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AFTER THE WAR

Health Chief Out Due to Baath Ties

May 14, 2003|From Associated Press

BAGHDAD — The temporary Iraqi Health Ministry chief, handpicked by the United States, resigned just 10 days into the job after widespread protests over his ties to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, U.S.-controlled radio announced.

Ali Shnan Janabi, an optometrist who was the ministry's No. 3 man under Hussein, had refused to renounce the party, the Voice of New Iraq station said Tuesday, quoting the ministry.

Stephen Browning, senior advisor to the ministry from the U.S. Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, had earlier praised Janabi as a "Baath Party member who is not associated with criminal activities."

But the Health Ministry, in a statement Tuesday, said Browning had accepted Janabi's resignation "due to his refusal to condemn the Baath Party." It did not elaborate. The May 3 appointment of Janabi triggered protests by hundreds of doctors who demanded his removal.

Restoring the Health Ministry is just one of the myriad tasks facing the new American civilian administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, who spent his first full day in Baghdad on Tuesday.

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