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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #26 - 3 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Mercenaries in Iraq _ Whose Paying Them? (farbuthnot)
   2. Iraqis stranded by passport freeze (Mark Parkinson)
   3. The terrible human cost of Bush and Blair's military adventure: 10,000 civilian deaths (Mark 


Message: 1
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 12:51:18 +0000
Subject: Mercenaries in Iraq _ Whose Paying Them?
From: "farbuthnot" <>

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

=A0Date: =A0Monday,=A0February=A009,=A02004=A008:07=A0am
=A0Subject: =A0[iraq-tribunal] Mercenaries in Iraq - Who's paying?Star FRON=
PAGE Sunday February 8, 2004=A0South African hired guns flock to IraqFebrua=
4, 2004=A0By Beauregard Tromp=A0More than 1 500 South Africans are believed=
be in Iraq under contract to various private military companies.=A0And the
number will grow as the hired guns increasingly fill the void left by
departing American and British forces.=A0According to a United Nations repo=
South Africa is already among the top three suppliers of personnel for
private military companies, along with the UK and the US.=A0"There are
definitely more than 1 500 South Africans doing duty there (Iraq). More of
them will be killed, because as the Americans are pulling out, South
Africans are filling the void," said a respected security analyst.=A0Last
week, former Koevoet member Francois Strydom died when a van laden with
explosives blew up at the hotel in which he and other South Africans were
staying.=A0Former Vlakplaas policeman Deon Gouws was injured in the blast a=
is reportedly in a serious but stable condition.=A0The two were contracted =
Erinys International, a subcontractor of SAS International. Local subsidiar=
Erinys Africa has distanced itself from the work in Iraq.=A0The Regulation =
Foreign Military Assistance Act, passed in July 1998, prohibits South
African citizens from direct participation as a combatant in armed conflict
for private gain. Such engagement includes recruitment, training, or
financing and applies to South Africans acting outside the country as
well.=A0All security companies working outside the country are required by =
to register with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC),
headed by Minister of Education Kader Asmal.=A0So far two companies, Meteor=
Tactical Solutions and Grand Lake Trading 46 (Pty) Ltd, have submitted
applications to operate in Iraq.=A0=A0Meteoric Tactical Solutions is provid=
protection and is also training new Iraqi police and security units. Erinys=
a joint South African-British company, has received a multimillion-dollar
contract to protect Iraq's oil industry.=A0Neither company has yet received
formal approval from the NCACC, while Erinys failed to apply at all.=A0"It
seems as though foreign companies are using South Africans. If this is a
loophole, we need to try to close it," said Democratic Alliance MP Raenette
Taljaard.=A0The security source says most companies were acting in breach o=
the act. He added that some companies were involved in commercial security
work only, such as protecting buildings and private individuals.=A0A popula=
loophole is for companies to register as landmine removers - which exempts
many from the law as their efforts are seen as humanitarian. "They go in
under the auspices of removing mines, but do everything but," the source
said.=A0South African mercenary Richard Rouget is also reportedly in Iraq,
although his activities there are unclear.=A0Rouget was recently sentenced =
five years in jail or R100 000 for recruiting pilots and infantry for the
civil war in Ivory Coast. The South Africans trained government soldiers an=
participated in the fighting themselves. Each was paid about 6 000 euros
(about R52 500).=A0"You can get well-trained, disciplined South Africans fo=
less than R35 000 (a month) whereas British and Americans won't work for
less than R70 000," said our source.=A0=A0=A0?2004 The Star. All rights res=


Message: 2
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 21:45:59 -0000
Subject: Iraqis stranded by passport freeze

By Ahmed Janabi

Sunday 08 February 2004, 15:52 Makka Time, 12:52 GMT

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been trapped inside their own
country since the occupation of Iraq last year because of an
inoperative immigration department.

"We are living in a big cage," said Azhar Husayn, an Iraqi accountant
who wants to travel abroad to look for work.

 "That's how I felt when I went to the immigration department in
Baghdad. They told me that no passports were available and I'd have
to wait until further notice," she said.

During Saddam Hussein's rule certain groups of Iraqis, such as army
personnel and post-graduate degree holders, were banned from
travelling abroad for security reasons and to prevent a brain drain.

Immigration departments across Iraq were extremely attractive to
looters after Baghdad fell on 9 April 2003. Thousands of passport
books and stamps were stolen and remain missing.

The Iraqi authorities have been unable to issue new passports or use
the passport books that survived the looting. Only those holding
valid passports issued before the invasion are able to travel.

Hasanayn Hadi Fadhil, the third secretary of the Iraqi Embassy in
Doha, told they were not currently issuing new

"We are only extending Iraqi passports for two or four years. As for
new passports, they are not available at present," he said.

"We do not know when we shall receive new passport books. A passport
is a sign of sovereignty; issuing new passports will be sorted out
when an Iraqi government takes office," he said.

The occupation authorities have started to issue interim travel
documents for Iraqis who want to travel abroad. The document is valid
for one trip and is accepted only in Syria and Jordan.

"In the past we had to pay $200 to get a passport," says Abd al-Majid
Abd al-Rahman, an engineer who wants to work in Dubai in the United
Arab Emirates.

"It was a relatively high fee, but at least we could have passports
whenever we wanted," he said.

He travelled to Jordan with the document issued by the Coalition
Provisional Authority (CPA) to find himself stuck.

"I want to go to Dubai. There are no jobs in Iraq. But I can't
because I don't have a passport. We don't even know when we shall be
able to get passports," he said.

Fadhil confirmed that Qatar, like the UAE, does not accept the
interim travel document issued by the CPA. "We contacted the
immigration department in Doha and they do not accept the interim
travel document", he said.

One Aljazeera reporter in Baghdad, Abd al-Adhim Muhammad, said the
lack of passports was the main contributing factor to increasing
unemployment in Iraq. "A lot of professional Iraqis are willing to
travel abroad to look for job opportunities, but they are trapped
because they cannot get passports." spoke to Ayad al-Wattar, a retired army officer living
in Baghdad who said he now wanted to travel abroad to get medical
care for his wife.

"My wife is ill and needs special treatment. We want to go to the US
where she has a brother, but we are unable to because we do not have
passports," he said. "We were hoping for a better life, now we are
very disappointed."

Al-Wattar added: "They promised us that the new passports would be
ready with the release of the new Iraqi banknotes, but that simply
did not happen."

The authorities in Iraq have linked the resumption of passport
issuing to the installation of a new Iraqi government, but the
question remains whether or not Iraqis will be willing - and able -
to wait that long to get their basic rights.

Mark Parkinson


Message: 3
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 22:33:21 -0000
Subject: The terrible human cost of Bush and Blair's military adventure: 10,000 civilian deaths

Will the BBC report this?

The terrible human cost of Bush and Blair's military adventure:
10,000 civilian deaths
09.02.2004 [07:10]

UK and US authorities discourage counting of deaths as a result of
the conflict. But academics are monitoring the toll and have
identified a grim new milestone

More than 10,000 civilians, many of them women and children, have
been killed so far in the Iraqi conflict, The Independent on Sunday
has learnt, making the continuing conflict the most deadly war for
non-combatants waged by the West since the Vietnam war more than 30
years ago.

The passing of this startling milestone will be recorded today by
Iraq Body Count, the most authoritative organisation monitoring the
human cost of the war. Since the invasion began in March, this group
of leading academics and campaigners has registered all civilian
deaths in Iraq attributable to the conflict. They do this in the
absence of any counts by US, British, or Baghdad authorities.

Iraq Body Count's co-founder, John Sloboda, said: "This official
disinterest must end. We are now calling for an independent
international tribunal to be set up to establish the numbers of dead,
the circumstances in which they were killed and an appropriate and
just level of compensation for the victims' families."

His call was backed by Bob Marshall Andrews, Labour MP for Medway. He
said: "These are figures which are airbrushed out of the political
equation and yet are central to whether it is possible to create a
stable and democratic Iraq."

Iraq Body Count said last night that deaths are only recorded by them
when reported by at least two media outlets. Its leading researcher
Hamit Dardagan said that its careful, but necessarily incomplete,
records are in contrast to "the official indifference" to counting
either the Iraqi lives lost or those blighted by injuries.

Neither the US or British military, nor the Coalition Provisional
Authority have kept a record of Iraq civilian or military casualties,
and Washington and London have both rejected calls for them to
compile such totals.

This attitude extends also to the provisional Iraqi government. Until
late last year, an official at the Iraqi Health Ministry, a Dr Nagham
Mohsen, was compiling casualty figures from hospital records. But,
according to a barely noticed Associated Press report, she was, in
December, ordered by her immediate superior, director of planning Dr
Nazar Shabandar, to stop collating this data. The health minister Dr
Khodeir Abbas denied that this order was inspired or encouraged by
the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority.

Several other groups have attempted to make educated guesses of the
war's true total of dead and injured. Among them is Medact, a
organisation of British health professionals, most of whom are
doctors. In November it published a report on the war's casualties
and health problems in post-conflict Iraq. Omitted from this report
was a suggestion that the total dead and wounded on both sides could
be as high as 150,000-200,000. But in the end it was felt that the
lack of scientific basis for this figure would undermine a carefully
worded report.

One of the issues confusing any attempt to arrive at an accurate
figure for the war's toll is the unknown number of Iraqi military who
died. This is in marked contrast to the precise records of coalition
service fatalities and injuries, which are kept by service arm, age,
circumstance, and, in the case of wounded, by severity. Meanwhile, no
one knows Iraqi military deaths to the nearest 20,000. Iraq Body
Count concentrates on quantifiable civilian deaths.

On its website, the organisation says: "So far, in the 'war on
terror' initiated since 9/11, the USA and its allies have been
responsible for over 13,000 civilian deaths, not only the 10,000 in
Iraq, but also 3,000-plus civilian deaths in Afghanistan, another
death toll that continues to rise long after the world's attention
has moved on.

"Elsewhere in the world over the same period, paramilitary forces
hostile to the USA have killed 408 civilians in 18 attacks worldwide.
Adding the official 9/11 death toll (2,976 on 29 October 2003) brings
the total to just under 3,500."

Munitions that ended up in the hands of children

Ali Abdul-Amir was one of many Iraqi civilians injured or killed by
munitions left behind or not cleared by both sides in the conflict.
At 2pm on 3 May the eight-year-old put a match to a piece of
explosive ordnance outside a school in al-Hay al-Askari, a
neighbourhood of Nasiriyah. The explosion left him with severe burns
and shrapnel injuries (pictured left). Six days later in Baghdad,
Muhammad Keun Jiheli, 16, brought a piece of ordnance home to use for
cooking fuel. An explosion killed four members of his family.
Muhammad suffered burns over 72 per cent of his body, and Jamil Salem
Hamid, also 16, received burns over 54 per cent of his body.

Iraqi forces left behind more than 600,000 tons of munitions. Many
had been stored in civilian areas, and were not secured or cleared by
coalition forces quickly enough to prevent casualties. The town of al-
Hilla was the worst affected by cluster submunitions used in battle
that failed to explode on impact as intended. Easily discovered and
picked up by children, they were still causing death or injury months
after the conflict ended.

Research by Bonnie Docherty, Human Rights Watch

US air raid on Saddam's half-brother kills civilians

Four-month-old Dina Jabir was the only survivor when American bombs
fell on the family home. Her father Zaid Ratha Jabir, 36, an
engineer, and his family returned to their home in al-Karrada,
Baghdad, on the night of 7 April to gather some belongings. They had
been staying a mile away with Dina's great-uncle, Sa'dun Hassan
Salih, shown here holding the baby. A strike levelled the Jabir home
just after 9pm, killing six people. Dina was found the next day in a
neighbour's yard. She had broken arms and legs, shrapnel in her skull
and internal injuries, but was alive and would recover. The intended
target, Saddam's half-brother Watban Ibrahim Hasan, was captured
alive a week later.

Family wiped out by British cluster bombs in Basra

British forces caused dozens of civilian casualties when they used
ground-launched cluster munitions in and around Basra, including a
strike in the neighbourhood of Hay al-Zaitun on 25 March. Jamal Kamil
Sabir, 25, lost his right leg to a blast while crossing a bridge with
his family. His nephew took shrapnel in his knee and his wife still
had shrapnel in her left leg two months later because doctors were
afraid to remove it while she was pregnant. Submunitions had also
fallen on al-Mishraq al-Jadid on 23 March, killing Iyad Jassim
Ibrahim, 26, sleeping in the front room of his home, and 10 relatives
with him.

  ????????: David Randall, The Independent, Feb 8

Mark Parkinson

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