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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 14:39 GMT
Profile: US 'governors' of Iraq
General John Abizaid
General Abizaid is known as the "mad Arab" to his colleagues
The United States plans to govern Iraq for an unknown period of time after its planned overthrow of Saddam Hussein, according to widespread reports.

Nothing has been said officially, but the leading candidates for the job of military "governor" of Iraq are said to be retired Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner and General John Abizaid.

According to reports, the US military will first of all establish security and destroy the weapons of mass destruction that the US and UK believe Iraq still retains.

Once this is done, a US administrator would initially run the government and direct reconstruction and humanitarian aid.

Eventually, power would be handed over to an interim or elected Iraqi Government.

Lieutenant General Jay Garner:
It has already been announced that the initial humanitarian effort after the fall of Saddam Hussein will be run by Lieutenant General Jay Garner.

Officially, General Garner's role will be to co-ordinate the work of the civilian agencies - including the UN, aid agencies, non-governmental organisations and what is left of the Iraqi administration.

His appointment is widely being seen as a signal that General Garner will be, at least in the early stages, the US military governor of Iraq.

General Garner's army career has revolved around air defence, force development and missile defence. He oversaw the US's Patriot missile systems in the 1991 Gulf War.

General Garner was in charge of Kurdish resettlement for three months after the 1991 Gulf War.

He served as commanding general, US Army Space and Strategic Defense Command from 1996 to 1997. He retired in 1997 as assistant vice-chief of staff.

General John Abizaid:
A three-star general, John Abizaid was in January named deputy commander of US forces in the Gulf. He is also director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He will play a key role in any US-led invasion of Iraq, responsible for operations inside the country and US relations with the Arab world.

Of Lebanese descent, General Abizaid is a fluent speaker of Arabic with a masters degree in Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University.

He is known as the "mad Arab" by colleagues.

Analysts say General Abizaid is seen as one of the new breed of American military leaders - highly educated and less doctrinaire on strategy.

He has been a strong advocate of training troops in peacekeeping, as well as offensive roles.

During the 1970s he took a career break form the elite Rangers unit to instruct Jordanian special forces.

In 1991, General Abizaid led an airborne battalion that was part of Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq.

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