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News, 19-26/1/02 (1)

News, 19-26/1/02 (1)

The main development is that the air strikes have resumed after a pause
since November. And aggressively ­ three strikes in the week. One of the
articles in the ŒIncitementı section (ŒTurkish security circles and Iraqı,
but its a piece of BBC gossip) suggests that this is part of a strategy of
provocations leading up to a final war. There are other indications that a
decision has been made to go to war, but they may just be wishful thinking
on the part of the authors. From the US point of view, S.Hussein is under
control whereas the likely beneficiaries of his overthrow - Syria and Iran ­
may not be. We can assume that the US establishment knows that the Œweapons
of mass destructionı arenıt likely to amount to very much despite the absurd
rhetoric that abounds at the present time. And that they probably wonıt
amount to anything at all unless Mr Hussein really has his back to the wall.
So the only serious reason they could have for going to war is that it is
the only way (short of restoring full control over the Iraqi economy into
the hands of the Iraqi government) of ending the murderous policy of
sanctions. This should be borne in mind. Those in the US and British
establishments who are arguing against military intervention are arguing for
the indefinite prolongation of sanctions and the continued steady death by
starvation and preventable disease of hundreds of thousands of people.


*  Complexities of Islamic tolerance [Conor Cruise OıBrien, reviewing a book
on the status of Christians and Jews under Islam, thinks Œthe United States
and Israelı are going to Œlaunch a joint attack on Saddam Hussein's Iraqı
and that on the whole itıll all be all right and the Arabs wonıt really
mind. In passing he gives a very interesting quotation from ŒDiodoros, the
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Palestine and Jordanı, by whom he presumably
means Diodoros, Patriarch of Jerusalem.
*  Tribal Lessons for Dealing With Saudis and Iraqis [The central idea of
understanding these countries in terms of networks of tribal loyalties
rather than as Œpeopleı or Œrulersı is important, but the article in the end
doesnıt get anywhere.]
*  Secret plan to topple Saddam [Summary of an article in Newsweek which
suggests that there will be an attack on Iraq within six months. But nothing
is given that we donıt already know]
*  Turkish security circles and Iraq
*  Bush Holding Off on Iraq Decision
*  Don't fumble on Iraq [Jerusalem Post getting nervous that the US mightnıt
seize the time to attack Iraq but instead go running off after Somalia and
Philippines and other places in the world that are of no earthly use for the
security of Israel. Madeleine Albright is quoted as saying recently that ŒIt
is hard to see that deposing Saddam] is feasible.ı the article states: ŒWhen
the UN inspectors left Iraq, they believed that Saddam had enough VX
precursors to produce 200 tons of the poison, and had 41 sites capable of
doing so in a matter of weeks.ı Does anyone else remember that? or does it
perhaps just appear in R.Butlerıs book?
*  Rhetoric Fails to Budge Policy on Iraq [Extracts. The core of the article
is a complaint that the US isnıt supporting any terrorist (they prefer the
word Œlethalı, perhaps because it sounds a bit like Œlegalı) activity inside
Iraq. It goes on to give details about the auditing complaints against the
INC. It also mentions a letter to Bush by Œformer senior military and
intelligence officialsı arguing against a war on Iraqı]

by Olivia Ward
Toronto Star, 20th January
Long rambling article which reads like a not very competent cut and paste
compilation of all the articles that have been written recently for and
against the INC, and on the evidence for Iraqi involvement in Sept 11.
Records the Mohammad Atta/al-Ani  meeting in Prague as if it is an
established fact, and Milos Zemanıs statement that they discussed attacking
Radio Free Europe without mentioning that he later withdrew this as a mere
by Howard Witt
Chicago Tribune, 21st January
Another standard account of the INC except that the description of
anonymous, seedy premises in Knightsbridge here becomes a description of
anonymous, seedy premises Œin the shadow of the Capitolı in Washington.


*  US can't halt Arabs buying arms: Iraq [though one doubts if the Iraqi
paper, Ath-Thawra really asserted in so many words a right to acquire
Œweapons of mass destructionı as the article claims.
*  Citing 'hostile Iraqi threats,' U.S. strikes anti-aircraft site [First
*  Coalition Forces Strike Iraqi Site, U.S. Says
*  Coalition Warplanes Bomb Iraq Site [Second strike]
*  U.S. warns Baghdad as jets bomb again [Third strike. Note the statement -
from Reuters - that Œit (Iraq) forced UN (sic) inspectors to leaveı and
later, the more slippery formula Œinspectors had to abandon the country in
*  Iraq says U.S. planes attacking sites in the south for 3 days [Extract
specifying where the latest attack took place]
*  Nuclear team [IAEA] heads for Baghdad


*  Iraq got only half of medicines it needs in the frame of oil-for-food
*  UK accused of impeding Iraqi oil programme [The emphasis here is on the
effect of the US/British imposed pricing policy on Iraqi oil sales.]
*  Oil sales rise sharply, below average [Here the emphasis is on those
holds that sabotage the infrastructure of the oil industry]
*  ŒOil-for-food' [Benon Sevan] chief in Iraqi Kurdistan [Although it seems
fairly obvious, I think this is the first time Iıve seen it said in so many
words that, whereas 1,854 contracts are on hold for Southern and Central
Iraq, only two are on hold for the Kurdish Autonomous Zone. Might this not
have something to do with the perceived superiority of the KAZıs performance
under Oil for Food?]


*  Bank discriminated in closing account, Iraq-born man says [Closure of an
account used by Iraqis to wire money to relatives in Iraq. The bank says it
wasnıt done on racial grounds, ie the fact that Hussain Alshafei is an Iraqi
had nothing to do with it. Um.]

AND, IN NEWS, 19-26/1/02 (2)


*  Kuwaiti min describes ties with Tehran as rapidly expanding
*  Iraq: Iran to free 697 Iraqi prisoners of war
*  Iraqi call for exchange of visits with Kuwait
*  Saudis and Americans may adjust US presence
*  A chill wind from Teheran [Long Jerusalem Post discussion of
Iran-Palestine-Israel relations, expressing apprehension about an
Iranian/Arafat rapprochement. Only extracts given here, mainly on Iranıs
nuclear potential. A worry for Israel. If they succeed in persuading their
protector to go after Iraq, the beneficiary may prove to be Iran. Who may
turn out to be worse than Iraq.]
*  Iraq calls on Annan to unblock oil contracts, seeks Tunisia deal
*  Iraq to sign free trade agreements with three Arab states in the first
quarter of 2002
*  First Iraqi prisoners go home [As is always the case these stories
concern prisoners being returned to Iraq from Iran, never the other way
round (Iraq denies that it has prisoners). One wonders what, apart from the
dead, the Iranians are getting in exchange]
*  Geostrategic gambit nets Turkey little [Some small satisfaction to be had
in the fact that all Turkeyıs twisting and bowing and scraping in the courts
of the mighty isnıt doing her any good. For years Turkey has been on the
verge of EU membership, expected to follow all the fashions of EU
governmentsı policy. Now, ending state control over banking, transport and
communications have become the necessary conditions of entry. They will do
all that and the chances are they still wonıt be let in. If they had any
sense of dignity, theyıd tell us to take a running jump and form an alliance
with their fellow Muslims ...]
*  Mousa says he will visit the US on January 30th
*  Arab League Chief Visits Kuwait
*  Iran Frees Hundreds of Iraqi Prisoners of War
*  Direct Iran-Syria air link via Iraq to start soon: Mazaheri
*  Air flights to be resumed shortly between Iraq, Iran [extract]
*  Arab League chief: A strike against Iraq unacceptable
*  Arab League Comments on Iraq Draw Criticism [from an Egyptian commentator
who says Moussa is merely reflecting what the Arab people think, not what
the people that count - the rulers - think]
*  Oil accord signed [with Tunisia]
*  The Arab view: The way Syria sees it [Extract on Iraqi/Syrian relations.
The article, published in the Jerusalem Post, seems to come from a journal
published in the United Arab Emirates but is written by someone with an
Anglo Saxon name.]
*  US anxiety drives Saddam to seek new Arab allies [Financial Times account
of recent Iraqi diplomatic initiatives, placing them in the context of the
forthcoming Arab League summit.]
*  Iraqi foreign minister arrives in Tehran

*  Syria turns to Iraq in moment of need
by George Baghdadi
Asia Times (from Inter Press Service), 26th January
Makes much the same points about Syria/Iraqi relations as ŒThe way Syria
sees itı above.


*  India to build railway network for Iraq
*  Iraq to seek Russian support over UN sanctions [Aziz visiting Moscow and
*  Russia Warns U.S. Against Military Strike on Iraq
*  Iraq defies US 'smart sanctions'


*  Troublesome priest? [The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Rowan Williams, who was
near the twin towers on Sept 11. He compares what he felt then to what
people in Baghdad and elsewhere must have felt when the bombs were falling
on them.]
*  46 Busted in Iraq Protest


*  Clinton: U.S. policies not to blame for terror by Muslim radicals [Debate
on ŒAmerica and Islamı organised by W.Clintonıs own presidential foundation]
*  Pipelineistan, Part 2: The games nations play [I donıt know what this is
(Part 1 of Part 2 of what appears to be a speech) but its a splendid birdıs
eye view of the geopolitics of oil, centring on Central Asia, but taking in
China and Kosovo. Its here because I like it, not because it has much to do
with Iraq, but it does state confidently that ŒSaddam will not be attacked,
because Saddam is the ultimate reason for American military bases in the
Gulf - a splendid affair because on top of it all it is a free ride, the
expenses being paid by the ultra flush sheikdoms.ı And this is a man who
seems to know what heıs talking about.]


by Conor Cruise O'Brien
Irish Independent, 20th January


Arab anti-semitism was, of course, mainly Muslim but Arab Christians,
concerned for their own status within a mainly Muslim culture, were
determined not to be outdone. Thus in May 1990 at an emergency Arab League
Conference in Baghdad, after Saddam Hussein had threatened to incinerate
half of Israel, Saddam was fervently thanked by Diodoros, the Greek Orthodox
Patriarch of Palestine and Jordan. According to Diodoros: "Allah [sic] sent
Saddam Hussein as the commander to receive a victory for Iraq and the
liberation of Palestine, and if God wills, the liberation of Palestine will
come through Saddam Hussein. The war against Israel is not on behalf of one
convent or one building but for the homeland and it will continue until the
liberation of the entire homeland. This subject has proven the unity of the
Palestinian people, Christian and Muslim."


The next important test in this context seems likely to come when the United
States and Israel launch a joint attack on Saddam Hussein's Iraq. It does
not seem likely that Saddam can long survive such an attack, so it is likely
that the anti-American and anti-Israeli demonstrations will continue to be
low key.

But the terrorist movements have still fanatical partisans, and considerable
backing from among young Arab males. If, as seems to be the case, the
Americans are firmly bent on extirpating terrorism, wherever it is to be
found, they will have their work cut out.

by David Ignatius
International Herald Tribune, 21st January 21, 2002

PARIS: Richard Helms, the former CIA director, once made a trenchant
observation about the Arab world. "Forget all that newspaper stuff about
presidential speeches and cabinet appointments. Pay attention to the things
that are hundreds of years old - the religious sects, the clans, the
tribes." That admonition encapsulated the essential secret learned over the
centuries by the British, which allowed them to govern a global empire: To
understand and, when necessary, manipulate another society, you must
identify its true centers of power and their linkages, loyalties and
pressure points. In traditional societies, these are usually tribal groups
with the kinship ties of an extended family. The intensity of tribal bonds
has been on display the past few months in Afghanistan. The reason the
Taliban "government" collapsed so fast was that it didn't actually control
the nation. Indeed, Afghanistan was not a nation at all in the modern sense.
It was a collection of tribes and clans whose loyalty to the Taliban
disappeared in a few days when it became clear that the United States was
serious about winning the war. Loyalties were quickly transferred to - or
perhaps it would be better to say rented by - a new governing group.

There is much talk in Washington these days about extending the Afghanistan
lesson to other areas of the world that harbor terrorism. By this the
strategists usually seem to mean using special forces or satellite-guided
bombs or pilotless reconnaissance planes. But on the political level the
real lesson of Afghanistan is about the importance of tribal loyalties. And
it has special relevance for Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

The master player of this game was Jordan's King Hussein, and it is why he
proved to be the most durable ruler in the modern history of the Middle
East. It was his practice to pay small retainers to the leaders of each of
the key Bedouin tribes and clans of his country. For help in funding these
tribal payments, he is said to have turned to the United States. One man who
keenly appreciates the tribal factor in Arab politics is the new, de facto
ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Abdullah. His power base for many years
has been the National Guard, a military unit created by King Faisal in the
1960s to give greater power to Saudi Arabia's Bedouin tribes. Prince
Abdullah remained rooted in this traditional power structure even as other
members of the royal family, led by King Fahd and his defense minister,
Prince Sultan, embraced the modernizing ethos of the United States.

The new Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Nawaf, is also a man who
understands the world of the tribes. It is said that during the reign of
King Faisal, Prince Nawaf helped distribute the royal payments to Saudi
tribal leaders. It was his appointment last August, in place of the
pro-American Prince Turki, who had run Saudi intelligence for more than 20
years, which signaled that Prince Abdullah was really in charge. Prince
Abdullah's traditional approach to power may not reassure Saudi Arabia's
critics in the Pentagon, who were said last week to want to pull U.S.
military forces out of the kingdom. Many Saudis seem eager for them to
leave, even though that would effectively grant Osama bin Laden's main

But before abandoning Prince Abdullah, critics should consider that his
tribal-based approach to internal stability is similar to that of America's
old friend, the late King Hussein.

Iraq is the Arab nation where the tribal substructure matters most -
especially to those who harbor dreams of replacing Saddam Hussein. By one
estimate, roughly three-quarters of Iraqis are members of one of the
country's roughly 150 tribal clans. Among the most famous of these are the
Dulaimis, the Jaburis and Saddam's own clan, the Takritis.

If the United States is serious about toppling Saddam, the place to begin is
a careful analysis of the tribes. Their loyalty to the ruling junta is
conditional. They obey Saddam now because they are forced to, but many would
welcome a change.

In the past decade several tribal revolts have been reported, all brutally
suppressed. A former air force general from the Dulaimi clan was said to
have attempted a coup in January 1995, and there were reports of widespread
unrest by the Dulaimis in the army and the countryside in May and June 1995.
A Dulaimi general and 38 followers were reported to have been executed in
February 1999 on suspicion that they were plotting a coup. And members of
the Jaburi tribe were said to have planned a revolt among Republican Guard
officers in 2000. Before tribal leaders risk their lives again, they will
have to be certain that the United States is as committed to toppling Saddam
Hussein as it was to overthrowing the Taliban. America's past efforts to
play the covert action game in Iraq have got a lot of people killed for

The levers are there, rooted in the traditional structure of Iraqi society,
if America is serious.

by John Lehmann and Vincent Morris
New York Post, 21st January

President Bush's war Cabinet is drawing up a secret plan to topple Saddam
Hussein as soon as six months from now.

A new Afghanistan-style strategy is being finalized to use Iraqi freedom
fighters, backed by U.S. military forces, to oust the Baghdad butcher, a
Bush administration adviser is reported to have said.

The adviser is quoted as saying that a "general consensus" has emerged among
members of Bush's inner circle that the dictator must be ousted.

As the likelihood of a new attack grew, Saddam yesterday chaired an
emergency meeting in Baghdad of his two most powerful bodies to discuss the
mobilization of Iraqis, the official Iraqi News Agency reported.

The meeting of the Revolutionary Command Council and the Regional Command of
the ruling Baath party discussed means to "confront the malicious, hostile
plans that the rulers of America are brandishing against our people," the
news agency said.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld are finalizing a strategy based on building an international
military coalition, sponsoring Iraqi freedom fighters, and having the United
States lead a military invasion, Newsweek is reporting, quoting a Bush
administration adviser.

Under the strategy, the United States will continue pressuring Saddam to
re-admit U.N. arms inspectors into Iraq, rather than launching a military
attack "tomorrow or unilaterally," the adviser said.

Bush's military chiefs do not expect the dictator to comply fully, enabling
the United States to win international support by demonstrating his
intransigence and the immense global threat he poses.

Former Air Force Lt.-Gen. Tom McInerney told The Post, "Saddam has got to go
- but we have to move quickly, because we are racing against him getting a
nuclear weapon."

McInerney, a former assistant vice chief of staff of the Air Force, said the
campaign against Saddam would be easier than the war in Afghanistan because
the terrain and weather in Iraq are not as severe, boosting precision
military attacks and the use of ground forces.

He said Iraqi freedom fighters who despise Saddam would rally against him -
as long as "they know we mean business."

"You would get a cascading effect of resistance among the general people and
his military," he said. "But vacillating does not help the problem - actions
speak louder than words."

Ahmad Chalabi, the leader of the main resistance group Iraqi National
Congress, said last month that Saddam could be toppled with a campaign using
3,000 U.S.-trained Iraqi rebels, an Afghanistan-style bombing campaign, the
insertion of several thousand U.S. special forces and assistance from Iran.

"What happened in Afghanistan is basically what we want to do in Iraq?" he

But U.S. plans to recruit and support freedom fighters in Iraq have been
widely criticized in the past.

In 1997, after Congress allocated $97 million to Iraqi National Congress,
U.S. envoy to the Middle East Anthony Zinni - who was then still in the
Marine Corps -said such a plan would end in failure, like the 1961 attempt
to overthrow Cuba's Fidel Castro.

"What will we have? A Bay of Goats, most likely," he said.

Attempts after the Gulf War to spark a popular uprising also failed, with
the United States being accused of betraying Iraqi freedom fighters by not
offering enough support.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan would not comment yesterday.

But a renewed campaign against Saddam received support from Sen. Richard
Shelby (R Ala.) and presidential aspirant Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

"I'm for focusing on Saddam Hussein - I've been saying that for a long
period of time," Kerry told CNN.

"We know, through intelligence, of increasing activities that Saddam Hussein
has been involved in with respect to weapons of mass destruction.

"His policies are dangerous, he is dangerous."

Arabic News, 21st January

The BBC correspondent in Ankara has states that security and diplomatic
circles in Turkey incline to the conviction that Washington will seek within
the few coming days to create internal problems in Iraq in order to topple
the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein through a coup or causing a people's

The correspondent added that Washington is to intensify its air military
operations over the strategic military positions in Iraq through launching
new air attacks that will start from Ancerlic base to the South of Turkey.

The correspondent explained that it seems that Turkey has prepared for such
possibilities after it has started talking about recognizing the Turkman's
minorities for a self- rule, in the phase that would follow getting rid off
Saddam Hussein.
January 23, 2002

Las Vegas Sun, 23rd January

WASHINGTON- President Bush said Wednesday that U.S. action against Iraq
remains an option but he is in no hurry to make a decision about it.

In an interview aired on NBC Nightly News, Bush repeated warnings of
possible action because Saddam Hussein continues to block arms inspections
mandated under United Nations sanctions slapped on Iraq for its invasion of
Kuwait. Inspectors have not been allowed into Iraq since departing ahead of
U.S. airstrikes in late 1998.

"Iraq is on the screen," Bush said. "I mean, after all, they're not letting
our inspectors in."

But Bush said he is not as adamant as some in his administration, who want
action because they say Saddam is trying to rebuild chemical and biological
weapons programs that U.N. inspectors tried to dismantle after the 1991 Gulf

"I don't feel the impatience that some might feel. I really don't," Bush
said. He said he is satisfied with the progress of the anti-terrorism
campaign underway in Afghanistan.

"We've achieved a significant series of objectives in Afghanistan," Bush
said. "We're cutting off a lot of money. And the world knows that we're very
serious and intent upon holding people to a standard."

Jerusalem Post, 24th January, 11 Shevat, 5762

According to a report in the current Newsweek, a consensus has developed in
the Bush administration to move toward a "regime change" in Iraq. Former
Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman has come out
strongly in the same vein, stating that, "This war will not be over until
Saddam Hussein is removed from power in Iraq." A senior US official said,
however, not to expect Iraq to be attacked "tomorrow or unilaterally" - and
therein lies the rub. These two questions - of timing and of hinging
American action on international support - threaten to bedevil and endanger
the most critical component of the war on terrorism.

The idea that Saddam cannot be containedâ and must be removed if the war on
terrorism is to mean anything, has become all but impossible to resist.

Saddam's regime has become a cornucopia for weapons of mass destruction,
according to the testimony of defectors who were directly involved in these
programs. Adnan Saeed, a civil engineer who personally worked on over 20
secret sites, recently told The New York Times that these facilities were
hidden in underground wells, private villas, and under the Saddam Hussein
Hospital in Baghdad. "Money was no object," said Saeed, who said that
duplicate facilities were built in case some were destroyed.

During the Cold War, it was common to ridicule the destructive capacity of
both superpowers by saying that all those extra nukes would do is "make the
rubble bounce." Saddam seems to have a similar belief in redundancy. Just
one drop of the chemical VX can kill a person. When the UN inspectors left
Iraq, they believed that Saddam had enough VX precursors to produce 200 tons
of the poison, and had 41 sites capable of doing so in a matter of weeks.

Saddam, always a believer in better-safe-than-sorry, is capable of producing
350 liters of weapons-grade anthrax a week, according to the Federation of
American Scientists. Not satisfied with his arsenals of poisons and
diseases, we must assume that Saddam is working feverishly at building
nuclear weapons and that it is a matter of a few years, if that, before he

No one disputes these facts and that Saddam is a menace who could make Osama
bin Laden pale in comparison. There are, however, major flies in this
consensus that could be costly even if they do not change the final outcome.

The first is the fact that Sen. Lieberman seems somewhat isolated in his own
party in advocating the ouster of Saddam. Senior Democrats, such as Senate
Majority Leader Tom Daschle and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, seem
to agree with Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joseph Biden, who
said that attacking Iraq would be "a disastrous mistake." A string of former
foreign policy advisers to Bill Clinton have also chimed in. Former
secretary of state Madeleine Albright, for example, said that, "It is hard
to see that [deposing Saddam] is feasible," and Al Gore's former national
security adviser, Leon Feurth, has fretted that a US effort against Iraq
could prove "a fatal diversion." The best guess is that President George W.
Bush will not be swayed by those whose idea of prudence is leaving Saddam in
power. But there is a strange hesitation, almost procrastination, in US
behavior at the moment. The State Department even went so far as to
temporarily cut off what little financial support the US gives to Saddam's
opponents, the Iraqi National Congress, citing accounting irregularities.

This move, and US hesitation, smacks of fighting a war at a leisurely pace
and according to a bureaucratic timetable. The idea that the Qaida network
has to be wiped up in places such as Somalia and the Philippines before
taking on Saddam does not wash. Like it or not, the United States is leading
a world war against terrorism, and the other side will not wait patiently
for their turn to be confronted. It would have been ludicrous to suggest
during World War II that the US finish off Germany before taking on Japan,
yet now it has become conventional wisdom that much lesser enemies should be
confronted sequentially.

The more the US hesitates, the more the world will question whether Saddam's
removal is really so inevitable. Arab League leader Amr Moussa, perhaps
smelling a lack of Western resolve, said in Cairo this week, "Iraq is an
Arab country and Arabs will not allow Iraq to be struck." Moussa's rhetoric
is on the flamboyant side, but Saddam and his friends do have a strategy: a
charm offensive with the help of the United Nations.

According to The Wall Street Journal (January 18), "Saddam Hussein is
considering complying with UN resolutions [including] allowing weapons
inspectors into Iraq." He is also reportedly seeking to patch up ties with
Saudi Arabia and even with Kuwait. Bush has been hinting at an ultimatum to
Saddam linked to UN inspections. But if the UN is the arbiter of whether
Saddam must go, the record indicates it will be tough to force Saddam into a
test he cannot pass. If the Bush administration is not careful, the sense of
inevitability it won by the victory in Afghanistan will begin dissipate, and
will be difficult to reconstruct.

by Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus
Washington Post, 24th January

Despite fierce rhetoric from senior Bush officials against Saddam Hussein,
the administration's policy toward Iraq remains largely frozen where it was
left by President Bill Clinton.

After a year of top-level internal review, the administration has yet to
lift a Clinton prohibition against lethal aid for Iraqi opposition groups.
The opposition, principally the London-based Iraqi National Congress (INC),
continues to be barred as a matter of policy from using U.S. funds to carry
out activities inside Iraq. A State Department slot designated to coordinate
with the Iraqi opposition has been vacant since last summer.


In a letter to Bush yesterday, a group of former senior military and
intelligence officials urged him not to take action against Iraq. Last
month, nine leading Republican members of Congress, where support for the
INC is strong, wrote to remind Bush of his campaign pledge to "fully
implement" the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act. The act authorized as much as $97
million in U.S. military equipment and training for Iraqi opposition groups,
and $43 million in cash to be disbursed by the State Department for
opposition humanitarian, broadcasting and information-collection activities.


"Our position is, we don't believe there is a reasonable way to oust him,"
said Marwan Muasher, Jordan's ambassador to Washington. A military assault
would "result in the immediate withdrawal of Arabs from the [anti-terrorism]
coalition," Muasher said. "Considering what's going on in the West Bank,
there is no way to justify another front in an Arab country." As for
attempts to strengthen Iraqi opponents to challenge Hussein, he said, "no
plan has ever been presented to us that made sense."

The policy review came under renewed scrutiny this month when the State
Department announced it had withheld some of the $19 million remaining in
grants earmarked for the Iraqi opposition after a government audit found
fault with the way the INC has spent and accounted for U.S. funds it has

Completed last summer but released Jan. 16 by the State's Department's
inspector general, the audit deals with funds spent on the INC's
"information collection" program. Among other things, it questioned $2.2
million of $4.3 million in expenditures between March 2000 and May 2001,
including items such as $2,070 to pay for a Washington health center
membership, money paid to the Burson-Marsteller public relations firm, and
lack of documentation for $101,762 spent on travel and badge distribution
for attendees at a human rights conference.

The INC was found to have made $578,795 in cash payments unsupported by
documentation. These included per diem payments to the seven-member INC
Leadership Council and an additional $112,733 in cash or money transfers
from the London office to "teams in the field" that the INC said gathered
information in countries around Iraq. The Washington office spent an
additional $353,207 without what the inspector general considered "support

Francis Brooke, the INC spokesman here, said the group could not reveal the
names of the teams working in countries around Iraq because "it would place
them in dangerous circumstances. It is part of a covert war."

State Department officials have said funding for other INC activities is
also in danger of suspension under U.S. aid accounting rules.

In a 200-page response to the audit, the INC agreed with "the need to
strengthen internal [financial] controls," but denied in detail that any
U.S. government funds were improperly used. INC Washington office director
Entifadh K. Qanbar called the financial issues a "smoke screen" behind which
the administration is hiding its refusal to develop its own policy on Iraq.

"There is a sense that the INC will make Saddam very angry if we are allowed
to conduct aggressive actions inside the country," Qanbar said. "That will
drag the United States into a war. They are not prepared to go to war
against Saddam. This is why the review is stalled."

Unless the Iraq Liberation Act is "fully implemented," he said, the INC has
no interest in receiving any more U.S. money.

What full implementation would mean is open to interpretation. The act does
not specify the nature of U.S. military equipment and training; restricting
it to nonlethal aid has been a matter of policy through two administrations.
State Department funds are authorized only for opposition operations outside
the parts of Iraq controlled by Hussein.

Although Congress, in a rebuke to Clinton policy, specifically ordered
funding under the act for opposition activities "inside Iraq" in its 2001
appropriation bill, that language was removed when the current year's
appropriation was passed last month.

MILITARY MATTERS,5478,3632633%255E401,00

Herald Sun [Australia, from AFP), 22nd January

THE US will not be able to prevent Arab nations from acquiring weapons of
mass destruction "whether overtly or covertly" in order to offset Israel's
arsenal of such weapons, an Iraqi government newspaper said yesterday.

"The Zionist entity, founded on usurpation and aggression, possesses various
weapons of mass destruction, and this has prompted more than one Arab
country to seek to acquire one or more such weapons in order to deter
(Israel)," said Ath-Thawra, mouthpiece of the ruling Baath Party.

"Acquiescing to Israel's, but not Arab, possession of such weapons is a case
of double standards. But no matter how much those who pursue double
standards try to obstruct the Arabs, they will not stop their efforts to
achieve this goal, be they overt or covert, in future."

Acquiring weapons of mass destruction is consistent with "the right to
self-defence and the requirements of national security", irrespective of the
nature of a ruling regime, Ath-Thawra said.

While sanctioning Israel's possession of weapons of mass destruction, the US
had reacted as if Iraq had committed "an unforgivable sin" when Baghdad
"thought of acquiring something of such weapons".

"And what did Iraq acquire except for a limited number of missiles, all of
which were destroyed under the supervision of the Special Commission?"
Ath-Thawra asked, referring to the now-defunct UN Special Commission
(UNSCOM) that was in charge of overseeing Baghdad's disarmament.

Moreover, Iraq gave UNSCOM all information about its other "incomplete
programs" to develop weapons of mass destruction and "all the equipment and
material needed" to build such arms were dismantled under its supervision.

Jan. 21, 2002, 10:18PM

Houston Chronicle, 21st January

WASHINGTON -- U.S. warplanes struck an anti-aircraft artillery site in
southern Iraq on Monday in response to "hostile Iraqi threats" against
pilots and aircrews patrolling the skies over the region, American defense
officials said Monday.

The raid amounted to another in a long series of low-level skirmishes with
Iraqi forces that have taken place since 1992, when the United States
established "no-fly" zones over northern and southern Iraq after the Persian
Gulf War. U.S. officials have tended to portray the air attacks, which often
involve British planes, as routine responses to Iraqi provocations.

Spokesmen for the U.S. Central Command provided few details about Monday's
strike, which they said occurred about 12:50 p.m. CST against an
anti-aircraft site in Tailil, about 170 miles southeast of Baghdad.

They said all the aircraft involved returned safely, and the amount of
damage done in the raid was still being assessed.

"Today's coalition strikes in the no-fly zones were executed as self-defense
measures in response to Iraqi hostile threats and acts against coalition
aircrews and their aircraft and are not related to the president's campaign
against terrorism," Central Command said in a statement. "If Iraq were to
cease its threatening actions, coalition strikes would also cease."

Providing a measure of the frequency of these actions, the statement went on
to say that Iraq had fired anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air
missiles against U.S. and British aircraft on more than 1,050 occasions
since December 1998. It also said that Iraqi aircraft had violated the
southern no-fly zone more than 160 times in the same period. No figure was
given for the number of northern zone violations.


Reuters, 21st January


The strike was the first against an Iraqi anti-artillery site in the
southern no-fly zone since Nov. 27, the command said.

Las Vegas Sun, 23rd January

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) - U.S. and British warplanes attacked anti-aircraft
batteries in southern Iraq Wednesday, the second raid on the site this week,
the U.S. Air Force said.

The planes struck near Tallil, about 170 miles southeast of Baghdad, at
about 9 p.m., said a Saudi Arabia-based Air Force official, speaking on
condition of anonymity.

On Monday, allied aircraft fired on the same site after being threatened by
ground fire from Iraqi air defenses.

There was no immediate word on the strikes from Iraqi officials.

He said the Air Force was still assessing damage to the Iraqi defenses. No
allied planes were hit.


by Charles Aldinger
Reuters, 24th January

WASHINGTON: U.S. warplanes have bombed Iraqi air defence targets for the
third time this week, and a senior U.S. official has warned Baghdad that
time is running short to allow U.N. arms inspectors back into the country.

The official spoke with reporters in Geneva as the top U.S. military officer
told a Pentagon briefing in Washington that Baghdad could not take advantage
of the U.S. military's focus on Afghanistan.

"At the same time that we are looking at Afghanistan, in the last three days
we have reacted as we will any time that we can ascertain where it (Iraqi
ground fire) is coming from," said Air Force Gen. Richard Myers.

"We will react to those threats to our patrolling aircraft" over no-fly
zones in northern and southern Iraq, added the chairman of the U.S. military
Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Myers spoke as the senior U.S. official warned in Geneva that time was
running short for Iraq to let United Nations inspectors return to check
whether Baghdad was developing nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

The official, who declined to be identified, said there was every indication
Iraq had been "aggressively pursuing weapons of mass destruction capability"
in the three years since it forced U.N. inspectors to leave.

"We are coming to a critical point with Iraq," the official told reporters.
He said Washington was not prepared to let the situation drag on, although
he declined to say what its response might be.

"They (the Iraqis) ... need to let the weapons inspectors back in. If they
do not, there are going to be consequences," the official said.

Iraq admits that it once sought to develop biological weapons but says that
it no longer has any such program.

Baghdad was forced to accept the U.N. inspectors following its defeat by a
U.S.-led international force in the 1991 Gulf War, but inspectors had to
abandon the country in 1998.

Despite Iraq's denial, the official said Baghdad had used the last three
years to press ahead with weapons development.

"They are clearly trying to get back to where they were before the (Gulf)
war. I don't think they are there yet but there is a lot of activity," the
official said.

The U.S. military's Central Command said on Thursday that precision-guided
bombs were used against an anti-aircraft artillery site in southern Iraq
after threats against warplanes patrolling a "no-fly" zone in the south.

U.S. and British warplanes have patrolled such zones in northern and Iraq
for a decade since the 1991 Gulf War. They are periodically challenged by
anti-aircraft guns and surface to-air missiles.

Such tit-for-tat attacks have slacked off in recent months, but Myers said
that three bombing attacks have occurred this week despite the intense U.S.
military focus on the war against terrorism in Afghanistan.

"What we see is what they've been doing over some period of time," he told
reporters. "And that is that aircraft that patrol both in the north and in
the south supporting U.N. resolutions are fired upon by Iraqi air defences."

In Baghdad, an Iraqi military spokesman was quoted by the official Iraqi
News Agency as saying that both U.S. and British warplanes flying from Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait on Thursday attacked civilian and service installations in
the southern provinces of Basra and Nassiriya.

The spokesman said warplanes had also struck targets in Basra and Nassiriya
on Monday and Wednesday.

Kyodo (Japan), 25th January


U.S. officials say U.S. warplanes on Thursday struck an antiaircraft
artillery site in Al-Faw Peninsula, about 464 kilometers south of Baghdad.

CNN, 25th January

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A team of nuclear experts is due to arrive in Baghdad
for an annual inspection of Iraq's uranium stockpiles.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's team is unrelated to U.N. weapons
inspections blocked by the Iraqi government since the end of 1998.

But it is essential in verifying that Iraq is not diverting uranium stocks
left in the country for use in weapons.

The seven-member team will examine low-enriched uranium sealed by the IAEA
after it dismantled Iraq's nuclear programme following the Gulf War.

High-enriched uranium, which could more easily be used in weapons, was
removed from Iraq by the agency.

The team will also examine stockpiles of depleted and natural uranium.

For the first time the team includes safety experts who will ensure that the
uranium is being properly stored and the containers are not leaking

The IAEA, the world's nuclear watchdog, conducted more intrusive inspections
after the Gulf War under the same mandate as U.N. weapons inspectors.

Those inspections stopped when all the weapons inspectors pulled out of Iraq
in December 1998 just hours before a major U.S. bombing.

Iraq is demanding that U.N. sanctions against it be lifted before the
inspectors return.

The IAEA had declared Iraq's nuclear program essentially dead. But since the
standoff over allowing nuclear and other inspections to resume, the agency
says it cannot certify that Iraq is not trying to revive that programme.


Arabic News, 19th January

Iraq announced on Friday it only got half of the medicines and medical items
it asked foreign companies for in the framework of the oil-for-food program.

The Iraqi minister of health Omid Midhat Mubarak said during his meeting
with the executive director of the Iraqi program at the UN Beinoun Seifan
[sic - PB] that Iraq only received during the 10 phases of the oil-for-food
program 45% and that 15% of these items are no more valid especially
advanced medical instruments because they do not have matching equipment.

He added that the health situation in Iraq has been greatly damaged because
of the continued sanctions on Iraq and the measures taken by the American
and British representatives in obstructing the arrival of medicines and
medical needs contracted for with world companies and the pressures on these
companies to prevent the arrival of the medicines to Iraq.

Worthy mentioning that more than 31,000 Iraqis including more than 21,000
children under five year old died during September, October and November
2001 because of various diseases resulted from malnutrition and medicines

Reuters, 21st January

BAGHDAD: Iraq has accused the United States and Britain of creating problems
to impede the oil-for-food programme with the United Nations.

"Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri met with Benon Sevan, executive director
of the programme and a U.N. undersecretary- general, and informed him of the
obstacles placed by America and Britain to impede the humanitarian
programme," said a statement issued by the Iraqi foreign ministry on Sunday

The statement did not elaborate.

The oil-for-food programme allows Iraq to sell oil to buy food, medicine and
other humanitarian goods for Iraqis suffering under 11-year-old U.N.
sanctions imposed after Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The statement said Sevan promised to "exert more efforts to solve setbacks
hindering the implementation of the plan."

Iraqi officials have criticised the sluggish arrival of goods bought under
the programme, saying it has done little to alleviate the suffering of Iraqi

Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed has blamed sluggish oil sales under
the deal over the last five weeks on a U.S.-British imposed retroactive
crude oil price scheme.

Security Council powers the United States and Britain have for several
months effectively imposed de facto retroactive pricing to eradicate alleged
illicit payments to Baghdad via oil sales. Iraq denies requesting any extra

Sevan said on arrival in Iraq last Monday for a three-week visit that he
would be discussing problems facing the oil pact.

The U.N. spokesman for the programme in Baghdad, Adnan Jarrar, told Reuters
on Monday Sevan had also met Rasheed, Health Minister Omeed Madhat Mubarak
and other Iraqi officials.

He said Sevan would travel on Tuesday to northern Iraq, which has been
outside the control of the Baghdad government since soon after the 1991 Gulf
War to "improve the effectiveness of the programme."

U.N. officials in New York have said that among the issues Sevan expects to
discuss are Iraq's refusal to grant visas to U.N. staff or firms contracted
by them for mine clearance in the northern provinces of the country, where
the United Nations rather than Baghdad controls the humanitarian programme.

World Oil (from AFP), 22nd January

The volume of oil exported by Iraq under UN supervision rose sharply from
three million barrels to 10.8 million barrels last week, but remained below
average, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The total was equivalent to just over 1.5 million barrels a day, compared to
an average of about 2.0 million barrels a day during most of the second half
of last year.

In the week to January 18, there were five loadings at Iraq's Gulf port of
Mina al-Bakr and two at Ceyhan, on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, the
office administering the UN oil for-food programme said in its weekly

The two terminals are the only outlets for Iraqi crude permitted under
sanctions imposed after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.

The price of Iraqi oil dropped from an average 20.80 euros (18.55 dollars) a
barrel to 18.65 euros (16.50 dollars) last week and sales netted an
estimated 200 million euros (180 million dollars).

Total estimated revenue since December 1, the start of the current six-month
phase of the oil-for-food programme, stands at just over one billion euros
or 922 million dollars for 64.5 million barrels.

World Oil (from AFP), 22nd January
The director of Iraq's "oil-for-food" program with the United Nations, Benon
Sevan, has gone to Iraqi Kurdistan for a week-long visit to follow up the
implementation of the program, a UN source said Tuesday.

Sevan, who is accompanied by UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq Tun Myat,
will discuss the implementation of the program with local Kurdish officials
and UN agencies, the source said.

The Western-protected Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq has been off limits
to the central government since the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait.

Sevan started a visit to Iraq on January 14 to discuss with Iraqi officials
ways of improving the implementation of the oil-for-food program.

The arrangement was established in December 1996 to soften the impact of UN
sanctions imposed on Iraq since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait by allowing
Baghdad to export crude under UN supervision and to use part of the revenue
to import food, medicine and other necessities.

Sevan earlier rang alarm bells at the number of contracts blocked by the UN
sanctions committee, which oversees the program.


Baghdad regularly accuses US and British representatives on the sanctions
committee of blocking contracts for imports into Iraq, a charge repeated by
Foreign Minister Naji Sabri on Monday.


Seattle Times (from The Associated Press), 23rd January

Attorneys for Bank of America said yesterday its decision to close the
account of an Iraqi born businessman living in Seattle was based on
potential risk to the bank ‹ and not because of the customer's race, creed,
religion or nationality.

The bank's attorneys appeared before King County Superior Court Judge
Richard Eadie, presenting for the first time its side of a case plaintiff
Hussain Alshafei has alleged is racial profiling.

In December, the bank notified Alshafei by letter that it was closing his
3-year-old account. It cited no reason for its decision.

Alshafei operates Alshafei Family Connect. He said Iraqi immigrants in the
U.S. use it to wire money to relatives in Iraq.

Alshafei is Arab and Muslim, as well as a naturalized U.S. citizen. He
alleges the bank discriminated against him, violating both state and federal
civil-rights laws.

But Bank of America, according to court documents, said Alshafei's account
first drew concerns in February 2001 when a bank employee at the Lynnwood
branch noticed an unusual pattern of daily wire transfers of money to
foreign countries.

Federal law requires all banks to report any daily deposit of $10,000 or
more in cash. Bank officials suspected Alshafei may have been trying to
evade reporting large cash deposits, according to court documents.

They also noticed some wire transfers had been made to a bank in Syria, a
country listed by the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets
Control as subject to certain restrictions.

Bank investigators recommended closing the account, but Lynnwood-branch
employees decided against that. Then, in September, bank employees in Boise
noted several non customers of the bank were making cash deposits just under
$10,000 to Alshafei's account.

A recommendation to close Alshafei's account was made a second time because
"the risk of loss or problems to the bank had to be considered seriously,"
according to court documents.

The letter of closure was subsequently sent. Bank officials pointed out it
does not owe a customer an explanation for its decision ‹ only that its
reasons cannot be illegal.

Yesterday, Eadie extended a temporary restraining order prohibiting the bank
from closing Alshafei's account until the next scheduled court date, Feb. 5.

But Eadie also stipulated that the bank does not have to wire transfer money
on behalf of Alshafei if it is concerned Alshafei is operating an illegal

That concern, bank representatives noted, has been raised after Alshafei's
lawsuit and his description of his business. Federal law prohibits any U.S.
citizen from transferring money or economic resources to anyone in Iraq
unless an exemption has been obtained.

Jon Rosen, Alshafei's attorney, says he will be able to prove the bank's
actions were discriminatory even if there is no direct evidence linking the
decision to close the account to Alshafei's national origin. In court
documents, Rosen argued that the bank's actions were motivated in part by
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and its desire to distance itself from any
activity remotely associated with terrorism.

Since the attacks, government investigators have been looking into
U.S.-based foreign money transfers or exchanges called hawalas, alleging
some may be used to finance terrorist groups abroad.

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