The deaths of Saddam Hussein’s two eldest sons in a battle with American troops in northern Iraq could be an important victory in the campaign to control, and even end, the guerrilla-style insurgency that has almost daily killed or injured allied troops, administration and military officials said today. The attack that killed Qusay and Uday Hussein could set off an immediate wave of retribution attacks, officials said, but the deaths should also embolden more Iraqis to come forward with critical information to energize the American military’s antiguerrilla operations. Evidence of the deaths, the officials said, will allow them to make the most convincing case that senior leaders of the Hussein government would never return to power – and that Iraqis need no longer fear openly supporting the United States. Before today, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld routinely cited the climate of fear imposed by Mr. Hussein over the decades of his rule as a significant brake on efforts to pacify and rebuild Iraq. Mr. Hussein’s sons served as his two most senior advisers and their survival at the very least helped inspire the insurgency. “Key regime figures had spheres of influence, and many in Uday and Qusay’s spheres of influence are without a doubt sleeping better tonight,” said James R. Wilkinson, spokesman for the United States Central Command in Tampa, Fla. Full Story
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