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Since 1st March, 1999
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War Briefs

Australia to join US war aid

Canberra, April 10 (Reuters): Australia will join the US and Britain in running the interim government in post-war Iraq after fighting alongside the US-led forces that toppled Saddam Hussein, Prime Minister John Howard said today.

Howard said the US would lead the interim government until the Iraqi people took charge themselves and Australia would contribute specialised military skills, although it would not take a significant peacekeeping role.

“Australia has decided that this country will join the United States and the United Kingdom as partners in the coalition transitional authority in Iraq,” Howard told a news conference. “Our aim is to restore authority in Iraq to the Iraqi people in a way they choose, in a form of free government that they choose.”

Weapons stock

Baghdad (Reuters): Rather than destroying the scores of weapons caches they find each day in Iraq, US troops are stockpiling some arms for distribution to future Iraqi security forces, military sources said on Thursday. The US military has begun planning for arming the future Iraqi police and paramilitary forces, similar to the arming of military units in post-war Afghanistan. Commanding generals have ordered specialised Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams not to destroy certain types of weaponry in any Iraqi arms caches found. Small arms, AK-47 assault rifles, light machineguns, rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades are being stockpiled, while mortars and artillery pieces will continue to be destroyed.

Leaflet missive

Baghdad (Reuters): US forces are set to distribute leaflets in the Iraqi capital and other cities urging people there to rise up “like lions” against what is left of Saddam Hussein’s rule, military sources said. The move is part of an effort to give ordinary Iraqis a sense that they are ultimately responsible for overthrowing the man who has governed them for more than two decades. In a leaflet prepared in Arabic and English and to be distributed as soon as Friday, coalition forces tell Iraqis that Saddam’s government has been defeated militarily and that freedom for all Iraqi citizens is just around the corner.

Help for child

Sydney (Reuters): An Australian surgeon who pioneered arm and hand transplants in 1998 said on Thursday he would volunteer his team’s services to help an Iraqi child who lost both arms in a US bombing raid in Baghdad. “We will volunteer if somebody will arrange for the boy to be sent to London to St Mary’s Hospital,” Professor Earl Owen of the Microsearch Foundation said. St Mary’s is the team’s base in Britain.

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