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Iraqi Supplement, 24-31/12/00


*  Suffering of war opens way to a brighter future for Kurds
*  Southland Muslims Seek to Ease U.S.-Led Embargo on Iraq
*  IAF reveals Gulf War attack plan
*  Saddam guard wants to stay in Oz
*  Iraqi dissidents deal with U.S. Life
*  Sanctions give Iraq little to celebrate
*  Saddam £10k to kill Top Gun
*  Muslims mark sombre Eid
*  Saddam Hussein: the last great tyrant (by Robert Fisk)
*  Next Pentagon chief a supporter of Iraqi resistance

by Betsy Pisik
The Washington Times, 25th December

DERBAND RAYAT, Northern Iraq ‹ Her house looks more like a two-story
construction site than an ancestral home, but Naska Aziz feels planted here.

After living in tents and temporary shelters for more than 20 years, Naska
and Ahmad are back by the banks of the Great Zab River, within sight of the
apricot, peach and apple orchards Ahmad Aziz's family has tended for

The family was uprooted by the Iran-Iraq war, and the hills surrounding
their village were seeded with land mines. Next, the central government in
Baghdad relocated tens of thousands of Kurds to refugee camps without work,
land or modern conveniences.

But after that war and the subsequent Persian Gulf war, the 11-member Aziz
family returned home. They are rebuilding the house with help from U.N.
Habitat. Water eventually will be piped into houses, and construction soon
will begin on a power generator for the village.

Until then, the Aziz women ‹like everyone else here ‹ go to the river to
bring up water and bring down dishes and the laundry.

"Life is difficult, especially with so many children," said Mrs. Aziz, whose
sons and daughters range in age from 2 months to 18 years. Presiding over
afternoon tea at the riverbank with a dozen members of her extended family,
Mrs. Aziz joked, "Maybe, with water inside the house, I'll finally become

The Kurds of northern Iraq like to say they are the real winners of the 1991
Gulf war. After decades of repression from Baghdad ‹ or similar treatment by
the governments of Iran, Turkey and Syria ‹ the Kurds enjoy being pretty
much on their own.

An ethnically and culturally distinct minority, Kurds more closely resemble
Iranians than most of their Arab neighbors. Most are Shi'ite, not Sunni,
Muslims, and their language sounds more like Farsi than Arabic.

Spread across the northern area of the Middle East, including portions of
Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, the Kurds were promised a country of their own
at the end of World War I, but the various governments ruling their lands
rejected the decision, which was not enforced.

The region has some 14 million Kurds, including 4 million in northern Iraq.
For many decades, surrounding governments regarded them with suspicion,
blaming them ‹ often rightly ‹ whenever resistance arose.

"We are a separate group, we pine for our freedom and independence from the
central [Iraqi] government," said Anala Mohamad, a grandmother of three who
describes her existence as "a terrible life in a beautiful place."

The difference between central Iraq, which is governed from Baghdad, and the
Kurdish northern governorates ‹ where the United States and Britain have
forcibly excluded Iraqi authorities for a decade ‹ is pronounced.

In what Washington calls Iraq's northern "no-fly zone," satellite dishes
sprout from every balcony and rooftop.

The people are more comfortable with strangers, making eye contact with
passers-by and eager to practice their English. Foreigners are invited into
private homes, and even to join boisterous wedding parties that start in
late afternoon and end early the next morning.

The United States imposed the no-fly zone in Iraq north of the 36th parallel
after the Gulf war to protect the Kurdish minority, which has sought U.S.
support, from retaliation by the Iraqi military. A southern no-fly zone was
instituted in 1992 to protect southern Shi'ite Muslims and to protect Iraq's
neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The southern no-fly zone extends north
to Baghdad's outer suburbs.

Despite the general poverty among the Kurds, larger towns and cities have
pockets of construction.

Merchants, smugglers and politicians are building houses with marble

U.N. Habitat is covering hillsides with geometric housing developments.
Roads, sewers and electric generators are under fitful repair.

One frequently told joke is that before the Gulf war, the Kurdish share of
Iraq's oil revenues was limited to mortars, mines and nerve gas. But today,
with oil revenues administered by the United Nations, the three northern
governorates receive roughly 13 percent of the proceeds of oil sales ‹more
than $183 million worth of food staples every six months.

The U.N. Office of the Iraq Program administers a sprawling
food-distribution network, created by Baghdad and financed by oil. It is
supposed to be the same one that aids nearly 22 million families in south
and central Iraq, but by any measure ‹ including Baghdad's ‹people in the
north are far healthier than those elsewhere in Iraq.

"The people of the north have many natural advantages that the people in the
south and center of the country do not," said program administrator Tun

Northern Iraq has lush hills and mountains, and the elevation means cooler
summers, wetter winters and a variety of fruits and vegetables available
nearly year round. Pasture is available for goats, sheep and cattle, and
Kurds enjoy the streams that had been favored summer destinations for
Baghdad's middle class.

The Kurds say they are grateful for international assistance but critical of
U.N. agencies' slow efforts to build utilities.

Unlike many other development zones, there is competition here to build a
self-sustaining economy.

A dynamic Kurdish diaspora has created a global network of entrepreneurs
eager to invest in their homeland. Aid groups are building hospitals,
housing and schools for a population that has long gone without them.

The two rival Kurdish political clans that largely run the three northern
governorates are eager to win hearts and minds by heavily subsidizing
capital improvements, reading programs and other investments.

The Kurds themselves are not shy about exploiting their primary advantage:
location. Situated among central Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran, the Kurds
control routes that generate income from tolls, tariffs, bribes and

By comparison, little aid is flowing into central Iraq or the arid south,
save for highly publicized sanction-busters, who bring in relatively small
amounts of necessities from pencils to penicillin.

by Teresa Watanabe, Times Religion Writer
Los Angeles Times, 25th December, 2000

When Imam Moustafa Al-Qazwini celebrates the end of the Muslim holy season
of Ramadan on Wednesday, he will redouble the prayers he has said every day
for the last 10 years.

The Pomona cleric, the scion of a prominent religious family who left Iraq
two decades ago, will ask God to bestow mercy on the Iraqi people suffering
under the impact of American led sanctions against the nation. As he does
every Eid al-Fitr--the end of Ramadan, regarded as the season's most
spiritually powerful night--he will take up a collection for the Iraqi

Ten years after the United Nations Security Council imposed broad economic
and military sanctions on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait, such efforts
are being joined by members of other religious groups with petitions,
protests and prayer meetings.

In San Pedro, two schoolgirls have started a postcard campaign urging an end
to sanctions that has netted more than 100,000 signatures--including that of
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. Faith-based organizations are
stepping up a national campaign of civil disobedience to ship supplies to
Iraq without the required U.S. government permission; sanctions are
crumbling as well among U.S. allies, who have begun challenging them with
dozens of unauthorized flights into the nation.

"Iraq has been forgotten, but the agony of the people continues," said
Al-Qazwini, who raised $8,000 from his family and friends at his Costa Mesa
mosque during the last Muslim holy season but is concerned this year that
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has pushed the issue from the forefront of
public attention.

Religious leaders are under no illusion that their grass-roots efforts will
touch the hearts or change the minds of U.S. policymakers. Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright vigorously defended the sanctions earlier this
year, saying that lifting them would give Iraqi President Saddam Hussein the
money to rebuild his weapons of mass destruction. She also said that the
Iraqi people's plight should be blamed on Hussein, not the sanctions,
because his regime was not allowing full distribution of food and supplies
approved for import under the U.N. sanctions program.

In remarks last week, Secretary of State-elect Colin Powell pledged to
re-energize the sanctions. Nonetheless, faith leaders are vowing to escalate
their efforts against them.

"We will intensify our opposition to this morally bankrupt policy," said the
Rev. James M. Lawson Jr., emeritus pastor of Holman United Methodist Church
in Los Angeles, who visited Iraq in March. "I am simply shamed that my
government is . . . making the innocent suffer. There must be a better way
to demonstrate opposition to Saddam Hussein than killing children."

Exactly how much the sanctions have contributed to disease, malnutrition and
death in Iraq is disputed. In the last decade, experts agree, infant
mortality and malnutrition rates have increased; electrical production and
access to clean water have been significantly reduced. But there is no clear
consensus on why or whose fault it is, according to sanctions expert David
Cortright of the Fourth Freedom Forum research group in Indiana.

Opponents of sanctions frequently cite UNICEF reports that say the measures
are contributing to the deaths of 4,000 children a month who are deprived of
adequate nutrition and medicine.

Beyond the human toll, activists say, the pressures of war and sanctions are
causing the disintegration of a 6,000-year-old civilization, the cradle of
ancient Mesopotamia, fabled site of the Garden of Eden, home of Abraham and
birthplace of everything from agriculture to legal codes.

In more modern times, experts say, Hussein's harshly repressive regime
nonetheless parlayed its oil revenues into a society with national health
care, six-hour workdays, free and compulsory education, a bustling middle
class and an active feminist movement.

Today, visitors to Iraq come back overwhelmed by the degree of misery,
depression and death. They report scenes of begging children, widespread
joblessness, and families hawking everything they can to survive--from
treasured libraries to personal photo albums.

In an interfaith visit to Iraq this year, Los Angeles social studies teacher
Linda Tubach says she was shocked by the number of children she saw in
hospitals dying of such preventable maladies as diarrhea, and the desperate
mothers who besieged her, asking her to "make it stop."

At schools Tubach visited, 85 children were crammed into single classrooms
with no books, desks or even pencils.

"It was heartbreaking," said Tubach, whose interest in the Mideast was
sparked in 1989, when she joined a teachers' delegation to the Palestinian
territories. "I've never seen anything like it, and I hope I never will."

Faith leaders acknowledge that they walk a moral tightrope, trying to
balance the need to contain a dangerous regime with outrage over measures
they believe are devastating the innocent.

The issue has split the peace camp over whether all sanctions should be
lifted or just economic ones. It is also forcing a deep rethinking about
sanctions: Peace activists have traditionally embraced them as an
alternative to war but now "are connecting with the fact that sanctions
themselves can be an act of violence," according to Sonia Tuma of the
American Friends Service Committee in Pasadena.

"It's a moral dilemma when you face a regime such as the one you have in
Iraq, but it's clear that sanctions as currently constructed are morally
unacceptable," said Gerard Powers of the National Conference of Catholic

The bishops have showered more attention on the Iraq sanctions than any
other foreign policy issue, taking it up three years in a row at their
annual conference, according to Powers. The National Council of Churches of
Christ in the USA, representing 60 million American Protestants, has
actively engaged in advocacy against the sanctions and emergency relief to
the needy there, including sending sheets for 27,000 hospital beds.

Heads of the Catholic and Protestant organizations were among 24 Christian
leaders to sign a letter to President Clinton last year urging an end to
economic sanctions--although many support continued political and military

The movement is spreading beyond the faith community. Earlier this month,
United Teachers-Los Angeles, the teachers union, passed a resolution
condemning the sanctions as genocide. Before that, Local 535 of the Service
Employees International Union, which represents Southland nurses and social
workers, also called for an end to sanctions. In Congress, 70 members
recently signed a resolution against sanctions.

Aiming to push the issue beyond petitions and prayers, the Quakers and
another faith based group, Fellowship of Reconciliation, have launched a
"campaign of conscience" to dispatch four water purifiers to Iraq without
the required U.S. permission. In the homes of many of the Southland's tens
of thousands of Iraqi Americans, people tick off the names of dead or ill
loved ones, convinced they were, directly or indirectly, victims of the

Radiya Al-Marayati, who immigrated to the United States in 1967 with her
family, remembers her niece, beautiful Asmaah, who wrote poetry and aspired
to become a teacher. She died of kidney failure in 1994 at the age of 17.

There was her brother, Kathum Jawad, a kind-hearted attorney who visited the
sick and elderly as a hobby. He died of leukemia in 1994 at the age of 50.
There was her father, Hajji Jawad, who died shortly thereafter of liver
failure. Al-Marayati believes he actually died of a broken heart: The
sanctions had forced him to close his family's prosperous candy factory,
sending their luxurious standard of living into a deep dive. He had begun to
frequently weep over the death of his eldest son and his nation's dark
future, she said.

In Pomona, Moustafa Al-Qazwini has lost two more relatives in the last month
to what he believes were premature deaths from diabetes and heart disease.
"Every time we call, there is news of death," he said.

By Arieh O'Sullivan, Jerusalem Post

TEL AVIV (December 26) - To mark the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War, the
air force has revealed some details of its planned attack on Scud missiles
in western Iraq.

According to the latest edition of Air Force Magazine, which hits newsstands
today, some planes were already in the air waiting for the final government
approval for the strikes. The approval never came.

On the third day of the 1991 war, the cabinet of then-prime minister Yitzhak
Shamir met to discuss various responses to the initial Scud missile attacks
on Tel Aviv and Haifa.

"A decision in principle had been made that Israel must retaliate, but we
still were not yet talking of an official cabinet decision," Maj.-Gen.
(res.) Avihu Bin-Nun, then commander of the IAF, was quoted as saying.

"Since the retaliation operation demanded serious preparation, I immediately
gave the order to start moving. We had to start preparing the forces,
briefing the teams and arming the aircraft," Bin-Nun said.

He said that airborne radar aircraft and refueling planes needed to take off
before the attacking force.

"These planes had already become airborne and were flying over the country
in the chance that we received the cabinet authorization to get going,"
Bin-Nun said.

Bin-Nun said the objectives of the strike were to hit the Iraqi Scud missile
launchers and to "carry out punitive actions" against Iraqi targets. He did
not elaborate.

Until now, no official word had been released regarding Israel's planned
retaliatory operation against Iraq.

At the time, the air force planned to use its most modern acquisition, the
Apache attack helicopters. Col. (res.) Moshe Cohen, the first commander of
the Apache squadron, told Air Force Magazine that they had done dry runs on
simulated targets built in the Negev.

"We carried out the simulations... to train on locating targets and shooting
them," Cohen said. "There was a sense that we could do the mission, but we
weren't overconfident and we certainly weren't arrogant about it."

The United States flew more than 2,000 sorties over the western Iraqi
desert, expressly to wipe out the Scuds. They failed miserably as they
struck at decoys. The Iraqis were able to lob a total of 39 Scuds at Israel
before the end of the war.

One of the questions was whether the IAF would have had better results had
it executed its plans.

"Even if we had stuck to only striking at the Scuds, I am convinced that we
would have succeeded more than the Americans," Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Ram,
then-deputy head of the IAF, was quoted as saying.

"In my opinion," Bin-Nun added, "our operation would have reduced the number
of Scud firings significantly. It would not have eliminated the [Scud]
attacks. It would not have altered the essence of the war. But it certainly
would have contributed to the reduction in the number of missile strikes."
Bin-Nun said that even though 39 missiles were relatively few rockets, he
believes the IAF could have reduced that to less than a dozen.

OC Air Force Maj.-Gen. Dan Halutz is quoted as saying that a Scud attack
doesn't necessarily have to be answered by striking back at the Scuds

"There are a wide variety of other targets that can be hit in retaliation
for someone launching missiles at Israel. You don't have to operate with
symmetry. One thing is certain, today we won't be sitting on our hands
watching how surface-to-surface missiles fall on Israel.",4511,1552384%255E2702,00.htm

by Terry Plane
The Australian, 26th December

THE federal Government is believed to be detaining a member of an elite unit
of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard, and has threatened to
deport him.

Lawyers have spoken to the man in Woomera Detention Centre and are trying to
arrange an appeal against deportation to the Administrative Appeals

It is understood from Iraqi sources in Adelaide that there would be genuine
fears for the man's life if he were sent back to Baghdad, and that the man
himself believed he faced certain death if deported.

He also held grave fears for the safety of his family in Iraq.

Two of his friends, released recently from Woomera, told The Australian that
the man was from the al-Tikriti tribal group ­ the same background as Saddam

"He is a good man," one friend said. "He has a clean heart."

At a migration policy forum in Adelaide last week, Immigration Minister
Philip Ruddock said the Government was "not about sending people back to
death and persecution".

Lawyer Jeremy Moore called on the Government to take a compassionate view of
his client's circumstances.

The man has dictated a statement to Mr Moore through an interpreter, in
which he told of paying a people-smuggler for passage to Australia and
arriving just over a year ago.

His application for a temporary protection visa has been rejected and he has
been detained in Sierra ­ Woomera's isolation compound ­ since late

"I have done nothing to deserve being in Sierra," the man said in his

"I have done nothing to deserve being placed in handcuffs every time I am
moved to and from Sierra. There is a head count twice daily in Sierra for
only 15 people. We are treated like criminals."

He alleged he had been assaulted by an officer of Australasian Correctional
Management, the company contracted to run detention centres for the
Australian Government, and that guards had interrupted him whilst he was
praying and prevented him from attending important Friday prayer sessions in
the centre.

"There is no phone in Sierra," he said. "There are no newspapers in Sierra.
There are few books and those that are available are in English, which is a
language in which I am not completely fluent.

"The food here is very bad.

"I have not been provided with a hat or sun-screen."

He also alleged that he had been discouraged from seeing Mr Moore when the
lawyer visited the detention centre.

He said he went on a hunger strike for three days but developed kidney pain.

"I am very depressed and I want to die," he stated. "I have lost 30 kilos. I
do not take medication."

He had asked for his passport, he stated, but had been told it was lost in
transit from Adelaide to Woomera.

It was understood the man was allowed the privilege of making telephone
calls from the Immigration Department office within the detention centre ­ a
privilege not extended to other detainees.

A spokeswoman for Mr Ruddock told The Australian his office did not discuss
the cases of individual detainees.

by Vernon Loeb
Washington Post (perhaps), 28th December

MOHAMMED AL-AMMARY WAS an Iraqi air force pilot. Today he stocks shoes at
Sears and fights his own craving for consumer electronics. ³I like this
store, Radio Shack, too much,² he allowed.

Once a captain in Iraq¹s elite Republican Guard, Mohammed Tuma works
weekends at a Lutheran nursing home. ³I love America,² Tuma said, driving
home from community college classes in his Chrysler minivan.

Yet Al-Batat, Al-Ammary, Tuma and three more of their former
comrades-in-arms are living a Kafkaesque legal nightmare along with elements
of the American dream. The experience of the ³Lincoln Six,² according to
friends and supporters, reflects some of what¹s worst and best about the
United States at the dawn of the 21st century.

On one hand, they are trapped in a battle with the Immigration and
Naturalization Service, which forbids them from leaving Nebraska¹s Lancaster
County, controls where they work and can deport them at any time. The six
accepted those terms last year to get out of jail; they were reunited here
with their wives and children after being incarcerated for more than two
years, based on secret evidence that-in the view of the INS-indicated they
were a threat to U.S. national security.

On the other, they are surrounded by Midwestern hospitality and heartland
values, able to speak and study freely, start their own businesses and
consume as voraciously as their hearts dictate and their wallets allow.

They have never been allowed to see the allegations against them, which
apparently suggested that some of them might be Iraqi or Iranian spies. A
U.S. intelligence official calls it ³uncorroborated intelligence from people
whose reliability was questionable.² Now, their hopes lie with Attorney
General Janet Reno.

³It¹s not just a little bit like Kafka¹s ŒThe Trial¹-it¹s exactly like
Kafka¹s ŒThe Trial,¹ ² said former CIA director R. James Woolsey, who has
asked Reno to grant the six asylum. The spy chief turned Washington power
lawyer was so distressed by the government¹s use of secret evidence against
men he calls ³Iraqi freedom fighters² that he joined their defense team on a
pro bono basis in 1998. Their treatment, he said, is a ³stain² on the
nation¹s honor.

If that¹s the case, the people of Lincoln have done their best to wash the
stain away, welcoming the Iraqi families with a warmth and generosity that
has made what they refer to as ³county arrest² a more than tolerable way to

³I told them, you guys are going from the worst of the United States to the
best-from a prison in California to a pleasant Midwest college town,² said

At first blush, this sprawling suburb of 213,000 people, seems an unlikely
place to resettle Iraqi refugees. But the government started sending Iraqis
here in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 because housing is
safe and affordable, volunteerism is high, and Vietnamese refugees have done
well here.

While there is no Iraqi quarter visible from the 400-foot, gold-domed tower
of the Nebraska State Capitol, an Iraqi community of about 1,000 supports
two Middle Eastern groceries and, in a city with 165 churches and two
synagogues, two mosques.

For their part, the Iraqis have managed to separate their feelings toward
the U.S. government, which imprisoned them, from their feelings toward their
neighbors here, who have taken them in.
ŒAmerica is not just the government. There is a good nation here, good

He lives in a new subdivision in southwest Lincoln with his wife, Eman, and
their three children. His next-door neighbors are from Afghanistan and


Tuma¹s youngest child, Ameer, was only five days old when Tuma led his
family across the border from northern Iraq to Turkey for a U.S. airlift to
freedom in the fall of 1996.

³The first day, when we crossed the border, it was so happy for us,² said
Tuma, a military academy graduate from a wealthy Baghdad family. ³It was so
difficult for the [opposition members¹] families in the north of Iraq; there
was no food, no money. It was just our faith and belief.²

But the die was cast for him and his family long before Saddam Hussein¹s
tanks rolled into northern Iraq in August 1996, forcing them to flee from
the ³safe haven² that had been established for the Kurdish minority and
Iraqi opposition forces after the 1991 Gulf War. He had defected from the
Republican Guard the previous year, after a brother was jailed and an uncle
killed as opponents of Saddam Hussein¹s regime. ³Military security, they
were watching me,² Tuma said.

Now, all of that seems far away.

One recent afternoon, Ahmed Tuma, 7, burst through the front door after
school, shed his red Cornhuskers parka, handed his father ³Ahmed¹s Daily
Plan² ‹ a sheet of goals and objectives from his teacher ‹ and settled in
front of the television to watch Pokemon cartoons.

Tuma could only smile at how Americanized his kids have become. ³I want my
asylum. I want to be a citizen,² said Tuma.

The Iraqis¹ readiness to distinguish between the government and citizens of
the United States comes in large measure from their experience in Iraq.

Asked about the two years he spent imprisoned by the INS, Adil Awadh, 32,
another of the Lincoln Six, said: ³I had seen worse than this.²

A former Iraqi military doctor, Awadh said he escaped to northern Iraq and
joined the opposition after watching surgeons in a military field hospital
cut off the ears of deserters. ³I asked myself, Adil, what would you do if
you were one of these surgeons who was asked to do these surgeries?² he
recalled. ³Do you know what refusal means? Death.²

He is studying now for board certification to practice medicine in the
United States, although he is unsure whether the INS will allow him to
travel to Philadelphia for his third and final clinical exam.

In the meantime, he is working as an Arabic-to-English translator in the
Lincoln courts, but only as a subcontractor because the immigration service
refuses to allow him to contract directly with the court system. His wife,
Sarab, who just had their second child, has found work at a local social
service agency. But Awadh feels he has been the victim of employment
discrimination in Lincoln, having sent out dozens of résumés and never
receiving a job offer.

³Some friends say, it¹s not prejudice, they look at you as an overqualified
person,² Awadh said of his trouble. ³But I don¹t believe that.²

Yet almost in the next breath, Awadh speaks fondly of the couple next door,
a political science professor at the University of Nebraska and an official
of the Lincoln public schools. ³We have neighbors who are the best
ambassadors for their country,² he said. ³America should be proud of them.
They are a big support to me; to all of us.²

A devout Shiite Muslim, Awadh said he has also come to realize that it is
easier to practice his faith in Lincoln than in Iraq, where Shiites were
harassed by Saddam Hussein¹s Sunni Muslim-dominated regime.

³The American people are great people,² Awadh said. ³The American people are
fair people. But they need to be educated. The problem is, they know nothing
about Iraq.²

Al-Ammary is the angriest of the six, saying he would almost prefer
deportation to Canada or England to staying here under the thumb of
immigration officials.

He wants to start flying again, but the INS has refused to let him take a
job painting airplanes, let alone fly them. He is a graduate of the Iraqi
Air Force College and the Royal Jordanian Air Academy. Yet in Lincoln he is
paid $6.25 an hour in the shoe department at Sears, and $8.27 an hour in a
night job for a company that mails credit reports.

The two years he spent in jail also came close to breaking up his marriage.
His wife works on a factory assembly line.

Having been imprisoned by Saddam Hussein¹s military after a minor aircraft
accident, Al Ammary said the decision to defect and hire a smuggler to take
his family out of the country was ³just like suicide; I just left to an
unknown future.²

But ³the worst thing was prison here,² he said. ³I was an opponent of Saddam
Hussein, but now the government of the United States has betrayed me. If
somebody invites you to come to their home and then arrests you, what is
that called?²

The U.S. government called its airlift Operation Pacific Haven, evacuating
6,500 Iraqis from camps in Turkey to the U.S. territory of Guam for
resettlement processing after the Iraqi army invaded northern Iraq four
years ago.


On Guam, rife with rivalries and jealousies, the Lincoln Six were apparently
accused by other opposition members of being Iraqi spies, Iranian double
agents, liars, torturers or all of the above. The CIA passed those reports
to the FBI, which decided in early 1997 that the six should be denied
asylum. All of the evidence against them was stamped secret.

While their wives and children were resettled in Lincoln, they were jailed
for a year before an immigration judge ordered them to be deported on the
basis of evidence that their lawyers were not allowed to see and witnesses
their lawyers could not cross-examine.

After Woolsey persuaded leading Senate Republicans to ask for a review of
the case, the Justice Department declassified most of the secret evidence,
admitting that it never should have been classified in the first place.

With an appeal of the deportation order pending before the Board of
Immigration Appeals, the six finally had some sense of the charges against

Al-Batat had tried to explain to his interviewers that one of the attempts
by Saddam Hussein¹s agents to kill him in northern Iraq involved a heavy
dose of thallium, a rare metal used in rat poison. Possibly confusing
thallium and Valium, an FBI agent had concluded that Al-Batat was a
recreational drug user.

Another FBI agent said he ³found it kind of hard to believe² that Awadh had
refused to cut off deserters¹ ears.

Al-Ammary¹s defiant attitude angered yet another agent, who said he ³didn¹t
like Al Ammary¹s whole demeanor when I was talking to him.²

Tuma aroused suspicion because he had received chemical weapons training
while in the Republican Guard.

The fifth member of the group, Ali Saleh, was singled out because he told an
FBI agent that he had guarded Scud missile sites without ever witnessing an
actual launch, a claim the agent did not accept.

The sixth member declined to be quoted by name, fearing reprisals against
his family in Baghdad.

³When the CIA started to create these delusions about us, the FBI was very
ready to accept it as a reality,² said Awadh. ³The INS, poor people, they
know nothing.²

>From the beginning of the case, one oddity was that the immigration service
granted the wives and children asylum without hesitation, while targeting
the husbands for deportation. That decision has helped bind three of the six
men-Awadh, Saleh and Al-Batat-to the United States through the birth of
children in this country, which automatically makes their babies U.S.

Al-Batat, who still suffers from symptoms of his thallium poisoning, likes
to tease Al Ammary: ³What a poor guy you are,² he tells his friend. ³Even if
the INS wants to deport me, they won¹t do it, because I have an American
citizen in my family.²

Woolsey, arguing on their behalf, points to the case of two other Iraqi
opposition members who were jailed in California, Ali Mohammed Karim and
Mohammed Mohammed Karim. Unlike the Lincoln Six, the Karim brothers insisted
on a trial to clear their names, even though they had to remain in jail in
the meantime. With most of the evidence declassified, the immigration judge,
D.D. Sitgraves, called the government¹s case ³weak at best² and granted both
men asylum in June.

³It is apparent to this court,² she wrote, ³that the INS never adequately
critiqued or investigated the information they received from the FBI or
other sources to determine its reliability.²,3604,415735,00.html

by Hassan Hafidh in Baghdad (Reuters)
Thursday December 28, 2000

Iraqis, hit hard by more than 10 years of UN economic sanctions, found
little joy yesterday as the Muslim world celebrated the Eid al-Fitr feast
which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

"How can we celebrate and feel happy if we cannot afford it?" asked Munna
Khalaf, who lost one of her six children to a serious illness four years
ago. The traditional good cheer of the occasion was dampened by the
widespread hardship suffered since sanctions were imposed in August 1990
after Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

The three-day feast brought mixed feelings to Iraqis: nostalgia for the good
old days tempered by hope that sanctions will soon be lifted.

"For the poor there is little joy, but the rich celebrate ... Before 1990
you'd see people singing and dancing in the streets when the Eid came," a
shopkeeper, Abu Saad, 52, said. "

We are sick of these embargoes. We just wait and wait for them to end ... I
am fed up and I don't follow the news any more."

The sanctions have not only caused personal suffering, they have also
shattered Iraq's economy: the basic salary of a civil servant can be as
little as 5,000 dinars (£1.70) a month.

There is no immediate end in sight to the sanctions and the US secretary of
state-designate, Colin Powell, has stated his intention to "re-energise"

But Iraqis have found grounds for optimism in the decision of some countries
to resume flights to Iraq in the latter part of the year.


EXCLUSIVE by John Kay, Chief Reporter
The Sun, 27th December

TYRANT Saddam Hussein has put a £10,000 bounty on the heads of RAF top guns
patrolling over Iraq.

Nearly ten years after the Gulf War, Our Boys are still being shot at as
they enforce the no fly zone.

Saddam is offering £10,000 cash to any Iraqi who downs an RAF jet. The
average annual wage is £37 - so the reward represents 270 YEARS' pay.

In the past two years, Jaguars and Tornados flown by aces like Squadron
Leader Mal Rainer have been threatened nearly 1,000 times by missiles and
anti-aircraft fire.

And Iraqi jets have violated the no-fly zone 250 times.

Saddam is desperate to capture an RAF pilot to parade on TV as he did in the
Gulf War.
He is also trying to provoke the RAF into scoring "own goals" by mistakenly
attacking civilian targets.

Mal and his men risk death or capture every time they take off.

The dashing officer had a baptism by fire when he was 23, helping the Allies
crush Saddam in the Gulf War.

Now 33, he still flies regular patrols from his base in Incirlik, Turkey.

Mal - of 6 Squadron based at Coltishall, Norfolk - chose The Sun, the
forces' favourite newspaper, to talk for the first time about the RAF's role
over Iraq.

He said: "Every time you prepare to get airborne you expect to be taken
prisoner. You think what you will do if you are shot down.

"We all remember what Saddam did to the RAF guys taken prisoner in the Gulf
War and paraded on TV."

He was recalling John Peters, 39, and John Nichol, 37, who were shot down,
tortured and used as propaganda tools by the Iraqis.

The number of 51Ž2-hour patrols flown by the RAF has risen since 1998 as
Saddam flexes his muscles by challenging the no-fly zone policed by the
Allies since 1991. And Mal's jet has been fired at dozens of times.

Mal, whose wife Michelle is expecting their second child, said: "You stay
alert because you are reminded all the time of the threat when you hear the
words 'ROE trip' on your radio.

"It means the rules of engagement have been tripped because the Iraqis have
shot at us.

"That certainly concentrates the mind, especially when you see the puffs of
anti-aircraft fire.

"It is also eerie seeing missiles coming at you.

"Some are in batches of three and look like a set of cricket stumps.

"That's when we have to use all our flying skills to dodge them." Mal, who
won the Distinguished Flying Cross in the Gulf War - which began on January
16, 1991 - leads photo- reconnaissance patrols.

He said: "The Iraqis do everything they can to down us with artillery,
missiles and fighters.

"As to why they do it, I think it is national pride - they are saying, 'You
can't fly over my garden so I am going to shoot at you.'

"You can't chill out over Iraq. You must also watch your fluid intake - on a
five-hour trip the last thing you want to do is have a wee.

"It can be done but it's very difficult in the cramped cockpit. In my 2,500
hours of flying I have never had to have one, thank goodness."

ONE of the biggest hazards the top guns face is from rocket-launchers which
are designed to hit GROUND targets.

Saddam's troops have adapted the weapons to fire multiple salvos into the

They send up a solid wall of flame and shrapnel - which our fighter-bombers
have to fly through as they patrol the no-fly zone.,1113,2-10

News 24 (South Africa), 28th December

Baghdad, Iraq - One of the most important festivals of the Muslim holy
calendar is dedicated to family in Iraq and across the Mideast, but the
day-to-day concerns of getting by often intrude on the sacred.

It is customary to give to the poor during Eid al-Fitr, the three-day
holiday marking the end of Islam's holiest month. But war and sanctions have
ravaged Iraq's economy, undermining the charitable impulse.

"To hell with sanctions! People do not give money to beggars any more
because they do not have it to start with," a beggar who refused to give his
name said as he tried unsuccessfully to collect alms near a Baghdad
graveyard on Wednesday, the first day of Eid.

Eid family reunions, at which Iraqis gather at the homes of their oldest
family members for meals, rarely take place nowadays due to the economic

Some traditions, though, are still observed. Many Iraqis visited cemeteries
to pray, drink tea and eat snacks - keeping their beloved dead company on
the holiday. Children took the opportunity to play among the graves.

[On Eid in other Muslim countries]

by Robert Fisk
The Independent, 30 December 2000

When the Egyptian journalist Mohamed Heikal visited Iraq during the early
years of Saddam's rule, he met the minister for industry. Heikal was
impressed by the intense, hard working, intellectual man running Iraq's
dynamic industrial output. So on his next visit, Heikal asked to meet him
again. Officials explained that they had no information about the minister
and all enquiries should be addressed to His Excellency the President. So
when at last Heikal turned up for his interview with the dictator of Iraq,
he asked about the minister for industry.

"He's gone," Saddam said. "Gone?", asked Heikal There was a pause. "We
scissored his neck ­ he was suspected of being a traitor." But was there any
evidence of this, the appalled Heikal asked. Was there any proof? "In Iraq,
we don't need proof," Saddam replied, "suspicion is enough." In Cairo, he
went on, Egyptians might have a white revolution. "In Iraq we have a red
revolution." Heikal was horrified. But should he have been surprised?

There is about Saddam Hussein a peculiar ruthlessness, an almost calculated
cruelty, perhaps even an interest in pain. It wasn't enough to order the
murder of his sons-in-law after their return from exile in Jordan. They had
to be dragged away with meat hooks through their eyes. It wasn't enough to
order the hanging of the Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft in 1990; Bazoft
was to be left unaware of his fate until a British embassy official turned
up at the Abu Ghorraib prison to say goodbye. At Abu Ghorraib, women
prisoners are allowed a party the night before one of them is to be hanged.
Women are dispatched on Thursdays. Families are asked to bring their own
coffin when a relative has been executed.
And yet we loved him. In the days when Saddam clawed his way to power,
personally shot members of his own cabinet, or used gas for the first time
on his recalcitrant Kurds, we loved him. When he invaded Iran in 1980, we
gave him Bailey bridges and Mirage jets and radio sets and poison gas ­ the
Mirages from France, the poison gas, of course, from Germany ­ and US
satellite reconnaissance pictures of the Iranian front lines. I once met the
Cologne arms dealer who personally took the photos from Washington DC to
Baghdad. The Russians poured in their new T-72 tanks. Saddam's war against
Iran ­ the greatest mass killing in modern Middle Eastern history until the
UN sanctions of the last decade ­ was designed to appeal to both Arabs and
the West. For the Arabs who tamely poured their millions into his armoury,
Kuwait among the most prominent, his Iraqi sons were wading through anharr
al-damm ­ literally "rivers of blood" ­ to defend the al-bawwabah al
sharqiyah, the "Eastern Gateway" to the Arab world and Saudi Arabia. To the
West, he was fighting off Khomeini's Islamic hordes. Asked why the Iraqis
used gas against their enemies, one of his senior confidants replied: "When
you weed the lawn, you have to use weed-killer."

Blundering, ignorant of Western (though not Arab) history, largely
uneducated, an original Tikriti corner-boy whose first political act was an
attempted assassination and an escape, wounded, into the desert; how did he
do it? How come the man who defied George Bush senior is still there to defy
George Bush junior? How come, 10 years after the "mother of all battles" ­ a
phrase typical of Saddam ­ and 10 years after UN sanctions that have killed
at least a million Iraqis, Saddam is still enjoying his palaces and cigars?

The French are a clue. They idolised Saddam in the late Seventies. He was
feted on his arrival at Orly, dined out by the Mayor of Paris (a certain M
Chirac), swamped with champagne as he watched a bull-running circus in
central France. For the French, he was a kind of Jacobin, the
reformer-turned-extremist whose reign of terror had a power all its own.
Saddam's "red revolution" was always rubber-stamped by the democratic
mockeries of Iraq ­ he asked the Kurds of a northern Iraqi town if he should
hang Bazoft and their cries of affirmation doomed the correspondent ­ but
somehow, in a crazed way, it was modern and progressive. Iraq's hospitals
and medical care were on a par with Europe, women's rights were rigorously
enforced, religious insurrection was suppressed in blood.

And he was ­ and is ­ a very intelligent man. When I first saw him, in 1978,
he was espousing the merits of nuclear power, of binary fission (technology
courtesy of his beloved France). Self-confident, quoting from Arab poets and
writers, replying to foreign journalists who snapped at him, with humour and
history. Asked, in view of his little speech, about the danger of nuclear
weapons proliferation, he replied: "Ah, you must not ask me about Israel's
250 warheads in the Negev desert ­ you must ask the Israelis!" He always
wore a massive wrap-around jacket with too many buttons, but his shirts and
shoes were always the latest in Paris fashion.

I visited his abandoned palace in Kurdistan in 1991, one of the series of
massive, fortified royal residences he continues to build across Iraq,
evidence, according to Madeleine Albright, that sanctions haven't yet
brought him low and thus must continue. In truth, they are evidence that
sanctions clearly do not work ­ because they don't touch Saddam ­ and thus
should not continue. But what was so evident about his northern palace was
its tawdry nature, the poor quality of the concrete round the swimming pool,
the cracked pseudo Grecian columns in the dining-room, the under-weeded
flower beds. In Baghdad, the palace lawns are better tended, but the same
sense of spent taste and vulgarity pervades the president's imagery. Saddam
on horseback, in Kurdish clothes, embracing babies and war heroes, riding on
a charger in medieval armour to confront the Persians at the Battle of
Qaddasiyeh, dressed as Nebuchadnezzar, he who conquered Syria and Palestine,
sacked Ashkelon and subdued all the tribes of the Arabs. Like the king of
Babylonia, Saddam decided to rebuild Babylon; and so the ancient city was
ripped apart and reconstructed, Disney-style, in the image of the great man.

Even the giant egg-shell monument to the Iraqi war dead of 1980-88 is a
personal museum to Saddam's family. Visit the crypt and beside the names of
half a million dead you find a photograph of the young, revolutionary
Saddam, on the run from the royal family, of Saddam studying in Cairo (his
hero was not Hitler but Stalin), of Saddam with his first wife. Now there is
a second wife ­ the feuding between the wives' two families is one of the
causes of the ferocious bloodletting within the family. His son Oday, partly
crippled in an assassination attempt while on his way to a nightclub,
murdered a bodyguard at a party. "My son must be tried like any other
Iraqi," Saddam announced. Then the family of the dead man ­ surprise,
surprise ­ forgave Oday. Unpunished, he continued to run the highest
security apparatus of the state, all the while enjoying the title of head of
the Iraqi Olympic committee.

Greatness, for Saddam, is a simple affair. Victorious in war, the people
love you. Strength is all. In an Arab world that sadly admires power more
than compassion, he was a hero for millions of Egyptians, Saudis, Kuwaitis,
Lebanese, even Syrians. "He may be ruthless," a Lebanese journalist remarked
to me in 1990, "but you have to admit he's strong. He stands up to people."
In reality, Saddam walks tall when his enemies are beaten. He dreams like a
sleepwalker. I recall huddling with Iraqi commandos in a shell-smashed city
in southern Iran in 1980 when an officer announced a personal message from
Saddam to all his fighting forces. They were participating, he announced, in
"the lightning war". There was even a song that played continuously on Iraqi
television: "The Lightning War". Like the "Mother of All Battles", it was a
mockery of the truth.

There were other hints in his war with Iran, had we but known it, of
Saddam's behaviour in Kuwait. In 1983, after proclaiming the Iraqi-occupied
Iranian city of Khorramshahr a bastion to be defended to the last man ­
Saddam's personal Stalingrad ­ he simply ordered his thousands of troops to
abandon the fortress and march back to Iraq, just as he ordered his men to
abandon Kuwait the moment the Western armies broke into Iraq in 1991. If his
behaviour seems irrational, it is certainly consistent. He believed that a
strong Iraq must be self-sufficient. It must make its own weapons, its own
tanks, its own bullets.

A year to the day after his 1990 invasion of Kuwait, I was prowling through
the wreckage of the Iraqi army along the Basra highway when I came upon an
upturned ammunition truck whose cargo of battalion and brigade notebooks had
been scattered across the desert, partly buried in sand. "Message from the
Supreme Commander," it said in one. And there, page after page, was the text
of a secret Saddam speech to his high command. Iraq, he said, must abandon
its traditional confidence in other nations; it must set up its own arms
factories, invent its own secret weapons. There it all was, in blue Biro,
the authentic voice of Saddam speaking from beneath the very floor of the

It is not so difficult to struggle into the mind of Saddam when you read
this. He had invaded Iran and the West loved him. Why should they object ­
or fight him ­ when, threatened by Kuwaiti demands for the billions of
dollars in "loans" used to pay off the Iran war and with the Kuwaitis
apparently "stealing" Iraqi oil from beneath the Rumailah field, he invaded
Kuwait? Only four months earlier, just after Bazoft's hanging, a group of
American senators visited Saddam in Baghdad and assured him that "democracy
is a very confusing issue ­ I believe that your problems lie with the
Western media and not with the US government" (this from Senator Alan
Simpson). Senator Howard Metzenbaum, announcing himself "a Jew and a staunch
supporter of Israel", went on to tell Saddam that "I have been sitting here
and listening to you for about an hour, and I am now aware that you are a
strong and intelligent man and that you want peace."

So what had Saddam to fear from the US? In that last fateful interview with
US ambassador April Glaspie, less than a month before the invasion of
Kuwait, Saddam told Ms Glaspie that Kuwait's borders were drawn in colonial
days. Saddam had always been an anti-colonialist. "We studied history at
school," the luckless Glaspie replies. "They taught us to say freedom or
death. I think you know well that we... have our experience with the
colonialists. We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your
border disagreement with Kuwait." In a post-war press interview, as the
writer Christopher Hitchens has pointed out, Glaspie gave the game away. "We
never expected they would take all of Kuwait," she said.

The Americans were going to let Saddam bite a chunk out of the Kuwaiti
border. Saddam thought he had permission to gobble up all of Kuwait. And so
we went to war with the Hitler of the Euphrates. And so he lives on in his
palaces and bunkers while his people die for lack of clean water and
medicines under the UN sanctions that are supposed to harm Saddam. We still
bomb him every day ­ our war with Saddam has lasted 10 years now ­ and
slowly, the Arabs, dismayed by the bloodshed in the Palestine-Israel war,
are warming once more to the man who never gave in. Jordan, Lebanon, Syria,
the Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia ­ almost all of them America's
allies in 1991 ­ are now breaking the air embargo by flying into Baghdad.
Saddam lives.

by Eli J. Lake

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (UPI)-With the appointment of Donald Rumsfeld as
Secretary of Defense, President-elect George W. Bush has done the Iraqi
resistance a great service.

On Thursday Bush gave the keys to the Pentagon to an ardent supporter of the
Iraqi National Congress, the umbrella group for the panoply of Iraq's at
times disunited rebels, many of whom live in exile, but who strongly believe
that American training and weapons are all they need to spark a revolution
in Baghdad.

On Feb. 19, 1998 Rumsfeld signed along with most of the Republican Party's
neo conservative foreign policy brain trust a letter urging the president to
among other things recognize the INC as Iraq's government in exile. The
letter says, "Iraq today is ripe for a broad-based insurrection. We must
exploit this opportunity," and outlines a series of steps the government
should take to aid the INC including positioning "U.S. ground force
equipment in the region so that, as a last resort, we have the capacity to
protect and assist the anti-Saddam forces in the northern and southern parts
of Iraq."

This last part became the basis for the Iraq Liberation Act, which ended up
passing Congress and being signed into law that year. David Wurmser, an
analyst at the American Enterprise Institute who specializes in Iraq policy,
called the letter a "shot across the bow" of the Washington establishment on
Iraq policy, which to that point supported maintaining the U.N. sanctions
against Saddam and containing his influence through no fly zones in the
north and south.

But a plan to openly arm a coalition of Iraqi rebels found many detractors
in the Clinton Administration. To start, the last commander of the Army's
central command, Anthony Zinni -- who left the post this year -- became
convinced the Iraqi National Congress had no hope of mounting a successful
rebellion in Iraq and told Congress, the press and Clinton's national
security team as much whenever asked.

The State Department used a number of tactics in the last two years to stall
the disbursement of the $97 million worth of military and financial
assistance authorized by the Iraq Liberation Act. It wasn't until this year
that the rebels began to see some of the support promised in the
legislation. That has amounted to training for non-lethal activities like
public relations, some office equipment and even a course in conflict

To date, despite Congress' promise, the INC has not seen a single weapon.
Ahmed Chalabi, one of the leading members of the INC, told UPI,. "I think
the initial statements of the new appointees are very useful for us; all of
them realize that Saddam is a problem." He points to the Republican Party
platform, redrafted this summer, which calls unambiguously for "the full
implementation of the Iraq Liberation Act."

Chalabi was the target of a campaign from the CIA in the mid '90s to
blackball him in Washington after initially arming and funding his group in
the aftermath of the Gulf War until 1995 with what is estimated to have been
between $15 million to $100 million.

Despite a whisper campaign that dredged up Chalabi's role in an alleged
scandal involving Petra Bank of Jordan, he reemerged and developed close
relationships with both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. On his
many trips to Washington, Chalabi also became a darling of the conservative
American Enterprise Institute where he cultivated personal ties with
Rumsfeld and Vice President-elect Richard Cheney during the think tank's
annual retreats in Beaver Creek, Col.

Chalabi would not get too specific about what kind of "lethal aid" he
believes he needs, but he did say he thinks the assistance should go to form
a small force not necessarily capable of winning a civil war, but capable of
winning some battles against the Republican Guard. In Chalabi's view such
victories would create an atmosphere where defections from Iraq's army would
be likely because "they would have a place to go."

Chalabi also said he would like to enroll his men in the army's 11- week
training course. That, he believes, could help forge his discordant troops
into a military fighting unit. A little over 100 INC men have trained with
the army in non-lethal courses. Chalabi said he would like to boost this to
the thousands.

Because the Iraq Liberation Act is already law, the discretion to deliver
that lethal aid rests largely with Rumsfeld. He has the authority to order
the shipments he deems necessary for the rebel groups.

Either way it is unlikely he will run into much opposition in Congress. The
Iraq Liberation Act had support from both the ranking democrat and chairman
of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In the House, one of the INC's
recent critics, Rep. Sam Gejdenson, D Conn., this Congress' ranking Democrat
on the House International Relations Committee, did not win reelection. The
man likely to replace him on the committee, Tom Lantos, has been a vocal
defender of sanctions and is more likely to go along with the plan.

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa. a leading candidate for the House Armed Services
Committee told UPI, "I think you will find an aggressive effort early on in
the administration to implement the Iraq Liberation Act."

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