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News, 4/3­10/3/01 (2)

News, 4/3­10/3/01 (2)


*  Chua [Malaysian health minister] to visit Jordan and Iraq
*  Russian Parliament Speaker to visit Iraq in March


*  China Talks Tough to U.S. Over Taiwan, Iraq
*  Three companies violated sanctions in Iraq: China
*  China Is Testing Bush With Denial on Iraq
*  U.S. says China promising action on workers in Iraq


*  Algerian pedals to Baghdad in solidarity with Iraq
*  Blair protester: Iıll ignore fine [it appears it was a mandarin, not a
*  Greens Leader Attacks Missile Plan [still some signs of life in the
German Green Party, despite the wretched Joschka Fischer]


*  The Iraqi opposition forces document
*  Interview of the week: Aras Kareem [INCıs Œchief of operationsı. Quite
interesting on the INCıs last days in Iraqi Kurdistan, but discreet on the
really interesting question of the INCıs relations with the main Kurdish
parties, especially the KDP, which invited the Iraqi army in]


*  Deadly wind from Gulf battlefields [depleted uranium]
*  Iraqi Airways back in the skies - just [mainly an account of Baghdad


*  Major left fuming after Thatcher reopens old wounds



KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 (Bernama, Malaysian news agency) -- Health Minister
Datuk Chua Jui Meng will lead a 40-member delegation for a six-day visit to
Jordan and Iraq from March 13.

The delegation will spend two days in Jordan and four days in Iraq.

In conjunction with the visit, Television Airtime Services Malaysia will
also bring 40 children to Iraq.

Speaking to reporters here today, Chua said the delegation would include
senior officials of the ministry as well as representatives from local
universities, Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), Association of Private
Hospitals Malaysia (APHM), medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies
and Muslim Doctors Association of Malaysia.

Times of India, 8th March

MOSCOW: The Speaker of the Russian State Duma, Gennady Selezynov, is to pay
an official visit to Iraq later this month, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
Selezynov, who will be accompanied by the head of the parliament's
international affairs committee, Dmitry Rogozin, will be in Iraq from March
16 to 18, his spokesman Viktor Cheryomukhin said. The Duma is the lower
House of Parliament. (AFP)


Los Angeles Times, 6th March

BEIJING--Urging Washington to "rein-in its wild horse" at the edge of the
cliff, China's foreign minister issued Tuesday one of the strongest warnings
yet over U.S. sales of advanced weapons to Taiwan.

Tang Jiaxuan also said a Chinese investigation found no evidence to support
U.S. charges that Chinese companies helped rebuild Iraqi air defenses,
reigniting the controversy.

And in what some in Washington will interpret as an ominous signal, he
announced that China and Russia would sign a treaty of friendship,
underlining deeper ties between the giant neighbors which share simmering
resentment of U.S. power.

At a news conference during the annual session of the National People's
Congress, Tang reserved his strongest words for the most sensitive issue in
U.S.-China relations -- Taiwan, which has the potential to draw the
countries into war.

President George W. Bush must decide in April how to respond to a shopping
list of high technology weaponry requested by Taiwan, including the Aegis
and Patriot missile defense systems.

"The United States should come to a recognition of the serious dangers
involved," Tang said.

Using an old Chinese adage, he said Washington should "rein-in its wild
horse right on the edge of the precipice."
Tang declined to say how China would respond if the sales went ahead.

During the last big crisis over Taiwan in 1996, China fired missiles into
waters off the island, prompting the United States to send in two aircraft
carrier battle groups.

The previous U.S. administration of President Clinton trumpeted a "strategic
partnership" with China and took a cautious line over arms sales to Taiwan,
partly because it feared that upsetting Beijing could endanger its support
for issues such as missile non-proliferation.

Beijing fears Bush, who branded China a "strategic competitor" during the
U.S. presidential election campaign, may not feel the same constraints.

Tang said sales of advanced arms would endanger U.S.-China relations and
"send a very wrong signal to the Taiwan authorities."

They would "encourage a very small number of people -- the Taiwan
independence elements -- to continue to engage in separatist activities," he

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and has pledged to reunify the
island with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Tang was equally forthright on U.S. charges that Chinese technicians may
have bolstered Iraq's air defenses.

"Relevant agencies have carried out serious investigations," he said.

"The result of the investigations is that Chinese enterprises and
corporations have not assisted Iraq in building the project of fiber optic
cable used for air defense."

Tang again insisted that China respected U.N. resolutions on Iraq and had
rules that forced Chinese companies to comply.

He said the accusations were designed to divert attention from U.S. and
British bombing of Iraq last month, repeating China's initial hard-line
response to the raids.

China said last week it would look into the charges, the first sign of
trouble between Beijing and the Bush administration.

It had originally dismissed the allegations out of hand as part of a U.S.
smokescreen. But, by offering to take the charges seriously, it had appeared
interested in defusing the problem.

Tang has now thrown the ball back into the U.S. court.

Tang announced that President Jiang Zemin and Russian President Vladimir
Putin would sign a Good Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation
during a visit to Moscow by Jiang in July.

He stressed the countries were not forming an alliance similar to one that
once existed between China and the former Soviet Union, and that it was not
directed at any "third party" -- a clear reference to the United States.

Nevertheless, the move highlights a growing warmth between two countries
drawn together by opposition to the United States over issues such as human
rights and Washington's plans for a missile defense system.

Russia has become China's biggest foreign arms supplier, providing advanced
Sukhoi fighters and now trying to strike a deal to sell Russian Airborne
Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.

"It is not an alliance nor targeted at any third country," Tang said of the
friendship treaty.

"It is just a normal country-to-country relationship."

Tang said he would initial the agreement on a trip to Moscow ahead of
Jiang's visit.

He also lashed out at what he called U.S. hypocrisy over human rights,
saying while Washington readily criticized other countries it ignored its
own shortcomings.

Quoting an old Chinese saying, he compared the United States with a "county
magistrate who sets people's houses on fire but will not let ordinary people
use fire to light lamps."

Times of India, 8th March

NEW YORK: Chinese officials have admitted that three Chinese
telecommunications companies were violating U.N. sanctions by working in
Iraq, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

China has told the United States that it ordered the companies to follow
U.N. sanctions and stop doing business in Iraq, the Journal reported, citing
a senior U.S. official.

But Chinese officials, speaking Monday to U.S. Ambassador Joseph Prueher in
Beijing, also denied Pentagon allegations that the companies were upgrading
Iraq's air defence system. They said the three companies were doing civilian
work, albeit without clearance from the United Nations.

The report is the latest development in a nearly three-week-old controversy
over whether China was helping Iraq install fibre-optic communications cable
at military sites in violation of U.N. sanctions.

U.S. military officials said the Chinese were reportedly working at some of
the air defence sites around Baghdad targeted by U.S. and British jets in a
Feb. 16 raid. China has publicly denied the U.S. claims, saying an official
Chinese investigation disproved the reports.

U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait ban military and
many civilian sales to Iraq. Washington and London said they struck Iraqi
defence sites in the February raids because Iraq was improving its ability
to track and target planes patrolling a "no fly zone" imposed after the Gulf
War. (AP)
by Jim Hoagland
International Herald Tribune, 8th March

WASHINGTON: Most nations avoid directly contradicting the president of the
United States, especially in the opening weeks of a new administration. But
China is treating its first argument with George W. Bush as a golden
opportunity to test the new occupant of the White House.

The argument is over the technical help China gave to Iraq in breaking
United Nations sanctions and improving Iraq's ability to fire missiles at
American and British warplanes. Mr. Bush said last month that such
assistance had happened. China denied that unequivocally on Tuesday, and
warned Washington to "rein in" its "wild horse" behavior before relations
are damaged.

Whom are you going to believe, your intelligence agencies or your commercial
and strategic interests? That was the implicit question asked of Mr. Bush by
Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan at a confrontational Beijing news conference.

China's response of bluster, denial and deception over being caught with its
hand in the cookie jar of international misbehavior is business as usual.

What is new in this case is Mr. Bush's chance to put U.S.-Chinese relations
on a healthier footing. He can do that by not accepting Beijing's invitation
to put the truth aside in the interests of better relations. This is the
trap being laid for the new U.S. leader.

The Chinese leadership is probing to see whether this new Washington bunch
will swallow untruths as willingly, and thus compromise themselves as
deeply, as did the Clinton crew, which brushed aside inconvenient evidence
of China breaking its word on nuclear technology and missile proliferation.

Control of the truth, or more precisely of the untruth, is too important for
China's Communist leaders to leave to others. Lying is not a convenience but
a basic political weapon, at home and abroad.

What sets China's government apart is not that it lies (what government does
not?) but that it demands that its lies be accepted, by its public and by
governments that want its "friendship."

The gerontocrats who run China find safety in their ability to impose their
version of history on others. They know the crimes they would have to answer
for if China's history books were not cooked.

This is the totalitarian urge, which still dominates Chinese politics even
as the Middle Kingdom's economic and social spheres slip beyond the
Politburo's control.

There can still be no accounting, much less apology, for the military
massacres that occurred on the streets of Beijing in 1989.

Today's Falun Gong movement must be vilified with monstrous distortions of
its aims and practices. All blame for problems in the U.S.-Chinese
relationship must lie with Washington. And so on.

Politburo politics have become extremely unstable as the Leninist survivors
of the 1949 revolution dwindle, and as economic and social change overtakes
the dying Communist Party. A struggle for power within that body drives the
brutal crackdown on the Falun Gong, just as it drove the massacres around
Tiananmen Square nearly 12 years ago.

With no ideology to guide or rank them, the claimants for power bid against
each other for the chance to put down any dissent against the system, with
brutality as the coin of their realm.

The recent volume of seemingly authentic internal party documents smuggled
out of China and published in the United States as "The Tiananmen Papers"
exposes that competition in great detail. The book allows the first informed
fixing of responsibility for the bloodshed.

Arthur Waldron, director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise
Institute, compares the book to Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 "secret speech" on
Stalin's crimes as a potential detonator of political change.

Mr. Bush and the leaders of other democratic nations can help speed that day
of change by not treating the truth as something to be set aside for the
convenience of the Beijing leadership.

Mr. Bush has identified in public a serious breach of UN sanctions by China,
one that threatened the lives of American pilots. That breach should be
publicly referred to the United Nations for investigation. China should not
be allowed to wield its latest lie as a shield for wrongdoing.

*  U.S. SAYS CHINA PROMISING ACTION ON WORKERS IN IRAQ (Chinese interest news service), 9th March

WASHINGTON, Reuters 9th March - China has told the United States that it has
ordered companies suspected by Washington of helping Iraq rebuild its air
defenses to stop what they are doing, Secretary of State Colin Powell said
on Thursday.

"China has now said that they have told companies that were in the area
doing fiber optics work to cease and desist," Powell told the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee.

The United States launched air raids twice last month to "degrade" Iraqi air
defenses that U.S. officials said more aggressively targeted British and
U.S. aircraft patrolling "no-fly" zones imposed after the 1991 Gulf War.

Pentagon officials have privately accused China of violating U.N. sanctions
imposed against Iraq for its invasion of Kuwait, by improving communications
so Baghdad can better target aircraft.

"We are still examining whether or not it was a specific violation of the
sanctions policy and if it was, we will call that to the attention of the
sanctions committee so that they can take a firm reaction with respect to
China," Powell said.

A State Department official said China's message was communicated to
Ambassador Joseph Prueher at a meeting with a senior Chinese foreign
ministry official in Beijing on Monday.

"The concern is that Chinese companies might have been involved in
activities that were not permitted under the sanctions against Iraq," said
the official, who declined to be named.

"The Chinese indicated to us that they have taken steps to abide by U.N.
Security Council resolutions," he added.

Powell gave no details on what China had told the companies to do and he did
not suggest it acknowledged any wrongdoing. But the reassurances were a shot
in the arm to relations ahead of a visit by Chinese Vice Premier Qian
Qichen, a foreign policy expert, on March 18.

He is bound to hear fresh criticism of China's human rights record, which
President George W. Bush's administration wants to make the subject of a
critical motion against China at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in

Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said on Tuesday Beijing had found no
evidence to support the charges that the companies were helping Iraq's
defense and again accused Washington of trying to distract attention from
the bombing raids.

The exchange comes amid suspicion in the United States and alarm in Taiwan,
which Washington arms, at plans for an increase of more than 17 percent in
military spending by Beijing this year, to 141 billion yuan ($17 billion).
Projected defense spending in the United States for 2002 is $310.5 billion.

China's increase, announced on Tuesday, showed growing concern about U.S.
arms sales to protect Taiwan. Defense analysts estimated the real budget
could be up to four times that figure as China upgrades its army into a
force capable of backing up a threat to invade Taiwan if the island declares

In his Senate testimony on Thursday, Powell tried to soothe fears about the
Chinese increase and defend a 5.5 percent boost in spending on international
affairs and foreign aid for 2002.

"I don't view it as a breakout investment where suddenly China is on the
march as an enemy," he said.

"But it is of course something that we have to look at carefully to make
sure we keep our forces in the region up to the best possible standards ...
because we really are the balance wheel of stability in that part of the
world," he added.

He warned, "A 17 percent increase is probably leading to a 50 percent
increase in total over the next several years."

He said the United States wanted to discuss the nature of the build-up with
China, adding, "We want to encourage them to have more transparency in what
they do with their defense programs, as we have transparency in ours."


Times of India, 6th March

BAGHDAD: An Algerian cyclist arrived in Baghdad on Monday after pedalling
around 4,500 kilometres from Algiers in solidarity with sanctions-hit Iraq.

Waqdi Mohammad al-Akhdar, 47, who timed his arrival for the start of the
Muslim feast of Al-Adha (the sacrifice), said he left Algiers on October 1
and crossed Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Jordan to reach Iraq.

"I've made this journey to make my voice heard to the world over the
sufferings which the Iraqi people are having to endure because of the
embargo," which was slapped on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, he
by Cathy Mayer
The Scotsman, 8th March

A DEMONSTRATOR who pelted the prime minister with a rotten tangerine last
night vowed to face prison rather than pay her fine.

Jo Wilding, 26, was convicted yesterday by Bristol magistrates of
intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress and disorderly conduct
on 9 January in the city.

Wilding, defending herself, told the court she felt it was her "legal and
moral duty" to do something to highlight the suffering of children in Iraq
following sanctions.

"Tony Blair is a war criminal and a hypocrite," she said. "He told the Omagh
bombing victims if anything like that happened to his children heıd go mad
with grief. That is the fate that he has condemned 67,000 Iraqi children

Wildingıs defence, based on the international law of reasonable force and
necessity, was rejected.

She said: "I am not someone who likes to stand out from a crowd. The
tangerine-throwing was the means of letting as many people know as possible
what is being done in our name, the British people."

Wilding was warned by magistrates that the court was only considering the
facts of the offence and that political statements would not help her case.

She was sentenced to a two-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay
£100 costs.

Wilding, 26, of Bristol, told the magistrates she did not intend to pay as
she had no money. She said: "Nothing you can do to punish me can make me
regret what I did."


STUTTGART, Germany (Associated Press, Fri 9 Mar 2001) ‹ An outspoken human
rights activist was elected the new co-leader of Germany's Greens party on
Friday and immediately assailed the United States for its national missile
defense plans and airstrikes on Iraq.

Members of the Greens, the junior partner in Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's
governing coalition, cheered and applauded the speech by Claudia Roth, who
was elected with 92 percent support to one of the two top party posts at a
national convention.

``The American bombings in Iraq are no way to overcome the dictator Saddam
Hussein ‹ quite the contrary,'' Roth said, laying out her credo to delegates
gathered in this wealthy southern city.

``And it's just as right to persuade the Americans that (national missile
defense) doesn't mean more security but more confrontation,'' she said.

Schroeder is expected to raise missile defense and the Middle East when he
travels to Washington on March 29 for talks with President Bush. Germany has
urged the United States to consult widely over its missile plans, which have
angered Russia and China.

Roth, a former manager of an anarchist rock band, was the lone candidate to
replace Renate Kuenast, who has sharply lifted the party's standing since
taking over the government's fight against mad cow disease in January as the
head of a new Ministry of Consumer Protection and Agriculture.

In her speech, Roth also endorsed demonstrations against transports of waste
from German nuclear power plants and said the outbreak of mad cow disease in
Germany was a chance for the Greens to rally support for their
ecology-minded policies.

``Yesterday, people just smiled at us,'' she said. ``Now organic farming is
a mainstream movement.''

Roth has headed Parliament's human rights committee since Schroeder's Social
Democrats and the ecology-minded Greens formed a government in 1998. She
represents her party's left wing, where many share her opposition to the
airstrikes on Iraq.

Her views have put her in conflict with Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer,
the Greens' most popular politician. The party has closed ranks behind
Fischer and Environment Minister Juergen Trittin in recent weeks amid a
furious partisan debate over their past as leftist radicals. Fischer was to
address delegates Saturday.

In Germany's long-running debate on immigration, Roth has also strongly
defended keeping borders open to victims of political persecution. In the
Greens' two-member chairmanship, she will complement Fritz Kuhn, a
pragmatist and Fischer ally.

The national convention was also meant to rally Greens activists for two
state elections this month and dampen infighting over the party's stand on
protests against nuclear waste transports, just weeks before Germany and
France resume such shipments.

With activists calling for a revival of demonstrations and blockades that
disrupted transports of radioactive waste from German power plants in the
1990s, Greens leaders have drafted a compromise saying the party can't
endorse violent protest, but not rejecting peaceful demonstrations.

Party leaders say they do not want to endanger a consensus plan with German
utilities to phase out nuclear power over the next few decades.


Arabic News, 3rd March

The London- based al-Zamaan daily issued on Friday issued the text of the
document issued by the Iraqi forces which oppose the Iraqi regime. These
forces are the " Hizbullah Party, the Islamic work organization, the Arab
tribes federation" and " the national army officers movement" what it called
the first document to start the alliance of the Islamic and national forces
in Iraq inside and outside it.

The document noted the need of building an Iraqi political identity which is
not subjected to the criterion of "remote sensing" and stems in its movement
from the feeling in the capability of the " Iraqi national street " ( the
impulse of people) in launching the confrontation " with the regime."

The document explained that the alliance of the national and Islamic forces
in Iraq includes all important Iraqi social strata and that the will of
alliance asserts the effectiveness of these groups in establishing the will
of the national project to topple the Iraqi regime.

The document asserted that the alliance is convinced to maintain dialogue
with all regional and international sides, which have links to the Iraqi
file and in Iraq's position in the map of regional and international

*  Interview of the week: Aras Kareem by Eli Lake

WASHINGTON, March 3 (UPI) -- As the Bush administration reviews its Iraq
policy, one still unresolved question is whether the United States will
fully support the Iraqi National Congress, the main resistance organization.
In the decade since the Gulf War, U.S. intelligence support for Iraqi
opposition groups has dwindled. Aras Kareem is hoping for enough support to
make the INC a real threat to Saddam Hussein.

Kareem is the INC's chief of operations, and one of the last INC members to
leave Iraq after Saddam Hussein's troops seized the group's base of
operations on Aug. 31, 1996. He taught himself counter-intelligence
techniques by reading books about the CIA. In the early 1990s, he was one of
the greatest assets for U.S. intelligence in Iraq when Washington prosecuted
a more robust campaign to remove Saddam from power. Today, he lives in
London and is still a target for Saddam's assassins. His cousin, Dr. Ali
Karem, was detained in a California immigration jail because of his
connection, after the underground leader had protested the CIA's decision to
pull back support for the INC.

Recently, he has been meeting with Pentagon officials on training matters.
Kareem was in Washington on Feb. 21, when he spoke with UPI.

Q. What is your background?

A. My father was the secretary general of the Kurdistan Democratic Party
from 1966 to 1975. He has remained in the leadership since then. He was
nominated to be the vice president of Iraq from 1970 to 1974. But this
didn't happen, there was fighting.

After the Kurdish revolution collapsed in 1975, we went to Iran. From Iran
we went to Lebanon and then Egypt, and then we went back to Iraq. When I
went back to Iraq, because my father was a senior figure, I went to a
primary school where the principal was Saddam's first wife, Sajeda. She gave
me an exam for primary school, where her own sons and daughters were with
us. Later on I scored very high marks in high school and it allowed me to go
to engineering college. The civil engineering department at the University
of Baghdad is considered an elite college, so all the senior figures in the
government send their sons and daughters there. My classmates included the
son of (Deputy Prime Minister) Tariq Aziz Ziad. He is not such a bad guy.
Saddam's son Uday was also there.

I trained as a civil engineer, and in 1992 joined the INC. At that time we
established something called the IBC, the Iraqi Broadcasting Corporation. We
broadcast news from all over Iraq, including the areas outside Saddam's
control. Later, we did a lot to recruit people, Iraqis in the army, even
officers working in the Iraqi intelligence.

Q: You went to primary school and technical college with Uday Hussein and
the children of other prominent Iraqis. How did this help you make contacts
later on when you were working against the government for the INC?

A: I knew a lot of people whose fathers are in the government, so I found it
very easy to just talk to them and get whatever I wanted from them because
they were friends. I would go to the Hunting Club where Uday would go

You are not doing something suspicious to get information. A lot of them,
they like you. I have many contacts who used to work for the Iraqi special
security organization. They are my friends and they are helping me because I
am their friend, not because they are my agents. If you know those people,
life in Iraq is easier. For example, I was out of the army during the Gulf
War because I had the right papers. If you have the right papers in Iraq,
you can do anything.

Q: What was the recruiting process?

A: We used to broadcast from the north to the areas under Saddam's control,
and encourage officers and soldiers to desert their units and come and join
us in northern Iraq. When officers would join the INC they would send for
their families. I must say we were very successful in attracting even very
senior officials in the regime to the northern zone.

Q: Who did you recruit?

A: I'll give you examples. For example, in 1994 one of the officers working
for us in the Iraqi military intelligence sent us a message saying Iraq
planned a military buildup for another attempt to invade Kuwait. That was in
1994. On the same day, another officer who worked in the headquarters of the
army 5th corps sent us another message saying they had been ordered to the
Kuwaiti border. So we put this out to the news, and the Pentagon at first
denied it. Twelve hours later, the Pentagon sent about 30,000 troops to

U.S. intelligence wanted a copy of the Salahuddin, an encryption device made
in Iraq that could be attached to the military radio communications system.
The device had a range of more than 124 miles. We provided them with some of
the units -- actually they asked us just for the motherboard. In less than a
week we had given them four of these units. We got the device from the
Republican Guard. We had sympathizers in the Iraqi Republican Guard. The
actual units are very small.

Q: Can you give other examples of how you were able to help U.S.

A: The CIA requested any information about the coaxial telephone and
television cable linking Iraqi's main cities. We were able to bring them two
parts of the cable. It's a metal cable, it is very fat and it is
underground. A week later we brought them the physical cable. After another
week we brought them the whole contract for the cables containing all the

Q: You were one of the last INC leaders in Iraq when Saddam attacked your
base of operations in Irbil on Aug. 31, 1996. Can you tell me about what
happened that day?

A: The attack happened at 4:50 AM in the morning. While it was going on I
gave interviews about the battle to reporters on a satellite phone. Every 20
or 30 minutes I used to give two or three interviews. I remember the last
interview was with an Arabic magazine. He phoned and at the same time one of
my bodyguards said "(The Iraqi army) are very close, we have to withdraw to
another headquarters. We have 10 minutes." So I told this guy I cannot do
it. There were huge shellings. The house was on the corner. The Republican
Guard's tanks were close by on the main street, and there was a crowd
shouting how they loved Saddam and how they were ready to kill themselves
for Saddam. They were shooting like crazy. The Kurdish forces allied with
Saddam were closing in from the other side. I was talking on the phone, I
said: 'I don't know if I will be alive or not, so just goodbye. If I don't
call you again, that's it, I'm done.'

We changed houses again, taking the back streets to another house. We were
six senior figures from the INC. I went to my friend's house and made some
arrangements. The Iraqis began to surround the areas from the street and
search house by house. In front of the house where I was hiding in there was
a minibus. The army thought we were hiding in that bus, so they began to
shoot at it with machine guns. But apparently nobody was there.

A soldier entered the hall of the house. I was just behind the door. The
soldier went inside the house, and I had a pistol. I was standing behind the
door in the house and I thought I will kill him and then I will kill myself.

 Q: Why would you have to kill yourself?

A: If they would capture me it would be a disaster for many people. I know a
lot, I know a lot of people inside Iraq, a lot of officers working with the
INC. They would torture me and force me to say things I do not want to say.
That was a decision we took, the six main senior people, before we are
captured we will kill ourselves.

There were two ladies with a baby girl just two days old in the house. So
those two ladies went to the people outside and told them, 'We are here, we
are only ladies in this house.' They spoke in the same accent as the Kurdish
peoples allied with Saddam. While they were talking to them a soldier
entered. The head of the force told the soldier, 'There is no one in the
house.' The soldier said, 'No, we have information that they are in this
house.' The commander said, 'I am ordering you to get out of the house. This
house is for our people.' So the soldier left. And here I was behind the
door, waiting for him.

Q:  What kind of activities do you envision in the future for the INC and
what resources will you need from the American government?

A: In my opinion, if we are able to send information teams, we can send them
tomorrow. If the United States offers us combat training that is wonderful.
If not, how can we do it? Everybody knows how to shoot, but how to organize
the shooting is another story.

Q:  What about these conversations you are having with the Pentagon?

A:  We are having conversations with the Defense Security Cooperation
Agency, which provides training for different countries all around the
world. We have sent more than 133 trainees to the United States. We were
discussing what the INC will need, plus training issues, uniforms, that kind
of stuff.

Q:  Can you talk about Saddam's son, Uday Hussein?

A:  Uday is a nut, he is a crazy guy. He will drive in a new Mercedes --
with a new registration number. The next day he will drive another new car
with a new number. One day he came to the university with a rifle on his
shoulder and entered the class. When he raised his hand in class, the
teacher and the professor will say, 'yes my master.' Uday is the student,
can you imagine that. Uday will decide what is the appropriate time for the
exam and how long it will last, and the examiners will give him the
questions and the answers. It is up to him what to write, but he will get
the full degree. In the history of the college of engineering, nobody scored
98.9 as an average. Even Einstein if he came to the College of Engineering
would not score that. But Uday scored 98.9. If Uday talks to a lady, nobody
should talk to her later on because the body guards will beat you. If Uday
goes to a club or a hotel, nobody should park their car near his. If a
daughter or son of a minister parks his car near Uday's car, they will beat


Sydney Morning Herald, 7th March

The doctors speak with resignation about the wave of disease that has
afflicted the people of southern Iraq since Operation Desert Storm 10 years

They don't fully understand what confronts them. But out on the desert flats
there are echoes of Agent Orange and troubling reminders of the radiation
sicknesses that come after nuclear disasters.

Dr Jawad El Ali, at Basra General Hospital, talks about the cancers: "We had
88 cases in 1988 but in 1998 we had 405 cases. That's more than a four-fold
increase." Only later does he add that seven members of his wife's family
are among the dead and that she has developed a lump.

Dr Janan Ghlib Hassan, at Basra Children's Hospital, talks about the birth
defects: "Last year we had 221 cases of congenital deformity." She mentions
that most of their fathers had served in the armed forces, and only as an
afterthought does she produce the book in which she has begun to keep a
photograph and details of each of these terrible births.

The people of the region are gripped by a fear that the illnesses are caused
by exposure to depleted uranium (DU), which was contained in about 300
tonnes of the armour-piercing ammunition used to drive Saddam Hussein's army
from Kuwait and back into Iraq and to destroy any of his war machine
abandoned during the retreat.

Women are afraid to get pregnant, and if a child develops a fever they
immediately suspect leukemia, which has increased six-fold since 1991.

As war's losers, the Iraqis' cry ordinarily might have gone unheeded. But
all the governments that joined then-US President George Bush's Gulf
coalition are under pressure to investigate the effects of DU exposure on
their servicemen, thousands of whom have been hit by what is known as Gulf

Worries about the health risk to United Nations workers who frequent the
region are driving inquiries by various agencies of the UN into the use of
DU weapons in the Gulf, where they were used in combat for the first time,
and later in the Balkans, where big numbers of NATO peacekeepers and a
considerable UN staff served.

The difficulty with an issue as emotive as DU is that it can be exploited
for propaganda purposes - on both sides of a conflict.

So it needs to be stated that the experts who spoke to the Herald in Iraq
last week were not delivered up by the minders from the regime's Information
Ministry - they were identified to the Herald by the staff of UN and other
agencies working in Iraq.

Confirming that they had not attended the Hill & Knowlton school of public
relations, a victim interview organised by ministry staff backfired because
it revealed that despite trade sanctions, money or friendship with the
regime still secures effective medical treatment.

General Hussain Jasim Salih was blessed. A measure of the trust vested in
him was the five year posting to Moscow where he topped the class in his
studies of sea mines and torpedoes.

So when the Gulf crisis erupted, he was in command of the Iraqi minesweeper
fleet at Um Qasir, Iraq's only port, which is at the top of the Persian
Gulf. He had a substantial home in Basra and, as he put it, "I had cars and
my wife had gold and jewellery."

But the gaunt, thin-haired man sitting in the Basra garden, talking to the
Herald during yet another air-raid alarm as US jets prowled high above the
city, is not the handsome, well built officer in the photographs which he
produced from the family album.

His 51-year-old body is wrecked by leukemia, and the car and jewellery have
been sold and more money borrowed to pay for the life-saving $US100 vials
from which he injects himself daily. Ironically, the vials are produced in
Ireland but the profit ends up in the US - the manufacturer is a subsidiary
of the US drug-maker Schering & Plough.

To demonstrate the cost, he sends one of his sons to fetch a big platter, on
which there are more empty drug containers than the Herald had seen in
visits to three Iraqi hospitals last week. They are brought to Iraq by
members of his family who buy them in neighbouring Jordan.

In his sickness the general has become philosophical: "Look at me now - it
is better for humans not to be arrogant about money and the beauty of

What about arrogance with power? "Yes, of course, because our religion and
culture motivate us to be humble."

In Basra last week the humble and humiliated were at the children's
hospital. Waves of worried mothers, shrouded in black from head to toe,
throwing themselves in turn at the day clinic staff or at the door of Dr
Janan's room for comfort or succour.

On entering the drab, ill-equipped 10-bed leukemia ward, the sight of two
empty beds brought a moment of cheer - but only until it was explained that
their occupants had died in the previous 48 hours.

Dr Janan, who has worked at Basra for 19 years, said the child leukemia
figures for last year represented a 600 per cent increase since the year
before Desert Storm.

Most cases - she has pictures of the children strewn on her desk - come from
the border village of Safwan, a windswept, dusty last stop on the road to

And here is a hospital at which the leukemia sufferers have whole heads of
hair, because the hospital does not have the drugs which might treat the
cancer but which invariably cause the patients' hair to fall out.

Then the doctor takes the deformity book from her bookcase. The pictures are
appalling - children with grossly oversized heads and no limbs, with whole
sets of organs outside their body, with no facial features except a single
over-sized eye.

"Last week we had three leukemia deaths and five of these births," she said.
"They all died too. And of the 1,200 births we had here last year 221 were
deformed. We have had 20 in the last month, whereas we used to have one or
two such cases a year.

"In most cases their fathers served in the military. If we had a specialist
laboratory we'd be able to take samples and prove the link to DU; we do not
have the formal and professionally proved link, but I'm sure it is the cause
of all this, not because of its chemical toxicity but because of the

Dr Jawad, the cancer specialist, is impatient, but his promise of 10 minutes
becomes 40 minutes as he outlines the cancer epidemic.

He said: "The figures are even more troubling if you look at the mortality
rate - in 1988 we had 11 deaths per 100,000 people in Basra; in 2000 we had
83 deaths per 100,000 people. That is an increase of 7.5.

"We also have to deal with a rare development - family clusters of cancer
cases. There is a family with eight cases [only the Herald's efforts to
identify the family brought forward the admission that it was his wife's]
and another with six cases. There is a number of families also that have two
or three cases.

"The graphs are getting steeper and more alarming. I have looked at the
geographical distribution of cancer in relation to the areas where the DU
was used [only a few kilometres from the city].

"There has been a significant increase in lung cancer near it, and leukemia
has increased further to the north, where the Qurna winds come in off the
Gulf and blow the desert dust.

"I don't know what we are to do. The area is 2,000 square kilometres, and
that's too big to decontaminate. And there are many farmers still living in

"It's a great problem for the French and the Italians because one or two of
their soldiers have died. But where does that leave me? I've had 400 or more

That's the extent of Dr Jawad's foray into propaganda before he agrees to
talk about his wife.

"The thing about these family clusters is that they cannot be put down as
hereditary because there are different cancers within the clusters. In my
wife's family there is leukemia, there is breast cancer, there is colonic
cancer and there is Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"My wife is 47 years old. She is complaining of pain but she is refusing to
have an ultrasound or to allow me or anyone else to examine her. She says
she will die without a diagnosis."

Dr Hooda Amash, Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Baghdad,
claims that the evidence is compelling, but she too wants a formal and
detailed study into the link between the illnesses and exposure to DU.

In her city pathology practice, above the din of a teeming city market, she
said: "I want to deal in academically proven facts. But the evidence appears
to be compelling.

"Geographic - the cancer increases are across the country, but mostly in the
south; nothing was done to clean up the area - tanks and other vehicles are
still there producing radiation and pollution; the types of cancers - the
ones that have increased are the ones that are associated with radiation."

She warns that after last week's 10th anniversary of the Gulf War, Iraq
could be on the verge of an even more dramatic increase in some of the
cancers, in the same way that the populations of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were
affected 10 years after they were bombed.

US authorities argued that Gulf Syndrome could have been caused by the
vaccines given to coalition servicemen in the Gulf, she said. But this could
not be said of the Iraqi victims, because they had not been vaccinated.

Other worrying trends that were becoming apparent were an increase in
spontaneous miscarriages and miscarriages late in pregnancy.

UN sources in Baghdad said that when the Iraqis had first raised the
alarming statistics from the south, they had been dismissed as propaganda.

Work is being done on the subject by various agencies of the UN in the
Middle East and in the Balkans. Two preliminary reports are due to be
published in the next few weeks.

Despite this, some medical experts in Iraq and UN staff in Baghdad share a
fear that some countries, notably the US and Britain, are reluctant for the
research teams to get the funds or resources needed to arrive at an
effective conclusion.

Their fears are based on the British and US insistence that there is no link
between exposure to DU and Gulf Syndrome and two sets of formal advice
issued to workers who might be exposed - by the British Ministry of Defence
to its servicemen and a memo to UN staff around the world.

The UN memo says that the World Health Organisation does not have sufficient
information on exposure to DU in the Gulf or the Balkans to make firm
conclusions, and that areas of high concentrations of DU should be cordoned

The British advice to its servicemen in 1999 was: "Do not climb on or enter
a damaged hard target or loiter within 50 metres, do not eat, drink or smoke
near the damaged vehicle."

Some Iraqis express the hope that the pressure from Italy and Germany in
particular will force a complete investigation into the impact of DU on
servicemen in the Gulf from which they can interpolate the impact on the
people of southern Iraq.

A senior UN staffer in Baghdad said: "A lot of my colleagues are worried by
the possible effect on them, and they are only mildly reassured by that memo
from headquarters."

by Paul McGeough
Sydney Morning Herald, 10th March

Flights are few and security is tight. Very tight.

At the newly refurbished Saddam International Airport, passengers move
through huge, marbled halls like a colony of ants.This morning Iraqi Airways
has only one flight - about 200 people are flying from Baghdad to Basrah,
the port city in the south.

Flying to Basrah means going through hostile airspace - the no-fly zone
declared by the United Nations 10 years ago and which is patrolled by United
States and British fighter aircraft. But any concerns about becoming a
sanction buster are offset by something close to smugness at getting around
the six-hour drive to the south.

And it is a cheap thrill - the round-trip ticket on the world's most
restricted airline costs just $US16.60 ($32.44).

There is something absurd about a huge airport that has few passengers and
even fewer flights - there will be only two flights that day, one to Basrah
and another to Mosul in the north.

A postal worker is on duty in the airport post office ... though no-one is
writing postcards. The car-hire booth is in darkness and the duty-free shop
is locked-down. Everything in this post-war French reconstruction is
perfect, down to a newly painted sign not often seen in airports: an arrow
points down some stairs, to the basement bomb-shelters.

And at the departure tax booth a staffer is collecting Saddam Hussein's due
with great solemnity, but hyperinflation has reduced the 250 Iraqi dinar
levy to the equivalent of US12˘.

There are three x-ray luggage searches between taxi and aircraft and still
the contents of every bag are examined between x-rays two and three.

Every battery is confiscated, a pair of nail-scissors are taken away and
every tube in every toilet-bag is opened and sniffed. All confiscated goods
are bagged and numbered to be returned to passengers at the destination.

Everything is new. The six fire engines sitting on the tarmac gleam and the
seats and other fittings on the bus that ferries passengers from the
terminal to the aircraft are still in their plastic wrapping.

The aircraft is a special treat - a Boeing 747 that, in a neighbourly
gesture, was given to President Saddam Hussein by a member of the royal
family of Qatar, one of the United Arab Emirates to the south of Iraq. No
doubt on security advice, Saddam does not make personal use of the jumbo,
which he has presented to the people of Iraq.

The flight crew is beaming, clearly pleased to be back in the air and in
their new aqua uniforms and matching aqua nail-polish. For a decade all
staff have been laid off, with the exception of a group of engineers who
have attempted to maintain their skills by repeatedly dismantling and
rebuilding the same aircraft engine.

Iraqi Airways has been back in the air for about three months. But most of
the 50 aircraft it operated before Operation Desert Storm have been grounded
at airports outside Iraq - two of them sit on the tarmac at Amman, in
neighbouring Jordan.

The present Iraqi Airways domestic fleet is an odd job lot - the jumbo from
Qatar, a Boeing 727 and an ancient Russian-built Iluyshin 76.

But Iraqi Airways is not alone in the skies over Iraq.

The UN-declared no-go zone in the north was imposed to protect the minority
Kurds from Iraqi victimisation, and in the south the ban on flights was to
protect the Shi'ite Muslims who also were under attack from Baghdad. The
airlines of Egypt, Syria and Jordan make scheduled stopovers at Baghdad. And
a string of European and other nations have been sending in one-off
services, either as humanitarian gestures or touting for business.

THE CHILDRENıS CORNER,3604,447037,00.html

by Nicholas Watt
The Guardian, 6th March

Margaret Thatcher and John Major, who are barely on speaking terms at the
best of times, have had another spectacular falling out.

Mr Major is said by friends to be "seething" after Lady Thatcher
unceremoniously upstaged him at last week's 10th anniversary celebrations
marking the liberation of Kuwait. Lady Thatcher, who makes no attempt to
hide her contempt for the man she backed as her successor, swung the
proverbial handbag in Mr Major's direction when she lamented the failure of
Britain and the US to wipe out Saddam Hussein at the end of the Gulf war.

Standing within yards of Mr Major in the garden of the British embassy in
Kuwait, she declared: "I only wish that I had stayed on to finish the job
properly. Perhaps then we wouldn't be where we are today with this cruel and
terrible man securely in power."

Mr Major, who defended the allies' decision not to march on Baghdad within
moments of her outburst, flew home in a rage. One friend said: "John is
seething with Margaret. He feels that once again she has shown no grasp of
the finer details of policy."

Friends said Mr Major was particularly enraged because he has been widely
praised, along with George Bush snr, for his deft handling of the war. One
friend said: "To suggest that the allies could have stormed up to Baghdad
and take out Saddam after the liberation of Kuwait is ludicrous, not least
because there was no UN mandate to do so."

Lady Thatcher ensured she received top billing at last week's celebrations
in Kuwait even though she resigned in November 1990, before the launch of
Operation Desert Storm in January 1991. The former prime minister believes
she deserves credit for the success of the war after she famously stiffened
the resolve of Mr Bush when he prevaricated after the Iraqi invasion of
Kuwait in August 1990.

The latest row shows there is little hope of a reconciliation between Lady
Thatcher and Mr Major. Relations, which soured within months of Mr Major
taking office, are so bad that Lady Thatcher is now said to be on
comparatively better terms with Sir Edward Heath, despite his 26 year-long
sulk after she deposed him as Tory leader in 1975.

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