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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #37 - 3 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. The CIA's "Brightest Prospect" is MIA (Marc Azar)
   2. High infant mortality rate a symptom of ills of Iraqi health system (Mark Parkinson)
   3. All this talk of civil war, and now this carnage. Coincidence? (Hassan)


Message: 1
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2004 20:33:25 -0500
From: Marc Azar <>
To: CASI- Analysis <>
Subject: The CIA's "Brightest Prospect" is MIA

[ Converted text/html to text/plain ][1]

February 17, 2004

The CIA's "Brightest Prospect" is MIA

Whatever Happened to General Khazraji?


In December 2002 I wrote a piece for CounterPunch[2] about General Nizar
al-Khazraji, the Iraqi officer who had fled Iraq in 1999, and gone into
Spanish, then Danish, exile. A top officer under Saddam Hussein, he is wide=
accused of responsibility for the use of nerve and mustard gas against Kurd=
civilians in Iraq, as well as Iranian soldiers, and the death of some 5,000
gassed Kurds in the town of Halabja in March 1988.

I am aware that the Halabja incident has been blamed by some on Iran, and a=
taking no position on the question, but am merely noting that Khazraji has
been seen as a prime suspect in Iran-Iraq War crimes. Pursued by Birgitte
Vestberg , a public prosecutor of such crimes, he was indicted and placed
under house arrest in his apartment in Sor=F8, a suburb of Copenhagen, in
November 2002. This was widely seen as an embarrassment for the U.S. State
Department and CIA, which had favored him as leader of post-Saddam Iraq.

The Khazraji story was well covered in the mainstream press, and widely
discussed within the bourgeoning antiwar movement, which noted the hypocris=
of selecting the general to lead a "liberated" Iraq. The gist of my story w=
that his arrest in Denmark was a setback for the Powell camp within the Bus=
administration, and a plus for the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz cabal that favored
convicted swindler and long-time Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi as postwar satra=
in Iraq. (Chalabi, of course, is despised by the State Department and CIA.)=
any case, Khazraji did not face Danish justice, but while taking a walk and=
smoke March 15, 2003, five days before the U.S. assault on his country,
disappeared. His son Ahmad al-Khazraji reported him missing on March 17.

Family members expressed concern that Iraqi agents had abducted him, a
singularly unlikely scenario. The Danish press more plausibly alleged that =
agents had busted him out; the newspaper BT reported that he had been spiri=
to Saudi Arabia from whence he could help plan U.S. and British attacks on
Kirkuk. The Telegraph reported March 23 that, "According to Iraqi exiles in
Jordan, the US is using Nazar Khazraji, a former Iraqi army chief of staff =
defected in 1996, to help secure the defection of senior army officers. Gen
Khazraji is said to be playing a key role in contacting officers and
persuading them to turn against Saddam."

The Danish government issued an order for Khazraji's arrest and all-points
bulletin on Khazraji via Interpol. It said it would demand his extradition
from any country where he might be located. Danish Justice Minister Lene
Espersen felt obliged to officially request of U.S. Ambassador Stuart A.
Bernstein an investigation into possible prior American knowledge of
Khazraji's disappearance. The embassy denied any such knowledge. But where =
Khazraji, in the weeks following his departure? His son in Denmark suggeste=
that he might have gone to Hungary to work with exiled Iraqi soldiers
assembled there by the U.S. A Kurdish news website [3]reported on April 11
that he was in the Kurdish city of Suleimaniyya, but other reports placed h=
in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The Danish press reported he was in the Union o=
Arab Emirates or Kuwait. The London-based Saudi newspaper Al-Shaq al-Awsat
suggested Kurdistan, the Iranian news bureau IRNA, Qatar.
reported that the CIA had taken Khazraji to Kuwait. Julie Flint, of the
Institute for War and Peace Reporting, reported that Khazraji was sighted "=
Turkey, northern Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia" in March and April.

Complicating matters, Arab News and al-Jazeera reported that Khazraji had b=
assassinated on April 10, in the holy city of Najaf, outside the Ali Mosque=
his body hacked to death to angry Shiites along with that of Islamic schola=
Abdul Majid Al-Khoei, in an incident that also claimed the lives of a U.S.
Special Forces bodyguard and three others. Khazraji and Khoei were supposed=
have been en route to a U.S.-sponsored meeting with opposition leaders in
Nassiriya. But while the report of Al-Khoei's death was confirmed, that of
Khazraji was not. Later Arab press accounts[4] stated he had been killed, b=
not in the Najaf incident

Meanwhile, on April 11, Danish police tapped a telephone call from Khazraji=
the mobile phone of his son, in the Sor=F8 apartment, perhaps from Mosul; t=
evidence was presented to the Sor=F8 Municipal Court.

On April 16 Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that the family had left the Copenha=
suburb; they have relocated to Norway. On April 23 the Copenhagen Post
indicated that Khazraji was presumably alive, in northern Iraq. On May 21, =
Danish newspaper Politics quoted his son as stating that, while he was not
personally in touch with his father, "we have learnt" from "trustworthy
persons" that "he is in Iraq and he is in a good health condition and he is
involved in politics."

Web-surfing suggests there has been very little reportage on the Khazraji
story in the last eight months. It seems likely to me that the 65 year old
general is alive and working with U.S. forces, although he is not the neoco=
favorite and, given his international outlaw status, may be kept under wrap=
for the time being, even though he enjoys some support among members of the
puppet Iraq Governing Council. (Last April Adnan Pachachi, asked by the
Dubai-based Gulf News if a high-ranking appointment might go to the general=
replied, "Why not?") Some have suggested that Khazraji facilitated the quic=
collapse of the Iraqi military during "Operation Iraqi Freedom," and that h=
retains important connections among the disbanded Iraqi officer corps. Just
thinking aloud here, but I wonder: should the Bushites' plans for a
"restoration of sovereignty" to Iraq by June (or whenever) go sour (as seem=
likely), and civil war ensue, Khazraji might be the man to straighten out t=
mess the State Department attributes to Defense Department blundering.

But why am I writing about this now, since there's been no recent news abou=
Khazraji? Because I read an interesting article in the Independent[5]
(February 8) by Raymond Whitaker and Kim Sengupta about the collapse of Ton=
Blair's "45 minute case." It attributes the allegation that Saddam was 45
minutes away from launching a chemical or biological attack on western
interests (actually it now seems the allegation pertained only to battlefie=
mortar shells or small caliber weaponry) to "an Iraqi exile who had left th=
country several years previously," "a serving officer in the Iraqi army, wi=
the rank either of full colonel or brigadier," who was in Iraq during the 1=
war but then "fled, possibly to Scandinavia." Jack Straw told Parliament th=
man was not a defector but "an established and reliable source" who had bee=
"reporting to us secretly for some years." He had "military knowledge," and
maintained contacts with serving officers in Saddam Hussein's armed forces.
"The fate of the officer who provided the information," according to the
Independent, "remains a mystery. There are rumours that he is dead or

Now, this description doesn't fit Khazraji to a T, since he is commonly
described as a defector. But he has been a maverick, declining to participa=
in Iraqi exile leaders' meetings, and anyway, isn't an Iraqi officer who
"fled" and subsequently provided intelligence information to western
governments a defector by definition? "Brigadier" in British usage could re=
to a lieutenant general, and the other details also pan out. So I wondered =
maybe Khazraji might be the mystery man, and if so, having served the cause=
bringing Britain into a war which might yet propel him into power, might ye=
serve the Anglo-American occupation by employing his connections in the
humiliatingly demobilized Iraqi Army, and applying his sternly methodical
violence to bring order to the chaos invasion has unleashed in his country.

It is highly odd that the man whom Bush administration officials told Seymo=
Hersh in March 2002 was the "CIA's brightest prospect" for Iraq, who
reportedly was serviceable to the invaders last spring, and who is probably
still alive (despite interesting reports of his demise) is not the subject =
discussion. Thus this submitted, merely to encourage such discussion and

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Profess=
of Comparative Religion. He is the author of Male Colors: The Construction =
Homosexuality in Tokugawa, Japan[6], Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western
Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900[7] and Servants, Shophands and Laborers i=
in the Cities of Tokugawa, Japan[8]

He can be reached at:[9]



Message: 2
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Tue, 02 Mar 2004 23:22:24 -0000
Subject: High infant mortality rate a symptom of ills of Iraqi health system

[ Converted text/html to text/plain ]

'Neglect' is used again but later there is a reference to the sanctions.
Infant mortality is a good indicator of basic health care. Iraq is amongst the
worst third world countries for this. It is worrying that the data is not
being collected or made available.
> <div>
02.03.2004 [23:02]

> <div>
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - An Iraqi woman gave birth to a boy at the Elwiyah
Maternity Teaching Hospital the other day in a complicated Caesarean delivery
that left the baby with a good chance of infection. Yet doctors did not
prescribe available antibiotics, standard practice in the United States.
> <div>
"So they'll wait until the baby crashes," said Dr. Craig Vanderwagen, an
Indian public health official who has been advising the provisional Iraqi
health ministry.
> <div>
One in 10 children dies before turning a year old in an Iraqi health care
system in disarray after years of neglect, last year's war and the looting
that followed it. The infant mortality rate is comparable to those of the
poorest countries in Africa.
> <div>
U.S. and Iraqi health officials who toured children's health facilities in
recent days say simple measures, including basic hygiene, can help cut that
rate in half within two years. At the end of the visit, Health and Human
Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said conditions would improve "if they just
washed their hands and cleaned the crap off the walls."
> <div>
No one bothered to mop up a puddle near one girl's bed when Thompson walked
through the cancer ward Sunday.
> <div>
Two decades of war and international sanctions have rendered Iraqi hospitals
decrepit and doctors woefully behind the times in terms of training. Looting
after the U.S.-led invasion stripped many hospitals and clinics bare.
> <div>
Iraqi doctors say it is sometimes hard to know where to begin. Until recently,
the main children's teaching hospital in Baghdad was mostly dark at night
because it lacked light bulbs. For every doctor at the hospital, there is
roughly one nurse - well below U.S. ratios - and only about 600 properly
trained nurses in the entire country, officials said.
> <div>
Basic medicines are often in short supply. "Isolation and infection control is
very hard," said Dr. Salma Haddad, a children's cancer specialist who has
worked at the al- Mansour children's hospital since 1989.
> <div>
To reduce deaths among children, the occupation authorities and Iraqi health
officials are focusing on rebuilding children's and maternity hospitals, plus
hundreds of community medical clinics.
> <div>
They also are launching education campaigns, hoping more women will turn to
breast- feeding instead of using formula mixed with water that may be unsafe
to drink.
> <div>
Drinking impure water causes diarrhea among infants, "a top killing factor
among children," said Dr. Khudair Abbas, the Health Minister.
> <div>
Some Iraqi doctors have told American physicians that they believe infant
mortality actually has increased since the war, but U.S. and Iraqi health
ministry officials stress that there is no data to support that contention.
> <div>
While no doctor or official interviewed over three days spoke of the need for
new facilities, Laura Bush on Monday used a White House luncheon to press for
support for a $100 million children's medical center she hopes will be built
in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
> <div>
Congress approved $50 million for the project in November. Sen. Patrick Leahy
of Vermont, the senior Democrat on the Senate subcommittee that controls
foreign aid spending, questioned whether the money might be better spent on
basic public health measures.
> <div>
The U.S.-led occupation force has informed Congress it is ready to start the
project but is waiting for the lawmakers to first respond with guidelines on
how the money could be spent.
> <div>
As part of an $87 billion spending package for Iraq and Afghanistan, Congress
included $493 million for improving hospitals and clinics across Iraq,
including $50 million for the pediatric facility in Basra.
> <div>
The total Iraqi health budget this year is $1.7 billion, including local and
foreign sources, triple last year's spending and far more than the $16 million
that U.S. and Iraqi officials say Saddam Hussein spent on health care in 2002.
> <div>
Dr. Ali Khamas, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the maternity hospital, said
he has no doubt that conditions have improved since the war. Just across the
hall from his ward, workers are building a new labor and delivery suite.
> <div>
Doctors deliver 35 babies a day on average, sending most of them home with
their mothers the same day.
> <div>
There are other small signs of progress. About 20 children with cancer have
been transferred to the King Hussein Cancer Center in Amman, Jordan, for
> <div>
But most sick Iraqi children end up in al-Mansour children's hospital in
central Baghdad and other facilities around the country.
> <div>
As Thompson toured al-Mansour, he remarked on how dirty it seemed.
> <div>
James Haveman, another American who has been working with the Iraqis, told him
how much remains to be done. "It's going to take more than a washcloth,"
Haveman said. "It's going to need a total rehab."
MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press
> <div>
Mark Parkinson
> <div>


Message: 3
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2004 23:39:24 -0800 (PST)
From: Hassan <>
Subject: All this talk of civil war, and now this carnage. Coincidence?
To: CASI analysis <>

All this talk of civil war, and now this carnage.
Robert Fisk - 03 March 2004

Odd, isn't it? There never has been a civil war in
Iraq. I have never heard a single word of animosity
between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq.

Al-Qa'ida has never uttered a threat against Shias -
even though al-Qa'ida is a Sunni-only organisation.
Yet for weeks, the American occupation authorities
have been warning us about civil war, have even
produced a letter said to have been written by an
al-Qa'ida operative, advocating a Sunni-Shia conflict.
Normally sane journalists have enthusiastically taken
up this theme. Civil war.

Somehow I don't believe it. No, I don't believe the
Americans were behind yesterday's carnage despite the
screams of accusation by the Iraqi survivors
yesterday. But I do worry about the Iraqi exile groups
who think that their own actions might produce what
the Americans want: a fear of civil war so intense
that Iraqis will go along with any plan the United
States produces for Mesopotamia.

I think of the French OAS in Algeria in 1962, setting
off bombs among France's Muslim Algerian community. I
recall the desperate efforts of the French authorities
to set Algerian Muslim against Algerian Muslim which
led to half a million dead souls.

And I'm afraid I also think of Ireland and the
bombings in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974, which, as the
years go by, appear to have an ever closer link, via
Protestant "loyalist" paramilitaries, to elements of
British military security.

But the bombs in Karbala and Baghdad were clearly
co-ordinated. The same brain worked behind them. Was
it a Sunni brain? When the occupation authorities'
spokesman suggested yesterday that it was the work of
al-Qa'ida, he must have known what he was saying: that
al-Qa'ida is a Sunni movement, that the victims were

It's not that I believe al-Qa'ida incapable of such a
bloodbath. But I ask myself why the Americans are
rubbing this Sunni-Shia thing so hard. Let's turn the
glass round the other way. If a violent Sunni movement
wished to evict the Americans from Iraq - and there is
indeed a resistance movement fighting very cruelly to
do just that - why would it want to turn the Shia
population of Iraq, 60 per cent of Iraqis, against
them? The last thing such a resistance would want is
to have the majority of Iraqis against it.

So what about al-Qa'ida? Repeatedly, the Americans
have told us that the suicide bombers were
"foreigners". And so they may be. But can we have some
identities, nationalities? The US Defence Secretary,
Donald Rumsfeld, has talked of the hundreds of
"foreign" fighters crossing Saudi Arabia's "porous"

The US press have dutifully repeated this. The Iraqi
police keep announcing that they have found the
bombers' passports, so can we have the numbers?

We are entering a dark and sinister period of Iraqi
history. But an occupation authority which should
regard civil war as the last prospect it ever wants to
contemplate, keeps shouting "civil war" in our ears
and I worry about that. Especially when the bombs make
it real.

Copyright: The Independent

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