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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to email@example.com. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. The latest Iraqi struggle: keeping a handle on cost of rebuilding (=?ISO-8859-1?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?=) 2. The Trial of Hussein: Choosing the Evidence (=?ISO-8859-1?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?=) 3. Power Transfer in Iraq Starts This Week (=?ISO-8859-1?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?=) 4. Japan Says It Will Forgive Most of Debt Owed by Iraq (=?windows-1252?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?=) 5. Ethnic violence breaks out in Kurdish region (=?windows-1252?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?=) --__--__-- Message: 1 Date: Sun, 04 Jan 2004 09:54:16 +0100 From: =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?= <per.klevnas@DELETETHIScasi.org.uk> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: The latest Iraqi struggle: keeping a handle on cost of rebuilding http://www.iht.com/articles/123125.html The latest Iraqi struggle: keeping a handle on cost of rebuilding Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. NYT Tuesday, December 30, 2003 WASHINGTON The Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in southern Iraq is crucial to keeping the oil flowing from the region's petroleum-rich fields. So when U.S. engineers found the antiquated plant barely operating earlier this year, there was no question that repairing it was important to the rebuilding of Iraq. Setting the price for the plant's repair was another matter. In July, Halliburton estimated that overhauling the plant would cost $75.7 million, according to confidential documents that the company submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers. But in early September, the Bush administration asked Congress for $125 million to do the job - a 40 percent price increase in just six weeks. The initial price was based on "drive-by estimating," said Richard Dowling, a spokesman at the corps, which oversees the contract. The second was the result of a more complete assessment. "The best I can lamely fall back on is to say that estimates change," said Dowling, who is based in Baghdad. "This is not business as usual." The rebuilding of Iraq's oil industry has been characterized in the months since by escalating costs and scant public explanation. An examination of what has grown into a multibillion-dollar contract to restore Iraq's oil infrastructure shows no evidence of profiteering by Halliburton, an oil services company based in Houston, but it does demonstrate a struggle between price controls and the uncertainties of war, with price controls often losing. The Pentagon's contract with Halliburton's Kellogg Brown Root unit, conceived in secrecy before the war and signed in March, was intended as a stopgap, to last no more than a few months. But it has been in effect ever since then and has grown to more than $2 billion. The scope of the contract includes myriad tasks from importing fuels to repairing pipelines, and the costs have increased through task orders and subcontracts, some of which are carried out with limited documentation or disclosure. The reconstruction of Iraq has taken on "a Wild West atmosphere," said Gordon Adams, a military procurement expert at George Washington University. "Wartime creates an urgent need, and under an urgent need, contractors will deliver and take a price. There's a premium for getting it done fast." This month, Pentagon auditors questioned the $2.64 per gallon, about 70 cents per liter, that Halliburton was charging to truck fuel from Kuwait to Iraq, and sought to recover $61 million. In response, company officials said they had actually saved the government money and had put the fuel supply subcontract up for competitive bidding. But there was little paperwork to show that any bidding had taken place, according to government officials familiar with the audit. "Most of it was done on an emergency basis, very quickly, over the phone, and Halliburton has struggled to prove this was competitively bid," a government official said. Wendy Hall, a spokeswoman for Halliburton, said bids were solicited by telephone in May because the corps needed fuel imported into Iraq within 24 hours. But she said that there was a more formal bidding process several days later and that Kellogg, Brown Root had provided Pentagon auditors with documentation on the bids. The estimated price of another Kellogg, Brown Root project, the replacement of damaged pipelines over the Tigris River, also grew significantly over the course of a few weeks. Last July, the Halliburton unit estimated that the repair cost would be $29.8 million. But in a matter of six weeks, the cost more than doubled, to $70 million. Dowling, the spokesman for the corps, and Hall said the price had risen because the scope of the project and the method of repair had changed. Hall said the company tried to get the lowest price from its subcontractors. In addition, Halliburton and government officials note that the violence in Iraq increases the cost of security and adds to the cost of all reconstruction contracts. So far this year, Halliburton's profits from Iraq have been minimal. The company's latest report to the Securities and Exchange Commission shows $1.3 billion in revenues from its work in Iraq and $46 million in pretax profits for the first nine months of 2003. But the company's profit may grow once the Pentagon completes a formal evaluation of the company's work. If the government is satisfied with the work, Halliburton is entitled to a performance fee of up to 5 percent of the contract's entire value, which could mean additional payments of $100 million or more. The nonpublic way in which Kellogg, Brown Root was selected for the job in Iraq remains a political flash point, especially among Democratic presidential contenders, in part because Vice President Dick Cheney served as Halliburton's chief executive officer from 1995 to 2000. The contract to fix Iraq's oil industry was granted to the Halliburton unit by a secret Bush administration task force formed in September 2002 to plan for Iraq's oil industry in the event of war. The task force, led by an aide to Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy, quickly concluded that the government alone could not meet the oil needs, members of the group said. "There were only a handful of companies, and KBR was always one of those mentioned," a Pentagon official said. Almost immediately, an alarm went off among members of the group. --__--__-- Message: 2 Date: Sun, 04 Jan 2004 10:01:55 +0100 From: =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?= <per.klevnas@DELETETHIScasi.org.uk> To: email@example.com Subject: The Trial of Hussein: Choosing the Evidence The Trial of Hussein: Choosing the Evidence Prosecution Likely to Focus on Few Incidents http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A48220-2004Jan1?language=printer By Peter Slevin Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, January 2, 2004; Page A01 In Saddam Hussein's Iraq, killing was politics by other means. As many as 300,000 Iraqis died on the orders of Hussein and his lieutenants, human rights groups believe. The years of violence included the gassing of Kurdish villages and the slaughter of Shiites in open fields. Countless other Iraqis disappeared one by one, to be executed as enemies no matter the quality of the evidence against them. Now that Hussein is in custody, Iraqi and U.S. leaders are debating how to prove their belief that he was personally responsible -- and should perhaps pay with his own life -- for the carnage committed in his name. A trial is seen not only as a chance to bring Hussein to justice but also as an opportunity for Iraqis to confront their past. Critical decisions have yet to be made on what could become the highest-profile war- crimes prosecution since Nuremberg. But officials and specialists familiar with Hussein's record foresee a trial that will focus on a relatively small number of crimes chosen for the strength of the evidence and their power to represent the types of suffering inflicted during 35 years of rule by terror. Prominent on everyone's list is the 1987-88 Anfal campaign, in which tens of thousands of Kurds died and hundreds of villages were destroyed. A chemical weapons attack on the town of Halabja killed 5,000 people, one of many places where the Hussein government allegedly used airborne poisons. Legal experts believe the most likely path to a conviction of Hussein for committing genocide or crimes against humanity is to establish his command responsibility for the institutions of Iraqi government, including the military that tormented the Kurds and the security services that killed thousands of ordinary Iraqis between 1968 and 2003. The well-documented Halabja attack may serve as a case in point. Documents gathered in Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf War include an order from Hussein granting supreme powers in Kurdish northern Iraq to his cousin Ali Hassan Majeed. A June 1987 order from Majeed instructed Iraqi military commanders to carry out "special bombardments . . . to kill the largest number of persons present," according to Human Rights Watch. The next year, an audiotape captures Majeed telling colleagues that he will use chemical weapons against the Kurds, whose political aspirations Hussein saw as a threat. Majeed, now a U.S. prisoner in Iraq, soon deployed the gas and became known as "Chemical Ali." "I will kill them all with chemical weapons," Majeed is quoted as saying in a transcript provided by Human Rights Watch. "Who is going to say anything? The international community? [Expletive] them -- the international community, and those who listen to them. I will not attack them with chemicals just one day, but I will continue to attack them with chemicals for 15 days." In addition to the Halabja assault, a trial of Hussein would almost certainly address the fearsome force used to quell an insurrection by Shiite Muslims at the end of the Gulf War in 1991 and the subsequent draining of the southern marshes. Led again by Majeed, who had moved south to take command, Iraqi troops terrorized communities with indiscriminate public shootings and air attacks, witnesses said. They killed an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 Shiites, most of them civilians, according to human rights organizations. Back in control, Hussein and his security forces -- in a country labeled the "Republic of Fear" by Iraqi academic Kanan Makiya -- squeezed the Shiites in innumerable ways through the 1990s. One of the most infamous was the rerouting of the Euphrates River to dry up the southern marshes and disrupt traditions thousands of years old. An estimated 250,000 Marsh Arabs were forced to flee to Iran or move elsewhere inside Iraq. Also likely to be included in the prosecution of Hussein, according to current thinking in Baghdad, is the 1983 roundup and massacre of as many as 8,000 members of the Barzani clan. Hussein became angered when the Kurdish Barzanis helped Iranian forces seize two slices of Iraq and is believed to have sent his forces to exact revenge. Hussein's smaller-scale persecution of real and perceived political opponents will be an almost certain target, with prosecutors taking examples from the innumerable individual executions and episodes of violent harassment. Human rights workers identified scores of mass graves last year, suggesting that long-term repression claimed more lives than estimated. Two prominent cases under discussion are the killings of Shiite ayatollahs Mohammed Bakr Sadr, executed with his sister in 1980, and his cousin Mohammed Sadiq Sadr, assassinated in 1999. File After File Although critics have repeated their accusations against Hussein as dictator, tyrant and war criminal for years, prosecutors must confront major complexities in a case that is still not nearly ready for trial, according to Iraqi and U.S. sources. Miles of files have yet to be examined, and uncounted witnesses must be interviewed. Valuable to any prosecution will be new evidence gathered by U.S. forces, which seized tons of documents after the war in Iraq and arrested dozens of Hussein's former aides. U.S. authorities continue to hold closely any dramatic gleanings and have not decided how witnesses and sensitive information will be handled. U.S. intelligence officials have said they would like to have at least a year to interrogate Hussein before he is delivered to court. They say long periods in captivity have typically made high-ranking terrorists markedly more cooperative. That could conflict with Iraqi ambitions to try Hussein faster, although it may take that long to organize an effective prosecution. State Department war crimes ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper is expected to visit Iraq next month to discuss the Hussein trial with the Iraqi Governing Council and the U.S.-led occupation authorities. The White House has offered to help Iraq develop a special tribunal and build the case against Hussein and others, but it does not want to be seen as dictating terms. Iraqi authorities must decide the extent of the charges against Hussein and, indeed, the scope of a trial that many Iraqis hope will stretch beyond his personal role to expose a vast system of terror. Some members of the Governing Council are pushing for an early trial that convicts Hussein quickly and closes a door on the nation's inglorious past. "Any investigation into this case will take some time. You have an entire country that is literally a crime scene, plus what occurred in the neighborhood," cautioned a senior State Department official, referring to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and its use of chemical weapons against Iran. "We have decades of abuses. One should not expect this to be a quick and rapid process." The evidence against Hussein is mostly circumstantial, said Hassan Mneimneh, who reviews Iraqi files at Harvard University and in Baghdad for the Iraq Memory Foundation, which aims to build a definitive record for future generations. "He kept himself removed by one or two degrees from actual executive decisions when it came to any act of repression." Makiya, a creator of the foundation and an expert on known Iraqi documents, said: "We don't have a smoking gun. There would be some ambiguity, I suspect, from a legal point of view." International legal standards do not require a commander to be proved to have delivered explicit orders to underlings, said Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch. Rather, the evidence must prove that the leader knew or should have known about the alleged crimes and did nothing to prevent them or punish the perpetrators. "It's open-and-shut on a command theory," said Peter Galbraith, a former U.S. diplomat. Hussein "was in charge of Iraq for 35 years," he said. "It's impossible to imagine that the Kurds were gassed without his knowledge." A second approach would be to demonstrate that Hussein participated in a joint criminal enterprise, Dicker said. Akin to conspiracy statutes in U.S. courts, the approach holds members of a criminal group accountable for their colleagues' actions. "He clearly ran the regime. If they can attribute crimes committed by his generals, security officials and confidants to him, they can throw away the key," said Michael Amitay, head of the Washington Kurdish Institute, which received a share of the $10 million spent by the U.S. government to gather evidence against Hussein and his lieutenants. Problems and Potential The Hussein government's repeated assaults on Kurds illustrate the problems and the potential of a case against Hussein for genocide or crimes against humanity. Human rights workers who have studied the documents say they have found no direct command from Hussein to target the Kurds. Details of the Anfal campaign are well known, thanks to the seizure of documents after the Persian Gulf War, when northern Iraq came under the protection of the United States and Britain. Working with Human Rights Watch, the U.S. military hauled 18 tons of documents to Washington, where staff members spent years building a genocide case. "There's going to be pretty clear documentary evidence that this was not a rogue operation," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "This was a very well-planned and orchestrated operation to smoke Kurds out of the highlands using chemical weapons, to round them up on the plains, and to truck the men and boys to remote locations for execution." A delegation of Iraq's current leaders, dispatched Dec. 14 to confirm the identity of the newly captured Hussein, asked him about the attack on Halabja. He told the delegation Iran was responsible. He insisted that he ran a just society. He has long dismissed allegations of brutality against the Shiites by declaring that Iraqi troops acted within their rights to crush an insurgency. Investigators expect last year's capture of central and southern Iraq to yield incriminating files from a government that documented its operations in often extraordinary detail. Documents that could fill seven miles of shelves were in the custody of the U.S. Iraq Survey Group by July. Many more are scattered among Iraqi political parties and other groups. Countless Iraqis have told stories of brutality and oppression since Hussein's government fell on April 9, a trend that his arrest appears likely to intensify. U.S. forces are holding at least three dozen men who served in top jobs in the Hussein government. "Everyone is out to save himself or herself at this stage," said David Scheffer, former U.S. ambassador for war crimes, who perceives "a lot of potential for witness testimony from the highest levels." Human rights workers and international legal advocates fear that pressure for vengeance inside Iraq will force a trial that fails to measure up to international legal standards -- and does not reach deeply enough into Iraq's past horrors. "This has to be done methodically and systematically. It's largely a question of a rush to closure," said Mneimneh, whose research is part of a broader effort to document Iraq's recent past. "Iraqi society at large is willing to let it happen because, at the end, Saddam is going to be executed, which is what they want to happen." Some of Hussein's accusers said a murder conviction could be a simple -- if potentially unsatisfying -- way forward. During a 1982 Cabinet meeting, according to author Said K. Aburish, Hussein took issue with his health minister, Riyadh Ibrahim. The Iraqi leader invited Ibrahim to step into the next room. Ministers heard a shot, and Hussein returned alone. No one heard from Ibrahim again. --__--__-- Message: 3 Date: Sun, 04 Jan 2004 10:08:55 +0100 From: =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?= <per.klevnas@DELETETHIScasi.org.uk> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Power Transfer in Iraq Starts This Week http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A52841-2004Jan3?language=printer Power Transfer in Iraq Starts This Week Deadline for Completion Is Set as Talks Continue By Robin Wright and Rajiv Chandrasekaran Washington Post Staff Writers Sunday, January 4, 2004; Page A01 After eight months of debate and delay, the United States this week will formally launch the handover of power to Iraq with the final game plan still not fully in place. The United States begins the complicated political, economic and security transfer with a general framework and a June 30 deadline for completion. But critical details are still being negotiated between the Iraqis and U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer, some of which could determine whether the new Iraqi government is ultimately embraced by the majority of Iraq's 22 million people. "We're open to refinement, and we're waiting to hear what people have suggested or will suggest," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said in an interview. "What Ambassador Bremer and all of us have been doing in our conversations is listening and hearing and [saying], 'Are there better ideas that would make the plan more refined, better and more acceptable to a broader group of individuals and leaders within Iraq?' " Besides figuring out who will rule in Saddam Hussein's wake, Iraqis over the next two months will have to answer a host of deferred and potentially divisive questions: What kind of government will Iraq have? What will be the role of Islam? How much local rule will ethnic, tribal or religious groups have? The deadline is Feb. 28 for agreement on these and other basic questions, due to be codified in the recently renamed Transitional Administration Law, the precursor to a constitution. A month later, Iraqis have to determine their relationship with U.S. troops -- and therefore the United States -- after the handover. One of the thorniest issues will be giving U.S. troops immunity from prosecution for any action they may take, a standard U.S. demand when it deploys troops abroad. But Iraq presents a different set of issues than what American forces face in peaceful environments such as Germany, Italy and South Korea inasmuch as U.S. soldiers could still be fighting in a country not under U.S. control. Iraqis, who like to note that they have less time than the U.S. founding fathers did to come up with a constitution and new government, are already worried -- and predicting problems. "This is the decisive period -- and we will probably go to the brink a few times before we make those decisions," a prominent Iraqi politician said. U.S. officials say Washington plans to resolve many of these remaining questions in negotiation with the Iraqi Governing Council, whose initial incompetence precipitated the delays that forced the United States to design the Nov. 15 agreement. The accord outlines the multiphase process, centered on provincial caucuses, to select a provisional government. Seven weeks after the accord, however, the council has been unable to close the wide differences of opinion among rival Iraqi leaders, ranging from Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to the Sunni community once protected by Hussein. Sistani, a Shiite Muslim cleric who has a larger public following than any other Iraqi, has demanded elections to pick Baghdad's post-occupation government. But no compromise has been reached, despite a stream of communications among Sistani, Bremer and the Governing Council -- leaving the legitimacy of the process in doubt, U.S. and Iraqi officials say. As the effort to turn over power begins in earnest, symbolic actions are planned: town halls to launch a nationwide political dialogue, graduation this week of an Iraqi army battalion, completion of the new currency exchange, the first cell phone system. "This next month, we have a thousand things going on. We're drinking out of a fire hose," a senior U.S. official in Baghdad said. Washington wants to begin transferring specific duties to Baghdad so that inexperienced Iraqis do not suddenly find themselves assuming total responsibility in six months. In a step pivotal to the transition, Iraq will also once again be the focus of debate at the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 19, when the Iraqi council will appeal for the world body to return. But senior members of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority may not attend the meeting, despite a personal summons by Secretary General Kofi Annan. Repeatedly burned at the United Nations on Iraq, Washington wants the Iraqis to make their own case to the United Nations this time, U.S. officials say. "It's time that Iraqis begin representing themselves -- and that the world recognizes that fact," a State Department official said. The toughest task facing the United States now, many U.S. officials say, is figuring out a way to broaden political participation, the core issue in the debate over elections. The Bush administration refuses to budge from the Nov. 15 agreement, in part for fear that further demands could delay the transition. To bring more Iraqis into the process, the United States is tinkering with the formation of new Iraqi political bodies -- often creatively but also in piecemeal fashion, based largely on local factors and preferences rather than a uniform standard nationwide. As a first step, the United States has begun to reconfigure dozens of local city councils originally appointed by U.S. military commanders or provisional authority officials in the field. Some councils have been virtually dissolved, whereas others have only had new members added. The approach usually depends on local politicians and input from the Iraqi Governing Council members from the area. The United States faces another crucial step in the process of selecting a government this week with the creation of coordinating committees. That selection process could last two months. In each of Iraq's 18 provinces, 15-member committees are to select members for caucuses, which will in turn pick legislators for a new national assembly. The exact number in parliament, and whether it has one chamber or two, is another issue to be determined. The legislature will then pick the government. U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad are exploring ideas that will combine this formula with some form of elections, again perhaps differing in key areas, to accommodate Sistani's demand. The administration believes it can find common ground. "The ayatollah has raised issues with respect to how you do the caucus elections, and I think it's safe to say that we are in a dialogue with him and with others who have an interest in how one actually goes about selecting a transitional assembly and a transitional government," Powell said. One idea being discussed is having quick local elections for some delegates to the coordinating committees. Under the current formula, in each province five of the 15 members are appointed by the Governing Council, five by the provincial council and one from each of the five largest cities. One problem, however, is whether elections for only five of the delegates from major cities would satisfy Sistani's call for public input rather than appointment. The future of the 25-member Governing Council, handpicked by Bremer, must also be decided. Some members argue that it should be preserved as the second chamber of an Iraqi legislature, an idea U.S. officials and many Iraqis oppose. The United States continues to be frustrated by council members, their personal ambitions and their divisive politics, although U.S. officials give them credit for making a more earnest effort recently. "Ambassador Bremer has a strong working relationship with the Governing Council, and we are eager to move forward on the November 15 political agreement as signed and published," said Dan Senor, the U.S. spokesman in Baghdad. Washington hopes that the various town halls -- one has been held in Basra, another will take place in Mosul soon -- will help generate ideas and feedback for "refinements" in the plan. "We're engaged in a robust effort to get all parties engaged in this process. We're going to be doing a lot of things over the next few weeks. There's a lot that needs to happen, given the timeline to get all the critical parties to buy into the political process," a senior U.S. official said. But as the countdown begins to the formal handover, time is also running short. "We have a six-month marathon ahead of us, so we're lacing up our shoes and getting ready to roll. It's not one thing or another dominating the agenda," the senior administration official said. "It's keeping all the balls in the air and jogging forward at the same time." --__--__-- Message: 4 Date: Sun, 04 Jan 2004 10:14:31 +0100 From: =?windows-1252?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?= <per.klevnas@DELETETHIScasi.org.uk> To: email@example.com Subject: Japan Says It Will Forgive Most of Debt Owed by Iraq http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/30/international/asia/30DEBT.html Japan Says It Will Forgive Most of Debt Owed by Iraq By NORIMITSU ONISHI Published: December 30, 2003 TOKYO, Dec. 30 =97 Japan said Monday that it was prepared to forgive most of the billions of dollars of debts that Iraq owes Japan in order to help rebuild the economy, if other creditors did the same. The announcement, which came after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi met with a United States envoy, James A. Baker III, brightened Washington's efforts to reduce Iraq's $120 billion debt to other nations. After Mr. Baker's next stop, in Beijing, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said China would consider reducing the debt it is owed by Iraq, according to the official New China News Agency. The amount that Iraq owes is unclear, though Chinese officials say it is in the billions. Iraq owes Japan $4.11 billion, but late charges and other fees bring the total to more than $7 billion =97 the biggest debt to a member of what is known as the Paris Club, 19 industrial countries that lend money to developing nations. China is not a member of the Paris Club. "Japan would be prepared to eliminate the vast majority of its Iraqi debt, if other Paris Club creditors are prepared to do so in the context of a Paris Club agreement," the Foreign Ministry announced. "This is essential for ensuring the Iraqi people to have the opportunity to build a free and prosperous Iraq, and is of special importance to the international security and stability." The ministry added that "the precise figures of debt reduction" would be subject to negotiations. Japan has included penalties in debt forgiveness decisions in the past. "I think we made some very, very good progress on the very important issues of Iraq debt," Mr. Baker told reporters after meeting Mr. Koizumi, and "the United States is very grateful." After stopping here, Mr. Baker led his worldwide lobbying efforts to reduce Iraq's debts to Beijing, where he met Prime Minister Wen, who said China "will consider reducing the debts owed by Iraq out of humanitarian concern," according to the New China News Agency. China, which, unlike Japan, did not support the American-led war in Iraq, has criticized the United States for excluding it and other nations opposed to the war from lucrative reconstruction projects. Mr. Baker's trip to Asia followed a five-nation trip to Europe this month, during which he secured agreements to reduce Iraq's debt. The exact amounts are open to negotiations; the Bush administration has been pressing creditors to cut the amounts as much as 90 percent. Mr. Baker secured agreements from France and Germany, the two countries most fiercely critical of the war in Iraq. Iraq owes France about $3 billion and Germany about $2.5 billion, not including interest and penalties. Russia, which also opposed the war, said recently that it would waive some of its $8 billion in Iraqi debt in return for contracts to help rebuild Iraq and produce oil there. The Paris Club nations hold about $40 billion of Iraq's estimated $120 billion in loans; Arab nations hold most of the rest. Alleviating Iraq's crushing debt is considered a prerequisite to rebuilding the economy. Without debt reduction, foreign governments and companies would be reluctant to invest the money needed to resurrect Iraq's oil industry, and most oil revenue would go to meet interest payments. Debt relief is also critical to the United States' effort to establish a credible sovereign government in Iraq, because a huge debt would hobble any new government from the start. Under Paris Club regulations, debt reduction agreements can be signed only with a sovereign government, along with an economic restructuring program approved by the International Monetary Fund. Japan had initially opposed forgiving Iraq's debts because of its potential oil revenue and because Japan had already pledged $1.5 billion in grants to Iraq next year, as well as $3.5 billion in low-interest loans during the next four years. Mr. Koizumi's administration has been one of the staunchest supporters of the war in Iraq, despite popular opposition here. Japan is to send 600 troops to southern Iraq over the next few months, the first time Japanese soldiers will set foot in a country with continuing combat since the end of World War II. --__--__-- Message: 5 Date: Sun, 04 Jan 2004 10:34:10 +0100 From: =?windows-1252?Q?Per_Klevn=E4s?= <per.klevnas@DELETETHIScasi.org.uk> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Ethnic violence breaks out in Kurdish region Ethnic violence breaks out in Kurdish region http://tinyurl.com/37dz7 original URL http://news.ft.com/ By Peter Spiegel in Baghdad Published: January 2 2004 18:34 | Last Updated: January 2 2004 21:40 US forces stepped up their presence in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Friday after another spate of inter-ethnic attacks left at least two people dead in clashes with local police. The new wave of violence has been triggered by a push from Kurdish leaders for increased autonomy that has angered Arab and Turkmen residents of the racially divided city. The shooting of two Arab gunmen came after the Thursday night killing of a Kurdish man in an Arab neighbourhood, police told the Associated Press. Local officials suspect several other demonstrators were killed or wounded in heavy gunfire, but their bodies were dragged away. Police were monitoring hospitals to gauge the final casualty toll. Colonel William Mayville, commander of the 173rd Airborne brigade, which is responsible for security in Kirkuk, is expected to go on radio and television on Saturday to appeal for calm. Col Mayville has been in talks with local leaders since New Year=92s eve, when a protest by 3,000 Arabs and Turkmen at the local office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan turned into a battle with Kurdish peshmerga, leaving at least five dead. Paul Bremer, the US-appointed Iraqi administrator, travelled to the city on Friday to discuss Kurdish demands for autonomy. Coalition officials who have visited Kurdish-dominated areas in recent days have expressed surprise and concern over the growing number of local Kurdish leaders who have given outspoken support for independence. There is suspicion that the main Kurdish parties are inflaming passions in an attempt to gain concessions for their proposal for increased federal powers. Shortly after the introduction of their proposal to the Governing Council, a Kurdish demonstration was staged in Kirkuk where protesters called for the oil-rich city to be included in an independent Kurdistan. The proposal, submitted by the PUK and its rival Kurdistan Democratic Party in mid-December, calls for wide-ranging autonomy, including veto power over Iraqi troop movements and control of natural resources in the oil-rich region. Kurdish officials have insisted that the issues be resolved in the transitional law currently being debated by the Governing Council, which must be completed by the end of next month. Coalition officials suspect that the matter will eventually be postponed until a constitutional convention in 2005. - A US Army Kiowa Warrior observation helicopter was shot down by insurgents near the restive Sunni Triangle city of Falluja on Friday, killing one soldier and wounding another. Military officials said Iraqis masquerading as journalists later opened fire with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades on soldiers guarding the wreckage. End of casi-news Digest _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk