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[casi] News, 6-13/7/02 (4)



News, 6-13/7/02 (4)

NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN

*  UN deal leaves Iraq Kurds at Baghdad's mercy
*  Rebel groups reject CIA overtures down on the farm
*  Gunfights break out in northern Iraq
*  Kurds draw up post-Saddam constitution for Iraq
*  Kurdish Leader Talabani in Talks With Saudi Officials: PUK

IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS

*  Iraq to Return Kuwaiti Archives Soon
*  Al-Thawra: Third border center between Iraq, Iran
*  26 Iranian Wrestlers, Coaches Depart for Iraq
*  Baghdad, Ankara sign a minute of meetings for joint cooperation
*  Saudi Arabia to hold trade fair in Iraq in Sept
*  Turkey's struggle for stability
*  Yemen sells Iraqi ships to India
*  Kuwait won't serve as launch pad for US attack on Iraq
*  Wolfowitz to Discuss Iraq in Turkey


NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN

http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c
=StoryFT&cid=1025793364026

*  UN DEAL LEAVES IRAQ KURDS AT BAGHDAD'S MERCY
by Guy Dinmore in northern Iraq and Carola Hoyos, United Nations
Correspondent
Financial Times, updated 8th July

In theory, the Kurds of northern Iraq have never had it so good, effectively
independent from Baghdad and guaranteed a substantial slice of the country's
oil income under the United Nations oil-for-food programme.

The reality is rather different.

Zhiyan Ahmad Abdullah fights a daily battle with shortages of basic supplies
as director of the main maternity hospital in Sulaimani, one of the two
regional capitals controlled by rival Kurdish factions.

"We have many, many problems," she says in despair, having to cope with
nearly 30 deliveries a day. "Each month we get 1,000 pairs of gloves, at
best 2,000. But we need 10,000, so we have to re-use them."

The same shortages apply to drugs for delivery, blood-bags and blood-testing
equipment.

Prostaglandin, used for abortions, has never been supplied, forcing doctors
to use more dangerous methods for terminating pregnancies.

"Really, the WHO is to blame," says Dr Abdullah, referring to the World
Health Organisation, which is responsible for delivering medical aid under
the oil-for-food programme.

"This programme serves the rest of Iraq more than Kurdistan. A lot of money
goes to serving those who work in the UN. For example, a local UN employee
earns about $600 [390] a month. My salary is $80 and my nurses get only
$10."

Under Security Council resolution 986, now in its sixth year of
implementation, Iraq is allowed to use earnings from sales of crude oil to
buy food, medicines and fund humanitarian projects under UN monitoring. To
date Iraq has earned over $54bn.

>From the total oil income, the central and southern areas of Iraq under
Baghdad's direct control receive 59 per cent, while the 3.5m Kurds in the
north get 13 per cent. The rest is spent on compensation for Iraq's 1990
invasion of Kuwait (25 per cent) and UN costs.

The Baghdad government led by President Saddam Hussein is allowed to
purchase supplies and implement distribution directly, but because the
Kurdish north has no international recognition it has to acquire aid through
Kimadia, the official Baghdad procurement agency, and rely on the UN for
distribution.

This, as regional Kurdish officials argue, leaves the north at the mercy of
Baghdad and what they call the inefficiency and even corruption within the
dozen or so UN agencies involved in Iraq.

A commonly voiced complaint is that the WHO programme is dominated by Arabs
who have little sympathy for the Kurds and rely on Baghdad.

One official in the Kurdish region, which effectively broke away from
Baghdad in 1991 and is partly protected by a US-imposed no-fly zone,
estimated that only 37 per cent of the oil income allocated for the north
had been spent on humanitarian goods and services. Infrastructure projects,
such as water, electricity and a $400m hospital, have been blocked by
Baghdad.

"Baghdad vetoes many projects, and the UN does not defend us," says Sami
Abdul Rahman, deputy prime minister in the Kurdish regional government based
in Arbil, calling the UN agencies "bureaucratic, biased and cumbersome".

Despite the shortcomings however, Mr Abdul-Rahman agrees that the
oil-for-food programme is "essentially a success", helping to provide basic
rations, medical supplies and schooling.

Statistics compiled by the UN show a significant decrease in malnutrition
rates among children under five years, especially in the Kurdish north,
bolstering UN assertions that it is more efficient in implementing
programmes in the north than the Baghdad government is elsewhere.

WHO blames the sanctions regime for some of the problems. "The process is
known to be laborious because of the lengthy procurement procedures imposed
by the sanctions regime," it says.

The organisation said it had taken "remedial actions," such as an early
warning system that had "improved the situation without solving the roots of
the problem". It believed the new sanctions regime, agreed in May, might
solve some problems by streamlining procedures for importing goods that have
no possible military application.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,752441,00.html

*  REBEL GROUPS REJECT CIA OVERTURES DOWN ON THE FARM
by Julian Borger in Washington
The Guardian, 10th July

Deep in the bowels of the US state department, not far from the cafeteria,
there is a small office identified only by a handwritten sign on the door
reading: The Future of Iraq Project.

Such is the ramshackle reality lying beneath the Bush administration's
pronouncements on regime change in Baghdad. There is little doubt that the
Pentagon is devising invasion plans in deadly earnest, but the parallel
effort to build a political alternative has been half-hearted to say the
least. In fact it is in retreat on several fronts.

The secret side of this "unconventional war" has not been going any more
convincingly. Recent administration leaks have confirmed that there was a
presidential directive to the CIA in February, ordering the agency to topple
Saddam Hussein, with extreme prejudice if neces sary. But here again, the
reality seems to be falling far short of the hype.

Already stretched and humiliated in the hunt for al-Qaida, CIA agents have
been approaching would-be allies among the Iraqi opposition who have little
reason to trust them, having been let down by Washington twice before.

Morale is so poor in the CIA that, in recent testimony to Congress, its
director, George Tenet, admitted the agency had no more than a 15% prospect
of carrying out its presidential order.

The CIA was taught a sobering lesson on its lowly standing among Iraqi rebel
groups on its own home ground in April.

The agency runs a boot camp near Williamsburg in Virginia for its
paramilitary units, which played an important role in Afghanistan. It is
officially called Camp Perry, but inside the CIA it known simply as The
Farm. Alongside the training camp it has a "black" area which serves as a
venue for the secret side of US diplomacy. Foreign leaders, rebels or agents
can be flown in without the complications of visas and customs, for meetings
that officially never happen.

In late April, The Farm was the site of delicate talks with Kurdish leaders,
aimed at persuading them to cooperate in the effort to topple President
Saddam. The guests of honour were Masoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdish
Democratic Party (KDP), and Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK) - the only opposition with significant troop numbers and
territory under their control.

The KDP and PUK confirm the meeting took place but officially insist it took
place in Germany. Privately Kurdish opposition officials confirm they flew
to Virginia.

A US intelligence source also told the Guardian that the encounter took
place at The Farm and that the US was represented by CIA officials and
General Wayne Downing, the president's military adviser on counter-terrorism
and the author of a 1998 plan to unseat Saddam relying heavily on local
opposition and US air power.

"The idea was to see what the Kurds would be prepared to do in a war on
Baghdad," the US source said.

Specifically, the Kurds were asked to agree to the establishment of CIA
stations at their headquarters in Irbil and Suleimaniyah, but they demurred.
According to one account, Mr Barzani and Mr Talabani asked for more money
than the CIA was prepared to offer.

However, according to a Kurdish source, the meeting failed for a more
fundamental reason: lack of trust. The Kurds had been encouraged to rise up
against Saddam twice, in 1991 and 1995, and both times Washington had
abandoned them to the Iraqi army. In 1995, the CIA pulled the plug on the
insurrection 48 hours before it was due to begin.

"We wanted to know if that was going to happen again. If Saddam struck at
us, would we be protected?" the Kurdish opposition activist said.

At one point, the Kurds reportedly asked whether the US officials at The
Farm really represented the entire administration, and so Ryan Crocker, a
state department official who had visited Kurdistan a few months earlier,
was hastily called in from Washington. No senior Pentagon officials
attended.

It was hardly a convincing demonstration of US resolve, and the American
representatives were unable to provide the assurances the Kurds were
seeking.

Last week, Mr Barzani denounced the secret war, telling the Guardian: "We
cannot stop the US [from taking covert action], but we would like there to
be transparency and clarity, and for there to be no covers or curtains to
hide behind."

The White House announced Gen Downing's resignation after less than a year
as counter terrorism adviser. But a spokesman denied that his departure had
anything to do with the fact that he lost his battle to persuade the
administration to support a guerrilla campaign by Iraqi rebel groups against
Baghdad.

Meanwhile, the understaffed and underfunded Future of Iraq Project has been
spending more effort struggling with other government departments than
plotting Saddam's downfall. Two US-sponsored meetings aimed at bringing
members of the Iraqi opposition together have been put off indefinitely. One
was to have been a seminar in Washington for Iraqi ex officers in exile. It
was to have taken place under the auspices of the Iraqi National Congress
(INC), with the backing of the Pentagon and members of Congress who view the
INC, a London-based umbrella organisation, as the rightful vanguard of the
opposition.

However, the state department, convinced that the INC is corrupt and
unreliable, dragged its feet on issuing visas to the Iraqi generals in
Europe, who were themselves sceptical about the role of the INC and its
leading figure, Ahmed Chalabi. Ultimately Congress grew impatient and
suspended the funding.

The state department has simultaneously been trying to organise another
Iraqi opposition conference in Europe, to talk about life after Saddam. Mr
Chalabi lobbied against the meeting among his friends at the defence
department and in Congress, and the conference has consequently been put on
hold.

The state department has also cut off funds to the INC's intelligence
gathering effort, which smuggled defectors and information about Saddam's
weapons of mass destruction out of Iraq.

The shambles of the political struggle might suggest that the Bush
administration is not serious about getting rid of the Iraqi dictator. But
Many analysts believe that the lack of effort invested in building political
alliances simply reflects the fact that the Bush administration does not
attach much importance to them.

"My theory is that the US government is going to want to do this on its own,
on the basis that if you work with the Kurds and the Shi'ites you're going
to end up with three Iraqs rather than one," said John Pike, who runs a
Washington security thinktank, GlobalSecurity.org.

In a forthcoming paper for the Centre for Strategic and International
Studies, Anthony Cordesman, a strategic analyst, argues: "The US has shown
in the past that it can execute military operations without any clear plan
for conflict termination and nation building.

"The American military culture seems to feel its responsibility ends with
strategy and grand strategy is the province of politicians and God."


http://www.washtimes.com/world/20020710-753584.htm

*  GUNFIGHTS BREAK OUT IN NORTHERN IRAQ
Washington Times, 10th July

TUNCELI, Turkey  Violent clashes between Iraqi Kurd peshmerga, those who
face death, and militant Islamists have erupted in northern Iraq, killing
more than 20 people, according to a Kurdish official.

Gunbattles broke out late last week between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
and militants aligned with the shadowy Jund al-Islam, accused of ties with
Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, a PUK official in northern Iraq told
Reuters news agency in eastern Turkey by satellite telephone.

The PUK is one of two Kurdish factions sharing control of northern Iraq.

The other major group is the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Massoud
Barzani.

"The PUK has responded to attacks on civilians and PUK peshmerga fighters by
radical Islamists who have been active for some time in the region,
especially around the city of Halabja," the official said Monday.

 At least nine PUK fighters and 12 Islamists were killed in the fighting,
which was continuing, he said. The official added that "quite a few"
civilians had been killed or wounded, but he could not provide figures for
civilian casualties.

He said about 2,000 peshmerga were involved in the clashes.

[.....]


http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/07/10/iraq.kurds.reut/index.html

*  KURDS DRAW UP POST-SADDAM CONSTITUTION FOR IRAQ
CNN, 10th July

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) -- A Kurdish group on Wednesday announced a draft
constitution for Iraq to use if President Saddam Hussein is toppled by the
United States.

U.S. President George W. Bush said on Monday he would use all available
means to oust Saddam after branding Iraq a member of an "axis of evil" for
allegedly sponsoring terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party, which controls part of northern Iraq, said
the document was intended to stir debate among the many Iraqi factions
opposed to Saddam's government.

"We have taken the initiative to put forward in a draft paper what sort of
Iraq we want to have," the KDP international relations chief Hoshiyar Zebari
told Reuters by telephone.

"It has created a momentum, created a debate within Iraqi opposition
circles," he said

The KDP and another Kurdish party have controlled a large swathe of northern
Iraq since the end of the 1991 Gulf War when they mounted a failed uprising
against Saddam.

The enclave is protected by a no-fly zone patrolled by U.S. and British
warplanes.

Zebari said the KDP envisaged a federal Iraq governed from Baghdad with some
autonomy for the predominantly Kurdish northern provinces.

"It is very clear, we want a unified country with territorial integrity and
a single state," said Zebari, who represents the KDP on the leadership
council of the opposition umbrella group, the Iraqi National Congress.


http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=7/10/02&Cat=2&Num=23

*  KURDISH LEADER TALABANI IN TALKS WITH SAUDI OFFICIALS: PUK
Tehran Times, 10th July

DUBAI - The leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)-- one of two
main Kurdish factions sharing control of northern Iraq, is in Jeddah for
talks with Saudi officials, a PUK official said Tuesday.

Jalal Talabani arrived in Saudi Arabia Sunday at the head of a PUK
delegation after receiving an "official invitation" to visit the kingdom,
PUK Foreign Affairs Chief Sadi Ahmad Pire told AFP by telephone from
Sulaimaniya, the main town in the PUK-controlled part of the Kurdish
enclave.

Pire said Talabani, who will stay in Saudi Arabia several days on his fourth
visit there since the 1991 Persian Gulf War, which ended with Baghdad losing
control over Iraqi Kurdistan, would hold talks with Saudi officials on
issues related to the situation in Iraq.

He could not immediately provide the names of the Saudi officials with whom
Talabani would meet, but stressed the visit was part of the PUK's
consultations with Iraq's neighbors which has included trips by Talabani to
Syria, Turkey and Iran since March.

The PUK is keen on sounding out Iraq's neighbors and exchanging views with
them, Pire said, adding that Talabani would visit other countries of the
region, possibly including Kuwait and Jordan.

There was no comment from Saudi officials on the visit, and Talabani could
not be immediately reached at the Saudi government's Jeddah guesthouse.

[.....]


IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS

http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2002/jul/06/070609913.html

*  IRAQ TO RETURN KUWAITI ARCHIVES SOON
Las Vegas Sun (from Associated Press), 6th July

KUWAIT,- Within six weeks, Iraq will return Kuwait's national archives that
were looted during the 1990 invasion, a U.N. envoy said Saturday.

The return of the archives is seen as the sole achievement of the two days
of talks between U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Iraqi Foreign
Minister Naji Sabri that ended Friday in Vienna.

U.N. envoy Yuli Vorontsov said on arrival in Kuwait Saturday that the
archives' return "is settled and we are going very soon to take practical
steps in that direction."

"Within a month, a month and half, the process begins," said the envoy for
Gulf War prisoners and Kuwaiti possessions.

Kuwait maintains that during Iraq's seven-month occupation in 1990-91, Iraq
took archives from the foreign ministry, prime minister's office and other
government departments, and a significant quantity of military hardware plus
valuable pieces from the Islamic and National Museums.

The Russian diplomat would not discuss how the archives are to be returned.
Iraq and Kuwait have had no diplomatic or other relations since Iraq invaded
the country in 1990.

Vorontsov said he had come to Kuwait partly to inform the government of the
results of Iraqi-UN talks in Vienna.

[.....]


http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020709/2002070910.html

*  AL-THAWRA: THIRD BORDER CENTER BETWEEN IRAQ, IRAN
Arabic News, 9th July

An Iraqi official announced on Monday that his country has completed all
preparations to open a third border center between Iraq and Iran. He
stressed that Iraq informed the Iranian side its readiness to receive trucks
through this new border center.

The Iraqi daily al-Thawra quoted the director general of the Iraqi land
transport Yahya Khuder al-Ani as saying that the "company has completed all
measures and preparations for the transport movement between Iraq and Iran
through Zerbateyah border center." He added that the company has provided
all work requirements in that new center of offices and working staff to run
it. He continued that the company had notified the Iranian side its
readiness to received the Iranian trucks through all border crossings
between the two countries, including Zerbateyah crossing for good transport
between the two countries and transit transport.

There are also other two border crossing between Iraq and Iran. They at
al-Munzereyah and al-Shalamja.

Al-Ani stressed that "the company will very soon complete its preparations
to open its office at Arar crossing on the Iraqi- Saudi borders which is
expected to be opened within few days to transport goods between Iraq and
Saudi Arabia."

In June, a UN official stressed that the UN has reached an agreement with
Iraq on reopening Arar border center.


http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=7/9/02&Cat=6&Num=3

*  26 IRANIAN WRESTLERS, COACHES DEPART FOR IRAQ
Tehran Times, 9th July

Following the Iraqi Wrestling Federation's invitation, Iran accepted to hold
a week-long camp in Baghdad.

According to IRNA, Iranian wrestlers are Hassan Zerafat, Mojtaba
Babajanzadeh, Abbas Ranjbar, Mostafa Amir-Mousavi, Alireza Akbari, Seyed
Saber Mirzadeh and Amir Dalvand, all from Mazandaran Province, as well as
Mahdi-Hossein Rezaei, Mohammad Zamani, Alireza Qaraei and Mostafa Rezaei-Far
from Tehran Province and Javad Hekmatian from Yazd Province, Hamidreza
Rezaei from Qom Province, Ali Armanpour from Golestan Province and Jamal
Niknam from Fars Province.

Coaches are Abdolkarim Kaka-Haji and Hossein Qalavand from Khuzestan
Province, Hashem Effat-Panah from Khorasan Province, Abdollah Chamangoli
from Kurdestan Province, Ali-Akbar Bazri and Nabiollah Ranjbar from
Mazandaran Province, Karim Assadi-Baqal from Ardebil Province, Sayyad
Afrouzi, Mahmoud Pourzadeh-Hassan, Rassoul Habibi and Yadollah E'tessami
from Tehran Province.

Seyed Kazem Ghafouri from Khuzestan Province heads the team.


http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020710/2002071004.html

*  BAGHDAD, ANKARA SIGN A MINUTE OF MEETINGS FOR JOINT COOPERATION
Arabic News, 10th July

Iraq and Turkey have signed a joint minutes of meetings for economic,
scientific and technical cooperation in conclusion of meetings of the 14th
session of the Iraqi- Turkish joint committee which was held in Baghdad.

On the Iraqi side, the minutes of meetings was signed by Iraq's Minister of
Oil and Mineral Resources Amir Mohammed Rasheed and on the Turkish side by
minister of state Adib Ghaydali who on Friday concluded a four- day visit to
Iraq, in which he was accompanied by an official delegation composed of 30
persons and another economic delegation composed of 220 persons representing
industrialists, traders and businessmen.

Rasheed said that what was agreed by Baghdad and Ankara in this session
express the genuine will and desire of the two countries to develop
prospects of bilateral cooperation.

He described the topics discussed during that session as represnting new
potenials in economic cooperation field between the two countries at all
levels.

The Iraqi oil minister called on the two sides to urge extra efforts to
expand the volume of cooperation fields and covering all activities so as to
reach bilateral economic integration. This is, however, the first Iraqi
expression on Iraq's will to find out a sort of economic integration with
Ankara.

The Iraqi official stressed that two sides during the said session to draw
serious steps for the mechanism of joint industrial production, noting that
the Iraqi side considers with confidence and optimisum that during the few
coming months the topics agreed upon will be efficiently implemented.

At the same level, the Turkish minister of state said that signing the
minutes of meetings between his country and Iraq is considered a joint fruit
at the level of the technical committee.


http://www.dailystarnews.com/200207/10/n2071005.htm#BODY10

*  SAUDI ARABIA TO HOLD TRADE FAIR IN IRAQ IN SEPT
Daily Star, Bangladesh (from AFP), 10th July

Baghdad will host a Saudi trade fair in September for the first time since
diplomatic relations between the two countries were broken in 1991, the
Iraqi trade ministry said in remarks published Tuesday.

The fair will focus on Saudi companies in the food, agricultural and
pharmaceutical sectors, Ath-Thawra newspaper quoted a ministry spokesman as
saying.

"The Saudi fair will contribute to the development of bilateral economic and
trade relations," the spokesman said.


http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c
=StoryFT&cid=1026311886438&p=1012571727102

*  TURKEY'S STRUGGLE FOR STABILITY
by Quentin Peel and Leyla Boulton
Financial Times, 10th July
[Extracts on Turkish attitude to war with Iraq. Hostile public. Sceptical
military. But they'll probably go along with it once the election is over.
So much for Turkish democracy.]

[.....]

The political turmoil in Turkey could scarcely have come at a more sensitive
moment both for the country and its international allies, including the US
and the European Union. Whatever government is in power, Ankara faces a
whole string of difficult decisions.

For a start, the political uncertainty is in danger of undermining all the
achievements of an economic reform programme backed by a $16.3bn (10.5bn)
loan from the International Monetary Fund. It also comes as Ankara is under
huge political pressure from Washington to provide support for any US
operation to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein in neighbouring Iraq.
Turkish public opinion is strongly opposed to any such action, and the
powerful military high command is equally sceptical.

[.....]

Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy secretary for defence, and a strong advocate
of military action against Baghdad, is expected to arrive in Turkey this
weekend. He will try to gauge the effect of the crisis on US plans.

Sedat Ergin, Ankara bureau chief for Hurriyet, the mainstream Turkish daily
newspaper, argues that the prospect of US intervention in Iraq may itself be
sufficient to warrant a change of government, so that elections are held
before any military action.

"If the US president decides to move on Iraq it is imperative that there
should be a strong government that can deal with this issue in a
businesslike manner," he says. "I doubt that the present government, with an
ailing prime minister, can conduct the crisis management that this will
require."

But few see Turkey as opposing a US operation after an election, even in the
event of a victory by Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist Justice and
Development party. Indeed, associates suggest that Mr Erdogan might even be
an enthusiastic backer, to legitimise his position in American eyes.

[.....]


http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020711/2002071111.html

*  YEMEN SELLS IRAQI SHIPS TO INDIA
Arabic news, 11th July

Yemeni maritime sources in Aden said that the Yemeni authorities started to
get rid off 8 Iraqi ships existing at the port of Aden which overlooks the
Red Sea since the invasion of Kuwait, 12 years ago.

The sources added that three oil tankers and five shipping ships built in
the 1970 s will be sent to India to be sold as a scrap.

One source said that "one of the tankers left two days and will be followed
by others that had been anchored in the port without maintenance since
1990." The sources said that the ships were sold to a Jordanian company in
coordination with the UN which imposes a trade sanction on Iraq since its
invasion of Kuwait. The sources refused to disclose the name of the company
nor the value of the deal.


http://www.dawn.com/2002/07/13/int5.htm

*  KUWAIT WON'T SERVE AS LAUNCH PAD FOR US ATTACK ON IRAQ
Dawn (from AFP), 13th July

Kuwait will not accept to serve as a launching pad for a US attack on former
occupier Iraq, a Kuwaiti minister said in remarks published Friday.

"The mission of US troops deployed in Kuwait is well known... It is to
defend our land and national sovereignty... Kuwait does not agree to an
attack on Iraq being launched from its territory," Minister of State for
Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah told the daily Al-Rai Al-Aam.

"There is no truth to press reports that Washington has concluded intensive
negotiations with Kuwait about using its territory and airspace to carry out
an attack on Iraq and topple (President) Saddam Hussein," he said.

"Nothing of the sort happened," the Kuwaiti minister said, referring to a
news report that the United States has been in contact with four regional
states, including Kuwait, to use their territories and airspace for an
attack on Iraq.

"The United States has not said it would use Kuwaiti territory to launch an
attack on Iraq. We (heard) nothing from (Washington) in this regard," Sheikh
Mohammad added.

[....]


http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/bw-exec/2002/jul/13/071301229.html

*  WOLFOWITZ TO DISCUSS IRAQ IN TURKEY
Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 13th July

WASHINGTON- The Pentagon's No. 2 official will visit Turkey next week to
discuss Iraq with the NATO ally, which could play a key role if the United
States tries to force Saddam Hussein from power.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz will be joined in Ankara by the top
U.S. military commander in the region and a State Department official for
the talks with Turkish political and military leaders.

Wolfowitz's trip comes amid continued calls by President Bush for Saddam's
removal and the possibility of military action. Bush accuses the Iraqi
president of hoarding chemical and biological weapons and trying to obtain
nuclear bombs.

Turkey, which borders Iraq on the north, would be an important ally if the
United States were to go to war. U.S. jets patrolling the no-fly zone over
northern Iraq use the Turkish base at Incirlik, a staging area for the 1991
Persian Gulf War.

Wolfowitz will fly to the Turkish capital Tuesday to meet with Prime
Minister Bulent Ecevit and other military and political leaders.

The 77-year-old prime minister is in poor health, and his government is
teetering. Seven Cabinet members resigned this week, and defections from
Ecevit's party drove it from the largest in parliament to the third-largest.

Political instability in Turkey could make it more difficult for political
leaders to support, at least publicly, any U.S. military action against
Iraq. Ecevit's government has opposed widening the war on terrorism to
include an attack on Iraq.

One obstacle is Turkey's fears that toppling Saddam could lead Iraqi Kurds
to form an independent state in what is now northern Iraq. That, in turn,
could encourage demands for more autonomy among Turkey's Kurds, chafing
under restrictions, such as a ban on teaching their language.

A war also could set back Turkey's fragile recovery from a financial crisis
that saw its economy shrink by more than 9 percent last year.

A surge of Kurdish refugees flooded into Turkey when Saddam attacked them
after the end of the Gulf War, and a similar refugee problem now could
worsen Turkey's economy.

Wolfowitz's trip had been planned for several months and already was delayed
at least twice because of Ecevit's health problems, a senior defense
official said on condition of anonymity.

Turkish officials advised the Bush administration this would be a good time
to proceed, he said.

Joining Wolfowitz at the meetings will be Marc Grossman, the No. 3 official
at the State Department and the highest ranking department official to have
met with Iraqi opposition leaders recently. Gen. Joseph Ralston, commander
of U.S. European Command, also will attend the talks.

Wolfowitz has written in support of military action to eliminate the chance
that Iraq could use a weapon of mass destruction.

Meanwhile, State Department representatives are attending meetings in London
this weekend with former Iraqi military officers and civilian opposition
leaders, department spokesman Richard Boucher said. Participants in the
meetings are discussing ways to overthrow Saddam.

Wolfowitz will stop in Afghanistan on Monday to meet with U.S. troops and
Afghan officials.




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