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News, 3-10/11/01 (1)

News, 3-10/11/01 (1)

Canıt think of anything to say of a general nature about all the following.
Still no reports of bombing in the No Fly Zones. Further unease in the
Kurdish autonomous zone. Baghdad trade fair and, it seems, general
international relations continuing as, or getting back to, normal. I
recommend the articles (in the ŒFingerı section) ŒWho developed anthrax?ı;
and, in the ŒGeneralı section, though it isnıt really about Iraq:
ŒContextualizing Afghan Warı.


*  Final US ultimate warning to Iraq [Tony told Abdullah that George told
Tony to tell Abdullah to tell Saddam that Iraq will be blown to bits if they
donıt let the inspectors back. This comes from Œsources at the British House
of Commonsı]
*  A Nixonian Notion: Help Turkey Overrun Iraq [William Safire fanstasises
on the advantages of encouraging Turkey to take - or re-take? - Kirkuk]
*  The Czech connection implicates Baghdad [Somewhat more detailed account
than weıve had so far of what the Czechs have said about the Atta/al-Ani
meeting. The article goes on with a general account (which Iıve cut since it
contains little that isnıt obvious) of Czechoslovakiaıs pre-1989 links to
the bad guys of the world. It forgets that pre-1989, Saddam was one of the
more or less good guys in the world.]
*  Bush Sr still irked by Saddam [Bush Sr it seems stopped the war in 1991
because Œif we had gone on 24 hours more, shooting down 25,000 Iraqi troops
running away from Kuwait, which admittedly they had pilfered and raped and
plundered, the world would have turned on usı, which leaves us wondering
just how many retreating Iraqi troops they did massacre on the road to
Basra. We donıt know because they immediately bulldozed all the bodies into
the sand, and no-one has ever suggested that the specialists in mass graves
who have been busy in Bosnia and Kosovo could be usefully employed in
digging them up again]
*  No Plan to Hit Iraq [Powell in Egypt says: Œconcerns like the kind that
you have just raisedı (about a possible attack on Iraq) Œare not concerns
that should worry anybody seriously, in any serious wayı]
*  Iraq to be scrutinised after Afghanistan war [Powell in Kuwait says that
Œnations such as Iraq, which have tried to pursue weapons of mass
destruction, should not think that we ... will not turn our attention to
*   Iraqi Defectors Detail Secret School for Terrorists [The INC reveal the
existence of a Special Ops/SAS style training camp in Iraq. Gosh.]
*  Who developed anthrax? [Eric Margolis suggests that US/British
involvement in S.Husseinıs development - and use - of chemical weapons goes
much deeper than I for one had imagined. And that there is a scandal
concerning ŒBritish scientistsı to be uncovered that is much more
interesting than the foolish Œarms to Iraqı affair]
*  Bin Laden envoy was in Iraq: Iraqi dissident [Bin Ladenıs associate Ayman
el-Zawahri, of Egyptian Jihad, has visited Iraq. Which doesnıt really seem
very surprising.]
*  A war for the pipelines? [Extract which makes the interesting point that,
thanks to oil, the US CANNOT launch a war against Iraq without permission
from the Saudis.]
*  Pro-Israeli lobby pushing for attack on Iraq [It appears that the lobby
demanding extension of the terror campaign to include Iraq is grouped under
the portentious title ŒProject for a New American Centuryı, and it includes
Francis Fukuyama]
*  U.S. Regards Iraqi Report As a Nuclear Threat [If this article is to be
believed, S.Hussein has openly admitted to an ongoing nuclear weapons
*  Zeman: Atta Contacted Agent on Plot [The Czech Prime Minister seems to be
wanting to atone for his earlier remarks saying he had no evidence of an
Atta/al-Ani meeting. Now he seems to know eactly what they discussed]

*  Moscow is 'pivotal' to Iraq monitoring
by Carola Hoyos at the United Nations and Stephen Fidler in Washington
Financial Times, 6th November
by Stephen Fidler and Roula Khalaf in Washington and Carola Hoyos at the
United Nations
Financial Times, 4th November
Both articles are just a summaries of what we already know with regard to
the debate whether or not to extend the terrorist campaign to include Iraq.


*  Dhaka urges Iraq, Kuwait to recruit more manpower [Strange little article
in which Kuwaiti and Iraqi envoys appear to be acting together as a single
delegation in Bangla Desh. Bangla Desh it seems wants to send more workers
to Iraq (on the eve of a US invasion?). Last week we had an item saying Iraq
had lifted travel restrictions on Malaysians, which also implied that Iraq
was a desirable place to go to work]
*  Lifting a veil on prejudice [Interesting account of Arab American
commnity in Dearborn, Michigan. Iıve only retained opening account of Iraqi
police brutality in 1982]
*  Iraq to sign oil deal with Indian, Algerian firms
*  KARACHI: Iraqi property taken over fraudulently
*  Philippino oil excavation in Iraq
*  Iraq to buy 1m ton wheat next year
*  Russian president to visit Baghdad

*  Iraqi deputy premier confers with deputy chairman of the French national
society (parliament)
Arabic News, 6th November
A not very clearly identified Important French Political Figure visiting

AND IN NEWS, 3-10/11/01 (2):


*  Kuwait seizes Iraqi oil tanker: newspaper
*  Gulf War radicalised bin Laden - ex-spy chief [Interview with ex-Saudi
intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal. It seems the Taliban may have
been about to give OBL over to the Saudis in 1998 but the project was
aborted when Clinton launched his missile attacks. If this is the case then
Sept 11 can be pinned on Clinton].
*  Iraqi oil smuggling through Persian Gulf down by 50 percent, U.S. admiral
says [Unexplained Iranian crackdown on Iraqi oil exports]
*  Iraq, Syria to set up nine joint venture cos
*  On Syrian- Iraqi relations [Rather obscurely worded article which
suggests that Syrian Socialists, the Supreme Council of the Islamic
Revolution and Syrian - I think - Kurds are all in favour of closer
Syrian/Iraqi relations. So thatıs all right.]


*  Hussein Putting His Mark on Islamic Faith [ŒFaith campaignı, which began
in Iraq in 1994]
*  As Saddam builds his monuments, mothers abandon their babies [Contrast
between wealth of Baghdad and misery of Basra, to convey the impression that
the suffering is the fault of the Iraqi government not of the blockade]
*  The changing face of Iraqi marriage
*  Fair to help fight sanctions: Iraqis [Major trade fair taking place in
*  Iraq: a quiet time during another Middle East war [Rather vague evocation
of UN efforts to encourage individual economic initiatives in Iraq]
*  Saddamıs son [Qusay] targeted in attempted assassination
*  Iraq discovers major gasfield


*  UN General Assembly adopts Iraqi proposed resolution [on depleted

*  UN programme faces 1.63-billion-dollar shortfall
World Oil (AFP), 6th November
*  US expected to delay Iraq oil-for-aid reform plan proposal
Oil and Gas Journal, 8th November 
Nothing of any interest in the article that isnıt in the title.


*  Contextualizing Afghan War [Fine critique of the US terror campaign from
a democratic, secularist, anti-Taliban Pakistani position. Argues, probably
rightly in broad outline, that the US wants to keep S.Hussein in power as a
means of justifying their continued military presence in the region]
*  Shameful affair that exposed a secret world [I reproduce this piece of
trivia just for the amusing suggestion that during the Iran/Iraq war Britain
favoured Iraq ... because of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie! The article
attempts to convey the impression that Matrix Churchill war profiteering was
really courageous espionage on behalf of MI6]


*  Iraqi Kurds' story of expulsion [Arabisation policy in region of Kirkuk]
*  Iraqi Kurds Get New Assurances From Washington [Flurry of diplomatic
activity in the autonomous Kurdish zone. Washington ticks the KDP off for
cosying up to Iran (and perhaps Baghdad). PUK cozies up to the Turks. Am I
not right in thinking it used to be the KDP who were pro-Turk and the PUK
who were pro-Iran?]
*  Rival Kurdish groups clash in north Iraq [Further PUK/Islamist
*  Kurds facing acute fuel shortages [The Iraqi government has radically cut
back on oil supplies to the Kurdish autonomous region]
*  Iraq Says United Nations Squandering Its Money In Kurdish North
*  PKK: We Will Not Leave Iraqi Kurdistan
*  Iraq and counterterrorism [PUK leader tells Washington conference what it
wants to hear: the Kurds want to remain in Iraq and feel theyıve got a lot
in common with the Arabs, no threat to turkey, Iraqi children dying because
of Saddam, Œthe Oil-for-Food program ... assures Iraqi citizens resources
that  were never available to them before because it compels the Iraqi
government to spend the  money on themı (where have we heard that one
before?), Jund al-Islami was set up by OBL 9without denying this we remind
readsers of the article in Kurdish Supplement, 21-27/10/01 in which
Nechirvan Barzani said ŒThe KDP had no evidence proving the claim that the
Jund-ul Islam group was  being directed by Osama Bin Ladenı]


Arabic News, 5th November

The Kuwaiti daily al-Seyash issued on Sunday quoted sources at the British
house of commons as saying that the British prime minister Tony Blair asked
the Jordanian King Abdullah II during his visit to Amman to convey a final
warning from the US administration to Iraq on the need of accepting the
return back of the UN inspectors to Baghdad within three weeks, otherwise
the next station of the war against terrorism after Afghanistan will be

The sources indicated that Iraq was told about the warning through an envoy
in the Jordanian royal court.

The sources also told the paper about information reported from Moscow that
the Russian foreign minister Igore Ivanov conveyed to the Russian
administration following his meeting with the US secretary of state Colin
Powell about a conviction formed within himself that a British- American
attacks at Baghdad has become very near.

by William Safire
New York Times, 6th November


With the world dazed and everything in flux, seize the moment. I'd make a
deal with Ankara right now to move across Turkey's border and annex the
northern third of Iraq. Most of it is in Kurdish hands already, in our
no-flight zone - but the land to make part of Turkey is the oil field around
Kirkuk that produces nearly half of Saddam Hussein's oil.

Q: Doesn't that mean war?

Nixon: Quick war, justified by Saddam's threat of germs and nukes and
terrorist connections. We'd provide air cover and UN Security Council
support in return for the Turks setting up a friendly government in Baghdad.
The freed Iraqis would start pumping their southern oil like mad and help us
bust up OPEC for good.

Q: What's in it for the Turks?

Nixon: First, big money - northern Iraq could be good for nearly 2 million
barrels a day, and the European Union would fall all over itself welcoming
in the Turks. Next, Turkey would solve its Kurd problem by making its slice
of Iraq an autonomous region called Kurdistan.

Q: But that would mean new borders, and don't Arab states worry about

Nixon: Turks are Muslims but not Arabs. When Syria was the base for
terrorist operations against Turkey, the Turks massed troops on the border
and Damascus caved, kicking the terrorist boss out of the country and he's
now in a Turkish jail. And what's the big deal about new borders? Iraq was a
20th century British concoction. Only 50 years ago Israel became a state,
and soon there'll be a Palestinian state. New times, new borders.

November 7, 2001

by Brian Whitmore
National Post (Canada, from The Boston Globe), 7th November


Mr. al-Ani is widely believed to be a member of the Mukhabarat, Iraq's
feared intelligence service. Jabir Salim, Mr. al-Ani's predecessor at Iraq's
embassy in Prague, disappeared in 1998 with at least US$100,000. The money,
according to press reports, was intended to fund an attack on Radio Free

On Oct. 26, Stanislav Gross, the Czech Interior Minister, confirmed that Mr.
Atta and Mr. al-Ani met in April and possibly on other occasions. Mr. Gross
said Mr. Atta had travelled to the Czech Republic from Germany on June 2,
2000, and had flown to the United States from Prague the next day.

"We can confirm now that during his next trip to the Czech Republic, he did
have a contact with an officer of Iraqi intelligence, Mr. Ahmad Khalil
Ibrahim Samir Al-Ani," Mr. Gross said.

At first, he said, Mr. Atta aroused no suspicion. But a closer look at his
itinerary suggests he was eager to visit Prague, and went to extraordinary
lengths to do so. He tried to enter the Czech Republic on May 30, 2000, but
was turned away at the border. He then flew back to Germany, where he was a
student, got a Czech visa, and took a bus to Prague, arriving on June 2. The
next day he flew to the United States.

He flew to the Czech Republic again on April 8 of this year, when Mr. Gross
said he met Mr. al-Ani, but three days later he was back in the United

Why was an Egyptian-born architecture student living in Germany so
interested in making such brief trips to Prague, always right before flying
to the United States?

In the absence of facts, rumours have swirled around Prague. Some reports
have suggested the Iraqi diplomat assisted Mr. Atta with logistical support
and false documents. Citing unidentified Israeli intelligence sources, the
German daily paper Bild reported on Oct. 25 that Mr. Atta may have carried
anthrax spores to the United States, allegedly obtained from Iraqi agents in

Initially, Czech officials denied this. But in an interview published in the
daily newspaper Hospodarske Noviny on Oct. 31, Mr. Gross backtracked, saying
he could not rule it out. "We looked into whether it was possible to buy
anthrax from a Czech source, but it was not proven," he said. "Responsibly,
I cannot say it is possible or it is impossible."


by Hamish McDonald
Sydney Morning Herald, 7th November


Sure, he could have sent the 82nd Airborne rolling into Baghdad "in 48
hours" after liberating Kuwait, Mr Bush said.

But he painted a grim picture of what might have happened then: heavy
casualties in urban guerilla war, Saddam made a hero among the Arabs, and
the prospect of Arab-Israeli peace talks derailed.

"And if we had gone on 24 hours more, shooting down 25,000 Iraqi troops
running away from Kuwait, which admittedly they had pilfered and raped and
plundered, the world would have turned on us," he said.

Mr Bush said he did not believe in a war "where you just count the extent of
your victory by how many fleeing soldiers you shoot down".

About his son's new war against terrorism, Mr Bush admitted it was much more
difficult to envisage a "clean ending" but he was encouraged by the range of
countries which supported the campaign, particularly China.

"Australia has always been out in front of the United States in relations
with China, and I think it's a good thing because I believe that the one
relationship which can mess up my optimistic predictions is if we mishandle
the US-China relationship.

"I think it's that big, I think it's that important," he said.

New York Daily News, 7th November

Secretary of State Powell tried to reassure Egyptians yesterday that the
United States was not planning any attacks on Iraq ‹ but he never ruled out
the possibility.

"Our first phase right now is in Afghanistan," Powell told Egyptian
Television in answer to a question on whether Iraq was a possible target in
an expanded campaign, "but there are no plans at the moment to undertake any
other military action.

"We will see where we are as we go forward, but the concerns like the kind
that you have just raised are not concerns that should worry anybody
seriously, in any serious way."

The Bush administration, fearful of the reaction in the Arab world, has
fended off conservative demands to attack Iraq, saying there's no hard
evidence linking Baghdad to the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Asked about a possible link, Powell noted reports of contacts between Iraqi
intelligence and Mohamed Atta, believed to be the ringleader of the 19
suicide hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center and the

"But there is no direct link at this point between what happened on the 11th
of September and what happened in the anthrax events ... and Iraq," he said.

by Jonathan Wright
Reuters, 8th November

WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Colin Powell has said the United States will
turn its attention to Iraq and its weapons programs once it has dealt with
the al Qaeda organisation and the Taliban through its military campaign in

"With respect to our activities in Afghanistan, that is our first priority.
We must defeat al Qaeda, we must end (al Qaeda leader) Osama bin Laden's
terrorist threat to the world and deal with the Taliban regime who has given
them haven," Powell said.

"After that ... we will turn our attention to terrorism throughout the
world, and nations such as Iraq, which have tried to pursue weapons of mass
destruction, should not think that we ... will not turn our attention to
them," he told reporters after talks with a Kuwaiti minister.


Powell, standing alongside Deputy Prime Minister Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah of
Kuwait, was answering a question about reports Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister
Tareq Aziz had again asserted an Iraqi claim to neighbouring Kuwait.


"Mr. Tareq Aziz has been making these rather ridiculous and threatening
statements for many years, so I take them all with a grain of salt," Powell


The State Department has Iraq on its list of seven "state sponsors of
terrorism," although its annual report says Baghdad has not attempted an
attack on Western interests since an alleged plot to assassinate former U.S.
President George Bush during his visit to Kuwait in 1993.


by Chris Hedges
International Herald tribune (from New York Times), 8th November

Two defectors from Iraqi intelligence said Wednesday they had worked for
several years at a secret Iraqi government camp that trained Islamic
terrorists in rotations of five or six months since 1995. They said that the
training in the camp, south of Baghdad, was aimed at carrying out attacks
against neighboring states and possibly Europe and the United States.

The defectors, one of whom was a lieutenant general and once one of the most
senior officers in Iraqi intelligence, the Mukhabarat, said they did not
know if the Islamic militants being trained at the camp, known as Salman
Pak, were linked to Osama bin Laden.

They also said they had no knowledge of specific attacks carried out by the
Islamic radicals trained in the camp. But they insisted that those being
trained as recently as last year were Islamic radicals from throughout the
Middle East, noting that they had special prayer times, were usually
bearded, wore traditional Islamic dress and spoke with distinctive foreign

The men said they also had knowledge of a highly guarded compound within the
camp where Iraqi scientists, led by a German, produced biological agents.

"There is a lot we do not know," the general, who asked that his name not be
printed, said in an interview with The New York Times as part of an ongoing
reporting project with "Frontline," a PBS program. "We were forbidden to
speak about our activities among each other, even off duty.

"But over the years you see and hear things. These Islamic radicals were a
scruffy lot. They needed a lot of training, especially physical training.

"But from speaking with them it was clear they came from a variety of
countries, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco. We
were training these people to attack installations important to the United
States. The Gulf War never ended for Saddam Hussein. He is at war with the
United States. We were repeatedly told this."

The reports mesh with statements by Sabah Khalifa Khodada Alami, a captain
in the Iraqi Army who emigrated to Texas in May after working as an
instructor for eight years at Salman Pak, which is located at a bend in the
Tigris River.

United Nations arms inspectors suspected that such activities, including
simulated hijackings carried out on a Boeing 707 fuselage set up in the
camp, were going on at Salman Pak before they were expelled from Iraq in
1998. But this is the first look at the workings of the camp from those who
participated in its administration.

The former lieutenant general, who admitted his involvement in some of the
worst excesses of the Iraqi regime, including direct involvement in the
execution of thousands of Shiite rebels after the uprising after the Gulf
War in 1991, spent three days in Ankara being interviewed by the Central
Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

But he said that the decision by the CIA to include Turkish intelligence
officials in the interview led him to fear for his own security. He has
since fled Turkey, where he had sought asylum, and was interviewed in
another Middle Eastern country that they asked not be identified.

The assertions of terrorism training by the Iraqi defectors will most likely
fuel one side of an intense debate in Washington over whether to extend the
war against Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan to include Iraq.

The Iraqi National Congress, an opposition group headed by Ahmed Chalabi in
London, facilitated the meeting and interview with the men. The group was
involved in an abortive CIA attempt to build an alliance in northern Iraq to
oust Mr. Saddam. The collapse of the effort soured relations between the
Iraqi National Congress and some senior officials in the State Department
and the CIA.

American officials, however, confirmed that they had met with the former
general in Turkey but said they had not learned all that much from him. They
said it was unlikely that the training on the fuselage was linked to the
hijackings of Sept. 11.

The camp is overseen by the highest levels of Iraqi intelligence and those
that worked there were compartmentalized into distinct sections. On one side
of the camp, these men said, young Iraqis who were members of Fedayeen
Saddam (Saddam's Fighters), were trained in espionage, assassination
techniques and sabotage. The other side of the camp, separated by a small
lake, trees and barbed wire, was where the militants were trained. The
militants spent a lot of time training, usually in groups of five or six,
around the fuselage of the 707. There were rarely more than 40 or 50 Islamic
radicals in the camp at one time.

"We could see them practice taking over the plane," said one of the
defectors, a former Iraqi sergeant in the intelligence service who spent
nearly five years at the camp.

The general, wearing a black suit and sporting a gold ring on each index
finger, said that the terrorist teams were trained to take over a plane
without using weapons. They were also trained in the use of booby-trapped
explosive devices and were taught how to kill with their hands.

Although the Islamic militants were carefully segregated from the Iraqi
units there was haphazard contact, he said. "One day after work, my car
broke down as I was leaving the camp, and a Toyota van filled with these
Islamic fighters came out behind me," the general said.

He added: "The driver was a man I knew and he got out to help push the car.
There were various nationalities on the van, including an Egyptian who,
unlike the rest was clean shaven. Six of them came out to help."

The general gave a wry smile and answered what he knew would be the next

"No," he said of the Egyptian, "he was not Mohamed Atta." Mr. Atta is
thought to have been the leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

The report of Iraqi ties with Islamic radicals comes on the heels of an
announcement by the Czech Interior Ministry that Mr. Atta met last April
with Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir Ani, an Iraqi diplomat identified by Prague
as an intelligence officer. There are unexplained gaps, some as long as 15
months, during Mr. Atta's stay in Hamburg, Germany, suggesting that he may
have been training abroad.

by Eric S. Margolis
Dawn (Pakistan), 8th November

As our world continues to spin out of control, two horrible events last week
had special resonance for me: the spreading anthrax terror, and the death of
my old Afghan comrade-in arms, Abdul Haq.

First, anthrax. In late 1990, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, I was in
Baghdad, covering the impending Gulf War. In a futile effort to prevent
threatened US air attacks, Saddam Hussein rounded up foreigners and held
them hostage in Baghdad hotels. This brutish act - which provoked outrage
around the world - was a typical example of Saddam's uncanny knack for
negative, self-defeating, public relations.

Among the hostages, I discovered three British scientists who had been
employed at Iraq's top secret Salman Pak chemical and biowarfare plant. Two
of the Britons confided to me they had been working to develop a weaponized
form of anthrax for Iraq's army.

At the time, no one yet knew that Iraq was trying to use anthrax as a
weapon. My dispatches from Baghdad were the first indication that Iraq had
progressed beyond crude, World War I - style chemical weapons. The Iraqis
threatened to hang me as a spy.

What made this news so fascinating was: 1) the British scientists told me
they were part of a large technical team secretly organized and 'seconded'
to Iraq in the mid-1980s by the British government and Secret Intelligence
Service, MI6; 2) the feed stocks for all of the germ weapons being developed
by Iraq came from an American laboratory in Maryland. Iraq received full
approval from the US government to buy anthrax, plague, botulism, and other
pathogens. Here is a prime case of what spooks call 'blowback.'

Why did Britain and the US covertly help Iraq to develop biological weapons?
When an Islamic revolution overthrew the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979, the
US and Britain decided to overthrow the new regime in Tehran, which was seen
as a threat to their Mideast oil interests. Washington and London urged
Saddam Hussein to invade Iran in 1980 and march on Tehran. US and British
money, arms, and military assistance flowed secretly to Baghdad.

But by 1983, Iraq was on the defensive and near to losing the war. Iran,
with nearly four times Iraq's population, was fighting back ferociously,
swamping Iraqi defences with human wave attacks. In desperation, Iraq,
America and Britain began a crash development programme to produce chemical
and biological weapons to break Iran's attacks and offset its numerical
superiority. Iraq's chemical arsenal savaged Iran's infantry and helped
Baghdad win the war by 1988. Over 500,000 soldiers died in the conflict.

In the Anglo-American view, chemical and biological weapons were fine - so
long as they were used to kill or maim Iranian Muslims who opposed western
interests. Such monstrous weapons, it seems, are only associated with
terrorism when used against westerners. My view: what goes around, comes
around, as the old song goes.

[..... This includes, however, an account of Margolisı personal relations
with Abdul Haq, the Pashtun mujahedin recently killed by the Taliban.]

Toronto Star, 8th November

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) ‹ An Iraqi dissident said Thursday that a key deputy to
Osama bin Laden visited Iraq shortly before the bombing of the U.S.
embassies in east Africa in 1998.

The deputy, Ayman el-Zawahri, discussed plans to attack U.S. interests
abroad with senior Iraqi officials, said Hamid al-Bayati, the British
representative of a key anti-Sadam opposition group, the Supreme Council for
the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

His claim, which could not be independently verified, follows reports that
the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has had at least limited
dealings with the bin Laden network. The United States holds the Saudi-born
millionaire responsible for the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York and the

The Czech Republic has said one of the hijackers involved in the Sept. 11
attacks, Mohammed Atta, met an Iraqi agent in Prague.

Iraq has denied that and says it has no links to bin Laden's Al Qaeda
network, which is based in Afghanistan.

Speaking in a telephone interview from London, al-Bayati said el-Zawahri
visited Iraq for six days in June 1998, meeting Vice President Taha Yassin
Ramadan and touring an army training camp in the southern city of Nasiriya.

"Saddam Hussein was looking for allies to help him plan attacks on American
targets," al Bayati said.

El-Zawahri is an Egyptian Muslim militant who led the group Islamic Jihad,
which he merged with Al Qaeda in 1998.

Al-Bayati said Saddam tried to persuade bin Laden to take refuge in Iraq
after the United States demanded Afghanistan surrender him after the embassy

But, al-Bayati said, bin Laden feared a double-cross.

However, al-Bayati said, Saddam and bin Laden maintained relations and bin
Laden used to send representatives to attend Islamic conferences in Iraq and
to Saddam's birthday parties.

Bin Laden helped Saddam by assisting the guerrilla group Mujahedeen Khalq in
its infiltration of Iran to carry out sabotage, al-Bayati said.

Separately, a Kurdish party in northern Iraq says that an Islamic militant
group with ties to bin Laden has set up bases in the Kurdish autonomous zone
of northern Iraq.

The group, Jund al-Islam, comprises Arab veterans of the Afghan-Soviet war
of 1979-89 and Islamic fundamentalists, said Hazim al-Youssefi, the Cairo
representative of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

While the Kurdish zone is outside the control of Baghdad, a challenge by
Islamic extremists to the U.S.-backed administration in northern Iraq would
suit Saddam's interests.

Jund al-Islam, which is reportedly linked to Al Qaeda, seeks to establish an
Islamic state in northern Iraq along the lines of the Taliban administration
in Afghanistan.

 by Andrew North
BBC, 8th November


"The key thing is Saudi's spare capacity - 51 per cent of the world total -
and that would be even more important if the US decided to expand war to
attack Iraq, thereby almost inevitably leading to Baghdad suspending

Such concerns have made the Bush administration very careful in what it has
said about the Saudi government, despite anger in some US military and
intelligence circles over allegations that the monarchy turned a blind eye
to fundraising for Osama bin Laden within the kingdom.

"We're hostage to oil, that's as simple as you can put it. We have let the
economic considerations take precedence," said Larry Johnson, a former CIA
officer with close links to serving intelligence officials.


by Jim Lobe
Dawn (Pakistan), 9th November

WASHINGTON: A determined band of self-styled Cold War "intellectuals",
heedless of US allies and officials, continues to push President George W.
Bush to extend his "war" against terrorism at least until he deposes Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein. At the centre of this effort is the Project for a
New American Century (PNAC), a network that includes key members of Bush's
national security team and their associates in government and the media.

In the wake of the Sept 11 terrorist attacks on the US, the group has
intensified its public and behind-the-scenes efforts to bring about Saddam's
removal. In an open letter to Bush that has become their current mission
statement, 38 PNAC associates urged Saddam's ouster "even if evidence does
not link Iraq directly to the (Sept 11) attack". Lebanon, Syria, Iran and
the Palestinian Authority should be punished, they added, if these do not
take immediate steps to shut down "terrorists", such as Hezbollah and Hamas,
opposed to Israel.

Washington's closest European allies strongly oppose the idea of going after
Saddam in the absence of credible evidence tying the Iraqi leader to the
Sept 11 attacks. Loyal Arab allies - including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and
Jordan - have warned that an attack on Baghdad would make their continued
support politically impossible and would risk setting the entire region

Secretary of State Colin Powell, backed by heavy-hitters from Bush's
father's administration, has argued that even talking about widening the
"war" would be counter-productive at a time when Washington is desperately
trying to rally faltering Arab support for its efforts in Afghanistan.
Powell's cohorts include former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft
and Secretary of State James Baker.

Within the administration, the most visible advocate of attacking Iraq is
Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Ten years ago, as defence
undersecretary, he clashed with Powell over whether to send US forces all
the way to Baghdad after evicting Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

Behind Wolfowitz lies a network of veteran Washington hands whose political
savvy, talent for polemics and bureaucratic intrigue, media and intelligence
contacts, and lust for ideological combat have made them a formidable
influence on foreign policy for almost 30 years.

Their core is made up of "" - former Democrats, often passionately committed
to Israel, who broke with the party over the Vietnam War and moved steadily
to the right. They recruited prominent New Republicans, like former House
Speaker Newt Gingrich, as fellow travellers.

The best-known members of the network include former UN Ambassador Jeane
Kirkpatrick, "End of History" guru Francis Fukuyama, former CIA chief James
Woolsey, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. The more influential
in the policy realm include administration insiders like Wolfowitz; Vice
President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby; Iran-Contra veteran
Elliott Abrams, now Bush's top aide for global issues, democracy, and human
rights; Douglas Feith, the defence undersecretary for policy; and Richard
Perle, who currently heads the Defence Policy Board.

William Kristol, former Vice President Dan Quayle's chief of staff and
currently editor of Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard, is perhaps the group's
most public agitator.

In the neo-conservatives' view, the United States is a force for good in the
world; it has a moral responsibility to exert that force; its military power
should be dominant; it should be engaged globally but never be constrained
by multilateral commitments from taking unilateral action in pursuit of its
interests and values; and it should have a strategic alliance with Israel.
Saddam must go, they argue, because he is a threat to Israel, and also Saudi
Arabia, and because he has hoarded - and used - weapons of mass destruction.

Ardent supporters of US military intervention, few neo-cons have served in
the armed forces; fewer still have ever been elected to public office.
Numerous polls show that large majorities of the public repudiate their main
principles - especially their ceaseless quest for global military dominance
and contempt for the United Nations and multilateralism more generally.

The 25 signers of its statement of principles include Cheney, Rumsfeld,
Libby, Wolfowitz, Abrams, several others in the Pentagon and National
Security Council, and Bush's brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
at-with nuclear.html

Kurdistan Observer, 9th November 

WASHINGTON ‹ The United States has concluded that Iraq has threatened
nuclear  retaliation for any attack on the regime of President Saddam

On Wednesday, the Baghdad-based Babel daily, published by Saddam's son,
Uday, reported  that the president met with the head of the nation's nuclear
and defense programs. The  newspaper, reserved for the most authoritative
messages from the regime, said Iraqi nuclear  chiefs have pledged to
accelerate their nuclear programs in defense of the nation. 

U.S. defense sources said intelligence agencies and the Pentagon agree that
the report  constitutes Saddam's most explicit threat to use nuclear weapons
since the 1991 Gulf war.  They said Iraq appears to be preparing either
nuclear or radiation bombs in response to any  U.S.-led attack on the

Babel reported that the defense and nuclear chiefs said they would dedicate
themselves and  their nuclear expertise "to Iraq, its leader and the proud
Iraqi people," according to Middle  East Newsline. The members of Iraq's
Nuclear Energy Authority were described in the  report as "warriors." 

"Therefore, progress continues and will accelerate in order to shame the
depraved and enemy  forces," the newspaper said. 

"There is plenty of reason to watch Iraq," U.S. National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice  said. "There is plenty of reason to make very clear to the
Iraqis that the United States does  not intend to let the Iraqis threaten
their own people, threaten their neighbors, or threaten our  interests by
acquiring weapons of mass destruction." 

Western intelligence sources have not determined Saddam's progress toward
achieving  nuclear capability. They said the Iraqi regime had revived
elements of the nuclear program  after the expulsion of United Nations
inspectors in 1998.

The Associated Press, 10th November

WASHINGTON (AP) ‹ Suspected terrorist Mohammed Atta contacted an Iraqi agent
to discuss an attack on the Radio Free Europe building in Prague, just prior
to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Czech Prime Minister
Milos Zeman said.

Zeman said Friday that Atta twice had met the Iraqi agent, Ahmad Khalil
Ibrahim Samir Al Ani, in the days before the attacks on the World Trade
Center and Pentagon.

``At first, Atta contacted some Iraq agent not to prepare the terroristic
attack on'' the twin towers, ``but to prepare terroristic attack on just the
building of Radio Free Europe,'' Zeman told CNN.

Al-Ani was expelled from Czechoslovakia two weeks after the meeting.

Czech intelligence officials have said Iraqi spies were plotting possible
terrorist attacks on the headquarters of the U.S.-financed Radio Free
Europe, but Zeman's comments were the first to link Atta to the plot.

U.S. investigators believe Atta piloted one of the jetliners that crashed
into one of the World Trade Center towers. They also believe he led the
terrorist cell for Osama bin Laden, the FBI's top suspect in the attacks.

The government of Iraq has long complained about Radio Free Europe's
broadcasts into the country. When the broadcasts began in 1998, the Baghdad
government called the programming an ``act of aggression'' and vowed to halt
all trade with the Czech Republic.

Iraq has denied taking part in any bomb plot or having connections with bin
Laden's group.


Bangladeshi Daily Star, 5th November

UNB, Dhaka: Dhaka yesterday requested Iraq and Kuwait to resume recruitment
of manpower from Bangladesh to the two Gulf states.

Labour and Employment Minister Abdullah Al Noman made the proposal when
envoys of the two countries met him at his office.

Iraqi Charge d'Affaires Mustafa M Taufik and Kuwaitis Ambassador Ali Hussain
Al Sammak both praised measures being taken by the new government, said an
official handout.

During the meetings with Noman the two diplomats discussed their respective
bilateral issues, particularly recruitment of Bangladeshi people.

Mentioning government steps taken so far, including training people for
skill development and formation of databank on export of manpower and
"one-stop service centre", the minister requested recruitment of more
skilled and semi-skilled Bangladeshi people by Iraq.

Kuwaiti Ambassador Sammak said that his country needed skilled doctors,
engineers, agriculturists and nurses. He appreciated the 100-day programmes
of the government.

During the meeting, Sammak and Noman hoped to resume exporting Bangladeshi
manpower to Kuwait, which remained postponed following an incident of
killing by a Bangladeshi worker there.

"Bangladeshi workers are polite, industrious and loyal and working in
different Middle Eastern countries with good repute," said the trade union
leader-turned minister and called upon the Kuwaiti envoy to recruit more

by Robert Tait
The Scotsman, 6th November

Fatima Hassan was not drawn to the United States by visions of untold riches
or the American Dream. She had been born into considerable wealth in Iraq.
But the sumptuous lifestyle her family once enjoyed in Baghdad had been no
protection against the unspeakable depravities of Saddam Husseinıs secret
police. For her, the magnetism of America lay in its promise as a place of
greater safety.

Hassanıs family were local philanthropists, which made them a threat in the
paranoiac imaginings of the Iraqi leader. Hassanıs first husband was
tortured to death, before her eyes, in a bath of acid that caused his skin
to dissolve. Her brother was killed. She herself suffered extensive torture
during two spells in jail, the second while she was pregnant. Both her
shoulders were broken and her finger nails were removed . "I was supposed to
be killed by Saddam but I escaped from prison," she says.

Years of living like a nomad followed that escape in 1982. First she went to
Iran, then Dubai, then briefly - when it looked as if the Iraqi regime might
collapse after the Gulf War - to southern Iraq, then to Saudi Arabia and on
to Lebanon. At no time did she feel safe. So last year, Hassan, 47, who has
a masterıs degree in English literature, arrived in America. A shabby
basement in a rundown suburb south of Detroit became a perfect refuge, a
paradise removed from a world of torment. "This is my country," she used to
say. "Nobody asks or cares if you are Muslim."

All that changed on 11 September. Suddenly an America that had been
indifferent to her black Muslim chador and covered head took notice. "They
look at us as if we are Osama bin Laden," she says. "The beautiful life is
gone. Psychologically, everything is changed."

Hassanıs harrowing tale is not unusual among exiled Iraqi women. So much so
that she has become a counsellor for other female refugees from the regimeıs
malevolent clutches. All of them, she says, are traumatised by what happened
in New York and Washington.

"They are scared to go out," she says. "People are saying that Arabs should
be put in camps, others say we should leave the country. They should realise
we too are victims of terrorism."

According to ACCESS, the Arab Community Centre for Economic and Social
Services - for which Hassan works - the post-11 September sense of
alienation and isolation among Americaıs ethnic Arab citizens is leading to
a "community mental health collapse". People in unprecedented numbers are
seeking help for depression and other mental disorders.

The setting for this mass misery is Dearborn, a city of just under 100,000
on the periphery of Detroit. Here, and in a cluster of nearby towns, live
the biggest concentration of Arabs in America . There are some 270,000 Arabs
in this corner of south-eastern Michigan. About half are Muslim, the other
half Christian.

Arabs have been coming to Dearborn since the 1890s. The motor car was the
driving force behind the early migrations. For while Detroit may be the
Motown of the public imagination, Dearborn is the original motor city.

The economic migrants who made up the early waves of Arab arrivals have been
followed in the past generation by a very different breed. Their migration,
like that of Fatima Hassan, has been a flight from oppression. The biggest
group were those fleeing the civil war which ruptured Lebanon for 15 years
before 1990. Close behind have been the Chaldean Iraqis, fleeing Saddam
Hussein. Others have come from Egypt and Yemen. Freedom from fear was the
guiding motive behind their odyssey to America.


World Oil (Reuters), 7th November

A consortium of Indian and Algerian oil firms will sign a contract with Iraq
to develop the Tuba oilfield in the south of the country, an Iraqi oil
industry source has revealed.

The source said India's ONGC Videsh Ltd and Reliance together with
Soundtrack of Algeria would carry out the project between Zubair and Rumaila
in southern Iraq.

"Delegations from these companies will soon come to Iraq to complete
discussions on the contract and hopefully it will be signed soon," the
source said.

OVL signed last year with Iraq's Oil Exploration Company a contract for
exploration of Block No. 8 in the country's western desert.

The source said the Indian company had already started gathering information
on the block. The block has high prospects as it is located close to Abu
Khema oilfield which ONGC discovered in 1974-77.


Dawn, 8th November

KARACHI, Nov 7: The Board of Revenue, Sindh, has handed over an enquiry into
an allegedly fraudulent occupation of a residential house of Iraqi Embassy
in Karachi to the Inspector General of Registration (IGR) , Hyderabad,
asking for a report within 30 days.

The IGR has placed the services of Sub-Registrars, Sikandar Ali Qureshy, and
Shahid Raza Shah, under suspension under the Sindh Civil Servants'
Efficiency and Discipline Rules, 1973.

In a meeting under the chairmanship of home secretary, in Oct 2000, an
enquiry had been ordered into the circumstances under which House No F-13,
Gizri Street, Phase-4, DHA, Karachi - originally a property of the Embassy
of Iraq - was handed over to M/S Murad Jalal and Aughan on the basis of
allegedly fake documents.

The government of Iraq had purchased the house on a plot measuring 2000sq
yards from Mrs Akhtar Amannullah, wife of Amanullah Sardar, vide registered
sale deed dated May 14, 1979.

The property was converted into the residence of Iraqi Consul General, who
remained in the occupation of the property till the outbreak of the Gulf War
in 1991, when the office was temporarily closed. Thereafter, the property
remained under the custody of the DHA, till it was handed over to the police
for its safe custody.

The facts showed that Murad Jalal and Aughan managed to get the property
transferred in their names through Deedar Hussain, on the basis of allegedly
fake documents.


Arabic News, 8th November

The Philippino national company for oil on Wednesday announced that the
excavation unit at the company will delegate a technical team to Iraq in
2002 to excavate for oil.

News reports quoted Pedro Akino, the company's deputy chairman as saying on
the sideline of a conference in Kuala Lumpur saying that the team will head
to area no 9 of the southern district of the western desert in Iraq by the
beginning of 2001.

He explained that a decision will be taken after discussions of studies
concluded by the technical committee.

The said Philippino company delegated its first excavation team to Iraq in
1997 and since then some 3 excavation teams were sent.

Dawn (Pakistan), 9th November

LAHORE, Nov 8: Iraq has committed to purchase one million ton wheat from
Pakistan next year that would effectively take care of the country's major
problem of surplus yield.

This was stated by Export Promotion Bureau chairman Tariq Ikram while
speaking to businessmen here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry
on Thursday.

Ikram, who has recently returned from a visit to Iraq, said Iraq would
purchase 500,000 ton wheat in the first half of 2002 and the remaining
during the second half of the year.

He said the Trading Corporation of Pakistan was working out the details of
the commitment received from Iraq regarding the wheat purchase.

Iraq imports three million ton wheat every year to meet its needs. Pakistan
had signed an agreement with Iraq under which the latter had committed to
make the former a major supplier of wheat.

The EPB chairman said the order, however, hinged on Pakistan's ability to
deliver such a large quantity to Iraq according to its specifications and
its success to replace (substandard) wheat supplied to it earlier.

He said Iraqi specifications allowed presence of one per cent 'foreign
content' like sand and stones in the wheat to be supplied to it.

*  Yerevan and Baghdad intend to stir up efforts for development
multilateral cooperation [from Caspian News Agency, 9th November

Yerevan, November 9, 2001. (CNA). The necessity of stirring up efforts for
development of cooperation between Armenia and Iraq and readiness of heads
of the two states to closer interaction were stressed at todayıs meeting
between Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and Iraq Charge dıAffairs
in Armenia Abbas Al-Badri.

Armenian governmental press service informed CNA that at the meeting the
Armenian Prime Minister mentioned Armenia is at the crossroads of the Near
East and Europe and aspires to setting constructive relations with all
states of the region. Developing versatile relations with Arabic states and
Iran takes a special place in the foreign political course of Armenia. The
Armenian Prime Minister mentioned that Armenia and Iraq could fruitfully
cooperate not only in the economic sphere, but also in the cultural and

*  Russian president to visit Baghdad
Arabic News, 9th November

The Russian ambassador in Amman Alexander Ivanov has disclosed that the
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Iraq shortly. But he did not
give a timing for the meeting.

Ivanov said that the visit will be within the next tour of President Putin
to the Middle East. He indicated that Putin received official invitations
from the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the Jordanian King Abdullah II,
the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and many other leaders.

Ivanov explained that Moscow does not back the establishment of a disarmed
Palestinian state because in this case such a Palestinian state will not be
able to defend itself against any outer danger. But the ambassador noted
that only certain areas can be set as disarmed, in an agreement with the
Israelis, in a way similar to what happened with Egypt.

He stressed that Moscow backs the establishment of a fully sovereign
Palestinian state.

Replying to a question on Moscow's position towards the American and Israeli
threats to confiscate the Pakistani nuclear weapons, the Russian ambassador
said that his country opposes that and that Pakistan is an independent state
and is the side responsible for its nuclear weapon and also there is only
one legal international side authorized to monitor this program which is the
International Atomic Agency.
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