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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 http://www.washtimes.com/world/default-20001225224629.htm * SUFFERING OF WAR OPENS WAY TO A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR KURDS 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 generations. 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 fat." 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 facades. 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 Myet. 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 smuggling. 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/religion/20001225/t000122743.html * SOUTHLAND MUSLIMS SEEK TO EASE U.S.-LED EMBARGO ON IRAQ 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 people. 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 Bishops. 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 ones. 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 sanctions. 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. http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2000/12/26/News/News.17980.html * IAF REVEALS GULF WAR ATTACK PLAN 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 themselves. "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." http://theaustralian.com.au/common/story_page/0,4511,1552384%255E2702,00.htm l * SADDAM GUARD WANTS TO STAY IN OZ 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 Tribunal. 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 Hussein. "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 September. "I have done nothing to deserve being in Sierra," the man said in his statement. "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. http://www.msnbc.com/news/508681.asp * IRAQI DISSIDENTS DEAL WITH U.S. LIFE 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 live. 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 Woolsey. 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 people.¹ 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 Vietnam. EXODUS FROM IRAQ 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. GLIMPSE OF EVIDENCE 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 them. 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. citizens. 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 http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,415735,00.html * SANCTIONS GIVE IRAQ LITTLE TO CELEBRATE 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" them. 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. [.....] http://www.the-sun.co.uk/news/13262729 * SADDAM £10K TO KILL TOP GUN 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 sky. 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. http://www.news24.co.za/News24/World/Middle_East/0,1113,2-10 35_959081,00.html * MUSLIMS MARK SOMBRE EID 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 troubles. 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] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/People/Profiles/2000-12/profile301200.shtm l * SADDAM HUSSEIN: THE LAST GREAT TYRANT 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 desert. 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. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=148260 * NEXT PENTAGON CHIEF A SUPPORTER OF IRAQI RESISTANCE 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 resolution 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." -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk