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Arbil, Iraq Press, July 23, 2002 – Business is sluggish in Iraq with little economic activity taking place as war prospects loom over the country. President Saddam Hussein, concerned about his personal survival, has put the country on a war footing, with his security services and Special Forces in control of almost every type of activity, including business transactions. Baghdad traders, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Iraq Press that Iraqis were trying to get rid of their dinars by changing them into dollars and businessmen were almost idle, taking a wait-and-see attitude. As speculation grows over an imminent attack by the United States to bring down Saddam Hussein, the authorities have stepped up their war readiness to levels unseen even in the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait, devoting the country's meager economic resources to the war effort. The traders said the authorities were so unnerved that they expect an attack any time particularly after reported U.S. plans were leaked to the New York Times newspaper. The traders said the authorities were keeping a tight lid on bank deposits and transactions. They said telephone lines of major traders in the country were bugged and their movements traced. President George W. Bush is reported to have issued an order, instructing the Central Intelligence Agency to use all means at its disposal to get rid of Saddam and increase its support for his opponents. The Iraqi economy, devastated by wars, was showing signs of improvement due to the U.N.-supervised oil sales worth billions of dollars every year. But the economy deteriorated with the value of the the dinar plunging to record lows following a short period of stability. The dinar had stabilized at about 1,600 to the U.S. dollar but it has nose-dived recently to about 2,000. The traders said they expected the dinar to weaken further so long as Saddam is obsessed with the idea of a massive U.S. attack to topple his regime. - - - - Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed _________________________________________________________________ MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos: http://photos.msn.com/support/worldwide.aspx _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk