US Dissolves Iraq's Baath Party

Commander of Coalition Forces Tommy Franks Sunday said former Iraqi ruling Baath Party has been dissolved.

In a statement issued here, the US general ordered ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's Baath Party to cease existence.

"The Iraqi Baath Socialist Party is dissolved," Franks said in the statement, which was broadcast by an Arabic announcer in the Information Radio controlled by US troops.

"Possessions of the Baath party must be delivered to the temporary coalition authority," the statement was quoted as saying.

It also encouraged Iraqi citizens to collect and turn in any materials regarding to the party's activities.

The Baath Party, which had ruled Iraq almost for 35 years, was founded in Syria in 1943, and then extended its branch to Iraq.

In 1962, the Baath Party became ruling party in Iraq. After toppling the regime of opposition party, it regained its power in 1968.

Since 1979, Saddam controlled the party as a tool to rein Iraq.

Until the outbreak of the US-led war against Iraq on March 20, atotal of 1.5 million Iraqis were the party's members. However, onlydozens thousand of members were elite.

So far, the coalition forces have arrested some important members of the party.

Defying international opposition, the United States and Britain launched a war against Iraq on March 20, ousting Saddam after 20 days of offensives.



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