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[casi] News, 17-20/7/02 (1)

News, 17-20/7/02 (1)


*  US would keep troops in Iraq to aid reform
*  Iraq: The Day After
*  Iraq turns to Belarus for expertise in oil industry, manufacturing
*  Goodbye Saddam, hello your Majesty
*  Jordan prince touted to succeed Saddam


*  Saddam Says U.S. Won't Be Able to Oust Government
*  Five reported dead in attack on Iraq


*  Iraq lodges protest against US for refusing to grant visas
*  Malaysia calls US action against Iraq undemocratic
*  France Opens Court Inquiry Into Gulf War Syndrome


*  Homeless and friendless

THE MORNING AFTER,,3-358938,00.html

by Roland Watson
The Times, 18th July

AMERICAN troops would occupy Iraq for at least a year after toppling
President Saddam Hussein to ensure the transition to a democratic regime,
under plans being drawn up by the Bush Administration.

A commitment to a peacekeeping presence would underline the way in which
Washington intends to portray its proposed military action in Iraq as the
"first step towards Middle East reform˛, American officials say.

The force, which could include British and Jordanian troops, is designed in
part to bolster international support by showing that the United States has
a wider mission than simply returning with Saddam's head. Dick Cheney, the
Vice-President, wants to use the end of Saddam's regime as a platform for
wider reforms in the region.

White House officials argue that other Gulf states, notably Jordan, could
use a peaceful Iraq to take their own steps towards more open and democratic
societies. The resulting "benign ripple effect˛ would help to ease the path
towards a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, according to

The US military has been criticised because of the way some generals believe
that an American mission should end after Saddam has been deposed. Contrary
to that notion, however, the Pentagon is considering how US troops could
help to stabilise Iraq, officals say. Part of the consideration would be to
prevent ethnic rivalries within Iraq or opportunism by neighbours such as
Iran disturbing the country's oil supplies. Options being assessed include a
commitment of American troops for a year or more.

Yesterday Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, decried the leaking of one
Pentagon plan, which envisaged a force of more than 200,000 US troops
attacking Iraq from three sides. He said that the leak put American lives at

Military analysts said that a US assault could, and possibly would, begin
before the build up of forces in the region was complete. Anthony Cordesman,
a former Pentagon official and expert on Iraq at the Centre for Strategic
and International Studies, said that an attack could begin with crippling
airstrikes and limited ground forces in place, reinforcing with follow-on

The key was to keep Iraq guessing about the details. "The US has an obvious
incentive to deceive Iraq as much as possible as to which option it will
execute. War by 'leak' does not have to mean war by accurate 'leak'.˛


by Robert Kagan
Washington Post, 21st July

Talk in Europe of a possible U.S. invasion of Iraq has been shifting lately.
The panicked incredulity of a few months ago is turning into nervous
resignation. Europeans increasingly consider an American invasion all but
inevitable, whether they like it or not. And if the United States stubbornly
insists on going forward, European officials privately acknowledge, their
governments probably won't protest much. (The "European street" is another


Now many Europeans are starting to ask a different set of questions: What
about the day after the invasion? Does the United States have a workable
plan for a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq? And, most important of all, does the
United States itself plan on sticking around long enough to build a new Iraq
that is reasonably stable, peaceful, and democratic? Or will the Americans
bug out after a few months or a year, leaving the job of putting Iraq back
together to the United Nations or to Europe or, perhaps, to Iran? These are
legitimate questions. In fact, they're the right questions at the right
time. If a war in Iraq is going to come early next year, as some
administration officials have been hinting, then people on this side of the
Atlantic might want to start asking such questions, too.

Does the Bush administration have the right answers? Maybe it does, but you
really can't blame the Europeans for worrying. The foreign policy line of
Bush's 2000 campaign treated "nation-building" and "peacekeeping" as dirty
words. Today Bush articulates a more Trumanesque vision of the American
global role after Sept. 11, but the old notion of a more limited American
role abroad -- "Superpowers don't do windows" -- keeps incongruously popping

One gets a whiff of it in Bosnia, from which the Pentagon seemingly can't
wait to extricate itself. And, more disturbingly, one sees it in
Afghanistan, where the administration's aversion to nation-building and
peacekeeping, and even to putting substantial numbers of troops on the
ground to fight the war, is palpable. The Bush administration may have its
reasons for limiting the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan, but the effect so
far has been to cast doubt on American willingness to stay anywhere for the
long haul, including in a post Hussein Iraq.

But Iraq is no "window." It is a historical pivot. Whether a post-Hussein
Iraq succeeds or fails will shape the course of Middle Eastern politics, and
therefore world politics, both now and for the remainder of this century.

Europeans worry about that, and they're right to do so. If it's true that an
invasion may be only six months off, this would be a good time to start
thinking about D-Day plus 1. Not only Europeans but Americans, too, ought to
know the kind of task they're about to undertake. For if the Bush
administration is serious, then the United States is on the verge of making
a huge commitment in Iraq and the Middle East, not unlike the commitment it
made in Japan more than a half-century ago.

The idea then was not simply to get rid of a dangerously aggressive Imperial
Japanese government, nor merely to deny the Japanese the capacity to launch
another Pearl Harbor. It was to rebuild Japanese politics and society,
roughly in the American image. American policy in Japan, as in Germany, was
"nation-building" on a grand scale, and with no exit strategy. Almost six
decades later there are still American troops on Japanese soil.

Iraq may not be that different. Surrounded as it is by vulnerable friends
such as Turkey, by Arab states of tenuous legitimacy, such as Jordan and
Saudi Arabia, and by such worrisome nations as Iran and Syria, Iraq's
success after Hussein's fall will be a vital American interest if ever there
was one. If the United States goes into Iraq, it better be ready to stay
there for as long as it takes. When President Bush makes it clear to our
European allies that he understands this, at least some of them may breathe
a little easier. And so should we.

The writer, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace, writes a monthly column for The Post.

Hoover's (Financial Times), 19th July
Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1358, 19th July/BBC

Minsk, 19 July: An Iraqi delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister [and
Military Industrialization Minister] Abd-al-Tawwab Mulla Huwaysh has said
that Baghdad is willing to develop cooperation in the petroleum sphere with
Belarus, the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry told Interfax
on Friday [19 July].

The Foreign Ministry said that among other issues they discussed the
possibility of applying Belarusian expertise in this sphere to improve the
efficiency of the Iraqi oil industry, as well as the production of consumer
goods using petroleum products.

The Iraqi delegation, comprising officials from the ministries of industry,
education and scientific research, is taking part in the work of the
Belarus-Iraq commission on trade and business cooperation. It has been on a
visit to Minsk since 14 July.

The talks centred on ways to expand trade and business cooperation as part
of the UN Oil for-Food programme. They discussed prospects for Belarusian
companies to help restore Iraq's production of tractors, engines, trucks and
glass sheets.

The Foreign Ministry's press service said they particularly focused on
options for the implementation of joint projects aimed at opening
enterprises that would assemble engines of the Minsk Engine Plant and
Belarusian tractors, as well as upgrade a plant in Ramadi to produce glass

In 2001, Belarusian exports to Iraq totalled 26m dollars. In January-May
2002, exports stood at 11.5m dollars.{BDE8C25B-2E42-4F13-914
3 5958E5BD47EC}

 by Michael Rubin
National Post, Toronto, 25th July

Just over a week ago more than 70 exiled Iraqi military officials and Ahmad
Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, met in London to discuss
the ousting of Saddam Hussein. U.S. diplomats, Pentagon officials and
members of the Vice-President's staff also attended.

The surprise participant was Jordan's Prince Hassan bin Talal. Crown prince
for more than three decades, Hassan frequently served as regent while his
brother, King Hussein, travelled abroad. As Hussein was, Hassan is known for
his moderation, his genuine desire for peace, his humour and his learning.

Two weeks before his death, Hussein altered the Jordanian succession to
allow his son Abdullah to take the throne. Despite the slight of being
passed over, Hassan has painstakingly avoided any action that might undercut
his nephew's rule.

In his speech to the exiled Iraqi officers, Hassan avoided politics and
focused instead upon his family's relationship with Iraq --his cousins ruled
the country until 1958. He said his visit was strictly personal, telling
reporters: "I'm not carrying any signals." Nevertheless, his address raises
intriguing possibilities for Iraq's future.

July 14, 1958, is a date most Iraqis wish to forget. Just after dawn,
soldiers stormed the palace and murdered the 19-year-old King Faisal II and
his family. For a decade after there was sporadic street fighting, mass
killings, assassination attempts and violent changes in government.

On July 30, 1968, the ethnic chauvinist Ba'ath party seized power. A young
functionary named Saddam Hussein took charge of purging dissent, and did so
with brutal efficiency, quickly ensconcing himself as Iraq's strongman.
Within a month of formally assuming the presidency in 1979, 500 top
officials lay dead, victims of Saddam's paranoia. One year later, Saddam
launched his first war of aggression, targeting Iran and killing or maiming
one million people in the process.

In 1988, he executed a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign against Iraq's
ethnic minorities, killing up to 182,000 Kurds. Local surveys indicate
Saddam used unconventional munitions on at least 280 separate occasions. Two
years later, he was at it again, pillaging Kuwait and once more bringing
death and destruction to Iraq.

It is not surprising, then, that a common quip in teahouses and pool halls
throughout Iraq is: "Saddam Hussein is God's curse because the communists
killed the king." Iraqis did not grieve over the end of the monarchy, but
the violent death of the young king engendered great sympathy. "He was just
a young boy. He didn't need to die," one retired Iraqi teacher told me.

Most Iraqis today no longer remember their monarchy, but many nevertheless
consider it to be the golden age of Iraq. After all, Iraqis can readily
compare the post-Hashemite decline of resource-rich Iraq with the relative
prosperity brought to a barren and resourceless desert nation by the
Jordanian branch of the family.

As one drives through the hills near Sarsang in northern Iraq, locals point
with pride to the former Hashemite palace (now a hospital) perched on the
hillside, while they treat with disdain the ruins of Saddam's ostentatious
palaces. Iraqis are not alone in looking back fondly on bygone royalty. In
April, Zahir Shah returned to Afghanistan after nearly three decades of
exile. While he no longer seeks the crown, the former king has played an
invaluable role in Afghan reconciliation. His long exile gave Zahir Shah
distance to mediate, and put him above the fray of blood feuds, warlordism
and ethnic politics.

Equally significant is the rise of Reza Pahlavi. In little more than a year,
the son of the late Shah of Iran has risen from relative obscurity to become
the leading catalyst for democracy in Iran. Iranians old enough to remember
the Shah used to visualize their society as European, on a par with Spain
and Greece, but now see their country plunging into economic chaos.

Too young to remember the corruption and brutality of the last Shah, they
long for the good life of the past. To many Iranians, such sentiment is not
empty glorification. In 1977, Iran's per capita income was equivalent to
Spain's; two years ago, it hovered near that of the Gaza Strip.

A role for royals in Iraq should therefore come as no surprise. While Sharif
Ali, cousin of the 19-year old murdered king, pretends to the Iraqi throne,
Hassan has spent more time in Iraq, is tried and tested, and enjoys respect
and legitimacy throughout the Middle East. At the London conference, Chalabi
lauded Hassan as "a friend of the Iraqi people." For the ruling families of
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, a place for royals in Iraq may be more
palatable than primacy for republicans.

Should he be interested, Hassan's experience and lineage -- Hashemites claim
direct descent from the Prophet Mohammed -- give him the unique ability to
usher a post-Saddam Iraq back into the family of nations, with him chairing
a future constitutional convention and overseeing reconciliation. With
Saddam's days numbered, Hassan's appearance in London may signal that Iraqis
will have a future far brighter than their past.,3604,757709,00.html

by Brian Whitaker
The Guardian, 19th July

As US officials and Iraqi opposition groups squabble over possible
successors to Saddam Hussein, Prince Hassan of neighbouring Jordan is
emerging as a surprise contender.

The idea, which has support in the Pentagon and among conservative thinkers
in the US, envisages the prince rising above Iraqi factionalism as a
compromise figurehead, or even as king.

Some argue that his involvement could also ease tensions in Washington,
where the state department and CIA have been at loggerheads with Congress
and the Pentagon over Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial leader of the Iraqi
National Congress, an umbrella opposition group funded by US taxpayers.

"Prince Hassan is someone who has not been poisoned by the past 40 years of
chaos in Iraq and is perhaps the only person who can transcend the ethnic
and political complexities," said Michael Rubin of the Washington thinktank
the American Enterprise Institute.

Hassan, 55, was crown prince of Jordan for many years and effectively ruled
the country during the terminal illness of his eldest brother, the late King

But a few weeks before his death in 1999, King Hussein removed him from the
succession and nominated his own son, now King Abdullah.

On April 8 this year, Prince Hassan had talks at the Pentagon with Paul
Wolfowitz, the US deputy secretary of defence. The subject was never
disclosed but since then he has begun to assume a higher political profile.

This culminated in his dramatic "coming out" last week when - surrounded by
TV cameras - he arrived unexpectedly at a conference of exiled Iraqi
officers in London. It was the first time that a high-ranking Arab had
publicly associated himself with the Iraqi opposition. His move appears to
have been well received.

Speculation has been heightened by the fact that the Jordanian royal family
is related to the Iraqi royal family, whose last king, Faisal II, was
deposed and assassinated in 1958.


Tehran Times, 18th July

BAGHDAD -- President Saddam Hussein said on Wednesday in a televised speech
marking Iraq's July 17 revolution that the United States and its allies
would not be able to topple his government.

Saddam, marking the 34th anniversary of the revolution which brought his
ruling Baath Party to power, also said Iraqis were well-prepared and
equipped to defend their country against any military assault, Reuters said.

"Temmuz (July revolution) returns to say to all evil tyrants and oppressors
of the world: you will never defeat me this time.

Never! even if you come together from all over the world, and invite all the
devils as well, to stand by you," Saddam said.

Saddam, the man who has ruled Iraq with an iron fist for 23 years, piled on
the war of words with his main 1991 Persian Gulf War foe, Washington.
"Temmuz also returns armed with swords, bow and spear, carrying its shield
or gun and cannon...or poised in its battle trench which may, through
caution and alertness, save life from schemes, conspiracies, and perfidy,
and protect all our dear men."

His remarks coincided with mounting speculation that the United States might
use its military might to try to oust him.

U.S. President George W. Bush said last week Washington would use all tools
at its disposal to topple Saddam. He has branded Iraq part of an "axis of
evil" supporting terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq has repeatedly denied the U.S. charges. Saddam urged Iraqis to "fight
with valor, chivalry, patience and resolve, as you have always done when

He said if Washington attacked, "Iraq will emerge eventually triumphant.

"The others need only to realize and learn the lesson, and know that the
principles, high interests and national security cannot be protected without

The Iraqi leader prayed for God to protect Iraq "against the schemes of the
devil or of those to whom the devil is master", in clear reference to the
United States.

His address, [which was] carried live by state television and radio and
lasted for 40 minutes, made no reference to Iraq's relations with the UN
Security Council and UN inspections of Baghdad's weapons of mass

Iraq and the United Nations failed last week to reach an agreement to resume
weapons inspections after intensive talks between UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan and Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri.

U.S. officials have accused Iraq of rebuilding sites where they had produced
weapons of mass destruction after UN arms experts left the country in
December 1998. The inspectors left just before a U.S.-British bombing
campaign intended to punish Baghdad for not cooperating with them.

Iraq's Parliament voted unanimously on Monday to back military preparations
to repel any U.S. attack aimed at toppling the Iraqi government.

by Hassan Hafidh
Financial Times, 19th July

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq says U.S. and British planes yesterday attacked
civilian targets killing five people and wounding 17 others in the south of
the country.

"At 11:15 p.m. local time (8.15 a.m British time) yesterday evil American
and British warplanes violated our airspace coming from Saudi Arabia and
carried out 34 sorties," an Iraqi military spokesman said in a statement on
the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) on Friday.

A statement on the website for U.S. Central Command in Florida, which
oversees U.S. military activity in the Gulf area, said coalition aircraft
struck a military target in the southern "no-fly" zone with precision-guided

"In response to recent Iraqi hostile acts against Coalition aircraft
monitoring the Southern No-Fly Zone, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH Coalition
aircraft used precision-guided weapons today to strike a military cable
repeater station in southern Iraq..."

Britain's Ministry of Defence said it had nothing to add to the U.S.

Military activity in the region has become more frequent in recent months
amid speculation that the United States might invade Iraq to oust President
Saddam Hussein, whose country has the second largest oil reserves in the
world and who is accused by the United States of developing weapons of mass


"The enemy attacked civilian installations in the province of Qadissiya
(Diwaniya), killing five citizens and wounding 17 others," the Iraqi
spokesman said.

He said a house was destroyed and another was damaged during the attack in
the centre of Diwaniya city, some 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad.

The U.S. Central Command said it never targets civilian populations or
infrastructure and that strikes in the "no-fly" zones are executed as a
self-defense measure in response to hostile Iraqi threats and acts against
Coalition forces.

"The last Coalition strike in the Southern No-Fly Zone was against a mobile
radar unit associated with a mobile surface-to-air missile launcher on July
14, 2002," it said.

But a senior ruling Baath Party official said that there was no Iraqi
military activity in the area where Western planes dropped their guided

"The evil American administration has yet added another crime to their
record which is full of crimes when it attacked a residential quarter where
there is no military activity...," Muhssein al-Khafaji told Iraqi

Khafaji said a family, consisting of a child and her father and mother, were
killed during the assault. The two other victims were from the next house,
he said.

The television showed pictures of destroyed houses and rescue teams were
digging to take out the victims and save the wounded. It also showed some of
the wounded laying in a near-by hospital.

It said a funeral procession [had been] organised in the main street of
Diwaniya on Friday where participants shouted anti-American and British

The television said that the people in the province condemned the United
States and Britain and expressed support for the leadership of President
Saddam Hussein to defend Iraq.

Friday's assault was the third reported by Iraq in a week. Baghdad said one
civilian was killed and 13 others wounded in two raids by U.S. and British
planes on civilian targets in the south of the country on Saturday and

The U.S. military said U.S. planes bombed Iraqi air defence facilities after
coalition aircraft came under fire and were threatened by Iraqi air-defence

Saddam said on Wednesday in a televised speech marking Iraq's July 17
revolution that Washington and its allies would not be able to topple his



BAGHDAD, July 18 (Xinhuanet) -- Iraq on Thursday protested to the United
Nations against the United States for refusing to grant visas to an Iraqi
delegation that was supposed to take part in the preparatory meeting of the
International Criminal Court in New York on July 1, the official Iraqi News
Agency (INA) reported.

"The US refusal to issue visas to Iraqi delegation members has prevented
them from playing their role in the meetings sponsored bythe United
Nations," Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri Ahmed said in a letter to UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday.

Ahmed urged Annan to intervene and demand the United States "to respect its
obligations and commitments to the United Nations" and stop from placing
obstacles and preventing Iraqi delegations to attend UN meetings in the
future, the INA said.

Iraq has no foreign relations with the United States and the two countries
have been sworn enemies since the 1991 Gulf War, during which the US-led
multinational coalition army defeated Iraq and evicted Iraqi troops out of
Kuwait after a seven-month occupation.

The Iraqi foreign minister has complained that the United States delayed to
grant visas for his delegation members to engage in talks with the United
Nations in New York.

Consequently, Iraq requested to have talks with the UN chief in Vienna
instead of New York, where the first two rounds of talks between Iraq and
the United Nations in March and May were held. Thethird round of talks
between the two sides were held in the Austrian capital of Vienna early this

Times of India (from AFP), 19th July

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday slammed
proposed US military action against Iraq, saying it would be unjust and

Mahathir said using military force to unseat Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
would only serve to provoke greater hatred and dent the Islamic world's
efforts to show the "moderate face" of Islam.

"The quarrel is with Saddam Hussein, they think he is a dictator. It is up
to the people of Iraq to change their government if they can but they
cannot," he told an international Islamic conference here.

"But because they cannot, it is not fair to punish them. You punish people
who have no means of changing their conditions. That is I think unjust.

"We don't think other governments have a right, no matter how powerful they
are, to change the government of another country. That is an undemocratic
thing to do."

The veteran Asian leader, who is to step down October 2003, questioned why
the US had picked on Iraq when there were other countries in the world which
also needed a change in government.

"When you focus on Iraq, the people who will suffer are the helpless people
of Iraq and of course, you are going to arouse a lot of ill-feelings," he

"We pray and hope that it will not be done... it will make it difficult for
us to show the moderate face of Islam."


Tehran Times, 20th July

PARIS -- Paris prosecutors have opened a judicial investigation to determine
whether French veterans suffering from Persian Gulf War syndrome were
victims of negligence, court sources said Friday.

Prosecutors in mid-June handed the inquiry for "manslaughter and
unintentional injuries" to examining magistrate Marie-Odile Bertella
Geffroy, a specialist on public health issues, "Le Parisien" newspaper

About a dozen French veterans have filed civil complaints, prompting
prosecutors to launch an investigation, court sources said.

Persian Gulf War syndrome is a term popularly applied to a vast range of
symptoms among veterans of the 1990-91 conflict against Iraq, from memory
loss, chronic fatigue and dizziness to swollen joints, depression and lack
of concentration.

About 100,000 U.S. troops as well as thousands of British, Canadian and
French troops who took part in the operation against Baghdad have reported
one or more of these problems.

A French association for Persian Gulf War victims, Avigolfe, says that eight
French soldiers suffering from the syndrome have died. Some 25,000 French
troops served in the Persian Gulf War.

Several explanations for the syndrome, ranging from exposure to depleted
uranium from artillery shells to vaccines and poison gas antidotes, have
been put forward.

The Paris magistrate is expected to begin calling witnesses to testify in


by Owen Bowcott
The Guardian, 19th July

The war against terrorism has been hard going for the Kurds. One of the
world's largest ethnic groups not to have a home state, they form a minority
- and face varying degrees of intolerance - across the Middle East, in
Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.

The west's twin campaigns against al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein threaten to
undermine the Kurds' nationalist aspirations. Pressure from Washington on
the protected Kurdish enclaves in northern Iraq to provide frontline
fighters to remove "the butcher of Baghdad" has been widely reported. So
far, the Iraqi Kurds have hesitated to compromise their precarious autonomy
in order to satisfy the Bush administration's enthusiasm for a new world

Little has changed for the Kurds of Iran and Syria. But the impact of the
war against terrorism on the Kurds of Turkey has been more subtle. The
Kurdistan Workers party (PKK), which has begun the process of putting away
its weapons and transforming itself into a political movement, has been
added to a European Union list of banned organisations. Turkey's Kurds
normally look to Europe for helpful human rights interventions while hoping
that accession to the EU will at result in better treatment for minorities.

For the PKK, renouncing the gun has been a protracted process. The
outmanoeuvred organisation began winding down its guerrilla campaign aimed
at carving out a homeland in south-east Turkey and northern Iraq in 1999
after Turkish special forces seized the PKK's fugitive leader, Abdullah
Ocalan. Two years ago the PKK - a secular, Marxist group with no known
connections to al-Qaida - announced a ceasefire.

Europe's condemnation of the organisation has been a demoralising blow,
particularly for the Kurdish diaspora which tries to promote the cause of
independence. The conclusion that democratic politics pay better dividends
than violence is now being re-examined.

The enthusiasm among western states for drawing up lists of outlawed groups
predates September 11: a ban on the PKK and 20 other groups was announced by
the home secretary under the Terrorism Act in March 2001. Civil rights
lawyers argue the legislation is so restrictive that had it been in force
during the apartheid era the African National Congress would not have been
able to organise in Britain.

The fervour with which banned lists have been assembled since President Bush
launched the war against terrorism has intensified. In the scramble to
coordinate security, there has been sustained lobbying from some states to
ensure local opponents become outcasts. Turkey has been a persuasive

"This EU ban...criminalises the whole of the Kurdish people," says Remzi
Kartal, a Brussels based member of the executive council of the exiled
Kurdish National Congress (KNC). "If Europe and the international community
try to close down the liberation movement in the same way as the Turkish
government does, then that leaves no alternative but to begin the war

His threat is significant. The KNC is the umbrella organisation which brings
together numerous Kurdish political groups. The PKK was a leading member
until it formally dissolved itself in April. The movement reinvented itself
as the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (Kadek), this time
promising: "No bombs. No violence." Kadek is now part of the KNC.

The Turkish military response to the EU ban was to launch its summer
search-and-destroy operations against pockets of PKK guerrillas in Tunceli,
eastern Turkey, and into Iraq. Another part of the establishment, possibly
the intelligence service, MIT, began leaking lists of allegedly pro-Kurdish
organisations it would also like banned. Among names which surfaced in an
Ankara paper were the Kurdish Human Rights Project, a London-based civil
rights group, the European Council of Churches and the charity Medicins sans
Frontieres. All three condemn the use of violence.

On the other hand, Turkey's parliament - facing an early election to end
months of political instability triggered by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's
illness - has voted to lift emergency rule in two predominantly Kurdish
provinces, endorsing a decision by the military dominated national security
council. The EU insists that emergency rule in four remaining provinces ends
before Turkey opens membership talks with Brussels.

The European parliament in Strasbourg is meanwhile trying to impose a
requirement on Turkey that it opens up dialogue with Kurdish organisations.
Under the "Copenhagen criteria" for joining the EU, Turkey must also remove
restrictions on the use of the Kurdish language. This and other reforms are
cooling the enthusiasm of some Turkish politicians and military officials
for Europe.

Channelling efforts into constitutional politics would not be so difficult
for the Kurds in Turkey if they could organise politically. The movement has
encouraged demonstrations by students demanding lessons in Kurdish, but that
usually results in mass arrests. Language reforms, promised by successive
Turkish politicians, have never materialised.

The PKK ceasefire has elicited little response from the authorities. Leyla
Zana and three other Kurdish MPs from the Democracy party have been
imprisoned since 1994 for allegedly having links with the PKK. The European
court of human rights again condemned their detention last month.

One problem is the curious configuration of the Turkish state, in which the
national security council plays a pivotal role. In 1997 the military ordered
the Islamist party then in power to resign, effectively a coup in which
tanks stayed inside the barracks.

The Turkish general staff is opposed to dismantling the geographical
boundaries or the secular nature of the state, and the Turkish army remains
a key regional ally for the US, Israel, Britain and Nato. Airbases, such as
Incerlik, are used daily by UK and US air patrols monitoring the no-fly zone
in northern Iraq, and would be vital for an attack on Saddam Hussein. With
such high stakes in play, the interests of the Kurds - in both Turkey and
northern Iraq - are in danger of slipping down the west's diplomatic agenda.

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