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The US administration is reported to be developing a multi-million dollar programme to prevent a scientific 'brain drain' in Iraq in the wake of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's government.

According to a draft State Department proposal obtained by Associated Press, the initiative hopes to discourage Iraqi scientists — particularly those engaged in military research and development — from fleeing to other countries, and instead contribute to rebuilding their own nation.

Entitled "The Science Technology and Engineering Mentorship Initiative for Iraq", the programme is said to seek to avoid the kind of scientific brain drain that was experienced by countries in the former Soviet Union after the collapse of communism.

But many fear that the initiative is too late, with reports that some scientists are already leaving for neighbouring countries. In particular, Modher Sadeq-Saba al-Tamimi, who lead Saddam Hussein's long-range missile programme, is now thought to be in Iran.

Link to Associated Press article in Newsday

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