Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is preparing for his next round of meetings during his Middle East tour. He's spending Sunday night in Doha, Qatar, in preparation for meetings Monday with top officials from U.S. Central Command.
On Sunday, he was joined by Cent Com's commander, General
Tommy Franks. The two met with top officials from the United Arab
Emirates. Afterward, they told reporters they provided assurances to
Arab leaders that the U.S. is committed to the Persian Gulf region. And Rumsfeld reiterated that U.S. forces won't leave Iraq until a secure and democratic government is established. He warned the U.S. would not tolerate a government similiar to Iran's. Franks says the U.S. military will consider changes in the size of its presence in the region in the future. But he insists that doesn't necessarily mean a reduction in U.S. troops.
Meanwhild, U.S. troops say they have found evidence of a nerve agent and mustard gas in northern Iraq. An American officer says forces found about a dozen 55 gallon drums in an open field north of Baghdad. Initial tests showed one of the drums had the nerve agent cyclosarin, and a blister agent that could have been mustard gas. And Lieutenant Colonel Ted Martin says he's "satisfied'' that sarin was found.
Martin says more tests are being conducted.
Soldiers also found two mobile labs that had equipment for mixing chemicals. U.S. troops guarding the barrels are under orders to
shoot-to-kill anyone approaching the field. Soldiers are using night vision equipment to protect the find.
And another member of the Iraqi leadership has been caught. Lieutenant General Hossam Mohammed Amin was Iraq's direct link to U.N. weapons inspectors, and it believed to have signed the falsified declaration of weapons submitted to the U.N. Amin is believed to have detailed knowledge of any illegal arms Iraq may possess. He was number 49 on the U.S. list of 55 most wanted Iraqis.
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