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By Samia Nakhoul
Dubai - No tears are being shed for Saddam Hussein's two slain sons but many analysts in the Gulf warned the United States on Wednesday against complacency after the surprise breakthrough.
Politicians, analysts and ordinary people across the region said Washington still had a long list of political woes to address in Iraq to restore stability before claiming victory.
"Americans should not consider this as a big victory. They should not bask in their glory. They should look at it as another step in restoring stability," a senior Gulf official, who refused to be identified, said.
"Saddam is the key one. He is the main target," he said.
Most greeted the killing of Uday and Qusay by United States forces during a six-hour gun battle in northern Iraq with a mixture of joy and caution. Some said death was too easy for them.
"He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword", said Kuwaiti MP and former information minister Saad al-Ajmi.
"I am sorry that Uday and Qusay were killed. Death was too easy for them. They should have been arrested and tried as war criminals," added Kuwaiti Islamist deputy Walid al-Tabtabae.
Saudi political commentator Hussein Shobokshi said: "It is a relief that the Iraqi people are rid of such horrific figures and that they are out of the scene."
Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, commander of ground forces in Iraq, said the slaying of Uday, 39, and Qusay, 37, would deal a blow to guerrillas who have staged a wave of attacks on American forces in Iraq, killing 41 troops since US President George Bush declared major combat over on May 1.
However, politicians in the Gulf doubted the deaths would put an end to anti-US attacks, saying other disgruntled groups, including Islamists could be behind the assaults.
They believed Saddam's sons had no essential role in the resistance. But they said their deaths were "very symbolic" in ending the legacy of the Iraqi leadership and ridding the people of any fear they might return to power.
Many said the deaths would tighten the noose around Saddam, who has been hiding since April 9 when Baghdad fell.
Saudi analyst Jamal Khashoggi said he did not think Saddam would be able to hide for long - unlike al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
"Compared to Afghanistan, Iraq is very populated, very urban, so there is not that much place to hide for a very long time. So I'm sure eventually Saddam will also be found," he said.
Some predicted the deaths of his sons could provoke Saddam into doing something foolish that would get him caught. Their deaths may also encourage informants to co-operate with the United Sates.
Three months after the end of the war, the US-led occupation forces have still to get a grip on Iraq, end resistance attacks and lawlessness and restore key services.
Politicians said the US must set a clear timetable for ending its occupation and ensure the Iraqi governing body which it has appointed can transfer power to an elected government soon.
They also warned that Washington must tackle social problems arising from its disbanding of Saddam's army, special forces and Baath Party, some of whose members have joined the resistance.
"If these issues are not addressed, there will be negative consequences. The US should not relax in its endeavour to restore stability and allow Iraqis to rule themselves," the Gulf official said.
Some who are doubtful about the whole enterprise in Iraq said the US was playing up its success in hunting down Saddam's sons to draw attention away from its failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq - the main reason for the US led-invasion of the oil-rich country.
Celebratory shots rang out over Baghdad on Tuesday night.
While there was no official reaction, Kuwaitis, whose country was invaded and occupied for seven months by Iraqi troops in 1990, voiced delight at the news. Ordinary Kuwaitis were jubilant and congratulated each other on the news.