Out with Saddam. In with Party Politics.

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American and British troops were only just beginning to seize parts of Iraq when the jockeying to replace Saddam Hussein began. For years a motley crew of Iraqi exiles, ranging from indicted war criminals to convicted embezzlers, have presented themselves as potential heirs to Saddam, and many have enjoyed American support. Now a new faction aspiring to power in a postwar Iraq has arrived on the scene, and this time it is emerging from within Saddam's regime.

War on Iraq
TIME.com's ongoing coverage of the U.S.-Iraq conflict

PHOTOS & GRAPHICS
 After Saddam
Who will step in to fill the void?

 Tools of the Hunt
 On Assignment: The War


DISPATCHES
 Perry: Street Fighting in Karbala
 Robinson: Chaos at a Bridge
 Ware: Last Stand for Saddam


STORIES
 When the Cheering Stops
Jubilation and chaos greet the fall of Saddam's regime, leaving Iraqis and Americans puzzling over how to rebuild the nation
 The Search for the Smoking Gun
 Counting the Casualties


CNN.com: War in Iraq
A group of Iraqi Úlites still inside the country is preparing to announce the formation of a political movement that is ready to replace Saddam's Baath Party, a U.S. source close to the group tells TIME. Communicating secretly with one another via emissaries over the past six months, the group claims to include a cabinet minister, military officers, university professors, tribal sheiks and other Úlite members of Iraq's Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish factions. They promise to hand over all weapons of mass destruction, disband the Republican Guard and establish a representative government. Until Saddam's demise, these Iraqis are identifying themselves only as al-Tajammua, Arabic for "the Grouping."

Is al-Tajammua the answer for a post-Saddam Iraq? Not necessarily. Members of the upper ranks of Iraq's power structure may have been complicit in Saddam's years of brutal rule and may not be the democrats Washington has hoped will succeed Saddam. "The idea that the U.S. would simply issue orders to the same mob that served under Saddam is ridiculous," Pentagon adviser Richard Perle said last month. But the State Department and the CIA seem more flexible. The future of Baath Party members, said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, "will depend on the outcome of the conflict, and the actions of individuals in that party who may or may not further the crimes of the regime."