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[casi] News, 19-25/10/02 (3)

News, 19-25/10/02 (3)


*  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


*  Allies bomb command site in northern Iraq no-fly zone
*  Allies bomb air defense sites in southern Iraq no-fly zone - third in a
*  The Unfriendly Skies
*  Nuclear Technology Seen Spreading


*  Turkey denies army incursion into Iraq
*  Kurds would try to seize oil fields if U.S. strikes Iraq


*  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


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

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

"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."

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

"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!"

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

"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

"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

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.


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.

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

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."

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

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


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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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."


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

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.


by Brian Murphy, 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.


*  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

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

*  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

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

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 

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.

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.

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.

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