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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES: History Plundered in Baghdad

Aired April 17, 2003 - 20:00   ET



The time line behind today's stories. Tonight -- how the day unfolded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing you're just (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You're totally devastated. And then I got very, very angry about the whole thing. It should not have happened. It need not have happened.

ANNOUNCER: History plundered in Baghdad. Is there any way to get it back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The information was timely, excellent, relevant, and greatly assisted in bridging gaps in other Intelligence.

ANNOUNCER: Thousands of Iraqis in America -- what they said and how it helped U.S. forces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Either they don't have a memory or they have a short memory. Or they have sinister plans.

ANNOUNCER: As the war of words rages on, Secretary Powell plans a trip to Syria. Is the U.S. softening its stance or is Syria next?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every time there's an epidemic of a new infection -- infectious disease -- it is also followed by an epidemic of fear.

ANNOUNCER: A mystery illness spreads. How worried should you be?


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Welcome. Glad to have you with us tonight from the CNN broadcast center in New York City. I'm Paula Zahn.

Over the next half hour, we're going to take a look at the day's headlines, hour by hour, as they happened. And then a bit later on, we will examine the possibility of reshaping the Middle East.

In the wake of the second Gulf War, can democracy really take hold in that region?

But first, our time line begins in Paris and deals with the aftermath of the war in Iraq. At 4 a.m. Eastern time, experts from around the world hold an emergency meeting -- trying to find a way to return, replace, and salvage the cultural relics looted from Iraq's museums.

Jim Bittermann has the details.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are the pictures that shocked and angered historians and archaeologists around the world. A curator of the Baghdad Museum discovering that one of the most treasured collections of antiquities had been plundered under the very noses of U.S. troops.

The curator and a TV crew even caught some of the looters red- handed. But on their own, they were unable to stop them. The Baghdad Museum, located just a few hundred yards from Iraq's information ministry, contained a priceless collection of ancient sculptures, tablets, and artifacts that chronicled thousands of years of history dating back to ancient Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization.

Just five days after the looting took place, 30 experts from around the world gathered for an emergency one-day session at UNESCO -- The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization -- to demand steps be taken to salvage the situation, including an immediate worldwide ban on trade in Iraqi cultural items and an urgent fact-finding mission to determine what has been lost.

Some were furious with The United States for not protecting antiquities in Iraq and not preventing the arson and pilage of Baghdad's National Library, which held one of the oldest copies of the Koran.

An archaeologist from the University of Chicago said that, from January onward, he repeatedly warned U.S. State Department and Pentagon authorities that such looting was a real possibility and had urged them to take measures to safeguard the archaeological treasures.

MCGUIRE GIBSON, ARCHAEOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: I was dreading it. I wasn't expecting it. I was dreading it. And when I saw it, of course, the first thing is just total -- you're totally devastated. And then I got very, very angry about the whole thing. It should not have happened. It need not have happened.

BITTERMANN: Coalition military officers insisted they were surprised by the looting. U.S. officials said their priorities were to win the war and minimize the loss of life. But critics here point out, their priorities also apparently included protecting hundreds of oil wells scattered across Iraq and the oil ministry building in Baghdad, ahead of protecting the Baghdad Museum and other cultural sites.

And several of the experts say now that with the U.S. in charge in Iraq, it has full responsibility for the safekeeping of Iraq's cultural treasures. Any further damage, said one, would be totally inexcuseable.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


ZAHN: And the FBI says it's joining the search for plundered Iraqi antiquities. FBI director, Robert Mueller, says agents are being sent to Iraq to assist with criminal investigations and to help recover stolen art.

In the 5:00 hour, India joins a growing list of countries and reports its first case of SARS -- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Health officials there say a 32-year-old man contracted the illness after traveling through southeast Asia.

The news has other travelers using masks for protection. And the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an effort to isolate people showing SARS symptoms may be helping to hold down the number of cases in the U.S.


DR. JULIE GERBERDING, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: We are not seeing transmission here beyond the individuals tightly linked to SARS cases and those cases in travelers.

It may very well be that our isolation system is contributing to that. But it might also just be luck, that we just haven't had very many people who are highly infectious, and the people we've had in that group have been isolated in our infection control programs, and hospitals are geared up for this kind of isolation because of our recent experience over the last few years with tuberculosis and other pathogens.


ZAHN: Also in the 5:00 hour, the European Union tries to move past divisions created by the war in Iraq. Meeting in Athens, EU leaders said they are ready to play a significant role in the reconstruction of Iraq. The group's statement also says the United Nations must play a central role in the rebuilding process. And the EU made an effort to link post-war Iraq to the peace process in the Middle East.

Power began to come back in parts of Baghdad today around 6:00 in the morning eastern time. The city has been without most electrical service since April 3. The reason is not entirely clear. However, we have heard that it's simply volunteers were coming to work in the electrical plant.

CENTCOM says its aircraft did not attack power stations. U.S. military identifies restoration of electricity as Baghdad's No. 1 need. It's considered key to providing security, reopening schools and hospitals, and restarting the city's water purification plant. Now, moving ahead a couple of hours, central command says another of Iraq's most wanted is now in custody. He is Barzan Ibrahim El- Hassan al-Tikriti, the second half-brother of Saddam Hussein to be captured.

Jim Clancy explains the significance.


JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It as good find for U.S. officials. At least, they hope so. Barzan Ibrahim El-Hassan al- Tikriti, of course, the former head of Iraqi Intelligence. More importantly, he was one of the people that cycled through a lot of the different positions as part of that inner circle of President Saddam Hussein.

Clearly, the U.S. military, in nabbing him here in Baghdad, is hopeful that he might be able to provide information about the whereabouts of other members of that inner circle, including, if he's still alive, President Saddam Hussein. Also, they are hoping he might be able to give them some information about the weapons of mass destruction that they believe are still hidden here.

Meantime, more information coming to light to television screens, as well, about what may have been the last days of the Saddam Hussein regime. A safehouse in the northern suburbs of Baghdad. It was in a modest residential area -- nothing remarkable about the interior of the house except it appears, from looking at the videotape that was shown on Al Jazeera, the Arab news channel, it appears that this may have been the place where President Saddam Hussein, then, was tape recording messages to his troops and to his people as power was slipping from his hands in the final days of his regime.


ZAHN: Also taking place in the 7:00 hour, a riot breaks out at the Al Rasheed Bank in Baghdad. The riot broke out after a robbery at the bank. The would-be thieves blew a hole in the vault. They were pulling out money. As word spread, people who had accounts in the bank gathered, and that's when the real problems began. U.S. Marines came and helped break things up and took $4 million in American dollars for safekeeping.

And then in the 8 a.m. hour, the latest in the rift between Syria and the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says he plans to visit Syria for talks with President Bashar Asaad.

Now in recent days, the U.S. has accused Syria of harboring deposed Iraqi officials and developing weapons of mass destruction.

Senior international correspondent Shelia MacVicar has more from Damascus.


SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says he's coming to Syria for what he has described as a vigorous diplomatic discussion. From the Syrian point of view, that may mean that the messages that they've been hearing from the U.S. administration over the course of the last number of days, will at least this time be delivered in private.

When I sat down yesterday with the Syrian foreign minister, Farouk Al-Sharaa for an interview, he felt obliged to explain the difference between Syrian policy and Iraq.


MACVICAR: Do you believe that the ultimate goal of the United States, of U.S. administration in Syria, is to effect regime change? Perhaps by the same way in which they carried out regime change in Iraq?

FAROUK AL-SHARAA, SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER; Which regime change? There is not a difference. I mean, if you -- if you want to ask what the difference between the regime in Baghdad, and Syria, there is a lot of difference. We had really so much differences that we stood against them when they invaded Iran in 1980. We stood against them when they invaded Kuwait in 1990. We even were part of the coalition in -- in -- in Kuwait against the Iraqi -- the Iraqi invasion. Either they don't have a memory, or they have a short memory, or they have sinister plans.


MACVICAR: The Syrian foreign minister saying that he sometimes feels the U.S. administration has forgotten the number of ways in which Syria cooperated with the U.S. and set itself apart from Iraq.

Syria, over the last number of days, being named by some U.S. quarters as even an ally of Iraq during this war. An allegation, of course, which the Syrian government completely rejects.

Sheila MacVicar, CNN, Damascus.


ZAHN: And straight out of the break, our time line picks up at 11 a.m. Some senior members of Saddam's fallen regime may be popping up in northern Iraq.



FBI Director Robert Mueller outlines the help coalition forces in Iraq received from Iraqis living here in the United States, when the time line continues.


ZAHN: From one nation's capital to the other, in the 11 a.m. hour, members of the deposed Iraqi regime are reportedly spotted in Mosul. Combine that with a growing anti-American sentiment, as well as water and power shortages there, and what you have is a very tense situation.

Ben Wedeman has more.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: According to a senior spokesman for the Kurdish Democratic Party, the one that rules in this area, senior members of the Iraqi government, ex-government so to speak, have been sighted in the city of Mosul.

Now Mosul really is the exception at this point to the situation throughout Iraq, where there seems to be a gradual normalization. In Mosul, still very unstable.

Now at this point, our understanding is that U.S. forces in the western or predominantly Sunni Arab part of the city are hold up in the governor's office. There are about 200 to 250 U.S. Marines and Special Forces in that building. And that is the only spot controlled by the Americans in the western part of the city.

Now -- and that is also the flash point over the last three days in Mosul where we've had anti-American protests, where there has been this bank robbery that the Americans apparently opened fire upon.

Now one of the reasons why also that there is this hostility toward the Americans is this -- is that Mosul is traditionally an Arab nationalist stronghold, one that has traditionally has also been loyal to the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein.

Another reason for some of the unhappiness towards the Americans is that even though they entered the city six days ago, still, electricity and water is not functioning there. So this city, with all this unhappiness, is clearly going to be something of a problem for the Americans in the weeks and months to come.


ZAHN: In the noon hour, the board investigating the space shuttle Columbia disaster releases its first set of recommendations to NASA. Among the recommendations, a more thorough inspection of thermal protection on space shuttle wings using CAT Scan-like technology.

Columbia's disintegration is believed to have happened because of a gap along the leading edge of its left wing, letting in super- heated atmospheric gases. The gap may have been caused by a chunk of foam insulation that broke off the shuttle's fuel tank shortly after liftoff.

Still, NASA officials say it may be impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of the disaster.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN O'KEEFE, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: What we have come to believe, in the course of the last 11 weeks of that diligent daily, seven days a week activity, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, has engaged in without coming up with any singular circumstance, is this will likely be a combination of hardware failures, process failures, and judgment calls.


ZAHN: In the 2 p.m. hour, a clearer picture of just what kind of information the FBI got from Iraqis here in the U.S. The FBI says it interviewed nearly 10,000 Iraqi citizens and former citizens.

How helpful were those interviews? Well, Justice correspondent, Kelli Arena, is standing by live in Washington with more on that.

Good evening, Kelli.

ARENA: Good evening, Paula.

Well, the FBI director spoke today about the FBI's role in general in the war with Iraq.

First, about those interviews agents conducted with 10,000 Iraqis and Iraqi-Americans living in the United States. Now Mueller says that agents passed along reports to the military as a result of those interviews, leading to success on the ground in Iraq.


ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: As a result of these interviews, approximately 250 reports were provided to the United States military to assist in locating weapons production and storage facilities, underground bunkers, fiberoptic networks, and Iraqi detention and interrogation facilities.


ARENA: Mueller says the operation was successful, with only two formal complaints from the Iraqi community. But Arab-American groups say that the interview sessions reeked of profiling. We spoke with one gentleman just after he was interviewed by the FBI. Here's what he had to say.


SAMI JAWAD, IRAQ-AMERICAN: They asked me, do you -- do you know some people that are supporting the Iraqi regime, Iraqi soldiers? I said, absolutely not.


ARENA: As for what's going on now in Iraq, Mueller says FBI agents are there going through documents for leads and interviewing Iraqi prisoners, all in the interest of preventing any future attack against the United States -- Paula. ZAHN: Kelli Arena, thanks so much. Appreciate the update.

And now that Saddam Hussein is out of power, is the U.S. any safer?


TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECY.: If there's anything that I think we might want to improve upon, is ramping it up quicker.


What's ahead on the Home Front? We'll try to answer that question when we come back.


ZAHN: With the military conflict at least in Iraq winding down, Homeland Security officials in America are making some changes. During the 4 p.m. hour Eastern time, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge talked with our Jean Meserve.


JEAN MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Immigration and customs enforcement intercepted dozens of aircraft violating no-fly zones around New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago during this last orange alert. Though temporary flight restrictions will remain in place over Washington, the reduction in threat level means they're being rolled back over Chicago and New York. It also means a temporary policy mandating the detention of asylum applicants from some countries where terrorists are active, is now suspended.

RIDGE: The detention resulted in our holding 20 people, I think three-quarters of them from Iraq, and we are going through the process of just identifying these individuals, making absolutely certain that these individuals are who they say they are, and the reasons for their request for political asylum are legitimate.

MESERVE: Despite forecasts a month ago that a terrorist attack was a near certainty, none occurred. Why?

Ridge believes U.S. military activity in Afghanistan and Iraq international cooperation, and the arrests of some key al Qaeda operatives, damaged terrorists' ability to command attacks. He also says Operation Liberty Shield, the range of protective measures put in place just before the war began, had a deferent effect.

But did Liberty Shield disrupt any attacks?

RIDGE: We apprehended folks who -- at places they shouldn't have been. Doesn't appear there's any terrorist connection, but it's precisely that kind of situation that suggests to us that enhanced security measures like Liberty Shield did work.

MESERVE: Another administration official says intelligence indicates that when security was heightened at one type of potential target like subways, the terrorists' interest would shift elsewhere.

But could Operation Liberty Shield have been more effective?

RIDGE: If there's anything we might want to improve upon, is ramping it up quicker. Hours, not by any means weeks.


MESERVE: With the increase in rhetoric about Syria and Iran some experts predict the next terrorist threat could come from Hezbollah, a group with links to both nations. But Ridge says there is no credible intelligence to indicate Hezbollah poses a threat within the U.S. at this point in time -- Paula.

Jean Meserve, reporting from Washington, thanks so much.

Even though skirmishes continue in Iraq, U.S. official realize making arrangements to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure.

During the 4:00 p.m. hour Eastern time, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced it is awarding a contract worth up to $680 million to the Bechtel Corporation. The California based company will evaluate, and repair Iraq's electric, water, and sewer systems. Bechtel is expected to work with a number of subcontractors.

When all is said and done in Iraq, the Middle East will be a changed place, but in what way? After the break, a look at the reshaping of the region.

Is the Arab world ready for democracy in the mold of the United States, and is there opportunity now for peace in the Middle East?

Reshaping a region when we return.




ANNOUNCER: U.S. special forces nab another one of Saddam's half- brothers.

BRIG. GEN. VINCENT BROOKS, CENTCOM DEP. DIR. OF OPERATIONS: The capture demonstrates the coalition's commitment to relentlessly pursuing the scattered members of a fractured regime.

ANNOUNCER: Three members of Saddam's inner circle are now in coalition custody. But what about the other evildoers? Who's next?

From Baghdad to Jerusalem: Is the Palestinian-Israeli problem next on America's to-do list?

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: But the president does believe that it is important for Israel and a newly created Palestinian state to live side by side. ANNOUNCER: Is now the time for peace in the Middle East?

Saddam Hussein may be gone, but what about other Arab leaders? Does democracy have a chance in the Arab world?

This half-hour, LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES: reshaping a region.


ZAHN: And welcome back. Glad to have you with us tonight.

When the U.S. went to war, the objectives didn't stop at remaking Iraq. They also included bringing change to the region.

Senior political analyst Bill Schneider has been looking into what that may entail.

Good evening, Bill.


The Bush administration has big ambitions in the Middle East that go way beyond ousting a troublesome dictator.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The Bush administration's ambition is to reshape the Middle East. That involves big challenges. First and foremost, root out the terrorists. There's more than one strain of terrorism in the Middle East. Many target Israel. Some, like al Qaeda, threaten the U.S. directly, people like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, believed to be the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.

Middle East terrorism thrives in the rich soil of religious fanaticism, nourished by oil money, a lot of it from Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has pressured the Saudis to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After September 11, whenever we hear, we track and see where funding may have come.

SCHNEIDER: But is that enough? Or will the Saudi regime have to become more democratic, in line with what President Bush said about the Iraqi people on March 17?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

SCHNEIDER: It's an enormous challenge to promote democracy in a region where it has never flourished. But there could be a domino effect; first, Afghanistan, then Iraq, then the Palestinian Authority, which is in the process of choosing new leadership.

Arabs and Europeans see the Israel-Palestinian conflict as the No. 1 priority. Solve that problem, they say, and the region will be transformed overnight. The Bush administration put Iraq first, then the Israel-Palestine problem. Then is now.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is going to be a very difficult process. But I believe progress can be made if both sides enter this road map process with an understanding of the needs of the other side.

SCHNEIDER: The rest of the world assumes this is all about oil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The claim of the American and English to present freedom for the Iraqi people is one of the biggest jokes there is. They are, in fact, working to control Iraq and to control the oil.

SCHNEIDER: But the U.S. says the oil belongs to Iraq and the money will benefit the Iraqi people.


SCHNEIDER: Terrorism, fanaticism, democracy Israel, oil, that's quite a daunting list of challenges. And the hardest problem may be to anything figure out which one of them comes first -- Paula.

ZAHN: So let's talk about, a moment, what you think the level of commitment is for the White House to take up the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

SCHNEIDER: Well, as of this week, it appears to be rising very rapidly. On Tuesday, the White House had a high-level meeting with two top aides to Ariel Sharon. What was important is, several administration officials, like Elliot Abrams, the White House Middle East adviser, who are strong supporters of Israel, attended that meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was to say, it's time to get serious. We have a road map on the table. Israel is now going to have to make concessions, as long as the Palestinians will choose next week a new leadership. Israel has often expressed doubts about that road map. And a lot of people think they're not interested in the road map because they don't want to go where the road map is going. The United States is saying, the road map is on the table. You guys got to start.

ZAHN: Bill Schneider, thanks for educating us tonight. Appreciate it.

Now, U.S. efforts to reshape Iraq are getting close scrutiny throughout the Middle East.

Joining us now to discuss the word on the street are Kelly Wallace in Jerusalem and Rula Amin in Baghdad.

Good evening to both of you. We're going to start with Kelly tonight.

So, Kelly, with all this attention focused on the region, do you think or do you feel that there's a heightened sense that this might be an optimal time for peace?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, there is a lot of pessimism, really, on the streets. Some Palestinians are a bit skeptical, questioning, just as you and Bill were talking about, how much political capital President Bush will invest to try and get an agreement between the two sides.

There's a lot of skepticism on the part of the Israelis, too. Some are concerned that the Americans will try to force the Israelis to make a great number of concessions because of concern about the anti-American sentiment in the Arab world following the war in Iraq. But there are some signs of hope. If you take a look at a poll released earlier this week on Tuesday, when Palestinians and Israelis were asked, will the Palestinian government, led by the newly appointed Palestinian prime minister, Abu Mazen, be able to renew negotiations with Israel, 70 percent of Palestinians said yes and 67 percent of Israelis said yes as well.

However, more than a third of the Israelis and Palestinians polled also said they are not so sure that Abu Mazen will be able to control the security situation and be able to reduce the violence -- Paula.

ZAHN: Let's talk a little bit more about Israeli attitudes. If there is any optimism at all, how do they think this whole process will end up?

WALLACE: Well, again, many people do look at the war in Iraq as a possible jumping-off point to achieve some type of progress, again, renewal of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. There is some hope about Abu Mazen.

And then there is the question of, will the U.S. go ahead and put pressure, diplomatic, economic, other types of pressure, on Syria and Iran? Israeli officials made it clear, even before the war with Iraq, that they believe that Syria and Iran are bigger threats to Israel, that they are funding Palestinian terrorism and supporting the Hezbollah group in southern Lebanon.

And if you look again at another poll -- this was done in the middle of March -- when Israelis were asked, who do you think poses the greatest threat to the security of Israel, Iran, Iraq, or Syria, many viewers might be surprised to see these results; 25 percent of Israelis said Iran; 25 percent Iraq; 23 percent said Syria. You see the rest of the numbers there -- so, again, a lot of concern on the part of Israeli officials and Israelis themselves about Syria and Iran and some hope that some pressure will be put on those countries as well -- Paula.

ZAHN: Kelly Wallace, thanks so much.

Let's bring Rula Amin back into the picture.

Rula, share with us for a moment what Iraqis have told you about their aspirations for the country and for the region, for that matter. RULA AMIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, when we go on the streets and we talk to Iraqis, the first thing they tell us is, they were promised democracy and they are going to claim it.

They want to have a say in their future, in the future of their country. They say they want freedom of speech. They want to make sure that whoever leads Iraq is going to be held accountable to the people. This is after decades of being ruled by the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. And now everyone is speaking out. People on the street just stop us and they start talking about the brutality, about the fact that they were never able to voice their concerns or their wishes. And it's like now they're taking advantage of the chance.

It's only one week after the fall of Baghdad, and every day here at the Palestine Hotel, where the Marines and the journalists are staying, every day, there's a protest. And it's different groups, small numbers. However, they are determined to make their voices heard. It seems they're grabbing on this chance and they don't want to lose it -- Paula.

ZAHN: So what do you think will be the biggest hurdles they will continue to face as everyone attempts to make democracy take root?

AMIN: Well, Iraq is a complex mix of different ethnic and religious groups. And all these groups want to make sure they are represented in any coming future government. And they want to make sure that their interests and their needs are taken care of and tackled.

And this is going to be hard. It's going to be a challenge for whoever is going to lead Iraq in the future, because they all have different agendas. They all have different views on how this should be done. There are the Kurds. There are the Arabs, the Shiites, the Sunnis, the Muslims, the Christians. And they all have different views. There are those who believe that an Islamic state in Iraq is the answer. Others think it should be secular and democratic. The Kurds want autonomy.

So it's all conflicting demands. And it's going to be a real challenge to put all these demands and to tackle it and to satisfy it and keep Iraq unified. This is a major concern for so many Iraqis. They want to make sure that their country does not disintegrate -- Paula.

ZAHN: Thanks, Rula -- Rula Amin in Baghdad tonight, Kelly Wallace in Jerusalem. Thank you both.

Straight ahead: The dragnet goes out for members of Saddam's inner circle and catches a half-brother. If he is alive, does that bring Saddam Hussein any closer to being captured himself? And what about the search for other remaining members of the Iraq's former power elite?


ZAHN: As we mentioned earlier, another of Saddam Hussein's half- brothers, Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, is now in custody. Both of the captured half-brothers are included on the U.S. military's most- wanted list in Iraq. A third half-brother is still at large.

Joining us to discuss what kind of information Barzan might provide and what's being done to track down other top Iraqis in the leadership is Con Coughlin. He's executive editor of "The London Sunday Telegraph" and the author of "Saddam: King of Terror."

Saddam had a bunch of half-brothers, didn't he?


He didn't really get on with them as a child. But, basically, Saddam's mother forced him to give them government posts when he got the presidency. So he's had to look after them. But Barzan is the most significant of the three. The other two have been sidelined for some years. Basically, when Saddam's sons, Qusay and Uday, came of age, were old enough to hold government positions, the half-brothers would move to one side. Qusay and Uday came in.

But Barzan, who is the money man, the bag man of the regime, who controls all the secret Swiss bank accounts, he stayed in the regime. And he has still has contact with Saddam. So it's a significant breakthrough to pick him up.

ZAHN: Would he be likely to turn on Saddam?

COUGHLIN: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Over the years, the two of them have had their fallings-out. There was one occasion in '82 when Saddam thought Barzan was planning a coup against him. In the late '90s, Barzan was actually in contact with the CIA about trying to plan another coup attempt to take out Saddam. So, the two of them have had a rather fractious relationship over the years.

ZAHN: And yet you still believe he had a very close relationship with Saddam when it comes to handling the purse strings of this family?

COUGHLIN: The money, the money, yes. Well, basically...

ZAHN: And how much money are we talking about here?

COUGHLIN: About $4.5 billion. That's how much the American government thinks has been squirreled away in Swiss bank accounts. And Barzan is the man who control those accounts. So, as I say, he has a rather strange relationship with Saddam.

ZAHN: I know you believe Saddam Hussein is alive. You believe he's probably still in Baghdad. What is the likelihood that Barzan will lead U.S. forces to Saddam, if he is alive?

COUGHLIN: Well, I think...

ZAHN: And what would his incentive be?

COUGHLIN: Well, as I said, Barzan has always had this rather strange notion...

ZAHN: Yes, I know, but he's been in and out of that inner circle.

COUGHLIN: Yes, yes. I suppose Barzan will want to try and save his own skin. Barzan was head of security in the early '80s and killed a lot of people. He put them up against the wall and pulled the trigger. So he's got blood on his hands. He could be prosecuted for war crimes. He will want to save his own skin.

He does know how Saddam operates. As I say, of all the other people, Barzan could provide some very good clues as to where Saddam is. And, of course, Barzan was picked up in Baghdad. When I first suggested Saddam could still be in Baghdad...

ZAHN: Yes, people thought you were nuts.

COUGHLIN: Yes, quite.

ZAHN: They did.

COUGHLIN: I know. And then Barzan turns up in Baghdad. And, also, remember that CENTCOM announced last week that Barzan had been killed. So CENTCOM is playing this psychological warfare game with the regime.

They say people are dead, and then, a week later, they arrest them. So, at the moment, they're hinting that Saddam is dead. And who knows? In a week's time, they may arrest him.

ZAHN: Well, that's a pretty good strategy, isn't it? It worked in this case.

COUGHLIN: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. But the psychological warfare is very intense, has been throughout this conflict since it started between Washington, between Baghdad. Saddam is very good at mind games. And, as I say, I think he's still alive and he's still playing mind games.

ZAHN: How good is he, though, at the receiving end of the mind game?

COUGHLIN: Well, he's been in some tough fixes in the past, not as tough as this, but he's been in some tough fixes. And we'll see how Saddam reacts.

ZAHN: And why were you so convinced, because you felt this way for a couple of weeks now, that Saddam was still alive in Baghdad? Why Baghdad?

COUGHLIN: Because Baghdad's about the -- first of all, Baghdad is a really big city. And it doesn't matter how many troops we put in. We're not going to control the whole thing. We rely on intelligence to pick people up.

Now, Barzan didn't have the same level of protection as Saddam. Remember, Saddam hid from the Iraqi people even when he was president. So ordinary Iraqis aren't going on say, well, actually: Saddam is just down the road in that house.

But I think Saddam will want to lie low. There are some loyalists in Baghdad who will look after him. And they want to try and see it out.

ZAHN: I know you're a journalist and you have had to detach yourself from material along the way. But when you wrote "Saddam: King of Terror" and you recalled some of these hideous things that Saddam has done to his own people and to other enemies, did any of this stuff keep you awake at night when you were writing it?

COUGHLIN: I literally had nightmares when I was writing this book. I'd wake up in the middle of the night and think I was in a torture chamber. And I would say: No, it's OK, I'll stop writing the book. Please leave me alone. But it was only nightmares and I got through it.

ZAHN: And did you ever feel like you would be threatened for anything you wrote?

COUGHLIN: Well, actually, when I was writing the book, I kept very quiet about it, because I knew that Saddam had spies in London and elsewhere that I was operating. And I didn't want him to get wind of what I was up to. So I kept very quiet about it until the book came out.

ZAHN: Con Coughlin, the author of "Saddam: King of Terror," you almost live here these days. Thank you for dropping by once again.

COUGHLIN: OK. Nice to see you, Paula.

ZAHN: See you in the morning.

COUGHLIN: OK, see you.

ZAHN: We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: Does Iraq have a realistic chance to become a stable democracy? Can democracy spread in the Middle East?

We've asked for Fareed Zakaria to join us. He is the author of "The Future of Freedom" and the editor of "Newsweek International."

Good to see you again. Welcome. Thanks for joining us tonight.

FAREED ZAKARIA, AUTHOR, "THE FUTURE OF FREEDOM": Thanks, Paula. Great to be here.

ZAHN: Let's talk a little bit about the prospect of multiparty national elections being held. When do you think that will happen, or will it happen? ZAKARIA: Well, I hope it happens, but I also hope it doesn't happen too soon, because first you have to figure out the tough part of building a democracy, which is creating the real institutions of democracy: the courts, the constitution, the separation of powers.

There's a funny thing that happens. If you don't figure all that out beforehand, once somebody gets into power, they have no interest in the rule of law. They have no interest in a clean bureaucracy. They want to put all their friends in there. So it's very important to sequence this right. First, let's get the inner stuffing of democracy and then we can get the outer shell, the elections.

ZAHN: So how long is it that you think that election process should be delayed?

ZAKARIA: In most developing democracies over the last 20 years, it seems as though you need three to five years before you can have a full-fledged national multiparty election, because, if you do it the other way -- in Bosnia, they did it the other way around. And now many of the people involved feel it was a big mistake, because they elected ethnic thugs. They packed the courts. They packed the bureaucracy. And the whole process of building institutions went awry.

ZAHN: I would like to share with folks who are listening to the two of us tonight a passage from your book. And it deals with what you call a basic rule, that countries rich in oil are rarely fully developed democracies.

You write: "Governments with treasure in their soil have it too easy. They are trust-fund states. They get fat on revenues from mineral or oil sales and don't have to tackle the far more difficult task of creating a framework of laws and institutions that generate national wealth." At the same time, though, you write that Iraq is a good candidate for economic and political reform. Is there a disconnect there?

ZAKARIA: Well, you've caught me a little bit. I was being optimistic.

But the real hope for Iraq is actually not the oil, but the water. Iraq has a developed river valley civilization. And the thing about water is, you've got to work to make it worthwhile. You've got to irrigate. You've got to build an agricultural system. And Iraq has built that and has a river valley civilization that has developed over thousands of years, as a result, has an educated populace, has women in workplace, all the kind of attributes of modernity.

That's its real treasure, the people. And if it drills them, their minds, rather than drilling the earth for oil, it will be far more likely to be able to make the break into the democratic world.

ZAHN: So what is it that you think will happen?

ZAKARIA: Well, I hope that what we do is, we spend a lot of time thinking about how we're going to create a system that works for all these various ethnic groups, power-sharing, federalism, create a real constitution, a real court system, also figure out what to do with the oil.

There are ways to manage it, and then, and only then, hold elections. If we decide we need to get out of there fast -- and there have been some recent comments that General Garner has made that are very discouraging on that front -- if we feel we need to get out in nine months, I can guarantee you, there's very little chance you will have a genuine democracy in Iraq.

ZAHN: And then a final question about the central role you think moving along the Middle East peace process, specifically the Israeli- Palestinian track, is.

ZAKARIA: Well, I've always thought that the political dysfunctions in the Middle East, the real heart and soul of them are the repressive regimes that make it very difficult for people there to have political voice.

But the Israeli-Palestinian issue has become the great burning symbol in the Middle East. And so a lot of people say, look, there's no light at the end of the tunnel. What are you going to do? Well, I say, if you look at what both parties have begun to say, everybody basically agrees that the Clinton plan that the two parties had almost agreed to in 2000 is the only viable solution. So, in a sense, there's light at the end of the tunnel. There's just no tunnel.

We need to build the steps to get to that solution. And what that means is American engagement. America is the only country that can bring both parties together, press them hard, and build that tunnel, so that we get to the light at the end of the tunnel.

ZAHN: Fareed Zakaria, always good to have your perspective on the air. Congratulations on your book, "The Future of Freedom."

ZAKARIA: Thank you, Paula. Great to be here.

ZAHN: Appreciate your dropping by.

And we want to thank you all for being with us tonight. So we're going to have to say good night now. Coming up next, "LARRY KING," after a quick check of the headlines.

Again, thanks for joining us. Good night.


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