U.S. officials said Wednesday that surrender negotiations have secretly begun with key Iraqi military officials in hopes that some military units will not fight U.S. and coalition forces if there is war.
The Pentagon is not handling these communications, officials said, but instead other elements of the U.S. government are conducting them.
One senior official said that some parts of the Iraqi military already may have agreed not to fight.
These efforts underscore assessments by the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency that the leadership around Saddam Hussein is brittle. Officials have been making that view somewhat public as part of an effort to publicize what they say is Saddam’s vulnerability.