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News, 28/10-3/11/01 (2): IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Iraq lifts restrictions on Malaysians * Iraq sends requirements for wheat [to Pakistan] * Iraqi vice-president holds "positive" meeting with Algerian president * Irked U.S. Recalls Venezuela Envoy [Hugo Chavez has been expressing a sense of moral outrage at the terrorist attack on Afghanistan]. * Iraq Wishes to "Turn a New Page" in Ties With France * World Court should oversee Security Council: Iraq [see general introductory comments above] IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN RELATIONS * Afghans cast adrift at sea saved by Iraqis [Story of Afghans summarily expelled from Kuwait in a boat apparently just because they were Afghans. A bit like the way S.Hussein treats Kurds in Kirkuk] * Iraq Says Ready to Solve Missing Persons Issue [with Kuwait. Worth remembering here that the sticking point for resuming negotiations is still Kuwait¹s insistence, for no reason that is very clear to me, that the US and Britain should be present] * Iraq agrees to raise supply to Jordan * Iraq and UAE Sign Free Trade Agreement [Good to see that the UAE haven¹t lost all their spirit since they broke diplomatic relations with the Taliban] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Kurds, Turkish parties meet on discussing expected attacks at Iraq [A curious article, apparently suggesting that Turkey is pressing for the establishment of a Kurdish government in Iraqi Kurdistan, under the KDP, against the opposition of the local Turkmen minority.] * Iraq Accelerates Ethnic Cleansing of Kirkuk * Kurdistan Developing Attributes Of Statehood * Iraq Masses Troops on Kurdish Areas [Apparently in expectation of an imminent, Turkish backed, invasion] OIL FOR FOOD * Iraq: UN sanctions committee approves oil prices for US market * U.N. probes Iraqi oil shipment * Iraq says OPEC indirectly financing US attacks * US-British 'smart sanctions' Iraq plan in doubt [Suggests that Russia¹s proposal for a clear timetable for the ending of sanctions as the reward for the return of weapons inspectors may, at last, be under consideration] GENERAL INTEREST * The reluctant Saudis: Royal family increasingly nervous about keeping grip on power at home [On the growth of anti-US feeling at all levels of Saudi society. Note the similarity between the statements quoted from radical Saudi clerics and those of G.Bush (you¹re either with us or you¹re against us ...] * Even after a savage attack, America still remains generous [Muslim living in the US points out (rightly in my view) that there has been surprisingly little anti-Muslim activity in the US since Sept 11. But he is perhaps a little naive about how benign US intentions are towards the people of Afghanistan. And is there not a contradiction between saying there is absolutely no moral equivalence between what the terrorists perpetrated and American's action abroad¹ and then referring to the economic sanctions that are killing thousands of Iraqi civilians every month¹. URL ONLY: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28010-2001Nov2.html * We're Still Chasing a Criminal by Jim Hoagland Washington Post, 2nd November [Hoagland, it appears, has interviewed many feared terrorists, so he knows what he¹s talking about. He sees OBL as a psychopath who finds an identity otherwise denied him in the death and destruction of others, on a massive scale. He ties it all together in a package of religious fantasy, vengeful politics and local grudges that has gathered a cult of killers around him, just as Abu Nidal concocted a half-baked Marxist spiel to cover his blood lust. It is the destruction that is attractive to bin Laden's followers and useful to his official sponsors. He too is embedded in a system that judges him neither morally nor rationally -- neither with heart nor with mind -- but fearfully and in sick anticipation.¹ So all the stuff about Palestinian grievances and Iraqi children and Arab public opinion is a lot of tosh. The Arabs don¹t matter. There¹s a little bit about Iraq¹s sheltering of OBL¹s fellow psychopath, Abu Nidal, who, it seems, has disappeared.] IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1623000/1623975.st mSunday, 28 October, 2001, 01:14 GMT * IRAQ LIFTS RESTRICTIONS ON MALAYSIANS BBC, 28th October Iraq has removed restrictions on Malaysians entering the country, in a bid to boost trade between the two Muslim states. The move follows a visit to Kuala Lumpur last week by the Iraqi Industry Minister, Maiser Reja Shallah. Malaysia is among those countries which have called for United Nations sanctions against Iraq to be lifted. Correspondents say that Malaysia sold 250,000 tons of palm oil a year to Baghdad before the Gulf War in 1991. http://www.dawn.com/2001/10/28/ebr9.htm * IRAQ SENDS REQUIREMENTS FOR WHEAT Dawn (Pakistan), 28th October KARACHI, Oct 27: Iraqi Grain Board has sent a detailed specifications to Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) about import of wheat from Pakistan. This was stated by the chairman, Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), Syed Masood Alam Rizvi, while talking to APP here on Saturday. He said that these specifications will be provided to Pakistan Agriculture Supplies and Storage Corporation (PASSCO) to ensure compliance. "They are the suppliers of wheat and they must have these specifications," he said. According to these specifications, the presence of organic material (wheat related) has been allowed at 0.05 per cent in the wheat while zero per cent inorganic material (not related to wheat like stones, metals, etc.). Previously Iraqi food authorities had allowed 1 per cent dust in the wheat. Rizvi said that new specifications are effective for the export of Pakistani wheat to Iraq. He said Iraqi food authorities have expressed the desire that the quantity of rejected wheat should be replaced with new wheat under new specifications.-APP http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20011030670.2 00_39d2001e79cbec46 * IRAQI VICE-PRESIDENT HOLDS "POSITIVE" MEETING WITH ALGERIAN PRESIDENT Hoover (Financial Times, from Iraqi TV, Baghdad, in Arabic 1800 gmt 29 Oct 01), 30th October Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika received today Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yasin Ramadan and the accompanying delegation, which is currently visiting Algeria. More details in the following report by our correspondent Amir Rashid from the Algerian capital. [.....] The vice-president said that the discussion was friendly and positive, noting that the Algerian government and people support Iraq's legitimate right to lift the unjust embargo and the right of the Palestinian people and their struggle against the Zionist occupation. He praised Algeria's positions and the development of fraternal relations in spite of the embargo, stressing the importance of continuing the meetings and friendly contacts, which contribute towards developing relations and their prosperity. The vice-president said that this visit will witness signing the protocol for establishing a free trade zone between the two sisterly countries to open the way for trade and eventually form a common Arab market. He added that these meetings and future ones will witness the birth of other various agreements that reflect the desire of the two sisterly countries to build fraternal relations, which enhance the strength of the nation and bolster its vigour in facing the challenges. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika asked the vice-president to relay his greetings to President Saddam Husayn and the Iraqi people, wishing them continued progress and success... [.....] http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nat-gen/2001/nov/01/110103104.html * IRKED U.S. RECALLS VENEZUELA ENVOY Las Vegas Sun, 1st November WASHINGTON- The Bush administration has recalled its ambassador to Venezuela to protest criticism by President Hugo Chavez of the U.S. anti-terrorism campaign in Afghanistan, officials said Thursday. Chavez, during a nationally televised appearance on Monday, held up pictures of dead Afghan children in assailing what he described as a "slaughter of innocents" in the three week air war on the terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker called Chavez's remarks "totally inappropriate." Other officials said U.S. ambassador Donna Hrinak had been planning to return to the United States at the end of the week but that her timetable was advanced as a signal of displeasure with Chavez's remarks. She is expected to return to Caracas on Nov. 7. >From the outset, Chavez has been an outspoken critic of the global war on terrorism that the administration announced shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. U.S. relations with Venezuela have been chilly since Chavez assumed power three years ago. He maintains close ties with Cuban President Fidel Castro and also visited Iraq last year for talks with President Saddam Hussein. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200111/01/eng20011101_83647.html * IRAQ WISHES TO "TURN A NEW PAGE" IN TIES WITH FRANCE People's Daily (AFP), 1st November "We wish to turn a new page. We are prepared to make efforts in this direction, but all depends on Paris," said the minister in Baghdad in an interview with AFP. "This depends on the attitude that Paris will take because the more it separates itself from the influences of the United States, the nearer it gets with the Arab world," said Sabri. "The position of France was sometimes influenced by other countries including the United States, which has affected the ties between Paris and the Arab world and Iraq," he said. In September, Sabri said Baghdad was determined to maintain relations with Paris despite the "negative positions" of France towards it. "The relations between Iraq and France will keep going despite the latter's negative position concerning the stupid sanctions," he said, referring to the project of "smart sanctions" drafted by London and Washington aimed at alleviating sanctions on Iraqi civilians while reinforcing controls of military aspects. With contracts totaling at 3.5 million U.S. dollars, France has been Iraq's largest supplier within the U.N. oil-for-food humanitarian program over the past four years. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=988562354 * WORLD COURT SHOULD OVERSEE SECURITY COUNCIL: IRAQ Times of India, 3rd November BAGHDAD ( AFP ): Iraq has called for the International Court of Justice to oversee the actions of the UN Security Council, the official INA news agency reported on Friday. "The ICJ's jurisdiction should cover Security Council resolutions, be it automatically or upon the request of a member state," INA quoted Iraq's UN envoy Mohammad al-Duri as telling the 56th session of the UN General Assembly. Duri also demanded that "use of the (Security Council) veto be restricted as a prelude to abolishing it, given that it symbolizes discrimination between countries and contradicts the (principle of) equality enshrined in the UN Charter." Iraq had similarly called in August for international control over the Security Council's actions in order to check US "hegemony" over the world body. Iraqi parliament Speaker Saadun Hammadi said at the time that the World Court at The Hague should have some oversight over the council's resolutions. Such a move would help "put an end to the hegemony of certain members of the council," he said in a reference to the United States. IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN RELATIONS http://www.dawn.com/2001/10/30/int2.htm * AFGHANS CAST ADRIFT AT SEA SAVED BY IRAQIS Dawn (Pakistan), 30th October FAO, Oct 29 (AFP): Eighteen Afghans alleged on Monday they had been thrown out of Kuwait and cast adrift in Gulf waters in the wake of last month's attacks on the United States. Iraq's information ministry bussed journalists down from Baghdad to this town on the Gulf coast, close to Kuwait, to hear from the men who said they were saved by Iraqi fishermen. The group, aged 21 to 51, described themselves as lucky because there was no news of a second boatload of 20 Afghans with whom they lost contact at sea after being expelled from the emirate. They met journalists with a protest and carried banners in Pushto proclaiming, "We want our money back from Kuwait" and "What did we do to get kicked out after faithful service?" Mohammad Bagher Gholam, 51, speaking in Arabic, said he had worked as a baker in Kuwait for 25 years until police came to arrest him for "no reason". "I was in detention for 14 days before being pushed out to sea with the other Afghans," he said. "We were not even allowed to contact our Kuwaiti employers," added Mohammad Gholam, let alone collect money. "We do not want to go back to Kuwait, we just want our things back that we left there," he said. Painter and decorator Ali Mohammad, 27, accused Kuwait of "running a campaign against Afghans". "I was taken to prison in my work clothes. Is this an Islamic way to do things?" he asked. Ali said the group were "three days adrift, without food and water". Indian fishermen working from Saudi Arabia had given them some food and towed them into Iranian waters. "But Iran refused to take us in," he said. "Some of us were unconscious by the time the Iraqi fishermen saved us," Ali said. "The second boat remained close to us the first day but we lost sight of it after," added Khaled Haidar, 35, also a painter. Ahmad Ibrahim Hammash, governor of the southern Iraqi town of Basra, released a statement saying Iraqi fishermen had found the Afghans "in a sorry state". "They were taken to the town of Fao and the representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross was alerted to meet them," Hammash said. According to the governor, the rescued Afghans were arrested and then expelled from Kuwait following the Sept 11 attacks. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20011031/wl/iraq_kuwait_missing_dc_1.html * IRAQ SAYS READY TO SOLVE MISSING PERSONS ISSUE Yahoo, 31st October BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq said on Wednesday it was ready to cooperate with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to solve the issue of people missing since Baghdad invaded Kuwait more than a decade ago. ``Iraq is trying through its embassies and representatives abroad to convince officials in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to cooperate with Iraq to solve this humanitarian issue,'' the state news agency INA quoted Foreign Minister Naji Sabri as saying. Sabri said Iraq would also ``accept any Arab initiative to discuss this humanitarian issue through bilateral cooperation and direct contact.'' Kuwait says Iraq is holding more than 600 people, 90 percent of them Kuwaitis. Baghdad denies any knowledge of them and says Kuwait has withheld information on the fate of Iraqis missing since the 1990-91 Gulf crisis. Disclosing the fate of the missing Kuwaitis is a key condition for lifting decade-long U.N. sanctions against Iraq. http://www.worldoil.com/news/newsstory.asp?ref=http://184.108.40.206/feeds/wo rldoil/new/article_e.asp?energy24=243586 * IRAQ AGREES TO RAISE SUPPLY TO JORDAN World Oil, 1st November Reuter's: Iraq has agreed to supply Jordan with around 5.5 million tonnes of crude oil and by-products next year, visiting Jordan's Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Mohammad Batayneh said on Thursday. "Iraq and Jordan have agreed to increase Iraqi oil exports to the Kingdom of crude oil and by-products by 10 percent over figures of this year," he told Reuters. Batayneh, in Baghdad seeking a renewal of an annual oil agreement with Iraq worth at least $700 million, said Iraq's oil exports to Jordan in 2001 would reach by year-end around "four million tonnes of crude and one million tonnes of by-products." Since the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait - in which Amman sympathised with Baghdad - Iraq has been exporting around 80,000 barrels of oil per day to Jordan. Jordan's oil purchases from Iraq are exempted from U.N. sanctions which ban Baghdad from freely exporting its oil as punishment for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But under an oil-for-food deal, the U.N. has allowed Iraq since December 1996 to sell limited quantities of oil to buy food and medicines for Iraqis. Batayneh was quoted as saying on Wednesday that his country would invite foreign firms to submit bids next week to build a pipeline for oil from neighbouring Iraq. Iraq and Jordan agreed to set up the 750 km (450 miles) pipeline in 1998 to carry Iraq's crude to Jordan. Iraq's current oil supplies to Jordan are transported in trucks. The minister arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday heading a delegation of Jordanian businessmen to attend the opening of the Baghdad trade fair on Thursday. http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectid=9E67F511-FFD0-434A 9A29BDFC9E977403&Title=Iraq%20and%20UAE%20Sign%20Free%20Trade%20Agreement&Ca tOID=45C9C78D 88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C * IRAQ AND UAE SIGN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT VOA News, 2nd November Iraq and the United Arab Emirates have signed a free trade agreement, Iraq's first with a Gulf Arab monarchy since the 1991 Gulf War. The agreement to drop duties and licensing requirements was signed in Baghdad by the UAE Economy Minister (Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan al-Qasimi) and Iraq's Trade Minister (Mohammed Mehdi Saleh). Iraq, which has been trying to break out of isolation stemming from U.N. imposed sanctions, has signed free trade agreements with five other Arab countries in the past year - Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen and Algeria. This is the first such agreement with a member of the six nation Gulf Cooperation Council. Iraq already trades with the UAE under the U.N. oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq to export oil and use the proceeds to buy food and essential goods. The two countries predict the new accord will double the volume of bilateral trade, which now is running at $2.5 billion dollars a year. NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/011030/2001103008.html * KURDS, TURKISH PARTIES MEET ON DISCUSSING EXPECTED ATTACKS AT IRAQ Arabic News, 30th October The Turkish daily al-Zamaan issued on Monday said that representatives of the Kurdistani democratic party, the Kurdistani national federation, the Turkman's Front and Turkey will meet today in Arbiel to the north of Iraq in order to discuss recent developments especially following news reports which stated that the US will organize military acts against Iraq in the coming phase. The paper quoted Turkman's sources as saying that final stages have been concluded to declare a new government led by the chairman of the Kurdistani democratic party Mesout al-Barazi, who had been working on composing it since a long time away from the government of Baghdad. Besides Turkey is making pressures on Turkman to join this new government formation in the north of Iraq. The paper said that Foaud Tein, the chairman of the Turkman's intellectual society sent a message of protest to Israel Cim, the Turkish foreign minister, stressing that any side has not the right to exert pressures in order to make the Turkmans, citizens in Kurdistan. http://members.home.net/kurdistanobserver/1-11-01-kn-ethnic-cleansing-kirkuk .html * IRAQ ACCELERATES ETHNIC CLEANSING OF KIRKUK Kurdistan Observer, 1st November Kirkuk Oct. 30 (Kurdistan Newsline): The Iraqi authorities have confiscated , without any compensation, all the land belonging to the indigenous citizens of the Galabat village, within the Jabar district, and have forcibly deported the citizens to the liberated region of Kurdistan. In a statement to Kurdistan Newsline, Baki Nareeman, who, together with his family, are the victims of the Iraqi regime's Arabization policy, stated that the Iraqi security agents started to harass the thirty five families resident in the village and subsequently deported them and took over all their possessions and properties. The Iraqi intelligence Mukhabarat has already prepared a list of 200 Arab families from Al Laheeb and Al Jiboor Arab tribes, to be given the confiscated Kurdish land and permanently settled in Galabat village. Mr. Nareeman confirmed that the Iraqi security is deporting anyone who refuses to apply to change the designation of his or her ethnic origin from Kurdish or Turkoman into Arabic. Mr. Nareeman recounted bitterly his family¹s ordeal at the hands of the racist Iraqi authorities: being deported from his land and home of his forefathers, after his service as a teacher for 23 years and his service of eight years in the army. The office of the Iraqi Presidency has issued a decree, through the Governor of Kirkuk, that no official of Kurdish nationality must remain in any government department in Kirkuk after the end of year 2001. Severe penalties will follow if this decree is not fully implemented. The Baathists have recently targeted the Kurdish districts for a special survey to find out the political affiliation of the residents districts; and whether they have any family ties with members of Kurdistan defense forces of PESHMERGA. Some of the top security officials have sent their families outside the city of Kirkuk in fear of a possible United States attack on Iraq. Extraordinary security measures have included the stationing of a special military unit as reinforcement inside the Rahimawa police and deportation station. Four residents of the village of Khan Khurma have been detained without any specific charges. In the city of Tuz the Iraqis have put in place three new control points along the access routes of Tuz-Kirkuk, Tuz Tikrit and Tuz-Baghdad. http://members.home.net/kurdistanobserver/1-11-01-rfe-david-hirst-kurds statehood.html * KURDISTAN DEVELOPING ATTRIBUTES OF STATEHOOD by Charles Recknagel/Kamran Al-Karadaghi Kurdistan Observer, 1st November Veteran Mideast correspondent David Hirst, who reports for the British newspaper "The Guardian," has been a frequent visitor to northern Iraq. He recently came to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague to share some of his impressions of that region. Deputy Director of RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq Service Kamran Al-Karadaghi interviewed Hirst and asked his assessment of northern Iraq's economy, politics, and future. Prague, 1 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Radio Free Iraq Service Deputy Director Kamran Al Karadaghi asked Hirst what he sees as the most remarkable aspect of northern Iraq, which is mostly populated by ethnic Kurds and has been outside of Baghdad's control since the end of the 1991 Gulf War. Hirst said he is most struck by the ways in which northern Iraq, or Iraqi Kurdistan, is developing functioning political institutions to address its own regional needs and problems: "Kurdistan, to my mind, is developing the attributes of statehood. This is entirely to be expected in the conditions which we have in Iraq. After all, it's now 10 years [since] this entity came into being, this enlarged safe haven, which was really the fruit of a sort of cataclysmic accident, namely [Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's] folly and stupidity in invading Kuwait and the consequences which that had." He continues: "[And] being an accident, it was also supposed to have been provisional. Theoretically, the Kurds are still wedded to the notion of rejoining Iraq and the federal regime, but it is clear that the longer this situation goes on, the more the Kurds build, physically, psychologically, culturally, educationally, and I think the more difficult it is going to be for this entity to be re-integrated into [a] reconstructed Iraq." Hirst observes that Iraqi Kurd leaders and ordinary people universally say that they are not aiming to establish a state. But at the same time, they say a state is their right and historical dream, and that one day they may accomplish it. He says that on a recent visit he saw many signs of an increasing sense of self-sufficiency in the region. He cites the example of an oil refinery he visited near Sulaymaniyah: "I visited an oil refinery there which had been constructed entirely by Kurdish technicians without any outside support or help, entirely from ingredients which were taken from non oil installations, like a sugar factory, a Coca-Cola factory, a cement factory, things which the Iranians had left behind from the [1980-88 Iraq-Iran] war years, even the Iraqi mine fields, where they constructed bombs to blow up and perforate exploration wells." He said he also was struck by a graduation ceremony for university graduates in Argil. And, in that same city, he observed that there was not a single Arabic-language sign. He says that all these suggested to him that a sense of national identity is being consolidated. Al-Karadaghi asked Hirst if he also detected any insecurity among the Kurds over the fact that, despite their increasing self-sufficiency, their situation could change at a moment's notice should they be returned under Baghdad's control. That could happen either forcefully by Saddam's regime or through some larger political settlement to the Iraq crisis. Hirst replied: "Yes, this is a very important factor in Kurdish psychology, the deep sense of insecurity which co-exists with what is an improved [economic] situation, compared with  years ago. But this sense of existential insecurity is deep-rooted and it focuses mainly on Saddam, of course, but not entirely, because Saddam is only the most obvious and most brutal and most dangerous enemy. All the regional states are in a way complicit with Saddam, not least, of course, Turkey, the most important one. Kurdish feelings of hostility toward Turkey run very deep, they are very suspicious." Our correspondent also asked Hirst how he regards the rivalry between the two Iraqi-Kurd factions that control northern Iraq. The two factions, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), have frequently fought but in recent years have improved ties. Hirst said that -- apart from the military conflicts -- the competition between the two rivals may have brought some beneficial economic and political results: "I heard [it] said a number of times, that in a curious way this separation of administrations has been beneficial. It's made each administration more efficient, more honest than it would otherwise have been. And they compete for public support. [For] example, they recently had municipal elections which people on both sides said were elections which were honest and fair." But Hirst says there is also a great danger for the Kurds in the factions' political division, and that is disunity. "If there ever comes a situation where the Iraqi Kurds have to fight for their place in a post Saddam order, they must be in as strong a position as possible to do so. And if they are divided when that moment comes it will gravely weaken their bargaining power vis-a-vis Iraq and the rest of the world." As a final question, our correspondent asked what relations Hirst observed between the two Kurdish factions and Iraqi Arab groups that are in opposition to Saddam's regime. Hirst said: "I think that both Kurdish [faction] leaderships are insistent that while they want to overthrow Saddam and still see their future as one within a re-constituted Iraq, they are not prepared to go along with any enterprise with other opposition groups. And that inevitably means, in fact, not just Iraqi opposition groups but the international community and particularly the United States." He continues: "They are not prepared to go along with that unless they have more-or-less cast-iron guarantees that it will come to a definitive conclusion, the overthrow of Saddam. And also unless they have guarantees about their future in this newly constituted Iraq. The result of that is that at the moment they are not ready to do anything because they don't see any convincing guarantees that any such enterprise is really even seriously underway, let alone any guarantees about its outcome. So, they are wedded to the status quo for the time being and the foreseeable future." http://members.home.net/kurdistanobserver/2-11-01-ip-irq-massses-troops kurdistan.html * IRAQ MASSES TROOPS ON KURDISH AREAS Kurdistan Obsever (from Iraq Press), 2nd November The Iraqi authorities are massing troops in areas in the vicinity of the semi-independent Kurdish enclave in the north. Scores of military trucks, tanks, artillery and missile batteries have been deployed close the Kurdish city of Dahouk and other areas, Kurdish sources said. The troop build-up comes as the United States and Britain, whose warplanes police a no-fly zone in northern Iraq, are engaged in a war against international terrorism in Afghanistan. The sources said the authorities have increased the number of checkpoints on roads leading to Kurdish areas. The authorities, they added, are even forcing drivers of passenger busses and lorries to help in the transfer of soldiers and equipment to the area. Trenches are being dug up and earth embankments fortified to protect the new pieces of armor moved close to the Kurdish region, they said. Anti-aircraft batteries and missiles are being installed with an an unprecedented intensity, they said. Local residents, quoting Iraqi army officers, said the authorities were preparing for what they described as a massive U.S. military attack backed by Turkey within a few days. ''We have orders to redeploy and get ready for a possible attack,'' one resident said, quoting an army officer. Kurdish residents in the border town of Zakho reported unusual air activity by Turkish helicopter gunships in the area. Washington has already warned Iraqi President Saddam Hussein not to take advantage of its preoccupation with the war in Afghanistan and move against Iraq's Kurdish minority. U.S. officials have also said they may include Iraq as a target at a later stage of their current war against terrorism. The Kurds control three provinces in northern Iraq where they have set up a local administration away from the jurisdiction of the central government in Baghdad. OIL FOR FOOD http://www.baghdad.com/?action=display&article=10203876&template=baghdad/ind exsearch.txt&index=recent * IRAQ: UN SANCTIONS COMMITTEE APPROVES OIL PRICES FOR US MARKET Worldnews.com (AP?), 30th October 30 October The Security Council committee monitoring the sanctions against Iraq has approved a pricing mechanism for the delivery of petroleum to the United States for the month of October, the office overseeing the United Nations "oil-for-food" scheme said today. The Office of the Iraq Programme also reported today that Baghdad had earned ?294 million (euros) or $260 million in revenue under the programme over the past week. Iraq sold 14.9 million barrels of crude at an average price of ?19.70 or $17.55 each. Since the beginning of the programme on 10 December 1996, some $38.6 billion and ?11.4 billion ($9.9 billion) in estimated revenue has been raised from the export of more than 2.7 billion barrels of oil, according to the Office. Almost $29.3 billion worth of humanitarian supply contracts have been approved since the start of the programme, including $2.5 billion worth of contracts for oil industry spare parts and equipment. So far, about $15.6 billion worth of humanitarian supplies and $953 million worth of oil industry spare parts and equipment have been delivered to Iraq, while another $11.2 billion worth of humanitarian supplies and $1.5 billion worth of oil spare parts and equipment are in the production and delivery pipeline. http://salon.com/tech/wire/2001/10/31/iraqi_oil/index.html * U.N. PROBES IRAQI OIL SHIPMENT by Orlando Cuales Salon, 31st October WILLEMSTAD, Curacao (AP): The United Nations is trying to decide what to do about a tanker filled with Iraqi oil docked in Curacao, Hasmik Egian, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office of the Iraq Program said Wednesday. It is believed to be the first instance of a company exceeding its limit on the amount of export oil allowed from Iraq, she said. Inspectors for the local government determined the Liberian-registered T/T Essex was exceeding the limit allowed under U.N. guidelines by 270,000 barrels, Netherlands Antilles Solicitor General Bernardus Swagerman said. With oil prices around $21 a barrel, the unauthorized surplus is worth more than $5 million. Egian would not disclose what company originally bought the oil from Iraq, but she said the company sold the oil to a company called Trafigura, based in Lucerne, Switzerland. Trafigura, who could not immediately be reached for comment, had been bringing the oil to sell to a refinery. Authorities in Curacao said Trafigura officials denied knowing there was any unauthorized Iraqi oil on board. The ship's captain reported that thousands of excess barrels of oil were loaded on board after the U.N. monitors -- who watched that the allotted limit was not exceeded -- left the pier, Egian said. She said it was the first report her office has received of exceeding the limit allowed in an Iraqi oil contract. She said she could not identify the company that bought the oil because the office does not identify its approved contract buyers of Iraqi oil. Egian said the U.N. Sanctions Committee is to meet next week and decide who will investigate the claims and what penalties it might bring. Egian said the U.N. program had reports of two occasions, one in May and other in August, of the ship being overloaded at the Mina al-Bakr port in Iraq. Between the trips, the ship was allotted to carry a total of 3.6 million barrels, but exceeded the amount by a total of 500,000 barrels. The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Under the U.N. oil-for-food program aimed at easing the impact of sanctions on ordinary Iraqis, Baghdad can sell unlimited amounts of oil provided the money goes into a U.N. controlled fund for humanitarian relief, oil industry repairs and war reparations. Iraq and the United Nations set prices on Iraqi crude every 30 days, taking into account fluctuations in market prices. But according to officials, Iraq has been able to sell some oil below market prices, and obtain back door payments from buyers in return. Swagerman said prosecutors in Curacao have been working on an agreement that would allow Trafigura to pay for the unauthorized oil through the U.N. escrow account so that it could sell it internationally. Egian said as far as the United Nations is concerned, no such deal could move forward until the Sanctions Committee decides how to proceed. http://www.worldoil.com/news/newsstory.asp?ref=http://220.127.116.11/feeds/wo rldoil/new/article_e.asp?energy24=243656 * IRAQ SAYS OPEC INDIRECTLY FINANCING US ATTACKS World Oil (Reuters), 2nd November Iraq criticised on Friday some OPEC members for what it said was indirect financing of the United States' military campaign against Afghanistan through overproduction of oil. "Some OPEC members have bucked under pressure by United States and reduced oil prices through exceeding output limits set by OPEC," Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rashid was quoted by Iraqi News Agency (INA) as saying. Rashid, did not name the countries, but referred to remarks by Saudi Oil Minister Ali al Naimi in September expressing the kingdom's willingness to cover any shortage in oil supply following the September 11 attacks on the United States had driven prices sharply down. "Remarks by Saudi Oil Minister caused prices to fall to $3.50 a barrel by the end of September," Rashid said. "Oil prices continued to drift lower to reach (a fall of) up to five dollars a barrel, thus benefiting the American economy and causing a huge damage to the economies of developing countries," he said. Rashid said Iraq sticks to its call for an immediate one million barrels a day cut in the cartle's output to shore up prices. Earlier this month, Rashid urged OPEC to slash oil output by one million barrels a day in a bid to lift a the price of its basket of crudes back to a targeted $25-a-barrel from below $19 currently. Venezuela, Qatar and Indonesia have also said they wanted a further OPEC output cut of a million bpd. Cartel ministers will make a final decision at a meeting in Vienna on November 14. In October, preliminary estimates show the cartel pumped roughly 3.7 percent, or 850,000 barrels per day (bpd), above its 23.2 million bpd ceiling for 10 members, excluding sanctions-bound Iraq. OPEC's 10 members with quotas have already sliced a total 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) off their output ceiling this year to defend a $25 per barrel target for its basket of crude oil exports, which stood at a two-year low of $18.25 per barrel on Thursday. Rashid blamed U.N. Security Council's 661 sanctions committee for Iraq's low level of production. "Iraq has the capacity to produce six to eight million barrels a day because it has huge oil reserves, but practices by 661 committee keep production level at three million bpd only," Rashid said. Rashid said the committee were placing on hold $600 [sic - PB] worth of contracts for the imports of materials and devices to dig oil wells, maintain oil installations and rehabilitate productions lines of the refineries. Iraq, whose oil exports are not bound by OPEC because of 11-year-old United Nations sanctions, blamed OPEC for the recent fall in prices, which has wiped 25 percent off the price of a barrel in a month. Under the oil-for-food arrangement with the United Nations, renewable every six months, Iraq is allowed to sell unlimited quantities of oil to buy food, medicine and humanitarian goods for the Iraqi people. About 72 percent of the oil sold by Iraq in the programme is used to fund humanitarian efforts in Iraq, including the purchase of oil spare parts and equipment. Iraq is allowed to spend $1.2 billion of its oil revenue on oil spare parts, but most of the funds to this point have been used to buy equipment, not allow foreign companies inside Iraq to do the work. http://europe.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/11/02/iraq.un.sanctions.reut/index.ht ml * US-BRITISH 'SMART SANCTIONS' IRAQ PLAN IN DOUBT CNN, 2nd November UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- Since the attacks against the United States, the campaign against terrorism and fears of germ warfare, revamping 11-year-old U.N. sanctions against Iraq appears to have slipped in U.S. priorities, diplomats say. Instead, the United States and Britain may not battle Russia, an ally of Iraq, on the issue immediately but consider new, still undefined, ways to pressure Baghdad into accepting U.N. arms inspectors, who have not been allowed into the country since December 1998. The United States and Britain have to make a decision on the sanctions before Nov. 30, when the U.N. oil-for-food humanitarian program expires. Their draft resolution, part of that plan, would ease the import of civilian goods to Iraq and attempt to end the smuggling of oil as well as supplies reaching Baghdad through porous borders. Russia threatened last summer to veto the "smart" sanctions proposals and Iraq halted oil flows in June for about a month until it was certain the measure was going nowhere. Several key envoys in the 15-member U.N. Security Council said in interviews they believed the oil-for-food program, which regulates Baghdad's oil revenues and goods imported, will be extended without major changes. The duration could be anywhere from two to six months for the program, aimed at easing the impact of the sanctions on ordinary Iraqis, imposed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. But diplomats stress no decision has been made yet. Iraq opposes all embargoes but dislikes the "smart sanctions" even more, apparently preferring to circumvent restrictions as much as possible until they are lifted. "We are very conscious of the need to move forward on Iraq but the context has changed and the way in which we do that has to be very carefully considered," said British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who helped to draft the resolution. "Iraq's possession of an expertise in weapons of mass destruction remains a highly important concern as well as the humanitarian situation of the Iraqi people," he told Reuters. U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the sanctions controversy arose in talks this week between Secretary of State Colin Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. Another State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "At the moment that's an issue that is still pretty difficult to see where we're going on that. Frankly, we don't expect to get anywhere on the issue at the moment." Clear, however, is that unless Russia, which has never engaged in detailed negotiations on the U.S.-British proposals, shows signs of compromise, Washington and London will not mount an intense campaign, only to lose again. Russia, however, has long advocated changes in a key December 1999 resolution, that sets out a course toward easing sanctions if arms inspectors were allowed to return. Moscow wants the process spelled out more clearly and the embargoes suspended as soon as the inspectors return, a position the United States and Britain reject. "Our proposal is still on the table but we have been given to understand that they don't like it," said Russia's U.N. ambassador, Sergei Lavrov. But some council diplomats believe many sections of the resolution were deliberately left vague because of lack of agreement and could be expanded without undermining it. "There's wiggle room there," said one council source. [.....] GENERAL INTEREST http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/134359890_saud29.html * THE RELUCTANT SAUDIS: ROYAL FAMILY INCREASINGLY NERVOUS ABOUT KEEPING GRIP ON POWER AT HOME Seattle Times (Compiled from Knight-Ridder Newspapers, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and The Associated Press), 29th October [.....] Vincent Cannistraro, the former chief of counterterrorism operations for the CIA, complained that the United States is getting "zero" support from its presumed ally. Cannistraro, who closed a 27-year career with the CIA in 1990, maintains contacts in Saudi Arabia. He believes Saudi money flowing to al-Qaida is, "at a minimum, tens of millions a year. ... The amounts of money from Saudi businessmen going to the al-Qaida organization accounts for much of the resources the al-Qaida has." Since the attacks, the Bush administration has frozen the assets of the Wafa Humanitarian Organization and those of six Saudi citizens, five of whom later appeared on the FBI's list of most-wanted terrorists. But Prince Nayef, Saudi Arabia's interior minister, has said Saudi authorities have been unable to establish links between accounts in the kingdom and bin Laden. Investigators also have found evidence of an active branch of al-Qaida operating mainly in southwestern areas of the kingdom, where people have also been linked to the October 2000 bombing of the Navy destroyer USS Cole in a Yemeni port. The bin Laden operatives are thought to have assembled a core of young Saudi men who in most cases acted not as pilots but as "muscle" to seize control of the U.S. airliners Sept. 11, according to one U.S. official, who declined to elaborate. Robert Wihbe, a Mideast specialist and former Department of Defense consultant who in 1997 wrote a report titled "Succession in Saudi Arabia: The Not So Silent Struggle," said support for bin Laden's message and resentment of the United States run deep there. He said those realities are not lost on members of a royal family whose grip on power could be loosening. "In Saudi Arabia, he (bin Laden) has, no doubt, tremendous support within the ... clergy," Wihbe said. "There is tremendous support for him in the middle class, in the professional class and in the armed forces." "It's a problem," said Robert Baer, a former CIA officer in the Middle East. "Saudi Arabia is completely unsupportive as of today. The rank-and-file Saudi policeman is sympathetic to bin Laden." Cannistraro said the situation is far more problematic. He noted that Turki bin Faisal, the veteran head of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service, was ousted in late August by the head of the country's military, Crown Prince Abdullah. "He was sacked with no explanation," Cannistraro said, adding that the newly installed Saudi intelligence chief, Nawwaf bin Abdal-aziz, has "no background in intelligence whatsoever." Cannistraro said that in years past, Saudi intelligence "penetrated al-Qaida several times," including in Afghanistan. The change in the leadership of Saudi intelligence, he said, is "hurting us badly." [.....] The radical position was marked out by Saudi clerics such as Sheik Safar Hawali, regarded as a major influence on bin Laden. In a sermon before the start of the Gulf War, he said: "We have asked the help of our real enemies in defending us. The point is that we need an internal change. The first war should be against the infidels inside, and then we will be strong enough to face our external enemy. Brothers, you have a duty to perform. The war will be long. The confrontation is coming." That type of rhetoric has been stricken from the kingdom's "official Islam" as much as possible. Hawali was jailed for five years in the 1990s along with two other dissident sheiks and has had restrictions placed on his preaching since being released in 1999. [.....] Several Western reports have quoted an 80-year-old blind Muslim cleric, Sheik Hamoud bin Oqla al-Suaibi, as issuing a menacing fatwa, or Islamic edict, that some say is directly linked to the West's Afghan war. This is what it said: "Whoever backs the infidel against Muslims is considered an infidel." [.....] Of Saudi Arabia's 15 million citizens, 43 percent are under 14, and the population is growing at more than 3 percent a year. Oil wealth is no longer enough to keep Saudi Arabia in comfort; unemployment is estimated at 14 percent. [.....] http://www.dailystarnews.com/200110/30/n1103002.htm#BODY4 * EVEN AFTER A SAVAGE ATTACK, AMERICA STILL REMAINS GENEROUS by Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed Daily Star (Bangla Desh), 30th October In the aftermath of the September 11 World Trade Center and the Pentagon bombings, the writer has been engaged in a lot of soul-searching. If a Bangladeshi minority had hijacked a plane and crashed it in downtown Dhaka, killing five thousand civilians, how would we have reacted? Wouldn't there have been a massacre of minorities in Bangladesh? Even a routine democratic event such as the change of the government in Bangladesh has resulted in despicable acts of terror against innocent minorities. Thus far in America, four people have been killed in September 11-related hate crimes; two Muslims, a Sikh and an Egyptian Coptic Christian (the latter two due to mistaken identities). About nine hundred hate crimes (verbal or physical abuse) have been reported, out of which about one hundred are being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI.) Local police have asked us to report every instance of harassment, to find out if any specific, organized group is behind anti-Muslim attacks. The surprise here is that there has been so little backlash Having lost five thousand of its innocent civilians and two of its cherished landmarks to cowardly terrorists, America is angry. Yet, while seething with anger America refuses to go after scapegoats. On the contrary, almost immediately after the bombings, from President George Bush on down, every important political figure went out of their way to praise Arab and Muslim Americans, and tell fellow Americans that America's war is not against Islam, only against the terrorists who attempt to soil the good name of Islam for their heinous agenda. On a personal level, ever since the day of the bombings the writer has been receiving phones calls from American friends who he had not seen in years, enquiring our welfare. Americans are finding it difficult to cope with the events of September 11. Communities are getting together and holding interfaith meetings. The writer spoke at two such interfaith meetings, saying pretty much what the writer published in the Daily Star last week. At the writer's son's school, several students and teachers came to the writer after the speech to say how important it was for them to hear what the writer had to say about Islam's rejection of terrorism, and that the talk had changed many minds. A week later, the writer was invited to speak at a local township in front of two thousand people to present the Islamic perspective of the tragic events. This was a gathering where the writer did not know anyone, and truth be told he was a little apprehensive. Yet, after his speech, the writer received a standing ovation! After reading the writer's article (that was published in The Daily Star recently) in a local newspaper, American women called. "Doctor," the woman said, "I am a Caucasian Christian American, and I believe that no one has any right to treat you any different from me!" I told her, as I tell other Americans, "I understand America's anger. It is perfectly normal." Against the backdrop of this goodwill, we have Osama Bin Laden's hatred. He and his Taliban sponsors have presented the world with a brand of Islam that is unrecognizable to the mainstream Muslims. There are strict rules of war in Islam: women and children are not to be harmed, civilians are not to be killed, even an unarmed soldier is not to be killed, not even a leaf-bearing tree is to be destroyed. Jihad is to be a defensive war. Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization do not only violate every tenet of war as is prescribed in Islam, their actions are diametrically opposite to the teachings of Islam. And what about those adorable Taliban? They represent an Islam that none of us are familiar with. If they are so mainstream, why does not a single Muslim nation except Pakistan recognize them? The Taliban treats women worse than animals. Someone should tell the Taliban that Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) first wife, Khadija, was a businesswoman who married the Prophet for his honesty. The worst ramification of the terrorist's acts is that it made proud Muslims defensive about their faith. It is distressing to have to tell Americans that real Islam has nothing to do with Bin Laden's version of Islam. There have been a few Bangladeshi Americans, most notably the writer's close friend Dr. Hasan Zillur Rahim of California, who have done a yeoman's job in educating America about the true nature of Islam. Mainstream Muslims do all these explaining not to please the Americans, but to remain true to the religion of Allah. According to press reports, there are Al Qaeda cells in Bangladesh as well. I do not for a moment doubt it. It is the duty of the Bangladesh government to root out these cancer cells before they have a chance to spread. Of course America is not perfect. As America is still in the process of recovering the dead from the World Trade Center, one should not be talking about the reasons why this tragedy may have occurred. I bring it up reluctantly only to make a distinction between the average Muslims and the terrorists. While there is absolutely no moral equivalence between what the terrorists perpetrated and American's action abroad, it is true that America's foreign policy can be a little more Muslin-friendly. Over ninety percent of mainstream Muslim's grievances, however, can be assuaged if America is to be even handed in dealing with the Palestinians, and after ten years, stop the bombing of Iraq and lift the economic sanctions that are killing thousands of Iraqi civilians every month. The terrorists, on the other hand, should not be, nor can ever be satisfied. Just as the terrorists have hijacked Islam, so has the American Israeli lobby hijacked America's Middle East policy. On top of forcing America to stand behind all of Israel's illegal act, such as assassination of high ranking Palestinian officials, grabbing more Palestinian lands and building illegal Israeli settlements on them, and occupying Islam's third holiest Al-Aqsa mosque, the Israeli lobby (including some in the Bush administration) are not only against lifting the sanctions against Iraq, they want Iraq bombed after Afghanistan, only because Iraq is perceived to be a threat to Israel. America has just taken a tremendous hit, 5000 Americans dead, for Israel. Historically America has been a generous victor. It rebuilt Germany and the rest of Europe after World War II with the Marshall plan. It rebuilt Japan in America's own image, wrote Japan's constitution and made it a functioning democracy with equal rights for women. After the bombing, in the post-Taliban era America wants to rebuild Afghanistan. They want to end the operations quickly enough to be able to feed and clothe the Afghan civilians before the harsh Afghan winter sets in. They want to do all this before the beginning of Ramadan, which starts around the middle of November. Since September 11, there has been far more anti-Muslim hysteria in Europe, led by Italy and followed closely by France, Austria and Germany, than there has been in America. American women have worn the Hijab to express solidarity with Muslim women who do so. At the nation's worst time since the Japanese attacked the Pearl Harbour in 1941, America is at its best. This is not the first time that the writer has observed in these columns that in terms of the moral values that America preaches and practices, America is much more of a "Muslim country" than many, many Muslim countries. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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.