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News, 16-22/9/01 (2) INSIDE IRAQ * 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 terrorism¹.] * Ex Iraqi official shot * Gulf War Mine Kills Three, Injures Three - INA IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST - ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * 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 oilfield NO FLY ZONES * 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. Thursday] * US, British warplanes strike Iraq over no-fly zone threat [Al-Amrah and Talil. Friday] IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * German Industry to Uphold Ties with Iran, Iraq International trade * Wheat export to Iraq might be delayed IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * UN sanctions committee bans Iraq from importing helicopters for agricultural purposes NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * 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] INSIDE IRAQ http://www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=92964 * THE SONS WHO PROMOTE SADDAM'S CRUEL LEGACY 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 hand. "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.'' http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20010916140.5 _553200014f02d7e5 * EX IRAQI OFFICIAL SHOT 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. http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=worldnews&StoryID=233722 * 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. [.....] IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST - ARAB WORLD RELATIONS http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20010916670.2 _965f000340a2f772 * EGYPT TO EXPORT 250M DOLLARS' WORTH OF FOOD TO IRAQ 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. http://www.dailystarnews.com/200109/16/n1091613.htm#BODY11 * IRAQ, IRAN AGREE TO COORDINATE ON "IMPERIALISM" 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. [.....] http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010918/2001091813.html * VERY SOON A COMMON MARKET BETWEEN SYRIA, EGYPT, IRAQ AND LIBYA 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. http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectid=4EF8DAE6-DA56-414C 9C8E12BDB2BFECA8&Title=Iraq%20Accuses%20Kuwait%20of%20Violating%20Convention s%20on%20Joint%20Oil%20Fields&CatOID=45C9C78D-88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C * IRAQ ACCUSES KUWAIT OF VIOLATING CONVENTIONS ON JOINT OIL FIELDS 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 field. 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. http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20010922670.2 _1eea0009aa0bc4a2 * KUWAIT REJECTS IRAQ'S ACCUSATION OF "EXCESSIVE EXPLOITATION" OF JOINT OILFIELD 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 acts. [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 "Al-Rakbah".] NO FLY ZONES http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la 000075245sep19.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dworld * BRITISH WARPLANES STRIKE SOUTHERN MISSILE SITE 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. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_ID=929438859 * IRAQ SAYS IT HIT TWO US OR BRITISH PLANES 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 Shahban. In London, a defence ministry spokeswoman said, "Our assessment is that it was successful, with no collateral damage." http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/265/nation/US_British_warplanes_strike_Ira q_over_no_fly_zone_threat+.shtml * US, BRITISH WARPLANES STRIKE IRAQ OVER NO-FLY ZONE THREAT 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 Iraq. 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 batteries. ''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. IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20010917670.4 _c9d8000b9bfa8222 * GERMAN INDUSTRY TO UPHOLD TIES WITH IRAN, IRAQ INTERNATIONAL TRADE 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 orientation. "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. http://www.dawn.com/2001/09/16/nat20.htm * WHEAT EXPORT TO IRAQ MIGHT BE DELAYED 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. IRAQI/UN RELATIONS http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010920/2001092015.html * UN SANCTIONS COMMITTEE BANS IRAQ FROM IMPORTING HELICOPTERS FOR AGRICULTURAL PURPOSES 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. NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN http://members.home.net/kurdistanobserver/21-9-01-kn-laden-destabilize-kurdi stan.html * BIN LADEN'S PLAN TO DESTABILIZE KURDISTAN 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 jihad¹ (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 martyred² 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 holy 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 Kurdish. 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. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.