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News, 5-11/1/02 (2)

News, 5-11/1/02 (2):


*  Iraqi consultant sounds double warning on Bula's oil ambitions [Irish oil
company. The Iraqi consultant is Riad el Taher, founder of Friendship across
*  Diggers run Iraqi blockade [Plucky Australia cheerfully assumes its share
of the white manıs burden]
*  Troop deployment not a sign of anti-Iraq plan: German minister [though
deploying chemical warfare specialists in Kuwait doesnıt sound like part of
a pro-Iraq plan]
*  Iraq may allow private sector to handle shipment: Wheat exports [to


*  Diesel fuel transport operations resumed from north Iraq to Turkey
*  Turkish security belt in north Iraq [A very short article but a sinister
one to do with Turkish moves to prevent a flood of refugees into Turkey in
the event of a US attack]
*  Daily analyzes hidden part of Iraq in terrorism [Possibly significant
article from the Iranian Press Agency Irna saying that Iran wonıt support
Iraq in its efforts to prevent a US attack]
*  Iraqi revealed as owner of weapons ship
*  Iraq decries Israeli 'piracy'
*  Trial of Iraqi accused of smuggling arms to Palestinians opens in Amman
*  Arab lawyers condemn American threats against Iraq


*  This is no way to run a foreign policy [by Gavin Esler. Iım not quite
sure it deserves the Œremnants of decencyı tag but it does make some sharp
points about simplistic good/evil politics. It also includes the following
astonishing paragraph about the turkey shoot which ended the war: ŒI was in
Washington at the time, and the war lay heavily on the heart of Bush senior,
who had a firm and decent religious faith. Bush senior thought deeply about
the morality of sending men into battle to kill or be killed, and he did not
want any needless killing of Iraqi soldiers.ı]


*  US fears Iraq radar can see stealth plane [Strange that an arms company
able to develop something so very desirable as a means of detecting stealth
bombers should go bankrupt. Is there a story there? Felicity?]
*  US may face missile threat from N Korea, Iraq by 2015 [Summary of the
National Intelligence Estimate. Note the surprising last sentence: Œ"All
agencies agree that Iraq could test different ICBM concepts before 2015 if
UN prohibitions were eliminated in the next few years," it said, adding
"most agencies, however, believe it is unlikely to do so, even if the
prohibitions were eliminated."ı


*  Fallen angel's role key in secret ritual [Interesting Kurdish religious
minority apparently treated better now than it was under previous
administrations. Finds solidarity with fellow Iraqis in the army: ŒWe ...
fight the enemy togetherı]
*  New gas field discovery in Iraq
*  Saddam says attacks on Iraq will fail [Short extract which could be
interpreted as giving support to Al-Qaida, and website address for whole
text, for enthusiasts]
*  Blocked Contracts Hinder Breeding, Farming, FAO Official Says
*  Iraq's production capacity to rise-MEES


*  The 'Crime' of Being a Young Refugee [On the conditions in the
concentration camps of Australia. Its a long article and I cut two passages
but the whole thing is worth reading.]
*  Hopes grow of a mercy visa for Iraqi mother of sea tragedy girls


by Des Crowley
Hoover's/Financial Times, 6th January
Source: Sunday Business Post, January 06, 2002

Dublin, Ireland, 6 January, 2002 An Iraqi consultant to Bula Resources has
said the company will have to pull up its socks if it is to secure an
attractive Iraqi oil prospect it has been trying to obtain for several

Riad el Taher also said he fears that Iraq will be invaded by America by May
31 next unless the international atmosphere changes.

He did not rule out an investment by Iraqi interests in the company so long
as no war breaks out, but said that Bula will have to improve is performance
before it will be awarded the Block 4 oil prospect in the Iraqi Western
Desert area.

"Block 4 is a very serious matter which is way beyond Bula's capability. I
think that they have to shape up to be able to cope with the responsibility
of that project," said el Taher.

"They have to manage a restructure. There is a catch-22, in that the company
does not have a lot of money -- but three years ago they had the money but
did not really manage it." El Taher has just returned from Iraq to Britain,
where he lives.

He is best known as the man who heads the Friendship Across Frontiers
organisation in Britain, which promotes dialogue and peace with Iraq.

El Taher assumes that the deadline is May 31, because that is the deadline
for certain inspections by UN officials for Iraqi installations seen as a
threat by the UN. Iraq has been holding out against allowing these

El Taher's role is to help Bula to prepare the bid for block 4. He also
wants to "get some kind of trade going between Ireland and Iraq".

In his view there has been too much spin and too much speculation, and not
enough substance.

El Taher insists war against Iraq is not necessary. "If the Israelis are
serious in establishing peace, all they have to do is to withdraw from their
settlements inside the occupied territories, and the Palestinians to have
the right to return.

"Even Iraq, which is supposed to be the most belligerent country towards
Israel, will be quite happy to recognise Israel then. But Israel is the
country which does not want peace.

"And the Americans, terrorising the world, are not interested in peace, and
if there are any terrorists which have to be brought to account, it is
America," he said.,5936,3558451%255E421,0

by Robert Garran
The Mercury (from The Australian), 9th January

Instead of engaging in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qa'ida,
Australia will now lead enforcement of the sanctions against Iraq imposed in
1990 after the Gulf War.

The sanctions aim to prevent Iraq increasing its military capability with
income from oil and exports or by importing military equipment. But critics
say they have brought misery to the Iraqi people while failing to unseat

John Howard announced details of the nation's contribution to the
anti-terror campaign on October 17 in the midst of an election campaign
focused on border protection and national security.

He pledged 1550 personnel to the campaign, offering a Special Air Services
detachment, two P3-C Orions, two 707 refuelling aircraft, four F/A-18 Hornet
fighters and four navy ships.

The 150 SAS personnel are closest to the action, many of them engaged in the
hunt for members of the Taliban and al-Qa'ida.

Although the SAS has not fired any shots in anger and has had no direct
contact with enemy forces, its role is invaluable.

But the surprisingly rapid defeat of the Taliban has meant no call has been
made on the naval forces.

Only three of the promised four ships ended up being sent and all have been
diverted to join the blockade of Iraq.

The Multinational Interception Force in the north Persian Gulf includes
ships from Australia, the US, UK and Canada.

Australian leadership of the task force took effect at the weekend, Defence
Force spokesman Gary Bornholt said.

Four F/A-18 Hornets with 120 crew and support personnel are providing
protection for allied forces in the Indian Ocean atoll, Diego Garcia, 3200km
from Afghanistan.

Of the 1550 promised, it appears only 360 personnel are actively involved in
the war against terrorism: the 150 SAS troops, the 120 working with the
F/A-18s, 40 in the Australian headquarters group and 50 on exchange with US
and UK forces.

Asked last week about delays in deploying the Orions and 707s, defence force
spokesman Gary Bornholt said there had been "problems with negotiation and
... problems with the preparation of facilities at the airfield".

Times of India (AFP), 10th January

BERLIN: Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping denied Wednesday that German
soldiers mobilised in the fight against terrorism were being deployed in
Kuwait for a strike against Iraq.

But he did suggest they were headed for "the Arabian peninsula".

The minister said that the crews of special armoured cars for use against
nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons were being prepared for
deployment, but that no decision had yet been made to do so.

"A decision can be taken any time," Scharping said.

He dismissed speculation about their deployment in Kuwait in connection with
any planned US attack on Iraq.

Scharping said that "there are no indications, quite the contrary, of any
military planning in connection with Iraq".

He said that the possible deployment of NBC units "on the Arabian peninsula"
was not a sign of military preparations against Iraq.

The Czech government Wednesday announced that 350 members of an
anti-chemical protection unit would be deployed in Kuwait early March as
part of the anti-terrorist campaign.

Scharping said Germany was making available its NBC units for the
anti-terrorist fight at the wish of the United States.

by Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana
Dawn (Pakistan), 10th January, 25 Shawwal 1422

KARACHI, Jan 9: Iraq has agreed to give due consideration to Pakistan's
request to allow private sector for handling wheat exports, being purchased
under phase 11 of the UN programme 'oil-for-food', official sources said.

Under the programme Iraq has already invited bids for the purchase of 35,000
tons wheat through international tender and January 5, 2002 was the last
date for filing of bids.

Although the Trading Corporation of Pakistan has already submitted its bid
for the export of 35,000 tons wheat to Iraq, after deregulating wheat
exports the government is keen to involve private sector in the exports.

During recent visit to Iraq, TCP chairman Syed Masood Alam Rizvi took the
matter with the Grain Board of Iraq (GBI) for allowing the private sector to
participate in wheat exports.

Sources said Iraq had indicated to allow private sector to handle wheat if
the tender, submitted by the TCP for export of 35,000 tons, is awarded to
Pakistan. However, the Iraqi government has laid down a condition that the
entire shipment activity of the private sector should be under the
supervision of the government agency.

Similarly, under the new wheat specifications GBI has allowed 0.2 per cent
of inorganic and 0.8 per cent of organic matters. But the Iraqi board has
shown extra leniency by allowing Pakistan to give its own wheat

However, Iraqi authorities pointed out that specifications coming from
Pakistan will be considered and the answer could be negative or positive.
But the GBI is not ready to compromise on the gluten content of wheat, which
stands at 28 per cent, sources said.

It has been clearly conveyed to the Iraqi authorities that Pakistan is
obliged that Iraq had accepted "our wheat and because of this we have
managed to make foot-hold in the world market".

Looking at good prospects for Pakistani wheat in Iraq, the government is
planning to set up silos at Port Qasim and establish two laboratories to
ensure quality.

The Grain Board of Iraq has fixed April 8, 2002 as last shipment date for
replacing the rejected two ship loads of 62,000 tons of wheat and the TCP is
presently working with the Passco and the Punjab government for arranging
the supplies, official sources said.


Arabic News, 8th January

The process of transporting diesel fuels from north Iraq to Turkey through
the border al Khabour gate crossing were resumed on Monday after it was
suspended since September 18th, 2001.

The governor of Sharnaq district, southern east Turkey said in a statement
on Monday that the amounts of fuel which will pass by trucks will not be the
same as before because of the shortage the region suffers, noting that some
100 trucks will be permitted every day to cross the borders in the first

Arabic News, 8th January

The Turkish daily al-Zamaan ( the times) said on Monday that Turkey ha
formed a security belt and military points in northern Iraq district in
order to prevent a possible migration to Turkey in case the US carries a
military operation against Iraq.

The paper quoted employees of the Kurdish intelligence at the military
inspection point in north Iraq as saying that the US is coordinating with
Turkey to launch a military operation against Iraq, noting that this sort of
coordination is secret and stems from Washington's care not to damage its
relations with other Muslims states which oppose the launching of this


Tehran, Jan 10, IRNA -- According to the Media Monitor column of Iran
Daily's Thursday edition, quoting the Persian daily Abrar, reports have it
that Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri plans to visit Iran in the near

The visit was arranged during talks between Sabri and Foreign Minister Kamal
Kharrazi on the sidelines of a foreign ministerial meeting of the
Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in the Qatari capital of Doha some
months ago.

The sudden shift of stance by Iraqi leaders comes right at a time when the
US seems determined to include Iraq in the next phase of the so-called war
on terrorism. It seems that every time the Iraqis are in trouble, they turn
to their eastern neighbor. When President Saddam Hussein ordered his army
into Kuwait in the August 1991, Iraqi politicians made routine trips to
Tehran to win the backing of their strong neighbor.

At the time, the Iraqis assured us that they will strictly adhere to each
and every article in the UN Security Council Resolution 598 that ended eight
years of a bloody war between the two countries, not to mention that they
have still not fully implemented even a single pledge.

And now that a US attack seems inevitable, the Iraqis are once again trying
for rapprochement with Iran being fully aware of the republic's powerful
influence over the Iraqi Shiites and ethnic Kurdish groups.

"Iraq has never been sincere in the words and deeds when dealing with us.
This time also they are taking recourse to their old deceitful strategies to
gain certain incentives by playing it all nice and friendly. But it won't
work that way any more."

In his talks with Kharrazi in Doha, Sabri called for full normalization of
bilateral ties based on the 1975 Algeria Accord.

Apparently, the Iraqis are still trying to shun their international
commitments laid down in Resolution 598. Saddam is yet to formally accept
the responsibility for stating the war by invading parts of Iran in 1980.

Moreover, according to the UN statistics, Iraq must pay the Iranian
government US dlrs 97.2 billion in war reparations.

According to the daily, even more important is the release of more than
3,000 Iranian PoWs in Iraqi camps.

The US deems Saddam as a threat to its interests and so wants him out.

In the meantime, the Baath party is using the most savage methods to crush
any popular uprising against Saddam's iron-fist rule. The Iraqis have
suffered a great deal under his dictatorial ways and procedures and continue
to do so.

Saddam's time seems to be over.

The daily concluded, "Under the current circumstances, it is expected of
Iranian foreign policy-makers to think of tomorrow and pay heed to our
national interests."

It added, "History tells that governments might forget, but nations will

by Brian Whitaker
The Guardian, 10th January

Registration documents have confirmed that the weapons ship seized by Israel
in the Red Sea last week is owned by an Iraqi based in Yemen, and not by the
Palestinian Authority as Israel has claimed.

A Lebanese shipping company sold Karine A - known at the time as Rim K - for
$400,000 (£280,000) to a man whose name is given in documents as Ali Mohamad
Abass. The bill of sale, dated August 31 2001 and obtained by Lloyd's List,
states that he is an Iraqi national.

Israel maintains that Yasser Arafat was using the ship to smuggle 50 tonnes
of illicit weapons. Its claim that the ship belongs to the Palestinian
Authority would, if proved, establish a more direct link to Mr Arafat than
the discovery that the ship's captain was a Palestinian naval officer.

US officials have suggested that at least part of the cargo was intended for
the Lebanese Hizbullah organisation, which has close ties with Iran.

With arguments still raging over the weapons' destination, the Iraqi link
adds a puzzling twist to the question of who supplied the weapons - and why.

It is rare for individuals to own cargo ships - though the documents leave
no doubt that Mr Abass is the legal owner of the Karine A and has not sold
it on to anyone.


Iraq has condemned as an act of piracy Israel's seizure of a ship it said
was smuggling weapons to the Palestinians, Iraqi newspapers reported on
Tuesday. The papers said a cabinet meeting chaired by President Saddam
Hussein on Monday called the vessel's seizure a "piracy crime, an assault on
the freedom of international navigation and a blatant violation of
international conventions". "Their media says they seized the ship because
it carried weapons to the Palestinians while the real crime is that the
Zionist entity (Israel) has violated the freedom of navigation by sending
its troops 500km in the Red Sea in order to capture the vessel," the cabinet
said. The cabinet made no mention of a claim by the London-based Lloyds List
shipping registry that the Karine A had been renamed after being sold by a
Lebanese-registered company to an Iraqi national. Israel said commandos
seized the ship in the Red Sea on Thursday and found 50 tons of
Iranian-supplied weapons on board destined for the Palestinian-ruled Gaza
Strip - an allegation the Palestinians and Iran denied. Iraq has always
taken a hard line against Israel. It fired Scud missiles at the Jewish state
during the 1991 Gulf War and is opposed to peace deals between Israel and
the Palestinians. (Reuters)

Times of India ( AFP), 10th January

AMMAN: The trial of an Iraqi accused of smuggling weapons to the
Palestinians in the West Bank started Wednesday in Amman's state security

Oil tanker driver Abbas Meteiri was arrested in October in Amman and had
then confessed smuggling weapons from Iraq to the West Bank.

On Wednesday, he confirmed his confession to the court in declarations, a
copy of which was obtained by AFP.

"I accepted because these weapons were destined to support the intifada," or
Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation, he was quoted as saying.

He said he met in April 2001 in Amman an Iraqi national, Mohammad Tali, who
offered him 600 Jordanian dinars (840 dollars) to smuggle 13 Kalashnikov
assault-rifles in his truck.

He said Tali asked him to get in touch on his arrival in Amman with a man
known as "Abu Qussai" to hand him the arms shipment.

Meteiri said he had succeeded in smuggling a first load to Jordan in April
2001, and again in September the same year. However, on his second attempt,
he was caught before he could deliver the arms and explosives to Abu Qussai,
who is still at large.

Meteiri's lawyer, Mohammad Deweik, asked the court to be "lenient" toward
his client, whom he says was "forced" to smuggle the weapons.

Arabic News, 11th January

The general secretariat of the Arab Bar Association have condemned the
American threats against Iraq and stressed that these threats are a flagrant
violations to the UN charter and the principles of the international law and
all international norms.

In a statement issued on Thursday in Cairo, the Arab Bar Association called
on the international community represented by its organizations especially
the UN to interfere immediately in order to put an end to such threats.


by Gavin Esler
The Scotsman, 11th January

AS A child, I was always a sucker for black hat westerns. They were the
easiest Hollywood films to watch since they involved a simple code for
explaining the world. The bad guys, obviously, wore black hats. The good
guys wore white. It ended with a shoot-out, and the good guys won. Even if
there was a high body count, in black hat westerns you never saw the blood,
the pain, the dirt or any real suffering.

Listening to George W Bush continue in the year 2002 to divide the world
into those for or against the United States - "you are either with us, or
against us" - I was struck how this most simplistic Good versus Evil
narrative is wonderful for entertaining children, excellent for rallying
public opinion during a war, but thoroughly useless at explaining the real
world of international relations in which we mostly live.

In the Harry Potter books and film, Evil is personified as Lord Voldemort,
so terrifyingly awful that he must not be named. In Lord of the Rings, the
Evil One, as he is called, is Sauron.

Sauron, like Voldemort, is bent on conquering everything, unless the
civilised world can be saved by a motley crew of heroes who, eventually,
defeat the Evil One, his terrifying Orcs, and all his awful allies.

Sometimes, it is true, there are characters in the real world who so clearly
resemble Sauron, Voldemort and black hat cowboys that it is difficult to
remember that they are not villains invented to scare children. Osama bin
Laden, Mullah Omar, and the man who gassed his own citizens, Iraqıs Saddam
Hussein, all fall easily into most peopleıs idea of villainy, alongside
European Voldemorts like Hitler, Stalin and Milosevic.

Yet, as Mr Bush ponders his war against terror, the time has surely come for
friends of the United States to resist the simple division of the world into
good and bad guys.

This month marks the 11th anniversary of the start of the war against Iraq.
President Bush, who continually refers to American foes as "the Evil Ones",
has got to decide soon whether to extend his unfinished war on terrorism to
Iraq and elsewhere.

For most of the past decade, there has been a plan to aid the rag-bag Iraqi
opposition, stage an insurrection, wait for Iraq to respond and then bomb
the Iraqi army to smithereens.

Rather like shoot-outs in black hat Westerns, the plan is bloodless - if you
happen to be an American pilot or a planner in the Pentagon. On the ground,
among the elite Iraqi Republican Guard, it will be the opposite, a

Historians will note that the plan has echoes of the Bay of Pigs fiasco in
which the United States helped foment an invasion by Cuban exiles but did
not back the uprising fully when the time came. Diplomats and military
strategists will note that the Iraqi opposition is united by nothing much
except hatred of Saddam Hussein, and as a ground army the opposition is
untested, while Saddamıs troops are strong. And there is another obvious
catch. Even if Saddam Hussein deserves to join Mr Bushıs pantheon of "Evil
Ones", the Iraqi people do not. Iraqi soldiers are not Orcs, and Iraqis are
talented people who, no doubt, would wish to have had a better leader over
the past two decades.

The war against Iraq was halted in February 1991 by President Bushıs father,
George Bush senior, after the carnage of what newspapers called the "Road of
Death". Fleeing Iraqi troops were massacred by allied planes on the highway
leading from Kuwait City to Baghdad.

Bush senior feared his Grand Coalition against Iraq would fall apart if the
killing continued. I was in Washington at the time, and the war lay heavily
on the heart of Bush senior, who had a firm and decent religious faith. Bush
senior thought deeply about the morality of sending men into battle to kill
or be killed, and he did not want any needless killing of Iraqi soldiers.

Some in the current Bush administration see taking the war to Iraq as
pre-emptive self defence against a terrorist state, plus the settling of
business left unfinished by the elder Bush in 1991. Most Iraqis would
undoubtedly rejoice if Saddam Hussein could be painlessly replaced by
someone from outside his clan circle of cronies and family. But replacing
him by a US-sponsored civil war is unlikely to be painless. It will most
probably be complicated, dangerous, and bloody. It might not even work. And
to complicate matters, neighbouring Iran - which this week is stirring the
pot by refusing to accept a new British ambassador - would be one clear
beneficiary of any US action against Iraq.

Remember Iran? Twenty years ago it was Iran and not Iraq which was regarded
by the United States as chief among the "Evil Ones". Ayatollah Khomeini was
then the biggest villain with the biggest black hat. Now relations with Iran
are far more complicated - and far more likely to end positively.

And so this new year, George W Bush has some hugely important decisions
ahead. He has proved surprisingly adept at bringing his diverse nation
together and mobilising against terrorism. The simple rhetoric of "for us or
against us" served him well in 2001. But in 2002, the rhetoric has got to

In Israel, the Palestinian territories, India, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq,
there is no simple division between the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Black
hat westerns are fun to watch on television, but they are a dangerous
driving force behind US foreign policy.


by Sean Rayment
Hoover's, from Sunday Telegraph (United Kingdom), 6th January

UNITED STATES defence chiefs may have to review their strategy for phase 2
of the war after it emerged that Baghdad could have acquired a radar system
capable of detecting America's multi-billion-pound fleet of stealth bombers.

The radar is believed to be the same Czech-built type used by Serb forces to
shoot down a US F117 Nighthawk stealth bomber and seriously damage another
during the war in Kosovo in 1999.

US intelligence chiefs believe that Iraqi generals attempted to buy a system
for pounds 176 million from the Czech Republic in 1997 but the deal
collapsed after it was exposed by the CIA.

The Sunday Telegraph, however, has learnt that after the closure of the
Czech defence company Tesla-Pardubice in 1998, two of its Tamara radar
systems, which Iraq wanted to acquire, "disappeared", and might have been
acquired by rogue arms traders working for Baghdad.

A former employee of the company said last night: "Tesla-Pardubice closed in
1998. It had two radar systems that had not been sold but they have
disappeared. Nobody knows where they are."

Rob Hewson, the editor of Jane's Air Launched Weapons, said the weight of
circumstantial evidence indicated that Iraq had probably acquired a radar
system capable of "seeing" stealth bombers.

He said: "The Pentagon is faced with the prospect that Iraq may have a
system that can see stealth bombers and they are very, very worried."

The disclosure is likely to affect the next stages of the war against
terrorism and influence whether the US decides to carry out a full-scale
attack against Saddam Hussein's regime.

Last week it emerged that stocks of US air-launched cruise missiles had been
virtually exhausted after attacks on Kosovo and Sudan, further hampering
Pentagon plans for an attack against Iraq.

The B2 stealth bomber and the F117 stealth fighter both played vital roles
in the Kosovan and Afghan wars and, together with the mass use of cruise
missiles, they are part of a crucial first phase of US attack plans.

Such is the sensitivity surrounding stealth aircraft that even the mere
suggestion that an enemy power may have the capability to detect or shoot
one down is enough to ground the 20-strong fleet.

A spokesman for the US Department of Defence, said: "It stands to reason
that Iraq would want to get its hands on a radar system capable of detecting
stealth bombers. In the Gulf war, it was the early F117 attacks that put
most of their air defence systems out of commission. But we don't know
whether they have such a system at the moment."

The Czech radar system uses passive detection to pick up electronic
emissions from stealth aircraft. A spokesman for the Czech Embassy confirmed
that when the company went bankrupt in 1998 it still had at least two Tamara
systems, but he refused to comment on whether they had disappeared.

The B2 stealth aircraft is painted with a substance that absorbs radar
waves, producing an image on a radar screen the size of a large marble. The
Serb forces, however, demonstrated what can be achieved by being able to
detect stealth aircraft.

During the Kosovo conflict, the Serbs are believed to have plugged powerful
computers into their air-defence radar system that help to reveal the flight
paths from the faint stealth radar signatures. When a stealth bomber was
suspected to be flying through their area they saturated the sky with
missile and heavy machine-gun fire and managed to shoot one down.


Times of India (AFP), 10th January

WASHINGTON: The US most likely will face an increased ballistic missile
threat from China as well as threats from newly emerging missile powers like
North Korea, Iran and possibly Iraq before 2015, according to a US
intelligence estimate made public on Wednesday.

The National Intelligence Estimate - which represents the collective view of
the US intelligence community - also said that China's ballistic missile
forces would increase several fold - to around 75 to 100 warheads - by 2015,
but would remain considerably smaller and less capable that the strategic
missile forces of Russia and the US.

China's current intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force consists of
large, liquid propellant missiles armed with single nuclear warheads,
including about 20 CSS-4 silo based missiles capable of reaching targets in
the US, according to the estimate.

The US intelligence community believes Beijing would be able to equip these
missile with multiple warheads (MIRVs) "in a few years."

But the estimate said that China's quest for MIRV capability for its mobile
ICBMs and submarine-launched missiles "would encounter significant technical
hurdles and would be costly."

At the same time, China continues to build up its arsenal of short-range
ballistic missiles (SRBMs) deployed, in particular, across the strait from

"The latest Chinese SRBMs provide a survivable and effective conventional
strike force and expand conventional ballistic missile coverage," the US
intelligence estimate concluded.

It said that Russia's arsenal would decline to less than 2,000 warheads by
2015 with or without arms control.

The assessment showed no major changes since the last time the US
intelligence community reviewed foreign ballistic missile trends in 1999.

But it found that "emerging ballistic missile states continue to increase
the range, reliability and accuracy of the missile systems in their
inventories - posing ever greater risks to US forces, interests, and allies
throughout the world."

Proliferation of technology, materials and expertise - especially by
Russian, Chinese and North Korean entities - "has enabled emerging missile
states to accelerate missile development, acquire new capabilities, and
potentially develop even more capable and longer range future systems."

North Korea's Taepo Dong-2, which is capable of reaching parts of the US
with a nuclear weapons-sized payload, may be ready for flight-testing, an
unclassified summary of the report said, noting Pyongyang had extended a
voluntary moratorium on flight testing until 2003.

It said that Iran, which had a medium-range ballistic missile, also was
pursuing a ICBM/space launch vehicle (SLV) system.

"All agencies agree that Iran could attempt a launch in mid-decade, but
Tehran is likely to take until the last half of the decade to flight test an
ICBM/SLV," it said. "One agency further believes that Iran is unlikely to
conduct a successful test until after 2015."

Iraq would likely spend several years re-establishing its short-range
ballistic missile force and pursuing medium-range ballistic missiles if UN
sanctions against Baghdad were lifted, the assessment said.

"All agencies agree that Iraq could test different ICBM concepts before 2015
if UN prohibitions were eliminated in the next few years," it said, adding
"most agencies, however, believe it is unlikely to do so, even if the
prohibitions were eliminated."


by Mariam Fam
Washington Times, 5th January

YARMOUK COMPOUND, Iraq (AP): Tucked away in a mountainous area in northern
Iraq is the Yarmouk Compound, home to followers of an obscure faith derided
by some as a religion of devil worship.

Yazidi traditions are so shrouded in secrecy, no outsiders have seen its
most important rituals. Few people besides Yazidi religious leaders have
copies of the group's holy books.

Living on the margins of this predominantly Islamic country, Yazidis
struggle to maintain their traditions, with many settling in the compound's
3,000 squat mud houses at the end of an unpaved 3-mile road.

"It's better to live alone so that the morals of our youth wouldn't change,"
said Rashu Aizdu, a 56-year-old Yazidi school worker.

Yazidis are ethnic Kurds whose religion blends elements of Zoroastrianism,
Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other faiths, researchers say.

Sheik Adi, a Sufi Arab who lived in the 12th century in northern Iraq, is
considered the religion's chief saint. Many Yazidi rituals center on the
sheik's tomb, north of Mosul, where pilgrims hold festivals that include
some ceremonies conducted in secret.

Accusations of satanic worship are rooted in a central figure in the Yazidi
tradition called Malak Ta'us, or the Peacock Angel, who many Muslims and
other non-Yazidis consider the devil.

Yazidis, however, believe Malak Ta'us fell from grace, then later repented
and must be appeased to avert his wrath. Yazidis have a hymn dedicated to
Malak Ta'us and often display his peacock image and kiss it as part of their

"He can kill us, destroy our houses and punish us. We fear him," said Mr.
Aizdu, sitting on the floor in a bare room where the compound's men gather
for coffee and a smoke.

Yazidis have small communities in Syria, Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Armenia,
but the majority of the estimated 100,000 followers live in Iraq.

Iraq's government boasts of its open-mindedness toward the Yazidis, but the
latter are little more than tolerated. Most live in poverty and are the
target of contempt.

The government forbids discrimination in hiring or housing, but can't stop
other Iraqis from calling Yazidis "devil worshippers" or viewing them as

Though their beliefs and lifestyle may set Yazidis apart from other Iraqis,
they say times of need bring them closer. This, for instance, happens in the

"We live together, sleep together and fight the enemy together. One gives
his blood to the other ‹ his friend, his brother," Mr. Aizdu said.

Nelida Fuccaro, a lecturer on modern Middle Eastern history at the Institute
of Arab and Islamic Studies in Exeter, England who has also written a book
on the Yazidis, said Yazidis were persecuted in colonial Iraq. Now there is
no government policy of religious discrimination against them and they are
generally better integrated into society. Still, social discrimination and
prejudice against them continue, Miss Fuccaro added.

Ihsan Mohammed, a sociologist at Baghdad University, said, "The government
does not discriminate between one minority and another or between minorities
and the larger society" and fights those who do.

Although some Yazidis in Iraq live in areas populated by Muslims or
Christians, they generally prefer to live in all-Yazidi communities like
Yarmouk Compound.

As little as Yarmouk offers, young Yazidis, like Ta'alo Haidar, refuse to
leave, though they say they want a better life. Yazidis say they are
particularly destitute, in an economy crippled by more than a decade of
economic sanctions, imposed by the United Nations as punishment for Iraq's
1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"We want development here. We want roads, electricity and phones," said Mr.
Haidar, a farm worker who lives in the compound.

Vehicles are rare here. Residents peer down from their roofs or peek from
behind metal doors on hearing the sound of an approaching car.

Many Yazidis in this community near Mosul, some 200 miles north of Baghdad,
are related and virtually everyone knows each other. Most young men in the
compound commute to work on farms in nearby villages and towns.

Today, most speak Kurdish and few understand Arabic ‹ the language of their
holy books, called Kitab al-Jilwah, the Book of Emergence or Book of
Revelation, and Mashef Rash, the Black Book.

Men are encouraged to leave beards untrimmed, grow their hair and braid it.
They prefer to dress in white, since they believe their religion sanctifies
the color. Yazidis regard marriage outside their faith as a sin punishable
by ostracism or even death to restore lost honor.

Among their more unusual beliefs is that evil is found in lettuce;
therefore, the vegetable should never be eaten. It is one of the traditions
Yazidis said they make sure to observe though they don't know their origin.

"We have to follow our traditions," Mr. Aizdu said.

Hoover's/Financial Times, 6th January

The Iraqi press reported that a huge gas field was uncovered in the western
Ukas region of the country near the Syrian border with an estimated 60
billion cubic meters of reserves. The Iraqi Ministry of oil stated that it
is possible that this area contains other large quantities of gas reserves.
Total Iraqi gas reserves are estimated at 5,000 billion cubic meters, of
which 3,100 billion cubic meters have already been claimed. -

Times of India (AFP), 6th January


The president, referring to Arabs also hailed "all Muslim mujahedin who have
followed the faithful examples of Islam and Arabism."

"A salute to them wherever they are, giving away soul and substance in
sacrifice for the great values of faith and virtue, and facing oppression,
falsehood and tyranny to defend right and seek for fairness and justice.


The official speech, which followed a series of programmes glorifying the
army and Saddam, was posted in Arabic and English on the website of the
Iraqi News Agency at


U.N. holds on supply contracts are hindering Iraq's efforts to spray crops
and vaccinate livestock, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
representative in Iraq Amir Khalil said in comments published by the
official Iraq News Agency.  Khalil said the country urgently needs livestock
vaccines and "new crop-dusting planes or the provision of spare parts for
the three helicopters Iraq currently has," but that 24 contracts for
livestock, 51 for irrigation and 133 for spare parts and machinery are among
the 231 contracts currently blocked by the U.N. Security Council sanctions
committee on Iraq.

"FAO's office in Baghdad has provided all the necessary information on the
nature of the contracts and explained the dire need for them to expedite
their approval by the 661 committee," Khalil said, referring to the
committee by the number of the Security Council that created it.

Iraqi wheat, barley, date palm and sugar cane fields are sprayed each March
through August to ward off a variety of pests.  For the first time since the
1991 Gulf War, Iraqi-flown Iraqi helicopters in May sprayed areas in Basra
and Nineveh provinces, both in U.S.-imposed no fly zones.  The FAO has since
1991 conducted spraying flights in the no-fly zones, and the U.N. agency
used to provide spare parts for Iraqi helicopters as well
(Reuters/, Jan. 7).


WorldOil (AFP), 11th January

Iraq's oil production capacity is expected to rise from 2.8 million barrels
per day (bpd) in the past two years to 3.1 million bpd in 2002, the Middle
East Economic Survey (MEES) reports.

Iraq's sustained oil production capacity is scheduled to increase to 3.1
million bpd in 2002, compared to 2.8 million bpd in 2000-2001," the industry
newsletter says in its January 14 edition, citing "authoritative sources."

his is attributable to "the arrival over the past few months of equipment
and spare parts through the UN oil-for-food program that has allowed for the
maintenance of some producing fields, the rehabilitation of surface
facilities and the putting on-stream of semi developed (pre-1990) fields,"
it said.

he Nicosia-based weekly noted that Iraq has yet to achieve its stated goal
of regaining the output capacity level of 3.5 million bpd it had before it
was subjected to UN sanctions following its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

However, Baghdad "has been able to increase its sustainable capacity from
2.4 million bpd in 1998 rising to 2.8 million bpd in 2000 and 2001 to the
current level of 3.05 million bpd, with a programmed boost to 3.1 million
bpd in the next few months," it said.

"This has been made possible by national effort and the gradual importation
of spare parts and equipment for specific upstream projects," it added.

Iraqi officials told the newsletter that the main reason Baghdad still fell
short of its target was that US and British representatives on the UN
sanctions committee had "put on hold or refused to approve major contracts
that are essential for the overall development of the upstream sector."

According to MEES, Iraq's oil policy "calls for the capping of crude exports
through the (oil for-food) program at around 2.2 million bpd while
allocating the remaining 800,000-900,000 bpd to domestic consumption and
cross-border trade with Jordan, Turkey, Syria and the Gulf."

The oil-for-food program allows Iraq to sell crude under UN supervision to
buy basic goods.

But Iraq's ability to increase its oil output capacity despite the sanctions
has lately been overshadowed by the political prospects awaiting the country
in 2002, MEES said.

Whatever the outcome of the confrontation between the United States and Iraq
in 2002 -- "and there is no doubt that such a showdown is on the cards" --
the political crisis will be "certain to impact again on the country's oil
industry," it said.


by Richard C. Paddock
Los Angeles Times, 5th January

SYDNEY, Australia -- Thurgam al Abbadi has never been convicted of a crime
or sentenced to prison, but he is locked up indefinitely here behind high
metal fences and razor wire.

A refugee from Iraq, he has spent two years with his family in Australian
detention centers. He has no idea when he will get out.

"They think we are criminals," he said bitterly during a recent interview at
the Villawood Immigrant Detention Center in suburban Sydney. "There is no
freedom." Thurgam, angry and disillusioned, turned 12 in November.

Unlike other Western-style democracies, Australia has a policy of locking up
all applicants for political asylum who have arrived without proper
documentation. Some remain in custody for years while the government decides
their fate.

Children who arrive without their parents are locked up with adults in the
country's booming chain of detention centers, run by a private
American-owned company. A handful of children born in detention have never
lived anywhere else.

Doctors worry that the long-term confinement of children in facilities where
they frequently witness violence and are denied adequate schooling is
causing serious psychological harm. Some children, they fear, will never

Several children have attempted suicide. Others have gone on hunger strikes.
At least three teenage boys have sewn their lips shut to protest their
incarceration and treatment, according to detainees.

Some officials say the detention centers are worse than the country's
prisons. Human rights activists worry that when long-term detainees are
eventually granted asylum and released, they will be so psychologically
scarred by their experience that they will have difficulty adapting to life
in Australia.

Children Out of Detention, a citizens group opposed to the mandatory
incarceration of children, says that guards have the authority to
strip-search anyone older than 10 and that children as young as 3 have been
placed with parents in the high security lockup used for punishment.

A 2-year-old was put in leg locks for 45 minutes and an 8-year-old boy was
handcuffed, the group says. Children at the centers generally receive no
schooling after they turn 12, and even up to that age it is not always

Some former staff members say that the detention system creates
opportunities for sexual abuse of children and that allegations of abuse are
not properly investigated.

Prime Minister John Howard contends that he must take a hard line against
unwanted refugees because the country of 19 million people cannot absorb
large numbers of immigrants.

The incarceration of all asylum seekers is part of a strategy to make
Australia appear as unattractive as possible to refugees overseas. Detention
of the refugees also makes it easier to handle their cases, officials say.

"We detain people in order to have them available for processing and ensure
they are available for removal if they have no lawful entitlement to be
here," said Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock, one of the architects of
the tough refugee policy.

The government reports that 582 children are in detention, including 53
unaccompanied by any family member. Ruddock says many of the unaccompanied
minors are teenage boys who would likely have been fighting if they had been
in Afghanistan. Releasing any children, he says, would encourage parents to
send their offspring alone to Australia in the hope that they could join
them later.

The minister maintains that all long-term detainees remain locked up by
their own choice. They are free to go back to their homeland any time, he
says, or to a country through which they passed en route to Australia.

"They believe if they stick it out long enough, they will break our
resolve," he said. "Nobody is held against their will."


Howard won reelection in November largely because of his strong anti-refugee
stance, but a growing number of citizen activists and officials has begun
criticizing the government's approach.

Much of the disapproval stems from the treatment of detainees by guards
employed by Australasian Correctional Management, the private company that
runs the detention centers. The firm is a subsidiary of the American company
Wackenhut Corrections Corp., which was founded by former FBI agent George R.

Ron McLeod, the government ombudsman, concluded last year that detainees had
fewer rights than convicted criminals and that detention center guards were
less accountable than prison guards. McLeod said he is particularly
concerned that women and children were kept in detention and that "there was
little distinction between their treatment and that of the predominantly
single male population."

Australian Human Rights Commissioner Sev Ozdowski says he would investigate
allegations that children were manhandled by guards.

Ozdowski says the agency would examine whether Australia was living up to
its responsibilities under the international Convention on the Rights of the
Child, which says children should be detained only as a last resort and only
for the shortest possible time.

Many youths in detention have joined adults in demonstrations that have
turned violent and been suppressed by guards using water cannons and tear

Steven Vose, a Perth Children's Court magistrate handling the case of two
teenage detainees accused of throwing rocks during one protest, says
violence is inevitable when young people are locked up indefinitely. The two
defendants, ages 15 and 17, had been detained for 18 months with no end in

"These boys will spend a substantial period of their youth in jail for
nothing," the judge said. He said he "would be doing them a favor" to send
them to juvenile hall.

Dr. Aamer Sultan, a Baghdad-trained physician, is studying the effects of
long-term detention on asylum seekers and concludes that some suffer serious
psychological harm.

He doesn't have to go far to see the subjects of his study. He has been
locked up at the Villawood detention center for 2 1/2 years.

He says he fled Iraq in 1999 after he was accused of aiding the opposition
to President Saddam Hussein. He escaped to Turkey, then flew to Sydney and
asked for asylum. Australia rejected his application but cannot send him
back to Iraq because the two governments have no diplomatic relations. In
Sultan's view, he is serving an indeterminate sentence at Villawood.

"By law you are not a criminal, but you spend the rest of your life in
prison," he said during an interview at the center. "We are not paying for
what we have done. We are paying for what we are. I think we came to a very
racist country. I think that we made a fatal mistake."

For his study, he observed 36 detainees for more than a year and watched as
their condition steadily deteriorated. In 33 of the 36 cases, he concluded
that long-term detention induced psychoses or severe depressive illness.

He wrote a brief summary of his research that was published last year in the
prestigious British medical journal Lancet and co-wrote another article
published in December in the Medical Journal of Australia.

He notes that many refugees seeking asylum were imprisoned or tortured in
their homelands and are psychologically vulnerable. But at Villawood, he
wrote in Lancet, the treatment of detainees appears arbitrary, deliberately
harsh, culturally insensitive and disrespectful.

"I and my fellow detainees came in search of freedom after suffering extreme
persecution in our home countries," he wrote. "What has shocked us most is
that our human rights have been profoundly violated again, this time by a
country that is supposed to respect the principles of human rights. If a
Western country can do this and get away with it, what hope do we have?"


by Andrew Clennell
Sydney Morning Herald, 5th January

They became the three little angels. All dressed up in the photo on the
front pages, they were among more than 350 boat people killed in a disaster
at sea, failing in their quest to be reunited with their Iraqi father in

Now, in a rare show of mercy by the Howard Government towards refugees who
attempt to come by boat, it appears the mother of the dead girls, Sondos
Ismael, may be granted a visa to come to Australia to join her husband,
Ahmed Alzalimi.

A spokesman for the Immigration Minister, Philip Ruddock, confirmed Mrs
Ismael was having her application to settle in Australia processed urgently
the horrendous circumstances surrounding her case.

Mr Ruddock's spokesman also revealed the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees had determined all 47 of the survivors of the October boat
disaster off Java were genuine refugees and Australia was considering taking
eight who had family links here.

"Mrs Ismael, with a number of other survivors, was referred to the
Australian embassy at Jakarta at the end of November for resettlement in
Australia," Mr Ruddock's spokesman said.

"Our embassy agreed to process her urgently on compassionate grounds and ...
in Australia a view was taken it should be processed urgently."

The spokesman said security and police checks were being obtained and this
was delaying Mrs Ismael getting the visa.

Yesterday, Mr Alzalimi told the Herald the loss of his three only children -
Eman, 8, Zhra, 6, and Fatimah, 5 - compounded the tragedy his family had
experienced when his wife lost a son, Mohsin, shortly after his birth in

Mr Alzalimi said he could not understand why his wife's application was
taking so long.

"Believe me, I feel like a dead person," Mr Alzalimi said through
interpreter Keysar Trad, of the Lebanese Moslems Association.

"Life has no taste for me, my wife is away from me, life has no flavour. I
want to see my poor wife."

Mr Alzalimi said being reunited with her was as important as for a person
"dying of thirst" to be given water.

"I need to see my wife. If it were not for her, death would be very
attractive to me."

Mr Alzalimi said Mrs Ismael, who was very depressed, was staying at a
UN-sponsored hotel in Jakarta.

"She stays in her room all the time except at meal time when she comes out
to eat," he said.

"I tell her to go out and walk around but she doesn't want to.

"Most of the time, she's sitting in her room looking at the picture of the
three girls and she's always crying."

Mr Alzalimi said Mrs Ismael's spirits had lifted when the Government allowed
one survivor, 12-year-old Zaynah Alrimahi, to settle in Australia with her
uncle in late December after she was orphaned in the tragedy.

Mrs Ismael's hopes grew with every interview she was called to about her
application to come here but when she was not called she got "very, very

"Several times she sits in her hotel room and thinks about throwing herself
out the window," said Mr Alzalimi.

Neville Wran, former premier of NSW, was so moved by the story of the three
dead girls that he distanced himself from his Federal Labor colleagues and
asked for more compassion.

"When I saw those three little girls on the front page of all the papers
this morning, something told me Mr Ruddock was wrong," he said during the
election. "We're not dealing with a problem, we're dealing with people."

If and when Sondos Ismael gets the opportunity to settle here , she will be
granted a 4 year temporary protection visa and could apply for permanent
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