Wednesday, March 19
Commando force poised to track and kill Saddam
Jack Kelley, USA TODAY, March 18, 2003
KUWAIT CITY — Armed with high-tech weapons, night-vision goggles and pictures of their targets, small teams of Delta Force commandos will soon descend on the outskirts of Baghdad to begin the most anticipated mission of the war: capturing or killing Saddam Hussein.
Teams of the Army's elite 360-man force have been assigned to hunt and, if necessary, kill Saddam, his sons Qusai and Uday, and at least a dozen of Iraq's top military and political leaders, according to senior Pentagon officials with direct knowledge of the mission.
The commandos, now based in Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and northern Iraq, are prepared to storm Saddam's presidential palaces, attack his convoys and suffer casualties to bring Saddam's 24-year rule to an end, the officials say.
The Delta Force - a commando group so secretive that the U.S. government regularly denies its existence - and the CIA have been training clandestinely for this mission for several years, U.S. intelligence officials add.
Officially, the U.S. objective in Iraq is not to kill Saddam but to force a change in the country's regime and to secure the banned weapons that Iraq is accused of developing.[...]
The Uday Profile :
Age: 39. He is the first of five children from Saddam Hussein's marriage to his first wife, Sajida.
Personal: Reportedly married three to five times; no children.
Positions: Sits in the Iraqi parliament. Owns Al-Shabab ("Youth") television and Babil, Iraq's most popular newspaper. Leads the Fedayeen Saddam ("Saddam's Men of Sacrifice") paramilitary troops.
Background: Known for capriciousness and depravity, Uday has a fondness for Cuban cigars and Porsches. As head of Iraq's Olympic committee since 1984, he built a 30-cell torture unit and brutalized athletes who didn't perform to his liking, according to defectors and human rights groups. An assassination attempt in 1996 left him barely able to walk and raised questions about his authority within Saddam's inner circle. Before that, he was considered the heir apparent. When his playboy persona failed to persuade a young woman to accompany him, his henchmen would kidnap her, defectors say.