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News, 5-11/1/02 (2): IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Iraqi consultant sounds double warning on Bula's oil ambitions [Irish oil company. The Iraqi consultant is Riad el Taher, founder of Friendship across Frontiers] * 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 Pakistan] IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * 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 REMNANTS OF DECENCY * This is no way to run a foreign policy [by Gavin Esler. Iım not quite sure it deserves the remnants 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: 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.ı] MILITARY MATTERS * 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: "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 INSIDE IRAQ * 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: We ... 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 REFUGEES * 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 IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20020106670.4 _8bca0007c1567af6 * IRAQI CONSULTANT SOUNDS DOUBLE WARNING ON BULA'S OIL AMBITIONS 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 years. 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 inspections. 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. http://www.themercury.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,3558451%255E421,0 0.html * DIGGERS RUN IRAQI BLOCKADE 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 Hussein. 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". http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=639065278 * TROOP DEPLOYMENT NOT A SIGN OF ANTI-IRAQ PLAN: GERMAN MINISTER 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. http://www.dawn.com/2002/01/10/ebr2.htm * IRAQ MAY ALLOW PRIVATE SECTOR TO HANDLE SHIPMENT: WHEAT EXPORTS 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 specification. 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. IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020108/2002010809.html * DIESEL FUEL TRANSPORT OPERATIONS RESUMED FROM NORTH IRAQ TO TURKEY 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 phase. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020108/2002010811.html * TURKISH SECURITY BELT IN NORTH IRAQ 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 operation. http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/20154936.htm * DAILY ANALYZES HIDDEN PART OF IRAQ IN TERRORISM 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 future. 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 not." http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,630234,00.html * IRAQI REVEALED AS OWNER OF WEAPONS SHIP 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. http://www.baghdad.com/?action=display&article=11293747&template=baghdad/ind exsearch.txt&index=recent * IRAQ DECRIES ISRAELI 'PIRACY' Worldnews.com (ISN), 8th January 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) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=1038123424 * TRIAL OF IRAQI ACCUSED OF SMUGGLING ARMS TO PALESTINIANS OPENS IN AMMAN 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 court. 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. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020111/2002011116.html * ARAB LAWYERS CONDEMN AMERICAN THREATS AGAINST IRAQ 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. REMNANTS OF DECENCY http://news.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=35462002 * THIS IS NO WAY TO RUN A FOREIGN POLICY 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 bloodbath. 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 change. 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. MILITARY MATTERS http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20020107670.4 _cfd0000eab4ae1e4 * US FEARS IRAQ RADAR CAN SEE STEALTH PLANE 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. [.....] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=1740404010 * US MAY FACE MISSILE THREAT FROM N KOREA, IRAQ BY 2015 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 Taiwan. "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." INSIDE IRAQ http://www.washtimes.com/national/20020105-73289.htm * FALLEN ANGEL'S ROLE KEY IN SECRET RITUAL 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 rituals. "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 defiled. 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 army. "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. http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20020106670.2 _e4330001afb53ee5 * NEW GAS FIELD DISCOVERY IN IRAQ 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. - (menareport.com) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=78248560 * SADDAM SAYS ATTACKS ON IRAQ WILL FAIL 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 http://www.uruklink.net/iraq/espeech.htm http://www.baghdad.com/?action=display&article=11306869&template=baghdad/ind exsearch.txt&index=recent * BLOCKED CONTRACTS HINDER BREEDING, FARMING, FAO OFFICIAL SAYS Worldnews.com, 10th January 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/MSNBC.com, Jan. 7). [.....] http://www.worldoil.com/news/newsstory.asp?ref=http://188.8.131.52/feeds/wo rldoil/new/article_e.asp?energy24=246189 * IRAQ'S PRODUCTION CAPACITY TO RISE-MEES 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. REFUGEES http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la 000001034jan05.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dworld * THE 'CRIME' OF BEING A YOUNG REFUGEE 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 recover. 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 available. 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. Wackenhut. 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 gas. 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 sight. "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?" [.....] http://www.smh.com.au/news/0201/05/national/national4.html * HOPES GROW OF A MERCY VISA FOR IRAQI MOTHER OF SEA TRAGEDY GIRLS 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 Australia. 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 given 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 1994. 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 depressed". "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 residency. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.