Top US officials in Iraq to be replaced

Top US officials charged with running Iraq will be replaced in what is seen as part of a broad re-shuffling of US operations in the country.

     

     Jay Garner (L) may leave Iraq soon

    Retired US General Jay Garner, appointed to oversee the rebuilding of the war-torn country, will leave Baghdad within a week or two, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

    Garner was in Qatar on Sunday to meet Paul Bremer, who was named as top administrator in Iraq.

    The expected shake-up comes just a few days after US President George W. Bush named former state department counter-terrorism chief Bremer as Iraq's top civil administrator.

    Bremer was making a high-profile Middle East tour with the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard Myers.

    In a press conference earlier today, Myers appeared to acknowledge that the retired general and his staff would soon be on the way out, referring to the "team that's been there under Mr. Garner and the team that eventually will come under Ambassador Bremer."

    Barbara Bodine, who had been appointed to run central Iraq, restore vital public services and lay the groundwork for a democratic government, will also leave Baghdad, said the newspaper. She will reportedly take a senior post at the State Department in Washington. 

    Bodine told the US daily she did not know the reason for her removal which came just one month into her tenure.

    It follows criticism that Washington had failed to restore order in Baghdad. Electricity and water supplies are still sporadic in the capital city of five million, more than a month after US forces captured it.

    However, the Post reported some US officials are concerned staff change could slow down already struggling efforts to re-build Iraq.


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