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Re: Iraqi opposition... & Turkey's position

Friends - we all know our passions and the urgency to send information - and
no,one more than Salwa - but might I urge that this is broken into
paragraphs and sentences - this lenghth thing has crept into a few excellent
groups and it becomes difficult to acess as it runs on and on - like
listening to a match and unable to hear the commentary from the yelling of
the commentator. Am I wrong? warmest to all. felcity a.

>From: "Salwa de Vree" <>
>Subject: Re: Iraqi opposition... & Turkey's position
>Date: Sun, Jan 6, 2002, 1:47 pm

> Here's an addition to Dirk's piece on the Iraqi opposition, which I came
> across last week. Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact date it first
> I am also including a piece from the same source on Turkey's position.
> According to this article, Turkey is opposed to extending the US's
> ridiculous war on terrorism to Iraq.
> URLs at end of articles.
> Salwa de Vree,
> Leiden, The Netherlands.
> Amid intense speculation the United States will next target Iraq in its war
> on terrorism, the State Department has said it has begun mediating a
> long-running dispute between rival Kurdish groups in Northern Iraq. Deputy
> spokesman Philip Reeker said a high-level US team led by Ryan Crocker,
> deputy assistant state for Near East affairs, was in Northern Iraq to
> further Washington’s efforts to oust Saddam Hussein by bringing the
> factions together. Crocker was meeting members of the Patriotic Union of
> Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in the first
> direct US attempt to mediate between the two at their request, Reeker said.
> “This delegation is the first step in that mediation process”, he said,
> adding that PUK leader Jalal Talabani and KDP leader Masoud Barzani had
> asked for State Department help in overcoming their differences. Reeker
> noted, however, that US consultations with both groups was longstanding.
> The last consultive mission was in February, he said. Crocker and his team
> would also meet with Turkish officials as part of their trip. Crocker’s
> mission was aimed at demonstrating “continued US engagement with the Iraqi
> opposition, consult with key players on issues in Northern Iraq provide for
> direct discussions on the status of reconciliation among the Iraqi Kurds
> and to evaluate implementation of the oil-for-food program in the North”,
> he said. Baghdad has reacted angrily to US officials meeting with Kurds and
> late last month, Saddam repeated an offer to engage the factions in
> dialogue but was rebuffed. Washington has long sought to build up the Iraqi
> opposition -- including the PUK and KDP -- in order to topple Saddam but
> has had little success thus far in finding a military force with the
> ability to move against him. Advocates of targetting Iraq next in the
> anti-terror war have noted the key military role played by the anti-Taliban
> Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. They have urged President George W. Bush
> and his Administration to back various Iraqi opposition groups so they
> might play a similar role. Iraqi Kurds rose up against the regime in the
> aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait, leaving the three provinces of
> Arbil, Suleimaniyeh and Dahuk outside Baghdad’s reach. The KDP today
> controls an area along the Turkish border, while the rival PUK administers
> areas close to the Iranian border.
> Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer last week reaffirmed his support for
> Iraq’s territorial integrity during talks with visiting Qatari Emir Sheikh
> Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Sezer told a press conference here that “Turkey
> gives utmost importance to the territorial integrity and national unity of
> Iraq”, which is under the threat of becoming the next target in the US-led
> anti-terror drive, a move Turkey opposes. He urged Baghdad to cooperate
> with the United Nations and the international community in a bid to end the
> “suffering of the people of Iraq”, which has been under an international
> embargo for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Sezer and Sheikh Hamad also
> appealed to the Israelis and the Palestinians to end spiralling violence in
> the Middle East and return to the negotiating table. Since the events of
> September 11 in the United States, Turkey, the only member of NATO with a
> mainly-Moslem population, has opposed extending the US-led war against
> terrorism especially to Iraq, its southern neighbor. Turkey says
> destabilizing Iraq could create on its border an independent Kurdish state
> in mountainous Northern Iraq, which has been under the control of two
> Kurdish factions since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Such a state would
> in turn fan separatist-minded tendencies among Kurds living mainly in
> Turkey’s Southeast, which borders Iraq and Syria. The banned Kurdistan
> Workers’ Party (PKK) fought Ankara for 15 years for Kurdish self-rule in
> the Southeast until 1999 when it said it was abandoning its armed campaign
> for a democractic solution to the Kurdish question. In late November,
> Turkey’s Defense Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu said that Ankara could
> re-evaluate its position in the case of evidence linking Iraqi leader
> Saddam Hussein with terrorism. But in remarks to the media last week, the
> chief of the Turkish army voiced strong opposition to extending the US
> campaign to Iraq on the grounds that it could create a Kurdish state.
> Generak Huseyin Kivrikoglu also warned that a military intervention in Iraq
> would have far graver economic consequences for Turkey than the effects of
> the 1991 Gulf War. Ankara estimates it lost 35 million dollars, mostly from
> lost sales of oil, since the beginning of the UN embargo against Iraq.
> Turkey was the second stop of a regional tour which had already taken
> Sheikh Hamad to Russia. He was scheduled to travel on to Egypt and Algeria.
> The US weekly Newsweek has said top American officials are studying the
> possibility of invading Iraq from both the North and the South in order to
> topple the regime of President, Saddam Hussein. Under heavy political
> pressure, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been looking at a study that
> suggests deploying 50,000 US troops on Iraq’s southern border and another
> 50,000 on its northern border, according to the report in an issue due out
> last week. The plan calls for sending the two armies towards Baghdad
> simultaneously, but strategists doubt that even that force would be enough
> to take the Iraqi capital, Newsweek said. Lieutenant-General Paul
> Mikolashek, commander of US ground forces in the region, believes taking
> Baghdad and overthrowing Saddam Hussein would require forces “at least at
> the level” of Desert Storm -- when around 169,000 US combat troops were
> deployed to eject Iraq from Kuwait, according to the report. But President
> George W. Bush and his national security team have decided that Saddam has
> to go, said the magazine quoting unnamed US officials. “The question is not
> whether the United States is going to hit Iraq; the question is when”, the
> report quoted a senior US envoy in the Middle East as saying. RUSSO-US
> IMPASSE In a related development, Moscow has said it failed to reach
> agreement with Washington on a new sanctions regime for Iraq and remained
> “categorically” opposed to military strikes to oust Saddam. “The Russian
> side is categorically against conducting a military operation in regards to
> Baghdad in the framework of the next phase in the fight against
> international terrorism”, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ordzhonikidze said
> in a statement. The Foreign Ministry added that Russian negotiators and
> visiting US Assistant Secretary of State John Stern Wolf had only reached
> agreement on “certain questions” during two-day talks in Moscow about a new
> Iraqi sanctions regime. US officials in Moscow issued no comment following
> the talks and Wolf left Russia without speaking to the press. The impasse
> -- if only temporary -- over Russia’s Soviet-era ally came amid growing
> speculation that the United States was on the verge of expanding its target
> list in the global war on terrorism which has focussed on Afghanistan for
> the past two months. Russian officials had earlier said that Moscow was
> willing to listen to US arguments in favor of broadening the terror
> hit-list before making its own final judgement on the issue. But the
> two-day talks with Wolf appeared to confirm Russia’s primary desire to
> secure nearly a billion dollars in Iraqi trade agreements that remain
> frozen by existing UN sanctions rather than giving its nod to military
> strikes on Baghdad. Moscow said it “had expressed its concern” that the
> value of Russia-Iraq contracts frozen by the United Nations had grown to
> 860 million dollars. The statement noted that Washington had promised to
> help “unfreeze” contracts worth only a fraction of that sum -- 54 million
> dollars -- and that a new round of consultations would be held by early
> February. These were timed to come before the existing UN oil-for-food
> program for Iraq expires at the end of May. Russian officials responsible
> for trade with Iraq, which has been characterized as a “rogue state” by
> Washington, meanwhile expressed dismay at what they described as an
> arbitrary trade sanctions regime with Baghdad. Yevgeni Yagupets, a
> spokesman for Russia’s chief committee for economic cooperation for Iraq,
> said the UN sanctions committee was primarily suspicious about contracts
> which supplied Baghdad with civilian-use equipment for factories built
> during the Soviet era. “Russia wants all sanctions lifted once Iraq admits
> UN weapons inspectors”, Yagupets said. Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen have
> all been mentioned as possible targets for future US military action. US
> National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice has opined that “the world and
> Iraq will live better without Saddam Hussein in power”. After initially
> refusing to support a UN sanctions review against Iraq, Russia last month
> said it would support the initiative while stressing the importance of
> persuading Baghdad to allow the United Nations to resume arms inspections.
> UN inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq in December 1998, on the eve of a
> bombing campaign by US and British warplanes, and were not allowed to return.
> --
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