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News, 16-22/9/01 (2)

News, 16-22/9/01 (2)


*  The sons who promote Saddam's cruel legacy [This article by Robert Fisk
goes back to 8th September but I missed it. It seems a good idea to produce
it now when Fisk, who is approaching greatness in the quality of his
reporting, is likely to be seen in some quarters as an apologist for
*  Ex Iraqi official shot
*  Gulf War Mine Kills Three, Injures Three - INA


*  Egypt to export 250m dollars' worth of food to Iraq
*  Iraq, Iran agree to coordinate on "imperialism"
*  Very soon a common market between Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Libya
*  Iraq Accuses Kuwait of Violating Conventions on Joint Oil Fields
*  Kuwait rejects Iraq's accusation of "excessive exploitation" of joint


*  British Warplanes Strike Southern Missile Site [Near Basra. Reported on
Wednesday 19th Sept]
*  Iraq says it hit two US or British planes[Near Basra and Shahban.
*  US, British warplanes strike Iraq over no-fly zone threat [Al-Amrah and
Talil. Friday]


*  German Industry to Uphold Ties with Iran, Iraq International trade
*  Wheat export to Iraq might be delayed


*  UN sanctions committee bans Iraq from importing helicopters for
agricultural purposes


*  Bin Laden's Plan to Destabilize Kurdistan [Important article on radical
Islam in the autonomous Kurdish zone. Interesting to note that it seems to
be particularly strong in the region of Halabja, victim of the chemical
warfare attack at the end of the Iran/Iraq war]


by Robert Fisk in Beirut
Independent, 8th September

It was Abu Mustafa's bad luck that Uday Hussein's personal elevator broke
down. He wasn't the maintenance man for the lift, but Saddam Hussein's son -
head of the Iraqi Olympics Committee - insisted he mend it.

A few hours later, it broke down again and engineer Abu Mustafa was
dispatched to the Olympics Committee Detention Centre. "I was stripped,
beaten with electric cables until I bled, and made to carry concrete blocks
on my chest,'' he says. "Then they made myself and 23 other prisoners jump
into a sewage pit. Can you imagine this? All of us - doctors, engineers,
veterinary surgeons, even government bodyguards - all ordered to smear our
heads and faces and bodies with sewage and dirt.'' The purpose, Abu Mustafa
now believes, was not just to humiliate the prisoners. It was to infect
their wounds.

Even today, in the safety of Lebanon and with resettlement papers for the
United States in his possession, Abu Mustafa shakes with anger at his
memories. "When someone persuaded Uday to release me after four days, I
returned to my office and one of the girls there fainted when she saw me. I
couldn't even get doctors to treat my wounds - they were too frightened of
the government.''

Uday Hussein was to be partially crippled in an assassination attempt in
1996 but, in the years before, Abu Mustafa saw his master at first hand. "He
wasn't crazy, he wasn't mad. He loved money and power and he loved women
very much. He had a secretary who hunted girls for him - in the
universities, in the ministries. He even had a bedroom in the Olympic
offices for the women who were brought to him. Usually, they agreed to sleep
with him. They could do nothing else. One girl who refused him, well he
'forced' her in the bedroom. Her mother happened to be an official of the
Iraqi Women's Union who held a leadership position there with Sajida
Hussein, Saddam's first wife and Uday's mother. She told Sajida that Uday
had raped her daughter and Sajida replied: 'You should be proud of the fact
that your daughter has been in Uday's bed'.''

As senior engineer at the Iraqi Olympics Committee, Abu Mustafa had to
attend even to Uday's cassette player. "He would listen to Beethoven and
Arabic songs and say 'play cassette three' and listen to the Koran. But he
also watched videos of his prisoners being tortured. I don't know if he got
a kick out of this but of course, by having the tortures taped, he was
making sure that his orders were being carried out.''

There are stories aplenty of Uday's cruelty, and of the equally tormented
spirit of his younger brother Qusay. But Abu Mustafa spent long enough in
Iraqi prisons - seven incarcerations until he escaped through Kurdistan and
Syria to Lebanon in 1998 - to see the evidence of such cruelty at first

"There was a special case, a manservant of Uday's whom I met. He was called
Ma'an. I saw the proof of what happened to him. His job was to bring Uday
his nargila[hubble-bubble pipe] and one day the charcoal fell to the ground.
So Uday forced Ma'an to hold a red-hot charcoal until it had burnt a hole
right through his hand. Then there was a Christian man I met, an Iraqi
called Ramsi who was just 15 minutes late to work on the first day of the
1991 Gulf War. He was put in one of Uday's palaces where he was severely
beaten and then they moved him round between the buildings they thought
would be bombed by the Americans. In just a few weeks, his hair turned from
black to pure white.''

In a "General Security" prison near Abu Ghoraib, Abu Mustafa found another
victim, this time of Qusay's cruelty. "During the war, he had been found
transferring petrol from one government car to another - he wasn't stealing
it - but he told me how Qusay, who used to be Uday's deputy at the Olympics
Committee, poured petrol all over him. Qusay, he said, would set him alight
with a cigarette lighter, then put the fire out, then set him alight again,
over and over. The man's name was Qassem.''

Abu Mustafa tells his story in a kind of gabble, scarcely pausing for
breath. He was to offend Uday personally during the Gulf War. "The
bodyguards had been using his generator and it had broken down. They told me
to mend it. But in the dark, at night, it was impossible. Then Uday arrived.
He said he'd give me an hour and a half to fix it. I tried to speak to him
but they wouldn't let me. I saw Uday walking angrily up the staircase in the
dark. I was terrified. Of course I couldn't mend it and I was taken to a
special security prison and beaten again and again and asked why I had
broken the generator. I told the interrogators that the bodyguards broke it.
But of course, they were part of the same organisation as the bodyguards.
They didn't listen to me. They just kept beating me.''

Abu Mustafa had spent five years in the army in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war,
manning a ground-to-air missile battery outside Basra.

After fleeing Iraq in 1998, he arranged - for US$1,500 paid in Kurdistan -
for his wife and two children to join him here. Today, four days before
leaving for a new life in Idaho, he still cannot understand the minds of his
tormentors. "They're cruel, they love power. They act like this because this
is how they are, it's their character. Of course, firstly I blame Saddam for
all this. But I also blame the great powers and the West, because they
allowed Saddam and his regime to stay in Iraq for their own interests.''

Hoover's, 16th September

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP): A gunman shot and critically wounded an ex-Iraqi
official in Iraq, according to a statement issued by an Iraqi opposition
group Sunday.

Former Iraqi chief of staff Abdul Wahid Shnan al-Rabat was allegedly shot by
an Iraqi colonel Sept. 6 in Kirkuk, Iraq's northern oil field some 250
kilometers (155 miles) from Baghdad, according to a statement released by
the Islamic Accord Movement, based in Damascus and claiming to have
representatives inside Iraq.

The statement, which was faxed to The Associated Press office in Damascus,
said al-Rabat remained in hospital in a critical condition.

No further details on the incident, the assailant's identity or whether he
had been detained were available.

According to the statement, al-Rabat was being monitored by Iraqi security
forces who believed he was planning to leave Iraq.

Iraqi authorities were not available for comment.

*  Gulf War Mine Kills Three, Injures Three - INA
Reuter's, 20th September

BAGHDAD: Three teenagers were killed and three others injured on Thursday
when a mine from the 1991 Gulf War exploded in the southern province of
Basra, the official Iraqi News Agency INA said.

Brothers Abbas, 12, Wadhah, 13, and Mohammed, 14 were killed when a mine
went off while their father Mahdi Aqrab was plowing his land in al-Deer
district of Basra province 371 miles south of Baghdad, INA said.

Three of the victims' cousins were wounded in the blast, the agency added.



Hoover's (Financial Times), 16th September
Source: MENA news agency web site, Cairo, in English 15 Sep 01

Cairo, 15 September: Chairman of the Holding Company of Food Industries
Abdul al Shahawi said the company signed a contract with Iraq by which it
will export 250m dollars' worth of food to Baghdad within the ninth and
tenth stages of the UN-sponsored oil-for food programme.

In statements on Saturday [15 September] on the sidelines of the first
exhibition of Iraqi products in Cairo, Shahawi said the contract has become
in effect as of July and is valid until June 2002. A 8m-dollars contract to
supply paper to Iraq is under way, he added.

Chairman of the Holding Company of Engineering Industries Ibrahim al-Siba'i
said the company has been contracted to supply 500 vans for Iraq within the
UN programme. The deal is estimated at 15m euro and negotiations are under
way to export 1,500 more, added Al-Siba'i.

Daily Star (Bangladesh), 16th September

Baghdad (AFP): Iraq and Iran have decided to coordinate policies on the
Palestinian question and the "struggle against imperialism," an official
Iraqi newspaper said yesterday.

The two countries, which fought a devastating 1980-1988 war, "agreed to
coordinate their stands in international forums to promote the Palestinian
cause, the Arab liberation struggle and resistance to imperialism and
aggression," al-Iraq said.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Iraqi parliament Speaker
Saadoun Hammadi and his Iranian counterpart Mehdi Karubi on the sidelines of
an international parliamentary conference in Burkina Faso.

The paper said the two men also agreed to boost cooperation between their
respective parliaments and exchange parliamentary visits.


Arabic News, 18th September

The secretary general of the Arab economic unity council Ahmad Jweili has
stressed that the prime ministers of each of Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Libya
will sign on December 6th the final agreement of their common market which
will be enforced in January 2002.

In a statement he made in Cairo on Monday, Jweili added that there are
technical and legal committees which are currently drawing the legislative
measures and legal frames for the foundation of such a market.

VOA News, 21st Septewmber

Iraq is accusing Kuwait of taking excessive amounts of oil from a joint
border field. The charge is similar to one of the justifications Iraq gave
when it invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Iraq's foreign minister Naji Sabri charged Thursday that Kuwait is violating
international conventions regulating the use of joint oil fields. He accused
Kuwait of excessive and unilateral exploitation of the al-Ratka border oil

Kuwait has not responded to the Iraqi charges.

The Iraqi foreign minister asked the Arab League to intervene and stop what
he said is Kuwait's plundering of Iraq's oil resources.

 by Khalid al-Zayd
Hoover's (Financial Times), 22nd September
Source: Kuna news agency web site, Kuwait, in English 1306 gmt 22 Sep 01

Kuwait, 22 September: The Iraqi regime's accusations against Kuwait
continued today with another allegation that Kuwait is stealing oil from the
Al-Ratka border oilfield.

Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khalid al-Jarallah denied the Iraqi
regime's false accusation of excessive and unilateral exploitation of the
Al-Ratka border oilfield. Al Jarallah added that Kuwait had already pointed
out its viewpoint to the [UN] Security Council by suggesting an
international committee take a look at the concerned area.

He added that the whole world is aware of Iraq's false accusation against
Kuwait and that Iraq is responsible of stealing the oil, not Kuwait. He
pointed out that Iraq's accusation of Kuwait stealing oil began in July 1990
which lead to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. The Iraqi regime
burnt 727 oil wells during the invasion leading to 500 oil lakes south and
north of Kuwait.

The United Nations committee assigned for demarcation of the border between
Iraq and Kuwait proved Iraq's incursion into Kuwaiti lands, denying all
Iraqi accusation. The Iraqi regime has a rich record of stealing Kuwaiti oil
back in the 60s and 70s, stealing 11 oil wells that were returned after the
demarcation. The Iraqi accusation returned back a decade later, in September
2000 claiming that Kuwait is stealing 300,000 barrels daily.

Kuwait provided hard evidence against the Iraqi accusations and recalled
that Iraq laid down a 97-kilometre oil pipeline from Kuwaiti oilfields to
the Iraqi lands during the invasion in which Kuwaiti oil was pumped to Iraq.
Kuwait also revealed for the first time some satellite images by Kuwait
research and study centre, proving Iraq's false claims and showing exactly
the opposite, adding that Iraq's crime is a living proof against him shown
in Kuwaiti desert [sentence as received].

Studies showed that the pipeline can be viewed by naked eyes between
Al-Managash oilfield and Al-Shgaya in addition to new maps.

Iraqi regime's continuous accusations are aimed at distortion of facts and a
cover up to what they are doing to their people, using oil to finance their

[In the Baghdad radio report on Iraq's protest against Kuwait's "excessive
exploitation", transmitted on 20 September, the oilfield's name was given as


Los Angeles Times, 19th September

British Tornado warplanes bombed an antiaircraft missile site in southern
Iraq, retaliating for "hostile activities" by Baghdad against planes
patrolling a "no-fly" zone, a U.S. Air Force officer said.

The attack targeted a position near Basra, 350 miles south of Baghdad, the
capital, said Maj. Brett Morris, a Saudi-based spokesman for the allied
mission. There was no immediate report on damage.

Times of India, 21st September

BAGHDAD ( AFP ): Iraq said its anti-aircraft defences hit two US or British
warplanes on Thursday as they attacked "civilian" installations in the south
of the country.

"All the signs are that two enemy planes bombarding our civilian
installations in Basra and Zi Qar provinces were hit by our air defences," a
military spokesman said, quoted by the official news agency INA.

The Pentagon said earlier that US and British planes struck two
anti-aircraft artillery sites in southern Iraq on Thursday, responding to
recent "hostile threats" to coalition aircraft enforcing a no-fly zone.

The air strikes had nothing to do with the September 11 terrorist attacks in
New York and Washington, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

"In response to recent Iraqi hostile threats against coalition aircraft
conducting routine monitoring of the southern no-fly zone, coalition
aircraft used precision guided weapons to strike anti-aircraft artillery
sites in southern Iraq," he said.

A Pentagon official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said US and British
warplanes struck two sites -- one near the port of Basra and the other near

In London, a defence ministry spokeswoman said, "Our assessment is that it
was successful, with no collateral damage."

Associated Press, 22nd September

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - American and British warplanes struck two
antiaircraft sites in southern Iraq yesterday in their second attack in as
many days, a US military spokesman said.

He said the bombings were a response to Baghdad's hostile activity against
allied planes patrolling the ''no-fly zones'' over northern and southern

 The US and British planes targeted military vehicles and equipment in
Al-Amrah, 155 miles south of Baghdad, and Talil, 170 miles south of Baghdad,
said Chief Petty Officer David Nagle, deputy spokesman for the US-British
Joint Task Force Southwest Asia, which is responsible for patrolling the
southern no-fly zone.

The aircraft returned to their bases safely, Nagle said.

The official Iraqi News Agency quoted unidentified military spokesmen saying
that enemy warplanes attacked civil and service installations. The news
agency gave no details and reported no casualties.

Britain's Defense Ministry said in a statement that the airstrikes reflected
sustained threats to allied air patrols and had nothing to do with last
week's terrorist attacks in the United States. It said the aircraft, which
included British Tornado GR4s, targeted Iraqi surface-to air missile

''Initial damage assessment is that the actions were successful and there
are no indications that any collateral damage or civilian casualties have
been caused,'' the statement said, emphasizing that the US and British
planes use precise weapons and try to avoid civilian casualties.


On Thursday, US and British planes fired at antiaircraft artillery sites at
Basra and Nasiriya.


Hoover's (Financial Times), 16th September
Source: Handelsblatt (English version), September 17, 2001

BERLIN. The German government may have declared its support for the   U.S.
government in its efforts to eradicate international terrorism, but German
industry has no plans for now to sever its ties with the states that the
U.S.   has designated as friendly to terrorism, including Iran, Iraq and
Libya.   "What's called for is a measured reaction to terror and not a
blanket   condemnation of all countries within a region," Klaus Lederer,
president   of German industry's North Africa, Middle East Initiative (NMI),
told   Handelsblatt. Even in times of crisis, it's important to keep open a
channel   for talks," he argued, pointing out that many of the countries
that the   U.S. has deemed pariahs contain groups with a clear western

"Of course, solidarity with the United States is priority number   one,"
Lederer stressed. And he added that Europeans will have no choice   but to
go along with any embargoes that the Americans insist on.   On 1 September,
German industry opened a new office of trade representation   in the Iraqi
capital, Baghdad. Lederer, who is also chairman of engineering   group
Babcock Borsig AG, said he's in favor of keeping the office open for now.
But he said German industry will withdraw its calls for a German ambassador
to   Iraq and for the lifting of United Nations sanctions against the
country.   "Of course, a number of governments that of Iran, for example
will have to decide over the next few days what side they are going to   be
on," Lederer forecast. If Iraq decides it wants to back the fight   against
Islamic terrorism, the sanctions should be lifted."   Lederer also appealed
to the oil producing nations to heed their   responsibility for global
economic developments and to ensure that oil prices   are stabilized.

The prospect of a cooling in relations between Europe and the Arab world
comes at what would otherwise be a promising time for Lederer's association,
NMI, which exists to promote trade between German industry and the countries
of   North Africa and the Middle East. With increased revenues due to the
rise in   the oil price, a number of the oil-producing countries have been
planning to   boost spending on infrastructure a development from which
German   industry has been hoping to benefit.

NMI has scheduled a major conference in Stuttgart for December 6, and a
number of Arab heads of state have been invited. Whether it will now take
place   depends on the extent of any military action planned by the U.S. and
the kind   of alliances that spring up in response.

For some time now, a difference of opinion has persisted between Europe and
the U.S. on the policy that should be pursued towards the so-called pariah
states. Washington has called for a hard line to be taken against Iraq, Iran
and Libya.

But after Italian and French firms were able to win major orders from these
countries, German industry urged the government to reopen diplomatic
relations.   At the start of September, the president of Germany's BDI
industry federation,   Ludolf von Wartenburg, called for Germany to be
"emancipated" from   U.S. policy towards Iraq.

Dawn (Pakistan), 16th September

MULTAN, Sept 15: Wheat export to Iraq might be delayed owing to the row
between the Food Department and the contractors who supplied the commodity.

After reaping bumper wheat crops for two years, the government explored the
international market for disposal of the surplus and luckily found buyers in
Iraq and Afghanistan.

Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions were selected for procuring wheat which
would then be exported to Iraq. The Food Department invited bids from
interested parties for supplying the commodity and directed them to submit
their offers by Sept 10. The successful bidders were to supply 15,000 tons
wheat within 10 days of bidding.

No expressions of interest were received by Sept 10. The department then
extended the deadline to Sept 12 but to no avail. An effort to persuade some
contractors to bid for supply failed again on Sept 14.

The contractors said the department should first clear their dues under
labour and transportation heads pending payment since last year's
procurement operation.

A Food Department spokesman said the contractors would be given one more
opportunity to bid for the contract. If they still failed to cooperate, he
said, the task would be assigned to the National Logistics Cell.

Sources said the ship designated to carry wheat to Iraq was likely to be
anchored at the Karachi port in a few days.


Arabic News, 20th September

Iraq on Wednesday expressed its regret over the decision taken by the UN
sanctions committee in preventing it from contracting with world companies
to import helicopters serving agricultural purposes or even to maintain
engines of its planes in Russia.

The Iraqi weekly al-Iqtisadi ( the economist) quoted the Iraqi ministry of
agriculture secretary Basel Kamel al-Dalali as saying that the UN sanctions
committee has not so far approved to contract the helicopters in order to
meet the local need for using it in fighting agricultural diseases, noting
that the old planes used at the meantime are no more valid and its aviation
age has ended.

Worthy mentioning that Iraqi officials have repeatedly stressed that
agriculture in Iraq faces great problems because of the escalation of the
agricultural diseases and whose agricultural planes suffer the shortage of
spare parts.


Kurdistan Newsline, 19th September

"Your brothers and colleagues for many years are busy with preparing
themselves for Jihad  (Holy War) in this area both monetarily and morally.
We have achieved this task by opening  training camps, Islamic education
camps, and the preparation of necessary weapons and for  this Holy purpose.
After the people realize the area needs protection and the preservation of
Islam, we must make a tough and holy stand against the blasphemous
secularist political,  social and cultural institutions. They seeking to
conquer and exploit the Muslims of  Kurdistan, thus the dirty Jews and
Christians seek the destruction of Islam in Kurdistan.²   Jund Al
Islam Newsletter, September 1, 2001

There are ominous signs that Osama bin Laden¹s terrorist network is
targeting Iraqi  Kurdistan to be infiltrated and use it as another base for
operation for his terrorist  organization Al Qaeda (The Base), which is a
conglomerate of quasi-independent Islamic  zealots. A group, under the name
of Jund Al Islam (Soldiers of Islam), of bin Laden  mercenaries has appeared
in recent months under the command of a self-styled Amir of  Islam by the
name of Abu Abdullah Al Shafi¹i who is an Afghan Arab, rumored to be of
Egyptian or Syrian origin. The modus operandi of the group and their
destructive doctrines  they preach, plus being flush with funds and weapons,
have all the hallmarks of a bin Laden  operation. Analysts in Kurdistan are
convinced that the group¹s real agenda is to destabilize  the Kurdistan
region through terror and coercion in order to undermine the regional
authorities and the standing of the secular parties as well as that of the
mainstream Islamic  organizations. Furthermore, they are convinced the group
is playing the role of fifth column  on behalf of the Baghdad regime in its
disruptive activities.   

What is Jund Al Islam?

 The group consists of 400-500 armed followers led by Al Shafi¹i and a core
of Afghan  Arabs who handle terrorist training, finance and militant
propaganda behind the scene. The  Afghani Arabs¹ mission is to hire, train
and control motivated Islamic mercenaries and teach  them the terrorist
craft learnt from Usama bin Laden¹s camps in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Most of
the followers have been recruited from the ranks of the other Islamic groups
such  as the Kurdophobic Muslim Brotherhood and the Kurdistan Islamic
Movement based in  Halabja and led by Sheikh Ali Abdul Aziz. The group is
organized on cell basis who are  divided into six military Katibas
(Regiments). The headquarters are in Biyara, Hawraman  area near Halabja.   
The leadership of Jund Al Islam consists of: Mulla Zana, Mulla Abdulla
Khalifan, Amir  Abu Bakir, Omar Baziani, Mulla Mohammad Rashid and Hawleri
Ayoub Afghani. Their  arsenal of weaponry includes:   3  -4 Russian-made
Katyusha rockets (surface to surface missile); four 106-shell artillery,
anti  tank/aircraft guns; sniper rifles and BKC machine guns and mortars.
They use a fleet of slick  Toyota Land Cruisers for their transportation. It
is reported that the group has received  $600,000 from bin Laden network
recently to finance their terror campaign.   

Agenda and Slogans: " Ten Minutes to Heaven"

 Jund Al Islam professes a strain of Sunni Islam similar to the Wahhabi
Islam (pertaining to  Mohammad Abdul Wahhab of Saudi Arabia). Their message
is a mish-mash of medievalist  and xenophobic precepts advocating a pure and
uncompromising form of Islamic state and a  permanent Œjihad¹ (holy war)
against the infidels and all manifestations of religious and  social
freedoms. Like all religious fanatics and charlatans the group promises
their members  instant ascension to heaven in case they are Œmartyred² in
course of performing their  assigned duties. In a recent Friday Khutba
(Sermon) their leader Al Shafi¹i stated that,  ³Those young men who are
martyred at the hands of the infidels and enemies of Islam, shall  be taken
up to the gates of Heaven by two angels sent down by Allah, the Most
Gracious, the  Most Merciful, within ten minutes of their martyrdom and
defense of Islam." However these  disturbing teaching are alien to Kurdistan
society, the group is trying the centuries-old tactics  of using Islamic
cover to smother the natural national and cultural attributes of diversity
and  tolerance in Kurdistan. As the open preaching of chauvinistic Arab
nationalistic goals is not  an easily accepted in Kurdistan, the best
alternative is to camouflage it under the banner of  Œholy Islam¹. It is an
easier sell.     In the short period June Al Islam has been operating, it
has been frantically engaging in  sabotage and criminal activities. It has
openly declared that it is planning to defy, challenge  and paralyze the two
major political parties, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan
Democratic Party, as well as the mainstream Islamic organizations. It does
not recognize the  legitimacy and jurisdiction of the Kurdistan regional
administration, nor the authority of  PESHMERGA forces. Following are some
of the policies it wants to impose by force on the  people of Kurdistan:

A universal decree for women to wear veil 
A total ban on playing any kind of music in public 
A total ban on mixing of sexes on any occasion 
A total ban on all display of still photographs, satellite receivers and
industrial photographs
Forcing shop and office staff to close their premises during prayer time (a
la Saudi Arabia¹s  fierce and corrupt Al Mutawi¹s vigilantes who enforce
this by beating people with sticks if  they are tardy in closing their shops
and offices)    

In February this year members of the group assassinated in Hawler (Arbil)
Faranso Hariri, a  high ranking leader of Kurdistan Democratic Party. The
group has been sabotaging the field  work of the United Nations Agencies to
rehabilitate and develop Kurdistan. Its members  were responsible for
damaging power transmission lines and demolishing power pylons for
extending electricity to the villages. The Jund Al Islam detained a
well-known Kurdish  singer, Arjumand Howrami, during his visit to his family
to Howraman, early September. It  is feared that the group might have
executed him on the charge of being a blasphemer  against Islam. In August,
the group¹s militia desecrated the revered shrine of a Kurdish  Islamic
figure, Sheik Osman Biyara, on the pretext that making a pilgrimage to such
site is  an act of polytheism. The group also has been trying to terrorize
the Kakayee Sufi  community into abandoning their centuries-old religious
and cultural traditions.  Furthermore, the group¹s vigilantes have been
harassing women in their area to conform to  their edicts. In May this year
the group murdered a Kurdistan writer who authored a  scholarly and
dispassionate book under the title,  " Mirov U Quran" ( Humans and Quran) in

Warning and Challenge   

The emergence of the Jund al Islam and their destructive behavior poses a
real challenge to  the Kurdistan region and the major political parties and
the regional administration. So far  they have not responded vigorously to
the dangerous threat posed by this alien group and  philosophy to the body
politic of Kurdistan society. There have been some close  consultations
among the major political parties, namely Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and
Kurdistan Democratic Party. ( Ref. Kurdistan Newsline Sept. 10) But analysts
who have  been watching the growth of the group are greatly alarmed by the
situation and they feel that  if the group is not dealt with now and is
allowed to expand unhindered, it will develop into a  major threat to the
future of Kurdistan region. They are urging a concerted effort to agree on
a strategy to deal with this threat and implement it expeditiously. A
campaign to expose the  evil nature of the group¹s agenda and behavior is a
top priority. The peaceful and  mainstream Islamic elements are called upon
to step up in the mosques and other public  forums to denounce the group and
give the lie to the fanatics¹ perversion of Islamic faith.  Open and
specific refutation of the group¹s preaching of extremism and intolerance
would  begin to plant the seeds of doubt in the misled minds of some within
their ranks. At the same  time PUK and KDP must not be squeamish in dealing
with this threat. They should mobilize  the PESHMERGA forces to disarm the
group once and for all. The Afghan Arabs should be  apprehended and deported
from the region. As we have seen during recent tragic events in  America bin
Laden groups are lethal in their approach and unless checked they cause real
carnage whenever given an opportunity.

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