Saddam seems to be planning to pull a Milosevic and use his first day in court, Oct. 19, and the trial itself, to put America and the war on trial instead of himself.
I have been trying to get in touch with Saddam's lawyer Khalil al-Duleimi for days. The guy is like a ghost. He rarely answers his phones, keeps changing numbers and is always vague about where he is as he moves between Amman, Baghdad and Fallujah. Today we finally got him on the phone and I was able to speak with him (over a terrible satellite line) for about 20 minutes. It was obvious Saddam will try to play on Iraqi dissatisfaction with the American occupation and international opposition to the war to divert attention from himself and de-legitimize the court.
But this is just one of the stories we're trying to follow. Tomorrow is referendum day and all of the reporters here in Baghdad are struggling to figure out how to cover it during a total lock down, when no cars can travel on the roads because of U.S. and Iraqi military orders. My favorite solution has been that of APTN which has given seven of its local reporters/cameramen bicycles so they can move around the city and shuttle tapes back and forth. I wish them luck and energy (not easy, especially as they may also be fasting).
Areas to watch tomorrow: Ninewa and Diala. These are the two swing provinces. If two-thirds of people in either one of these regions vote 'no' to the constitution it will likely fail, adding another six months to a year to the U.S.-guided political road map for Iraq and most likely to the time U.S. troops will have to be here to protect it.
Editor's note: Richard wrote a longer analysis for MSNBC.com. You can read it here.