The United States declared Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party dead Sunday, with the commander of the war telling Iraqis that the instrument of their deposed dictator’s power was dissolved and promising to purge its influence from the country it ruled for 35 years.
Gen. Tommy Franks’ message, delivered in Arabic by an announcer on the allied Information Radio, broadcast a clear message across Iraq: Any activity by Baath Party holdouts who oppose the U.S. presence will not be tolerated.
“The Arab Baath Socialist Party is dissolved,” Franks said.
The general’s order Sunday was in some ways academic, given that Hussein’s Baath regime is no more and that the U.S. military and its civilian administrative counterpart now occupy the country.
But some high-ranking government and party leaders, including Hussein, remain unaccounted for. The United States says it has made hunting them down a high priority.