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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #13 - 14 msgs

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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 <>
Subject: UN making an initial move toward returning to Iraq

January 13, 2004
U.N. Making an Initial Move Toward Returning to Iraq

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

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

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

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" <>
To: "Casi News" <>
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
> Published: January 14, 2004
> New York Times
> WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 - Saddam Hussein warned his Iraqi supporters to be
> of joining forces with foreign Arab fighters entering Iraq to battle
> American troops, according to a document found with the former Iraqi
> 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
> jointly with Mr. Hussein.
> Officials said Mr. Hussein apparently believed that the foreign Arabs,
> for a holy war against the West, had a different agenda from the
> 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
> 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
> 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
> posted along the border to screen against such an influx have reported
> 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
> 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
> citizens, remain personnel from this country," General Kimmitt said then.
> But several officials said American forces were not certain of the
> of the American intelligence on the issue and acknowledge that there could
> be more foreigners inside the country than they currently think. "I've
> numbers from a couple hundred to a couple thousand," said one United
> military official.
> Another unresolved issue has been the level of coordination between
> 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,
> 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
> 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.
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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" <>
To: "Casi News" <>
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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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 =
> 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=
> 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
> 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...
> 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
> 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
> he added.
> Mr O'Neill, who was sacked in December 2002 as part of a shake-up of Mr
> 's economic team, has become the first major Bush administration insider
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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=
> 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
> 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=
> 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
> Mr Suskind told CBS that Mr Rumsfeld phoned Mr O'Neill and urged him not
> 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
> presidential candidates who have accused him of using faulty intelligence
> the extent of Iraq's weapons programme as a pretext for war.
> Meanwhile, the US Treasury yesterday requested a probe into how a possibl=
> secret document appeared in the televised interview with Mr O'Neill.
>  =A92004


Message: 4
From: "cafe-uni" <>
To: "Casi News" <>
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
> 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
> of collective punishment are false," said Colonel William Darley, a
> 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
> the families of anti-US guerrilla suspects.
> "Troops are entitled to suppress armed attacks, but they can only destroy
> civilian structure when it is being used in an attack," Kenneth Roth, the
> group's executive director, said in a prepared statement. "These
> did not meet the test of military necessity."
> The group also accused US military of kidnapping in two cases where
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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" <>
To: "Casi News" <>
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
> 2004-01-13 17:45:38
>     BAGHDAD, Jan. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Iraq has to wait for another three
> 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
> 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=
> daily gunfire that cuts wires is a constant issue.
>     US overseer in Iraq Paul Bremer had said that the electricity supply
> 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" <>
To: "Casi News" <>
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
> 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, =
> 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=
> 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
> 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=
> southern Iraqi cities with largely Shiite Muslim populations.
> The southern Shiites were systematically repressed during the dictatorshi=
> 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
> 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
> and laborers who have long been jobless. Their wrath was directed largely
> 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
> 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=
> 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=
> mosque for prayers.
> "We are with you, we are beside you, we will demand jobs for you, but
> don't use grenades and weapons. . . . You are frightening the women and
> children," Rubaie called over the din of agitated, argumentative voices.
> said he agreed with the crowd that some police were "corrupt Baathists,"
> he said others were "caught in the middle. They don't want to shoot our
> 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=
> or bystanders to hospitals, including a schoolgirl they said was shot in
> leg Tuesday.
> Many residents -- including doctors, school principals and police officer=
> 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
> promised jobs and services, but most blamed Iraqi officials, including
> former Baath Party members who managed to retain niches in the bureaucrac=
> and former exiles who were appointed to national and regional posts by
> 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
> 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=
> 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" <>
To: <>
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

Wednesday, January 14, 2004; Page A20

In hiding after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein penned a directiv=
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=
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=
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=
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

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=
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=
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=
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" <>
To: <>
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

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

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

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 <>
Subject: Young cleric from southern city showcases Shiite power in post-Saddam

Young cleric from southern city showcases Shiite power in post-Saddam Iraq
By Hamza Hendawi
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

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

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

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

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" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Rumsfeld Claims POW status no bar to Iraqi trial for Saddam
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 10:11:24 -0600

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" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Baker backed loan to Iraq
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 10:18:08 -0600

January 11, 2004
Baker Backed Loans That Added to Iraq Debt

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

``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

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

``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 <>
Subject: In Mosul, everyone's talking about democracy

In Mosul, everyone's talking about democracy
Neela Banerjee/NYT
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
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

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" <>
Subject: 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

"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

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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