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News, 8-14/7/01 Another selection of rather out of date news sent for the record. OIL FOR FOOD * Iraq Flays Europeans, Sees Oil-For-Food Soon * 'Smart sanctions' fiasco [comment from Pakistani paper, Dawn¹ arguing that Iraq is no longer a threat and should be allowed to engage in normal commercial relations. On the Smart sanctions¹ proposal it points out, rightly, that What ... the US-UK move really aimed at was to deny Iraq the right to sell oil beyond the specified "oil for food" quota.¹] * The smartest sanction [comment from the Jerusalem Post arguing for a military solution - support for internal terrorism. Interesting quote from Chalabi to the effect that "So long as you have no policy to remove the regime, sanctions are immoral and cannot be defended."] * Iraq price proposals indicate illegal surcharge remains [ie they¹re still charging below the going market rate] * Iraq to give Russian firms priority in new crude deals [and who could blame them?] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * Iraq ready to cooperate with U.N. Human Rights Commission * UN angrily denies Iraqi charges of corruption IRAQIMIDDLE EAST/ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Iraqi MP delegation hold talks in Morocco * Saudis arrest 750 Iraqi smugglers in past year * The Israeli-Turkish entente [from the Jerusalem Post. Includes some interesting insights on things Israel and Turkey have in common, such as that Turkey and Israel refrain from interfering in the domestic affairs of their neighbors¹ and their usefulness in checking aggression in their immediate neighborhood is a goal shared by their ally - the US.¹ You learn something every day.] * Lebanon informs an Iraqi delegation facilitation of entry visas * Kuwait draft bill calls for switch to Sharia penal code [refers in passing to the important fact that Kuwait is a state of some 825,000 Kuwaitis and 1.4 million foreigners¹. So it seems they haven¹t learnt a lot from the Iraqi invasion - except that a far smaller proportion of the foreigners¹ - ie workers - will be Arab] * Ferry services flourish under Iraq sanctions * Iraq accuses Iranian regime hireling of rocketing Baghdad MILITARY MATTERS * West Studies Iraq's Ballistic Firing of Missiles * Baghdad says U.S., British jets bomb southern Iraq * Anzac crew to enforce Iraq sanctions [crew of Australian frigate, Anzac. New Zealand, to its credit, isn¹t implicated] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN [hopefully a rather more interesting selection on this subject will be coming shortly, taken from the Kurdistan Observer PB] * Iraq condemns Turkish push into north [see above piece on Israel and Turkey and their opposition to aggression in the neighbourhood] * Iraqi president sends books in the Kurdish language to north Iraq * A No-Fly, Yes-Democracy Zone: Iraqi Kurdistan Offers a Model for a Post-Saddam Future [a rosy picture of life in Iraqi Kurdistan where the oil-for-food money that has been misused in the rest of Iraq¹ is put to good effect (no mention of the moneys that come from the sale of Iraqi oil outside the Oil for Food scheme and the threat that was therefore posed to the Kurdish economy by smart sanctions.¹)] OIL FOR FOOD http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010708/wl/iraq_saddam_sanctions_dc_1.html * Iraq Flays Europeans, Sees Oil-For-Food Soon BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq is in talks with the United Nations on a memorandum that would enable it to resume oil exports under the existing ``oil-for-food'' program for another five months, the official Iraqi news agency said on Sunday. INA quoted Iraq's U.N. envoy as saying he hoped the deal could be signed early this week. Iraq halted oil exports June 4 in protest at U.S.-British efforts to revamp the scheme with a new ``smart sanctions'' regime. The U.N. Security Council last week approved another routine five-month extension of oil for-food without mentioning the U.S.-British scheme, which Baghdad took as a political victory. INA quoted Iraqi U.N. ambassador Mohammed Aldouri as saying talks were continuing between the United Nations and Iraq to sign the oil-for-food deal and he expected to sign a memorandum of understanding at the beginning of the week. Britain and the United States shelved the bid to reconfigure the sanctions -- easing Iraqi purchases of civilian goods but stiffening controls on oil and goods with military uses -- after Russia threatened to use its Security Council veto to kill a draft resolution. Iraq and Russia believed the U.S.-British plan would mean more sanctions, not fewer. Iraq has long demanded the abolition of sanctions imposed for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had harsh words for countries that backed the U.S.-British scheme. ``Malice toward Arabism and Islam makes policies of some European countries short sighted policies and makes them neglect even their interests with the Arab nation,'' the official Iraqi news agency quoted Saddam as saying during a cabinet meeting. He was referring to French support for ``smart sanctions.'' ``As a result they throw themselves into the arms of the Americans and Zionism and agree to their hostile plans,'' he said. ''But it seems that some Europeans have recently realized that when America gains control it will grant them only the crumbs.'' On Saturday, an Iraqi oil industry source had played down the significance of any delay in signing a memorandum of understanding, which must be signed to allow Iraq to sell oil despite being under U.N. sanctions. ``We will be on (exporting oil),'' the source said. ``There are some logistical matters that need to be addressed...but practically there is no problem and we are ready for export.'' INA quoted a trade ministry source on Sunday as saying contracts worth $4.72 billion signed under the oil-for-food program have been blocked by the United States and Britain. http://www.dawn.com/2001/07/10/ed.htm#1 * 'Smart sanctions' fiasco Dawn (Pakistan), 10 July 2001, 17 Rabi-us-Saani 1422 The collapse of the Anglo-American move for "smart sanctions" for Iraq should help inject some realism into the perverse policy that governs the eleven-year-old embargo against that country. The sanctions against Iraq were imposed in August 1990 following Baghdad's invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Since then the valid part of the aim behind the sanctions has been more than achieved. All of Baghdad's facilities and installations connected with the production of weapons of mass destruction have been dismantled. Besides, Iraq has been unable to launch new armaments projects or to import arms and ammunition. However, what the UN (actually US) sanctions have done is to punish the Iraqi people to no end. The effects of the sanctions border on genocide. The scarcity of food and non-availability of life-savings drugs, especially for infants and for women in the pre- and post-natal period, have had horrendous effects on Iraqi society. As UN statistics show, the sanctions have caused the deaths of 1.5 million people, including half a million children. The "smart sanctions" move by the US and Britain was superficially an improvement on the existing embargoes. Abandoned because of Russia's veto threat, the "smart sanctions" resolution would have eased restrictions on civilian trade but would have tightened restrictions on Iraqi arms import. It would also have introduced stricter measures against the so-called "illegal" sale of Iraqi oil to its neighbours and to Russia. Baghdad hailed the defeat of the Anglo-American move and, by implications, felt relieved at the usual extension of the existing sanctions for another five months. Normally, one would have expected Baghdad to welcome the easing of the sanctions on civilian trade. What, however, the US-UK move really aimed at was to deny Iraq the right to sell oil beyond the specified "oil for food" quota. At present, Iraq continues to sell oil to its neighbours - Jordan, Syria and Turkey - at a low price. The "smart sanctions" would have hurt these countries, besides causing loss to many Russian oil firms. (Jordan alone would suffer a loss of nearly one billion dollars). The real issue is the sheer inhumanity of the continuation of the punitive sanctions more than a decade after Iraq's defeat and the liberation of Kuwait. As an oil producer, Iraq has every right to export oil, and the US-led UN has no right to interfere with it. After all, Iraq is no more a regional military power as it was before the Gulf war. President Saddam Hussein's war machine has been defanged, and this means Baghdad poses no threat to Israel - for that is what the unexpressed Anglo-American concern is all about. The question then is: why should the eleven-year-old sanctions continue to heap misery on the Iraqi people? If the hope was that the acute and widespread suffering caused by the sanctions would make the Iraqi people rise and throw President Hussein out, that expectation has been sadly belied, for the Baathist leader was never more secure than he is today. The situation demands an honest and objective reassessment of the sanctions philosophy. The abortive "revamping" of the sanctions, frustrated by Russia, was no solution to the problem. The real and only solution is the withdrawal of the sanctions so as to end the suffering of the Iraqi people. http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/07/10/Opinion/Editorial.30073.html * The smartest sanction Jerusalem Post, 10th July Lenin is dead and so is communism, but his prediction that "capitalist" countries would "sell the rope" needed to hang them is alive and well. Last week, the United States and Britain lost an uphill battle against Iraq's financial clout in the UN Security Council, backing down on their "smart sanctions" resolution rather than face a certain Russian veto. This episode proves that Western nations will happily finance Saddam Hussein's race to rearm, particular when Washington is not presenting them with a policy alternative that has a prayer of success. >From 1997 until last year, Baghdad's oil revenue surged from $4 billion to $17 billion. Iraq makes no bones about using its trade policy to keep UN Security Council members in line. Last year, France lost half of its export trade with Iraq, presumably as punishment for supporting some aspects of US policy. Iraqi UN Ambassador Mohammed Douri helpfully explained to The Washington Post, "If the French and others will take a positive position in the Security Council, certainly they will get a benefit. This is Iraqi policy." As for Russia, the possibility of cashing in on some of the $8 billion in old Iraqi debts evidently speaks louder than whatever rapport developed between Presidents Bush and Putin in Washington. Even the Netherlands, thinking perhaps of lucrative contracts for Royal Dutch/Shell, has pressed the Security Council to lift the ban on investment in Iraq's oil sector. All of this drooling over Iraqi petrodollars became so pronounced that British UN Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock openly appealed to Security Council members not to "allow national economic self-interest to hold up positive measures for the Iraqi people." With a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" spirit, Greenstock added, "There is no intention ... [to harm states] doing legitimate business with Iraq. We expect to see an expansion of civilian trade, which will benefit all." The embarrassing US defeat in the Security Council is a sign that Secretary of State Colin Powell's "smart sanctions" plan is not being taken seriously. America's allies know that calling sanctions "smart" does not change the fact that Iraq will use its increasing revenue to obtain embargoed items by hook or by crook. Two sides of the box that Saddam was in - intrusive UN inspections and a comprehensive embargo - are now wide open. American allies are asking themselves, why should we risk our economic interests when you cannot show how it will prevent Saddam from continuing to rearm? The US defeat in the Security Council will have been a blessing in disguise if it awakens the Bush administration to the futility of its current non-course of action. In the current issue of Commentary, non-proliferation experts Gary Milhollin and Kelly Motz summarize the situation succinctly: "The ['smart sanctions'] proposal - whether adopted by the UN or not - has little hope of stopping the Iraqis from sneaking in what they need to rebuild their weapons sites and sneaking out the oil to pay for it. For the truth is that, even when the UN inspections regime was in place, the Iraqis had figured out how to do just that." Even Achmed Chalabi, the leader of the democratic Iraqi opposition, has come out against sanctions divorced from a coherent policy. "So long as you have no policy to remove the regime, sanctions are immoral and cannot be defended," Chalabi said in a speech at Tufts University. As the US searches for a policy following its UN defeat, it should pay attention to the country sitting at Ground Zero of the threat from Saddam: Kuwait. In a recent front-page editorial, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai al-Aam claimed that Saddam Hussein had "greatly benefited" from international sanctions and stated: "Lift the siege on the Iraqi people... The Iraqi regime must be punished, and the Iraqi people must be liberated." The Iraqi opposition movement, the Iraqi National Congress, is often disparaged because its leaders are in exile. But in 1994-95 they fought inside Iraq, destroyed an Iraqi division, and succeeded in attracting mass defections from the Iraqi army. It is only when the Clinton administration reneged on promised support that Saddam was able to force the opposition into exile. As the recent defections of Iraqi diplomats at the UN indicate, the vulnerability of Saddam to defections is no less than it was six years ago. The most humane, prudent, and realistic policy is for the United States and Britain to build upon its current "no-fly zones" to help provide the Iraqi opposition with an internal base of operations. In 1998, now-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, along with others who now hold senior positions in the Bush administration, advocated just such a policy. The smartest sanction is not to just keep trying to piece together what Bush called "Swiss cheese," but to help the Iraqi people liberate themselves. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=21925 * Iraq price proposals indicate illegal surcharge remains New York, Reuters, 11th July Iraq's price proposals for its crude sales to Europe suggest that Baghdad is still insisting on an illegal surcharge outside United Nations control, a Western diplomat said yesterday. Price proposals by Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) for July 10-20 Kirkuk crude shipments bound for Europe are expected to be rejected by the UN Iraqi sanctions committee on advice of the UN's in-house oil marketing experts, the oil overseers, several diplomats said. "Iraq's still up to tricks, and the overseers are sharp to those tricks which is unfortunately the way the game is going to continue," a diplomat on the sanctions committee said. Iraq is seeking to set Kirkuk prices lower than competitive Russian Urals crude in the Mediterranean market to enable Baghdad to take under-the-table payments from buyers and still allow buyers to resell the crude at competitive prices, diplomats said. The price rejection is a potential hitch in Iraq's resumption of exports after halting sales since June 4 to protest a British-U.S. effort to revise sanctions placed on Iraq in 1990 when it invaded Kuwait. The U.S. and Britain had to scrap that plan after Russia threatened to veto it and Iraq has signaled that it will resume exports imminently. Yesterday it reopened a pipeline that carries Kirkuk crude from northern Iraq to Ceyhan, Turkey that had been shut since June 3. A similar row over prices to European destinations - where most Iraqi crude ends up, often in the hands of Russian trading houses - in late November and early December was the reason behind an oil export halt at that time. Although Iraq has accepted the new 10th phase of the oil-for-food programme passed July 3 by the UN Security Council, it wants to assert itself, said Raad Alkadiri of the Petroleum Finance Co. "The Iraqis want to make sure that the old system works and there are those at the UN, particularly the Americans and the British, who want to ensure that doesn't happen," Alkadiri said. U.S. and British diplomats have led the effort to quash the surcharge since Iraq began demanding them last fall. Iraq has consistently denied it is collecting illegal payments, and oil industry sources are just as consistent in saying that Iraq is doing so. SOMO price proposals for Asian- and U.S.-bound crude are expected to be approved by the UN Iraqi sanctions committee, diplomats said on Tuesday. The overseers in a Tuesday note to diplomats on the committee said that the SOMO proposal to set July 10-20 Kirkuk shipments to Europe at Dated Brent minus $2.90 a barrel is "20 cents below fair market value at this time, and need to be adjusted." All of the proposed crude oil prices are to be either rejected or accepted by the committee by 2pm today. If any price is rejected, Iraq may still export that crude but no payments may be made to a UN escrow account that holds Iraqi oil revenues, diplomats said. The overseers advised the committee to approve prices for Asian- and U.S.-bound crude oil grades. The committee rarely strays from the overseers advice. Here is a rundown on the prices proposed by SOMO yesterday: - July 10-20 Basrah Light crude to the United States: 2nd-month West Texas Intermediate (WTI) minus $7.55. - July 10-20 Kirkuk crude to the U.S.: 1st-month WTI minus $6.85. - July 10-31 Basrah Light to Asia: Oman/Dubai plus 20 cents. - July 10-20 Kirkuk to Europe: Dated Brent minus $2.90. (This is seen as 20 cents too low by UN overseers and expected to be rejected.) - July 10-20 Basrah Light to Europe: Dated Brent minus $3.85. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=22108 * Iraq to give Russian firms priority in new crude deals Baghdad, Reuters, 13th July Iraq will give Russian firms first priority in concluding deals under the new phase of an "oil for-food" deal with the United Nations, an Iraqi industry source said yesterday. The source said that Iraqi Oil Ministry officials had been instructed to favour Russian firms in selling oil and buying other goods under the new tenth phase of the oil-for-food deal. He said that the move was in return for Russia's rejection of a U.S.-British proposal to revamp the 11-year-old trade sanctions on Iraq. [.....] Russian companies are already the largest lifters of Iraqi crude under the oil-for-food programme and some executives said they were hoping for increased quotas this time. "We lifted six million barrels during the last phase and this time we are hoping our quota will be doubled," Andrei Shtorkh, vice-president of Slavneft, told Reuters. "Russian support for Iraq in the revised sanctions dispute was a very positive signal for oil business," he said. "What is wrong if Russian diplomacy benefits Russian business?" Russian oil executives have been busily flitting in and out of Iraq. Last week a delegation comprising executives from Slavneft, Lukoil and other firms visited Baghdad. "We supported Iraq all along and our relations date from Soviet times, so we do hope Iraq will stay loyal and give Russian firms priority when sanctions end," said Dmitry Dolgov, spokesman for Lukoil, Russia's biggest oil company. Russian-Iraqi bilateral trade currently stands at $2.5 billion a year, and Russian contracts with Iraq are so far valued at $1.2 billion. While Western oil majors are greedily eyeing Iraq's reserves - the second largest in the world - Russian firms, armed with cash from high oil prices and Moscow's friendship with Baghdad, are jostling for a toehold before foreign rivals move in. IRAQI/UN RELATIONS http://home.kyodo.co.jp/all/display.jsp?an=20010711009 * Iraq ready to cooperate with U.N. Human Rights Commission BAGHDAD, July 10, Kyodo - Iraq, for the first time in over a decade, said Tuesday it was willing to have a dialogue with the U.N. Human Rights Commission on claims that the Baghdad government was violating the human rights of its population. The official Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying Iraq ''would like to assert that it is endeavoring to deepen the principles of human rights on all levels regardless of the difficult economic and political situation it is facing.'' ''Iraq is ready for a constructive dialogue (with the commission) and hopes that the commission pays more attention to the violations targeting the Iraqi people because of the ongoing sanctions and the Anglo-American air raids,'' the spokesman said. The spokesman was commenting on the commission's recent issuance of a report in which Iraq was accused of ''grave violations of human rights.'' The report cited the alleged arbitrary execution of five officers of the elite Republican Guards recently as an example of such violations. ''Such claims are baseless. The names of these officers were checked and we affirm that they are false names that do not exist except in the minds of those who propagate for them,'' the spokesman said. He said that commission was basing its information on ''reports by countries hostile to Iraq,'' and accused the humanitarian body of ''regretfully ignoring the crimes committed by the British and American governments against Iraq.'' The spokesman added that the U.N. sanctions and the air raids by the two countries have ''murdered over 1.5 million Iraqis so far, mainly children and women.'' The Iraqi move to have a dialogue with the commission comes after the United States was voted off the 53-member international panel in early May. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=22123 * UN angrily denies Iraqi charges of corruption United Nations, Reuters, 13th July A senior UN official yesterday angrily denied Iraqi allegations that the UN humanitarian programme was corrupt and spent more on sniffer dogs than feeding Iraqis suffering from 11 years of sanctions. Benon Sevan, the U.N. coordinator for the Iraqi program, said the "oil-for-food" plan was audited regularly. He flatly rejected allegations officials were skimming off and wasting funds, according to his speaking notes to the Security Council's Iraqi sanctions committee. In a two-hour address to the Security Council two weeks ago, Riyadh Al Qaysi, an undersecretary in Baghdad's foreign ministry, had demanded an audit of the program. Al Qaysi said the program had spent more on sniffer dogs sent to uncover mines in the north than Baghdad was able to spend on food per ordinary Iraqi. He said the 28 dogs needed trainers, two guides, a vet and "bitches so they can allay their sexual desire" after "suffering from inertia." But Sevan said that 140 dogs had been deployed under the program between July 1999 and June 2000, each of which was fed 0.8 kilo of imported dog good "enhanced by local food such as chicken and fat." The average cost of feeding each dog during this period was $408 a year "and not $1,248 per year as was stated in the council recently," Sevan said. "I very much regret going into such details. I have been given no alternative in view of the remarks made." Sevan said the UN Iraqi escrow account was analyzed by an external auditing board twice a year since the start of the oil-for-food programme in December 1996, with a copy of the audit routinely sent to the Iraqi government. UN internal auditors also regularly looked over the program's accounts and the UN equivalent of an inspector-general did likewise, he said. The oil-for-food programme allows Baghdad to sell oil, an exception to the sanctions imposed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The oil revenues are used to purchase food, medicine and a host of other supplies for ordinary Iraqis. But the council vets the goods and the United Nations pays suppliers from oil sale money deposited in escrow accounts, which can hold as much as $12 billion a year. Al Qaysi had also charged that UN staffers were eager to sign up for duty in Iraq. "Is Iraq the French Riviera? Or is it the beautiful seashores of Jamaica?" he asked. "It is the money, gentlemen. Commissions taken by UN officers." But Sevan said he found it odd to hear that a mission to Iraq was a cherished assignment. "It has always been difficult to find staff to come and work in the country," he said, adding that pay and benefits were about the same, and in many cases considerably less than that offered in other duty stations. IRAQIMIDDLE EAST/ARAB WORLD RELATIONS http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010707/2001070710.html * Iraqi MP delegation hold talks in Morocco Arabic News, 7th July A delegation from the Iraqi National Council (parliament) which arrived in Rabat Friday held on the same day talks with deputy-speaker of the House of Representatives, Abdelaziz Alaoui Hafidi, to explain Iraq's stance on international sanctions. The Moroccan official renewed Morocco's backing to the lifting of the embargo. The Iraqi parliamentary delegation also met with chairmen of the parliamentary political groups who renewed the Moroccan people backing to the Iraqi people. Ahmed Rachid Raoui, vice-speaker of the Iraqi Council and head of the delegation, deplored the "intelligent sanctions" as a conspiracy, aiming to impose a permanent tutorship on the Iraqi people. The Iraqi delegation will also review with Moroccan officials means to upgrade Moroccan Iraqi relations. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=21714 * Saudis arrest 750 Iraqi smugglers in past year Riyadh, Reuters, 8th July Saudi Arabian border guards have arrested more than 750 smugglers on the Iraqi border and seized around three tonnes of hashish in the past year, a newspaper reported yesterday. The director of the guards, General Talal bin Muhsin al-Anqawi, told Al Riyadh newspaper that patrols also confiscated more than 5,700 bottles of alcoholic beverages, which are banned in the kingdom, Almost 69,000 narcotic pills, more than 450 weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition were also seized. Anqawi did not give comparative figures. He said a total of 777 Iraqi smugglers were arrested, but did not specify how they were punished. Drug smugglers can be beheaded in Saudi Arabia. http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/07/09/Opinion/Opinion.29986.html * The Israeli-Turkish entente by Efraim Inbar Jerusalem Post, 9th July As Israelis are myopically focusing on the Palestinian issue, the most important event of the last month in Middle Eastern international affairs passed by almost unnoticed. Dozens of American, Israeli, and Turkish pilots engaged in mock aerial battles over central Turkey as part of a burgeoning trilateral relationship, which has come to be one of the most formidable ties in the region, much to the annoyance of the Arab countries and Iran. The Anatolian Eagle air exercise, the first of its kind, lasted for two weeks and was aimed at creating a realistic training environment. The war games included combat maneuvers and ground-attack sorties with live ammunition. The militaries of the three countries upgraded their military cooperation by adding an important air element to past trilateral naval search and rescue exercises. This trilateral demonstration of airpower follows the visit of the US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, to Turkey in early June, which marked another breakthrough in the triangular relationship. The higher priority awarded to ballistic missile defense by the current Bush administration seemed to have led to an understanding on trilateral cooperation regarding the incorporation of the Israeli Arrow anti-ballistic missile in the deployment of an anti-missile system in Turkey. Ankara has been pressing Washington since 1988 for formal missile defense cooperation with Israel based on the Arrow system. The closer American-Israeli-Turkish military cooperation has a positive effect on the peace process, which amounts to a reluctant acceptance of Israel as a regional player by most Arab states. It reinforces the notion that Israel is militarily strong and cannot easily be removed from the map. Moreover, this relationship has a moderating effect on Arab ambitions and revanchism, which are still nurtured in the region. Indeed, the coordination among Ankara, Jerusalem and Washington is beneficial in deterring rogue states such as Iraq, Syria and Iran (all bordering Turkey). Such coordination is necessary for acquiring better offensive options in dealing with the Weapons of Mass Destruction programs of these revisionist states. Moreover, the collaboration in the intelligence area is useful in fighting international terror, which the rogue states encourage. In an era of globalization, with more freedom of movement, there is greater need for intelligence cooperation in order to engage in effective counter-terror policies. The cooperation between the US and its two most loyal allies in the Middle East also provides limited deterrence for Jordan should Syria and/or Iraq attempt to invade it. It also allows Hashemite Jordan a somewhat freer hand in dealing with domestic challenges from Palestinian nationalists or Islamic radicals, having less to worry about foreign military involvement. Damascus, Baghdad and Teheran, who have all been engaged in subversion against the Hashemites, face a stronger Jordan - one equipped with an American-Israeli Turkish umbrella. The trilateral strategic partnership is useful also in Gulf-related contingencies. Projecting force from the eastern Mediterranean to Baghdad, rather than from Saudi Arabia, has many advantages. The so-called "northern strategy" for the defense of the Persian Gulf could bring US, Turkey and Israel even closer. So far Israel was reluctant to play a supportive military role in US engagements, but this may gradually change, as it would like to upgrade its value as an American ally. Some Gulf states, such as Qatar and Oman, do not object to a Turkish and Israeli presence to counter the weight of Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The triumvirate between the US and its two strongest and most reliable Middle East allies may also encourage democratization and the liberalization of the economies in the region, values cherished by the three countries. Turkey and Israel refrain from interfering in the domestic affairs of their neighbors and are fully aware that the ripening of the socio-political conditions necessary for the emergence of democratic regimes may take a long time. Yet, the success of their societies in achieving far more freedom and prosperity than any other country in the Middle East is a constant reminder that democracy is not a feature found exclusively in Western Europe and North America. This fuels the hope that their neighbors can emulate such a course. The recent trilateral air exercise is also an indication of the resilience of Israeli-Turkish relations. Turkey has continued to maintain good relations despite the prolonged Palestinian armed confrontation with Israel that started in September 2000. Moreover, Ankara capitalized on the crisis to increase its diplomatic involvement in the region, by making efforts to facilitate a dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel welcomed the more active Turkish approach as it felt that its interests and dilemmas are well understood in Ankara. The Israeli-Turkish relationship has become mature enough to concentrate on the main issues of common interest and to ignore the different perspectives on marginal issues. Various irritants in the bilateral relations have not changed the calculus of expediency that brought about the strategic partnership between the two states. Above all, their usefulness in checking aggression in their immediate neighborhood is a goal shared by their ally - the US. (The writer is the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University, and the author of the forthcoming The Israeli-Turkish Entente.) http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010709/2001070921.html * Lebanon informs an Iraqi delegation facilitation of entry visas Arabic News, 9th July The Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al- Hariri has informed an Iraqi economic delegation, currently visiting Lebanon instructions given to offer entry visas to the Iraqis as well as giving businessmen, doctors and engineers for 11 months valid for several visits (multi-entry visas ). The Iraqi delegation is led by the chairman of the chamber of commerce in Iraq Abboud al Tufeili. Present at the meeting was the chairman of the chamber of commerce and industry in Lebanon Adnan al-Qassar who explained that the meetings were good as members of the delegation were acquainted with the capabilities of the Lebanese markets and gave a description on the possibilities of the Iraqi market. He added that al-Hariri told them that the government is serious in the issue of signing a free trade agreement between Lebanon and Iraq. He continued that signing a free trade agreement with any Arab state like Syria and Egypt is very useful for Lebanon. Al-Tufeili stressed that Iraq's markets are open before " our brothers in Lebanon the same way the achievements realized with Syria- Iraq, Egypt- Iraq, and Tunisia and Iraq." http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=21923 * Kuwait draft bill calls for switch to Sharia penal code Kuwait, Reuters, 11th July Two Kuwaiti politicians have presented a controversial draft bill to parliament to amend the state's penal code to meet Islamic Sharia law, a legislative official said yesterday. The draft law, presented by Islamist MP Waleed Al Tabtabai and tribal Islamist MP Mikhled Al Azmi, is not due before full parliament until after a summer recess from June to October. Amendments in the draft law include amputation of limbs for convicted thieves and flogging or stoning to death for adultery in the small country which already enforces capital punishment for murder and drug smuggling. Strict measures and punishments are also in place to implement a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages in the state of some 825,000 Kuwaitis and 1.4 million foreigners. "The draft law proposes amending the penal code to comply with Sharia," Legislative Committee chairman Abdallah Al Roumi told Reuters. "It is a large draft law and the review process will take a long time." "We have not really started yet, we are still in the ABC of the draft law. The sub-committee has to review it, then send it to the full Legal and Legislative Committee which has to review it and then send it to the (full) parliament," Roumi added. He said a sub-committee held a single meeting on Monday and was not due to revisit the draft law until after the recess. Previous legislative attempts had failed to bring the Gulf state closer to what some politicians see as full adherence to Sharia. Roumi said it was premature to speculate on the chances of the draft law being passed by parliament. Kuwait's parliament is made up of Islamist MPs from various groupings, including members of the minority Shi'ite sect, traditionalist tribal politicians, independent and liberal MPs representing a range of political schools of thought and un-elected government ministers who are ex-officio members. Parliament's four-year term ends in mid 2003. Roumi said the government had not been sounded out yet by the committee on the draft law. Western diplomats and some Kuwaiti politicians doubt Kuwait will in the near future move to fully copy more strict laws in other Muslim states like neighbouring Saudi Arabia where women are not allowed to drive and have to meet a strict dress code in public. The extent of Sharia implementation varies among Muslim states. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=22080 * Ferry services flourish under Iraq sanctions by Saifur Rahman Gulf News, 13th July Passenger ferry services from Dubai and other Gulf ports to Iraq have increased significantly in recent months and industry sources predict it will increase further if the sanctions continue. Currently, two Dubai companies are operating four vessels carrying passengers to and from Iraq. A Bahrain-based company, Tylos Ferry, has also begun operating another ferry service to Iraq from Bahrain. Naif Marine Services (NMS), which was the first to receive permission from the UN to operate a passenger service to Iraq, is operating three ships - Jabal Ali 1, 2 and 3. It runs twice-weekly services from Dubai to the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, one via Qatar and Bahrain, and the other a nonstop express service. The total passenger capacity of the three ships is 2,800. A new service by Al Thuraiya Marine Services was launched in January with the introduction of Al Manar - a Panama-registered ship with a 750-passenger capacity and 58 crew. However, the current weekly passenger traffic between Dubai and Umm Qasr is 1,400 to 1,700, with the Jabal Ali ships taking the lion's share. Michael Nye, General Manager of NMS, said, "The passenger traffic between Dubai and Umm Qasr is increasing. Currently, we have a weekly passenger volume of 1,200 to 1,400." Dr Mohammed Hamdan Abdullah Al Shamsi, Director of Al Thuraiya Marine Service, said, "In view of the increased traffic between the two destinations, we begun our services last January by acquiring Manar. "We are currently offering a weekly trip to Iraq, carrying 200 to 250 passengers, and will introduce a second ship within two months." Meanwhile, the increase in the number of ferry operators comes as a boon to Iraq-bound passengers who are expected to benefit from a price war once the competition hots up. Ticket prices have fallen to a comfortable level. NMS has reduced its ticket price from Dh1,100 to Dh600 for economy class, while the price of luxury cabins has been cut from Dh1,400 to Dh885. However, Nye denied that the reduction had anything to do with competition. "We began our services with 25 passengers and, for some time, we didn't have enough passengers. So the pricing of tickets was at a different level then. "Now that the number of passengers has increased and we have introduced new ships, we can afford to reduce the price. This has nothing to do with the competition," he said. Al Shamsi noted that his company charges Dh650 for economy class travel, while the luxury class ticket is priced at Dh1,800. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010713/2001071304.html * Iraq accuses Iranian regime hireling of rocketing Baghdad Arabic News, 13th July Iraq on Wednesday accused what it called the " hireling of the Iranian regime" by launching three missiles at a residential area on Tuesday evening resulted in wounding one Iraqi civilian. The Iraqi news agency quoted a security source as saying that " puppets for the Iranian regime had committed another crime in the series of ugly crimes committed against Iraq's people and civilization." The same source held the " Iranian authorities the responsibility of this brutal operation which is considered as a flagrant violation to its security and sovereignty," stressing that Iraq "preserves its right to retaliate to this aggression." Later in the day, the higher council of the Islamic revolution in Iraq, a main Iraqi opposition groups which takes Tehran as a headquarters, claimed responsibility for launching three missiles of three caliber against Baghdad. The Iranian Tulabeyah news agency quoted the representative of the higher council for the Islamic revolution in Iraq Hamid al-Bayati as saying that " in the mid on Tuesday, the Islamic revolution attacked Iraqi important positions." He added that " these attacks came as a retaliation to the increased repression against the Iraqi people by the Iraqi regime and to break the siege imposed on the homeland." According to the Iranian agency the attacks targeted the Iraqi general security department, the presidential palace, the radio and TV building and the Cabinet. No response was released by the Iranian authorities on these accusations. Tehran radio considered these Iraqi accusations as " groundless." Tehran radio commentator said " Iraq addresses these accusations without showing evidences." Worthy mentioning that differences on several issues stand against the normalization of relations between Iraq and Iran who launched a war lasted for 8 years ( 1980- 1988) and resulted in killing thousands of people. Meantime, an Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad said that the Iraqi army on Wednesday launched ground to air missiles at American and British warplanes while flying over southern and northern Iraq areas and forced them " to flee." MILITARY MATTERS http://www.latimes.com/wires/wnational/20010708/tCB00a0760.html * West Studies Iraq's Ballistic Firing of Missiles Los Angeles Times, 8th July KUWAIT (Reuters): Western forces are studying Iraq's use of ballistic missile technology to test-fire surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) last week, a senior Western defense source said on Sunday. "On July 2, Iraq fired SAMs ballistically, which we watched with great interest," the source told Reuters. The missiles were fired close to the Kuwaiti border in southern Iraq where U.S. and British warplanes fly almost daily patrols. "No one is naive, and with United Nations inspectors absent from Iraq for almost three years, Iraq is getting more and more dangerous. This latest development is being assessed," he said. The inspectors were forbidden from returning to Iraq after the United States and Britain launched the four-day Desert Fox bombing campaign against Iraqi targets in December 1998. The source was commenting on a report in Kuwait's daily al-Rai al-Aam newspaper on Sunday. Quoting Western defense sources, the daily said Iraq tested "advanced" SAMs ahead of their deployment against U.S. and British warplanes that patrol no-fly zones over southern and northern Iraq. Western sources told Reuters Kuwait could be concerned that former occupier Iraq would fire SAMs into its territory using ballistic technology. Although the range of SAM weapons appears to fall within limits imposed on Iraq after its defeat in the Gulf War, Baghdad's foes are exploring violations of an arms import ban and looking into whether some countries are secretly abetting them, another Western defense source told Reuters. In February, American and British warplanes launched a brief bombing campaign against Iraqi targets in retaliation for what Western officers said was increased firing at their aircraft. The latest development is of concern to pilots patrolling the no-fly zones. "It is no secret that Iraq is trying anything to get an aircraft down," a defense source said. [.....] http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=21712 * Baghdad says U.S., British jets bomb southern Iraq Baghdad, Reuters, 8th July Iraq said U.S. and British planes flying from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait attacked targets in the south of the country on Saturday, but no casualties were reported. "At 8:50am on Saturday U.S. and British warplanes carried out 20 sorties from Saudi Arabia and 27 sorties from Kuwait...over the provinces of Basra, Dhiqar, Qadissiya, Muthanna, Najaf and Meisan," a military spokesman said, according to the official Iraqi News Agency. He said the planes attacked civilian installations but were forced to return to their bases by anti-aircraft fire. There was no confirmation from the United States or Britain, whose aircraft patrol no-fly zones set up to protect a Kurdish enclave in the north of Iraq and Shi'ites in the south from possible attacks by Baghdad forces. [.....] http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,2302031%255E42 1,00.html * Anzac crew to enforce Iraq sanctions The Advertiser (Australia), 9th July THE frigate HMAS Anzac has left Darwin for a three-month tour of duty in the Persian Gulf. The ship and its 164 crew will help support the United Nations embargo against Iraq. A Defence Department spokesman said: "She works with the American task group and, as necessary, they board ships entering the area to do routine checks. "(They'll) make sure there's no contraband or weaponry carried. It's as laid down exactly by the UN resolutions." Defence Minister Peter Reith earlier said it was the 10th time an Australian Navy vessel had undertaken operations with the UN Security Council-sanctioned Multinational Interception Force. The previous deployment occurred in 1999 when HMAS Melbourne did its tour. NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=21788 * Iraq condemns Turkish push into north Baghdad, Reuters, 9th July Iraq yesterday condemned what it called repeated aggression by Turkey on its north, the official Iraqi news agency INA said. "Turkish troops have launched a new military aggression on northern Iraq," Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said in a letter to Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa carried by INA. "Fifty (Turkish) tanks mounted on vehicles had entered the north over the period from June 17-19 and moved towards Arbil and across the same point 40 tanks entered Iraq and headed towards Dahuk and Zakho and a number of them were stationed at Bamarni," said Aziz who is also acting Foreign Minister. "Repeated aggression (in the north) represents a violation of the sovereignty of Iraq's land...and runs contrary to good neighbourly relations," Aziz said. "It is regrettable that the Turkish government is still justifying its continued aggression on Iraq by flimsy pretexts alleging that its troops are chasing groups threatening Turkey's security, which is incorrect," he added. Aziz urged Moussa to intervene and ask the Turkish government to stop such provocative and irresponsible practices and respect Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The remote mountainous enclave of northern Iraq has been outside Baghdad's control since the end of the 1991 Gulf War and is controlled by two rival Iraqi Kurdish groups. Turkey allows NATO military aircraft to use its soil as a base for patrols of northern Iraq's post-Gulf War no-fly zone and in return its forces regularly cross the border to pursue Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas with little Western opposition. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the rival Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) have controlled much of northern Iraq since wresting the region from Iraqi control after the Gulf War. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010714/2001071405.html * Iraqi president sends books in the Kurdish language to north Iraq Arabic News, 14th July The Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has ordered to send three million school books to the students of Kurdistan which is out of the control of Baghdad since 1991, besides his decision to approve studying in the Kurdish language in all school curricula until the secondary stage of learning. The Iraqi daily "Iraq" quoted the director general of the Kurdish teaching at the Iraqi ministry of education Hussein Muhammad Qaddouri as saying that:" at the directives of the Iraqi President the ministry of education will start as from July 21st the operation of shipping the books and the curricula to the students of the self- rule " Kurdistan district" for the school year 2001-2002. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60778-2001Jul13.html * A No-Fly, Yes-Democracy Zone: Iraqi Kurdistan Offers a Model for a Post-Saddam Future by Carole O'Leary Washington Post, 15th July While conducting research in Iraq last month, I visited an academy where law enforcement trainers were trying to mold a kinder, gentler police force. In Saddam Hussein's Iraq, this would be a doomed venture. But I was in Iraqi Kurdistan -- where a safe haven for Kurds was created by the Western allies after the 1991 Gulf War, and where democratic institutions are beginning to flourish as Saddam's influence shrivels. Though largely unintended, this crucible of democracy is a welcome byproduct of the military arrangements that followed the Gulf War. Yet in recent months Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been contemplating a cutback of the U.S. sorties over the no-fly zone north of the 36th parallel. The argument for doing so is that sooner or later, Iraqi anti aircraft gunners will get lucky and shoot down a U.S. plane, and our military will be forced to retaliate. But any reduction in patrolling the no-fly zone would be wrong. The impact of the U.S. and British flights extends well south of the 36th parallel, throughout the Kurdish-controlled areas. Kurds I visited in such cities as Sulaymaniyah believe their safety is dependent on the nearby allied presence; and indeed, despite occasional taunting advances, Saddam's troops have left the Kurds essentially alone since 1991. One day historians just might view Iraqi Kurdistan as the precursor of the post-Saddam Iraqmany of us would like to see: a democratic society with a stable, federal government. Even if this bright future never dawns, Iraqi Kurdistan's people -- mostly Kurds, but also Turkomans and Arabs -- deserve credit for nurturing an increasingly robust civil society in spite of Baghdad's obstructionism. Moreover, they deserve America's respect, since history has mostly denied them any form of self-governance. In the nasty game of musical chairs that followed the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have been left standing. Though the fourth-largest ethnic group in the region, the Kurds havenever been able to establish and maintain their own country, and have remained powerless minorities wherever they lived. The U.S. government, however, has paid no attention to the impressive things that have been happening in the area. Furthermore, there seems to be a blackout in the media as well. In late May, Iraqi Kurdistan's Dohuk andIrbil provinces held elections in which 15 political parties participated; Sulaymaniyah held its municipal elections in February 2000. International non governmental organizations provided technical advice to the observers, and U.N. staff served on the monitoring committee. These are the first free and fair electionsheld in Iraq since 1957 -- and they were ignored in the Western media. Similarly, few foreigners are aware of the progress being made in Iraqi Kurdistan toward building a civil society. In Irbil, I visited the Runahee ("Light") Foundation, a women's organization that provides care for people who are blind or visually impaired -- in some cases, by Saddam's chemical weapons attacks. At the University of Sulaymaniyah, students are conducting a census of the areas devastated by Iraqi forces during Saddam's 1987-88 genocidal attack on the Kurds. As well as counting residents, they will serve as oral historians, recording the testimonials of the survivors and the families of those killed. Meanwhile, the oil-for-food money that has been misused in the rest of Iraq is being put to good use in Iraqi Kurdistan. There are no starving babies there; satellite dishes, banned in Saddam's Iraq, sprout from the roofs of mud-brick houses in Kurdish villages; and Internet cafes are proliferating as the populace gamely embraces globalization. To put these scenes in perspective, one must contrast them with what happened here before the intervention. In the spring of 1987, as the Iran-Iraq war ground to a stalemate, the Baghdad regime turned its attention to collectively punishing Kurds for their support of Iran. A military assault, led by Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan Majeed, was launched to depopulate rural areas whose residents were believed to be disloyal. Iraqi forces routinely used chemical weapons against men, women and children, killing thousands in one attack on the town of Halabja; they are also suspected of having used biological weapons. By the winter of 1988, more than 4,000 villages had been destroyed, more than 100,000 civilians had been slaughtered, some 180,000 others had disappeared, and Iraqi Kurdistan's infrastructure had been devastated. While in Sulaymaniyah last month, I entered the burned-out remnants of a former prison that, a decade ago, had swarmed with Saddam's intelligence officers and torturers. In one cell were six precisely aligned meat hooks. On the wall of another was a pencil sketch of Superman, scrawled in a childish hand; age clearly presented no barrier to a regime determined to be an equal-opportunity killer. The horror came to an end in 1991, when the general uprising that followed Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War led to the establishment of the no-fly zones, and the safe haven for Kurds. The political and educational accomplishments of Iraqi Kurdistan in the 10 years since then deserve to be preserved and enhanced. At the universities of Dohuk, Salahaddin and Sulaymaniyah, the faculties are thirsting for up-to-date curricula and teacher training to reinforce the political progress. Each of these universities is desperate to establish ties with faculties and schools in the West. Public health workers are particularly needed to deal with the aftermath of years of chemical, biological and traditional warfare. Many institutions that might help have all but given up on trying to get into the area, however, because of the difficulty of the journey. There are no local airports (and, in any case, the no-fly zone prohibits civilian flights as well), so American educators, journalists and public health experts must enter overland, relying on the goodwill of the neighboring Turkish, Iranian and Syrian governments. The United States should put pressure on these neighbors -- particularly Turkey, as a NATO ally -- to provide easy access for journalists, educators and non-governmental organizations. At the Turkish border crossing, visitors are often denied permission to enter, or may be forced to wait at checkpoints for hours, even during these blistering summer months. In contrast, I learned from a British reporter that his crossing from Iran at Haj Umran had been speedy and uneventful. Since Americans still find it difficult to get visas to Iran, that access point is less useful to us -- but the ease of the Haj Umran crossing should be applauded by U.S. officials, as should every other access point that offers the same flexibility and efficiency. Conversely -- and even more importantly -- the no-fly zone must be maintained, reinforced and arguably expanded into a no-drive zone, formally prohibiting Iraqi tanks from crossing the36th parallel. (Currently, the United States might choose to intervene if Saddam's forces moved in by land, but is not obligated to do so.) Should the Iraqi army ever violate this safe haven, no part of which is any farther from Republican Guard positions than Washington is from Richmond, it would not only crushthis experiment in democracy, but destabilize the entire region, sending as many as 3 million refugees into Iran and Turkey. I'm no military expert. But it seems common-sense that a reduction in air patrols over the no fly zone would only make it more difficult to keep track of Saddam's emplacements and troop movements. Such a reduction would embolden Iraqi troops -- putting U.S. and British forces in more danger, not less. What is needed is an unequivocal and muscular U.S. presence in the region, a projection of power, the only language Saddam comprehends. Iraqi Kurdistan represents the futurethe United States should want for all of Iraq. It has become the leading edge of liberty there. As long as Saddam Hussein remains in power, our no-fly zone is the protective hand cupped over the Kurds' flickering experiment in cultural and political pluralism. If this democratic flame is to be fanned and possibly spread throughout Iraq, the United States must not let it be snuffed out. Carole O'Leary is a scholar in residence at the American University Center for Global Peace, where she oversees the Mustafa Barzani Global Kurdish Studies program. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk