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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. UN making an initial move toward returning to Iraq (Daniel O'Huiginn) 2. Hussein Warned Iraqis to Beware Outside Fighters, Document Says (cafe-uni) 3. Bush Admits He Wanted Regime Change Before 11 September (cafe-uni) 4. US Accused Of War Crimes in Iraq (cafe-uni) 5. Iraq Must Wait for Three Years Before Full Power Supply Restored (cafe-uni) 6. Clashes Rise in Southern Iraq (cafe-uni) 7. Hussein Warned Followers About Jihadists (ppg) 8. Al-Arabiya to resume Iraq coverage soon (ppg) 9. Young cleric from southern city showcases Shiite power in post-Saddam Iraq (Daniel O'Huiginn) 10. Rumsfeld Claims POW status no bar to Iraqi trial for Saddam (k hanly) 11. Baker backed loan to Iraq (k hanly) 12. In Mosul, everyone's talking about democracy (Daniel O'Huiginn) 13. Quickly, lessons in democracy (D. O'Huiginn) --__--__-- Message: 1 Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 02:34:32 +0000 (GMT) From: Daniel O'Huiginn <do227@DELETETHIShermes.cam.ac.uk> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: UN making an initial move toward returning to Iraq http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/13/international/middleeast/13CND-NATION.htm= l January 13, 2004 U.N. Making an Initial Move Toward Returning to Iraq By WARREN HOGE UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 13 . The United Nations said today that it had decided to dispatch security advisers to Baghdad to study safety provisions in preparation for a possible early return of staff members to Iraq. Kieran Prendergast, the undersecretary general for political affairs, told American Ambassador John D. Negroponte in a letter that a four-member team of military and security experts would be sent to the Iraqi capital within two weeks. The move could be a first step in the world body's reconsidering its determination to delay returning to Iraq until the scheduled July 1 transfer of power to Iraqis from the Provisional Coalition Authority, which represents the United States and the other occupying forces. "The return to Iraq of United Nations international staff is contingent in part on acquiring and upgrading suitable working and living accommodations and enhancing security arrangements," Mr. Prendergast's letter read. "In that connection, there is an early requirement to strengthen our liaison with the coalition forces so that the United Nations is able, among other things, to supervise facilities upgradings and other security enhancements from a safe interim location in Baghdad." Secretary General Kofi Annan withdrew all international staff from the country in October following attacks on relief workers and the Aug. 19 bombing of United Nations headquarters in Baghdad that killed 22 people, including the mission chief, Sergio Vieira de Mello. The United Nations Iraq mission is operated by almost 1,000 Iraqi staff members and directed from offices in Cyprus and Jordan. The United States and some members of the Iraqi Governing Council have been pressing Mr. Annan to recommit the world organization sooner than the July transfer date, but he has insisted on obtaining clearer details on what the organization's responsibilities would be and how its workers would be protected. He is said by his closest aides to be deeply concerned that the United Nations not get caught in the middle between the emerging Iraqi leaders and the coalition, subject to manipulation by both. He reportedly feels that the perception among some Iraqis that the United Nations was part of the occupation made it a target of violence, and he is consequently wary of placing staff members back in the country until authority passes to Iraq. In Washington, J. Adam Ereli, a State Department deputy spokesman, welcomed the trip of United Nations officials to Iraq and said they might play a role in American plans to revise its caucus-based process of selecting the interim legislature that is supposed to take power after June 30. The American occupation is refining the plan in response to the rejection of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is demanding that the legislature be chosen through direct elections. "The U.N. has a lot of expertise in electoral processes, in setting up systems, election commissions, election bodies, monitoring elections, helping people set up regulations," Mr. Ereli said. "The whole infrastructure of democracy is something that the U.N. does very well." Last month, Mr. Annan invited members of the Iraqi Governing Council and the Coalition Provisional Authority to a meeting with him in New York next Monday to discuss the United Nations role in Iraq and the timing of its return. Four members of the council have accepted, but there still is no word from the United States on whether any authority members will participate. After meeting with Mr. Annan on Friday, Mr. Negroponte would say only that the United States would be "appropriately represented." Heraldo Mu=F1oz, the ambassador from Chile, this month's Security Council president, disclosed that Iraq's minister of planning and development, Mahdi Hafedh, had written him to request a meeting with the entire Security Council on Monday. The letter will be discussed on Wednesday at a Security Council closed-door consultation, Mr. Munoz said. Richard A. Grenell, the spokesman for the United States mission, said that ranking security officials from the State Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff were coming from Washington for a meeting with Mr. Prendergast late today. "The U.N. asked a lot of questions on Friday," he said, "and we wanted to get back with the the appropriate answers." --__--__-- Message: 2 From: "cafe-uni" <cafe-uni@DELETETHISfreeuk.com> To: "Casi News" <email@example.com> Subject: Hussein Warned Iraqis to Beware Outside Fighters, Document Says Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 11:57:37 -0000 > Hussein Warned Iraqis to Beware Outside Fighters, Document Says > By JAMES RISEN > Published: January 14, 2004 > New York Times > http://tinyurl.com/2dxyo > > WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 - Saddam Hussein warned his Iraqi supporters to be wary > of joining forces with foreign Arab fighters entering Iraq to battle > American troops, according to a document found with the former Iraqi leader > when he was captured, Bush administration officials said Tuesday. > > The document appears to be a directive, written after he lost power, from > Mr. Hussein to leaders of the Iraqi resistance, counseling caution against > getting too close to Islamic jihadists and other foreign Arabs coming into > occupied Iraq, according to American officials. > > It provides a second piece of evidence challenging the Bush administration > contention of close cooperation between Mr. Hussein's government and > terrorists from Al Qaeda. C.I.A. interrogators have already elicited from > the top Qaeda officials in custody that, before the American-led invasion, > Osama bin Laden had rejected entreaties from some of his lieutenants to work > jointly with Mr. Hussein. > > Officials said Mr. Hussein apparently believed that the foreign Arabs, eager > for a holy war against the West, had a different agenda from the Baathists, > who were eager for their own return to power in Baghdad. As a result, he > wanted his supporters to be careful about becoming close allies with the > jihadists, officials familiar with the document said. > > A new, classified intelligence report circulating within the United States > government describes the document and its contents, according to > administration officials who asked not to be identified. The officials said > they had no evidence that the document found with Mr. Hussein was a > fabrication. > > The role of foreign Arab fighters in the Iraqi resistance to the > American-led occupation has been a source of debate within the American > government ever since the fall of Baghdad in April. Initially, American > analysts feared that thousands of fighters would flood into Iraq, seeking an > Islamic jihad in much the same way an earlier generation of Arabs traveled > to Afghanistan in the 1980's to fight the Soviet occupation. > > Military and intelligence officials now believe that the number of foreign > fighters who have entered Iraq is relatively small. American military units > posted along the border to screen against such an influx have reported that > they have seen few signs of foreign fighters trying to cross the border. > > In December, American military officials in Iraq estimated that foreign > fighters accounted for no more than 10 percent of the insurgency, and some > officials now believe that even that figure may be too high. Only 200 to 300 > people holding non-Iraqi passports are being detained in Iraq by American > forces, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, a military spokesman, told reporters in > Baghdad in December. > > "They're a threat, but the vast majority of the personnel that we have in > detention for activities against the coalition, for activities against Iraqi > citizens, remain personnel from this country," General Kimmitt said then. > > But several officials said American forces were not certain of the accuracy > of the American intelligence on the issue and acknowledge that there could > be more foreigners inside the country than they currently think. "I've seen > numbers from a couple hundred to a couple thousand," said one United States > military official. > > Another unresolved issue has been the level of coordination between foreign > fighters and Iraqi insurgents, many of whom are former members of Mr. > Hussein's security apparatus. Military and intelligence officials say they > have detected cooperation at the tactical level, on individual attacks, but > have less evidence of any coordination at a broader strategic level. Asked > whether it appeared that Iraqi insurgent leaders had heeded Mr. Hussein's > advice to keep foreign fighters at arm's length, officials said it was > difficult to tell without more information on the full extent of the > cooperation between the sides. > > The use of suicide car bombings as a weapon in the insurgency has made > American officials wonder whether Islamic militant fighters are behind some > crucial attacks. The secular Iraqis who were members of Mr. Hussein's > government are unlikely recruits for martyrdom, American officials said. > > "There is no question that some foreign fighters have crossed into Iraq," > observed Judith Yaphe, a senior research fellow at the National Defense > University in Washington and a former Middle East analyst at the C.I.A. "How > many? I don't think there are more than a couple hundred. Are they > significant in the insurgency? I don't think they are. There are too many > Iraqis who know how to do these things. The real question is the suicide > bombers, that's not strictly speaking an Iraqi thing." > > In addition to its value in understanding the nature of the enemy that > American and allied troops now confront in Iraq, the document found with Mr. > Hussein could also be grist for further debate about his relationship with > Islamic fundamentalists. > > As President Bush sought to build a case for war with Iraq, one of the most > hotly debated issues was whether Mr. Hussein was in league with Mr. bin > Laden and Al Qaeda. Senior officials at the Pentagon who were certain that > the evidence of connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda were strong and > compelling found themselves at war with analysts at the C.I.A. who believed > that the evidence showed some contacts between Baghdad and the terrorist > organization, but not an operational alliance. > > At the Pentagon, several officials believed that Iraq and Al Qaeda had found > common ground in their hatred of the United States, while at the C.I.A., > many analysts believed that Mr. bin Laden saw Mr. Hussein as one of the > corrupt secular Arab leaders who should be toppled. > > Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company > > --__--__-- Message: 3 From: "cafe-uni" <cafe-uni@DELETETHISfreeuk.com> To: "Casi News" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Bush Admits He Wanted Regime Change Before 11 September Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 11:58:14 -0000 > The Scotsman > 13 January 2004 > Bush admits he wanted regime change before 11 September > MARGARET NEIGHBOUR > http://www.news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=3D41892004 > > THE United States president, George Bush, yesterday appeared to support > claims made by one of his former advisers that he was intent on invading > Iraq long before the 11 September attacks triggered a more aggressive focus > to US foreign policy, saying his administration was "for regime change". > > Speaking during a visit to Mexico, Mr Bush said that, while US policy > altered after the terror attacks on New York and Washington, his government > had inherited plans to remove Saddam Hussein as leader of Iraq from the > previous Clinton administration. > > His comments came as White House officials sought to play down statements > made by the former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill about Mr Bush's policy on > Iraq. > > Mr O'Neill said ousting Saddam was a top priority from the first National > Security Council meeting he attended soon after Mr Bush took office in > January 2001. > > "From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was = a > bad person and that he needed to go," Mr O'Neill said on Sunday. > > "For me, the notion of preemption, that the US has the unilateral right t= o > do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap." > > Yesterday, Mr Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan, rejected Mr O'Neill's > criticism. "The president exhausted all possible means to resolve the > situation in Iraq peacefully," he said. "Saddam Hussein has been a dangerous > man for a long time." > > But speaking after a meeting with the Mexican president, Vicente Fox, Mr > Bush said: "Like the previous administration we were for regime change... We > were fleshing out policy along those lines and then September 11 happened > and, as president of the United States, my most solemn obligation was to > protect the security of the American people. > > "I took that duty very seriously and not only did we deal with the Taleban, > we got working through the United Nations and the international community > and made it clear that Saddam should disarm." > > Mr Bush said the US had acted to remove Saddam after he had ignored the > warnings to disarm. "Now he is not in power and the world is better for it," > he added. > > Mr O'Neill, who was sacked in December 2002 as part of a shake-up of Mr Bush > 's economic team, has become the first major Bush administration insider to > attack the president. > > He likened Mr Bush at cabinet meetings to "a blind man in a room full of > deaf people". > > Mr O'Neill's comments caused surprise in Washington, given the strong bonds > of loyalty that Mr Bush fosters among members of his team. > > Mr O'Neill was fired due to differences with Mr Bush over economic policy= . > > Mr O'Neill's remarks emerged during an interview to promote a book about his > term as the treasury chief, by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron > Suskind, The Price of Loyalty. > > Mr McClellan said the criticism from Mr O'Neill "appears to be more about > trying to justify personal views and opinions than it does about looking at > the results that we are achieving". "People have a right to express their > views," he said. "And the president is going to continue to be > forward-looking." > > He also defended the president against Mr O'Neill's assertion that, durin= g > cabinet meetings and one-on-one sessions, Mr Bush appeared disengaged and > uninterested. > > "The president is a strong leader who acts decisively on our big priorities, > someone who asks tough questions and makes tough decisions," Mr McClellan > said. > > He said he did not know if members of the administration had tried to tal= k > Mr O'Neill out of his kiss-and-tell story. Both the vice-president, Dick > Cheney, and defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, were close to Mr O'Neill and > Mr Suskind told CBS that Mr Rumsfeld phoned Mr O'Neill and urged him not to > contribute to the book. > > "It's just not something this administration gets caught up in," Mr > McClellan said. > > The book is likely to provide fodder for attacks on Mr Bush from Democratic > presidential candidates who have accused him of using faulty intelligence on > the extent of Iraq's weapons programme as a pretext for war. > > Meanwhile, the US Treasury yesterday requested a probe into how a possibl= y > secret document appeared in the televised interview with Mr O'Neill. > > =A92004 Scotsman.com > > --__--__-- Message: 4 From: "cafe-uni" <cafe-uni@DELETETHISfreeuk.com> To: "Casi News" <email@example.com> Subject: US Accused Of War Crimes in Iraq Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 11:58:49 -0000 > America accused of war crimes in Iraq > January 14, 2004 > http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/01/14/1073877864333.html > > The US military is committing war crimes by demolishing homes of suspected > insurgents and arresting the relatives of Iraqi fugitives, a top human > rights group said today. > > The military denied the charges by Human Rights Watch, saying it only > destroyed homes that were being used to store weapons or as fighting > positions and all Iraqis detained were suspected of taking part in attacks > on coalition forces. > > "Assertions that the coalition is intentionally attacking homes as a matter > of collective punishment are false," said Colonel William Darley, a military > spokesman. "People are not arrested because they are related to other > suspects - people are detained because they themselves are suspects." > > The New York-based human rights group said American soldiers demolished at > least four Iraqi homes for no apparent military reason other than to punish > the families of anti-US guerrilla suspects. > > "Troops are entitled to suppress armed attacks, but they can only destroy a > civilian structure when it is being used in an attack," Kenneth Roth, the > group's executive director, said in a prepared statement. "These demolitions > did not meet the test of military necessity." > > The group also accused US military of kidnapping in two cases where American > soldiers arrested civilians who happened to be related to guerrilla > suspects. > > In one case, the Army detained the wife and daughter of Izzat Ibrahim > al-Douri, a former top lieutenant of Saddam Hussein and now the most wanted > man in Iraq. The two women remain in US custody more than six weeks after > they were arrested without charge. > > Darley refused to discuss al-Douri's wife and daughter, saying the were > "special circumstances" surrounding their case. > > "Detaining persons for the purpose of compelling actions from the opposing > side amounts to hostage-taking, which is a grave breach of the Geneva > Conventions - in other words, a war crime," Human Rights Watch said in a > statement. > > Demolishing homes and destroying civilian property as a reprisal or > deterrent amounts to collective punishment, which is also prohibited by the > Geneva Conventions. > > "International law allows occupying forces to detain individuals who have > attacked them or who pose security threats," Roth said. "US forces should > immediately release anyone being held solely because they are related to a > wanted person." > > In a letter to US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the group called for a > halt to such tactics and asked Rumsfeld to ensure US forces abide by the > 1949 Geneva Conventions, holding soldiers accountable for ordering, > condoning or carrying out serious violations of the laws of war. > > - AP > --__--__-- Message: 5 From: "cafe-uni" <cafe-uni@DELETETHISfreeuk.com> To: "Casi News" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Iraq Must Wait for Three Years Before Full Power Supply Restored Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 12:00:00 -0000 > Iraq to wait for 3 years before full power supply restored: paper > www.chinaview.cn 2004-01-13 17:45:38 > > BAGHDAD, Jan. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Iraq has to wait for another three years > before the power supply can be fully restored throughout the war-torn > country, a local newspaper reported Tuesday. > > The only "real solution" is to build new power plants, which could take > at least three years, the Iraq Today weekly quoted a spokesman of the > Ministry of Electricity as saying. > > "All these power stations throughout Iraq were overloaded by > theex-regime. There was no maintenance or upkeep," Basil al-Khatib > wasquoted. > > A maintenance operation now is "almost pointless" because spare parts > have not yet arrived, according to the spokesman. > > Besides the capacity, another main reason is transmission, with 20 > percent of the high-voltage towers have been damaged, sabotaged or looted > for their copper wiring since the war. > > In response, the ministry has enlisted about 4,000 special guards, > including local police and tribal members, to protect the transmission > system. > > Distribution is also one of the problems, although a minor one, as th= e > daily gunfire that cuts wires is a constant issue. > > US overseer in Iraq Paul Bremer had said that the electricity supply has > overtaken the level of that in the run-up to the war that toppled Saddam > Hussein's regime. > > However, most Iraqi cities such as the capital city of Baghdad, have > been harried with frequent intermittent power cut. Enditem > > Copyright =A92003 Xinhua News Agency > --__--__-- Message: 6 From: "cafe-uni" <cafe-uni@DELETETHISfreeuk.com> To: "Casi News" <email@example.com> Subject: Clashes Rise in Southern Iraq Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 12:09:32 -0000 > Clashes Rise in Southern Iraq > Jobless Protesters Confront Ukrainian Troops and Local Police > By Pamela Constable > Washington Post Foreign Service > Wednesday, January 14, 2004; Page A14 > http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14292-2004Jan13.html > > KUT, Iraq, Jan. 13 -- The boom of exploding dynamite packets, followed by > the rat-a-tat of returning assault-rifle fire, echoed all Tuesday morning > through the streets of this gritty, once peaceful city on the Euphrates > River, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad. > > Angry demonstrators confronted Ukrainian army tanks and Iraqi police at > City Hall plaza for the second day in a row. A block away, Ali Aziz, 35, = a > stocky, out-of-work laborer, watched the battle from behind a schoolyard > wall, red-eyed and shaking with anguish. > > "I have three children to support, we are living in one rented room and I > have to hold up a bucket to the ceiling when it rains," he said. "I helpe= d > protect the city offices during the war, but now the old thieves are back > inside, and they only give jobs to their friends." The protesters were "out > there to defend all our rights," he said. > > Officials and witnesses said at least a dozen civilians and police were > injured Tuesday, the fifth day of anti-government protests since Jan. 6 i= n > southern Iraqi cities with largely Shiite Muslim populations. > > The southern Shiites were systematically repressed during the dictatorshi= p > of Saddam Hussein, and until recently they largely supported the U.S.-led > invasion and the appointed interim government. But in the past week, > protests have broken out in the cities of Kut, Amarah and Basra. > > There were also several violent incidents in the capital Tuesday. After a > roadside bomb blew up an Army vehicle, killing one soldier, U.S. troops > fired on a car, killing a man and a 10-year-old boy. Two mortars exploded > near the central Baghdad Hotel, incinerating several cars. > > The southern demonstrations coincided with a growing split between U.S. > officials and a prominent Shiite leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who > demanded Monday that direct elections be held soon. U.S. authorities plan to > hold regional caucuses to choose a national assembly but do not want to > schedule elections until mid-2005. > > By most accounts, Tuesday's protests in Kut were sparked by local and > personal grievances. The crowd of about 1,000 demonstrators, who tried to > storm City Hall and break into a bank, included recently dismissed soldiers > and laborers who have long been jobless. Their wrath was directed largely at > local and regional officials who they said demanded bribes or were former > members of Hussein's Baath Party. > > "I was a policeman before the war. When I went back to rejoin my station, > they said I had to pay $150. Every single department is asking for bribes= , > and they are all followers of Saddam," complained Mohammed Ali, 23, whose > head was wrapped in a bandage after two days of confronting the security > forces. "People have gone without jobs for a year, and they are ready to > tear down buildings." > > Some Kut residents asserted the protests were instigated by extremist Shiite > groups who had access to grenades and dynamite, which were thrown at > Ukrainian occupation troops on Monday and Tuesday. But the protesters > insisted that no political or religious group was behind them. > > As the mob grew increasingly aggressive Tuesday, surging toward governmen= t > buildings and setting off explosions, a local Shiite cleric, Laith Rubaie= , > intervened at the request of Iraqi police. At about 1 p.m., Rubaie called > for calm over a loudspeaker and drew the demonstrators toward his downtow= n > mosque for prayers. > > "We are with you, we are beside you, we will demand jobs for you, but please > don't use grenades and weapons. . . . You are frightening the women and > children," Rubaie called over the din of agitated, argumentative voices. He > said he agreed with the crowd that some police were "corrupt Baathists," but > he said others were "caught in the middle. They don't want to shoot our own > people." > > Throughout the day, Iraqi police fanned out across the city, with > pistol-brandishing agents careering around corners in unmarked cars and > riflemen darting from block to block with their faces hidden by scarves. > > Ukrainian occupation troops sat in tanks surrounding City Hall and lay on > nearby rooftops with rifles. > > Police said a half-dozen officers had been wounded during the two days of > demonstrations, and protesters said they had taken several wounded friend= s > or bystanders to hospitals, including a schoolgirl they said was shot in the > leg Tuesday. > > Many residents -- including doctors, school principals and police officer= s > in riot gear -- said they were concerned about the violence but also > sympathized with the protesters. They said the combination of high > unemployment and widespread official corruption had driven many people to > despair. > > Some people complained that occupation authorities had been slow to deliver > promised jobs and services, but most blamed Iraqi officials, including both > former Baath Party members who managed to retain niches in the bureaucrac= y > and former exiles who were appointed to national and regional posts by U.S. > officials but have done little to help the public. > > Although calm had been restored by mid-afternoon, the city remained tense > and residents said that violence could easily flare again if authorities did > not respond to the need for jobs. Aides to Rubaie said he had spoken with > provincial officials and then promised the crowd a response to its demand= s > within two days. > > "The Shiite people are peaceful and dignified, but when their rights are > stolen, no foreign troops can stop them," said Abdul Karim Mustafa, 43, a > physician who was watching the protests from several blocks away. "These > people are not terrorists, but they are desperate enough to die." > > =A9 2004 The Washington Post Company > > --__--__-- Message: 7 From: "ppg" <ppg@DELETETHISnyc.rr.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Hussein Warned Followers About Jihadists Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 08:00:28 -0500 Hussein Warned Followers About Jihadists, Officials Say By Dana Priest Washington Post http://tinyurl.com/3x7m8 Wednesday, January 14, 2004; Page A20 In hiding after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein penned a directiv= e warning his followers not to join forces with Islamic jihadists and other foreign fighters seeking to make Iraq their new battlefield, according to a document found with Hussein when he was captured, U.S. government officials said last night. The document, which the CIA believes to be authentic, appears to be written to leaders of the Iraqi resistance and, as such, undercuts the argument of Bush administration officials that Hussein was working closely with al Qaed= a and other religious extremists, a view not shared by most U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies. On the contrary, the directive, which was first reported in today's New Yor= k Times, adds to the mounting evidence that the insurgency is largely Iraqi-directed and -controlled and that Hussein's links to al Qaeda before the war were not strong. Vice President Cheney has sought to publicly link Hussein with al Qaeda and has repeatedly suggested that Iraq somehow participated in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States. This view is disputed in intelligence reports, which state that there is no evidence linking Iraq to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or to al Qaeda's worldwide operations. Al Qaeda members in secret CIA detention centers abroad have told interrogators in the past year that Osama bin Laden had rejected the idea o= f working with Hussein, who as president of Iraq led one of the most secular governments in the Middle East. One senior U.S. official said the directive "was interesting but not hugely important" because it only confirmed the widespread belief that there was probably not much collaboration between former Baath Party members and foreign fighters who entered Iraq after the United States invaded it last spring. Hussein apparently was concerned that foreign fighters such as al Qaeda members have a different goal than Baath Party loyalists who seek a return to power and the reemergence -- once the Americans leave -- of Hussein. Hussein was captured last month with what some military officials have described as a treasure trove of documents, including the names of key leaders and a detailed description of the secret cells that form part of th= e insurgency. U.S. forces have used the documents to conduct successful raids= , and U.S. military commanders in Iraq say they are making daily progress in eliminating the insurgency. Some defense officials, particularly Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, initially described the insurgents as made up largely of foreign terrorists and "dead enders" seeking to kill or oust U.S. forces from Iraq. President Bush has portrayed the insurgency as a central front in the war on terroris= m as well. But field commanders and L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, have said that the vast majority of the insurgents are Iraqis, and that mos= t are Hussein loyalists. In a recent interview with The Washington Post, the CIA's deputy director, John McLaughlin, said the CIA believes former Baath Party loyalists and other Iraqis account for 90 percent of the insurgency. =A9 2004 The Washington Post Company --__--__-- Message: 8 From: "ppg" <ppg@DELETETHISnyc.rr.com> To: <email@example.com> Subject: Al-Arabiya to resume Iraq coverage soon Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 08:04:43 -0500 Wednesday, January 14, 2004. Al-Arabiya to resume Iraq coverage soon: Governing Council The Iraqi Governing Council is in talks with Al-Arabiya aimed at lifting a ban on the Dubai-based satellite television from coverage in Iraq. "I think we will close that chapter very quickly - we are just finalising our understanding," council member Samir Sumaiydah said, adding that he hoped Al-Arabiya will resume coverage soon. Al-Arabiya was banned on November 24 by the council from working in Iraq on charges of "murder incitement" after it broadcast a tape of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein calling for attacks on council members. The Saudi-owned broadcaster has denied the charges and the ban was condemned by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Iraq's interim Governing Council is also pushing for a comprehensive media law that would regulate some content as the country moves towards self-governance while the US-led coalition is advocating a more liberal approach. The council invited journalists to what was to be a briefing about the role of a future industry watchdog called the National Media Committee. The meeting, the first of its kind, never took place because of a booking conflict with a wedding at the same venue, according to Ibrahim al-Zubaidi, secretary-general of the council's media committee. Mr Zubaidi had intended to circulate a document titled "A Code of Conduct for Media Work" for "voluntary signature" by all journalists working in Iraq. The document urged media to refrain from "fuelling racial or ethnic tensions and inciting hate, violence and killing," and not to use the terms "jihad" and "resistance" to describe attacks against "civilians and national institutions". It also asked them to agree "not to accept money from foreign elements that want to interfere in Iraq's internal affairs". "Some media colleagues have overstepped the danger zone in their coverage at times threatening Iraq's national security" Mr Zubaidi told AFP. "We outlined these high national principles and told them not to violate them because that would upset us." -- AFP --__--__-- Message: 9 Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 14:01:41 +0000 (GMT) From: Daniel O'Huiginn <do227@DELETETHIShermes.cam.ac.uk> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Young cleric from southern city showcases Shiite power in post-Saddam Iraq Young cleric from southern city showcases Shiite power in post-Saddam Iraq http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/iraq/20040113-1337-iraq-clericalpower.html By Hamza Hendawi ASSOCIATED PRESS 1:37 p.m. January 13, 2004 KUT, Iraq . A 22-year-old Shiite cleric wields vast power in this impoverished Iraqi city, overseeing a network of social and security services, collecting taxes and even administering a court of law . all independent of the U.S.-backed local government. Abdul Jawad al-Issawi is an example of the eroding influence of the U.S.-led coalition and of how Shiite clerical power is spreading outside the mosques, partly to fill that gap. It is a pattern that is taking hold in other Shiite Muslim areas as the religious establishment challenges U.S. plans for transferring power to the Iraqis. "We have told everyone from the start that only failure awaits the occupiers if they try to interfere in how we run our lives," al-Issawi said. "Occupation is humiliation, and we cannot accept humiliation. We never trusted the Americans and we never will." The rise of a 22-year-old seminary student to such local prominence reflects vast political power attained by Shiite clerics in the nine months since Saddam Hussein's ouster. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, Iraq's top Shiite cleric, has renewed his demand that a provisional assembly due to select a government in June must be elected, not chosen from regional caucuses as provided for in a Nov. 15 agreement between L. Paul Bremer, chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, and the Iraqi Governing Council. Al-Sistani, 75, also demanded Sunday that an agreement on the status of U.S. forces after the transfer of sovereignty and the interim constitution being drafted now by the U.S.-appointed Governing Council must be approved by an elected national assembly. His demands threaten to delay the transfer of sovereignty to an Iraqi government by July 1, a major objective of the Bush administration in this U.S. election year. Al-Sistani is revered by most Shiites, who make up an estimated 60 percent of Iraq's population. Already, the United States has dropped one political plan for Iraq in the face of objections by al-Sistani, whose insistence that elected rather than appointed representatives draft the new constitution prompted the Americans to speed the timetable for handing over sovereignty and delay the drafting of a new national charter. Bowing a second time could make it appear U.S. policy in Iraq is subject to the demands of one elderly man, who hasn't left his house since April, when Saddam's regime collapsed, because of failing health and fears for his life. However, Bush administration officials in Washington said Tuesday on condition of anonymity that the Nov. 15 plan may have to be altered. They insist the July 1 deadline for the transfer of sovereignty remains their goal. The Iranian-born al-Sistani was virtually unknown outside Iraq until the mid-1990s, when two more senior clerics, including his mentor, died in quick succession. Now al-Sistani, who lives in a modest house on a dusty alley in the holy city of Najaf, has become a symbol of Shiite power, despite his proclaimed stand that his spiritual calling takes precedence over politics. At the lower end of the Shiite clerical hierarchy, al-Issawi in Kut displays the energy and resolve of a much younger generation of robed Shiites intent on addressing problems big and small in their communities. Speaking at his office next to the Tigris River in Kut, 95 miles southeast of Baghdad, al-Issawi outlined activities undertaken by the movement led by maverick cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Al-Issawi is al-Sadr's Kut representative. They include a council to resolve tribal disputes, a security structure that posts sentries throughout the city after nightfall, rural development and a committee of local bureaucrats that meets every two weeks to review services. Al-Issawi collects a Shiite religious tax called "khoms" or "fifth," from well-to-do Kut residents and administers a court that sits once a month to settle domestic, property and inheritance disputes. "The scope of jurisdiction of this court falls well below our expectations," said the bearded al-Issawi, wearing a gray robe, a white turban and fingering prayer beads. Al-Issawi would like to see his court expand into criminal and other judicial matters. Similar activities are carried out in other Shiite areas where al-Sadr, the son of a cleric killed in 1999 by suspected Saddam agents, enjoys wide support, including in Baghdad and Basra, Iraq's second-largest city. They have been instrumental in softening the impact of the vast economic and security problems since Saddam's ouster. In many cases, occupation authorities have sought, without much success, to push aside Shiite clerics to make way for their own proteges, often secular-minded figures with a Western-oriented education but limited popularity. Those problems were visible Tuesday in Kut. Long lines snaked from gas stations. Hundreds crowded a depot where scarce heating fuel was on sale. For a second straight day, hundreds of angry residents rioted to demand jobs. One person was killed and two were injured . including a 22-year-old woman . when Ukrainian troops opened fire to disperse the crowd. "The Americans say they came to liberate us, but I must say their liberation has become a nightmare," said 60-year-old Sajed Abed Abbas, the undertaker of a Shiite mosque. "I was once a national weightlifting champion and I am now jobless and broke," said 19-year-old Majid Zahi, pulling out the empty linings of his pockets. The hold Shiite leaders wield over this city is evident in the huge murals depicting senior clerics . both living and dead. "The masses are more powerful than the tyrants," declares fresh graffiti. "The faithful are at the disposal of their religious leaders." --__--__-- Message: 10 From: "k hanly" <khanly@DELETETHISmb.sympatico.ca> To: "newsclippings" <email@example.com> Subject: Rumsfeld Claims POW status no bar to Iraqi trial for Saddam Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 10:11:24 -0600 http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1025282.htm Saddam's PoW status no bar to trial by Iraqis: Rumsfeld Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's classification as an enemy prisoner of war (PoW) will have no effect on whether he can be prosecuted and tried by Iraq or other countries who have claims against him, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says. Mr Rumsfeld said it was technically an open question whether Saddam, who was captured a month ago, might be tried before a US military tribunal, but he said that was at "the lower end of the probability range". Pentagon lawyers have concluded that the former Iraqi president is an enemy prisoner of war for his role in the war with US-led forces up to May 1, when President George W Bush declared an end to major combat operations, he said. "Could that, in any way, affect the possibility of the Iraqis being involved in his trial or his prosecution? And the answer is 'no'," Mr Rumsfeld said. "The reality is that the president has said and the decision's been made that he believes the Iraqi people need to be involved in that process, in whatever way is ultimately decided," he said. Mr Rumsfeld said Saddam's status can be reviewed "at any time, more than once and so as additional information or as decisions are made, that may be either changed or amplified". PoW status entitles Saddam to protections accorded under the Geneva Conventions, which forbids mistreatment and allows him to wear military insignia, write letters and receive visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross. -- AFP --__--__-- Message: 11 From: "k hanly" <khanly@DELETETHISmb.sympatico.ca> To: "newsclippings" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Baker backed loan to Iraq Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 10:18:08 -0600 http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq-Baker.html?ex=1075016771&ei=1&en=18e071fb6a7234c2 January 11, 2004 Baker Backed Loans That Added to Iraq Debt By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 3:57 p.m. ET WASHINGTON (AP) -- Now assigned the task of reducing Iraq's debt, presidential envoy James A. Baker III once gave crucial support for continuing a billion-dollar loan program to Saddam Hussein's government that accounts for most of the money Iraq still owes the United States. As secretary of state in 1989, Baker urged the Agriculture Department to offer $1 billion in loan guarantees for Iraq to buy U.S. farm products after Iraq said it would reject a smaller deal. ``Documents indicate he intervened personally to make sure that Iraq continued to receive high levels of funding,'' said Joyce Battle, Middle East analyst for the National Security Archives, a foreign policy research center with a vast collection of declassified documents from the era. Only half the guarantees were provided before the program was suspended amid allegations of improprieties and deterioration of relations with Iraq in the months before the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The guarantees were an important part of the first President Bush's effort to improve relations with Iraq in hopes of boosting commercial ties and gaining leverage with a powerful and strategically important nation. U.S. officials were well aware at the time that Saddam had used chemical weapons against Iran and Iraqi Kurds. Iraq also was believed to have biological and nuclear weapons programs and to be harboring terrorists -- reasons the current Bush administration has used to justify toppling the Iraqi leader. But in 1989, Baker and other officials hoped incentives might change Saddam. ``That turned out to be unsuccessful, but I don't think it was necessarily a bad approach to try,'' said John H. Kelly, who led the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs bureau under Baker. After invading Kuwait, Iraq defaulted on its debt to the United States; the debt has grown to more than $4 billion. That includes $1.9 billion in principal and $1.1 billion in interest on Agriculture Department-guaranteed loans. ``The Iraq loss was certainly a shock to the system because of the magnitude,'' Clayton Yeutter, agriculture secretary at the time, said in an interview. He said the Iraq experience taught officials to be careful about guaranteeing too much debt for a single nation. The U.S. debt is a small part of Iraq's overall $120 billion debt. Baker is now traveling the world as Bush's envoy, seeking relief for Iraq. The United States began providing loan guarantees to Iraq in the 1980s. Iraq was at war with Iran and the United States wanted to prevent advances by Iran's clerical government. When the first President Bush took office in 1989, the Iraq-Iran war was over and Iraq was not a U.S. priority, Baker wrote in his 1995 memoirs, ``The Politics of Diplomacy.'' To the extent it was considered, however, there were reasons to seek better relations. Iraq was a major oil supplier. It was the ninth largest customer of U.S. agricultural goods, with most purchases backed by U.S. loan guarantees. U.S. companies were competing with foreign rivals for postwar business opportunities. Iraq was then the most powerful Arab country, and the United States hoped it might help Middle East peace efforts. Some U.S. officials and members of Congress opposed attempts to improve relations, given Iraq's record of gassing of Kurds and other abuses. The State Department's human rights bureau described Iraq's record as abysmal, and its director, Richard Schifter, argued against any assistance. But some U.S. officials saw signs of change. Iraq appeared willing to discuss chemical weapons and human rights issues. Also, Iraq agreed in March 1989 to pay $27 million to the families of 37 sailors killed by a 1987 Iraqi missile attack on the USS Stark. Bush spelled out his policy in a national security directive from Oct. 2, 1989: ``The United States government should propose economic and political incentives for Iraq to moderate its behavior and to increase our influence with Iraq.'' The policy left open the possibility of punitive measures if incentives failed. ``We were under no illusions about Saddam's brutality toward his own people or his capacity for escalating tensions with his neighbors,'' Baker wrote. ``We fully recognized at the time that it was entirely possible any carrots we offered him would fail to produce the desired result.'' Baker tried to improve relations. In March 1989, he assured an Iraqi diplomat that he would take a personal interest in Iraq's request for expanded loan guarantees from the Export-Import Bank. Later, when Congress barred Iraq from participating in bank programs, the State Department drafted a waiver to override the sanctions. Bush signed the waiver in January 1990. The big issue, however, was the agricultural loan guarantees, which provide producers and lenders with assurances that loans will be repaid. The guarantees helped Iraq obtain financing to buy U.S. farm products. By 1989, Iraq had been receiving about $1 billion a year in guarantees. The Agriculture Department proposed reducing that to $400 million for 1990, with the possibility of more money later. Officials were concerned about Iraq's creditworthiness, about corruption in the Iraq loan program and about a brewing scandal involving unauthorized loans to Iraq by the Atlanta branch of Italy's Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. Angered by the cut, Iraq said it would reject the guarantees. At an Oct. 6, 1989, meeting with Baker, Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz ``made it clear this was not a sign that the U.S. wanted improvement in relations,'' a State Department cable said then. If Iraq were cut off, some U.S. officials feared Saddam would default on the existing debt. Other officials, though, questioned expanding Iraq's already large foreign debt. Kelly and Abraham Sofaer, the State Department counsel, proposed a $1 billion program for Iraq, divided in two parts, with safeguards to prevent misuse. Sofaer recalled that the Stark settlement was an important consideration. ``It wasn't a quid pro quo, but it was a positive reaction to a positive development,'' he said in a recent interview. Baker supported the proposal and called Agriculture Secretary Yeutter, who agreed to back the plan. The $1 billion package was approved days later at an interagency meeting. Baker then wrote to Aziz, saying the guarantees reflected ``the importance we attach to our relationship with Iraq.'' Iraq received the first $500 million, but never the rest. Relations quickly deteriorated. By April 1990, the United States was angered by Saddam's threat to use chemical weapons against Israel, his criticism of the U.S. role in the Gulf and other issues. The multiagency group suspended the second part of the loan program in May 1990. Declassified documents do not cite the worsening relations, but rather allegations of abuses in the loan program. ^------ --__--__-- Message: 12 Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 18:01:49 +0000 (GMT) From: Daniel O'Huiginn <do227@DELETETHIShermes.cam.ac.uk> To: email@example.com Subject: In Mosul, everyone's talking about democracy In Mosul, everyone's talking about democracy Neela Banerjee/NYT Wednesday, January 14, 2004 http://www.iht.com/cgi-bin/generic.cgi?template=articleprint.tmplh&ArticleId=124871 Town hall meeting studies how it works MOSUL, Iraq If many Iraqis complain that the foreigners who run their country have given them little so far, they at least can now grab, shout out, dissect, swear by and see in action a word that had meant nothing before: demokratiya, or democracy It was knit into every passionate utterance on Monday as about 250 tribal sheiks, clerics, activists for women's rights, lawyers and Kurdish leaders picked by the foreigners to represent the elite of Mosul gathered to discuss the country that will emerge once the American-led civil administration leaves in July. The town hall meeting is one of hundreds that the occupation forces and Iraqi politicians will hold in the coming weeks, from the provincial to the neighborhood levels, to explain to Iraqis the nuts and bolts of the transition to self-rule and to hear their concerns about the process. Everyone who spoke at the Mosul Social Club agreed that Iraq should be a democracy. As in any democracy, people articulated differing ideas of their country. The Americans at the edges of the hall and outside guarding the building celebrated the variety of opinions they heard. But some Iraqis themselves seemed pained that they lacked a uniform vision as they move now to build a free and functioning state from scratch. "I know this is a very sensitive time in Iraq, so we must act like one hand, one heart," Ghanim al-Basso, the provincial governor, told the audience. "But democracy is a new word for us, and we have no experience with it." The occupation authorities have promised such a meeting in every one of Iraq's 18 provincial capitals. The first one was in Basra about two weeks ago. Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city and the biggest in the northern part of the country, was a stronghold of the old government. It was in Mosul, notably, that Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed in a firefight with American soldiers in July. But the American military seems to have won over some people here, in great part by spending lots of money on projects that create jobs. More recently, after the capture of Saddam, midlevel Baath Party loyalists have begun to turn over weapons "in truckloads," said a spokesman for the 101st Airborne, which oversees the region. At the two-hour session, the audience heard from a panel of five political representatives, including a member of the Iraqi Governing Council in Baghdad whose uncle leads one the biggest local tribes, the governor, who is a former high-ranking Baathist, and the deputy governor, who is an autonomy-minded Kurd. Recently, the top Kurdish parties have united to demand a large state in northern Iraq that would be bound to Baghdad under a federalist system. The Governing Council has said it wants a federalist system, too, but the two sides have yet to agree on what that would look like. The Kurds, who essentially lived independently after the Americans created a "no flight" zone over northern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf war, are not enthralled at the idea of giving up their autonomy. The prospect of an Iraq divided on ethnic lines - the Kurds account for about 20 percent of the population - alarmed many Arabs at the meeting. "Why do you want federalism based on nationality if we have a constitution and the same freedoms for all?" asked a man in the audience, Amir al-Rakan. Massacres of the Kurds by successive Iraqi governments were left unmentioned, but their memory charged the air in the hall. "We are one country, one future," the deputy governor, Khasro Goran, answered. "But the big brother must not beat up the little brother. We have to have the nationality question solved before anything." Sheik Ghazi Ajil al-Yawar, the Governing Council member, said: "Federalism is not independence for the Kurds. They will have limited authority but will answer to Baghdad." Part civics lesson, part group therapy session, the discussion left people craving more. Men prepared entire speeches that they read from the floor, often to be politely cut off by the moderator. One woman in the dress of a devout Muslim asked how to get women who lead exceedingly traditional lives at home involved in the political process. No one answered her. When the forum ended, a man at the floor microphone began shouting: "A hundred times I requested the chance to ask a question! But I think you don't want some of us to talk!" Sheiks of the Shemur tribe, from the town of Talafar, left angry. "We talk about democracy, we all understand democracy clearly," one said on the street outside. "But how can we talk about democracy when we have a tribe of 400,000 people and they aren't represented on the local council?" Right now, democracy for Iraqis seems to be working properly when it protects their particular vested interests. Amina Goyani, who works at a women's center in Mosul and is a City Council member, thinks that could change gradually if more such meetings were held. "People are afraid of change," Goyani said. "They never saw change. They didn't see anything for 35 years." The New York Times --__--__-- Message: 13 Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 20:37:23 +0000 (GMT Standard Time) From: "D. O'Huiginn" <do227@DELETETHIShermes.cam.ac.uk> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Quickly, lessons in democracy http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2004/01/14/quickly_lessons_in_democracy/ Boston Globe Quickly, lessons in democracy By Anne Barnard, Globe Staff, 1/14/2004 RUTBAH, Iraq -- This desert outpost is scheduled to choose a new city council in a caucus next week, a crucial first step in the process taking place in towns across Iraq to give residents a say in selecting an interim national government in June. Yet it wasn't until last week that Rutbah's townspeople -- novices at running democratic proceedings -- received their first visit from the people the United States hired to coach them through that process, a private company with a $167 million contract to foster representative local government in Iraq. After two hours, Iraqi and American advisers from Research Triangle Institute rolled away in the US Army convoy that brought them, leaving questions in their wake: Would the mayor invite a broadly representative group to the caucus, or just his friends? Did average citizens understand they could play a role? Was two weeks enough notice to attract widespread participation? "My concern is we're really rushing to failure here. We're time-driven, not event-driven," Lieutenant Colonel David Teeples, commander of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, told representatives of Research Triangle Institute and the Coalition Provisional Authority at a meeting before their Rutbah trip. He expressed concern that the process had not started earlier in the large area of western Iraq that his regiment controls. "If we don't get it right now, it won't get right in June," he said. The US plan to form a government acceptable to Iraqis sets a March 1 deadline for towns across the country to choose a pyramid of representatives topped by provincial councils, which will help elect a transitional assembly. Ahmed Hameed al Qubaisi, 47, an agricultural official in Rutbah, liked the concept: "The reservoir of power will flow up instead of down. It's better. But will it work in practice?" He shrugged. There is no more important task for US occupation authorities seeking to stabilize Iraq than convincing Iraqis that the government that takes charge in June is their legitimate representative, even though it will not be chosen through direct elections. The mission became more urgent over the weekend, as Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most respected leader among Iraq's majority Shi'ite Muslims, reiterated his demand for direct elections to the interim government. The bottom-up process that is supposed to get the caucuses to that point is farthest from completion in areas where antioccupation sentiment is strongest, said Peter Benedict, head of the Iraqi project for the Research Triangle Institute, a North Carolina nonprofit organization that provides training for social development. He said security constraints have slowed efforts to network with local communities. By March 1, Iraq's 18 provinces, called governorates, are due to set up provincial councils. Eleven of the 18 have finalized their councils and are moving ahead with numerous town meetings and events to get Iraqis talking about their role in the transition to sovereignty, Benedict said. But he said the remaining seven include three restive Sunni Triangle provinces where it is especially critical to get people to buy into the new government: Diyala, whose capital is Baqubah; Salahuddin, which includes Tikrit and Samarra; and Anbar, which includes Rutbah as well as Ramadi and Fallujah. He expects all provincial councils to be ready to start work by March, but worries that security may hamper efforts to "fuel a process of fair selection . . . involving people from all walks of life. If it's hard to get around and organize, it might not be as broad-based as we would like." The institute's original plan -- a long, gradual process of educating Iraqis about democracy, culminating in elections -- had to be revised after Nov. 15, when the coalition authority and the Iraqi Governing Council shortened the timetable for restoring Iraqi sovereignty, mandating that a transitional assembly be in place by June 30. With no voter rolls or census data, US officials say there is no fair way to hold direct elections by then. So they laid out a complex caucus system. Under the current plan, caucuses in each province will be organized by a committee of 15 people; five chosen by the provincial council, five by the US-appointed Governing Council, and five by councils from the province's largest towns. Those 15 people will choose a larger group that will elect the province's delegates to the national assembly. But before that, US officials want to give more Iraqis a stake in the councils. That means holding local caucuses to replace or expand the local councils that US military commanders appointed when they first arrived -- one of the tasks Research Triangle Institute representatives had in mind on their trip to Rutbah. Now, the coalition authority wants the councils to reflect a broader range of social groups, such as professionals and women, and not just tribal sheiks. Vassil Yanco, the institute's representative in Anbar, said he was only now making it to western towns like Rutbah to facilitate these caucuses because he spent the past two months working to set up councils in the province's largest cities, Fallujah and Ramadi. In addition, the institute has less staff in these areas because of security concerns. Yanco's trip to Rutbah and several other western towns last week illustrated the logistical and political difficulties of his task. To reach Rutbah, Yanco, an Iraqi-born American citizen, and two Iraqi colleagues drove to the US base at Asad. The next day, they flew 90 minutes in a Black Hawk helicopter to Forward Operating Base Byers. The team wanted Rutbah to hold a 100-member public caucus that would choose a new local council and two delegates to the provincial council. They knew little about local politics in the town of 7,000, known as a smugglers' hub. The US-appointed mayor, Ali Hussein al-Qubaisi, was reluctant to share power, soldiers said. If he organized the caucus, "the larger population as a whole probably wouldn't even know it happened," but would passively accept it, said one officer. Yanco's team traveled to Rutbah's youth center, nearly an hour's drive from the base, in a convoy of a dozen Humvees backed up by tanks. The last leg was a winding, off-road jaunt to avoid roadside bombs. About three dozen city administrators sat on worn sofas in the town's youth center. The three-member city council -- largely inactive since November, when a bomb went off at the mayor's office where they met -- sat in back and asked no questions. A young Iraqi working for the institute gave an impassioned speech on the workings of council subcommittees and public meetings. But afterwards, locals were unclear on their connection to the process. Jassem Mohammad Raja, head of the youth center, said he didn't think he had a right to participate, saying the mayor would pick the delegates. Because troops bundled Yanco back into the convoy after the meeting, he had little time to chat -- an essential ritual in a country where much is decided through conversation and personal relationships. The mayor agreed to hold the caucus when Yanco returned in a week or so, and said two days' notice would be enough time to organize it. A meeting in the town of Haditha, two days later, sparked more enthusiasm and debate. Mayor Hawash Khalaf Muteb and many council members endorsed the idea of "refreshing" local councils, launching into a lively debate. "The situation is too unstable," for new elections, said Sattar Yusef Ferghib, a member of the Barwana district council. But his colleague, Khazi Mutar al Dulaimi, disagreed. "The council should be chosen by the people," he said. 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