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News, 10-16/11/01 (1)

News, 10-16/11/01 (1)

The worldıs attention has been diverted elsewhere this week ­ to the victory
won by the Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaris over the Pashtun in Afghanistan.
Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing for Afghanistan, it has the
depressing side effect of confirming US governments in the notion that
mighty, satisfying victories can be won cheaply and easily. Which puts us in
a difficult position: do we hope the whole thing blows up in their faces,
with all the suffering that will create for the people of Afghanistan? or do
we hope that it will all go smoothly, thus encouraging the US­led world
terrorist movement to even greater efforts?


*  The Iraqi connection [If you meet a man of middle eastern appearance with
long silvery hair, wearing jeans, silver chains and sunglasses, be afraid
... be very afraid ... Short extract from long article which appeared last
Sunday in the Observer]
*  2 more Sept.11 hijackers tied to Iraq [This from the New York Post
summarises those few elements in the above Observer article that are new]
*  Iraq urged to seek peaceful solution [by Yasser Arafat. The article
includes a chilling last sentence in which the name ŒMadeleine Albrightı
once again appears before our eyes]
*  Egypt moves to avert US strike on Iraq [Reflects a general anxiety in the
area that the US is planning to attack Iraq if it doesnıt let inspectors in]
*  No deal yet with Moscow on Iraq sanctions -Britain [Here we seem to be
back to the question of Œsmart sanctionsı]
*  Israeli Minister seeks to calm panic [over possible consequences of a US
attack on Iraq]
*  Jordan not to allow its land for US attack [Madeleine Albright pops up
again, in Cairo. Could it be? Could Egypt have sunk so low? that she has
been invited there to address the Arab Womenıs conference???]
*  The Prague Connection: Saddam and bin Laden [Extract. William Safire, who
has already announced his intention of pushing this story for all its worth.
He has a new detail: that Saddam sent an Iraqi specialist to Afghanistan to
attend to OBLıs kidney problems]
*  Next stop, Baghdad {The Jerusalem Post longs to see democracy and freedom
throughout the Muslim world. But doesnıt democracy mean Œthe streetı? And
doesnıt the Jerusalem Post have some problems with Œthe streetı in the
Muslim world?]


*  Iraq Manufactures Oil Tanks, Refiners Through Own Efforts
*  OPEC losing $30 billion because of oil price decline, says Iraq
*  OPEC trapped in Iraq quagmire
*  Iraqi oil minister comments on OPEC decision to cut oil production
*  War on terrorism brings focus to oil alternatives [Extracts. US hegemony
over the world is seen ­ by James Woolsey among others ­ to require a more
virtuous energy policy, or alternately a more vigorous destruction of

AND, IN NEWS, 10-16/11/01 (2)


*  Saddam meets Kurds, renews dialogue offer [This article, from CNN, has
President Hussein addressing a delegation from the ŒKDPı, identified as the
KDP in power in the autonomous zone]
*  Saddam Warns Kurds [Here it becomes Œa pro-government Kurdish groupı]
*  Saddam Comments to Kurd Collaborator Group [Here they appear as a ŒKurd
collaborator groupı ­ rather extravagantly so ­but they are still called the
ŒKurdistan Democratic Partyı. This is a transcript of S.Husseinıs speech.,
in his own inimitable style, e.g.: ŒSaddam Husayn is a peaceful and poor man
who does not frighten anybody and  does not use the language of force.
Right? (laughs)ı]
*  KDP And PUK Meet In Dokan [The article refers to continued Œheavy
fightingı between the PUK and the Jund al Islam]


*  Iraq lauds Mrs. Mubarak's advocacy of Arab women's causes [In advance of
a conference of Arab women being held in Cairo]
*  Kuwait jails five Iraqis for subversion
*  Kuwaitis Reported To Be in Iraqi Jail
*  Kuwait says Iraq fires mortar, complains to UN
*  Syrian traders violate export conditions for Iraq [It isnıt clear if this
is to do with UN sanctions or simply Syriaıs own trade legislation]
*  Iraq and Iran exchange war dead
*  US Deploys Troops to Kuwait for Exercise


*  Chhabria's Jumbo group bags UN projects in Iraq
*  Iraq calls on UN members to reject SC authority


*  No way out for Iraqi refugee [Refugees. Iıve not been posting many
stories about the fate of Iraqi refugees but its all part of the same
ghastly story and I think I should start]

FINGER POINTING AT IRAQ,6903,591439,00.html

The Observer, 11th November (Additional reporting by Ed Vulliamy in New York
and Kate Connolly in Berlin.)


According to the defectors, he has an unusual ability to change his
appearance and operate under cover. One defector recalls a meeting in the
early 1990s when al-Ani had long, silver hair, and wore jeans, silver chains
and sunglasses. Al-Ani explained he was about to undertake a mission which
required him to look like a Western hippy. A member of Saddam's Baathist
party since his youth, al-Ani also has extensive experience working with
radical Islamists such as Mohamed Atta.


by William Neuman
New York Post, 12th November

The CIA has evidence that two more hijackers, besides terror leader Mohamed
Atta, met with Iraqi intelligence officials earlier this year - bolstering
arguments for a Baghdad role in the attacks, it was reported yesterday.

The two other skyjackers were Atta's friends and co-conspirators, Marwan
al-Shehhi and Ziad Samir Jarrah, who were believed to have been at the
controls of two of the pirated jets on Sept. 11.

The Observer newspaper of London reported yesterday that senior U.S.
intelligence sources said they have "credible information" al-Shehhi and
Jarrah met with an Iraqi agent last spring.

The secret meetings took place in the United Arab Emirates, the paper
reported. Czech officials have previously said Atta had two meetings with a
top Iraqi spy, the first in June 2000, just before flying to the U.S. and
the second last April.

Atta, al-Shehhi and Jarrah became close while attending school in Germany,
and started an Islamic student group together in Hamburg.

Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman said last week his country believes Atta
and the Iraqis discussed a truck bomb attack on Radio Free Europe.

A diplomatic source also told the Observer that Iraqi spies may have held at
least two other meetings with yet more members of the 19-member hijacking
team in Prague this year.

The Observer also reported that Iraqi defectors claim Baghdad has been
conducting terrorist training camps for years.

There has been a fierce debate in the Bush administration about whether Iraq
played a role in the attacks, with a Pentagon faction pushing to extend the
war on terror to Saddam Hussein's regime.

Bahrain Tribune (AP), 13th November

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is urging Saddam Hussein to resolve his
conflict with the United States peacefully, a Palestinian envoy to Iraq said

Arafatıs position is in marked contrast to that in the 1991 Gulf War when he
supported Saddam against a US-led international coalition. The Palestinians
later paid a high price for Arafatıs policy, with Gulf countries expelling
thousands of Palestinians after the war in retaliation.

Since then, the Palestinians have been more cautious. In the previous
confrontation between Iraq and the United States several months ago,
Arafatıs Palestinian National Authority stayed on the sidelines.

Yesterday, the Palestinian Public Works Minister, Azzam Ahmed, was en route
to Iraq to deliver a message from Arafat to Saddam who is engaged in a
showdown with the United States and the United Nations over weapons

³President Arafat saw it was necessary to reiterate the Palestinian concern
for the safety of the Iraqi people and to assure the (Iraqi) leadership that
we would like to see a peaceful solution,² Ahmed told the Voice of Palestine
radio station.

Ahmed, a former PLO representative in Iraq, left for Iraq a day after Arafat
met with U.S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Bahrain Tribune, 13th November

EGYPT yesterday launched an initiative to bring 14 Arab countries together
in a joint stand to avert a military strike against Iraq.

The initiative came as the United States turned down a compromise that the
Russians said Iraq had made to resolve the crisis. Late last night, Iraq
denied that it had made any compromise.

The Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, contacted 13 Arab leaders during the
day to draft a joint position on the Iraqi standoff with the United Nations
over arms inspections.

The move followed a message urging restraint that Mubarak sent to the Iraqi
President, Saddam Hussein.

Mubarak spoke by telephone with the Kings of Jordan and Morocco, Omanıs
Sultan, the Amirs of Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, the Presidents of Yemen,
Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya, and Saudi
Arabiaıs Crown Prince.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister, Amr Mussa, said: ³In these intensive
contacts, Egypt is trying (to carry out) a positive joint Arab action to
deal with the various parties involved in the crisis.²

³We must avoid the military option and give diplomatic efforts every chance²
to succeed,² he said.

The Arab League Secretary-General, Esmat Abdul Meguid, was to travel to
Iraq, but put off the visit pending a meeting with the Iraqi Foreign
Minister in Cairo tomorrow.

Meanwhile, newspaper editorials from Egypt to Saudi Arabia called for a
diplomatic ­ not a military ­ solution to the crisis.

Turkey said that its Foreign Minister, Ismail Cem, would travel to the Iraqi
capital later this week in a bid to defuse the crisis.

The Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, dispatched an aide to Baghdad with
a letter for Saddam.

The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told the House of Commons that
London ³was taking the lead² in the UN Security Council with a draft
resolution seeking to ensure that Iraq allowed full and unrestricted access
to the sites.

The resolution, to be discussed with other council members, also calls on
Iraq to reveal all details of its weapons of mass destruction programmes,
Cook said.

The Iraqi Foreign Minister, Mohammed Saeed Al Sahhaf, told Iraqıs Parliament
yesterday that Baghdad is taking every measure to forestall a US attack.

The Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, maintained his personal telephone

The Kremlin said Yeltsin had spoken to the US President, Bill Clinton, who
was said to have reacted to Russiaıs efforts ³with understanding.²

But he had stressed his readiness to use force if diplomatic efforts failed.

Yeltsin also spoke twice to the President of France, Jacques Chirac.

Iraq late last night denied a Russian report that it had agreed to allow UN
inspectors to enter the eight sites if they were nominated by their
respective Governments. According to the denied reports, the compromise had
been that inspectors must also be accompanied by diplomats from the
permanent members of the Security Council ­ Britain, China, France, Russia
and the US.

The Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Riyad Al Qaysi, replying to the
reports of the compromise offer, said Saddam had not discussed such measures
in a meeting with a Russian envoy.

³That statement is totally, totally incorrect,² Qaysi told a news conference
in Baghdad.

The US is determined to force Iraq to comply with UN demands issued after
the 1991 Gulf War that Baghdad allow inspection and destruction of its
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes, as well as its missile

The Iraqi Government has told UN inspectors it has already provided all
relevant data on its weapons programmes and last month, insisted that
inspectors would have no access to ³Presidential sites.²

France, Russia and China, the three other permanent members of the Security
Council, in addition to the US and Britain, are pressing for a non-military
solution to the crisis.

But Washington, backed by Britain, says it has sufficient authority to
launch an attack under previous UN resolutions.

The Jordanian Foreign Minister, Fayez Tarawneh, warned of a catastrophe in
the entire Middle East in the event of a US military strike on Iraq.

US military intervention in Iraq would have ³negative social and economic
consequences on Jordan and political consequences on the whole region,² he
reportedly told the Ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN
Security Council to discuss the crisis.

Crown Prince Hassan ruled out the use of Jordanian territory for any attack
on Iraq.

by Irwin Arieff
Excite, 13th November

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Tuesday
that he had failed in talks with his Russian counterpart to come up with an
acceptable compromise on overhauling U.N. sanctions on Iraq.

After his talks with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, "there is not yet
agreement with Russia," Straw told reporters.

The talks took place on the sidelines of the annual general debate of the
189-nation U.N. General Assembly, which began Saturday.

At issue is a draft U.N. Security Council resolution, sponsored by the
United States and Britain, that would lift restraints on the import of
civilian goods to Iraq and attempt to cut off oil and other goods smuggled
in and out of the country through porous borders.

Russia threatened earlier this year to veto the "smart sanctions" plan and
Iraq -- which demands the total lifting of the sanctions imposed after its
1990 invasion of Kuwait -- halted oil flows in June for about a month until
it was certain the measure would not be approved.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has discussed the issue several times with
Ivanov, and the subject may come up at this week's Texas summit between
President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Straw said he had discussed with Ivanov a revision of the plan opposed by
Moscow the last time around. He did not say what the proposed changes were
but diplomats said they would not be submitted unless Russia showed signs of

Iraq's oil-for-food program comes up for renewal on Nov. 30 and the
15-nation U.N. Security Council must approve a resolution by then either
extending the current program or revamping it.

The program allows Baghdad to sell unlimited quantities of oil to buy, food,
medicine and other civilians goods, an exception to sanctions imposed in
1990. The oil revenues are controlled by the United Nations, which pays
suppliers of goods Iraq orders.

Bahrain Tribune (AFP), 13th November

A senior Israeli Minister took to the air waves yesterday to calm growing
popular alarm over the possibility Iraq will attack the country with
biological weapons.

³There is absolutely no cause for panic,² the Deputy Prime Minister, Moshe
Katzav, said on Israel Radio.

³Iraq is far from having the same military capabilities it had in 1990
before the Gulf War and it would be suicidal for it to attack us,² said
Katzav, who is also Tourism Minister.

Thousands of Israelis have been flocking to army distribution centres to
pick up gas masks and protective clothing over the past week as the United
States has increased its warnings of a military strike against Iraq to
eliminate its suspected weapons of mass destruction.

Israeli media fuelled popular alarm last week with reports that Washington
feared Iraq could fire missiles armed with biological or chemical weapons at
Israel if it came under attack.

During the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles with conventional
warheads at Israel, killing two persons and wounding hundreds.

According to UN weapons inspectors, Iraq has manufactured biological
weapons, notably using anthrax and botulin agents, and may have put them on
missile warheads.

The Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, met health and security officials on
Sunday to discuss protective measures to be taken against eventual
biological attack.

But the Government decided to take a low profile over the likelihood of an
Iraqi attack to avoid creating a panic, Israel Television reported.

A meeting of Netanyahuıs cabinet on Sunday decided that only the Prime
Minister and Defence Minister, Yitzhak Mordechai, would be authorised to
speak publicly about the Iraq crisis.

Government officials have repeatedly stated in recent days that the
likelihood that Iraq has the means or will to strike Israel was minimal.

But Israeli civilians remained wary, remembering that officials made similar
statements prior to the Gulf War.

Israeli newspapers yesterday reflected the same alarm, publishing numerous
articles on the availability of vaccines and antibiotics to treat anthrax,
on the rush for gas masks and on the likelihood of an American attack on

The US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, discussed the Iraq crisis
with Israeli leaders on Saturday and on Sunday and reassured them that
Washington would provide warning of any Iraqi missile launches.

Albright said the United States would lead a ³substantial² attack on Iraq if
it persists in hampering the work of UN inspectors charged with hunting down
and destroying Baghdadıs suspected stocks of weapons of mass destruction.

Bahrain Tribune, 13th November

Jordan will not allow United States forces to use its territory or airspace
to attack Iraq, newspapers in Amman reported yesterday quoting official

³Jordan will not be a base and will not serve as a passage for any American
action against Iraq,² the sources were reported as saying.

The same applied to Israeli forces which were reported ready to respond to a
possible Iraqi strike against the Jewish state in the event of a military
confrontation between Iraq and the US.

Jordanıs King Hussein has urged Iraq to stop being ³stubborn² in order to
avoid a military show down. Amman has also called the crisis to be resolved
through diplomatic channels and urged all parties concerned to avoid the use
of force.

A possible U.S. strike, with the backing of Britain, would be in response to
Iraqıs refusal to allow United Nations weaponsı inspectors to enter sites.

King Hussein discussed the UN-Iraq crisis over arms inspections with the
Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, yesterday in a telephone call, Jordanian
officials said.

The Monarch, who is in London on a private visit, also spoke to the
Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, by phone about the Middle East peace

The King and Mubarak talked about ³diplomatic efforts to ward off a military
strike against Iraq,² the officials said.

The two heads of state stressed the need ³to contain the crisis and to find
a peaceful solution in order to spare their brethren, the Iraqi people, from
additional suffering.²

Iraq has blocked the inspections, saying they would violate its sovereignty.

King Hussein said on Saturday that a military strike against Iraq was
inevitable if Baghdad continued to defy the United Nations.

However, Crown Prince Hassan ibn Talal warned on Sunday that the region
could not endure a US attack on Iraq.

Mubarak, who is scheduled to meet the US Secretary of State, Madeleine
Albright, today in Cairo, has sent a message to the Iraqi President, Saddam
Hussein, stressing that military action should be avoided.

by William Safire
International Herald Tribune (The New York Times), 13th November


Why didn't the BIS inform the United States about Mr. Atta at that time?
Here was a suspected plot against a large U.S.-financed facility; within two
weeks, the Czechs declared his case officer, Mr. Ani, persona non grata and
shipped him back to Baghdad. Were the CIA and FBI kept in the dark about his
agent flying back and forth to America under his own name of Mr. Atta, or
were U.S. counterspies informed but did nothing? Last week, the Czech prime
minister, Milos Zeman, confirmed to CNN that Mr. Ani and Mr. Atta met in
Prague. But Mr. Zeman was eager to dissociate that meeting from planning to
destroy New York's twin towers: "Atta contacted some Iraq agent ... to
prepare a terrorist attack on just the building of Radio Free Europe."
Really? How does the Czech prime minister know what the Iraqi spymaster and
Mr. Atta discussed? He could know only if the meeting were bugged or if Mr.
Ani talked before being thrown out of Prague. Was the CIA or FBI informed
about the U.S. interest in why Mr. Ani was ejected, and what travelers to
America had recently been in secret contact with him? After all, Mr. Atta
had flown from Virginia Beach, Florida, the day before and returned the
following day. That shows urgency: One does not back and forth across the
Atlantic within 72 hours to meet secretly with a known Iraqi intelligence
officer for no reason. We since have learned that Mr. Atta returned to the
United States to open a bank account at the Sun Bank in Florida and received
$100,000 to finance his mission through an Arab emirate money changer. But
before that money to finance his Sept. 11 attack could pass, Mr. Atta
apparently needed to stop in Prague first, where Iraq's Mr. Ani was running

The Prague connection links Saddam and bin Laden at the agent level. Now
here is an unpublished report that suggests Saddam helps the terrorist
leader on a personal level:

In mid-May, two of Saddam's secret service agents arrived at the clinic of
Dr. Mohammed Khayal, Baghdad's leading kidney specialist. The doctor
hurriedly packed a bag and was escorted to a government car. Three days
later, he was returned, and the building was soon abuzz with the word that
Saddam's Dr. Khayal had been to Afghanistan where his patient was Osama bin

Jerusalem Post, 15th November


Some will dismiss the liberation of Afghanistan as being tainted by ulterior
motives. But there is no reason to pretend that America helped the Afghans
eject the Taliban mainly out of concern for their freedom, rather than as a
way station in the war against terrorism. What we should learn, though, is
that freedom is no less sweet when achieved as a byproduct of other

We should also keep in mind that the scenes of a tremendous weight being
lifted off Kabul will only be replayed with grander exuberance on the day
that Baghdad or Teheran is liberated.

The Taliban may make Iran's mullahcracy look moderate, but that regime also
rules with an iron fist. And the stories we hear from survivors of Saddam
Hussein's sadistic brutality are just the tip of the iceberg of what will
emerge when he falls.

Human rights alone, except in the case of South Africa under apartheid and
right-wing dictatorships in Nicaragua, Iran, and the Philippines, has not
been thought of as sufficient cause for the international community to
demand a change of regime. It so happens that the regimes in Iran and Iraq
are as, if not more, brutal than any of the regimes that were considered
kosher for toppling. And there are plenty of other brutal regimes that draw
little international attention of any kind.

The world is hardly consistent when it comes to doing something about
freedom and human rights. But the fact that freedom seems to come into the
spotlight only when other objectives are in play does not negate its
relevance as a justification for international action.

The regimes in Teheran and Baghdad represent the combination of oppression
and aggression that should make them prime candidates for overthrow, like
the Taliban in Afghanistan. And of the two, Saddam Hussein is both the most
brutal to his own people and dangerous to the world.

Accordingly, the US should not be shy about saying that, after Kabul, the
next place to bring the jubilation of freedom should be either Teheran or
Baghdad. It is hard to say which will come first, because like in
Afghanistan, the US will play a supporting role to local liberation
movements. The fall of the Taliban represents a particular combination of
American force in support of a local uprising. In other places, the
combination will be different, but the same principle can work.

What should be recognized, as Michael Ledeen argued in The Wall Street
Journal (November 4), the war on terrorism is actually a revolutionary war
of the sort that the US is uniquely equipped to fight. "While we will have
to act quickly and urgently against secret terrorist organizations and
suicidal fighters," Ledeen wrote, "our ultimate targets are tyrannical
governments, and our most devastating weapons are the peoples they oppress."

The recent phenomenon of soccer games - the only opportunity for Iranians to
congregate in large numbers - turning into anti-government rallies is a sign
that Iran is ripe for the kind of bottom-up revolution that swept Central
Europe. In Iraq, if the US decides to wholeheartedly back the opposition as
it did the Northern Alliance, most of Saddam's army will defect and he will
quickly lose control of most of the country. Once Saddam has been
transformed into the mayor of Baghdad, it is only a matter of time before
his regime will fall. The pursuit of freedom, it turns out, is not just an
adjunct to the war on terrorism, but at its very heart.



BAGHDAD, Nov 10, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Iraq's Oil Ministry has
succeeded in manufacturing oil tanks and refiners by itself, the official
Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported on Saturday.

Twenty-seven oil tanks with different capacity and two oil refiners have
been made and installed, and preparations for 10 other refiners are in full
swing, an official of the Oil Ministry told INA.

The official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, hailed the move
as a "success in breaking foreign monopoly" in these aspects.

Iraq, which has been under sweeping U.N. economic sanctions after its 1990
invasion of Kuwait, says that it would develop its embargo-hit oil industry
through self-reliance.

Moreover, the ministry has recently stepped up efforts to discover more oil
and gas resources.

The Iraqi Al-Zawra weekly newspaper reported on Thursday that a large gas
field has been discovered in Iraq's western desert with an estimated reserve
of more than 60 billion cubic meters.

Iraq has the second largest proven oil reserve in the world.

Kyodo (Japan), 11th November

BAGHDAD, Nov. 10: Iraq's oil minister said OPEC member states have lost $30
billion from lower oil prices and demanded that the world cartel cut crude
output by 1.5 million barrels a day to halt the decline of oil prices.

The official Iraqi News Agency quoted Oil Minister Amir Mohammed Rasheed as
saying he hopes OPEC would agree on the production cut in an emergency
meeting in Vienna on Wednesday.

Rasheed said the decline of crude prices started after the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks in the U.S., adding that oil prices, which stood
previously at $22 to $28 a barrel, have gone down by $7 a barrel.

Rasheed said he expects a decline in demand on oil during 2002 because of a
slow pace of growth in the world economy.

Bahrain Tribune (AFP), 13th November

OPEC has again found itself trapped in the Iraqi quagmire with the market
gripped by Baghdadıs standoff with the United Nations and a proposed
increase in Iraqi oil supplies, experts said in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

The UN move came as the market was holding its breath towards growing
speculation about an imminent US strike against Iraq over the arms
inspection crisis.

Both developments left Opec sidelined. ³You can say OPEC is now completely
outside the game and can do nothing about oil prices,² a Gulf-based oil
analyst said.

³I think the organisation is now sitting and watching like the others. The
price trend now hinges on developments in Iraq... This is the second or
third time that OPEC is neutralised by the Iraqi issue.²

Oil prices have remained above $15 despite expectations of a UN agreement to
allow Iraq to export more crude to buy food and medicine for its people who
are suffering from more than seven years of a crippling embargo.

Sundayıs recommendation by Annan meant Iraq could sell nearly two million
barrels per day (bpd) at current prices, more than double the present
amount. With actual production by the 11-nation Organisation of Petroleum
Exporting Countries running nearly 800,000 above its nominal ceiling,
approval of that recommendation means there will be a surplus of more than
1.8 million bpd.

But the spectre of such a large increase in OPECıs supplies to an already
glutted market has been offset by growing tension in the region.

³Oil prices could tumble if the UN endorses Annanıs proposal and the Iraqi
problem is resolved peacefully,² an oil expert said.

³This should prompt OPEC to act. It has to meet and decide on a course of
action if Iraq is allowed to export more crude.² Under OPECıs latest output
ceiling of 27.5 million bpd, Iraq was allocated 1.3 million bpd, including
around 500,000 bpd for domestic consumption.

The UN proposal means an additional 700,000 bpd which could push OPECıs
ceiling to 28.2 million bpd unless the group decides to trim output.

³Even after the Iraqi crisis is resolved, OPEC will face a difficult
situation... The first thing it should do is to meet,² an oil analyst said.

³The meeting itself will be a message to the market that OPEC is ready to
act. But such a message could be counterproductive if the meeting fails and
this makes it imperative for OPEC to prepare well for such a meeting.² Oil
prices have already dived by nearly 30 per cent over the past three months
because of OPECıs overproduction and a mild winter in the northern
hemisphere. They remained under pressure by the Asian financial crisis and
OPECıs decision to raise the output ceiling by around 10 per cent for the
first half of 1998 without securing firm commitments from quota-busting

According to the official Emirates news agency Wam, OPEC produced nearly
28.3 million bpd in January at a time when the economic crisis in southeast
Asia depressed demand by between 300,000 and 600,000 bpd.

³OPECıs agreement to raise the ceiling was a sound decision. Compliance with
quotas will restore balance to the world oil market,² the agency said, in an
apparent reference to Venezuela, the main overproducer in the cartel.

Experts would not speculate on whether OPEC would revise its new ceiling if
the UN sanctioned the proposed increase in Iraqıs share. ³It either could be
revised or kept untouched with an agreement by the other members to make
concessions to give way to Iraq,² one expert said.

Hoover's (Financial Times/BBC), 15th November
Source: Republic of Iraq Radio, Baghdad, in Arabic 1130 gmt 15 Nov 01

OPEC has decided to reduce its production by 1.5m barrels a day as of next
year. An official source in the Iraqi delegation participating in the
extraordinary meeting of OPEC, which concluded its meetings in Vienna
yesterday, said that Iraq's position had an effective role in reaching
agreement among the conferees that cooperation between OPEC member states
and others will end oil surplus in the international market and achieve a
balance between supply and demand.

Iraqi Oil Minister Dr Amir Muhammad Rashid, head of Iraq's delegation to the
conference, met several oil ministers participating in the conference.
During these meetings, the minister stressed OPEC's ability to overcome the
current crisis by making the right decision that serves the interests of
member states away from external pressures. He stressed that the largest
beneficiary from the reduction of oil prices in international markets is the
US administration.

During an exchange of views with other countries' delegations, the oil
minister stressed that cutting production in a well-studied manner would
certainly boost prices, but OPEC should have the lion's share in this

by Manuela Badawy (Additional reporting by Soo Youn)
Yahoo, 16th November


Another 8 percent of the oil the United States consumes comes from countries
like Iraq and Kuwait, bringing U.S. reliance on the region to nearly 30
percent of current needs.

While the odds of Saudi production being disrupted by the current conflict
in the near term are remote, concern has risen over the longer-term
stability of the Saudi monarchy and the safety of its oil fields , energy
experts say.


If the possibility of a supply disruption from the Middle East is remote, it
is nonetheless most likely to occur, if it ever does, in connection with
Iraq. That country, run by U.S. nemesis Saddam Hussein, exports some 600,000
barrels daily to the United States -- or about 6 percent of current U.S.

``Only if Iraq is attacked there will be a disruption,'' said Robert Mabro,
Director of Oxford University's Institute for Energy Studies in England. ``A
change of regime in Saudi Arabia is very unlikely, and even if there's a
change why should they stop exporting oil?''

Critics say that for it's long term policy, the Bush administration has
focused mainly on increasing domestic energy drilling and opening up
Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But it has not gone far enough to
wean the United States off its oil habit.

``If it weren't for the three letter word -- oil -- we would be free in the
Middle East, as we are elsewhere, to support human rights, democracy and so
forth,'' Woolsey said. ``This is why waste and biomass is so important as a
source for fuel,'' he said referring to organic fuels like ethanol that can
be derived from plants like corn or from decomposed waste.


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