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US now woos Ba'ath Party
April 22, 2004 20:16 IST
The US is moving to rehire former members of Iraq's ruling Ba'ath party and senior military officers fired after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, officials said.
The proposal by the US Administrator for Iraq L Paul Bremer is aimed at enticing the powerful Sunni minority back into the political fold and weaken support for the insurgents in the Sunni triangle, the officials were quoted as saying by The Washington Post.
"Iraq has a highly marginalised Sunni minority, and the more the people of standing can be taken off the pariah list, the more the community will become involved politically," said a senior envoy from a country in the US-led coalition.
All Ba'ath party members who were teachers, doctors or in top government positions were systematically fired after the US-led occupation in Iraq. The first move to revise policy on former Baathists will be to reinstate about 11,000 teachers and hundreds of professors who were fired after Saddam was ousted last year.
"More broadly, (this strategy) is again reaching out to the Sunnis and making them feel part of the processs and investing them in the process while also not alienating the rest of Iraq, particulary the Shiites and the Kurds," a senior administration official told the Post.