March 19, 2003

THE FIRST IRAQI SURRENDERS have taken place. May there be many more.

UPDATE: This sure sounds like it:

Masses of Iraqi soldiers are deserting and senior members of President Saddam Hussein's ruling family circle are defecting as the countdown to a British and US invasion reaches its final hours.

In northern Iraq, on the border with Kurdistan, up to three-quarters of some Iraqi regiments have already fled.

In the mainly Shia Muslim south, Kuwaiti border guards are having to turn Iraqi soldiers back - telling them that they must wait until an attack begins before they can surrender.

And in a highly significant development in Baghdad a half-brother of President Saddam, who is regarded as the dictator's closest adviser, has fled in the past week to Syria.

Of course, you never know how much to make of these early reports. And why are we making them wait?

ANOTHER UPDATE: James Morrow writes that according to Australian TV they're being taken prisoner, not sent back as earlier reported.