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But Garner has doled out several high-level appointments to members of the Old Guard. The moves have infuriated coworkers and heightened fears among some that the defeated regime is not truly finished. Expediency is a factor. With the school year coming to a close, the Americans opted to maintain continuity at universities so students could finish their degrees and enter the job market on schedule. As a result, says Professor al-Bayati, everywhere he looks he sees colleagues who were integral figures in the old order. University president Mohammed al-Rawi, who was also Saddam's personal physician, kept his job. Al-Bayati says al-Rawi did nothing to defend him when he was framed as a spy after quitting the party in 1991 to protest Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. Al-Bayati's replacement as head of the university's computer program, Ahmed Makki Saaed, has retained his position too. Saaed, who al-Bayati says regularly denounced him as a spy for the U.S., is married to the recently nabbed Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a microbiologist whose alleged involvement in bioweapons research earned her the nickname "Mrs. Anthrax."
Al-Bayati is incensed: "Coalition forces paid a big price to get rid of Saddam. If these people are left in office, they are capable of killing liberty again." He and other professors have gathered 300 signatures petitioning the U.S. to purge regime hard-liners from the education system. Last Friday U.S. officials met with a non-Baathist academic group assembled by al-Bayati. But al-Bayati still has concerns.
Similar controversies are brewing on other fronts. Last week a group of Baghdad health-care workers gathered in front of the Palestine Hotel, home to many foreign journalists, to protest the Americans' appointment of Ali Shnan al-Janabi as Health Minister. The workers opposed al-Janabi because he is a branch member of the Baath Party and is suspected of taking money and gifts from the regime. At the State Oil Marketing Organization, a former director says he is refusing to return to work under the U.S.-appointed head of the Oil Ministry, Thamer Ghadhban, because of the man's Baathist past.
As the Americans struggle to fill key posts, unreformed Baathist hard-liners are trying to reassert their authority. "We've left the bad Baathists a lot of latitude, and they have had a lot of time to regroup," says retired Colonel Ted Seel, Central Command liaison to the Iraqi National Congress, a group opposed to Saddam that recently returned from exile. Dr. Goran Talabani, a neurologist who is advising the Americans on Iraq's health-care system, says Baath loyalists are threatening Health Ministry employees and telling them not to cooperate with the Americans. Talabani, a cousin of Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani and a close adviser to Ahmed Chalabi, who heads the Iraqi National Congress, says he hears from several sources that the Baathists are allegedly reconstituting in secret under a new name: Hizballah al-'Auda (Party of the Return).