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Dear list members, FYI. Best andreas A N U Assyrian News Watch * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Assyrian Chaldean Syriac --------------------------------------------------- The Guardian Iraq opposition aims for territorial base Brian Whitaker Friday July 26, 2002 The Guardian The US-funded Iraqi opposition will today announce plans to set up a provisional government "on any free ground" in Iraq. Its aim is to establish a territorial base, gain international recognition and create a framework for government. But some in the opposition say the move is more likely to inflame political rivalries than hasten the downfall of Saddam Hussein. The plan will be unveiled today at a press conference in Kensington town hall in London. It will be presented by Ahmad Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, and Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein, a claimant to the Iraqi throne who is also a leading figure in the INC. They will be joined by representatives of a new opposition group, the Iraqi National Movement. Although sources say the provisional government would not be proclaimed "until the moment fighting starts", there are fears that the preparations will lead to squabbling. "It's a stupid thing," said Saad Jabr, of the London-based Free Iraqi Council. "It's too early, too premature. The guys who are not in it - they'll all be against it. If you announce a government in exile, other groups can do it too." The plan seeks to include all the main political groups in the provisional government, but sources close to the opposition doubt that is possible. The exiled opposition consists of dozens of groups which regularly subdivide, while opponents of the regime inside Iraq cannot be involved openly - at least, not yet. A meeting of exiled Iraqi officers in London earlier this month encountered similar problems. It salvaged unity by electing an unnamed committee without a chairman. Opposition insiders say there has been friction between Dr Chalabi and Sharif Ali in the past, although they now appear on good terms. The obvious base for an alternative government would be in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq, where Baghdad has no control. But the Kurds already have their own system of government and there are conflicting claims as to whether Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, has agreed to let it operate from there. Some see the INC's move mainly as an attempt to improve its standing in Washington: "They want to show they're doing something," Mr Jabr said. As the main umbrella group for the Iraqi opposition, the INC has been heavily supported by US taxpayers over the years, but has run into arguments about its accounting practices. _______________________________________________ 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