December 14, 2003

Saddam Apprehended? The Beeb and

Saddam Apprehended?

The Beeb and CNN International are flooding the zone this A.M. with reports that Saddam Hussein may have been captured. Jamie Mcintyre is up in Washington D.C at 4:00 A.M. and relays that, rare even for the most senior (and early bird) members of Washington officialdom on a Sunday morning, many of them are already up too.

In short, there's a real buzz that something big has happened. The Ace of Spades time may be up.

There appears to be some celebratory gunfire in Baghdad at this hour too (CNN's correspondent Jane Arraf is on a live feed). Some residents of Baghdad have satellite and might be reacting to this breaking story.

Obviously, if the reports are confirmed, this is a very positive development for the coalition. Doubtless some fence-sitters in Iraq (concerned that Saddam was still alive) will now be more willing to provide critical intelligence to the U.S. special forces spearheading counter-insurgency operations.

Still, the months ahead will continue to be bloody as the insurgents are likely operating in pretty autonomous fashion without a centralized command and control structure. And Saddam was doubtless too busy hiding to do much more than release some audio now and then.

So attacks will continue. Still, the resolve of Baathist die-hards will have taken a very heavy blow.

Bottom line: A big day for the U.S. in Iraq if Saddam has indeed been captured. But not a panacea, by a long shot, for our problems in Iraq.

UPDATE: Ahmed Chalabi has reportedly said that Saddam was found in a basement in Tikrit (with a false beard). He had, according to Chalabi, "dug himself into the ground and was extracted with a shovel."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Tony Blair has confirmed that Saddam was captured alive. Blair said it "removes a shadow" hanging over Iraq. Indeed.

MORE: DNA testing indicates it's Saddam. A CPA press conference in Baghdad is to begin imminently at noon London time.

STILL MORE: Jerry Bremer: "We got him." (12:12 GMT). Yay!

Posted by Gregory at December 14, 2003 10:50 AM
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