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Reports 'predicted Iraq violence'


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Reports 'predicted Iraq violence'

US intelligence reports written before the Iraq war warned President George Bush that an invasion could lead to an insurgency, the New York Times reports.

The reports also predicted the war would increase sympathy in the Islamic world for some terrorist objectives, officials who saw the reports say.

The classified reports were written in early 2003 by the National Intelligence Council, which advises the CIA.

A White House spokesman said Mr Bush had known the potential dangers.

"The president was very well aware of the challenges that we faced if the decision was made to go and remove Saddam Hussein from power," Scott McClellan was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

"He's also very well aware of the consequences of not acting to remove Saddam Hussein's regime and hold them accountable in a post-September 11 world," he added.

Internal conflict

Three government officials who had seen or been briefed on the assessments told the New York Times that the documents said it was unlikely that Iraq would split apart.

However, the report warned that there could be a guerrilla warfare insurgency against the new Iraqi government or US-led forces.

There was a significant chance that domestic groups would engage in violent internal conflict with one another, it added.

One of the documents also described the building of democracy in Iraq as a long, difficult and potentially turbulent process, with the possibility that Iraq could slide into authoritarianism.

Earlier this month, US officials acknowledged the existence of another pessimistic report on Iraq by the National Intelligence Council.

It put forward three possible scenarios for the country's future, ranging from what it called "tenuous stability" to political fragmentation and civil war.


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And continuing on the theme of violence;

Troops seize bomb suspect in Iraq

Heavily armed US and Iraqi government forces have seized a man suspected of organising car bomb attacks in Iraq's capital, Baghdad.

Soldiers clashed with gunmen in the Haifa Street area, a stronghold of Sunni militants, as they arrested the suspected leader and five others.

Militants have launched attacks all over Iraq since Tuesday and at least 11 people have been reported killed.

Gunmen have also shot dead a Shia politician in the town of Baquba.

Six men chased and attacked the car of Abdel Ghani Mijbas, a member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), with guns and grenades.

They shot dead Mr Mijbas, his teenage son and his driver and wounded three other people.

Other Sciri members and party offices in Baquba recently came under attack.

'Bomb planner'

US tanks blocked off Haifa Street on Wednesday morning as Iraqi national guardsmen (NG) went into action.

A key local militant leader, Kadhim al-Dafan, was found hiding inside a wardrobe, NG commander Col Mohammed Abdullah told the Associated Press news agency.

Mr Dafan is believed to be responsible for car bombings and other attacks in Baghdad, the commander said.

About 12 people were held under guard during raids in the area and photographed Mr Dafan in custody in a car, AP reports.

Haifa Street has been the scene of frequent ambushes on government forces and their US allies. Mortar attacks on Baghdad's high-security administrative zone are thought to originate in the area.

A roadside bomb went off in northern Baghdad early on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring another.

In another development, the US military reported launching an air strike overnight on a what it called a "rocket team" in Baghdad's Sadr City, a Shia stronghold. An Iraqi doctor said one man had been killed and a woman injured.

News has emerged of fresh attacks around Iraq on Tuesday:

A car bomb in Mosul in the north wounded six US soldiers while a roadside bomb damaged a US Humvee jeep near Ramadi, west of Baghdad, with no confirmed report of casualties

A grenade reportedly flung from a car at a pilgrims' tent near the Shia city of Karbala killed two Iraqis and wounded four

Gunmen reportedly shot up two cars carrying policemen in the town of Latifia, south of Baghdad, killing seven people


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