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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #3 - 5 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. The latest Iraqi struggle: keeping a handle on cost of rebuilding 
   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?= <>
Subject: The latest Iraqi struggle: keeping a handle on cost of rebuilding
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?= <>
Subject: The Trial of Hussein: Choosing the Evidence

The Trial of Hussein: Choosing the Evidence
Prosecution Likely to Focus on Few Incidents

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

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

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

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

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

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?= <>
Subject: Power Transfer in Iraq Starts This Week
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

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

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

"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?= <>
Subject: Japan Says It Will Forgive Most of Debt Owed by Iraq

Japan Says It Will Forgive Most of Debt Owed by Iraq

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

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

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?= <>
Subject: Ethnic violence breaks out in Kurdish region

Ethnic violence breaks out in Kurdish region original URL
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

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.

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