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News, 19-25/10/02 (3) INSIDE IRAQ * Iraqis suffer through war of nerves * Mass weddings mark Saddam's new term * Hussein and Mobs Virtually Empty Iraq's Prisons * Iraq Extends Amnesty to Exiles * No Amnesty for 2 Americans * Hussein divvies up gold to salve Shiites' anger * Iraq orders CNN, foreign journalists out MILITARY MATTERS * Allies bomb command site in northern Iraq no-fly zone * Allies bomb air defense sites in southern Iraq no-fly zone - third in a week * The Unfriendly Skies * Nuclear Technology Seen Spreading NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Turkey denies army incursion into Iraq * Kurds would try to seize oil fields if U.S. strikes Iraq IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Iraq begins Kuwait archive handover * Moussa: Arabs will not support a new war on Iraq * Ninth Batch of Iranian Refugees Repatriate From Iraq * Libya withdraws from Arab League INSIDE IRAQ http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Artic le_Type1&c=Article&cid=1026146630447&call_page=TS_World&call_pageid=96833218 8854&call_pagepath=News/World&col=968350060724 * IRAQIS SUFFER THROUGH WAR OF NERVES by Olivia Ward Toronto Star, 21st October BAGHDAD ‹ As the heat of the day fades, people stream out of their homes and offices and head for busy Sadoun St. It's a strip of medical and pharmaceutical buildings draped with banners advertising every medical specialty and product. And these days, one of the popular stops is the Hater Pharmacy owned by Imad Jawad. "Customers come here because they're suffering from anxiety," says Jawad, a stocky, good natured man. "Lots of people are having problems sleeping, and they can't concentrate on their daily tasks." As the chances of an American attack on Iraq rise and fall, so do the tensions that ordinary Iraqis are experiencing. "People are preoccupied with the uncertain future," says one middle-aged man. "They don't taste their food and their emotions are burned out. Their lives are at a dead end. It's as though death is always uppermost in their minds." Wifad Orfali, a gallery owner in a posh suburb of Baghdad, said: "A doctor I know jumped from the third floor of his apartment building. He's not the first person I've heard about recently who's killed himself. "People have been through so much in the last few years that they can't stand any more. They don't have the resources left to carry on," he said. U.S. President George W. Bush maintains that Iraq's deadly weapons are a potential threat to the U.S. and to world security. He accuses Iraq of links with the Al Qaeda network, and reserves the right to unilaterally attack it if the U.N. Security Council fails to take strong action. "We are in an impossible situation," says Dr. Abdul Al-Hashimi, a minister without portfolio in the Iraqi government, and president of the Organization of Friendship Peace and Solidarity for Iraq. "We've said that we have no weapons of mass destruction, but the U.S. doesn't believe us. At the same time they won't let the inspectors, who are the only judges, come in and do their job," he said. The struggle is no secret to Iraqis, who avidly scan the news. Even rural people are worried by rumours that reach them second hand. "My sister does nothing but listen to news on the radio and television," says Jawad. "She's so overwrought I had to give her an injection of Valium." In a nearby walk-up office, Dr. Anwar Barnouti's waiting room is full to overflowing with patients suffering from stress-induced illnesses. "People are feeling helpless," says the British-trained family doctor. "They have all the problems associated with anxiety, fear and depression." Those who are already ill, he says, have become sicker in the last few months since international tensions spiralled. An escalating number are suffering from psychologically based maladies such as migraine headaches, ulcers and bowel problems. "People are exhausted and sleepless, they lose weight and have no interest in food, and they're careless about their health ‹ they don't bother to take their medication," he said. In addition, diseases of middle and old age, like high blood pressure and diabetes are attacking young people in their 20s and 30s. "The problem is that people have been traumatized for years, and it's worn them down," Barnouti says. "They've been in wars, and faced with sanctions that have left them in poverty. A lot of people are malnourished and weakened. This new threat of war is more than they can take." While stress is undermining people's daily lives in Iraq, it is also building anger against the United States and the West. "The issue is very clear," says Dr. Kahtan El-Nassiri, the head of Baghdad University's sociology department. "When you don't have a stable society, the pressure builds up." Like many Iraqis, El-Nassiri blames Washington for attempting to shake the government by destabilizing the society. And he is worried by Bush's stated intention to replace Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein without offering a viable alternative. "This is a very dangerous idea," El-Nassiri warns. "In an Arab country, the head of government is a father figure, the head of the tribe. The tissue of society holds together because of that authority." When authority breaks down, he says, "things fragment. People turn to their own tribe, and their own family. The society goes backward. It's the opposite of progress toward democracy." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2348205.stm * MASS WEDDINGS MARK SADDAM'S NEW TERM by Caroline Hawley BBC, 22nd October BBC correspondent in Baghdad Mass weddings have been held in Iraq to mark Saddam Hussein's new term in office. More than 500 couples took part in what officials are describing as the biggest event of its kind ever held in the country. It comes a day after Saddam Hussein ordered the release of all political prisoners and most other prisoners in the wake of last week's referendum. In Baghdad, 155 couple tied the knot at the state's expense. Everything was paid for, from the bridal gowns to the party to a two-night stay in a hotel. For many Iraqis, impoverished by sanctions, it is their chance of a decent wedding. Officials say 524 couples got married across the country. But they were not the only Iraqis beginning a new life after Saddam Hussein's unprecedented prisoner amnesty on Sunday. No official figure has been given of how many were freed, but some estimates put the number in the tens of thousands. Relatives of countless political prisoners are celebrating, though few believe their release will lead to a loosening of Saddam Hussein's total control here. Kamel Fathallah, who is among those released, a Kurd jailed for 15 years for a security offence, is now delighted to be back home with his family. He was sent to prison after he unwittingly carried a letter from an army deserter to the man's family. His own family still can't believe he is back. He says his children won't even let him leave the house. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/21/international/middleeast/21IRAQ.html?ex=10 3 * HUSSEIN AND MOBS VIRTUALLY EMPTY IRAQ'S PRISONS by John F. Burns New York Times, 21st October ABU GHRAIB, Iraq, Oct. 20 ‹ Tens of thousands of Iraqi prisoners stormed out of their cells to freedom today after President Saddam Hussein declared an amnesty that appeared to have all but emptied a sprawling, nationwide network of prisons that have served as the grim charnel houses of one of the world's harshest police states. At the Abu Ghraib prison, a sprawling compound on the desert floor 20 miles west of Baghdad that has become a notorious symbol of fear among Iraqis for its history of mass executions and allegations of torture, the heavy steel gates gave way under the crush of a huge crowd of relatives who rushed to the jail within an hour of the amnesty broadcast. All semblance of order vanished as a cheering mob surged through the compound, in some cases joining prison guards in smashing cell-block walls to free weeping inmates. But some inmates were killed in the chaos today. The scenes were repeated at other prisons across the country, including the Khadhemiya prison for women in Baghdad, and those in other major cities, including Basra in the south and Mosul and Kirkuk in the north. Mr. Hussein's decree specified that committees of judges would have 48 hours to rule on individual releases, excepting only "Zionist and American spies," murderers who have not settled the "blood money" owed to victims' families under Islamic legal precepts, and debtors who have not satisfied their creditors. But the mob scenes that developed at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere appeared to have overwhelmed the prisons and caused a mass exodus. Mr. Hussein's reasons for emptying the prisons were shrouded in the blanket of secrecy that envelops much in Iraq. A statement issued in his name described the move as a gesture of gratitude to Iraq's 22 million people for re-electing him president last week in a ballot that yielded an official return of 100 percent for the only candidate. But much else suggested that the growing threat of war with the United States may have spurred what is undoubtedly the most punitive government in the Arab world toward a sudden gesture of magnanimity. Among Iraqi exiles, the common view was that President Bush, in demanding the ouster of Mr. Hussein, has already struck at the foundations of his power, by serving notice that the days of the 65-year-old president, an absolute ruler since he seized power in 1979, may be numbered by America's military might. In this view, opening the prisons was a dramatic last-ditch reach for popularity ‹ a signal to Iraqis that Mr. Hussein is now ready to become a herald of a new and more tolerant Iraq, and to put behind him the image Mr. Bush sketched in a speech two weeks ago in which he explained his reasons for threatening a military strike on Iraq, when he called him a "dictator," a "student of Stalin" and a man who uses "murder as a tool of terror." Other Iraqis suggested privately that there might be more hard-headed reasons: the need to bolster loyalty in the army and state security forces, which have seen much of their leadership decimated over the years in purges; possibly, too, the need to stiffen resolve in the military by boosting recruitment and staunching desertions. Diplomats in Baghdad with memories of the rapid collapse of Communist power across Eastern Europe in 1989 said Mr. Hussein and his aging inner circle in the Revolutionary Command Council may be drawing on that experience, concerned that the specter of war with the United States could cause a crumbling of loyalties that could bring the government tumbling down from within. But the Eastern European example, and the scenes of frenzy that developed at Abu Ghraib, suggested that gestures by autocratic regimes to release pressure can have unexpected results, signaling to people who have lived for years in fear of the state that their rulers may be wavering, and that ordinary people, gathered in large numbers, can take power into their own hands. That lesson seemed unavoidable today, as the crowds forced some cell blocks open, while jailers mostly stood passively by. At Abu Ghraib, hysteria among the crowds of relatives gave way to jubilation, and in some cases to grief, as fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and children searched frantically for loved ones, some of whom had been imprisoned for 30 years and more. Outside half a dozen vast cell blocks, sobbing reunions mixed with scenes of implacable grief as those hoping to find relatives who had disappeared into the state security system years ago wandered with increasing desperation from block to block, their hopes evaporating as the day passed into night. "I cannot find my son, God help me," a woman named Sabiha muttered, as she wandered aimlessly in a black cloak and headdress outside a compound known as the Special Judgment Block. Set apart in the northeastern corner of the prison compound, the block has been used to house political prisoners, some of whom were awaiting execution when the amnesty came, others of whom had been held for years in suspense, never knowing when their hour for the gallows might come. The 62-year-old woman said her son, Saad, 42, had been imprisoned at Abu Ghraib for 10 years, but in her confusion and fright she could no longer remember what crime he had been seized for, nor even what his sentence was. As dusk drew in at Abu Ghraib, with tens of thousands of people still defying loudspeaker calls for the prison compound to be cleared, it was clear that a day that began for many with a fantastical turnaround of a kind most Iraqis could only have summoned in their dreams ‹ Mr. Hussein, architect of a merciless penal system, seemingly pulling it down at a stroke ‹ had ended in still more tragedy. Several prisoners were killed in one cell block, probably by suffocation as guards pushed them back and other prisoners surged forward. Relatives wailed in misery as they knelt beside the bodies, some appealing to Allah, others trying to resuscitate the dead. Others carried their dead away, women screaming in grief at the sight of their husbands and brothers and sons lying dead at the moment of their liberation. The government gave no figures on the numbers of those eligible for release. But a reading of the amnesty terms, coupled with estimates of the prison population made in recent years by Western human rights groups like Amnesty International, suggested that figures of 100,000, possibly as many as 150,000, might not be exaggerated. The rights groups have said Iraq's prison population has been swollen by tens of thousands of political detainees as well as by tens of thousands of others convicted of ordinary criminal offenses in a system that can give an offender a 15-year sentence for stealing $2 worth of groceries. In one measure of the prison overcrowding, Mr. Hussein was reported by defectors from the penal system reaching the West to have ordered a "prison cleansing" campaign in the late 1990's, aimed at reducing the prison population, that resulted in thousands of executions of inmates serving terms of at little as eight years. Many of those executions were reported to have taken place at Abu Ghraib. A hint that Mr. Hussein might be considering a new, gentler guise came in the speech at his inauguration for his new seven-year presidential term on Thursday, when he said that he favored "forgiveness" for "wrongdoers," and that as "the holder of the bucket" he was disposed to assuage the need of "clear and sweet water from the well." Then today, the state radio announced at mid-morning that he had reached a decision that would bring "great happiness" to all Iraq. Scores of foreign reporters who were admitted to Iraq for the presidential referendum were ordered from their hotels to the Information Ministry, then formed into a motorcade for a 100-mile-an-hour dash along a six-lane highway leading west out of the city. Only when the lead vehicle turned off to Abu Ghraib, a compound at least a mile wide and a mile deep that lies in an area just north of highway, did it become clear what Mr. Hussein's decree involved. The document, read repeatedly on the state broadcasting system the rest of the day, specified a "general, comprehensive and final amnesty" for all Iraqis sentenced to imprisonment, whether in Iraq or among the two million who have fled abroad during Mr. Hussein's 23 years in power. Previous prison amnesties by him, some on his birthdays in April, have involved small numbers or modest cuts in sentences. But this time, the ruling was sweeping, including all prisoners facing death sentences and terms of life imprisonment, all those accused of crimes and all detainees. Advertisement "The amnesty covers all crimes, no matter what the kind and level of crime,'` the decree said, including crimes committed in military service and those involving "fugitives for political reasons" ‹ a group that includes many Iraqi exiles living elsewhere in the Middle East and in Europe and the United States. By including those exiles ‹ who number among them dozens of men who served in senior positions in Mr. Hussein's armed forces, state security police and intelligence services ‹ the Iraqi leader appeared to be trying to lure back to Iraq men who have joined exile opposition organizations like the Iraqi National Congress, a C.I.A-financed group that has been drawn into the Bush administration's discussions on a successor government in Baghdad if an American-led invasion topples him. As the crowds began to gather outside Abu Ghraib, prison officials sketched in other provisions. One was the ban on any release for "Zionist and American spies," a term that has often been used to justify the arrest and execution of opponents of the government. The Baghdad judge appointed to oversee the release at Abu Ghraib, Abdul Hassan Shandal Issa, sweating in his heavy business suit in the 100-degree heat, said another provision called for the release of all non-Iraqi Arabs. This prompted a barrage of questions about the 605 missing persons from Kuwait and other countries that Kuwait and the United Nations say were seized by the Iraqis during their occupation of Kuwait, which was ended by American-led military action in 1991. "It includes Kuwaitis," one Iraqi official said, but he declined to say whether any of those on Kuwait's list were to be released. For years, up to last week, the Baghdad government has been saying it "lost track" of the people sought by Kuwait during the chaos that developed as Iraqi troops raced to evacuate Kuwait ahead of advancing American troops. It has also said it has no record of the American serviceman listed by the State Department as "missing/believed captured" from the 1991 war, Lt. Cmdr. Scott Speicher of the Navy. At the prison today, Mr. Issa and the prison governor, Ali Ahmed Abdullah al-Jabouri, ignored questions about the American officer. For two hours, as the crowds gathered in their thousands outside the gates, the prison release looked like it was turning into a rally for Mr. Hussein. Young men, apparently government supporters, led relatives of the prisoners in firing Kalashnikov rifles into the air, holding portraits of the Iraqi leader high above the crush, and in ceaseless rhythmic chants, including the cry that dominated at the polls last week, "Our blood, our soul, we sacrifice to you, Saddam." Older family members, looking almost paralyzed by fear and reluctant to give their names or those of their imprisoned relatives, stood back. But they, too, spoke passionately about Mr. Hussein. A 68-year-old retired high school mathematics teacher, who gave her first name as Samiya, said she heard of the amnesty while driving across Baghdad, and headed straight for Abu Ghraib in the hope that her 59-year-old brother, a chemical engineer serving a 30-year prison term, would be freed. When asked if her brother was a political prisoner, the white-haired woman turned away, then said he was the victim of denunciation by a "jealous colleague" at work. Then, she launched into an encomium for Mr. Hussein. "We love our president because he forgives the mistakes of his people," she said. Once the prison gates collapsed, the mood changed. Seeing watchtowers abandoned and the prison guards standing passively by or actively supporting them as they charged into the cell blocks, the crowd seemed to realize that they were experiencing, if only briefly, a new Iraq, where the people, not the government, was sovereign. Chants of "Down Bush! Down Sharon!" referring to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, faded. In one cell block, a guard smiled broadly at an American photographer, raised his thumb, and said, "Bush! Bush!" Elsewhere, guards offered an English word almost never heard in Iraq. "Free!" they said. "Free!" http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2002/oct/22/102209478.html * IRAQ EXTENDS AMNESTY TO EXILES by Jerome Delay Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 22nd October BAGHDAD, Iraq- Iraq appealed Tuesday for exiled government opponents to return home "in dignity and peace," saying they were forgiven as part of its amnesty for all prisoners. Iraqi opponents of President Saddam Hussein's government living abroad said they did not believe the offer was genuine. Iraq in the past has executed exiled opponents who accepted offers to come home. Iraq on Sunday, announced the "full and complete and final amnesty" of Iraqi prisoners - common and political. The government called the amnesty a way of thanking the nation for supporting Saddam after he received 100 percent backing in last week's presidential referendum. Critics said it was a desperate ploy to rally domestic support in the face of U.S. threats to topple Saddam. "The amnesty is a great opportunity offered by the Iraqi leadership to those who committed a mistake or a sin which has become a burden on them," said a front-page editorial in the daily Al-Thawra, which speaks for Saddam's government. "The Iraqis living abroad should make use of this chance and return to the country where they can live in dignity and peace with their families," said the paper, published by the ruling Baath Party. On Monday night, a senior Foreign Ministry official, Taleb al-Dulaimi, said the government already had taken steps to help exiles, ordering Iraqi embassies "to facilitate the return of Iraqis living abroad who wish to return." "Diplomatic missions will exert every possible effort to remove any difficulties," he told Iraqi Youth TV, which is owned by Saddam's eldest son, Odai. Ahmed al-Haboubi, a former government minister now living in Cairo, told The Associated Press in the Egyptian capital that the appeal was really intended to give heart to people in Baghdad facing a possible U.S.-led attack, since Iraqis abroad would not take it seriously. "The regime has made such gestures since it took power in 1968, but always turned against its opponents and either jailed or executed them," Haboubi said. Mohammed Abdul Jabar, spokesman for the Islamic Alliance opposition group, said the amnesty offer would be considered a joke by those in exile. "Saddam should ask the Iraqi people for forgiveness. He is not in a position to pardon or forgive Iraqis," he told the AP in Cairo, speaking by phone from London. Government opponents contemplating going home have the example of Saddam's two sons in-law. The two brothers, married to Saddam's daughters, fled into exile in 1995 and talked with Western intelligence agents. They went back to Iraq six months later under an offer of forgiveness, but were killed within hours of their return. "He may leave those who were in exile after returning for a little while, but after that he'll execute them," said Nazem Odeh, an Iraqi Arabic-language teacher in Jordan who left Iraq in 1996. "I'll never go back to Baghdad, if not for my sake, it's for the sake of my children. I want to protect my children and ensure that they have a good, secure and stable future and that won't be in Iraq," he told the AP in Amman, Jordan. Exiled opposition figures had derided Sunday's offer of an amnesty for both criminal and political prisoners, saying they had no confirmation any important political prisoners had been freed. [.....] http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/ny woiraq1023,0,6400911.story?coll=ny%2Dworldnews%2Dheadlines * NO AMNESTY FOR 2 AMERICANS by Matthew McAllester Newsday, 23rd October Baghdad, Iraq -- Two U.S. citizens convicted of spying are among a few prisoners still held by Iraq following its general amnesty on Sunday, Newsday has learned. The men, of Iraqi descent, have been held in the vast Abu Ghareb prison since 1996 or 1997 and were not among the tens of thousands of inmates released in the amnesty, Western sources said. The sister of Mahmad Samir Fakhri, one of the men, went looking for help yesterday at the former U.S. Embassy here. Since the United States and Iraq broke off relations in 1991, the U.S. mission has been in the care of Polish diplomats who run it as the U.S. Interests Section of their own embassy. "I went to the prison hoping to see my brother, and he was not released," said the woman to a member of the consular staff. "The whole prison was empty. I'm disappointed that he was not released." Fakhri was apparently born in the Chicago area just over 30 years ago. The other jailed American, a naturalized citizen named Sam Jason, was born Saad Hamid Jassin, but it wasn't clear when he lived in the United States. He is also in his 30s, the sources said. They declined to comment on whether the men indeed spied for the United States, as Iraq says. President Saddam Hussein unexpectedly issued a decree Sunday freeing nearly all of Iraq's prisoners, including murderers. Outside observers said he acted to bolster his support within Iraq as the possibility of war with the United States looms. But the decree excluded spies for the United States or Israel, a provision that seems to have kept Fakhri and Jason in a prison system that human rights groups say is one of the world's most brutal. State Department spokesman Frederick Jones confirmed yesterday only that "There are two dual-national U.S. citizens known to be incarcerated in Iraq." He said privacy rules barred him from discussing their cases. "We have seen reports that Saddam Hussein has released all the prisoners from jail excepting for those persons who are interned for 'spying' for the U.S. or Israel," Jones said, reading from a statement. "Polish consular officers make periodic visits to these U.S. citizens. The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw is coordinating efforts with the Polish to determine whether or not these two U.S. citizens continue to be held." At Abu Ghareb yesterday, guards barred a reporter and photographer from entering to see if any prisoners remained. The guards insisted the prison was empty and that there had been no transfers of the 14 inmates held in the Foreigners Department, who, sources said, included Fakhri and Jason. The U.S. government has known about the two men for years, the sources said. Under a program administered by the State Department, the U.S. government has wired money to the Interests Section in Baghdad, where the men's relatives pick it up every month to buy them supplies, the sources said. Fakhri's sister, who left the Interests Section without being interviewed, has previously applied to Hussein for her brother's release. A woman accompanying her yesterday said that perhaps now, after the amnesty, might be a good time to try again. The women were not the only ones aggrieved yesterday at not finding their loved ones among those freed. In a rare display of protest against the government, about 200 Iraqis gathered outside the Ministry of Information yesterday to protest the continued absence of their relatives and friends. Eventually soldiers shot over their heads to make them disperse. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/a/2002/10/24/MN179755 .DTL * HUSSEIN DIVVIES UP GOLD TO SALVE SHIITES' ANGER by Anthony Shadid San Francisco Chronicle, from the Boston Globe, 24th October Kerbala, Iraq -- President Saddam Hussein has doled out gold, silver and subsidies to Shiite Muslims in an expensive, if desperate, gambit to soothe the discontent within Iraq's disenfranchised ethnic majority. Patronage gifts, the pillar of power for most Arab governments, have been lavished on Shiite tribes in southern Iraq, whose loyalty the government believes will be key in any confrontation with the United States. Over the past year, Hussein has donated precious metals for extensive renovations of shrines in Kerbala, one of the region's holiest cities. And businesses that cater to the booming trade from millions of pilgrims to Kerbala and other Iraqi cities are benefiting from subsidies for the renovation of markets devastated in uprisings that followed the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Despite these efforts, the remarkable demonstrations that continued Wednesday in Baghdad by elderly Shiite Muslim women -- including some from Kerbala -- demanding to know the fate of sons who may have been executed by Hussein's regime are forcing an unprecedented public reckoning of the government's bloody treatment of the Shiites. In the women's pleas is a call for accountability from a government that has been dominated since the 1970s by Hussein's clan and loyal Sunni Muslim tribes. Those calls, some Iraqis contend, represent a key step toward claiming power for Shiites, who have been denied through decades of executions, bloody crackdowns, the forced exile of tens of thousands to neighboring Iran and the underdevelopment of their southern heartland. "The situation in Iraq now is very fiery," said Wamid Nadhme, a political science professor at Baghdad University. "(The Shiites) would like to see themselves have more of a share of political power. That is their major grievance." At times, the regime has publicly questioned Shiites' loyalty, given the community's historic ties to Shiites in Iran, and has tried to subordinate religious identity to Baghdad's version of Arab nationalism. One of the bleakest moments came after the 1991 Gulf War, when Shiites rose up and briefly took control of southern Iraq's main cities before wilting under fire from the Republican Guards. Holy shrines in Najaf and Kerbala were damaged, some of them badly, and nearby shops and markets demolished. As the threat of a new war has grown, however, the government has made overtures to Shiite tribes, whose sheikhs still wield almost feudal influence over the population of the south. Guns, cars and money have gone their way, and at least publicly, they pledge to support Hussein in any conflict against the United States. But patronage, some Iraqis say, goes only so far, lavished against a backdrop of miserable poverty in a region that saw the bulk of the government's resources devoted to the capital, Baghdad -- about 50 miles north of Kerbala. "The Shiites have nothing," a former Iraqi official acknowledged. "From independence in 1921 until now, they have nothing." http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/10/24/iraq.journalists/index.html * IRAQ ORDERS CNN, FOREIGN JOURNALISTS OUT CNN, 24th October BAGHDAD, Iraq: The Iraqi government said Thursday it is expelling CNN's Baghdad bureau chief, Jane Arraf, along with other foreign journalists and is enacting tough visa restrictions for admitting foreign newspeople in the future. Arraf and five other non-Iraqi CNN staff members, including Correspondents Nic Robertson and Rym Brahimi, were told they must leave the country by Monday. Arraf is the only Western correspondent permanently based in Baghdad, where CNN has maintained a bureau for 12 years. The move follows Iraqi government complaints about the reporting of several foreign journalists on assignment in the country. Government officials expressed particular outrage over CNN reporting, specifically its coverage this week of an unprecedented anti-government demonstration outside the Iraqi Information Ministry in Baghdad. Iraqi officials said they also objected strongly to the presence and reporting of a CNN team in Kurd-controlled northern Iraq. The government invited in hundreds of foreign journalists to cover an October 15 referendum that officials claimed showed unanimous support for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to remain in power. Iraqi officials said that after the expulsions they will admit a small number of foreign journalists under tough new rules. Those new rules will limit foreign news organizations allowed into Iraq to one non-Iraqi journalist per news organization, and each visiting journalist will be permitted to remain in Iraq for a maximum 10 days at a time. Eason Jordan, CNN's chief news executive, said the planned expulsion is "a draconian measure that will sharply curtail the world's knowledge about what is happening in Iraq." Jordan said CNN stands by Arraf and all of CNN's Iraq reporting as "accurate, fair, and forthright." Jordan dismissed as "absurd" Iraqi government allegations that CNN is a U.S. government propaganda service. Jordan added that "while CNN remains committed to reporting to the extent possible from Iraq, CNN will not compromise its journalistic principles in exchange for CNN access to any country." MILITARY MATTERS http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/world/1627524 * ALLIES BOMB COMMAND SITE IN NORTHERN IRAQ NO-FLY ZONE Houston Chronicle, 22nd October WASHINGTON (Associated Press): Allied planes bombed a military air defense site in the northern no-fly zone over Iraq today after taking fire from Iraqi forces, defense officials said. The bombing brought to 51 the number of days this year that such strikes were reported by the United States and the United Kingdom coalition, whose mission is to patrol two zones set up to protect Iraqi minorities following the 1991 Gulf War. Coalition planes targeted precision-guided weapons at "elements of the Iraqi integrated air defense system" after taking anti-aircraft artillery fire from sites northeast of Mosul, said a statement from the U.S. European Command, which does the patrol mission known as Operation Northern Watch. "Operation Northern Watch aircraft respond in self-defense to these threats, while continuing to enforce the no-fly zone," the statement said. It said damage assessment was incomplete. Iraq considers the patrols a violation of its sovereignty and frequently shoots at the planes. In response, coalition pilots try to bomb Iraqi air defenses. The hostilities have been going on for years but are being watched more closely since the Bush administration has vowed to oust President Saddam's Hussein's regime. The Pentagon has also changed its targeting in recent months, not necessarily hitting back at facilities from which the hostilities originate, but rather planning strikes that will do the most to disable Iraq air defenses. The last strike was Oct. 15 in the southern no-fly zone when coalition planes targeted a command and control and communications facility near Al Kut, about 100 miles southeast of the capital, Baghdad. The southern operation is handled by the U.S. Central Command. According to figures released by the commands, Tuesday was the 12 the day this year on which U.S.-U.S. planes struck in the northern zone, set up to protect the Kurdish population. There have been 39 such days this year in the southern zone, set up to protect Shiite Muslims. http://www2.bostonherald.com/news/international/ap_nofly10232002.htm * ALLIES BOMB AIR DEFENSE SITES IN SOUTHERN IRAQ NO-FLY ZONE - THIRD IN A WEEK Boston Herald, from Associated Press, 23rd October WASHINGTON - Allied planes bombed two military air defense sites in the southern no-fly zone over Iraq Wednesday in the third round of strikes in a week, defense officials said. The bombing brought to 52 the number of days this year that such strikes were reported by the United States and the United Kingdom coalition, whose mission is to patrol two zones set up to protect Iraqi minorities following the 1991 Gulf War. Coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons to target an air defense communications facility near Al Jarrah, 90 miles southeast of Baghdad, and an air defense operations center near Tallil, 160 miles southeast of Baghdad, said a statement from the U.S. Central Command. The strikes were launched at about 5:10 p.m. Tuesday in Washington - early Wednesday morning in Iraq - after Iraqis fired anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles at coalition aircraft doing patrols, the statement said. It said damage assessment was incomplete. [.....] According to figures released by the commands, the latest strike made Wednesday the 40th day this year that there has been a coalition bombing in the southern zone set up to protect Shiite Muslims. There have been 12 days this year on which U.S.-U.K. planes struck in the northern zone, set up to protect the Kurdish population. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/iraq_us021023.html * THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES by John McWethy ABC News, 23rd October W A S H I N G T O N, Oct. 23 ‹ For the first time, the United States is patrolling the skies over Iraq's southern "no-fly zone" with unmanned Predator surveillance planes that are armed, ABCNEWS has learned. The Predator can stay over an area for 24 hours or longer, allowing the United States to keep constant watch over a suspicious site. Now, these unmanned planes, which are armed with two Hellfire missiles, for the first time can fire at moving targets within minutes or seconds if an Iraqi missile or mobile radar moves out of hiding. With a manned aircraft, it can take hours to scramble the jets and get to a target ‹ which by then could be hidden again. The CIA used armed unmanned Predators extensively over Afghanistan to hunt for and try to kill Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders. Over Iraq, it is the Air Force that is controlling the planes, the first time the Air Force has taken Predator into hostile territory. And the mission in Iraq is quite different than it was in Afghanistan. Sources told ABCNEWS these armed Predators have fired twice in the last few weeks ‹ at a missile "on the rails" and at an air defense radar dish. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2002/oct/23/102301991.html * NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY SEEN SPREADING by Charles J. Hanley Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 23rd October The small slender cylinders spin at twice the speed of sound, driving the heavier gas outward with a force a million times greater than gravity, leaving an isotope behind that can light cities - or level them. Such uranium centrifuges appear to be key to North Korea's revived nuclear bomb program. In Iraq, centrifuges will be the first things U.N. inspectors look for when they return. And elsewhere in coming years this precision technology may spread to still more hands in what the atomic energy industry foresees as a "nuclear renaissance." It's a rebirth some would resist in the name of arms control. "It will become a very substantial problem," Pakistani physicist Zia Mian, a leading nonproliferation advocate, said of growing access to these tools for enriching uranium. For electric utilities, centrifuges are the most cost-efficient way to produce fuel for an expansion of nuclear energy to replace coal- and oil-burning linked to global warming. For those who want doomsday weapons, however, the appeal of uranium gas centrifuges lies in their compactness. A centrifuge plant for a small but significant nuclear weapons program could be hidden in a building the size of a warehouse, said a U.S. government physicist in the front ranks of the fight against nuclear proliferation. This scientist, discussing official concerns on condition of anonymity, noted that both North Korea and Iraq discarded weapons programs using plutonium, the other bomb material, because they were difficult to hide. "Centrifuges are what people go to when frustrated with other methods," he said. The danger was clear last June when the U.N. nuclear agency disclosed its concerns that sensitive equipment or design documents may have been taken from a research institute in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. That institute at Sukhumi on the Black Sea, abandoned for nine years in territory controlled by rebels, was the site of breakthroughs in gas centrifuge development by German and Soviet scientists in the decades after World War II. The principle was simple: The centrifugal force of spinning separates materials by driving the heavier of them to an outer wall first. But the technology is complex: arrangements of vacuums, zero-friction bearings using electromagnets, minute balancing mechanics, thin walled cylinders of strong but superlight materials. Uranium gas is fed into the upright "rotor," a cylinder typically three to six feet tall and several inches wide. It spins on its axis at up to 70,000 revolutions per minute, separating the heavier uranium-238 from the rarer U-235, the isotope whose nucleus produces energy when split in the process called fission. The mixture is pumped through hundreds of centrifuges to boost its U-235 content to over 3 percent - the level needed for power generators. If extended, the process can produce uranium that is 90 percent U-235 -required for nuclear bombs. Free-lancing German engineers brought classified centrifuge technology to Baghdad in 1988 89 as Iraq moved toward a nuclear weapon. United Nations inspectors later dismantled that plant, but after a four-year absence they'll look for signs of centrifuge rebuilding on their expected return later this year. In the early 1990s, the same Germans helped Brazil build centrifuges to produce fuel for nuclear submarines, raising proliferation concerns in Latin America. Earlier, a Pakistani engineer in Western Europe's nuclear industry brought back to his homeland the knowledge - and reportedly plans - for centrifuge technology. Pakistan now has dozens of nuclear bombs. Some believe North Korea's new weapons plans, disclosed last week, may be all-Korean, based on old, widely known centrifuge technology. Others believe Pakistan helped. American officials say they don't know. "There are a lot of countries that may have been assisting," said Condoleezza Rice, U.S. national security adviser. Russia, China, Japan and India have centrifuges. Ukraine disclosed it developed its own with help from scientists who fled Georgia's Sukhumi institute. Israel reportedly enriches uranium for bombs. Iran, believed seeking weapons capability, has tried to buy centrifuges from Russia. The United States, meanwhile, is re-emphasizing centrifuges over gaseous diffusion, a more cumbersome enrichment technology. "It can be as simple as having someone who knows how to do it. That's what's really spreading around," said American physicist David Albright, a former U.N. inspector in Iraq. The industry hopes so. Steve Kidd, research chief for the industry's London-based World Nuclear Association, said all the world's uranium enrichment may be done by centrifuges within 20 years. Zia Mian, at Princeton University, fears that will put enrichment equipment in too many Third World hands. "Then there's only the decision of a sovereign government to do what they want with it." Such fears are overblown, said Kidd. He questioned whether "rogue states" really will master the technology and concluded, "Any attempt to damn commercial centrifuge plants by association is, in my view, quite wrong." NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/WireFeed/WireFeed&c =WireFeed&cid=1034950539655&p=1014232938216 * TURKEY DENIES ARMY INCURSION INTO IRAQ Financial Times, 19th October ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's military has denied Turkish media reports that it had sent a large force of troops into northern Iraq, a region controlled by Kurds who have broken away from Baghdad. NATO ally Turkey, seen as a frontline player in any U.S.-led attack against Baghdad, maintains a military presence in neighbouring Iraq's Kurdish enclave to pursue separatists from its own Kurdish minority and to protect a small Turkmen minority, with whom Turks share ethnic and linguistic ties. "Certain press organs have reported today that 12,000 members of the Turkish Armed Forces entered northern Iraq. These reports are completely wrong," Turkey's General Staff said in a statement on Saturday carried by the state-run Anatolian news agency. Newspapers reported several thousand troops crossed from Sirnak province in southeastern Turkey on Friday into areas run by Iraq's opposition Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), with whom Ankara has traded barbs over a potential Turkish military role in Iraq in the event the United States launches a campaign. Local sources told Reuters on Friday they saw thousands of Turkish troops with heavy artillery cross the Iraqi border, but independent verification was not possible. Relations have soured between Ankara and KDP leader Massoud Barzani in recent weeks, with Turkey signalling it could intervene militarily if Kurds try to set up an independent state amid the turmoil a U.S. campaign could set off in Iraq. Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel on Saturday warned Barzani and PUK leader Jalal Talabani to "heed our warnings" on any moves to set up a new ethnic state in the Middle East. "Those (Iraqi Kurd) communities' welfare and security have until now been under Turkey's safeguard. If they want it to continue like this, then they need to behave accordingly," Gurel said, in comments broadcast by Turkey's NTV television. [.....] http://www.bergen.com/page.php?level_3_id=26&page=5363203 * KURDS WOULD TRY TO SEIZE OIL FIELDS IF U.S. STRIKES IRAQ by Brian Murphy Bergen.com, from Associated Press, 20th October SORAN BASE, Iraq - The top Iraqi Kurdish military commander said Saturday that his forces would try to capture nearby oil-rich areas if the United States strikes at Saddam Hussein's regime. The battlefield strategy outlined by Cmdr. Hamid Efendi gives added muscle to a draft constitution proposed this month that envisioned the oil center of Kirkuk as the future capital of their homeland. But the Kurdish goal of extending their authority to the prized oil fields around Kirkuk and Mosul - now outside the Western-protected Kurdish enclave - carries military and political risks that could trouble Pentagon planners. Iraqi Kurdish fighters could face direct combat with the more powerful Iraqi forces and open a new front that may divert attention from the goal of toppling Hussein. It would also enrage neighboring Turkey, which controls crucial trade routes for the landlocked Iraqi Kurds. Turkey sees the oil-producing areas as a traditional ethnic Turkish zone. It also fears an oil enriched Kurdish region in Iraq could eventually seek independence and encourage autonomy-seeking Turkish Kurds. "Kirkuk is Kurdish. So are parts of Mosul," said Efendi, leader of the 50,000-strong Iraqi Kurdish armed forces, made up of soldiers and irregular militia. "We would want to take these areas if the Americans attack." On Saturday, Turkey's military denied newspaper reports that as many as 12,000 troops had crossed into northern Iraq in a bid to intimidate Iraqi Kurds there. "These reports are totally false and do not reflect the truth," a brief military statement said. Iraqi Kurd commanders, meanwhile, were piecing together a credible fighting force with limited resources. "Into formation," shouted a sergeant to 3rd Battalion soldiers at the Soran Base, a former Iraqi military complex about 280 miles northwest of Baghdad. The troops, wearing mismatched uniforms and using battered AK-47 rifles, stood at attention for review. "They may be a bit ragged, but they have something to fight for," said Col. Hani Pulslim. "That is our biggest weapon. They have a cause." The training at Soran - controlled by the most powerful Iraqi Kurdish faction, the Kurdish Democratic Party - takes soldiers on mountain maneuvers and includes basic weaponry such as mortars and antitank cannons. Castoff Turkish and American uniforms were part of the mix of green and desert tan uniforms. Some wore belts left over from the Iraqi military. "We use everything," said Pulslim. "We can't afford to waste." Efendi said U.S. authorities have made no direct requests for Iraqi Kurd military help during a possible war. But Efendi said U.S. forces would be permitted to stage attacks from the Kurdish area, including possible expansion of two small airstrips for U.S. warplanes. IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2344247.stm * Iraq begins Kuwait archive handover BBC, 20th October Iraq has begun returning Kuwait's national archive, which was seized during the seven month occupation from 1990 to 1991. The first box of documents was handed over in the demilitarised border zone along the Iraqi-Kuwaiti frontier, under the supervision of the United Nations. An Arab League team is also taking part in the process. Five trucks of official papers have been driven down from Baghdad. They are said to include the files of the Kuwaiti foreign ministry, the national security department and the interior ministry, and correspondence relating to Kuwaiti-American relations. Iraq says the handover is in keeping with promises made at the Arab League summit in Beirut, last March. A UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Kuwaitis were now inspecting the boxes before officially accepting them. "Every day a few boxes will be unloaded and checked by the Kuwaitis. It'll be a long procedure." The return of the archives was demanded in a UN resolution - one of those which the US is demanding Iraq obeys or face military action. Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said he hoped the return of the documents would herald progress on prisoners who have not been seen since the Gulf War. "Even though it [return of archives] is important, there is something more important to us, which is the issue of the PoWs," he said. "Everyone in Kuwait is waiting for the PoWs." Kuwait maintains that 605 of its and other countries' nationals disappeared during the Iraqi occupation of the emirate, and claims they are still being held in Iraq. Iraq has admitted taking prisoners but said it lost track of them during a Shia Muslim uprising in southern Iraq following its retreat from Kuwait. Baghdad claims 1,142 of its own nationals have been missing since the Gulf conflict. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/21_10_02/art17.asp * Moussa: Arabs will not support a new war on Iraq by Hala Kilani Daily Star, Lebanon, 21st October An attack on Iraq will plunge the region into chaos, the secretary-general of the Arab League says. In contrast to the consent that pervaded in the run up to the 1991 Gulf War, Arabs today will not support any military action against Baghdad and are angry about the situation in Palestine. Amr Moussa spoke to The Daily Star after participating in the opening session of the Francophone summit in Beirut Friday amid the growing threat of a unilateral decision by the US to wage war on Iraq. ³War in Iraq, together with the stagnation in solving the Palestinian problem, is a negative situation added to another negative circumstance. Where are they driving the region to?² Moussa asked. The secretary-general went on to compare the circumstances surrounding the 1991 Gulf War ,when there was international consensus, and the current situation in which world opinion, and most of America¹s allies, are opposed to an attack. ³The military action at that time took place on the basis of public opinion in the Arab world that supported the attack and anger toward Iraq for invading Kuwait,² he said. ³This time, on the contrary, after 12 years of imposing sanctions on Iraq and the harsh conditions we see there is no support.² Moussa said that morale in the Arab world was depressed because of Israel¹s brutal actions against the Palestinian people, but also confused as the Arab people do not understand the justifications for an invasion of Iraq. Moussa was speaking in reference to ³double standards² that Arabs recognize as Iraq is pressured to uphold United Nations resolutions and cease developing weapons of mass destruction, whereas Israel is seen to be more guilty of those allegations. ³What we want right now, or what Arab diplomacy wants, is for Iraq to finish implementing the Security Council resolutions and to cooperate fully with the UN and to resist, therefore, all provocations,² Moussa said. ³This way it will be rid of the threats and no one would have an excuse to attack.² On a plan that is rumored to be receiving increased scrutiny at the Pentagon and the British Parliament to redraw the map of the region, to divide several Arab countries and to give a leading role to Israel during an attack on Iraq, Moussa said that Arab states were aware of the alleged scheme. ³I strongly believe that there is a plan to rearrange the region and it is not a new thing. This impression was the basis of many of Egypt¹s moves Š during the 1990s, which attempted to contain this tendency towards change,² Moussa said. The secretary-general said that Arab countries became most conscious of the scheme after the preparatory peace conference of Dar al-Baida on Oct. 31, 1994, during which former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Perez said that the time had come for the Middle East to change and evolve and for Israel to take the leading role. ³His words triggered an immediate meeting between Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia. This meeting was exceptionally, and especially, held as a reaction to Perez¹s call for change and this is probably the first time I say it,² Moussa said. ³So we in the Arab world are well aware of such a plan.² But the secretary-general added that ³it is impossible for Israel to play a leading role in the Middle East.² He maintained that ³it was proven to everyone and even to the US that it is impossible for Israel to play leading role in the Middle East especially (in light of) the brutal killings and the stupid policy that it has adopted, something the Arab world will take long years to overcome.² Moussa described ³as false² the US argument that the Iraqi leadership needed to be removed and that democracy should be imposed in its place. ³Can (the US) impose democracy through military occupation?² he asked. ³Of course not, because democracy and occupation are two contradictory things.² Moussa contended that democracy had started to develop in the region and that an attack on Iraq would only abort the process. Asked whether he agreed that oil and not democracy was the real aim of the attack, Moussa said: ³I don¹t think that oil is their objective because it is already under their control. Iraq¹s oil and Arab money is already under their control - there¹s nothing new about that. ³I don¹t think that¹s the reason for the attack, I think they have a vague theory of change in the region, a theory that they don¹t understand very well, a theory that can be easily read but when it comes to implementation, it is doomed to failure,² he said. Moussa predicted that ³this theory² would fail in the early stages of its implementation because it was not well prepared and not based on popular support. ³For a while there was talk about an international conference. This is a movie we saw in the 90¹s, it¹s dated and we won¹t help to replay it,² he said. ³What I told many Europeans and international diplomats is that the Arabs were taken for a ride all through the 1990s. I don¹t think they will accept to be taken for another ride for another 10 years,² Moussa warned. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=10/24/02&Cat=2&Num=9 * NINTH BATCH OF IRANIAN REFUGEES REPATRIATE FROM IRAQ Tehran Times, 24th October AHVAZ, Khuzestan Prov. -- The ninth batch of Iranian refugees in Iraq have returned to their country, the General Manager of the Bureau for Aliens' and Foreign Immigrations' Affairs (BAFIA) in Khuzestan, Mohammad Hossein Paravar, said Wednesday. Speaking to IRNA, he said the group consisted of 15 families comprising 74 persons, who moved to Iraq during the 1980-1988 War between the two countries and who decided to avail of the ongoing voluntary repatriation program supervised by the UNHCR. Paravar further said that the returning refugees returned to Iran through the southwestern Shalamcheh border post, 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the city of Khorramshahr. He said they the returnees, who were in two buses, availed of the Voluntary Repatriation Program under the supervision of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Some 1,152 Iranian refugees in Iraq have returned home since the UN Voluntary Program was launched between the two countries on June 23 this year, Paravar informed. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/breakingnews/worldnews/page.cfm?objectid=1 2309145&method=full&siteid=89488 * LIBYA WITHDRAWS FROM ARAB LEAGUE Daily Record, 24th October Libya has withdrawn from the Arab League giving no reason for the decision. Libyan officials are reportdly are blaming the group's "inefficiency" in dealing with the crises over Iraq and the Palestinians. The Arab League's spokesman, Hesham Youssef, said the 22-nation organisation had received no official notice from the Libyans. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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