Barbara Bodine - was in effect Baghdad's mayor
The United States administrator for Baghdad, Barbara Bodine, is returning to Washington amid criticism that vital services are not being restored quickly enough.
The expected departure on Sunday of Ms Bodine - who was in effect Baghdad's post-war mayor - is seen as part of a more general shake up of President George Bush's post-war Iraq team.
Last week Paul Bremer, a former terrorism expert, was appointed overall administrator for Iraq - a move which demotes the current head, retired general Jay Garner.
The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Baghdad says Iraqis have become increasingly frustrated that their lives remain in chaos more than a month after Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled.
Several Baghdad neighbourhoods still lack electricity and running water, rubbish is piled up in the streets and many shopkeepers are reportedly too afraid of looters to re-open their businesses.
We can't even run ourselves, let alone a country
Reconstruction team insider
There is a lack of security, ministries are not working properly and salaries are not being paid.
Even some within the reconstruction operation admit it has not gone to plan and that the US and Britain were unprepared for rebuilding Iraq.
"We can't even run ourselves, let alone a country," one insider told our correspondent.
A senior US official is quoted by the Washington Post as saying that "a very different organisation" will be in place by the end of the month.
Ms Bodine, 54, who had served in the US embassy in Baghdad in the 1980s, told the Washington Post that "a lot of what was dysfunctional about Baghdad predates the war".
She also said that her reassignment, which came in a late-night call on a telephone that had been installed in her office only hours before, was a "natural break".
"We've kind of cobbled the machinery together," she told the newspaper. "Now it's time to hand off to somebody who can take it from here to the political transformation."
The BBC's Steve Kingstone in Washington says her removal may heighten the perception that the Bush administration did not fully think through its plans for post-war Iraq.
The US Government, he says, has become acutely sensitive in recent days to suggestions that its efforts have been slugging and of limited impact.
Meanwhile, coalition forces leader General Tommy Franks told Iraqis via the US-controlled radio station that Saddam Hussein's Baath party had been "dissolved".
In a statement read out in Arabic, he said any Baath-related documents should be handed over to the coalition authority, calling them an "important part of Iraqi government documents".
The Republican Guard was Saddam Hussein's elite fighting force
He said Saddam Hussein's military and intelligence apparatus had been "deprived of their authority and power", but stressed that freedom of expression in the country would be assured.
"All parties and political groups can take part in the
political life in Iraq, except those who urge violence or
practice it," he added.
The elite Republican Guard - a force of around 70,000 before the war - is to be disbanded, said the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Meyers.
He said the new Iraqi army would be much smaller than previously, but still large enough to defend the country from outside threats.
Some sort of Iraqi air force also may be shaped from what survived the war.
The country is also seen to have a legitimate need for a small coast guard to patrol its waterways.