Mosul Falls - Chaos Takes
Hold In Iraqi Cities
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. and Kurdish forces took Iraq's third city of Mosul without a fight on Friday as support for Saddam Hussein collapsed in the north, but shooting and looting plunged Baghdad and other cities into anarchy.
In both Baghdad and Mosul, violence and looting took hold as pent-up passions spilled on to the streets after 24 years of fearsome iron rule by Saddam.
In Baghdad, where U.S. tanks moved in on Wednesday, gunmen apparently from the downtrodden Shi'ite Muslim community in the east-side slums battled Fedayeen paramilitaries loyal to Saddam overnight, U.S. military sources said.
Elsewhere in the capital, armed men roamed the streets, robbing buildings and hijacking cars. "The looters are armed and are shooting at people. There are a lot of guns in the streets," said Reuters correspondent Hassan Hafidh.
Hundreds of Iraqi civilians stormed the headquarters of Iraq's military intelligence and dug desperately in search of relatives they believed were trapped in dungeons below. Later, U.S. soldiers in armored vehicles took over the compound.
The chaos in Baghdad and elsewhere, and the murder of a religious leader in the holy city of Najaf, highlighted the problems U.S. troops face in restoring order despite a crushing military victory.
Humanitarian organizations criticized U.S. and British troops, saying the failure to maintain order threatened their efforts to provide desperately needed assistance.
The whereabouts of Saddam and other former Iraqi leaders were unknown. U.S. commander General Tommy Franks, visiting Afghanistan, said they were "either dead or running like hell."
Brigadier General Vincent Brooks said at a briefing in Qatar that they were trying to escape abroad and that U.S. troops had been issued with a list of 55 people to be captured or killed.
In Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, the entire Iraqi 5th Corps surrendered, U.S. Central Command said in Qatar. "We're in the process of deciding whether they'll become (prisoners of war) or just go home," Captain Frank Thorp said.
Reuters journalists in Mosul said they saw no fighting there but crowds went on a looting rampage, stripping public buildings and even schools and torching a central market. An angry crowd forced journalists to withdraw from the center of the city.
Troops of the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade moved to take control of the strategic northern prize of Kirkuk from Kurdish guerrillas, who captured it with U.S. special forces on Thursday.
The U.S. soldiers began spreading through the nearby oilfields, which provide 40 percent of Iraq's oil revenue.
The Kurds' withdrawal from their traditional capital is designed to calm fears in Ankara that they could use the city's wealth to finance an independent state and stimulate separatist demands by Turkey's large Kurdish minority.
Events in the north left Saddam's home town of Tikrit, which is 110 miles north of Baghdad on the main road from Mosul, as the one significant target left to the U.S.-led forces. U.S. officers said their bombers were continuing to pound Iraqi positions there.
U.S. forces pressed on with a hunt for Iraqi leaders.
A U.S. aircraft dropped six "smart bombs" on the residence of Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, Saddam's half-brother and former head of Iraq's Mukhabarat intelligence service.
The results of the attack at Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, were not immediately known.
In one of the most ominous signs of lawlessness, a mob stabbed and shot to death Iraqi Shi'ite leader Abdul Majid al-Khoei and an aide inside the gold-domed Imam Ali Mosque in the holy city of Najaf on Thursday.
The killings -- one relative of Khoei said as many as six people had died -- seemed certain to widen divisions and sow hatred among Shi'ites, who are 60 percent of the population.
Fears of suicide attacks like one that wounded five U.S. soldiers on Thursday led Marines to open fire on a vehicle that ignored warnings to stop at a checkpoint in the southern city of Nassiriya on Friday, killing two children, the Marines said. RAMPANT LOOTING
The immediate problem facing American troops in Baghdad was quelling remaining pockets of resistance and restoring order. Severe looting has also raged in the southern city of Basra, now under the military control of British troops.
Aid officials, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said U.S. and British troops were obliged by international law to prevent chaos.
"Our great worry is the situation of chaotic insecurity in Baghdad. We don't know how much of the infrastructure and medical services are still functioning," ICRC spokeswoman Nada Doumani told Reuters in Geneva.
"We hope that the perimeters of these facilities can be secured by the Americans. Under the Geneva Conventions, it is up to the occupying forces to impose law and order," she added, referring to the 1949 treaty intended to protect civilians.
Despite a pledge by President Bush on Thursday that the United States and its allies would help end the chaos, Brooks questioned how much the troops could do.
"At no point do we really see becoming a police force... What we see is taking actions that are necessary to create stability," he said. Britain, however, said its forces in Basra would move over the next few days to stamp out lawlessness.
The United States is trying to organize a meeting of Iraqi opposition leaders to start selecting an interim government.
Central Command in Qatar said on Friday that White House special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad would chair a meeting of prominent Iraqis in the coming week to begin discussions on the country's future.
"The majority of the people attending will be from inside Iraq and there will also be attendees from outside Iraq returning to their country," spokesman Thorp said. Russian, French and German leaders, who opposed the war in Iraq, gathered in St Petersburg on Friday to press calls for the United Nations to oversee postwar reconstruction.




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