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News, 29/4-5/5/01 (1)

News, 29/4-5/5/01 (1)


*  Oil pipeline between Jordan, Iraq in 2002
*  Iran, Mojahedin Issue Conflicting Casualty Reports
*  King Mohammed voices solidarity with Iraq [in the, I would have thought,
highly significant form of very fulsome birthday greetings to S.Hussein]
*  Saudi openness to the Iraqi opposition [in this case the Shi¹ite Supreme
Council for the Islamic Revolution, a body which I would imagine has certain
points in common with the Hezbollah in Lebanon, but has Iran¹s suppport for
it been included among the offences listed in the recent US State depatment
report on terrorism? We wonder?]
*  Drift toward Mideast war


*  Iraq and Belarus sign economic accord
*  Convicted arms dealer funnels aid from Europe's far right to Iraq [in
*  Iraq denies visa to [Chief minister in Indian controlled Kashmir] Farooq
*  Third tranche of Iraqi Bonds issue soon [in India]
*  Exporters irked with govt on wheat row with Iraq [in India]
*  Saddam's ex-crony returning to Canada


*  Uncertain policy on Iraq [Bush team discover that the options are rather
limited and so fall back into the same pattern as the much maligned Clinton
team. To the annoyance of Œverteran Iraq watcher¹ Laura Mylroie]
*  Saddam's Baghdad Escalates as Bush's Washington Dithers [Jim Hoagland
condemns the brutal, murderous blood lust of S.Hussein who, he says, wants
to shoot down a US pilot. He fails to comment on the remarkably small number
ofAmericans who have been killed by Mr Hussein or his agents. Especially
compared with the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed by
the Americans and their agents]


*  Commander will review Saudi dress code
*  US jets hit northern Iraq
*  In the Arabian Desert, U.S. Troops Settle In [extract. A very interesting
extract which tells us a) that despite all the hysterical ranting from
J.Hoagland et al, US pilots in the No Fly Zones feel they are in very little
danger; b) that the No Fly Zones have nothing to do with protecting Kurds or
Shi¹i - they are all to do with espionage and surveillance and c) we have it
straight from the mouth of the commander, Brig Gen Gary R. Dylewski that
actually the name of the game is permanent occupation of Saudi Arabia to
prevent the SAUDIS from ever imposing another oil embargo: "Our attitude is
changing from a temporary attitude to a long-term attitude. For the last 10
years . . . we've been in a put up a tent mindset. We are changing that," he
said. "We don't want to control the resources of the region. We want to make
sure they are available uninterrupted to the rest of the world." The parts
of the article I haven¹t given, about daily life in the fortress, protected
from all contact with Arabs, all of whom are assumed to dangerous, is also
interesting but only those with strong stomachs should attempt it]

SENT SEPARATELY AS News, 29/4-5/5/01 (2)


*  Iraq seeks Gulf war uranium check
*  Iraqis mourn victim of US-British raids
*  Iraq says Gulf War bomb kills eight children


*  Iraq denies testing radioactive bomb in 1987 [refers back to article
given in last week¹s mailing]


*  Iraqis redeem trust in President [Festivities on S.Hussein¹s 64th
*  Iraq Says Stolen Relic on Sale in London
*  Verdict of Iraqi gunman in anti-UN attack put off [ŒThe court has already
put back the ruling five times to allow more lawyers to join a defence team
that is now at least 20 strong, 15 of whom were appointed by the Iraqi
parliament.¹ Who says you couldn¹t get a fair trial in Iraq??]
*  Iraq Is Thwarting Aid Projects, UN Charges [which is to say that because
the US and Britain won¹t allow Iraqis to fly planes in the No Fly Zones, the
UN wants to employ non Iraqis to fly crop dusting planes to keep the date
plantations - not allowed to export dates. I hope other list members like
myself have been refusing to eat dates for the past ten years - in
exsistence. But the Iraqis don¹t recognise the no fly zones, quite rightly,
and therefore insist that Iraqis should fly the planes. Any reasonable
interpretation of this story would say that it is the US and Britain that
are thwarting aid projects]


*  Look-a-likes taunt Cook over 'lies'
*  Protest Targets Iraq Deployment
*  Catholic Groups Join Chorus Against Iraq Embargo


*  U.S. report details global religious persecution
*  U.S. names N. Korea in state terrorism list [on the grounds that they
have been allowing members of the Japanese Red Army Faction to live in the
country - in retirement - since 1970]
*  Bush Commits U.S. to Missile Defense
*  US gets Security Council presidency sans envoy
*  Washington's enemies deliver snub at UN [by refusing to re-elect a US
candidate to the Human Rights Commission. ŒSome diplomats said they believed
the Bush Administration¹s opposition to the Kyoto climate-change treaty as
well as its insistence on building a missile defence system contributed to
its failure. Other nations may have been trying to punish Washington for
failing to support the abolition of landmines, or recognise an International
Criminal Court, and its opposition to cheap drugs being made available to
Aids sufferers in the Third World.¹ Quite a lot of possible reasons, in
*  NMD brings 'space Pearl Harbour' scare [makes the very necessary point
that the NMD isn¹t about the threat that the US, with its 7,200 -see above,
ŒBush commits US to missile defense¹ - long range nuclear warheads, faces
from Iraq or North Korea, but about getting a monopoly control of space -
and, though the article doesn¹t mention this, keeping the arms industry in
business. Its obvious, but no-one is saying it]


Arabic News, 30th April

The Jordanian minister of energy and mineral resources Wael Sabri has set
the first quarter of the year 2002 to start actual implementation of the
project to erect an oil pipeline from Iraq to Jordan.

In press statements he made in Amman on Sunday, Minister Sabri said that all
works in this project will be completed after two years according to the set

He said that the total cost of the project which is 750 kms in length is $
325 million of which Jordan bears costs of the part in its territories which
is $ 150 million while the remaining cost will be borne by Iraq.

On the other hand, the Jordanian minister said that his country will sign
with the Canadian " Sinkore" company by the end of this year an agreement on
oil extraction from oily-stone type areas.

VOA News, 1st May 2001

 Iran's military and the armed opposition group People's Mojahedin are
issuing conflicting claims about casualties from two incidents on Monday.

Iran said that its soldiers killed five fighters from the Mojahedin as the
fighters tried to enter Iran, near the southern city of Abadan, from
neighboring Iraq.

However, in statements faxed to Western news agencies, the Mojahedin said it
attacked Iranian army positions in the area and lost only one member in the

In a separate incident, Iran said that two officers and four soldiers were
killed in southwestern Iran (at Moussian in Ilam Province) Monday night
while clearing mines left over from the Iran-Iraq War.

The People's Mojahedin disputed the Iranian claim, saying the six were
killed by Mojahedin fighters.

There was no way to independently confirm any of the reports.

Arabic News, 1st May

Morocco's King Mohammed VI has expressed sincere feelings of solidarity with
the Iraqi people.

"We would like to renew sincere feelings of the brotherly solidarity of the
Kingdom of Morocco with your brotherly country and our determination to work
with all people with good intention, brothers and friends, with a view to
overcoming all obstacles hindering the lifting of the embargo and to putting
an end to the sufferings endured by the Iraqi people," King Mohammed VI said
in a message of Congratulations to President Saddam Hussein of Iraq on the
occasion of his birthday.

The king also renewed his "constant concern" for Iraq's sovereignty and
national and territorial integrity.

The message also carried the king's best wishes of good health, long life
and happiness to President Saddam Hussein and of more prosperity and
development to the Iraqi people.

The king expressed conviction that the Iraqi people will be victorious,
overcome the effects of the embargo and confirm their national dignity.

Arabic News, 3rd May

News reports in Paris said on Wednesday that the meeting between the Saudi
minister of the Interior prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz with Sheikh Muhammad
Baqer al-Hakim, the leader of the higher council of the Islamic revolution
in Iraq, on the framework of his visit to Tehran is considered a great
success for the Iraqi Shiite position.

The reports added that this meeting is not far from the American new
perspective in dealing with the Iraqi question, noting that it was rumored
that a high ranking official at the US embassy in Damascus started contacts
with several Shiite opposition in the framework of a plan to open contact
channels with the Iraqi opposition organizations outside the national

by Arnaud de Borchgrave

WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- It started with stones and Palestinian mortar
barrages are now commonplace. The drift toward another war is unmistakable.

The Palestinians have concluded that an independent state in the West Bank
and Gaza is a mirage that barely shimmers on the horizon. Iraqi agents are
telling their Palestinian interlocutors that they are now like the French
resistance fighting Nazi occupation in World War II and that total
liberation should now be the objective. Hints of weapons of mass destruction
- presumably biological and chemical agents -- and the means to deliver them
are dropped with alarming frequency. Iranian liaison agents with the
Lebanon-based Hezbollah guerrillas are also proselytizing about the
liberation of Palestine "from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea."

Hamas' suicide bombers are parading openly in Gaza with dummy explosives
strapped to their waists. Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin appears regularly
on the Arab world's top rated television network Al Jazeera to say that the
destruction of the Israeli state must be the objective of all Arabs.

Moderate Arab governments -- primarily Egypt and Jordan, the only two that
have signed peace treaties with Israel -- are still sticking their necks out
for negotiations and a peaceful settlement. They both know that the streets
of their capitals favor Iraq's Saddam Hussein over their own leaders and if
the region explodes public opinion would insist they join the fray. Hedging
its bets, Saudi Arabia signed in mid-April a security cooperation pact with
Iran. Iranian President Mohammed Khatami on a recent visit to Moscow signed
an expanded strategic cooperation pact with Russia that calls for the
transfer of Russian ballistic missile technology. North Korea is also
supplying missile components to Iran.

Egyptian media editorials are mocking Arab League governments (including
their own) for failing to stop Israeli attacks. "Have the Arabs already
forgotten the resolutions taken in their recent summit to confront the
escalating stances of Israel?" the state-owned Al Akhbar daily asks. "Sharon
throws the gloves of defiance in your faces. What are you going to do,

Iran, not an Arab nation, is doing plenty. It has supplied Hezbollah with
scores -- Israeli intelligence believes hundreds -- of short-range missiles
(40 miles) that are fitted with conventional explosives. But these could
easily be converted to chemical or biological agents.

Radical Palestinian groups meeting in Tehran last week say they have
received backing from 30 Muslim countries, including Egypt and Jordan, for a
general Palestinian uprising. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "is
threatening to stop the Intifada in 100 days," said Abdullah Ramadan Shalah,
head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. "But I would like to tell him that
the people of Palestine will fight for 100 years."

Growing anti-Israel hostility amid an escalation of violence in the Middle
East is driving moderates and radicals ever closer. There was even talk in
the Tehran conference corridors of an Iranian blockade of the Straits of
Hormuz -- the West's oil lifeline out of the Gulf -- in the next regional
conflict. At the close of the conference, the delegates chanted, "God is
Great. Death to America. Death to Israel."

In an interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel in late April, Egypt's
President Hosni Mubarak seemed reconciled to another war to clear the air,
much the way his predecessor Anwar Sadat advocated "shock therapy" for the
region six months before the October 1973 Yom Kippur war. "If the talks
really turned to war, the Americans would get involved and prevent an
all-out war from happening," Mubarak said. "Yet as bad as war is, at least
you know what you are dealing with. Worse than open war is this terror,
which can strike anywhere and at any time."

In March 1973, Sadat told this reporter that "war is inevitable and we are
mobilizing everyone and everything for the final battle." I responded,
trying to get to the bottom of his thinking, "but everyone knows Israel can
defeat Egypt with one hand tied behind its back." This off-the-record
dialogue then ensued:

Sadat: Tell me how many Viet Cong were killed in the (1968) Tet offensive in

Me: About 45,000.

Sadat: That's right and you wrote they didn't reach a single one of their
military objectives.

Me: I did.

Sadat: But President Johnson felt compelled to abdicate a few weeks later by
declaring he would not run for re-election. So where was the defeat for

Without waiting for my response, Sadat continued.

Sadat: And tell me, how many North Vietnamese troops were killed in last
year's Easter offensive (March 72)?

Me: Intelligence estimated about 70,000.

Sadat: That's right. And you again wrote that Hanoi didn't reach a single
one of their objectives. Guess what I read in today's Al Ahram. I read the
last American soldier left Vietnam yesterday. So where was the defeat for

Me: Are you suggesting with these two analogies that the purpose of resuming
hostilities against Israel would not be to inflict maximum damage against
Israeli forces but perhaps the other way round?

Sadat: You are beginning to understand.

Me: Because if the tide of battle were to swing against you, Saudi Arabia
would trigger the oil embargo against the West which would force the U.S. to
impose a ceasefire around a new balance of power in the Mideast.

Sadat: You've finally understood.

We then went back on the record. History doesn't necessarily repeat itself.
But Sharon knows that the perception of Israel the Invincible has changed in
the Arab world and Iran to Israel the Vincible. Sharon may have concluded
that the time is at hand to create new facts on the ground -- e.g., a quick
military defeat of Syria and the end of its support for Hezbollah in
Lebanon, and the forced withdrawal of the Palestinian Authority from Gaza --
to restore the image of invincibility.

This scenario prompted Egypt to pledge assistance to Syria this week in the
event of an Israeli attack. Sharon, rejecting Foreign Minister Shimon Peres'
peace endeavors, warned Palestinian militants that he had given the Israeli
military "freedom beyond imagining" to fight the terrorists. "There are
things we will tell the public about. There are things we will deny and
there are things that will remain hidden forever," Sharon said this week.


BBC, 1st May

Iraq and Belarus have signed an accord on economic cooperation and agreed to
set up air links between the two countries.

The agreements were signed by the Iraqi Finance Minister, Hekmat Ibrahim
al-Azzaqi, and the Belarussian Deputy Prime Minister, Vladimir Zametalin,
who is in Baghdad on a visit.

The aviation accord aims to start up regular flights between Minsk and
Baghdad. The Iraqi news agency quoted Mr Zametalin as saying that Belarus
was eager to strengthen cooperation with Iraq in all fields. Mr Zametalin,
who's leading a large delegation of Belarussian officials and businessmen,
met President Saddam Hussein on Saturday and delivered a message from his
counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.

by Eric Geiger,
San Francisco Chronicle, May 3, 2001

St. Viet an der Glan, Austria -- Until recently, residents of this sleepy
village took little notice of a portly middle-aged Arab businessman living
inconspicuously on the edge of town with his family, assuming him to be a
successful carpet dealer.

But Austrian media, citing security authorities, identified Abdul Moneim
Jebara, 60, as a convicted Iraqi arms dealer allegedly acting as Saddam
Hussein's liaison with sympathetic far-rightist groups in Europe.

"He calls himself a mere export and import trader, but Austrian and German
security agencies see Jebara as a pivot of an alarmingly close cooperation
emerging in recent months between extreme rightists in the two countries and
radical Islamists," said Vienna's usually well-informed and influential
newsmagazine Format.

>From his hilltop bungalow sporting satellite dishes and surveillance
cameras, Jebara allegedly is coordinating unspecified aid programs from a
network of rightist supporters in Europe for Iraq, which is still under U.N.
sanctions imposed in 1990 after its invasion of Kuwait.

What seems to unite the European far rightists and the Iraqis are their
common anti-Semitic and anti-American sentiments. In its latest report on
the rightist scene in Germany, the Agency of the Protection of the
Constitution (a sort of German FBI) said, "The American democratic system is
seen by (the two groups) as an expression of cultural decadence and economic

A recent debate in Austria's parliament seemed to suggest that since
settling in St. Viet (near Klagenfurt in Carinthia province) in the early
1990s, Jebara has enjoyed the protection of high-level politicians who are
aware of his activities and background.

"How is it possible that a man of Jebara's caliber, who is known to have
close contacts to the extreme right and the Iraqi secret service and served
part of a six-year sentence for arms dealing, blackmail and tax evasion in
Germany, was allowed to settle in Austria?" thundered Karl Oellinger, a
prominent opposition Green Party lawmaker.

Austria's 15-month-old center-far-right coalition government quickly passed
the buck, saying that attempts to start deportation proceedings against
Jebara have always been thwarted by Carinthian authorities. Joerg Haider,
founder of the far-right Freedom Party and still its driving force, is
Carinthia's governor.

In an interview last week, Haider insisted that provincial authorities have
no power to block proceedings related to federal alien laws.

He also denied media reports quoting Jebara as saying he knows Haider well:
"I'm vaguely familiar with the case, but I have never met that man (Jebara)
and never had any contact whatever with him.

"I am being blamed for just about everything these days."

Among those reportedly spearheading the effort to funnel aid to Iraq is
Germany's National Democratic Party, which openly woos skinheads and
sponsors annual protests marking the 1987 death in prison of Hitler deputy
Rudolf Hess that often wind up in neo-Nazi violence.

The party, which all German democratic parties seek to ban, recently
proclaimed "strong support for the suffering Iraqis" on its Internet home

"The so-called community of nations against Iraq is a structure held
together by means of blackmail, lies, bribery, corruption and violence by
the satraps of the east coast," the statement said, using a term far
rightists usually apply to the U.S. Jewish community.

Also regularly expressing "solidarity" with Hussein's regime is the Munich
weekly Deutsche National Zeitung, circulation 130,000 (15,000 in Austria).
Its owner is Bavarian millionaire publisher Gerhard Frey, leader of the
German Peoples Party (DVU), a group accused of racism and anti-Semitism that
won 13 percent of the 1998 vote in the eastern state of Saxony Anhalt.

In an editorial, the weekly attacked the United States for keeping Iraq in a
"stranglehold" and asserted that Germany spent $18.8 billion in tax money to
help finance the Persian Gulf War "even though Germany was in no way
threatened by Baghdad."

The publication also ridiculed as "ludicrous horror stories" recent media
reports that the German intelligence agency (BWD) has new evidence that
Hussein has revived his nuclear weapon production and may be capable of
making an atomic bomb within the next three years.

Openly pitching for cash for "our Iraqi brothers" are leaflets issued by a
shadowy organization calling itself "German and Austrian Patriots." The
flyer's signatories include Franz Schoenhuber, 78, the former Waffen SS
sergeant who co-founded the once-surging extreme rightist Republican Party,
and the leader of a Salzburg-based neo-Nazi group identified only as
"Richard R."

Security officials say funds and commodities collected for Iraq on
"humanitarian grounds" are usually channeled to Jany le Pen, the wife of
Jean- Marie le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front. Running
a special aid organization called "SCS -- Children of Iraq," she then
arranges for the transfer to Baghdad.

"The idea of helping Saddam Hussein seems to have a bizarre unifying effect
on assorted extreme rightist groups . . . not only in Austria and Germany
but also in the rest of Europe," said the Austrian security official.

Apparently that's where Hussein's man in St. Viet comes in. In an
impassioned plea for donations for Iraq published recently by the Austrian
far- rightist periodical Rule, Jebara was named as "coordinator for the aid
action for Iraq by German Patriots."

Questioned about it by Austrian reporters in January, Jebara not only did
not deny his role as "aid coordinator" but also minced no words about his
admiration for Hussein and proudly showed off a wristwatch whose dial showed
a portrait of the Iraqi despot.

"The Iraqi people are starving, our children are starving, and Bill Clinton
(then U.S. president) is much worse than Hitler," he said. "The people
helping us are just ordinary young people who finally recognize what the
truth is -- and besides, their ideology resembles ours."

Jebara, a former resident of Munich, was sentenced in 1986 to 6 1/2 years in
prison for attempting to smuggle 40 combat helicopters from Germany to Iraq
during the Iran-Iraq war, as well as for trying to blackmail a business

The verdict specifically referred to Jebara's "close contacts" with high-
level Iraqi government and secret service officials, including Hussein's top
security officer and the chief of the national "procurement agency."

According to Format, Jebara also was questioned in the court in connection
with the reported participation of German firms in the construction of
chemical weapon plants at Iraq's heavily guarded Samarra industrial complex.
The magazine said he was accused of engineering a hostage-taking plot in
Iraq to force his release from prison. Jebara has vehemently denied both

Jebara was prematurely released from prison for unknown reasons in the early
1990s, and his motive for moving to Austria is also unclear.

But some analysts point out that before the Gulf War, Iraq was Austria's
most important trading partner in the Middle East, with Austrian exports
amounting to about $400 million annually. State-owned and private companies
-- such as Voest-Alpine, OMV and ELIN -- did large-scale business in the
fields of manufactured goods, oil and power plant construction,

"The Gulf War and the embargo ended the Austrian-Iraqi trade almost
completely, and that's why it was with satisfaction that the easing of the
sanctions in recent years was registered here," said the Vienna Daily

Dawn (Pakistan), 2nd May

NEW DELHI: Iraq, one of the staunchest supporters of India's Kashmir policy,
shocked New Delhi with a stinging snub on Wednesday when it denied a visa to
occupied Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, diplomats said.

They said Abdullah's visa request was turned down ostensibly on grounds of
invalid documents. It was not clear if this implied a required clearance
from the Indian government was missing, a standard drill when an official
visa is sought. But the Iraqis have not so far stood on formalities if it
involved embarrassment to senior political luminaries, as Abdullah no doubt

Arab diplomats have been riled with India for inching close to Israel and
Iran with equivocal offers of fighting terrorism while the ruling rightwing
Hindu establishment has interpreted this to include members of the
Palestinian Intifada.

In fact the very week Indian prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was
visiting Iran in an anti-terrorism mission, the Organiser weekly of the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was declaring Palestinians as terrorists.

An Indian news agency quoted a top diplomatic source as saying that
Abdullah's visit was something which even close cabinet colleagues were
unaware of.

However, he was taken aback when told by the embassy that his travel
documents were incomplete and that while he would be issued the visa after
he furnished the documents, he should delay his visit by five days.

"Yes, Dr Abdullah had applied for a visa to go to Baghdad, but we told him
that his travel documents were incomplete and that he could make the trip
after he completed all formalities," the agency quoted Iraqi Ambassador
Saleh Al-Mukhtar as saying.

It quoted an embassy official who did not wish to be identified, as saying
Abdullah expressed his inability to postpone his trip. After that, he
returned to Srinagar. Iraq, as India's closest ally during the Cold War, was
one country that had frequently stalled anti New Delhi resolutions at Arab
and Islamic group summits.

India opposes United States-led sanctions on Baghdad but has done little
else to assure Iraq that its improving ties with Israel and Iran and indeed
with the United States were not going to be at the expense of its erstwhile
closest ally in the Arab world.

Economic Times (India), 3rd May

THE GOVERNMENT will issue the third tranche of `Iraqi Bonds¹ worth $66
million or about Rs 300 crore to compensate project exporters whose payments
are stuck with Iraq which is reeling under the UN sanctions.

Payments for project export to Iraq were guaranteed by the central
government under the Indo-Iraq deferred-payment agreement.

According to Exim Bank officials, all necessary paper work for the bonds
which will be issued by the Reserve Bank of India on behalf of the
government are through. It now requires the Cabinet approval. One-third of
the proceeds of these bonds is expected to go to Exim Bank.

State Bank of India and other public sector banks who had lend to projects
in Iraq are expected to be major beneficiaries out of this issue. The
current outstanding on account of lines of credit extended for exports to
Iraq is estimated at Rs 14,300 crore or about $860 million.

The initial outstanding at the beginning of 1991 was estimated at around
$1.2 billion. According to Exim Bank officials, dues worth Rs 1700 crore
($570 million) have already been settled. The government had issued two
tranches of Iraq bonds valued at Rs 1,200 crore, one each in 1995 and 1998.

Close to Rs 380 crore was settled through ECGS (Export Credit Guarantee
Scheme). The balance was settled by various government departments which
paid for the guarantees for the respective public sector units from their

The bonds will help Exim Bank and other commercial banks, who have made
loans against exports to Iraq, reduce their NPA level substantially. In case
of Exim Bank, the dues from Iraq account for 40 per cent of the net
non-performing assets of the bank. The bank¹s net NPAs are estimated at
about 8 per cent of the net assets.

by Nidhi Nath Srinivas
Economic Times (India), 4th May

NEW DELHI : THE GOVERNMENT'S decision to stay aloof from glitches in the
Iraq wheat deal has upset Indian exporters, already nervous after Iraqi
authorities rejected outright the first two wheat consignments, canalised
through STC.

Almost 5 million tonnes has been contracted by Iraq from India under the
UN-sponsored oil forfood deal. Exporters here believe Iraqi customs
authorities have been capricious in rejecting Indian cargoes because they
met all contract specifications.

Therefore, they want either the government or STC, which is charging a hefty
commission, to step in to prevent further instances of rejection. ³As a
canalising agency, with a financial interest in every deal, STC should
certainly involve itself more in ensuring that consignments are accepted,¹¹
exporters said.

Rejection of any consignment by Iraqi customs is particularly risky for the
Indian exporter because of the payment-on-arrival terms and the $40/t
advance required to be sent by them for distribution costs within Iraq.

³Countries like Argentina have sent official delegations to Iraq. Surely the
Indian government should also be actively promoting the interests of its
exporters there. After all, the forex earned is in the country¹s interest
and according to government policy,¹¹ said Vijay Arora, managing director of
LT Overseas, whose first ship is now waiting for discharge at an Iraqi port.

In fact, the LT consignment, to be followed by a shipment from Priyanka
Overseas, is being viewed by traders as the acid test of whether the Iraqi
authorities are genuinely keen to allow wheat imports from India.

Meanwhile, to lower its risk in the deal, LT has not yet paid the
distribution charges demanded in advance by Iraq for its consignment.

³Though it was stipulated in the contract, we have not yet sent the $40/t
for distribution costs because it is risky. We have asked Iraqi authorities
to allow us to send it only after our consignment is accepted. We are
confident it will be permitted,¹¹ Arora said.

The first two wheat consignments sent by the Ahmedabad-based privately-held
Vishal Exports were rejected on the grounds of live infestation and too many

However, both shipment surveyor companies like Geochem and exporters here
say that though inadequate fumigation may have led to weevils, the
allegation of too many stones levied by Iraq is unfair and inexplicable
because small stones are routinely present in Indian wheat due to the lack
of mechanised cleaning and poor storage practices followed by Indian

³These are very small stones, usually from asphasalt, because the grain is
left lying in Punjab mandis. But when the wheat is taken for milling, these
are removed, along with all the husk and damaged wheat. So there is nothing
new in this. In fact, the foreign matter in this consignment was not more
than 2 per cent, as stipulated in the contract.

As there have been no complaints from other countries like Oman, Yemen, and
UAE, also importing wheat from India for milling, we are unable to
understand Iraq¹s problem,¹¹ industry sources said.

*  Saddam's ex-crony returning to Canada
by Estanislao Oziewicz
Globe and Mail (Canada), May 4, 2001

A onetime confidant of Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein convicted in 1987 of the
$50-million (U.S.) looting of an Arab development fund, is moving back to
Toronto after losing court battles on three continents.

Jawad Hashim, a Canadian citizen since 1986, is best known in this country
as the man who orchestrated the defection to Canada of the Iraqi ambassador
to Washington, Mohammed Mashat, in 1991.

As Mr. Hussein's principal apologist in the West for the 1990 invasion of
Kuwait, Mr. Mashat was one of the most visible and reviled symbols of the
Iraqi regime. His fast-tracked welcome to Canada caused a scandal in Ottawa
and the censure of a high-ranking Foreign Affairs bureaucrat and a senior
ministerial aide.

Mr. Hashim, 62, urbane and cosmopolitan, will be coming back to the country
that first gave him a haven nearly two decades ago -- after he turned
against Mr. Hussein but before he was convicted of embezzlement in the
United Arab Emirates.

"Toronto is my natural place," he said by telephone. "Canada? I love it.
It's the safest and the greatest country. It gave me sanctuary."

Mr. Hashim called a Globe and Mail reporter this week, using a caller-ID
blocking device, after one of his lawyers agreed to relay a message.

He said he was calling from Arizona, where he is trying to maintain a low

He is still dealing with legal repercussions of his 1987 conviction in
absentia on charges of taking the equivalent of $50-million from the Arab
Monetary Fund, created by 20 countries to finance economic-development

Mr. Hashim, once Mr. Hussein's economics minister and financial adviser, was
the first president and director-general of the fund, which is based in Abu
Dhabi. When his 10-year term ended in 1982, he became an opponent of his
benefactor's brutal rule.

He fled to England, where he had studied at the London School of Economics,
and then to Canada, where he arrived in 1983.

It is not clear whether he came as a refugee, an investor or some other
category of immigrant.

Lawyers for the monetary fund have pursued him doggedly in the Middle East,
Britain, the United States and Canada, where they are continuing to search
for assets.

The fund launched a civil suit in England and, in the early 1990s, a court
there ordered him to repay the $50-million plus more than $80-million in

The court also said that family members received assets traceable to fund
money, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, a rural property
north of Toronto and two Toronto condominiums. One of them, at 70 Rosehill
Ave., was described in a 1986 Globe and Mail series as the most exclusive
condo building in the city at that time.

Even though Mr. Hashim lived only intermittently in the condo, he put huge
Persian carpets, gifts from the late Shah of Iran, on the floors, decorated
the walls with Picassos and imported silks, and had a closet built in the
huge master bedroom for his dozens of pairs of shoes, which were custom-made
in England.

Years later, he remembers it with fondness and pride. "I think that building
is still the best in Toronto," he said this week.

He did not stay in England for the outcome of the civil case, moving to join
his sons in Arizona, where they were attending university. An English court
subsequently found him guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to two
years in prison.

He became a focus of controversy in England after it became known that the
country's legal aid fund had paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to defend
him and his family against the lawsuit. Critics said the Hashims made a
mockery of the legal-aid system by claiming need while living opulently in

There Mr. Hashim set up residence with his family in a luxurious
Phoenix-area resort and hunkered down to resist the fund's demands for its
money. When it filed a lawsuit seeking to enforce the British judgment, he
filed for bankruptcy.

The fund hired one of the top U.S. bankruptcy lawyers, Donald Gaffney, who
succeeded after several years in untangling some of Mr. Hashim's financial

In 1998, Mr. Hashim was sentenced by a U.S. court to 18 months probation
after pleading guilty to making a false statement in the bankruptcy
proceedings. He had been charged with several counts of failing to disclose
one of his bank accounts.

Mr. Hashim said he was forced into bankruptcy because of a personal vendetta
orchestrated by Mr. Hussein. "Saddam controls everything in Iraq," he said.

Mr. Gaffney said that Mr. Hussein does not control the Arab Monetary Fund,
which suspended Iraq from membership after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. "Mr.
Hashim is a very intelligent con man," he said.

Mr. Gaffney said that the fund has recovered about $12-million in assets,
including properties in Canada, England and the United States.

In court documents, Mr. Hashim has said that while he was head of the fund
he was temporarily detained by the Iraqi intelligence service under
suspicion that he had criticized and conspired against the Iraqi regime.

Since he fled to the West, he has publicly accused Mr. Hussein of skimming
billions from government and moving toward a nuclear-weapons program. He
also testified before the U.S. Congress.

In Canada, he came to national attention when it became known that he had
started the process of bringing his close friend, Mr. Mashat, to Canada, by
putting in a word for him with at what was then the Department of External

Opposition MPs accused the Conservative government of the day of trying to
cover up a secret deal to help a Hussein associate find a comfortable
redoubt in Canada. The government blamed a senior civil servant and a
minister's chief of staff for "serious errors of judgment."

Mr. Hashim confirmed that Mr. Mashat, now a Canadian, is living quietly in
the Vancouver area.

Mr. Hashim said that both he and Mr. Mashat do not like to draw attention to
themselves because they continue to fear Mr. Hussein's hit squads.

He said that he continues to act as a financial consultant, primarily
dealing with mortgages.


by Derk Kinnane Roelofsma

(Editor's Note: This is the second of two analyses on the issue of U.S.
policy toward Iraq. The first part was published Friday [I think it is in
last week¹s mailing as ŒBush Iraq team considers reviving coup option¹. The
two articles are very similar, there being not a lot to say about the
subject - PB])

WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) -- During the past week, senior officials of the
Bush administration have been meeting to ponder together how to get rid of
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Deposing Hussein is known as regime change in administration parlance and
constitutes the third basket of Secretary of State Colin Powell's uncertain
but still evolving policy on Iraq. The other two baskets are renewed
sanctions and maintenance of the safe havens for the Kurds in northern Iraq
and the Shiite Arabs in the south.

Regime change, says Edward Walker, assistant secretary of state for the Near
East, is the least formed basket. For evident political reasons, the United
States cannot hope to change the Baghdad regime on its own. Change will have
to be effected by Iraqis and it is uncertain whom those Iraqis might be.
Under discussion are both promoting a popular uprising led by the Iraqi
opposition to Hussein and contriving a coup d'etat from within the political
military elite.

There has been much talk about the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella
organization for opposition groups. Critics of the INC wrinkle their noses
at the mention of Ahmad Chalabi, the Shiite Muslim, who is its most visible

In 1989, Chalabi was head of Jordan's second-biggest commercial bank, Petra
Bank. That year the bank collapsed and Chalabi fled with warrants out for
his arrest on charges of embezzling. He was convicted in absentia in 1992 on
31 charges of embezzlement, theft, misuse of depositors' funds and other
crimes. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and fined $230 million.
Chalabi's supporters dismiss what happened as a canard mounted by
pro-Hussein elements in Jordan.

The INC itself remains under a cloud because of the millions of dollars,
provided by the CIA in the early 1990s that disappeared without trace. A
senior State Department official was recently quoted as saying currently
there were "no major problems with embezzlement."

Some specialists in Middle Eastern affairs consider the INC has no
meaningful support left inside Iraq and even less ability to threaten, much
less topple, Hussein. They see it as the gang that couldn't shoot straight.
As Judith Kipper of the Center for Strategic and International Studies puts
it, "In regard to the INC, there is an extremely limited possibility of
removing Saddam." A veteran Kurdish political figure said, "The INC can do a
lot to help Iraq become a democratic society. It could be a government in
exile. But it can never be a viable military force."

Others disagree. For veteran Iraq-watcher Laurie Mylroie, the problem is not
the INC but what she sees as fecklessness among the spineless wonders who
inhabit Washington's corridors of power. Alan Makovsky of the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy grants that as it is now the INC could not
overthrow Hussein but adds that hopefully it could be developed into
something that could.

The Kurdish delegation that visited Washington was made up of leaders of
both major parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, each ruling about a half of the
autonomous area. The Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan are represented in the INC and say they share its political aims.
But neither is enthusiastic about getting involved with an INC attempt at
regime change. Leaders of both parties told United Press International they
have the responsibility to protect 3.5 million Kurds and that they do not
think adventurous schemes are the way to bring about desired changes.

The majority of Iraqis are Shiite Arabs and their main opposition body is
the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. It claims to have up
to 8,000 fighters. It is based in Tehran, Iran, and there are signs it would
like to free itself from the tutelage imposed by the Iranians. SCIRI
maintains contacts with the United States and its leader, Ayat Allah
Muhammad Baqer al-Hakim, has said it is waiting to see what the Bush
administration policy is before it decides whether to intensify or reduce
those contacts.

The remaining major people in the mix are the Sunni Arabs who have dominated
politics since the British created the kingdom of Iraq in the years after
World War I. Sunni opponents of Hussein in exile, like those inside Iraq,
have not coalesced. Apart from any rivalries, conditions in Iraq are so
difficult that what active underground opposition there is cannot flourish.
Continuing U.S. efforts to build contacts with Sunni and Shiite in Iraq are
impeded by Hussein's very effective security services.

Thus forming a corps of Iraqis able to confront Hussein with any hope of
success seems as far off as ever.

In sum, the contents of Powell's three baskets -- sanctions, U.S. military
commitment to the safe havens, and regime change -- appear lacking in much
substance. So 100 days after the Bush administration took office, U.S.
policy on Iraq looks much as it did during the Clinton administration. As
Kipper says, "Every administration tends to build on what previous ones have
done and the differences are more a matter of style than substance."

The RAND Corporation's Graham Fuller refers to the administration's brave
rhetoric and Mylroie says that so far policy on Iraq remains what it was
during the Clinton administration -- and that was a very sorry thing.

Some indication of a more effective U.S. policy was looked for as a result
of Walker's travels to the Middle East two weeks ago. The purpose, it had
been expected, was to sweet talk Arab states into rebuilding the coalition
that dealt with Hussein in 1991. But Walker, in Damascus, announced that the
escalation in violence between Israel and the Palestinians had shoved Iraq
off his agenda.

In the meantime, an event in Iraqi Kurdistan is worth noting. It is the
success of the KDP and the PUK in composing their differences, something
American diplomacy tried for years to bring about without success.

The two parties did so when they realized that an end to the present
sanctions would allow Hussein to turn his attention to the next item on his
agenda. That is to regain control of northern Iraq. A senior Kurdish
official, commenting on the reconciliation, told UPI, "We saw that Saddam is

by Jim Hoagland
International Herald Tribune, May 3, 2001

WASHINGTON: While the Bush administration struggles to determine what to do
about Iraq and the Gulf, Saddam Hussein has concluded his own policy review
with characteristic speed and brutishness. He wants an American pilot's
head, and he wants it now.

Far from backing off after U.S. warplanes bombed air defenses near Baghdad
on Feb. 16, Saddam's rocketeers have significantly escalated in recent weeks
their firings at American and British aircraft flying routine patrols over
Iraq, according to U.S. military and intelligence reports.

Those reports indicate that the escalation follows direct orders from Saddam
to his military commanders to bag him an American pilot. These orders
reportedly combine threats of reprisal for failure, and offers of huge cash
bonuses for success.

When it comes to policy reviews, Saddam is different - he knows what he
wants and he goes after it frontally. One murderous glance from the still
unmellow dictator, who turned 64 last week, is enough to silence any
disagreement in his national security team.

This is not to suggest that George W. Bush should or could conduct policy
deliberations in a similar manner. But a drawn-out search for a new Iraq
policy that allows vacillation and divergences to dominate the process will
doom a new U.S. approach before it can get started.

Saddam seeks that outcome with his newly aggressive, across-the-board
response to the change of government in Washington.

While his gunners were targeting American F-15s, his diplomats set out at
the recent Arab summit in Amman to intimidate and humiliate Jordan and other
Arab states that could be tempted to support a more focused U.S. policy.
Iraq scored no diplomatic points at the parley, but that was not Saddam's
goal. His oil merchants have stepped up incentives for smuggling and evading
sanctions since Secretary of State Colin Powell focused on that subject as
part of the review. Iraq's illegal oil exports to Syria, and the revenues
they bring directly to Saddam, have grown from 150,000 barrels a day to
250,000 since February. That was when General Powell visited Damascus and
asserted that President Bashar Assad had promised to cooperate with a new
U.S. approach to sanctions.

Iraq sells oil to Syria at $19 a barrel, or nearly $9 below recent world
market prices, according to the Iraqi National Congress, the leading
anti-Saddam opposition group. The INC also reports that Russian technicians
are helping Syrian engineers refurbish a second Syrian pipeline to Iraq for
future exports and that Baghdad has opened discussions with Lebanon about a
similar deal.

Saddam Hussein hurries while President Bush's people still organize
themselves in a serious but needlessly protracted review. The Bush team
needs to recognize and respond to Saddam's rush. The most urgent task is to
redraw the rules of engagement and mission requirements for the pilots
enforcing the two no-flight zones over Iraq. Instead of flying the present
purely reactive patrols that limit the time and scope they have to respond
to being targeted, the pilots should be cleared to strike militarily
significant targets that are identifiably part of a new strategy of constant

At the top of that target list should be the dikes that Saddam has built in
southern Iraq to dry up the marshes that an insurgency could use as cover.
Blowing them away would be an effective way of announcing the end of the
U.S. policy review.

At the conceptual level, the administration should abandon the current
internal debate over regime change vs. containment as its alternative
policies. Those unconvincing labels should be replaced by a clear American
commitment to support the establishment of democracy in Iraq, through a
long-term program of material and political support for Iraqis who share
that goal and will work for it.

Only by publicly identifying the need for a democratic Iraq and holding it
up as a model, much as Washington did through the long and unpromising years
of calling for the independence of the Baltic states from the Soviet Union,
can the United States convince the people of Iraq and of the region that it
is finally serious about promoting change of a lasting nature in Baghdad.

That change will not be easy, or risk-free. Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich
Gulf monarchies will not rush initially to help bring it about, any more
than will oil-poor dictatorships like Syria. But clear and sustained
American leadership can turn the tide against Saddam's hurry-up offense.

By going to war against Iraq in 1991, America incurred a moral obligation to
that country's long-suffering people. Washington has set that obligation
aside for a decade. It should not wait any longer.


by Edward T. Pound
USA TODAY, 30th April

WASHINGTON -- The senior U.S. military commander in Saudi Arabia will review
and may change a policy requiring female personnel deployed in that country
to wear a neck-to-toe robe known as an abaya, military officials say.

The review was disclosed in the wake of complaints about the dress policy by
Maj. Martha McSally, 35, the highest-ranking female fighter pilot in the
U.S. Air Force. In an interview published April 18 in USA TODAY, McSally
said that the policy discriminated against women.

Military spokesmen say that Air Force Gen. Gary Dylewski, who assumed the
command earlier this month, would review the policy. As the new commander,
they say, he is reviewing all operational policies.

Officials say they don't know when the review of the dress policy would be
completed. And, they say, Dylewski may keep the policy intact.

McSally met with Dylewski on Thursday at the Eskan Village military command,
near the Saudi capital of Riyadh, to discuss the policy. She says she told
him she agrees the military needs to ''be aware of and comply with the
customs of our hosts,'' but not when they ''fundamentally conflict with the
values of our nation.'' But in the case of the abaya, she says she explained
that ''there is a fundamental conflict with one American value: that all
humans are created equal and should be treated with that respect, regardless
of race, religion or gender.''

McSally, whose promotion to lieutenant colonel becomes effective Tuesday,
says she urged Dylewski to modify the policy. ''I have argued for a
reasonable balance where all our troops wear conservative Western clothing
when off duty or their uniform when on duty and off the military compound.''

The military follows a stricter dress code in Saudi Arabia than the State
Department. The policy also conflicts with the official guidance that the
Saudi government gives to foreigners. The guidance, according to the Saudi
Embassy in Washington, does not require non-Muslim women to wear an abaya.
The guidance says women should dress conservatively when in public,
including loose-fitting dresses draped well below the knees with long
sleeves and a high neckline.

U.S. military officials say the policy was put in place after the Gulf War
ended in 1991. They say it was implemented out of respect for Islamic law
and Saudi customs and to protect personnel from harassment by the mutawa, or
religious police, and from potential terrorists.

The officials also say that while State Department employees have diplomatic
immunity, military personnel do not have such protections and might face a
tougher time if detained by the religious police.

Dylewski directs Operation Southern Watch, the mission to enforce the no-fly
zone over southern Iraq. McSally runs search and rescue for that operation.
In 1995, she became the first woman in the Air Force to fly a combat
aircraft into enemy territory when she piloted her A-10 Warthog jet over
southern Iraq in the no-fly zone operation.

Times of India, 1st May

ANKARA: US fighter jets bombed northern Iraq on Monday after coming under
Iraqi fire during routine patrols over the no-fly zone in the region, the US
military said.

The aircraft dropped "ordnance on elements of the Iraqi integrated air
defence system" in response to Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery fired from
sites northwest of Mosul, the Stuttgart based US European Command said in a
statement received here.

The planes returned safely to their base in Incirlik in Turkey's southern
province of Adana, the statement said.

Some 40 British and US planes are based at Incirlik to patrol the northern
no-fly zone imposed on Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War to protect the region's
Kurdish population.

A similar exclusion zone was also set up over southern Iraq to protect the
Shiite Muslim population there and is patrolled by US and British aircraft
based in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

On Saturday, an Iraqi civilian was killed and two wounded in an air strike
over the south of the country, according to Baghdad. London denied any such
strike took place.

Iraq does not recognise the zones, which are not authorised by any specific
UN resolution, and has regularly fired on aircraft patrolling them since
joint US-British air raids on Baghdad in December 1998. (AFP)

Washington Post, 3rd May


In the view of U.S. commanders and pilots here, the exchange of fire over
southern Iraq is proof of Hussein's bad intentions and justifies what they
say is more than just policing his country. If the only aim was to ensure
that Iraqi jets stayed north of the designated 33rd parallel, Dylewski said,
the pace and design of the sorties would look much different from the near
daily combinations of fighters, reconnaissance jets and tankers that ply the
air over Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq itself, a dozen or more at a time.

Iraqi pilots on occasion buzz across the line, which is designated in theory
to make sure Hussein's air force cannot be used against southern Iraq's
restive Shiite population or to threaten Kuwait. A similar zone has been
created in the north to oversee Iraq's Kurdish regions, leaving Baghdad with
only the middle portion of the country, about 108 miles from north to south,
under full sovereignty.

But the Iraqi jets never arrive in large numbers and never stay long. After
a decade of U.N. sanctions that have limited Iraq's access to spare parts,
Dylewski said, its air force's active combat fleet may number as few as 50
planes. And the pilots are restricted to only a few training flights a month
around Baghdad, hardly a regimen to stay in fighting shape. The last
air-to-air encounter between coalition and Iraqi aircraft was in 1992.

In fact, despite the concerns expressed in February about the increasing
accuracy of Iraqi anti-aircraft fire, pilots here agreed that the risk they
face over Iraq is, in Shepherd's words, "slim to none."

>From the U.S. perspective, the current state of affairs is serving other
ends. High on the list is surveillance, to ensure Iraq abides by U.N.
demands that it not strengthen military forces in the south and to provide
information on what the Iraqi government is more broadly attempting, even
outside the no-fly areas.

"If it is only no-fly zone enforcement, you don't need to be so aggressive,"
said Brig. Gen. Allen G. Peck, commander of the 363rd Air Expeditionary
Wing, the designation given to the fleet of planes and people deployed here,
in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

"We get a lot of benefit by enforcing the way we do," he said. "We benefit
from an up-close and personal look at what he [Hussein] is doing."

On a given day, U.S. troops here might send up a "package" that includes the
U-2 reconnaissance craft snapping pictures from on high, the AWACS scanning
for Iraqi planes, the RC-135 eavesdropping on Iraq's airwaves, a Marine
Prowler jamming the other country's radars, F-15s and F-16s providing
protection and tankers flying set routes over northern Saudi Arabia to keep
everyone in motion. If an attack has been planned for the day, the planes
come from Kuwait or a gulf-based aircraft carrier; under an agreement with
the Saudis, the planes leaving here are equipped only with defensive weapons
in case they are attacked by another plane or targeted by ground-based

The public equations are simple: If Hussein's gunners stop shooting, so, say
base officials, will the U.S. and British fighters. If Iraq complies with
U.N. resolutions, then the Gulf War's 10-year endgame, and the justification
for the dozens of U.S. warplanes still circling the Arabian peninsula, might

The underlying politics are broader: containment aimed at Iraq and Iran. As
one Western diplomat in Saudi Arabia said, "The United States hasn't tried
to overthrow any governments here. Iraq sure has. The United States hasn't
tried to destabilize. . . . Iran sure has."

Allied gulf countries have begun reorganizing their own defenses, in close
consultation with Western governments that have competed for the estimated
$50 billion in weapons sales made in the region over the last 10 years. A
recently signed pact among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council,
could, for example, put a combined force of several hundred fighters at the
disposal of any threatened country once current purchases are completed.
Among the sales: 80 F-16s to the United Arab Emirates for $6.8 billion.

But at the same time, for U.S. commanders and planners in the region, "the
relationship is getting more profound" between the United States and the
gulf countries that only 30 years ago targeted the United States with an oil
embargo, said Dylewski.

"Our attitude is changing from a temporary attitude to a long-term attitude.
For the last 10 years . . . we've been in a put up a tent mindset. We are
changing that," he said. "We don't want to control the resources of the
region. We want to make sure they are available uninterrupted to the rest of
the world."
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