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The Next Step

map of Iraq with Baghdad locator
AP
To President Bush, the end of the Taliban does not end the war. What comes next he says, is a hunt for al-Qaida terrorists hiding in dozens of countries.

"And that is the reason this great nation with our friends and allies will not rest until we bring them all to justice," he said earlier this week.

CBS News Correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports the CIA and Pentagon have already focused on five countries: the Philippines, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Bosnia that harbor al-Qaida or its allies. A U.S. intelligence team has just visited Somalia gathering information on the al-Qaida presence there.

"The possibility of terror cells being in Somalia is real," visiting Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner told reporters in Pretoria this week.

A Somali faction leader opposed to that country's transitional government acknowledged Wednesday that he met this week with a U.S. military delegation to Somalia.

"We have been continuously consulting since the September terrorist attacks on the United States with representatives of the U.S., the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments on the terrorist networks run by Al-Itihaad and al-Qaida," Hussein Mohamed Aidid told reporters. "The visit by the American delegation is a continuation of that consultation."

Aidid is a member of the Ethiopian-backed Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council, a group of faction leaders who oppose the transitional government of President Abdiqasim Salat Hassan and accuse it of having ties to Al-Itihaad Al-Islamiya, a Muslim fundamentalist organization that appeared on a Bush administration list of 22 terrorist organizations issued Dec. 6.

Kansteiner said Washington believes there are links between Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida, blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks, and Al-Itihaad, a militant Somali group, and that Washington wanted those links severed.

However, Somalia's prime minister denied that followers of Osama bin Laden had sought refuge in his shattered African country following their defeat by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

"No absolutely. That is not true. No people fighting in Afghanistan are coming to Somalia. We would never accept that," Hassan Abshir Farah said.

"I think clearly there's going to be a phase two," said retired general and CBS News consultant Ron Fogelman.

He says the first U.S. tactic will be to demand that local governments shut down al-Qaida themselves. U.S. forces would be kept to a minimum and countries like Sudan and Yemen, after seeing what happened in Afghanistan, won't see a choice.

"For countries to see that this nation, this coalition has got the wherewithal and the will to go in and change a regime has got to have a big impact," he said.

But the president is not just focused on al-Qaida. His speeches also mention rogue states that hold weapons of mass destruction.

"They have been warned, they are being watched. They will be held to account," cautioned the president.

Where exactly dos the president mean? In Washington there is a drumbeat to target Iraq.

The war on terrorism will not be over until we take down Saddam Hussein because so long as he's in power in Iraq. He's not just a thorn in our side he's a threat to American lives," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn.

The Iraq question is being hotly debated with the hawks arguing it's now or never and the more cautious pointing out there is no international support to attack Saddam Hussein — these are discussions. Right now, officials insist no formal decisions on phase two of the war have been made.

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