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Jabouri managed to convene a quorum on Tuesday and cast ballots on seven ministerial positions. Jabouri then suspended the session until Saturday, when he plans to put the rest of the cabinet to a vote. Write to Carol E.

Vice President Joe Biden Visits Iraq Amid Political Turmoil

Lee at carol. All Rights Reserved. Trip by highest-ranking U. Dow Jones, a News Corp company. News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services. Dow Jones. News Corp. By Carol E. Lee in Washington and Carol E. Matt Bradley in Beirut Matt Bradley. The rest of the brigade could not be far behind. They met with sporadic resistance, but before dark Marcone had five companies of mixed armor and infantry tied into a single defensive front braced for an Iraqi counterattack.

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However, for the next several hours the Iraqis made only occasional platoon and company attacks, and Marcone assumed they were incapable of mounting a major threat, but he was wrong. The attacks were actually probes by special forces and Republican Guard units designed to find weak points in the line. As the Americans repelled those assaults, the Iraqi 10th Armored Brigade was forming up for the most powerful counterattack of the war. It was one of the more bizarre meetings in the history of a regime that made a habit of disavowing reality for wishful thinking.

Al-Hamdani remembered:. The Minister of Defense had a message from Saddam. The message was an order for immediate execution. He said that Saddam would not be able to meet during the next two days, but that he had just met with Saddam and the plan was explained to him. The minister went on to explain that what had happened over the last two weeks was a strategic trick by the Americans.

Joe Biden makes surprise trip to Baghdad - POLITICO

He told us American forces were going to come from the direction of Jordan, through Al Ramadi, and into northern Baghdad. Emergency procedures were to go into effect at the next morning. Minefields were to be immediately established to the west and northwest of Baghdad. The talk of establishing minefields made me think that they thought we were fighting Iran again or something. Al-Hamdani strenuously objected to the plan, saying that he was facing the main American attack and the attack out of Jordan was the trick.

The minister of defense replied that he was only the messenger and that there could be no further point of discussion: Hussein had spoken. Qusay allowed al-Hamdani to explain his view:. This attack was actually somewhat of a surprise to me given the tight roads and poor armor terrain in the area.

Vice President Joe Biden Visits Iraq Amid Political Turmoil

Another minor attack was pushing up the middle ground from As Samawah to Ad Diwaniyah. However, the main attack was on the west side of the Euphrates River through Karbala and into the southwest side of Baghdad. The U. I said that the Americans would own Karbala by that night, and they would move quickly to take the bridge. After al-Hamdani finished, Qusay turned back to the minister of defense and the Republican Guard chief of staff to ask their opinions. The minister said that he did not know whether al-Hamdani was right or wrong, but plans should still be carried out as Hussein had ordered.

He said that I was to blame for all these casualties. The reporting officer said that columns of enemy armor were moving from Jaraf al-Sakhr toward the bridge. He later wrote of that moment:. They all wanted me to change my comment. I hope to be wrong in the opinion that we have chosen to follow the wrong decision. Please allow me to return to my headquarters. Go ahead.

I looked at my watch, which told me it was , and I did not know that I had just seen Qusay for the last time. At the front al-Hamdani discovered that the bridge was still standing and that the Americans were across the Euphrates in strength. He ordered counterattacks. Before he could put those orders into effect, the Republican Guard chief of staff arrived and refused to entertain any thoughts of building a new defensive line.

He demanded that al-Hamdani order a major counterattack to retake the bridge. Al-Hamdani assembled a substantial force around the 10th Armored Brigade. At American jets at- tacked our force as we moved down the road.

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We were hit by many missiles. My corps communication staff was also killed.

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When we reached the area near the bridge where the special forces battalion had set up a headquarters, we immediately came under heavy fire. Based on the volume of fire, I estimated at least sixty armored vehicles. Al-Hamdani knew that all was lost. But pushed by his superiors in Baghdad he ordered one final assault. He personally briefed the commander of the armored battalion that would make the final push. By daybreak, al-Hamdani had managed to get several hundred special forces soldiers to within a few hundred yards of the bridge.

They had several trucks filled with explosives for a final rush to blow up the bridge. Just as al-Hamdani was about to give the order for a suicidal charge, disaster struck. They were so accurate. I could not believe how they hit targets. This seemed like a good moment to do it.

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Administration officials said this visit would focus on five key themes: reaffirming the U. While the U.

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Iraq began voting this week on a new slate of mostly technocratic ministers, bowing to demands from powerful anti-U. Abadi has faced significant resistance in trying to vote in new officials to combat corruption and diminish sectarianism in his cabinet, including delayed voting sessions. Jabouri has faced resistance from more than one hundred lawmakers who oppose the list of nominees Mr.

Abadi first proposed in March. Jabouri managed to convene a quorum on Tuesday and cast ballots on seven ministerial positions. Jabouri then suspended the session until Saturday, when he plans to put the rest of the cabinet to a vote. Write to Carol E. Lee at carol.

All Rights Reserved. Trip by highest-ranking U.