Getting close to Saddam

With the capture of Saddam's close advisor, US forces feel they are getting closer to capturing the tyrant who ran Iraq.

"The best hope may not be that Hamoud breaks down and reveals what he knows under interrogation at Baghdad airport; but rather that the fact that he has been detained will unnerve Saddam so much that the ousted tyrant may decide that he has to move from his current whereabouts, thought to be in the wedge of Sunni Muslim tribal lands and desert that spreads west and north of Baghdad.

"The raid that snared Hamoud followed a tip-off from a local. Tikrit sits in a bend on the Tigris 90 miles north west of Baghdad. Saddam was born in the neighbouring village of Al Ouja, which is now near-deserted as many of his family members have also disappeared in recent weeks.

"'Saddam will be at his most vulnerable if he is on the move. And hopefully he is on the move now,' said the Pentagon official. Despite the public pronouncements from Washington immediately after the war, senior US officials now acknowledge that Saddam was almost certainly not killed during the conflict and that he is probably being protected by a small band of loyal supporters."

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