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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to email@example.com. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. 3 years to bring Iraq back to 1991 export levels (ppg) 2. The Iraq we don't hear about (Muhamed Ali) 3. Iraqi instability threatens education system (Mark Parkinson) 4. Iraqi Plastic Art Documents Abu Ghraib Abuse (Mark Parkinson) 5. Our Place in the World: Peaceful Iraq village torn apart by raid (Mark Parkinson) 6. June 6 KURDISH LEADERS' LETTER TO GEORGE BUSH (ppg) --__--__-- Message: 1 From: "ppg" <ppg@DELETETHISnyc.rr.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: 3 years to bring Iraq back to 1991 export levels Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2004 12:02:10 -0400 http://tinyurl.com/yv9s6 Iraqis Paying 5 Cents a Gallon for Gas Sat Jun 5,10:46 PM ET By JIM KRANE, Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq - While Americans are shelling out record prices for fuel, Iraqis pay only about 5 cents a gallon for gasoline =97 a benefit of hundre= ds of millions of dollars subsidies bankrolled by American taxpayers. Before the war, forecasters predicted that by invading Iraq and ousting Saddam Hussein, America would benefit from increased exports of oil from Iraq, which has the world's second largest petroleum reserves. That would mean cheap gas for American motorists and a boost for the oil-dependent American economy. More than a year after the invasion, that logic has been flipped on its head. Now the average price for gasoline in the United States is running $2.05 a gallon =97 50 cents more than the pre-invasion price. Instead, the only people getting cheap gas as a result of the invasion are the Iraqis. Filling a 22-gallon tank in Baghdad with low-grade fuel costs just $1.10, plus a 50-cent tip for the attendant. A tankful of high-test costs $2.75. In Britain, by contrast, gasoline prices hit $5.79 per gallon last week =97 $127 for a tankful. Although Iraq is a major petroleum producer, the country has little capacit= y to refine its own gasoline. So the U.S. government pays about $1.50 a gallo= n to buy fuel in neighboring countries and deliver it to Iraqi stations. A three-month supply costs American taxpayers more than $500 million, not including the cost of military escorts to fend off attacks by Iraqi insurgents. The arrangement keeps a fleet of 4,200 tank trucks constantly on the move, ferrying fuel to Iraq. "We thank the Americans," Baghdad taxi driver Osama Hashim said. "They risked their lives to liberate us and now they are improving our lives," said Hashim, 26, topping up the tank on his beat-up 1983 Volkswagen. Iraq's fuel subsidies, which are intended to mollify drivers used to low-priced fuel under Saddam, have coupled with the opening of the borders to create an anarchic car culture in Baghdad. Cheap used cars shipped from Europe and Asia are flooding into Iraq. A 10-year-old BMW in good condition costs just $5,000. Since gas is so cheap, anyone with a car can become a taxi driver. Drivers jam the streets, offering rides for as little as 250 dinars =97 about 17 cents. Iraq has no sales tax, no registration, no license plates and no auto insurance. Some would argue there are no rules of the road. Cars barrel the wrong way on the highway. They swoop into surprise U-turns. They ignore traffic signals. Analysts say the U.S. gas subsidies can't last forever =97 and Iraqis may b= e in for an unpleasant shock when they end. In the meantime, however, the American taxpayer continues to foot a huge bill. "The U.S. taxpayer has a right to be indignant, and Iraqis have to be warne= d about the long-run damages of this," said Anthony Cordesman, an Iraq analys= t with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. "The minute the aid goes out, the party is over. And there's going to be a hell of a hangover." The U.S. government paid even more last year for Iraqis' gasoline =97 betwe= en $1.59 and $1.70 per gallon =97 when the imports were contracted to Halliburton, the Texas oil services giant formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. The cheap fuel is spurring unsustainable demand, promoting wasteful use of energy and transportation, and squandering Iraq's oil output that might otherwise be exported, Cordesman said. "You're leading people to buy cars that aren't affordable at normal costs," he said. "You need to move toward real market prices as quickly as you can without causing instability." Iraqi drivers protest that the price difference between a gallon of gas in the United States and Iraq is fair, because the average Iraqi earns around $1,000 per year, a thirtieth of the average U.S. wage. "If the price of gas goes up, we'll see lots of anger in the street," said cab driver Hashim, at a grimy filling station on Saadoun Street in central Baghdad. Cheap gasoline is also needed to fuel the ubiquitous portable electric generators in Iraq, which power air conditioners during long daily electricity blackouts. Hashim and another driver, convinced, like many Iraqis, that the United States reaps huge amounts of cheap Iraqi oil, said subsidized gasoline was the least Americans could provide in return. "The United States controls all Iraqi resources now," said Jenan Jabro, 50, tanking up his black Opel. "So what if they have to pay a little bit for gasoline? That's nothing compared to what they get in return." ******Analysts say there never was a good case =97 either before the war or afterward =97 that a U.S. invasion would pay dividends in cheap oil. "Some of the neo-conservatives might've been saying that, but no energy analysts were walking around saying that," Cordesman said. Iraq's current exports of just under 2 million barrels of oil a day aren't enough to dent the world market price. It will take up to three years to bring Iraq back just to 1991 export levels, said Rachel Bronson of the Council on Foreign Relations. The country is still too unstable for most oi= l companies, she said. --__--__-- Message: 2 Subject: The Iraq we don't hear about Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2004 15:55:35 +0100 From: "Muhamed Ali" <Muhamed.Ali@DELETETHISHackney.gov.uk> To: <email@example.com> [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Dear colleagues, Below is indeed an example of "The Iraq we don't hear about". It should make a good change from the doom and gloom of some others. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/o,,1-525-1135081,00.html Happy reading about the Iraqi people. Regards, Muhamad London Borough of Hackney may exercise its right to intercept any communication on its networks - for more information see http://www.hackney.gov.uk/email_disclaimer.html --__--__-- Message: 3 From: "Mark Parkinson" <mark44@DELETETHISmyrealbox.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Mon, 07 Jun 2004 19:16:54 +0100 Subject: Iraqi instability threatens education system Unlike most reports in the Western media, proper reference is made to the effects of the sanctions in this article. http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/F67856D7-D19D-47F2-A92A- 61F67BD9B949.htm By Roshan Muhammed Salih Sunday 06 June 2004 Many Iraqi schools are in a dilapidated state Every day an elderly woman swaps her mop for an AK-47 rifle and stands guard outside a primary school in central Baghdad. School caretaker Um Muhammad has been forced to take radical measures as Iraq's lawlessness continues and her school is in danger of looting and vandalism. Spates of robberies and break-ins have left teachers in fear of their lives and many parents fearing their children will be kidnapped. The choice is stark - remove children from school or leave them at the mercy of thieves and kidnappers. But the situation for those children who do regularly attend school is far from ideal. After years of war, US-supported UN sanctions and neglect, Iraq's educational standards leave a lot to be desired. In reconstruction talks held last year, the World Bank agreed to provide $100 million to help ensure Iraqi children get a good education. But experts say the international and US funding that is being injected into the education system is only the tip of the iceberg of what Iraq's ailing school infrastructure actually requires. Disillusionment Many Iraqi parents feel there is no hope for their children in occupied, post-Saddam Iraq. "The situation was terrible under Saddam because of war and sanctions but now the occupation has produced nothing but uncertainty and chaos so there is almost no hope" Karim Latif, an unemployed father of three from Baghdad, is so desperate that he has considered sending his children to be schooled abroad. "I think Iraqi teachers are very dedicated but they lack the training and the facilities to do their jobs properly," he told Aljazeera.net. "The situation was terrible under Saddam because of war and sanctions but now the occupation has produced nothing but uncertainty and chaos so there is almost no hope." Karim's children go to the Shatt al-Arab school for 6-12 year olds in west Baghdad. In many ways, the school is a microcosm of the education system. The classrooms are lacking in furnishing and equipment and appear to be crumbling; the whole building is in dire need of painting and repairs. Underfunded On the positive side, the student-teacher ratio is comparable to Western standards, and the children seem to get a reasonably good education in mathematics, Arabic language, arts and crafts, and sports. It is clear they have an obvious appetite to learn, and the teachers are caring and dedicated. But headteacher Iqbal Hamad al-Jumaili told Aljazeera.net that every school day is a struggle. "We are desperately underfunded. We get $750 a year from the government but we need around $2000 a year for all our expenses. We end up footing some of the bills through our own pockets." Iraq used to have a distinguished education system Nevertheless, al-Jumaili says things are slowly improving. During the 1990s, teachers used to earn an average equivalent of $3 a month, but that has significantly improved in recent months. "It was like working for free and we used to do it because we weren't prepared to see our children go without an education. But now teachers get $250 a month which is respectable." Al-Jumaili reveals that it is the hope and aspiration of all Iraqi teachers that Iraq's education system regain its stature and become as modernized as standards in the Gulf. "We want our children to have access to the internet and science laboratories. At the moment teachers are doing their best without government help," she says. Former glories Like many other headteachers, al-Jumaili, who is disabled, guarded her school from looters in the aftermath of the foreign invasion. "After the war last year there were big problems with things like electricity and the water supply to the school. But the major headache was security," she said. "There was no security because the Americans did not have a plan for after the war. I was forced to stay here with my husband to guard the school. "And even now parents are scared to send their children here because of the dangers." Iraqi females were once the most literate in the Arab World The irony is that Iraq once had a distinguished education system that produced graduates who went on to higher studies in the US, UK, France and Russia with the government footing the bill. The students would then return to Iraq and share the expertise. According to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Iraq's education system was one of the best in the region prior to the 1991 US-supported UN sanctions. UNESCO says that primary schools were fully subscribed and there were high levels of male and female literacy. Education crisis Higher Education, especially scientific and technological institutions, was of an international standard, staffed by high quality personnel. But by the mid-1990s, says the United Nations Childrens Fund, the education sector was in deep crisis. In 2002 UNICEF reported the education system=92s physical infrastructure was dilapidated, and its teaching personnel were completely dissipated in the face of shrinking funds. Female literacy rates dropped from 87% in 1985 to 45% in 1995. More than 16,000 teachers who would not normally have left their profession did so between 1990-96. And by 2000, 31.2% of girls and 17.5 % of boys did not go to school as a result of Iraq=92s impoverishment. Under the sanctions regimen, even pencils could not be imported into the country because of their lead and graphite composition. The situation was so bad that Iraqi emigrants were routinely contacted by their diplomatic missions and asked to send medical and engineering books back home. Sanctions condemned A UNICEF report on Iraq said: "The paucity of resources available to both planners and families...means that schools have remained in a deteriorated condition for over a decade and teachers' salaries are on the poverty line." The dire security situation is a major concern for Iraqi parents It added: =93The past decade has witnessed the emergence of a large body of wasted, stunted and impoverished children. Global Policy Forum, a respected UN monitoring group, blames Iraq=92s educational collapse on the US and British-inspired sanctions. In a 2002 report, the organisation said: "It is now clear that comprehensive economic sanctions in Iraq have hurt large numbers of innocent civilians...by disrupting the whole economy, impoverishing Iraqi citizens and depriving them of essential income. The report claimed that the most vulnerable members of Iraqi society - the impoverished - were the most hard hit by sanctions. It stated that the "primary victims of the sanctions - children, the elderly, the sick, the poor" were also those least responsible for their government's policy and the most incapacitated to influence it. This was the situation the US-led occupation inherited after they ousted Saddam from power in April 2003. No hope Iraq's education minister, Ala al-Din Alwan, admitted in March this year that the school system needed billions of dollars in aid to overcome the adverse effects of the previous decade. However, he claimed about 2500 schools had been renovated since the US-led invasion, although much more money was needed to build new schools and massively overhaul others. Shatt al-Arab School's al-Jumaili doesn't see any light at the end of the tunnel, however. "I am not hopeful. At the moment the education system is in a mess. As long as the Americans stay there will be no security, but when they leave I think the education ministry will keep all the money for themselves," he says. "I just pray the kids in my school stay in Iraq because they have to build a future for our country. If they don=92t, who will?" Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall --__--__-- Message: 4 From: "Mark Parkinson" <mark44@DELETETHISmyrealbox.com> To: email@example.com Date: Mon, 07 Jun 2004 19:18:59 +0100 Subject: Iraqi Plastic Art Documents Abu Ghraib Abuse It's good to see that Ghazwan is active. By Samir Haddad & Mazen Ghazi, IOL Correspondent BAGHDAD, June 6 (IslamOnline.net) =96 More than 20 Iraqi plastic artists have organized a two-hour exhibition to showcase a remarkable collection of works giving a revealing insight into abuses by U.S. soldiers of Iraqi detainees in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison. The collection, which included paintings, statues and porcelain sculpture, was displayed for only two hours in one of Baghdad's streets, "for fear of reprisal" by the occupation forces. "Iraqi artists are crying out loud against the humiliation, torture and rape of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison," said Ghazwan Al- Mukhtar, of the Iraqi Plastic Art Association. "We, artists, deal with feelings and facial gestures, which helps us grasp the extent of brutality seeing an American female soldier grinning before the body of a tortured Iraqi detainee," Al-Mukhtar told IslamOnline.net. The Iraqi abuse scandal exploded onto the world stage on April 29 after the CBS news network published several graphic photos of Iraqi detainees tortured and sexually abused by U.S. soldiers. The images "include an American soldier having sex with a female Iraqi detainee and American soldiers watching Iraqis have sex with juveniles," reported the Newsweek in its May 10-17 issue. The Washington Post on Friday, May 21, a new photo gallery and a video clip of Iraqis being beaten and sexually humiliated and sworn testimonies by assaulted prisoners. (Click here to read the statements). Asked whether the collection can be exhibited in other famous areas of Baghdad or outside Abu Ghraib prison, Al-Mukhtar stressed that Iraqi artists "fear the American military reaction to this". "We had intended our works for public display on the back of vehicles driving through the streets of Baghdad. But we were deterred by a possible retaliation from the Americans". Late in May, a San Francisco gallery owner was forced to close her exhibition after being attacked by an unknown assailant for displaying a painting that depicts U.S. soldiers torturing Iraqi detainees. The painting, titled "Abuse," shows three U.S. soldiers leering at a group of naked men in hoods with wires connected to their bodies. The one in the foreground has a blood-spattered American flag patch on his uniform. In the background, a soldier in sunglasses guards a blindfolded woman. Defiant The defiant Iraqi artists were keen to highlight the suffering of Iraqi detainees at the hands of the U.S. soldiers. "As part of this society, and with relatives who suffered from the brutality of the American forces, we want to show this through our works," said Sami Al-Saedi, fingering one of his paintings. The exhibition is part of a larger campaign by plastic artists in which more than 100 artists from Iraq and Arab countries are expected to join hands, he added, falling short of giving a date. For Hanan Al-Abeidi, her participation was a message of wrath vis-=E0- vis the U.S. military violations in Abu Ghraib. She also conveyed the torture of Iraqi females in the notorious prison. "As a woman, I feel how the detainees suffered and how their dignity and honor were violated". Al-Abeidi regretted the "shameful " reaction of the international community "which only splashed out words of condemnation". In a damning report presented to the administration in February, U.S. Major General Antonio Taguba found numerous "sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses" at a U.S.-run prison complex near Baghdad. Taking a responsibility for the incidents, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told a stormy hearing of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees in mid-May he saw more "blatantly sadistic" photos and videos of Iraqi detainees than those already published. The American New Yorker magazine dropped a bombshell Sunday, May 16, saying the torture was okayed by Rumsfeld. Iraqi prisoners who were set free from Abu Ghraib prison had called for issuing an international arrest warrant for Rumsfeld and his trial over their abuse. Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall --__--__-- Message: 5 From: "Mark Parkinson" <mark44@DELETETHISmyrealbox.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Mon, 07 Jun 2004 19:42:56 +0100 Subject: Our Place in the World: Peaceful Iraq village torn apart by raid http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/176282_ourplace04.html Friday, June 4, 2004 By CHRISTIE SCHMID GUEST COLUMNIST Who are the faces, names, stories and families behind the Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib? How can abuses occur on such a vast scale within these prison walls? These abuses can only occur when we are able to dehumanize others; when we are part of a system that views our brothers and sisters in the world as terrorists and enemies. In our short time in Iraq, we met the people behind the pictures: a people of peace, overwhelming hospitality, love and strength. From Feb. 19 to March 3, we joined a two-week delegation with Christian Peacemaker Teams to Iraq. We visited Abu Ghraib and spent time with individuals and communities whose loved ones are detained there. The Red Cross estimates that 70 percent to 90 percent of the prisoners detained by the U.S. military in Iraq are innocent. On Feb. 24, our delegation traveled north of Baghdad to the village of Abu Siffa. Two men, along with a village of women and children, greeted us with overwhelming Iraqi hospitality. At 2 a.m. Dec. 16, U.S. military helicopters, humvees and tanks surrounded the village and raided every home in a 14-hour operation. Soldiers entered the homes forcefully; we saw the remnants of bullet- sprayed walls. Women and children, still in their bedclothes, were forced outside, while 83 of the village's 85 men were detained. Men, young and old, were forced to lay on the ground, hooded, hands tied behind their backs. As villager Mohammed stated, "While still in the village, men were gathered together and beaten severely. A 70-year-old man suffocated and died when they put a black plastic hood on him." Of those detained, there were three boys (ages 14, 15 and 16), 10 school teachers, three human rights lawyers and 67 farmers, 14 of whom were 60 to 80 years old. All of the men were taken to Abu Ghraib. Significant damage was done to farms and homes the night of the raid. In the following two weeks, the U.S. military returned and destroyed many of the remaining homes. We saw homes that were shelled and destroyed by tanks; bullet holes splattered the walls from floor to ceiling. Other homes were burned. A 10-year-old boy emptied burlap sack after burlap sack of empty tank shells. As confirmed by Col. Nate Sassman, the commanding officer, two of the men in the village were suspected of resisting the United States. Christian Peacemakers Team is working with the village of Abu Siffa because, guilty or not, many of the human rights agreed upon in the Geneva Conventions have been violated. Violations include excessive force against unarmed civilians, theft of personal property, mistreatment including torture during interrogation and detainment, inadequate living conditions for prisoners, no due process and, particularly in Abu Siffa, collective "guilt by association" and collective punishment. Following the tour of the destruction, we were served a five-course meal of dolmas, chicken, lamb stew, bread, hummus and fresh vegetables. As Americans, we were overwhelmed by the hospitality and grace extended to us following the pain they had experienced in the past months. After our meal together, a young child tapped me on the shoulder; she was holding a picture of her father, now in Abu Ghraib. The picture continues to haunt me, as we know that he and 80 other men were detained on suspicion of two. In our short time in Abu Siffa, we did not meet terrorists, enemies or insurgents. Rather, we encountered a peaceful community that longs to be reunited. According to Shelia Provencher, a long-term CPT member, we must engage a system that enables "good young men and women to be dehumanized enough by training, combat, stress and neglect, to do these things. We are all responsible for our soldiers. We are all responsible for these actions. We must all be a part of healing." We had the privilege of sharing a meal with the families of prisoners seen in the disturbing Abu Ghraib photos. We also had the benefit of meeting many good, young soldiers. I suppose that if the young soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison could share in U.S. foreign policy by having meals with Iraqi families, they would be unable to dehumanize them, unable to commit the kind of abuses we have seen in recent weeks. We will not get anywhere as a nation if we simply continue to blame the abuse within Abu Ghraib prison on a "few bad apples." Rather, I believe we must all take responsibility for what has happened and engage the larger system such that the abuses of all parties involved, Iraqis and U.S. soldiers, cannot continue in our name. To join CPT's Adopt a Detainee Campaign, go to www.cpt.org Christie Schmid and her husband, Ryan Schmid, recently returned from Iraq. To join CPT's Adopt a Detainee Campaign, go to www.cpt.org Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall --__--__-- Message: 6 From: "ppg" <ppg@DELETETHISnyc.rr.com> To: <email@example.com> Subject: June 6 KURDISH LEADERS' LETTER TO GEORGE BUSH Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2004 19:58:29 -0400 ****************** VISIT IWPR ON-LINE: www.iwpr.net *************** Iraqi Crisis Report No. 66 June 6, 2004 FULL TEXT OF KURDISH LEADERS' LETTER TO GEORGE BUSH Dear Mr. President: We are writing this letter to your Excellency to present our views and concerns on the new Iraqi Interim Government, the Kurdish position and the future of the country. America has no better friend than the people of Iraqi Kurdistan. A year ago, our peshmerga forces fought side by side with the American forces for the liberation of Iraq, taking more casualties than any other US ally. Today, Kurdistan remains the only secure and stable part of Iraq. We note that, in contrast to the Arab areas of Iraq, no coalition soldier has been killed in the area controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government. The people of Kurdistan continue to embrace American values, to welcome US troops, and to support your program for the liberation of Iraq. Our Kurdistan Regional Government has given up many of its current freedoms in the interest of helping your administering authorities reach compromises with other Iraqis. We were therefore bitterly disappointed when your special representative advised us that a Kurd could be neither Prime Minister nor President of Iraq. We were told that these positions must go to a Shiite Arab and Sunni Arab respectively. Iraq is a country of two main nationalities, Arabs and Kurds. It seems reasonable that the Arabs might get one of the top jobs (of their choice) but then the other should go to a Kurd. We also believe the decision to use sectarian quotas for the top two jobs directly contradicts the Coalition's repeatedly stated position that democratic Iraq's government should not be based on ethnic or religious criteria, a position the US wrote into the Transitional Administrative Law. The people of Kurdistan will no longer accept second-class citizenship in Iraq. In Saddam's time and before, Kurds were frequently given the Vice President or deputy positions, which were window dressing without power. We had hoped the new Iraq would be different for the Kurdish people. Ever since liberation, we have detected a bias against Kurdistan from the American authorities for reasons that we cannot comprehend. At the outset of the occupation, the coalition seized the oil-for-food revenues that had been specifically earmarked for Kurdistan and redistributed them to the rest of Iraq-in spite of the fact that Kurdistan received far less of these revenues per capita than other Iraqis and notwithstanding the fact that our region was the one most destroyed by Saddam Hussein. CPA actively discouraged the equality of the Kurdish and Arabic languages, and repeatedly tried to "derecognize' the Kurdistan Regional Government (Iraq's only elected government ever) in favour of a system based on Saddam's 18 governorates. US officials have demeaned the peshmerga, calling this disciplined military force that was America's battlefield comrade in arms, "militia." In official statements, it is rare for the US government or the CPA even to refer to Kurdistan or the Kurdish people. We will be loyal friends to America even if our support is not always reciprocated. Our fate is too closely linked to your fortunes in Iraq. If the forces of freedom prevail elsewhere in Iraq, we know that, because of our alliance with the United States, we will be marked for vengeance. We do ask for some specific reassurance for this transitional period so as to enable us to participate more fully in the interim government. specifically, we ask that: The Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) be incorporated into the new UN Security Council Resolution or otherwise recognized as law binding on the transitional government, both before and after elections. If the TAL is abrogated, the Kurdistan Regional Government will have no choice but to refrain from participating in the central government and its institutions, not to take part in the national elections, and to bar representatives of the central Government from Kurdistan. The United States commit to protect the people and government of Kurdistan in the event insurrection and disorder lead to a withdrawal from the rest of Iraq. The Coalition carry through on commitments to reverse the Arabisation of Kurdish lands and move forward to settle the status of Kirkuk in accordance with the wishes of its people, excluding settlers but including those ethnically cleansed by Saddam Hussein. The oil-for-food revenues unfairly taken from Kurdistan last year be restored in the entirety, and that Kurdistan receive its per capita share of the $19 billion in reconstruction assistance appropriated by the Congress. The United States support our plans to own and manage Kurdistan's natural resources, and in particular our efforts to develop new petroleum resources in the Kurdistan Region, where the previous regime sought to block all exploration and development that might benefit the Kurdistan people. The United States open a consulate in Erbil, and that it encourage other coalition partners to do the same. For the people of Kurdistan, it is vital that we maintain our direct links to the outside world and not solely dependent on a Baghdad where we are not considered fully equal citizens. The United States and the United Nations state clearly that the use of ethnic and confessional criteria for the selections of the interim government does not set a precedent for a future Iraqi government, and that Kurds are eligible for the posts of Prime Minister and President. If ethnic criteria are to be used to exclude Kurds from the top two positions in the interim government, we think it fair that Kurdistan be compensated with a disproportionate share of relevant ministries in the interim government. Mr. President, we know that these are difficult days for all of us who believe the cause of Iraq's freedom was worth fighting for. The Kurdish people continue to admire your confident leadership, your vision of a free Iraq, and your personal courage. We are certain that you will agree that Kurdistan should not be penalized for its friendship and support for the United States. Sincerely yours, Masoud Barzani Kurdistan Democratic Party Jalal Talabani Patriotic Union of Kurdistan *************************************** End of casi-news Digest _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk