five
The arrival of U.S. ground troops at their doorstep has prompted thousands
of Baghdad residents to flee the capital. Reports indicate that Baath Party
and military leaders have been attempting to hide themselves among civilians
in convoys leaving the city. The U.S. has declared that it will allow no
traffic in or out of the Iraqi capital between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. local time.
U.S. officials now also say that all of Iraq's Republican Guard divisions
have either been destroyed or have disbanded (see "What Is The Republican
"The Iraqi military as an organized defense in large combat formations
doesn't really exist anymore," said Air Force Lieutenant General T. Michael
Moseley, who oversees the coalition forces' air campaign against the Iraqi
Still, pockets of resistance clearly remain within Baghdad. U.S. Central
Command released a statement Sunday that remnants of the Republican Guard
are holed up in various civilian landmarks in the city, including the Mother
of All Battles Mosque and the Saddam Hospital.
And despite the apparent setback, the Iraqi regime leadership remains
defiant. A statement attributed to President Saddam Hussein read on
television Saturday by his spokesman encouraged Iraqis to fight U.S.-led
forces. It also acknowledged that coalition troops were now focusing on
Baghdad, but encouraged Iraqis to resist.
"You must inflict more wounds on this enemy and fight it and deprive it of
the victories it has achieved ... you must rattle their joints and terrify
them and speedily defeat them in and around Baghdad," the statement read.
U.S. officials said Sunday that between 2,000 and 3,000 Iraqis
might have died in the fighting, including many civilians. One U.S. colonel
who took part in the action described it as "controlled chaos" to The New
Other recent key developments:
- The U.S. landed its first plane at the recently renamed Baghdad
International Airport on Sunday. There are now believed to be as many as
7,000 American troops stationed at the airport, which serves as a base of
operations for incursions into the Iraqi capital (see "Widespread Power Outage In Baghdad; Saddam Airport Under Siege").
- Five Russian foreign ministry officials were injured Sunday as they
tried to exit Baghdad. Their convoy came under fire along a road out of the
Iraqi capital. Russia's ambassador was among those hurt. The U.S. expressed
deep regret over the incident but said it had no troops in the area where
the shooting took place.
- British forces have pushed close to the center of Basra, in an attempt
to finally secure the southern Iraqi city. They have met with only sporadic
resistance, according to reports.
- As many as 18 Kurdish fighters died in northern Iraq Sunday when their
convoy was bombed from the air in an apparent "friendly fire" incident. A
translator from the BBC may also have died in the attack. A total of five
British troops and as many as nine Americans have died in fratricide
incidents since hostilities began 18 days ago. Roughly one quarter of the
148 American lives lost during the 1991 Gulf War were due to friendly fire.
- Coalition forces may have killed "Chemical Ali," the Iraqi general
allegedly responsible for murdering thousands of Kurdish Iraqi citizens with
chemical weapons. Overnight, a U.S. precision-guided bomb was dropped on his
home in Basra. The body of his bodyguard was recovered from the rubble
- A second American reporter has died on the battlefield. David Bloom, 39,
of NBC News was embedded with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division when he
suffered a pulmonary embolism, according to the network. Bloom's death comes
a day after Michael Kelly of The Atlantic Monthly perished in a
Humvee accident in Iraq (see "Saddam Hussein Appears On Iraqi TV; First U.S. Journalist Killed
"). Overall, Bloom is the sixth reporter to die in the
- The U.S. confirmed that it has suffered its first female casualty. Pfc.
Lori Ann Piestewa, 23, of Tuba City, AZ was one of seven bodies from the
507th Maintenance Company that were recovered by U.S. Special Forces troops
during their successful rescue of Pfc Jessica Lynch. Piestewa is also
believed to be the first Native American to die in the conflict.
- Lynch was reunited with her family at a U.S. military base in Germany.
- Comedian Chris Rock has denied rumors that his movie studio told him to refrain from criticizing President Bush's policies toward Iraq during promotional interviews for his new movie "Head of State." The film debuted at number one two weekends ago.
— Ethan Zindler
For the very latest developments on the war in Iraq, check out CBSNews.com.