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News, 28/10-3/11/01 (2)

News, 28/10-3/11/01 (2):


*  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]


*  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


*  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]


*  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]


*  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 Œthere is
absolutely no moral equivalence between what the terrorists perpetrated and
American's action abroad¹ and then referring to Œthe economic sanctions that
are killing thousands of Iraqi civilians every month¹.

*  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 Œfinds 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.]

mSunday, 28 October, 2001, 01:14 GMT

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.

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

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

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...


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

State Department spokesman Philip Reeker called Chavez's remarks "totally

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.


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.

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

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

Iraq had similarly called in August for international control over the
Security Council's actions in order to check US "hegemony" over the world

Iraqi parliament Speaker Saadun Hammadi said at the time that the World
Court at The Hague should have some oversight over the council's

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.


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

"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.

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

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.

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

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'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

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
tOID=45C9C78D 88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C

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

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

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.


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

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.

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

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.

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

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

"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 [10] 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

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

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

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."

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

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.



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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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



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

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

"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

"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


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


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.
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