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News, 3-10/8/02 (3) IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Al-Watan: Kuwait renew rejection to striking Iraq * Alba to ship [aluminium] products worth $6m to Iraq soon * Oman adds voice in rejecting US strike on Iraq * Iran, Saudi Arabia Seeking Convergence on Palestine, Iraq * Saddam's son fails to buy arms from Iran * Iran Not to Repeat Mistake in Case of Iraqi Refugee Influx * Two Iraqi ministers visit Araar center on Saudi border * [Lebanese foreign minister Mahmoud] Hammoud warns against US campaign in Iraq * US revises plans as kingdom courts Iraq * Iraqi, Turkish FMs in Amman for Talks on U.S. Pressure Against Baghdad * Turkey Has not Agreed to Use its Land Against Iraq: FM * Jordan denies show of support for Iraq, the Palestinians WEAPONS INSPECTIONS * Powell Dismisses Iraqi Gesture * U.N. Asks Iraq to Accept New Terms * Why not put our offer to the test? * Iraq brands UN chief weapons inspector a spy NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * South Kurdistan under Turkish hegemony * PUK Leader in U.S. to Discuss Iraqi Crisis: Radio * Turkish army denies presence in northern Iraq PREPARATIONS FOR WAR * Iraq to use bio-weapons 'soon' * The Ark Royal and war on Iraq * War plan * Hussein likely to avoid desert fighting THE IRAQI COLLABORATION * Defense Dept. to Take Over Funding of Iraqi Opposition Group * Al-Hakeem brother in Iraqi opposition meeting under US support * Iraqi Groups Claim Unified Stand * Bush: No timetable for a decision on attacking Iraq IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020803/2002080310.html * AL-WATAN: KUWAIT RENEW REJECTION TO STRIKING IRAQ Arabic News, 3rd August The Kuwaiti minister of information and acting oil minister, Ahmad Fahad Al-Ahmad Al Sabah, on Friday renewed his country's rejection to direct a military strike to Iraq or for Kuwait to be a stage for operations or a battlefield for any operation against Iraq. In a statement to the Saudi daily al-Watan issued on Friday, he said that Kuwait has no connection to the scenarios of the expected attack on Iraq and that it will work to protect its security and sovereignty in case it is exposed to a threat. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=59674 * ALBA TO SHIP PRODUCTS WORTH $6M TO IRAQ SOON Gulf News, 4th August Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) is to send large shipments of aluminium products worth $6 million to Iraq within the next few days, a statement said yesterday. Khalid Noor, head of Alba"s marketing, said the company had signed an agreement with an European company to export aluminium to Iraq as part of the UN's 'Oil for Food' programme. It will be the first such transaction since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. He said the company had already sent a number of shipments and the largest weighing more than 3,000 metric tonnes would be sent in the next few days. Aluminium shipments to Iraq amounted to 0.78 per cent of Alba's total production of 500,000 metric tonnes per year. The exports will be handled by the United Arab Maritime Co. through Al Nasiriya Port. The Oil for Food programme allows Iraq to import food and medicine and other UN permitted products that are needed to rehabilitate the country's infrastructure, especially in the health, electricity and oil sectors. http://www.iranmania.com/news/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=11418&NewsKin d=CurrentAffairs&ArchiveNews=Yes * OMAN ADDS VOICE IN REJECTING US STRIKE ON IRAQ IranMania.com, 4th August TEHRAN, Aug 4 (AFP) - The top diplomat of another key pro-Western Persian Gulf state, Oman, used a visit here Sunday to express strong opposition to any US-led military action against Iraq, following the Saudi foreign minister the previous day. Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Oman's minister of state for foreign affairs, said on arrival for a visit to Iran, "Our position is the same, ruling out any military option against an Arab and Muslim country." "We are opposed to an attack on Iraq or any other Muslim state because we think that any differences with regard to the Middle East must be resolved under UN auspices." Oman currently heads the Perian Gulf Cooperation Council, which also groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia and Iran had expressed joint opposition here Saturday to US military action against their common neighbour Iraq, when Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal held separate meetings with both moderate President Mohammad Khatami and his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharazi. The Omani minister is also to have talks with Khatami and Kharazi on Iraq, the Israeli Palestinian conflict and relations between their wo countries, which face each other across the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=8/5/02&Cat=2&Num=20 * IRAN, SAUDI ARABIA SEEKING CONVERGENCE ON PALESTINE, IRAQ by Nahid Pilvar Tehran Times, 5th August The Saudi Arabian and Omani foreign ministers are currently in Tehran while the Zionists' crimes against the Palestinians are continuing and the Islamic world is dealing with the Iraqi issue. These new developments have brought Islamic countries together in order to take the necessary measures to solve these problems. Iran and Saudi Arabia are two major powers in the Islamic world whose decisions have been influential in determining trends of developments. Iranian and Saudi officials plan to discuss important issues such as the Middle East crisis, the Iraqi issue, terrorism, oil, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The Tehran Times conducted an interview with MP Mohammad Kianoushrad, a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, in which he discussed the subject. Following is the text of the interview. Q: How do you assess Iran-Saudi Arabia relations, and in what areas can these relations be expanded? A: The first thing that can encourage them to strengthen relations is their pivotal role in the Islamic world. Both countries are influential in the Islamic world. Their geographic locations and their immense oil reserves have made their positions even more unique. Q: How can Iran and Saudi Arabia expand bilateral trade and commercial relations? A: Taking into consideration President Khatami's proposal on establishing an Islamic Union, Iran and Saudi Arabia could increase the volume of their trade. Eliminating or decreasing tariffs would be the first step in this direction. Q: Mr. Kianoushrad, regarding the fact that Iran and Saudi Arabia play a determining role in OPEC and setting the price of oil, what can they do to prevent the price of oil from falling? A: Iran and Saudi Arabia produce a great deal of the oil produced by OPEC. By taking realistic and logical measures they can prevent oil prices from falling. In recent years, such coordination and cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia prevented oil prices from falling. The most important measure the two countries could take in this regard would be coordinating their actions and avoiding abandoning their long-term interests in favor of policies dictated by the West. Q: There are probably going to be some serious developments in Iraq in the near future. How can Iran and Saudi Arabia positively influence these developments? A: Any decision about Iraq must be made by the Iraqi people and Iraqi opposition parties. Undoubtedly, any military intervention will be detrimental for regional countries and Iraq's neighbors and will cause insecurity and instability in economic activities. In their talks and consultations with the U.S., the real Iraqi opposition groups must do their best to convince it to comply with UN regulations so that the Iraqi people's lives and livelihood are protected. In installing an alternative to the present regime in Iraq, they should avoid harsh measures involving military actions, because the damage inflicted upon the Iraqi people will be irreparable. Iran and Saudi Arabia should formulate a comprehensive plan to prevent a military attack on Iraq and try to adapt any development to the Iraqi people's will. The best way to formulate this plan is through political talks and negotiations. Q: Concerning the Palestinian issue, will the two countries' stances become closer in order to find a way to solve this crisis? A: These talks will definitely help bring their positions closer together. It seems that regarding the Palestinian issue, Iran and Saudi Arabia will reach agreement on a common position in the very near future. The Palestinian issue will certainly be discussed at these meetings, bearing in mind that Saudi Arabia has been working on the problem for the past year and Crown Prince Abdullah's plan was also put forward. The U.S. and the Zionist regime's reactions to this plan will also be discussed, and the two sides will try to reach an agreement on a common position. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-374687,00.html * SADDAM'S SON FAILS TO BUY ARMS FROM IRAN by Michael Theodoulou in Nicosia The Times, 5th August WITH the United States intent on deposing him, Saddam Hussein has sent one of his sons to try to win support from his old enemy, Iran. The Iraqi President was said to have dispatched his younger son and heir- apparent, Qusay, to seek the return of Iraqi aircraft that were sent to Iran for safekeeping during the 1991 Gulf War. Qusay and his team, who travelled to the Iranian border ten days ago, also asked to buy weapons, including long-range Shahab-3 missiles, reformist Iranian websites reported. In return, Baghdad offered to hand over all the members of an Iranian opposition group based in Iraq. While the Iraqi requests were apparently rejected, Iran again made clear at the weekend its opposition to US military action against Iraq. It was joined in calling for a political solution to the Iraqi affair by Saudi Arabia, a key US ally, whose Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal, held talks in Tehran with Iran's moderate President Khatami. "If aggression against one country becomes a habit, no government or country will be spared," Mr Khatami said. But he placed part of the responsibility for the regional tension on Iraq and called for "regional co-operation between Iraq's neighbouring countries to encourage it to adhere to UN resolutions and international agreements". Qusay was said to have sought Iranian assistance during a secret meeting with General Mohammad Bagher Zolghadr, deputy commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. The talks took place at Ghasre Shirin, an Iranian town on the southern border with Iraq, one reformist source told The Times. After consultations with the political authorities in Tehran, General Zolghadr rejected all Qusay's requests for military assistance, the reports said. Baghdad was told that its aircraft would be of no use to Iraq because they were inoperable. Saddam, unexpectedly and without invitation, sent his best military aircraft to Iran in 1991 rather than risk them in battle. Tehran has persistently refused to return the 90 or so aircraft, which included passenger aircraft, claiming them as reparations for the devastating eight year war with Iraq that Saddam started in 1980. General Zolghadr also ruled out any weapons sales to Iraq, insisting that the Shahab-3 missiles, which have a range of about 800 miles, were a defensive deterrent for Iran and would not be sold. Iraq was also rebuffed on its offer to surrender members of the Mujahidin-i Khalq, an Iranian opposition group. It would not be the first time that Saddam has sought to improve relations with Iran to relieve American military pressure. Two weeks after invading Kuwait in 1990, he offered to withdraw his forces occupying Iranian territories, to release Iranian prisoners of war and to recognise Iranian rights in a key waterway. Reports of Qusay's failed mission were described as plausible by foreign diplomats in Tehran. "It's likely that the Iraqis will want to get into bed with the Iranians to give themselves a bigger buffer against the Americans," an envoy said. Iran's rebuff should help to allay fears that American pressure on both countries could force them into an alliance. "It makes no logical sense at this stage for Iran to cosy up to Iraq because of a potential over-the-horizon threat from America," the envoy said. President Bush's hostile attitude to Iran, which he has included in an "axis of evil" with Iraq and North Korea, has prompted media speculation that Washington was pushing Baghdad and Tehran closer together. Baghdad has made clear its desire to improve relations with Iran, agreeing last month to return the remains of hundreds of Iranian soldiers who died in the Iran-Iraq War. "Iran is happy to co-operate on technical matters such as the exchange of remains and access for Iranian pilgrims to holy sites in Iraq, but military pacts are impossible," an analyst in Tehran said. Mistrust runs deep on both sides. Saddam's oldest son, Uday, has warned Tehran against taking advantage of a US military assault on Baghdad to make its own attack. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=8/6/02&Cat=2&Num=17 * IRAN NOT TO REPEAT MISTAKE IN CASE OF IRAQI REFUGEE INFLUX Tehran Times, 6th August TEHRAN -- Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari said here Monday that, "Iran would not repeat the mistake it made during the U.S. reprisal attacks on Afghanistan with regard to the issue of refugees in case Washington decides to attack Iraq." Lari, who was speaking at a meeting of Refugee Affairs Officials, added, "Once the U.S. military action on Baghdad begins Iran would set up refugee camps inside Iraqi territory to prevent an influx of refugees into the Islamic Republic of Iran." Nonetheless, he said, "Iran, if it is eventually forced to accept refugees from Iraq in the event of war, will settle them near its western border to prevent them from spreading throughout the country, IRNA reported. "Iran will have to prepare for developments beyond its western border and work to further decrease the replication of consequences inside." Following the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan, Iran set up two camps, Mile-46 and Makaki, on the Afghan side of its eastern border to prevent a massive influx of refugees into the country. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020806/2002080615.html * TWO IRAQI MINISTERS VISIT ARAAR CENTER ON SAUDI BORDER Arabic News, 6th August The Iraqi minister of commerce and housing, Maan Abdullah Sarsam, on Monday visited the border center in Araar, south west of the country, to be briefed on the work progress in preparations for opening this border crossing very son. Saleh said that this crossing will work for receiving goods and items coming into Iraq from Saudi Arabia. The Swiss Kotinka company will supervise the arrival of imported goods from Saudi Arabia within the framework of the UN "oil for food" program. It will be paid for from Iraq's account controlled by the UN when the goods enter the Iraqi territories. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/06_08_02/art11.asp * [Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud] HAMMOUD WARNS AGAINST US CAMPAIGN IN IRAQ by Khalil Fleihan Daily Star, Lebanon, 6th August Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud on Monday warned against a US attack on Iraq, saying Lebanon was standing behind resolutions adopted by the Arab League summit and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to support Baghdad. The minister told reporters after meeting with Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Ali Sobhani to discuss "US threats" that resolutions from the two conferences called for treating any attack on Iraq as an attack targeting all Arab and Muslim States. The United States is rumored to be preparing an attack against Baghdad in an effort to unseat Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Hammoud, who called for "Arab solidarity," was briefed by Sobhani about the recent visits to Tehran by the Saudi and Omani foreign ministers, Saud al-Faisal and Youssef bin Alawi. Sobhani told reporters that Hammoud would be visiting Iran soon, but offered no specific schedule. "We prefer the official announcement about the visit to come from the ministry itself," the ambassador said. Sobhani, who indicated that he would be leaving Lebanon soon when his appointment expires, called for caution on the part of Lebanon, Syria and Iran with regard to Israel's growing aggression. He said he did not expect an Israeli attack against either Lebanon or Syria, but warned against Israeli efforts to create domestic unrest. "They (Israelis) rely most of all on the policy of intimidation," the ambassador said. Turning to the issue of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's expected visit to Beirut next month, Sobhani said that the visit had been postponed. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-376519,00.html * US REVISES PLANS AS KINGDOM COURTS IRAQ by Michael Evans, Defence Editor The Times, 7th August SAUDI ARABIA is in the process of concluding a special trade deal with Baghdad and is likely to deny the United States access to its military bases for any attack on Iraq, according to diplomatic sources. The Saudi Government, which was host to 500,000 American troops for Operation Desert Storm in 1991, has been engaged in talks with Iraq that could result in the establishment of a free-trade area between the two countries, the sources said. The growing rapprochement between Riyadh and Baghdad, at a time when the Pentagon is weighing up the military options for toppling President Saddam Hussein, has underlined the huge changes in the region's political environment since the previous US-led campaign against Iraq. Intelligence sources said that the United States had "as good as eliminated Saudi Arabia" as a base for operations against Saddam. The al-Udeid base in Qatar, about 20 miles from the capital, Doha, is being expanded and is expected to be the control centre for US air operations. The key Iraqi player in the trade talks with the Saudis has been Ezzat Ibrahim al-Douri, deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council in Baghdad. He visited Riyadh earlier this year and met Prince Nayef bin Abd al-Aziz, the Saudi Interior Minister, who, according to diplomatic sources, is in charge of communications between the countries. The normalisation of relations between Riyadh and Baghdad was illustrated at the Arab League summit in Beirut in March when Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was seen on live television to embrace Ezzat Ibrahim, Saddam's representative. Saudi Arabia also joined its Arab League partners in a unanimous vote against any US military attack on Iraq. In the 1991 Gulf War, the Sandhurst-trained Prince Khaled bin Sultan al-Saud was co commander of the US-led coalition and, with General Norman Schwarzkopf, planned the campaign to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. However, experts on Saudi Arabia in Britain said that it was impossible for Riyadh to open its doors to US forces a second time because of the heightened anti-American feeling in the country. One source said: "The only way the Americans might be able to change Saudi Arabia's mind would be if they could persuade Riyadh that it would be a quick military operation with a guarantee of success. The sight of Iraqis cheering in the streets after Saddam's downfall might help to remove Riyadh's worries about an Islamic backlash in its own country. "Most of the Saudi hierarchy were educated either in the US or Britain, but times have changed and to let thousands of American and other Western troops into the country for a second attack on Iraq could be disastrous for the Saudi Royal Family." The diplomatic sources said that Saudi Arabia was clearly intent on improving relations with Iraq to ensure that, if President Bush's plans went wrong, Baghdad will not take revenge on the Saudis. In return for Riyadh's pledge to ban American offensive action from Saudi bases, the Iraqis are understood to have promised preferential treatment to Saudi companies competing for contracts in the United Nations "oil-for-food" programme, a special deal already granted to Syria. The present annual value of trade transactions between Saudi Arabia and Iraq is estimated to be more than £650 million. The US Administration has publicly thanked the Saudis for their support in the War on Terror, and more than 5,000 US Army and Air Force personnel remain in Saudi Arabia, many involved in the operation to patrol the no-fly zone. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=8/7/02&Cat=2&Num=025 * IRAQI, TURKISH FMS IN AMMAN FOR TALKS ON U.S. PRESSURE AGAINST BAGHDAD Tehran Times, 7th August AMMAN -- The foreign ministers of Iraq and Turkey, Naji Sabri and Sukru Sina Gurel, held talks with Jordanian officials here Tuesday about the growing U.S. threats of an attack on Baghdad, which are opposed by Amman and Ankara. Sabri, who arrived at dawn, went into a meeting with King Abdullah II in the early afternoon with a message from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "The message deals with bilateral cooperation and the excellent ties of friendship and brotherhood between the two neighboring countries," Sabri told AFP ahead of talks with the monarch. Gurel flew into Amman at midday and immediately went into talks with Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher. He was later to meet with Prime Minister Ali abu Ragheb and then the king after Sabri. "Bilateral relations and regional problems, especially the Iraqi situation" will be at the center of Gurel's talks in Amman, a senior Jordanian official told AFP. "The Turkish minister's visit came at the initiative of Turkey, which wishes to consult U.S. on the Iraqi question," he said. [.....] http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200208/07/eng20020807_101043.shtml * TURKEY HAS NOT AGREED TO USE ITS LAND AGAINST IRAQ: FM Peoples Daily, 7th August Visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel on Tuesday denied that his country has agreed to use its territories against Iraq. Instead, he stated Turkey's opposition to any military actions against Iraq. Speaking at a press conference after meeting with Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb, Gurel said Turkey shares the stand of Jordan that all of the region's problems should be tackled by peaceful means. He said Turkey, which is a key NATO ally and hosts a major US air force, has not been asked by the United States to use its territories to launch military actions against Iraq. "There is no reason to concern pertaining this right now," he told reporters. He said both Jordan and Turkey are the source of stability and moderation in the region, and consultation between the two countries should continue due to its positive impact on the future developments. Earlier in the day, Gurel and Abu Ragheb expressed deep concern and opposition to any military action against Iraq, which they warned will cause serious repercussions to the Middle East region as a whole. During the meeting, Abu Ragheb said that such a military action will have destructive consequences on Iraq from the human and economic points of view and negative impacts on the region at large. He highlighted the Jordanian stand that calls for continued dialogue between Baghdad and the United Nations and defusing tensions over Iraq. On his part, the Turkish minister also reaffirmed his country's support for Iraq's territorial integrity and sovereignty. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020808/2002080811.html * JORDAN DENIES SHOW OF SUPPORT FOR IRAQ, THE PALESTINIANS Arabic News, 8th August Jordanian national parties and forces have strongly criticized the Jordanian minister of the interior Qaftan al-Majali over preventing the launching of "al-Tahaddi" ( challenge ) trip, where the children of Jordan would show support to the children of Iraq, which was due to be held on Wednesday, carrying symbolic aid to the Iraqi children. The minister of the interior in Jordan did not give any justifications for banning this trip, but he just told the "Jordanian national committee in defense of Iraq" that the trip can not reach Baghdad or even leave the Jordanian borders. The committee criticized the decision of the minister and considered the decision preventing the launching of the trip as a service to the American interests. The committee said that a group of Jordanian youths were due to leave on a trip, in collaboration between the national committee in defense of Iraq and the Jordanian scouts society, heading for Baghdad, Iraq, carrying medicines and baby powder milk to the Iraqi children, but the Jordanian minister informed the border center to prevent this trip from leaving the Jordanian territories. Meantime, the Jordanian minister of the interior informed the chairman of the vocational trade unions council that Jordan will not permit at any rate, the "Maseerat al-Owdeh" (march of return back) to be launched. The Jordanian vocational trade unions had decided to carry out a massive march starting as from Amman towards the King Hussein Bridge in solidarity with the Palestinian people and in assertion of their right to return back home. WEAPONS INSPECTIONS http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=14975618&template=baghdad/indexsea rch.txt&index=recent * POWELL DISMISSES IRAQI GESTURE The Associated Press, 3rd August WASHINGTON (AP) ‹ Secretary of State Colin Powell dismissed an offer by Iraq to talk with the chief weapons inspector of the United Nations. "Inspection is not the issue, disarmament is, making sure that the Iraqis have no weapons of mass destruction," said Powell, who was in Manila, the Philippines, to discuss economic ties and the fight against terrorism with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. "We have seen the Iraqis try to fiddle with the inspection system before," said Powell. "You can tell that they are trying to get out of the clear requirement that they have. The goal is not inspections for inspection's sake." [.....] http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-asia/2002/aug/06/080606542.html * U.N. ASKS IRAQ TO ACCEPT NEW TERMS by Edith M. Lederer Las Vegas Sun, Associated Press, 6th August UNITED NATIONS- Secretary-General Kofi Annan sought Iraq's acceptance Tuesday of a Security Council roadmap for the return of U.N. weapons inspectors, rejecting Baghdad's latest proposal for overcoming the impasse over Saddam Hussein's weapons program. In his response to Iraq's invitation for chief weapons inspector Hans Blix to visit Baghdad, Annan said he looked forward to Iraq's agreement to the U.N.'s "sequence of steps" and a formal invitation to the U.N. inspection agency to resume work after nearly four years. The letter thanked Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri for inviting Blix for technical talks, but declared the Iraqi agenda at odds with Security Council requirements for the resumption of inspections which must take precedence. In last week's invitation, Sabri said that Iraq wants Blix and its own experts to determine the outstanding issues regarding Iraq's banned weapons programs and figure out how to resolve them before inspectors return. A 1999 Security Council resolution requires U.N. weapons inspectors to visit Iraq and then determine within 60 days what questions Iraq still must answer about its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs. The Security Council must approve the list of outstanding issues. Annan cited those provisions in his letter, stressing that the council had clearly instructed the U.N. inspection agency to start its work by identifying the outstanding disarmament tasks that Iraq must fulfill. He said Blix was ready to send the list of outstanding issues to the Iraqi government for comment before his report went to the Security Council. "It should therefore be possible at that time for Iraq to express its views and to provide any additional information which may be relevant," Annan said. Annan discussed the invitation to Blix with the 15-member council on Monday and spoke to the chief inspector, who is vacationing in Sweden, on Tuesday before sending the letter through Iraq's U.N. Mission. "I have no problem with discussions at the technical level. But my concern is the agenda and how it proceeds," Annan said Tuesday. "I think the letter will clarify that we welcome the invitation, but that we would want to proceed along other lines." "I hope once they've read the letter, they will find their way to become more forthcoming," the secretary-general said. In his letter to Sabri, Annan said that during a third round of U.N.-Iraq talks in Vienna in early July, Blix suggested "that the most direct and appropriate way to resume the inspection process would be by holding talks at the expert level on practical arrangements for inspections." Blix told Swedish Radio on Tuesday, "We want discussions with them (the Iraqis) about practical arrangements: How we fly in, what authorities we deal with there. We don't want conflict once we're in." Blix said he found little new in the Iraqi letter, calling the language similar to ideas Iraq raised during the three rounds of U.N.-Iraq talks. Iraq sent a follow-up note to council members Monday saying it did not want to discuss any new issues that inspectors might raise after returning to Iraq. However, it wanted to review with Blix the disarmament issues that were outstanding when inspectors left Dec. 15, 1998, ahead of U.S. and British air strikes punishing Iraq for not cooperating. The Iraqis also were concerned about President Bush's call for Saddam 's ouster and the growing indications from in Congress that war with Iraq is likely. The United States accuses Iraq of trying to rebuild its banned weapons programs and of supporting terrorism, and has threatened unspecified consequences if inspectors are not allowed to return. Under council resolutions, sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait cannot be lifted until U.N. inspectors certify that its weapons of mass destruction have been destroyed. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,770917,00.html * WHY NOT PUT OUR OFFER TO THE TEST? by Mudhafar Amin [head of the Iraqi Interest Section in London] The Guardian, 8th August Since coming to power, the Bush administration has embarked on a systematic campaign of political spin and disinformation against Iraq. Allegations are made on a daily basis against the Iraqi government. The most serious is that Iraq is harbouring weapons of mass destruction. It is said that these could fall into the hands of terrorist organisations and be used to harm US interests - something that could never happen. Leaked reports from the White House, war scenarios from the Pentagon and hostile rhetoric from the state department have been orchestrated to prepare public opinion for a US military attack against Iraq, without recourse to the authority of the UN. The aim is to replace the Iraqi government with a Karzai of Baghdad. Tony Blair recently declared his support for a US military attack against Iraq. Mr Blair said he had evidence that Iraq poses a threat to the world, but will not make it public until a decision to bomb Iraq has been taken. If such evidence does exist, the legal course must surely be to present it to the security council and let the UN decide what action to take. Iraq was and continues to be a UN concern, not the unilateral business of the US or UK. Iraq responded to Blair's allegations with an open invitation to the British government to send a delegation of experts to carry out an inspection of the sites where the country is supposedly harbouring weapons of mass destruction. Such a visit could put to rest the concerns of the British government. It could also be used as a stepping stone for the return of UN inspectors. Unfortunately the British government, which made the original allegation against Iraq, has refused to accept the invitation. Iraq went further to demonstrate that the US claims are based on outdated fabrications and recycled information. It invited Hans Blix, head of the UNMovic inspection commission, to come to Iraq to discuss outstanding disarmament issues and the procedure for lifting economic sanctions. The response from the British government and US administration was to reject outright Iraq's invitation to Mr Blix as a political stunt. The US administration stated that its agenda was not really the return of the inspectors, but a regime change in Iraq. This flies in the face of the legal and moral authority of the UN. The Russians have welcomed the Iraqi initiative, as have the Chinese. The French support the Iraqi initiative because they, like the rest of the world, wish to resolve the impasse between Iraq and the UN through political means and within the context of UN authority and international law - not through an illegal and unilateral US military action against Iraq. The position of the British government is crucial. The US cannot attack Iraq without Britain's diplomatic cover and, perhaps, military assistance. Britain and Iraq enjoy a special historical relationship and it behoves Britain to do its utmost to avoid war against Iraq. Everyone in Britain is aware that there is no such thing as a war against one person. If a war is launched against Iraq by the US, it will cause the death of thousands of innocent Iraqi people and will destroy the country's infrastructure, already severely degraded following 11 years of economic sanctions and bombing by British and American planes. There is no moral or legal authority for military action against Iraq. The UN resolutions clearly state that Iraq has rights and responsibilities. The Iraqi responsibility is to disarm. Iraq's rights are for the UN to lift economic sanctions. Ralph Ekaus and Scott Ritter of the former UNScom have provided substantial evidence that Iraq has disarmed. Yet there has been no sign that the UN intends to lift economic sanctions, for fear of a US veto. Instead, the UN general secretary is insisting on the return of inspectors, without UN agreement on the schedule of inspection or any undertaking to lift sanctions once the inspection is satisfactorily completed. If there is a chance that dialogue with Iraq would save lives, Britain must take such a chance. If reassurance is needed on Iraq's clean bill of health, the British government should accept Iraq's invitation and dispatch British inspectors to Iraq. If moral guidance is needed, the British government should take note of the words of Dr Rowan Williams, the incoming archbishop of Canterbury: "It is deplorable that the world's most powerful nations continue to regard war and the threat of war as an acceptable instrument for foreign policy." The UN's moral and legal authority is at a crossroads. If Britain supports US military action against Iraq, it will set in stone the beginning of the end of UN authority and the concept of international law. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=18400880 * IRAQ BRANDS UN CHIEF WEAPONS INSPECTOR A SPY Times of India (from Reuters), 8th August DUBAI: Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri has launched a stinging attack on chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix just days after Baghdad, facing threats of military action from the United States, invited the inspectors to resume talks. In remarks published on Wednesday, Sabri told the United Arab Emirates newspaper al Bayan that Blix, a Swede, had caved in to "US pressure and blackmail". "Blix has inherited the same duties undertaken by the spy Butler, who used to project an authority exceeding that of the Security Council and the secretary-general," he said, referring to former chief UN arms inspector Richard Butler. Baghdad has repeatedly accused Butler, an Australian, of acting as a spy for the United States and says any new inspections must not be a cover for US espionage in Iraq. Al-Bayan said it interviewed Sabri on the eve of Monday's UN meeting to study Iraq's invitation to talks in Baghdad to review suspected weapons of mass destruction programmes. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said after that meeting that Iraq must send a "formal invitation" for UN arms inspectors to return before further substantive talks. Progress over the return of arms inspectors could create new international pressure on the United States to hold back from military action against Iraq, which the United States is exploring in an effort to oust President Saddam Hussein. Accusing Iraq of obstructing their work, inspectors pulled out in December 1998 before US and British bombing. The inspections are key to suspending UN sanctions against Iraq, imposed after Baghdad's troops invaded Kuwait in 1990. Sabri, referring to inconclusive talks he held with Annan and Blix in July, also told al-Bayan: "We did not address the invitation to ambassador Blix but to the technical team which had taken part in negotiations in New York and Vienna." It was not clear if he was suggesting Blix should be excluded from the invitation to Iraq. NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN http://www.kurdmedia.com/news.asp?id=2766 * SOUTH KURDISTAN UNDER TURKISH HEGEMONY Translated from Ozgurpolitika by Robin Kurd KurdishMedia.com, 6th August While Turkey's role in an attack on Iraq is being discussed, sources in south Kurdistan have revealed that Turkey already has great influence and control of in the area. The discussion about Turkey's role in an attack on Iraq reached another level when Paul Wolfowitz from the American Ministry of Defence arrived in Turkey and illuminated the issue of Turkey's influence in the south. While the discussion continues, the question of whether Turkey will invade south Kurdistan or not comes up to one's mind. When one closely examines Turkey's activities in the area, it becomes clear that there already is an "invasion" in place. Kurdish sources in the area argue that south Kurdistan is, in some ways, already under the control of Turkey. Regional sources reveal that the Turkish influence in the south started after the Gulf War in 1991, with the collaboration between the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and Turkey. Today the influence is much stronger, in fact, it is even institutionalised. Currently, due to problems between the KDP and Turkey, PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) has replaced KDP's role in the area. In March, Turkish intelligence units prepared a report, which was sent to both civil and military circles and raised the tension in the area. The report contained the information that in the KDP area, the Kurdish flag was being used everywhere, Kurdish songs were being taught to children and that documents used by the KDP contained the word "Kurdistan". Since March, Turkey has stopped its diesel trade with the KDP and in April, it confiscated 100 million dollars from the KDP. Turkey has also decreased the flow of people in the Habur border gate to a minimum. In parallel to the Turkish stance mentioned earlier, in April, Necirvan Barzani, president of the KDP administration, met Turkish military officials in Silopi and on the way there he was stopped and taken out of his car by JITEM [Turkish special commandos, responsible for the death and disappearance of thousands of Kurds Translator's note] commandos and had to undergo a humiliating search. This tension was also reflected in Mesud Barzani's travels abroad. Barzani was invited in May to discuss the attack on Iraq in meetings both in Europe and the U.S. As Barzani was not allowed to leave for Europe from Turkey, despite the fact that he had been given a diplomatic passport in 1992, he had to leave from Syria instead. On the 25th of May, 30 Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes with KADEK guerrillas during an operation in the Metina area secretly supported by the KPD. After the casualties, Turkey accused the KDP for not actively supporting the Turkish forces. On the 26th of June, with the manipulation of Turkmen militants by Turkey, a bomb was planted in the garden of a restaurant called Brusk in Hewler, resulting 20 civilians being injured. The reason why Turkey has targeted its old ally the KDP to this extent is that Turkey has come to see the KDP as a threat to its national interests. It is also a way of legitimising and getting support from the people for an active invasion of the south, in parallel with the invasion of Iraq, following Turkey's arguments that a Kurdish state is being created. Even though Turkey has kept the KDP at arms length, during the last ten years, it has been to a great extend able to organise in the south. Despite the fact that the KDP is in control of the Behdinan area, Turkey has organised enough there to even influence the taking down of Kurdish flags to putting up security blockades on roads. Turkey's military-intelligence presence in Behdinan reveals for us an important picture: - Between 10-15,000 highly trained soldiers - 150 tanks controlling and area from Zaxo, Sheladize to Kani Masi - MIT (Turkish Intelligence Organisation) headquarters in Dohuk, Zaxo, Bamerni, Amediye, Diana and Hewler - Special intelligence units with the latest intelligence technology and satellite system in ten points in Behdinan area - Iraqi Turcoman National Front offices in main centres of south Kurdistan - More than 2000 Turcoman agents and several secret operation units specially trained by MIT - PMF Peace Observation Force offices under the influence of Turkey The situation in the Soran area controlled by the PUK is clearer. The leader of the PUK, Jelal Talabani, had already invited the Turkish army. Regional sources have noted that, Talabani's stance towards the issue from an economical and power/balance point of view, his weakness in the political arena, have left the invasion doors open. Thus, in the Soran area, Turkish and Turcoman influence has become stronger than the PUK one. Kurdish sources' evaluation of the situation in the area is as follows: "The fact that the Turkish Republic has entered an operation like this which they put a lot of emphasis on, shows that all their wishes regarding the conditions in the area have been fulfilled. Turkey has joined the American operation against Iraq with a hope to discourage the creation of a Kurdish federation. At the moment, we do not know what kind of bargaining America undertook with Turkey on this issue. Actually small details are not enough to change the outcome. It is in a situation during an operation where America will need ground troops that the U.S will make concessions to Turkey on the Kurdish issue." Turkey has increased the movement of its soldiers towards the area within the frame of the American plan towards Iraq. Since 16th July, Turkey continues to transfer its soldiers to the area. Within the first three days of the transfer, more than 1000 soldiers, crossing the border, moved towards the Begova - Kani Masi line. Turkish units are being spotted in the Bamerne Airport, prepared by the U.S for the operation. American military advisors are also in the area. Around the Silopi, close to the border, the renovations of the old refugee camps continue. At the same time, with this operation and PUK's collaboration, KADEK forces are also targeted. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=8/8/02&Cat=4&Num=009 * PUK LEADER IN U.S. TO DISCUSS IRAQI CRISIS: RADIO TEHRAN TIMES, 8th August TEHRAN -- The Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader Jalal Talebani left for the U.S. on Tuesday in response to an invitation by the U.S. State Department. In the U.S. he will discuss latest developments taking place in Iraq with U.S. officials, according to the PUK Radio monitored in the Iranian Kurdestan's provincial capital, Sanandaj. The radio said on Wednesday that the PUK leader was officially invited to join talks between U.S. officials and the Iraqi opposition, but stopped short of giving more details. The PUK radio said Talebani, on his way to the U.S., had a stopover in Turkey to review the Iraqi situation before leaving for Washington, the venue of the talks. The joint meeting of Baghdad opposition groups and the U.S. is to be held in Washington on Friday. The Democratic Party of Kurdistan (DPK), led by Masoud Barezani, is one of the main opposition groups fighting against the Baghdad regime but has not yet decided whether its leaders will participate in the meeting. Meanwhile, Turkish troops are said to be amassing forces along Iraqi Kurdistan in preparation for any possible military confrontation with the Iraqi army or with members of Turkey's dissident Kurdish minority. [.....] NATO member Turkey is concerned that military action in Iraq could lead to the establishment of an independent Kurdish state that could provoke unrest among Turkey's own Kurdish population in the southeast, just across the border from Iraq. Talabani said he had come to Ankara to reassure Turkey that he wanted no such thing. "We are Iraqis first, we are democratic Iraqis," he said. "We are not struggling for an independent Kurdistan. On the contrary, we are struggling for a democratic and parliamentarian and united Iraq," Talabani said. "Now Iraq is divided, we want to reunite Iraq," he said. "We are not in favor of having a new dictatorship replacing the old one. And we are not for blindly participating in any attack or any plan." KDP leader Barzani said last week the future shape of Iraq should be based on a federation. Turkey has been involved in recent heavy diplomatic traffic to discuss the Iraqi situation. Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel visited Jordan, another Baghdad neighbor, this week to compare notes. Gurel also met Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri in Amman. Jordan and Turkey both have extensive economic and trade ties with Baghdad, and Ankara fears a war on its borders could damage its already fragile economy. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has said he is trying to dissuade Washington from an attack. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2002-08/10/content_518808.htm * TURKISH ARMY DENIES PRESENCE IN NORTHERN IRAQ ANKARA, Aug. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- The Turkish military on Friday flatly denied press reports that there are 5, 000 Turkish troops in northern Iraq, reported the Anatolian News Agency. In a written statement, the Office of Chief of the General Staffalso dismissed news about Turkish troops invading the Bamami airport in northern Iraq. "There is news about Turkish troops being in northern Iraq, electronic equipment and machines have been sent to the region as well and has a military power of 5, 000 troops. This news is not accurate, " the statement said. It noted that "the Bamami airport was destroyed during the Gulf War and it cannot serve as an airport." On Thursday, the leader of the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Jalal Talabani, declared in an interview with NTV television in Ankara that Turkish troops were protecting an airportin northern Iraq and they also had tanks. Main Turkish dailies repeated the claims in the following day and indicated details about Turkish troops as well as the airport'ssituation. It was reported that Turkish troops used to make way into northern Iraq in pursuit of the rebel forces of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The Turkish authorities accused PKK of carrying on armed struggle with an aim of forming an independent Kurdish state in theKurds-populated southeastern provinces. PREPARATIONS FOR WAR http://news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,4840792%255E1702,00.html * IRAQ TO USE BIO-WEAPONS 'SOON' News.com (Australia), 5th August AN Iraqi politician says President Saddam Hussein will soon use weapons of mass destruction. Opposition Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi warned: "Saddam has advanced chemical weapons, he has advanced biological weapons, and he has produced and engineered biological weapons which contain a combination of viruses such as smallpox and ebola. "Those are very, very dangerous weapons and I think, in his hands, he is bound to use them in terrorist action very soon." He told Fox television the Iraqi president is "working very hard ... to position people and to move with biological and chemical terrorism across the important centers of the world". "I think Saddam now is still uncertain the United States is going to move against him and he has strategies to deal with this. "He has of course invited the weapons inspectors ... back to Iraq, but of course all of this is a delaying tactic." Pressed on the source of his information, Chalabi said: "We have people who have worked in the (alleged Iraqi) program who have come out recently and have contacted us, and now they are in the United States and they are talking to the US government and they have demonstrated with unquestioned authority that Saddam does have biological weapons. [.....] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,343-375437,00.html * THE ARK ROYAL AND WAR ON IRAQ by Michael Evans The Times, 5th August: HMS Ark Royal, the flagship aircraft carrier, is going to the Mediterranean. Michael Evans, Defence Editor, left, assesses whether or not this is evidence of the Armed Forces preparing for an attack on Iraq. The Ark Royal is going to the Mediterranean on a long-planned exercise with American and Dutch ships. The news has inevitably led to speculation that Britain is putting its flagship aircraft carrier on a heightened alert for war against Iraq. Downing Street has been quick to dismiss this as 'absolute rubbish', saying that the Nato exercise, which is due to start in October and last 20 days, has been planned for a long time. During these exercises the troops will go through what is known as command and control training, manoeuvring ships in co-ordinated formations and launching amphibious landings. The Navy is always engaged in training, but clearly if there is to be a military operation against Iraq then this type of training will be important, particularly the amphibious element of landing troops in large numbers. The Ark Royal is one of three aircraft carriers which have been playing an increasingly important role in Armed Forces strategy, because it has a land-attack capability as well as a maritime role, because of the presence of RAF GR7 bombers on board. Were an attack on Iraq to be launched the Ark Royal would supply Sea Harriers for air defence, Harrier GR7s for ground attack, and a sophisticated command and control capability, both for its own assets and for ground operations. Around the world there are other deployments of British and US forces that might support the theory of a military build-up against Iraq. The SAS is training in Oman, and there are other exercises involving the Paras which could be said to be relevant, but were not originally planned with any Iraq link. The US Army is not involved in any current build-up of troops anywhere in the Gulf, but the US has army headquarters throughout that region and, with their rapid deployment capability, can increase force levels fairly quickly when required. http://www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/54164.htm * WAR PLAN by Niles Lathem New York Post, 6th August WASHINGTON - These dramatic satellite photos show just how far U.S. preparations for war with Iraq have advanced. They are images of the state-of-the-art al Udeid air base in Qatar, which has been significantly upgraded over the last six months and is expected to be used as America's base for military operations against Saddam Hussein. The images, taken by the commercial satellite company Digital Globe, show that between January and June, Qatar - with the help of the United States - has quietly expanded the base to put it on a war footing. It built a 13,000-foot runway to handle heavy bombers, as well as new ammunition dumps and large storage buildings for tanks. Also under construction are hardened aircraft shelters that can hide hundreds of warplanes. And in recent months, a giant tent city has been erected to house as many as 3,800 troops. The photos also reveal what appears to be a sophisticated command and control center. Tim Brown of the defense think tank Globalsecurity.org which has published an extensive analysis of the latest satellite imagery on its web site, said the base "looks like it is being designed to replace the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia so we don't have to rely on the Saudis for this operation." Pentagon officials last night refused to discuss details of the preparations at al Udeid. One added that planners are "not happy" the images are floating around on the Internet - "but [we] realize there's nothing we can do." Pentagon sources also said al Udeid is one of a handful of bases in the Persian Gulf region where extensive work is being done in advance of military operations against Iraq. Massive expansion and equipment pre-positioning is also taking place at a secret base in southern Kuwait as well as a NATO base in Incirlik, Turkey, the sources said. Bush administration officials have insisted that final decisions on launching military strikes have not yet been made. [.....] http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal te.saudi08aug08.story?coll=bal%2Dnationworld%2Dheadlines * HUSSEIN LIKELY TO AVOID DESERT FIGHTING Baltimore Sun, 8th August WASHINGTON - Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has told regional government officials that he aims to thwart any U.S. invasion by avoiding open desert fighting and massing his military in major cities where civilian and American casualties would be highest, U.S. intelligence officials say. In meetings in recent weeks, the U.S. officials said, Hussein has outlined a strategy that appears to center on drawing U.S. forces into Baghdad and other urban settings where his equipment and troops would not be as exposed to U.S. warplanes and high-tech weaponry. Hussein's statements have been relayed to U.S. intelligence operatives through Iraqi defectors and opposition groups in contact with officials in Hussein's Baath party. Hussein's planning appears to be driven partly by lessons from the Persian Gulf war - in which Iraqi tanks and other equipment were easily picked off in the open desert by U.S. aircraft - and by the significant erosion of Iraq's military capability since then. Given Hussein's signals and the evolving direction of U.S. plans, military analysts said it appears increasingly likely that any U.S. invasion would require significant urban fighting. "It's almost a foregone conclusion," said Michael O'Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution. Hussein "won't fight out in the desert." The signals from Hussein come as the Bush administration appears to be moving forward with plans for war. Vice President Dick Cheney said yesterday that Iraq has so diligently concealed its effort to develop weapons of mass destruction in recent years that the return of United Nations weapons inspectors might be insufficient to eliminate the threat. "So many of us, I think, are skeptical that simply returning the inspectors will solve the problem," Cheney said in a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California. The vice president's remarks were the latest sign that the administration is likely to proceed with its effort to oust Hussein even if he were to allow the U.N. inspectors to return. THE IRAQI COLLABORATION http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A33684-2002Aug1?language=printer * DEFENSE DEPT. TO TAKE OVER FUNDING OF IRAQI OPPOSITION GROUP [THE INC] by Glenn Kessler and Walter Pincus Washington Post, 2nd August The Defense Department has agreed to pick up the funding for the covert operations of a leading Iraqi opposition group, sources said yesterday, apparently resolving a conflict between the group and the State Department that had hampered U.S. planning for the overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The decision to shift some funding for the Iraqi National Congress, a London-based umbrella group, to the Defense Department was reached last week about the same time that State and Defense issued a joint invitation to six leaders of Iraqi opposition groups to visit Washington. The meeting, which is scheduled for next week, is aimed at ending chronic fighting among the rival groups. State and Defense officials declined to comment on the funding deal, saying it involved sources of intelligence. But various sources close to Iraqi opposition groups described the agreement, saying it marked another milestone in the administration's efforts to forge a common opposition front against Hussein. "This is yet more evidence that the administration is really serious about using the opposition as part of its Iraqi strategy," said Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy at the American Enterprise Institute. "This new mechanism is a serious, high-level shift in administration policy," said one source. "They have finally made up their minds." He said State will continue to fund aspects of the INC that are geared more toward diplomacy. The State Department and the INC have squabbled over funding for the group, especially its use of U.S. money to lure defectors and gather intelligence from Iraq. The State Department, citing alleged accounting irregularities, has withheld about $8 million from the INC until a spending agreement is reached. Department officials recently met with other Iraqi opposition groups, made up of former military officials. The State Department rarely paid much attention to the information obtained by the INC, believing it was unreliable. But defense officials have been more receptive to it, and the INC sometimes shopped it to the Pentagon first, leaving State Department officials wondering why they were paying for it. "It's natural that DOD and DIA" should fund the program, Pletka said, referring to the Department of Defense and the Defense Intelligence Agency. "Information in this instance is power, even if that information is not sterling all the time." [.....] Phebe Marr, a government expert on Iraq for more than 20 years, most recently at the National Defense University, said the exile leadership groups would provide pro-U.S. leadership in Iraq. [.....] http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020808/2002080810.html * AL-HAKEEM BROTHER IN IRAQI OPPOSITION MEETING UNDER US SUPPORT Arabic News, 8th August The delegation representing the opposition Iraqi group, the Higher Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, headquartered in Iran, left Tehran on Wednesday heading for Washington in order to attend a meeting for 6 members of the main Iraqi opposition forces with the American administration on Friday. According to the statement issued by this Shiite group, Abdul Aziz al-Hakeem, the younger son of Ayatullah Muhammad Baqer al- Hakeem, the chairman of the higher council presided over the delegation which included in its membership Ibrahim Hammoudi, the political advisor for Ayatullah and Hamid al-Bayyati, the representative of the higher council in London. In a pre-departure statement al-Hakeem said that his group underlines the importance and the need of the unity of the Iraqi opposition concerning political vision and stances. He added that the effective field presence inside the Iraqi territories is the best option. He stressed the need of the opposition's total independence in taking the decision, Iraq's unity and territorial integrity, and the need of lifting the sanctions imposed on the Iraqi. He also stressed his group's persistence that the alternative for the ruling regime in Iraq is for a president to be elected by the Iraqi people themselves, the future regime to be multilateral, and the change process to be made at the hands of the Iraqi people. http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=15070504&template=baghdad/indexsea rch.txt&index=recent * IRAQI GROUPS CLAIM UNIFIED STAND The Associated Press, 9th August [.....] The Iraqi opposition leaders had a midafternoon meeting scheduled with Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. Leading the Iraqi delegation for Friday's meeting was Ahmed Chalabi, who heads the INC. The Iraqis will speak via secure video linkup Saturday with Vice President Dick Cheney, who is spending August at his Wyoming home. [.....] http://www.post-gazette.com/nation/20020809iraqplannat2p2.asp * BUSH: NO TIMETABLE FOR A DECISION ON ATTACKING IRAQ by George Gedda The Associated Press, 10th August [.....] Six Iraqi opposition leaders spent two hours meeting with top administration officials at the State Department. Afterward, department spokesman Philip Reeker said the meeting focused on "coordination of the U.S. government's work with the Iraqi opposition and enhancing cooperation among Iraqi opposition groups." A spokesman for the Iraqi group, Dr. Hamid al-Bayati, of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said the Iraqis presented their vision "for the overthrow of the dictatorial regime in Iraq." He also said that the group requested U.S. protection for the Iraqi people from "regime oppression, " consistent with the terms of three U.N. Security Council resolutions approved after the Gulf War ended 11 years ago. These apparently refer to the use of international support, if necessary, to protect Iraqis from attacks by Saddam's forces. In this connection, a State Department official said the United States is aware of the risks facing Iraqis who oppose the regime. He recalled the crackdowns in the Kurdish areas in the north of Iraq and the Shiite areas in the south. For that reason, he said the United States has kept Iraqi fighter planes away from both regions through no-fly zones. "That's why we've made it clear that should Saddam move against the Kurds, we would respond, " said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Al-Bayati also said that in a bid for unity, all Iraqi opposition groups will be invited to attend a meeting in the next few months, probably in Europe. Leading the Iraqi delegation was Ahmed Chalabi, a longtime Iraqi exile who heads the Iraqi National Congress, an opposition umbrella group. Chalabi sat across from Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. The group will have a video conference call today with Vice President Dick Cheney, who is staying at his home in Wyoming. Administration officials who briefed reporters after the State Department meeting said the Iraqis made no request for military aid or training. They said U.S. officials were struck by the conviction of each of the Iraqi leaders to fight for a democratic Iraq and for the establishment of the rule of law. Secretary of State Colin Powell made a brief appearance at the start of the meeting and told the gathering, "Our shared goal is that the Iraqi people should be free." [.....] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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