Draft law could reinstate Saddam backers | india | Hindustan Times
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Draft law could reinstate Saddam backers

india Updated: Nov 07, 2006 11:15 IST

Iraq's Shiite-dominated government has declared a major concession to Saddam's Sunni Muslim backers that could see thousands of purged Baath Party members reinstated in their jobs.

The US military announced the deaths of five more American troops, two in a helicopter crash north of Baghdad and three in fighting west of the capital.

The deaths raised to 18 the number of US forces killed in the first six days of November.

The High Tribunal's verdict against Saddam and seven co-defendants was praised in by the Bush administration as a sign of growing political and judicial maturity in Iraq, where American forces are struggling in the 43rd month of the war to crush insurgent and militia violence and to leave behind a democratic government.

Tuesday's US midterm elections have been seen by many as a referendum on President George W Bush's conduct of the war and the Saddam verdict and the opening to Sunnis were seen as a welcome break from the focus on rampaging sectarian murders and the fast-rising American death toll.

There were reports in both Washington and Baghdad, however, that US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was preparing to leave the post.

National Intelligence Director John Negroponte, during a Baghdad visit on Friday, told Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Khalilzad would leave about the first of the year and be replaced by Ryan Crocker, a senior career diplomat who is currently ambassador to Pakistan, according to two top aides to the Iraqi leader.