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NEWS, 410/2/01 STATE OF SANCTIONS * Iraqi sanctions crumble to dust (Financial Times) * Sanctions Against Iraq Should Be Lifted (WorldNews special) * Speaker of Moroccan parliament leads Arab delegation to European parliament over lifting anti-Iraq sanctions * Iraq Sanctions Effective, Insists UK * Britain and US look for a way to hurt Saddam, not his people (Cook¹s visit to the US) US POLICY * Iraq's Saddam Hussein: He Never Went Away (an old article from January by a Former Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA) * Saddam Has Won the Propaganda War, So Change Tactics [by Thomas Friedman. Perhaps the most interesting article of the bunch, already circulated by Drew Hamre] * A Risky No-Fly Zone Over Iraq [a risky operation sending it out since it comes from the Washington Post. But note that I am invited to E-Mail This Article¹ and that¹s what I¹m doing] IRAQI INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Iraq-Egypt flights under way * Iraq defends minister's handshake with Saudi counterpart * Kasi [federal minister of Pakistan] calls on Saddam, delivers CE[Chief Executive]¹s message * Washington opposes a Jordanian, Iraqi [free trade] agreement * Iraqi prevents anti- Syrian political practices in its territories * Egypt rejects Iraqi 'escalation' against Kuwait * Iraq thwarting peace attempts: Kuwait * Saddam forms army "to liberate Jerusalem" * [Egyptian/Kuwaiti] Talks in Kuwait dealt with lifting suffering of the Iraqi people * Pope Shenouda visits Jerusalem only at Arafat's invitation [extract saying that The Middle East Council of Churches has plans to convene an upcoming meeting in Baghdad¹] * Iraqi paper renews warnings over Kuwait * Iraq appoints a new representative at the UN IRAQI NATIONAL CONGRESS * Iraqi opposition says sending in agents this month * Iraqi Leader Praises U.S. Gov't * Iraqi Opposition Faces Major Credibility Hurdles [worth reading] KURDISTAN * Ethnic Cleansing in Kirkuk * Baghdad To Replace Currency In Kurdistan NEW WORLD ORDER * CIA: China, Iran, Terrorism, pose worst threats ["Never in my experience has American intelligence had to deal with such a dynamic set of concerns affecting such a broad range of U.S. interests. Never have we had to deal with such a high quotient of uncertainty," CIA Director George Tenet said. Come back, Stalin. All is forgiven] * Interpreting the new Bush [Israeli account of Arab hopes and fears] * UK-US joint front against Iraq, Libya MISCELLANEOUS * Iraq Says It Can Prove No More Mass Destruction Arms * Gulf War bombs kill Iraqi child, injure 6 URLs ONLY: http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/02/07/us.iraq/index.html * U.S.-Iraq policy may hinge on Mideast peace by Andrea Koppel, CNN, 7th February http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51182-2001Feb9.html * Iraq Imperils OPEC Plan Washington Post, Saturday, February 10, 2001 [on success of Iraq¹s smuggling and surcharge operations. Its all appeared before in one form or another] http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT36J3CPTIC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZINS5VA0C&subheading=middle%20east%20and%20africa * UN sanctions on Iraq attacked by Jimmy Burns, Financial Times, 5th February http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/20010209/t000011941.html * New Leads Emerge on Missing Flier by PAUL RICHTER Los Angeles Times, 9th February [we¹re not actually told what the new leads are] http://www.individual.com/story.shtml?story=d0209113.100 * U.S. calls on U.N. panel to curb Iraqi oil surcharges by Bernie Woodall http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,435833,00.html * Hain's world by Kevin Toolis The Guardian, 10th February [this might have gone in but its an epic-length soap opera] http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT39RUPMUIC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZINS5VA0C&subheading=middle%20east%20and%20africa * IRAQI SANCTIONS CRUMBLE TO DUST by Carola Hoyos and Roula Khalaf Financial Times, 5th February United Nations diplomats are becoming increasingly alarmed at the crumbling of the comprehensive sanctions against Iraq. The UK and France, which as recently as a month ago played down the impact of Iraq's strengthened ties with the international community, now believe the Iraqi regime is earning what amounts to $2bn (£1.36bn) a year from smuggling, double estimates of western governments a few months ago. On top of increased smuggling through Iran, Turkey, Syria and Jordan, evidence is mounting that companies buying Iraqi oil are paying a surcharge directly to the Iraqi government. "The cheating is the worst- kept secret in the oil business," says Antonio Szabo, president of Stone Bond, a Houston-based energy consultant. "The oil-consuming countries have a keen but concealed interest in keeping Iraqi crude flowing." UN diplomats agree. "Everybody knows - the Americans know, the French know and the [UN] oil overseers know," said one diplomat. The UN employs 1,000 international staff and 1,700 Iraqi nationals who are paid with Iraq's oil revenue. With arms inspectors blocked from returning to Iraq, control of Baghdad's finances has become one of the last means the UN has of preventing the country rebuilding its weapons programmes. But wresting control of Iraq's oil revenues back from the UN has also become Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's top priority. In recent weeks, middlemen with good Iraqi contacts have begun to accept Baghdad's demand for a surcharge on its crude oil in sales under the UN-approved oil-for-food deal. They resell the oil to traders, who pass it on to large companies. Analysts say these companies are taking Iraqi oil at a relatively high price because the production cut earlier this month by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has left Iraq as the last resort. According to the UN, Iraq's exports doubled from December to January and now total about 1.2m barrels per day (b/d), but are still about 1m b/d short of their average capacity. The increase follows a two-month interruption during which Somo, Iraq's state oil company, tested the size of the surcharge buyers were willing to accept. Western officials point out that there are breaches of sanctions by companies selling to Iraq outside the oil-for-food programme, and these too are being ignored. "They have to import and export outside the oil-for- food deal and everyone is joining in, including big western companies," says a senior official. Syria has begun to import illegally as much as 100,000 b/d of Iraqi oil, according to diplomats. Iraqi oil trucks stream across Jordan's border, and Iran is doing little to stop tankers smuggling oil through the Gulf. The reopened pipeline to Syria is the most embarrassing development for the UN. Damascus is believed to be buying Iraqi oil to use in its own refineries and increasing exports of its own crude. Both Iraq and Syria are keen not to publicise the new trade. Damascus says it has no intention of breaching UN resolutions. But as one senior European official says: "Everyone knows, and they're all closing their eyes to this, while the Syrians say they're just testing the pipeline." Oil experts and diplomats say the UN is unable to prosecute those who break sanctions. But the more pervasive problem is that the Security Council, which designs the UN's policy on Iraq, is too divided to counter or even spotlight the violations. http://www.baghdad.com/?action=display&article=5629496&template=baghdad/inde xsearch.txt&index=recent * SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ SHOULD BE LIFTED by our Correspondent Christos Gabrielides. Mounting international criticism of decade-old UN sanctions on Iraq, and their devastating impact on the civilian population, led the UN Security Council to form a committee in April to look at ways in which sanctions could be imposed without unduly harming innocent civilians. A draft report from the committee advocates placing time-limits on sanctions and a 'reward' for compliance. These proposals were broadly supported by French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, who recently commented: "The Security Council must precisely define the sanctions' goals, and fix a limited duration that would allow it to regularly evaluate the situation and to lift, alleviate or on the contrary prolong them by a deliberate decision." France has argued that a 'carrot and stick' approach to sanctions would be far more effective and less damaging to countries and their populations. However, the United States is understood to be opposed to such reforms - fearing this would undermine its hardline stance on Iraq. Last month marked the tenth anniversary of the start of the Gulf War and prompted renewed calls for the lifting of sanctions, which are estimated to have contributed to the deaths of at least 500,000 people in Iraq, many of them children. The UK's Tony Benn, a veteran Labour politician widely respected for his political integrity, has long campaigned for the lifting of sanctions. Mr Benn has suggested that UN sanctions against Iraq constitute a war crime and, according to the BBC, said: "We have destroyed the whole of Iraqi society. We have killed hundreds of thousands of people with sanctions. We have used depleted uranium - and no one talks about the effects it has on the people we used it on, only the British veterans." Mr Benn went on to question the real motives behind the continued imposition of the sanctions and argued that economic considerations, rather than political or humanitarian concerns, were the cause. He added: "It really is the systematic destruction of a country for reasons I think are more connected with oil than human rights." Meanwhile, 'A People Sacrificed: Sanctions Against Iraq', a report released yesterday by Europe's leading Catholic aid agencies stated that sanctions 'resulted in untold suffering for millions of people - physical, mental and cultural', and argued for their end. Interestingly, the report quoted Denis Halliday, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and former United Nations Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq. He was quoted as saying: "Both the fact that we can not communicate with him (President Saddam Hussein), the fact that we can not make any progress in our dialogue with him, does not allow us, does not empower us to kill the children of Iraq. It is as simple as that. And like you, you and I together, we don't want to be held responsible for, for lack of a better word, what is genocide in Iraq today." [The report can be had at http://www.Cafod.org.UK PB] China, France and Russia have long argued that sanctions should be eased or lifted. Their most vociferous opponents have been the US and Britain, which claims to have an 'ethical foreign policy'. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010207/2001020731.html * SPEAKER OF MOROCCAN PARLIAMENT LEADS ARAB DELEGATION TO EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT OVER LIFTING ANTI-IRAQ SANCTIONS Arabic News, 7th February Speaker of the Moroccan house of representatives, Abdelouahed Radi, will lead an Arab parliamentary delegation on a mission to the European Parliament for the lifting of the sanctions enforced against Iraq. The Arab delegation will meet this Wednesday speaker of the European parliament, Nicole Fontaine. The APU secretariat general appointed Radi chairman of the Arab delegation to undertake contacts with the European Parliament and other legislative bodies to glean support for the lifting of the embargo enforced against Iraq in 1990. The delegation comprises legislators from Jordan, Algeria, Morocco and Yemen. Radi's mission comes in implementation of resolutions adopted by the Arab Inter Parliamentary Union meetings, mainly the APU council extraordinary session held in December 1998 in Amman. A memorandum of the APU secretariat general deplores the negative effects of the sanctions, mainly the high infant mortality rate, propagation of diseases, malnutrition, medicine shortage and deterioration of health and education services. Contradictions between policies meant to starve people and human rights principles were also criticized by the memo. http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/19132626.htm * IRAQ SANCTIONS EFFECTIVE, INSISTS UK London, Feb. 7, IRNA -- The British government has denied that the decade-old UN sanctions regime against Iraq has become increasingly counterproductive. "The sanctions have had the effect of containing Saddam Hussein for 10 years. We should not underestimate the enormity of that achievement," Foreign Office Minister Baroness Scotland said in a short House of Lords debate on Iraq Tuesday. She insisted that Britain "cannot accept the lifting of sanctions" before Iraq is in compliance with Security Council Resolution 687 dating from 1991. "That would amount to rewarding Iraqi intransigence on its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) capability," she said. The Foreign Office Minister faced questions about the breaking of sanctions by two members of the Security Council, France and Russia, and signs that the UN oil-for-food program may be unravelling with reports of oil companies paying premiums direct to Baghdad. Asked about the damage that may be done to the EU's common foreign and security policy by difference between London and Paris, she said that she cannot accept that the UK was "at odds with our partners, France" over Iraq policy. She added it was a "difficult, complex and sensitive" area and that the British government "must strive for comity, clear understanding and joint action." http://www.independent.co.uk/news/World/Middle_East/2001 02/saddam090201.shtml * BRITAIN AND US LOOK FOR A WAY TO HURT SADDAM, NOT HIS PEOPLE by David Usborne in New York The Independent, 9 February 2001 Britain and the United States are preparing to offer radical changes in the regime of sanctions against Iraq to answer charges that, as currently applied, they disproportionately harm the Iraqi people. Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, and Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, have started talks in Washington this week on how to revive thecrumbling policy on Iraq. The two men asked their officials urgently to explore new approaches to applying sanctions on Saddam Hussein. There is deep frustration in London and Washington over the Iraqi leader's success in depicting UN sanctions as the principal cause of the suffering of his population. But both governments argue that it is the actions of his regime, not the sanctions, that are responsible for the hardship. "International debate has begun to soften on Saddam Hussein's version of events," said Mr Cook. "Saddam has explained sanctions to imply that we are penalising the Iraqi people. We are not. We and the people of Iraq have a common problem and that problem is Saddam Hussein." Preventing Saddam from rebuilding his army and developing weapons of mass destruction remains the priority of London and Washington. The system of sanctions and weapons inspections authorised by the UN Security Council has become unpopular with other governments. France, China and Russia, the three other permanent members of the council, are pressing for the sanctions regime to be wound down. Privately, Britain has even become impatient with the US over how the sanctions are implemented. Iraq, for example, is entitled to import equipment to rebuild its infrastructure with money earned from oil exports. In practice many such contracts are being blocked by the US, on the grounds that those supplies might be diverted to military projects. The Government is pressing the US to relax its stance on putting a hold on civil engineering contracts, arguing that such inflexibility plays directly into the hands of Saddam. London also wants to find new forms of sanctions that hurt the Iraqi army and political leadership. "It is very important that we are focused on the military side of sanctions or Iraq," said Mr Cook. He added that it was likely any new approach on Iraq could be implemented within the framework of existing UN Security Council resolutions. Mr Powell signalled that it may be time to give up on trying to get inspectors back in to Iraq and establish a system of inspections at points of import on Iraq's border. [.....] http://members.home.net/kurdistanobserver/25-1-01-los-angeles-times-irq.html * IRAQ'S SADDAM HUSSEIN: HE NEVER WENT AWAY by Graham E. Fuller Los Angeles Times, 24th January George W. Bush must now figure out how to succeed in Iraq where his father failed in 1991. Saddam Hussein, whom former President Bush failed to topple, is still the most vicious and dangerous leader anywhere in the world today. The bad news is that it is probably too late for the new administration to effect genuine change in Iraq at a price the United States is willing to pay. What might have been possible even five years ago is no longer possible today. Hussein is stronger both politically and militarily than he has ever been since the Gulf War, and he is pumping oil once again. The sanctions have lost nearly all international support and are perceived to have caused widespread suffering, especially upon children. Anti-Western feeling in Iraq has never been higher. Meanwhile, the international scene has shifted dramatically against U.S. policy. Sanctions are violated regularly. The French, Russians and many Arab states now operate flights into Baghdad. Weapons inspection regimes are over. Except for Kuwait, no Gulf state has the stomach for further sanctions, and they are increasingly uncomfortable with U.S. military missions over Iraq. Even the British now suggest that they are about to back off from supporting any more "no-fly zones" in southern Iraq, the sole part of the country where serious anti-regime operations occur. The Kurds in the north have long since lost faith in the ability of the U.S. to protect their autonomous region over the long run and have reestablished serious working relations with Hussein as insurance. Meanwhile, the Arab-Israeli peace process has collapsed, and anti-American feeling is running high in the Arab world. The Palestinians, embittered by their own impotence, revere any Arab leader with the guts to stand up to the U.S. and Israel. Other Arab autocrats fear their own populace and have little stomach for supporting what they see as unpopular U.S. adventurism against an over-demonized Arab strongman. The people of the region now range from cool to hostile toward any U.S. military presence on their shores. The U.S. presence in the Gulf is resented at a time when the U.S. needs Gulf goodwill in an environment of high oil prices. Everybody knows that Hussein is vicious, but they will no longer lend support to bringing him down. More to the point, except for Kuwait, they do not feel imminently threatened. Over the past decade, despite elaborate plans, Clinton policies have succeeded only in containing Hussein, denying him the chance to unleash campaigns of intimidation or war against yet more neighbors. His development of nuclear weapons has been severely retarded but not definitively terminated. This modest but significant holding operation may be the best we can hope for. All else has failed. The new Bush team inherits a mess while holding virtually no cards. As repugnant as it is to contemplate, U.S. policy now must come to terms with the reality of Hussein's presence until some Iraqi eliminates him. The U.S. is not going to invade Iraq. Coup plans have repeatedly foundered and are discredited; opposition groups are divided and penetrated. Radio broadcasts and opposition pinpricks are to no avail. A seriously armed opposition army in the north requires full Turkish cooperation, which will not be forthcoming. All Bush can do at this point is to maintain consensus on blocking the sale of war materiel to Iraq. More important, when signs of production and deployment of nuclear weapons are clear, Washington must be prepared to take unilateral action to eliminate them. And can, or will, Washington even protect the Kurds if Hussein marches against them inside his own country? That is the real litmus test. To build a more serious anti-Iraqi coalition requires near Herculean change in our Middle East policy: adoption of new policies perceived to be truly balanced in the peace process; a peace process shared at the international level with the EU and the U.N.; improving ties with Iran, a state that can seriously influence events in Iraq and the Gulf; gradual steps toward building a Gulf security forum and a willingness to listen to--not just lecture- regional leaders on what should be done regarding Hussein. After all, U.S. concerns about Hussein cannot be more vital than those of the people who live next to him. Graham E. Fuller Is a Former Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA http://www.iht.com/articles/9842.htm * SADDAM HAS WON THE PROPAGANDA WAR, SO CHANGE TACTICS by Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times Wednesday, February 7, 2001 DOHA, Qatar The Bush team has a full-fledged public relations disaster on its hands in the Arab world. From the smallest pistachio seller here on the shores of the Gulf to the highest Arab ministers, there is not only total opposition to any Bush plans to tighten sanctions on Saddam Hussein until he is squeezed out of power, but in fact virtually unanimous support for lifting sanctions immediately. America has lost the propaganda war with Saddam. Before the sanctions regime collapses entirely, it needs to find a way to at least salvage an international ban on all weapons sales to Iraq, with border inspections, so that Saddam's military power is contained - and forget about using endless economic sanctions to get rid of him. They are not sustainable. Especially after Ariel Sharon has won the Israeli election. Judging from many conversations here, the Arab street is poised to say to the Bush team: "Let me get this straight. You want us to join America in imposing sanctions on the Iraqi leader who smashed Kuwait, while America accepts the Israeli leader who smashed Lebanon? Not a chance." The U.S. effort to isolate Saddam has died of many causes. For one, Saddam totally outfoxed Washington in the propaganda war. All you hear and read in the media here is that the sanctions are starving the Iraqi people - which is true. The U.S. counter-arguments that by complying with UN resolutions Saddam could get those sanctions lifted at any time are never heard. Preoccupied with the peace process, no senior U.S. officials have made their case in any sustained way. You would never know from talking to people in the Gulf region that just a few weeks ago Saddam Hussein's son Uday put forward a "working paper" to the Iraqi National Assembly calling for a new emblem that showed Kuwait "as an integral part of greater Iraq." You would never know that Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, recently declared that "Kuwait got what it deserved." You would never know that during the period from June to December 2000, despite all the hunger among the Iraqi people, the United Nations reported that Saddam bought only $4.2 billion worth of food and medicine for his people, even though under the UN oil-for-food program he had $7.8 billion to spend. No, all you hear now are the sorts of arguments that Egypt's foreign minister, Amr Moussa, made at the Davos forum last week: "We can't expect that the people of Iraq live under sanctions forever. ... Since the war, public opinion in the Arab world has moved 180 degrees." Even if Colin Powell came to the Gulf to make the right arguments, he would have an uphill battle. For one thing, Washington has forgotten how different Iraq looks from the Arab world. The leaders of the small Gulf sheikhdoms are very good at calculating the balance of power. They know the difference between the mirage and the oasis, and they know that as long as Saddam is posing no immediate military threat to them, his army is still a use ful counterweight to their more dangerous historic enemy, Iran. On the Arab street the notion that at least one Arab country has weapons of mass destruction that can balance Israel's is very popular. And the daily Arab television diet of pictures of the Palestinian uprising and the Israeli retaliations has produced a gut desire on the Arab street to poke a finger in America's eye. Finally, the Arab street no longer accepts the logic of sanctions - that if you squeeze Iraq long enough the Iraqi people will oust Saddam. It is widely felt that Arab leaders can never be ousted by the "people." It never happens in this neighborhood. A Qatari intellectual said to me: "If your sanctions on Castro have not worked for 40 years to get rid of him, and he is right next to you, why do you believe that they will work to get rid of Saddam?" For the most part, the Iraqi opposition groups (funded by the United States) are viewed as corrupt outsiders who would be rejected by the Iraqi body politic in the unlikely event that they ever did oust Saddam. Bottom line: If Colin Powell tries really hard, launches a real PR campaign against Saddam, he might be able to hold together the sanctions long enough to get them lifted in an orderly way and replaced by a UN ban on all military sales to Iraq. If you think otherwise, well, I have some lakefront property on the Saudi-Qatari border I'd like to sell you. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52051-2001Feb9.html * A RISKY NO-FLY ZONE OVER IRAQ by Jim Hoagland Washington Post, February 10, 2001 E-Mail This Article For the first time since the Persian Gulf War ended a decade ago, Iraqi anti-aircraft units seriously endangered the lives of American and British pilots enforcing no-fly zones over that Arab country. Concern over a small but abrupt rise in Iraqi surface-to-air missile batteries and a recent change in tactics by Iraqi gunners reaches from the top of the Pentagon down to the crews operating out of Saudi Arabia and Turkey, according to U.S. and foreign military officers. The pilots and their commanders are stuck with flawed strategy and tactics developed under the Clinton administration. The fliers follow orders to attack targets of little military significance in Iraq, primarily for symbolic reasons, while operating in an increasingly dangerous environment. The Bush administration recognizes Iraq as an urgent foreign policy issue. But it needs to move more quickly to minimize the risk that Saddam Hussein will seize the initiative in a new Gulf crisis by knocking down a U.S. or British warplane with an SA-6 missile. President Bush chaired a White House meeting earlier this month devoted to Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has instructed his staff to rethink strategy on Iraq and may hope to make the Pentagon the lead government agency charting Iraq policy. He has a strong case for that move. But much of the initial attention in Bush II has been misdirected to shoring up sagging international support for economic sanctions against Iraq, a problem that requires sustained diplomatic work over the next year rather than a quick fix. In redesigning Iraq strategy to meet the new threats, the administration confronts one timing handicap of its own making -- the slowness in making appointments to key working-level positions in foreign policy and national security -- and another imposed by Congress, which severely restricts the work senior appointees can do before they are confirmed. The result is that Clinton era holdovers who helped develop and implement the strategy of ineffectual aerial pinpricks against Saddam's forces still hold important jobs and sit in on key planning sessions on Iraq. The Senate should help correct this anomaly by putting aside formalities and letting the new Bush people get to work. The Clinton administration essentially gave up on trying to get U.N. weapons inspectors back into Iraq and on bringing Saddam down, after staging three days of limited air raids in late 1998 during Operation Desert Fox. Saddam's refusal to let U.N. inspectors search for his missiles and weapons of mass destruction puts Iraq in breach of the cease-fire that ended the Gulf War. That provides a legal basis for new coalition military campaigns against Iraq. But after Desert Fox, the Clinton White House went the other way. It issued to the Pentagon highly restrictive rules of engagement for the pilots patrolling over Iraq's northern Kurdistan region and south of the 33rd parallel. Frustration quickly set in as pilots understood they were taking risks over Iraq for no real military purpose. Britain, the last ally willing to fly with the Americans over Iraq, quietly passed the word to Washington recently that a new, more focused and effective strategy was needed to justify continued military action. The concern over pilot safety jumped even more in Washington and London after Saddam staged a display of new military hardware in the New Year's Eve parade in Baghdad. U.S. military planners concluded that Iraq's inventory of SA-6 missile batteries had jumped from "a number you could count on two hands" to three dozen or so, said one planner. Intelligence reports identify Serbia and Ukraine as sources of the new missile batteries smuggled into Iraq last year. Iraqi gunners have had years to watch the flight patterns of U.S. and U.K. warplanes on patrol and have developed effective ways of using the SA-6 radar to guide the missile after it has been fired. This sharply decreases the time available to a pilot to evade the Iraqi rocket or to fire on the attacking battery. Pilots will adapt their tactics of evasion, and the new SA-6 batteries do not change the U.S. Iraqi military balance. But the new risks show that the Bush team does not have a minute to waste in reassessing the cost-benefit ratio of the military effort it has inherited in Iraq. That effort has not achieved results worth the potential sacrifices it asks pilots to make. The time for symbolic military action against Saddam is over. The British are right: We are at a crossroads. It is time to get real, or to get out. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1153000/1153407.st m * IRAQ-EGYPT FLIGHTS UNDER WAY BBC World Service, 4th February More details have emerged about an operation by an Egyptian company, International Group for Investment, to run flights between Cairo and the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The company chairman, Mohamed Shetah, told the BBC that three flights had already taken place with the approval of the United Nations sanctions committee. Another would leave on Friday. Earlier reports had said the first flight would take off on Tuesday. Mr Shetah said the planes were taking doctors to Iraq, and bringing back to Cairo Egyptian expatriates. He said the Egyptian authorities were aware of the operation and that if the UN should deny permission, the flights would be halted. http://www.timesofindia.com/040201/04mide9.htm * IRAQ DEFENDS MINISTER'S HANDSHAKE WITH SAUDI COUNTERPART Times of India, 4th February DOHA: Iraq's foreign minister defended on Friday the fact that the country's interior minister had shaken hands with his Saudi counterpart earlier this week. Nizar Hamdoun, arriving here on an official visit, was referring to a handshake on Tuesday between Iraqi Interior Minister Mohammad Zamam Abdul Razzak and Saudi Arabia's Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz. "This handshake is normal between two Arab ministers," Hamdoun was quoted by the official QNA news agency as saying. On Wednesday, Prince Nayef also defended the handshake. "(Political) differences do not stop me from greeting an Arab and speaking to him," Prince Nayef said, quoted by Al-Riyadh newspaper. At issue was a photograph published Tuesday showing Prince Nayef about to share a hearty handshake with Razzak on the sidelines of a meeting of Arab interior ministers in Tunis. Baghdad broke off diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia in February 1991 in the Middle of the Gulf War. Meanwhile, Hamdoun said his visit to Qatar was not "directly linked" with that country's initiatives to normalize Arab relations, which were severely damaged by Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. He also expressed his regret over the lack of normal relations between Iraq and Kuwait. (AFP) http://www.dawn.com/2001/02/04/nat10.htm * KASI CALLS ON SADDAM, DELIVERS CE'S MESSAGE Dawn (Pakistan), 4th February BAGHDAD, Feb 3: The federal minister, Dr Abdul Malik Kasi called on President Saddam Hussain on Friday and delivered a message from the chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf. Dr Kasi, who is on a goodwill visit, apprised the Iraqi president about the situation relating to Kashmir and Afghan refugees. He said Pakistan wanted to have good relations with Iraq and its people and said the Pakistanis were concerned about the plight of their Iraqi brethren and had sympathies with them. President Saddam Hussain emphasised on strengthening of bilateral relations with Pakistan and said both the countries have common values and centuries old ties. Saddam appreciated the goodwill expressed by Pakistan for Iraq and gave a message of goodwill for the chief executive Gen Pervez Musharraf. Earlier, Health Minister met the deputy prime minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz and discussed matters of mutual interests.-APP http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010206/2001020609.html * WASHINGTON OPPOSES A JORDANIAN, IRAQI AGREEMENT Arabic News, 6th February Political and diplomatic sources in Amman said that the US has opposed Jordan's desire to sign a free trade zone agreement with Iraq, which is currently under preparations. The Jordanian weekly al-Majd in its recent issue published on Monday quoted these sources as saying that the American embassy in Amman conveyed to the Jordanian government the regret of the American administration for statements made by the Jordanian prime minister Ali Abu al-Ragheb which he made last Monday in which he said that the Jordanian minister of commerce and industry will discuss in Baghdad signing a free trade agreement between the two states. The same sources added that the US state department informed the Jordanian foreign ministry that Jordan can not be linked to two free trade agreements with two countries who are in a state of hostility and that Jordan has to stop its attempt to sign this agreement with Iraq. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010206/2001020611.html * IRAQI PREVENTS ANTI- SYRIAN POLITICAL PRACTICES IN ITS TERRITORIES Arabic News, 6th February In its Monday's issue, the Jordanian weekly al-Majd said that the Iraqi leadership gave instructions to all opposition Syria organizations which take Baghdad as a headquarters to stop issuing statements or taking any stances damaging the regime in Syria. Well-informed sources told al-Majd that the opposition Syrian organizations (Baathists, Islamists, Marxists ) recently received clear instructions from the Iraqi leadership on the need of halting all activities against Syria either by words or action, under the penalty of expelling from the Iraqi territories any group or organization violates these instructions. The sources expressed their conviction that these tough instructions from the Iraqi leadership reflect the deep relations recently established between Syria and Iraq at all political, economic and security levels. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=9015 * EGYPT REJECTS IRAQI 'ESCALATION' AGAINST KUWAIT Kuwait, Reuters, 7th February Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began a visit to Kuwait yesterday expected to focus on boosting ties and discussing ways to deal with Iraq, their Gulf War foe. Kuwait's ruler Emir Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah opened talks with Mubarak shortly after greeting him at the airport on his first visit in two years. Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa told reporters Cairo had no specific initiative to present on mending the Iraq-Kuwait rift that has split the Arab world since Iraq invaded its southern neighbour in 1990. "This is not the purpose of the visit," Moussa said. He denounced recent remarks by Iraqi Vice President Taha Ramadan as an "escalation" against Kuwait. Ramadan said during a visit to Cairo in January, which coincided with the 10th anniversary of the start of the Gulf War, that 99 per cent of Iraqis still believed Kuwait belonged to Iraq. "These statements were surrounded by many question marks... we are against escalation and this is unacceptable," Moussa said. Ramadan's visit to Cairo to seal a free trade accord with Egypt coincided with a visit by Kuwaiti Speaker Jassem Al Kharafi. Kharafi told reporters that while in Cairo he asked Mubarak if there were any obstacles in ties between their countries. "'Not at all'," Kharafi quoted Mubarak as telling him. "The President said: 'You will see me soon among you',". Egypt played a major role in the 32-nation, U.S.-led military alliance which forced Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in a six-week war. Egypt has acted in recent months to normalise ties with Iraq and diplomats say this has caused concern in Kuwait, which is sensitive about relations between Arab states and Iraq. Moussa said Egypt's free trade accord with Iraq should not be seen as a step against Kuwait. "It concerns trade ties between two countries within the boundaries of trade only...and not at the expense of any other country," he said. Kuwaiti-Egyptian ties have faced a few snags in recent years including riots in 1999 by thousands of Egyptian workers protesting against alleged maltreatment in Kuwait. Mubarak has visited Kuwait five times since the Gulf War ended a seven-month Iraqi occupation of the small, oil-rich state. http://www.timesofindia.com/070201/07mide4.htm * IRAQ THWARTING PEACE ATTEMPTS: KUWAIT Times of India, 7th February DOHA (AFP): Iraq is undermining all attempts at a rapprochement between Arab countries by making hostile statements about its neighbours, a senior Kuwaiti official said Tuesday. "At a time when Arab solidarity has started to be revived, Iraq has come to dash all hope of a proper revival through its recent statements," secretary of state for foreign affairs, Khalid Jarallah, said in Doha. Jarallah, on the last stop of a tour that has taken him to Oman and the United Arab Emirates, was referring to renewed claims by MP Uday Saddam Hussein, elder son of the Iraqi president, to Kuwait as forming part of a "Greater Iraq". Uday Hussein called for Iraq's National Assembly "to prepare a map of the whole of Iraq, including Kuwait City as an integral part of Greater Iraq." The renewal of claims over Kuwait came on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the 1991 Gulf War triggered by Baghdad's invasion of the emirate and its annexation as Iraq's 19th province in August the previous year. "While everyone is looking to put the region out of tension's way, Iraq insists on doing the opposite and defying UN Security Council resolutions," Jarallah said. Jarallah also denied any link between his visit to Qatar and that of his Iraqi counterpart Nizar Hamdoun's on Sunday. [.....] http://www.timesofindia.com/080201/08mide15.htm * SADDAM FORMS ARMY "TO LIBERATE JERUSALEM" Times of India, 7th February BAGHDAD: President Saddam Hussein has started to form an army "to liberate Jerusalem" from Israeli rule, a senior Iraqi official announced on Wednesday. "At the orders of President Saddam Hussein, we have started to form the first brigade of volunteers in the Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem) Army to liberate Jerusalem," Ali Hassan al Meguid, a member of the decision-making Revolutionary Command Council, said. Iraq has already announced the mobilisation of more than 6.5 million volunteers for a jihad, or Muslim holy war, against the Jewish state.(AFP) http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010208/2001020839.html * TALKS IN KUWAIT DEALT WITH LIFTING SUFFERING OF THE IRAQI PEOPLE Arabic News, 8th February Osama Al Baz, the Political Advisor to the President said that talks by President Mubarak with Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah dealt with the importance of lifting the suffering of the Iraqi people besides key issues, which will be tackled by the forthcoming Arab summit. Baz told Sawt A1 Arab Radio that Arab reconciliation will be only established if it is based on frankness. He referred to the Kuwaiti leadership's keenness to rally Arab ranks. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010208/2001020837.html * POPE SHENOUDA VISITS JERUSALEM ONLY AT ARAFAT'S INVITATION Arabic News, 8th February Head of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Shenouda III said he continued to hold firm on his rejection to visit Jerusalem as long as it remains under Israel's control and will only go to the Holy City at the invitation of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. [.....] Pope Shenouda said he was happy to receive an invitation from the Iraqi government to visit Baghdad, and expressed solidarity with he Iraqi people who have suffered a great deal under an embargo and serious humanitarian conditions. The Middle East Council of Churches has plans to convene an upcoming meeting in Baghdad, he added. [.....] http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/02/08/iraq.kuwait.reut/index.html * IRAQI PAPER RENEWS WARNINGS OVER KUWAIT CNN, February 8, 2001 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- An authoritative Iraqi newspaper said Thursday that Iraq would be within its rights to end its commitment to U.N. resolutions regarding Kuwait because of Kuwait's provision of bases for Western planes that bomb Iraq. "Iraq has the right to withdraw its recognition of any provision of the United Nations resolutions which the Kuwaiti rulers benefit from," the ruling Baath Party newspaper, al Thawra, said. One resolution issued by the U.N. Security Council was that Iraq must formally recognize its border with Kuwait in line with provisions of the 1991 Gulf War cease-fire. They also demanded the scrapping of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the U.N. monitoring of its defense facilities. The comment was the most explicit statement so far of a view that has been hinted at in recent weeks in the Iraqi press. Iraq, whose forces invaded Kuwait in 1990 but were driven out by a U.S.-led alliance in February 1991, recognized Kuwait and the U.N.-defined borders in 1994. "It is quite unacceptable that only Iraq is committed to such unjust resolutions," al-Thawra said in a front-page editorial. Last month, Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan caused concern in the Arab world and beyond when he said that 99 percent of Iraqis believed Kuwait belonged to their country, although he added that was not state policy. Al-Thawra said its comment was "not a threat or escalation as the Kuwaiti rulers would interpret ... but it is a legal stance which represents Iraq's right to maintain its security and sovereignty. "Iraq has the right to take suitable decisions at a suitable time and if what we have said is worrying for the Kuwaiti rulers they should stop participation in the aggression," the paper concluded. U.S. and British warplanes use Kuwaiti and Saudi bases to patrol a no-fly zone over southern Iraq set up after the Gulf War to protect Shi'ite Muslims. The planes have frequently bombed targets when challenged by Iraqi defense forces. Iraqi officials and the press have launched fierce verbal attacks on Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for allowing the Western planes to use their territory. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010210/2001021002.html * IRAQ APPOINTS A NEW REPRESENTATIVE AT THE UN Arabic News, 10th February It was announced in Baghdad on Friday that Iraq has appointed ambassador Muhammad Ali al-Douri as a new ambassador t the UN in New York. It was also said that Muhammad al-Douri, Iraq's permanent representative at the European headquarters of the UN at Geneva, had submitted his credentials to the UN secretary General Kofi Annan, in succession to Saeed Hassan Musawi. Recently, al-Musawi who acquired this post since February 1999 was appointed as the chairman of the international organizations and conferences. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=9019 * IRAQI OPPOSITION SAYS SENDING IN AGENTS THIS MONTH Washington, Reuters, 7th February The Iraqi opposition, flush with new U.S. aid money, said yesterday it would send dozens of groups of infiltrators into Iraq starting this month to collect information and recruit supporters for its campaign to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The opposition Iraqi National Congress (INC) said the cross-border operations could now begin because the new U.S. administration of George W. Bush is more serious about supporting the opposition than the previous Clinton team. "Now that the administration is much more forthcoming on these issues, we can take it to another level," said INC official spokesman Sharif Ali bin AlHussein. "Initially we will send teams in to gather the information and to recruit more people through internal organizations inside Iraq... They will enter Iraq within two weeks and establish communications lines," he told Reuters. He said "tens of groups" would cross the border, choosing areas where the Iraqi security presence is thin and making use of their local connections. "The security system is not that pervasive and it's not difficult to enter Iraq for groups that have the connections," he added. Sharif Ali, a constitutional monarchist and first cousin to the late King Faisal II of Iraq, is in Washington with the rest of the six-man INC leadership for negotiations with the State Department on details of a $29 million U.S. aid package. The package is a quantum leap up from the amounts the INC received under former President Bill Clinton. The Clinton administration had already given the INC clearance to spend $4 million on information gathering inside Iraq and the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control released the funds last week. The INC leaders began their meetings on Monday and were to have talks yesterday with Edward Walker, assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs. Sharif Ali said they had also met prospective members of the Bush administration but he declined to name them on the grounds that they have not yet been appointed or confirmed. But he said he detected a "marked shift" in the attitude towards the Iraqi opposition, which some members of the Clinton administration often slighted in private. The former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, Gen. Anthony Zinni, was especially outspoken about the failings of the INC and the dangers of giving it military support. "Some of these groups (have) debilitating quarrels. They fight with each other. They kill each other. They have yet to show cohesion," he told the Senate Armed Forces Committee last September. "Before we sign up the American military...be careful. Bay of Pigs could turn into Bay of Goats," he added - a reference to U.S. support for the abortive invasion of Cuba by Cuban opponents of Fidel Castro in 1961. Sharif Ali said, "There's a marked shift in turning policy into practice. We are getting a definite feel that they (the Bush administration) are enthusiastic about doing something." "It's a different ballgame now. It's tangible how big the change is. We're getting a very positive response," he added. U.S. officials under Clinton, including Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, repeatedly advocated building up the INC slowly, avoiding military action at first for fear its forces would be wiped out in their first skirmish with Iraqi troops. Sharif Ali said sending INC agents into government-held territory was a risk but Iraqis will be willing to take it. "These are all volunteers and there are many more clamoring to return to Iraq. It's very exciting for them," he said. The next phase of INC activity inside Iraq will be distributing food and medicines through clandestine forays. The $29 million aid package contains $12 million for this. INC sources say Vice President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld strongly support of INC plans to challenge Saddam, while Secretary of State Colin Powell has not yet made up his mind if it is wise to help them. Iraq's immediate neighbours, including Turkey, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, are not enthusiastic about the INC - a factor that is bound to weigh in Powell's calculations. http://www.baghdad.com/?action=display&article=5654804&template=baghdad/inde xsearch.txt&index=recent * IRAQI LEADER PRAISES U.S. GOV'T WASHINGTON (Associated Press, Wed 7 Feb) Seeing new hope after years of frustration, an Iraqi opposition leader said Wednesday the Bush administration is ``significantly'' more inclined to provide aid to resistance groups than was the Clinton administration. Sharif Ali Bin Al Hussein, in Washington with two other members of the Iraqi National Congress for official talks, said ``the last four or maybe eight years have been wasted'' because of what he said was the Clinton administration's unwillingness to show strong backing for the London-based group. Ali said in an interview that he and others from the INC have been impressed by the eagerness of the new team in Washington to find ways to help the group in its quest to depose Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. ``The questions we are being asked are: 'How can we do it? What do you suggest? How can we move forward?' We never had that discussion with the previous administration.'' Ali, Ahmed Chalabi, a founding member of the INC, and S.H. Mohammad Mohammad Ali are meeting with officials of the State Department's Middle East bureau this week. Iraq has been high on the administration's agenda, and Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed the issue on Tuesday with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. ``It's important that we frustrate the ambitions of Saddam Hussein,'' Cook told reporters Wednesday. Last week, the INC was encouraged by the Bush administration's decision to allow the group to draw $4 million approved by Congress to carry out information-gathering activities inside Iraq relating to Iraqi war crimes, weapons development and other matters. Ali said the INC is conferring with administration officials on the release of an additional $29 million approved for the current fiscal year. It will be used for humanitarian relief, media-related activities, administration, diplomacy and conferences. Separately, Congress has approved $97 million in military assistance to the INC. Only a small part was released by the Clinton administration, a reflection of its cautious approach. Clinton's national security adviser, Samuel Berger, once explained the administration's rationale by saying that if ``you encourage and almost incite people to rise up against their government, you incur a moral obligation to come to their defense at a moment of peril.'' Ali said the administration should have acted more boldly against Saddam: ``It preferred containment to removal,'' he said. In the absence of clear signals of resolve by the United States, Iraq has been resurgent and Arab countries ``have been cozying up to Saddam,'' Ali said. He said he believes a turning point will occur when Saddam's enemies are able to seize control on an enclave or installation, and Saddam's forces are unable to remove them. ``Once people feel they are able to challenge him, then (the rebellion) will spread significantly,'' he said. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010210/wl/iraq_opposition_dc_1.html * IRAQI OPPOSITION FACES MAJOR CREDIBILITY HURDLES by Jonathan Wright WASHINGTON (Reuters, aturday February 10) - The opposition Iraqi National Congress (INC), billed as a worthy cause under the Bush administration, faces major hurdles in its campaign to overthrow President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), analysts said. The INC will have to secure a level of U.S. commitment sufficient to persuade Iraq's neighbors that Washington is serious about carrying out the task that President George W. Bush (news - web sites)'s father shied away from after the Gulf War (news - web sites) in 1991. The leaders at the center of the INC must also persuade their Kurdish and Shi'ite Muslim colleagues, who have real guerrilla forces, to cooperate with a central command and carry out a coordinated plan, according to analysts. Even then, success will probably depend, not on capturing Baghdad in street-to-street fighting but on convincing Iraqi troops and Baath Party members that they have no future under Saddam and that the time was come to defect, they added. INC leaders, visiting Washington for the first time since President Bush (news - web sites) took office on Jan. 20, say they are strongly encouraged by their contacts with the new administration. ``We feel this administration is much more serious about dealing with the Iraqi regime,'' Ahmad Chalabi, a member of the six-man INC leadership, said on Friday. ``We are very optimistic. They have taken our ideas on board,'' added INC spokesman Sharif Ali Bin Al Hussein. ARMCHAIR REVOLUTIONARIES The opposition leaders take heart from campaign statements by people in or close to the Bush administration. Many Republicans accused the Clinton administration of failing to give the INC the level of support it deserved. The Clinton administration argued in private that none of Iraq's neighbors were willing to endorse a strategy of ``regime change'' based on support for the opposition. Clinton officials also did little to dispel the widespread impression that INC leaders were armchair revolutionaries, more comfortable in London hotels than on the ground in Iraq. Their opponents retorted that if the United States led the way and showed it was serious about the INC, Arab states like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan would follow. ``What we have seen is a self-fulfilling prophecy,'' said former congressman Steven Solarz, vice chairman of the International Crisis Group and an INC sympathizer. ``We don't give them support on the grounds that they're not effective, and they're not effective because we haven't given them any support,'' he told Reuters. But even if the United States does promote the INC, for example by giving military training, it is by no means clear that the organization will be on the path to success. Hamid al-Bayati, London representative of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), said the INC would need permission either from the Kurds or from Iran, even for its preliminary plan to start operations inside Iraq. KURDS IN HARM'S WAY Historically the Kurds, who now run an autonomous enclave in the north, have borne the brunt of Baghdad's retaliation whenever opposition activities collapse. They are naturally wary of associating with adventurers. ``We cannot leave our people to the mercy of the consequences of such acts. It's premature, given the consequences that could emerge,'' said a senior Kurdish politician, speaking by telephone from Kurdistan. The politician said the priority of the Kurdish authorities was to set up a model of self government in the north, with a high quality of life, rule of law and civil society. ``I would rather not push my people into jeopardy, into harm's way, into schemes that are not well defined or credible. That would put people's lives in danger,'' he said. ``We are living in the region. We do not have the luxury of hotels in London. We have to be very realistic and very cautious,'' the politician added. This Kurdish hesitancy is a serious obstacle to the INC's ambitions, because the Kurdish parties already have an experienced guerrilla force of some 10,000 fighters and their territory is the natural springboard for INC operations. Bayati, whose Tehran-based group already attacks Iraqi government targets in the south and center of the country, says that to infiltrate Iraq from the south the INC needs Iranian permission. ``We don't know if they have that,'' he added. WARY OF SHI'ITE REBELS SCIRI's position, sympathetic to the INC's goals but critical of its dependence on U.S. financial assistance, is symptomatic of the INC's difficulties. ``Overt U.S. support undermines the credibility of the INC, so we can't take part in its activities,'' Bayati said. Besides, as when Shi'ite Muslims rose in rebellion against Saddam in March 1991, the United States is itself wary of helping exclusively Shi'ite groups, apparently for fear of creating an Iranian-backed mini-state in the south of Iraq. The INC and its sympathizers, heartened by the advent of the Bush administration, are now recycling military proposals which made the rounds in the last years of the Clinton era. The most popular is the idea of a liberated opposition enclave inside Iraq, protected by U.S. air power, in which Iraqi army defectors could take refuge. But the Bush administration has not even said if it likes the idea, let alone where it would be, who would carve it out in the first place and how neighboring countries might react. ``Based on their past records, the Bush administration contains strong supporters of a more robust approach, but it remains to be seen what they will do. My impression is they have not yet decided,'' Solarz said. ``The INC does believe that the new administration is more serious,'' said Bayati. ``But they might not be as serious as we need them to be,'' he added. http://members.home.net/kurdistanobserver/1-2-01-ethniccleansing.html * ETHNIC CLEANSING IN KIRKUK Iraq Foundation, January 26, 2001 The Iraqi regime's deportation of Kurdish and Turkoman families from the city and governorate of Kirkuk has escalated in the last year. Concerned organizations have published information regarding the ethnic cleansing practiced by the Iraqi regime, and Iraq Foundation has received copies of Iraqi documents containing deportation orders and giving the names of deported families. Typically, Kurdish and Turkoman families are singled out in official records, ordered deported, and stripped of their property, possessions, ID cards and ration cards. Some are deported to areas in Kurdistan under Kurdish control; others are deported to areas in Iraq under government control, to face a dangerous future. Their confiscated properties are usually sold to Arab families loyal to the regime, who live in government controlled areas. In a report of January 20th, Al-Zamman newspaper reported that the Iraqi authorities are registering the names of new families that live in Kirkuk and Debiss, in preparation to move them out of the area, and have prohibited 55 families from selling or buying property. Azzaman also reports that the Iraqi regime is giving three million dinars to each Arab family that moves into a house belonging to a deported Kurdish or Turkoman family. Additionally, residential and agricultural land belonging to non-Arab citizens in Kirkuk, Erbil and Mosul governorates, has been confiscated and distributed to officers of the military and security forces. A further tactic adopted by the Iraqi regime in trying to obliterate ethnic identity in the Kirkuk region is the forced ethnic "conversion" of Iraqi Kurds and Turkamons. Individuals and families are intimidated into signing documents renouncing their ethnic identity, and declaring themselves to be Arabs, and threatened with deportation and confiscation of all assets if they fail to do so. As part of its Iraqi Research and Documentation Project, the Iraq Foundation has gathered sensitive official Iraqi documents that give chilling details of the ethnic cleansing operations underway. The documents refer to activities in the year 2000. For security reasons, the Foundation cannot publish these documents, but can describe some of their content: - a document that is clearly titled "Deportation of Non-Arab Citizens", containing implementation procedures - documents listing the names of Kurdish and Tukoman families that were deported during the period. Some were deported to Kurdish-controlled areas, while others were deported to the western desert of the Anbar governorate. - documents that contain statistics of the number of Kurdish and Turkoman families that have been forced to change their ethnicities-what the document calls "correcting" ethnicity - documents with orders to confiscate properties belonging to named individuals who had been deported, or who were imprisoned "for political reasons" - documents on the award of property in a destroyed Turkoman village to an Arab clan leader "loyal to the leadership of the party and the revolution" - documents showing the "correction" of ethnicity of Kurds and Turkoman individuals to Arab ethnicity. The Foundation also has official Iraqi documents citing names of individuals who are barred from employment in the public sector because they are Kurds or Turkoman. The deportation of Kurds and Turkoman from areas under government control, and particularly from the Kirkuk governorate, has left over 100,000 people from northern areas homeless and destitute. The deportees have been stripped of their possessions and papers, and have no access to shelter, food or work. The Kurdish regional administrations in Erbil and Suleimaniya are having difficulty sheltering and feeding such large numbers of people. The situation of those deported to areas under government control, such as Al-Anbar, are in even worse shape, as they are still under government surveillance and victims of both deprivation and persecution. http://members.home.net/kurdistanobserver/1-2-01-rfe-currency-replace.html * BAGHDAD TO REPLACE CURRENCY IN KURDISTAN Kurdistan Observer, 1st February According to a Kurdish source in Iraqi Kurdistan, Baghdad has drawn up a plan to withdraw old Iraqi currency printed outside Iraq that currently is the coin of the realm in the Kurdistan Regional Government. London's "Al-Sharq Al-Awsat" of 23 January says that Iraqi government collaborators have been ordered to open offices in regions adjacent to the KRG for this purpose. Baghdad has been in the process of withdrawing foreign currency, particularly the U.S. dollar, from the region over the last several years. (David Nissman) http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=158276 * CIA: CHINA, IRAN, TERRORISM, POSE WORST THREATS by PAMELA HESS WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Terrorist financier Osama Bin Laden and his associates continue to pose the most immediate danger to Americans, but more traditional threats from states with ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction remain of deep concern, CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Wednesday. "Never in my experience has American intelligence had to deal with such a dynamic set of concerns affecting such a broad range of U.S. interests. Never have we had to deal with such a high quotient of uncertainty," Tenet said. Tenet said his top priority is terrorism. "Osama bin Laden and his global network of lieutenants and associates remain the most immediate and serious threat. His organization is continuing to place emphasis on developing surrogates to carry out attacks in an effort to avoid detection, blame and retaliation. As a result, it is often difficult to attribute terrorist incidents to his group, Al Qaeda," Tenet said. Moreover, Iran has stepped up its support for terrorist groups who opposed the Middle East peace talks over the last two years, and the ruling government of Afghanistan, the Taliban, continues to harbor terrorists, Tenet said. Iran poses not just a terrorist threat but also a conventional one, according to Tenet. In addition to China, Russia and North Korea, Iran could threaten the United States with intercontinental ballistic missiles in the near future -- in large part because of help Teheran has received from Russia and China, Tenet said. However, there is a greater and more immediate threat from short- and medium-range missiles aimed at American troops and U.S. allies "here and now" he added. "As worrying as the ICBM threat will be, Mr. Chairman, the threat to U.S. interests and forces from short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles is here and now. The proliferation of MRBM's, driven largely, though not exclusively, by North Korean Nodong sales, is altering strategic balances in the Middle East and Asia," Tenet said. The missiles include Iran's Shahab-3, Pakistan's Ghauri, and the Indian Agni-2, Tenet said. Making these weapons even more worrisome is the fact that Russia, China and North Korea continue to proliferate chemical, biological and nuclear technology, as well as long-range missile technology, which can dramatically increase the lethality of the missiles. "Russian state-run defense and nuclear industries are still strapped for funds, and Moscow looks to them to acquire badly needed foreign exchange through exports," Tenet said. Of particular concern, according to Tenet, are Russian entities' provisions of ballistic missile technology to Iran, India, China and Libya. "Indeed, the transfer of ballistic missile technology from Russia to Iran was substantial last year and in our judgment will continue to accelerate Iranian efforts to develop new missiles and to become self-sufficient in production," he said. Russia is using its weapons expertise as leverage against the United States' hegemony in world affairs, Tenet said. "Moscow continues to value arms and technology sales as a major source of funds. It increasingly is using them as a tool to improve ties to its regional partners -- China, India and Iran. Moscow also sees these relationships as a way to limit U.S. influence globally," Tenet said. Tenet warned that a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan looms as a possibility. "I must report that relations between India and Pakistan remain volatile, making the risk of war between the two nuclear-armed adversaries unacceptably high," Tenet said. "If any issue has the potential to bring both sides to full-scale war, it is (the disputed territory in) Kashmir," he said. India's conventional forces vastly outnumber Pakistan's making it possible Pakistan would rely on its nuclear weapons to even the score in a battle. "Pakistan relies heavily on its nuclear weapons for deterrence. Their deep-seated rivalry, frequent artillery exchanges in Kashmir, and short flight times for nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and aircraft all contribute to an unstable nuclear deterrence," Tenet said. Nevertheless, Pakistan is pursuing more advanced conventional technologies, and will likely seek Chinese assistance to build its two-stage Shaheen-2 medium-range ballistic missile. Beijing pledged not to provide assistance to "unsafeguarded" nuclear facilities in Pakistan in 1996, but Tenet does not know for sure whether that promise is being kept. "There are contacts in some areas that are still are worrisome that we watch very, very carefully. So I'm not giving anybody a clean bill of health," he said. China's drive to be the top regional power in East Asia is one of the United States chief diplomatic and political challenges, Tenet said. "It is pursuing these goals through an ambitious economic reform agenda, military modernization, and a complex web of initiatives aimed at expanding China's international influence, especially relative to the United States," Tenet said. While solid relations with Washington are important to Beijing, it is a double-edged sword for them, according to Tenet. China's development remains heavily reliant on access to Western markets and technology, but they also view Washington as their primary obstacle because they perceive the U.S. is bent on keeping China from becoming a great power," he said. Russia is also bent on claiming some of the status and power it lost after the break up of the Soviet Union, Tenet said. "There can be little doubt that President (Vladimir) Putin wants to restore some aspects of the Soviet past status as a great power, strong central authority and a stable and predictable society, sometimes at the expense of neighboring states or the civil rights of individual Russians," said Tenet. North Korea continues to view it ballistic missile technology as a way to drum up cash. "Pyongyang attaches a high priority to the development and sale of ballistic missile equipment and related technology because these sales are a major source of hard currency," Tenet said. Tracking and controlling the exchange of such dangerous technologies is increasingly difficult because of better "denial and deception" capabilities on the parts of arms holders, and the growing availability of "dual-use technologies" that have non-military applications but also can contribute to weapons programs. Despite North Korea's diplomatic efforts to reach out to the West during the last year, Pyongyang remains a major military threat to the Untied States and South Korea. "We do not know how far Kim will go in opening the North, but I can report to you that we have not yet see a significant diminution of the threat from the North to American and South Korean interests. Pyongyang still believes that a strong military, capable of projecting power in the region, is an essential element of national power," Tenet said. He also warned that if Kim's power slips, he is capable of swiftly reversing his course. "The risk for Kim is that he overestimates his control of the security services and loses elite support, or if societal stresses reach a critical point, his regime and personal grip on power could be weakened. As with other authoritarian regimes, sudden radical change remains a possibility in Korea." Iraq also continues to pose serious problems from the Untied States, especially as Saddam Hussein whittles away at the 10-year sanction regime imposed after the Gulf War to keep him from having the capital or technology to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Since August, Baghdad has received more than 40 flights from abroad in violation of the U.N. embargo, Tenet said, and several countries -- notably Syria -- are restoring diplomatic relations with Iraq. The continued drug trade and insurgent war in Colombia also threaten American interests. The United States has pledged $1.3 billion in aid to Colombia to combat narcotics traffickers and is providing limited military support to the operation. The main insurgent group there has said American soldiers in the combat zones would be targeted. Continued economic and political instability in the Middle East -- the latter largely inspired from the Palestinian and Israeli conflict -- combined with an exploding youth population that may be unable to find work, could fracture that region further and lead to uprisings and possibly armed conflict. Tenet did not comment on how the election of Ariel Sharon as Israeli prime minister would affect security of the region. http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=5&datee=02/07/01&id= 109339 * INTERPRETING THE NEW BUSH by Zvi Bar'el Ha'aretz, 7th February Ibrahim Ke'aoud, a political commentator on the staff of the Egyptian weekly Akhir Sa'ah, attempting to interpret American President George W. Bush's first steps with an eye to the future, says that the Arab world is getting an American president after its own heart."His first phone calls were to President Mubarak and to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. He dismissed "Clinton's rabbis" (Clinton's Jewish advisors who managed the peace process). He did not appoint a single Jew to his cabinet. Bush does not need the Jewish lobby, and this time it will be the Arab lobby that will do most of the work for Bush," writes Ke'aoud. Another pundit cites a story quoted at length in the American weekly, New Republic. It reports on John Sununu, former president George Bush Sr.'s chief of staff, appearing on behalf of the Bush headquarters before the Arab American Political Action Committees in Chicago. Sununu, who is of Palestinian descent, said: "I have to tell you, as one whose family still has property in Jerusalem that belongs to us [...] I'm worried not only about the right of return, but I want to return with rights to get my property back." This story, in the pundit's view, is a clear indication of the Bush administration's line. This interpretation is not unusual among Arab analysts, who take the view that new staff in the White House will opt for what is euphemistically called a more "even-handed policy" - one that favors Israel less and Arabs more. "We deserve finally to have an American administration that will see the facts as they are and not as they have always been presented to it by the Jewish lobby in Washington," an Egyptian commentator told Ha'aretz. But he does not see the signs his colleagues have seen and has difficulty finding evidence that Bush Jr. will not dash their hopes. "Bush's commitment to carry out an evenhanded policy toward Israel is not all it is made out to be. There are a number of matters on the Arab agenda and we cannot yet determine whether the new administration will lean toward the Arab side where they are concerned. How will Bush behave in the Iraq question, for example? Will he remove the sanctions imposed by his father? Will he continue Clinton's shoulder-shrugging policy or will he try to leave his own mark? And what will that mark be?" Bush's recent decision to provide the Iraqi opposition with additional aid, plus talk heard in Washington about a policy of attempting to unseat Saddam Hussein, have raised many eyebrows in Arab states. After all, the process of diluting the sanctions has almost passed the point of no-return. There is not a single Arab country - except for Kuwait - that does not maintain some form of relations with Iraq. Just last week, Bush sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit warning him of a number of stumbling blocks in bilateral relations, especially Turkey's decision to appoint an ambassador to Baghdad. But does such a letter imply that the United States wants to takes steps against its own ally, a member of NATO and the home of its most important attack bases against Iraq? And what about Syria, which renewed its old oil pipeline from Iraq to Tripoli and now wants to build a new pipeline between Syria and Iraq? Does an American administration that seeks to advance the peace process between Israel and Syria think it can, right at the outset, wrangle with Bashar Assad? The Bush administration is likely to be influenced by individuals who believe the time has come to soften the U.S. position toward Iran. The most prominent spokesman for this policy is Richard Cheney, the vice president. But he is not the only one. If Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to Bush's father, has an open ear in the administration - he already has the attention of Condoleezza Rice, Snowcroft's "disciple" - and if James Baker, the former Secretary of State, is heard, the approach toward Iran may be considerably toned down, especially if President Khatami is reelected in June. The new administration did not lose its temper, for example, when Saudi Arabia announced with great fanfare last week that it had signed a security alliance with Iran. It is not a military defense alliance, only a police cooperation treaty. However, here is the re-entry of Iran into the Arab circle - through the most important Gulf state, Saudi Arabia, along with the possibility of new diplomatic ties between Iran and Egypt, the warm embrace Iran is enjoying in Jordan and in its old alliance with Syria. All this will enable Iran easily to withstand American sanctions, especially since its ties with Europe, and more recently with Britain, resemble the relationship between affectionate allies. "The tendency to examine Bush's every comment during his election campaign under a microscope, including signs that point to a specific policy, is a mistake," says the Egyptian commentator. "When running for office, people say a lot of things they don't necessarily mean. Despite this, it is hard to undermine the firmly fixed Arab view that an administration made up of oil people will be closer to Arab interests. "That it why it is hard to fault those who consider Bush's comment, 'We must maintain strong ties with the countries of the Middle East because of the current energy crisis,' a pro Arab one. What disturbs me is the constant search for a soft shoulder for the Arabs." "The Arab countries seem to me to be way beyond that stage, but they have not yet internalized their new reality. Today, an American administration needs a soft Arab shoulder, not the other way around." By this view, the Arab countries are more prepared than ever for an American administration. They are not waiting for a nod of approval from the American president to wear away the sanctions on Iran or Iraq. They pressed for the agreement between Britain, the United States and Libya concerning the extradition of the suspects in the Lockerbie bombing case. They decided when Iran would become an Arab ally. The largest arms buyer's market is in the Middle East, and the control of oil prices is still in Riyadh, Bahrain and even in Iraq. "These elements of Arab power will always exist, but now they have been joined by the decision to use them, and that makes all the difference between the early nineties and the beginning of the new millennium," says a researcher at the Al Aharam Strategic Studies Institute. "The final word still has not been said on this, because the ability and willingness to use this ability still do not guarantee the results. I cannot say today that Arab countries are currently able to dictate American policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict, for example. This would be the ultimate test of Arab influence, because that is where the field of competition with the Jewish-Israeli influence is. The Arab leadership does feel freer to take an independent Arab stand without constantly checking on the American position. It may also feel the new administration will give it a green light anyway because it needs the Arabs more that the Arab leadership needs it. But Arab leaders are not yet at the point where they can compete with Israel over the American agenda." Transferring the American embassy to Jerusalem may not be top priority for the moment, and direct American involvement in the peace process may be on a back burner too. Colin Powell's body language projected almost-loathing every time he was asked to comment on the topic, and he did not even hint at America's intention to become immediately involved in the peace process. The slogan coined by James Baker - "the United States cannot want peace more than the parties themselves" - is apparently back in the American lexicon, but what will happen if the violence goes beyond stone-throwing and mutual rifle fire? "American anger at an Israeli prime minister cannot calm the region," says the Egyptian commentator. "The United States will be forced into the conflict against its will. An Arab boycott of American products, like we are currently seeing in Egypt, has not yet taken on threatening proportions. If the United States is forced to close down embassies because of terror threats, as it recently did in Rome, or if Arab leaders refuse to receive American envoys, and the feeling is that the American administration is about to lose the region, Bush will get on the first plane to here." "That is when the extent of the Arab countries' ability to influence the American administration will be put to the test. I underscore influence, not pressure or threats, because I believe that the Arab world in general wants to be part of the global policies of the United States and it seeks good relations with the only superpower in the world. What is difficult to estimate is the exact place of that balance point within the Arab world, which distinguishes between diplomatic behavior and tribal laws. These are the laws that often make the Arab world behave as if it really were one bloc, without looking to see where the real interests of each country lie. http://www.timesofindia.com/080201/08amrc6.htm * UK-US JOINT FRONT AGAINST IRAQ, LIBYA Times of India, 8th February WASHINGTON: The US and Britain presented a unified front on Libya and Iraq Wednesday as their foreign ministers demanded that Tripoli and Baghdad comply with UN resolutions if they want sanctions lifted. US Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said Tripoli must accept responsibility for the 1998 Lockerbie bombing and pay compensation to the victims, after the conviction last week of one of its intelligence officers for the attack on Panam 103 that killed 270 people. They said officials from London and Washington would meet in coming weeks to discuss re energizing and improving the existing sanctions imposed on Iraq, aimed at forcing a halt to Baghdad's weapons of mass destruction program. Powell said the verdict in the Lockerbie case was "a major blow" in the fight against terrorism but added the conviction was not the end of the story. ``Libya must fulfill the requirements of the (UN) Security Council in full," he said. "Its leadership must accept responsibility for the act of one of its senior intelligence officers, and Libya must pay compensation to the relatives." Powell and Cook told reporters at a joint news conference the UN sanctions would remain in place until Libya fulfilled its obligations, and Cook moved to quash speculation the two countries were at odds on the matter.(AFP) http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010206/wl/iraq_un_dc_1.html * IRAQ SAYS IT CAN PROVE NO MORE MASS DESTRUCTION ARMS BAGHDAD (Reuters, 6th February) - Iraq will submit documentary proof to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan later this month that it has no more weapons of mass destruction, a senior government official was quoted Tuesday as saying. However, it will not allow the return of international weapons inspectors, foreign ministry undersecretary Nabil Najem told the weekly newspaper al-Rafidain. But it will accept monitoring of its weapons if U.N. sanctions are lifted and similar monitoring is imposed on all other countries in the Middle East, including Israel, he said. He did not indicate how such monitoring might be carried out. Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf is due to lead a delegation in talks with Annan this month at United Nations headquarters in New York. The talks are aimed at breaking the impasse over international inspections of Iraqi weapons. ``We are confident that we have implemented all our commitments toward the Security Council's resolutions and we will submit documents and proofs to prove that,'' Najem told al-Rafidain. ``We have prepared documents and proofs including reports conducted by the previous U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) and they will be in favor of Iraq.'' ``We will not accept the return of the inspectors,'' he added. The New York talks are intended as a follow-up to a meeting between Annan and Izzat Ibrahim, vice chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council, during an Islamic summit in Qatar last November. Najem said Iraq would only accept monitoring of its weapons after trade sanctions imposed by the United Nations were lifted and if the United Nations monitored all countries in the region, including Israel. U.N. weapons inspectors have not been allowed into Iraq since they left in December 1998 on the eve of U.S.-British bombing strikes. [.....] http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/02/09/iraq.bomb.reut/index.html * GULF WAR BOMBS KILL IRAQI CHILD, INJURE 6 CNN, February 9, 2001 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- A child was killed and six people were injured when two bombs dropped during the 1991 Gulf War exploded in southern Iraq, an Iraqi newspaper reported on Friday. The newspaper al-Iraq, quoting civil defense officials, said 10-year-old Ali Awad was killed when one of the bombs exploded in al-Arouba in Kerbala province. The second bomb exploded in the Kut Akwam area, of Shatt- el-Arab district in Basra province, injuring six people who were taken to hospital for treatment. It did not say when the bombs exploded. Five children were reported as having been killed in January by Gulf War bombs in the southern provinces of Dhi qar and Basra. U.S. and British planes patrol two no-fly zones over the north and south of the country. They frequently bomb air defense units which challenge the patrols. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk