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[casi] News, 25/10-1/11/02 (5)

News, 25/10-1/11/02 (5)


*  KL Pleased With US Explanation On Iraq - Syed Hamid
*  Germany's Fischer Says U.S. Wrong to Focus on Iraq
*  German Foreign Minister Visits U.S.


*  Some 35 Kurdish parties discuss Iraq's constitution
*  Illegal oil lines Saddam's pockets

MILITARY MATTERS (a great deal ...)

*  Armed forces call up medics as Britain goes on a war footing
*  Troop Call-Up for Iraqi War Could Equal That of PG War: NYT
*  UN Voices "Concern" Over DMZ Airspace Violations Into Iraq
*  US-British jets raid northern Iraq


by Mohd Arshi Daud
Bernama (Malaysian news agency), 28th October

LOS CABOS (Mexico), Oct 28: Kuala Lumpur is relieved with the assurance
given by the US that Washington does not intend to wage war on Iraq but
instead wants to pressure it to comply with the United Nations' (UN)
Resolutions which include allowing the UN to send its arms inspection team

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said that US Secretary of State
Colin Powell had, during one of the Apec foreign ministers meetings on
Wednesday and Thursday, stressed that actions would only be taken against
Iraq if it failed to comply with the resolutions.

"Its aim is not to take unilateral action but to use the multilateral
process. It also said that the international community must deal firmly with
Iraq because Iraq had repeatedly failed to respect the UN resolutions," he
told the Malaysian media Sunday.

Syed Hamid said that Kuala Lumpur, as the host of the Organisation of the
Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) next year, did
not want to see anger, prejudice and unfairness being felt by the Islamic
countries towards any US actions on Iraq.

Iraq, he said, should be given the chance to receive the inspections by the
UN on its weapons of mass destruction and chemical weapons.

"Some have questioned why action is taken against Iraq only when North Korea
has also admitted being in possession of weapons of mass destruction," he

Syed Hamid said Powell told the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec)
foreign ministers that similar action was not taken against North Korea
because it did not have a history of using such weapons.

The US Secretary of State explained that Washington wanted to avoid war and
his mission in Mexico was to get the Apec countries to understand the US'
purpose of a new resolution in the UN was to prevent a repeat of Iraq's
failure to adhere to the resolutions, he said.

The new resolution was set to ensure that if Iraq failed to comply, the US
could take action without having to go back to the UN Security Council.

by Emma Thomasson
Yahoo, 29th October

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer questioned the
United States Tuesday for focusing on Iraq above international terrorism,
reiterating that Germany would not take part in any military strike against

"I ask myself if making Iraq the priority makes sense, to put it quite
diplomatically," Fischer said in a speech to the German parliament. "In
fact, I don't believe that setting of priorities matches our threat

The United States accuses Baghdad of developing weapons of mass destruction
and, with Britain's support, is trying to secure a United Nations Security
Council resolution authorizing military action if Iraq does not disarm.

Both Fischer and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder stressed that Germany would
not join a U.S.-led attack on Iraq.

During the German election campaign last month, Schroeder's strident
opposition to military action against Iraq was credited with helping him
narrowly win a second term. But U.S. officials said the anti-war rhetoric
had poisoned ties.

Fischer, who is due to travel to Washington Wednesday to help repair
relations, said the world should focus instead on solving regional conflicts
like those in Kashmir to reduce the risk of such areas becoming breeding
grounds for terrorism.

"We must be careful that good intentions don't produce the wrong
consequences so that we don't increase terrorism risks in the end," he said.

"I am not sure if the majority of the American Congress, the majority of the
American people are ready, if regime change is actually achieved ... to take
on responsibility for long-term nation building in such a dangerous region."


by Harry Dunphy
Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 31st October

WASHINGTON- Germany's quarrel with the Bush administration over Iraq is
based on fear of catastrophe in the Middle East if force is used - and not
on anti-Americanism, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Thursday.

He likened the dispute to a family quarrel that he is trying to resolve with
the help of Secretary of State Colin Powell. "Sometimes you have to live
with differences in the family," Fischer said over breakfast before heading
to New York to follow the negotiations at the United Nations over Iraq.

"This is not anti-Americanism if we disagree on an issue," Fischer said.

He flatly ruled out Germany contributing troops to any attack on Iraq but
said legal commitments to the United States left open the possibility of
playing a supporting role.

Powell said after they met on Wednesday at the State Department that there
is not a poisoned atmosphere between the United States and Germany, as some
other Bush administration officials have claimed.

"I would say that we are two friends, two allies that occasionally find
themselves with areas of disagreement and some rough spots," Powell said.

He said the United States eventually "will get over these disagreements and
find ways to resolve differences."

One of those ways will not be a meeting soon between President Bush and
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Powell said that will have to wait
until a Nov. 20-21 NATO summit in Prague, Czech Republic.

And Fischer on Wednesday was non-committal on whether the two leaders would
meet face-to-face there.

But in another sign the two nations are trying to put relations on a new
footing, Germany announced Thursday that Defense Minister Peter Struck will
travel to the United States Nov. 11 to meet Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld. The American pointedly avoided Struck at a NATO meeting in

Schroeder touched off the dispute by expressing strong opposition to any
U.S. military action during his successful re-election campaign last month.
Many analysts said this position helped him win votes from Germans who have
been averse to military action since World War II.

Schroeder has argued that a strike against Baghdad could wreck the
international anti-terror coalition and throw the Middle East into turmoil.

Fischer said he and "my friend Colin Powell" discussed their differences as
well as topics they agree on, such as the Middle East, Afghanistan and the
war on terror.

"We are close allies," Fischer said. "And I think if there are differences
and turbulences, we will discuss these problems inside the family."

He said that although disagreement remained about possible military action
in Iraq, Germany will fully support any Security Council resolution that
emerges so that U.N. weapons inspectors "can start their job immediately."


Arabic News, 28th October

The chairman of the Kurdistani democratic socialist party, Muhammad Haji
Mahmoud, said that the representatives of 35 Kurdish parties started in
Iraq's Kurdistan yesterday a panel of discussing a federal project in Iraq,
and the draft constitution they will propose to the Iraqi opposition parties
after approving it in the united Kurdish parliament.

Mahmoud, whose party is taking part in Talibani government in al-
Suleimaneyah, said that the committee in charge of formulating the two draft
laws formed by the two main Kurdish parties; the Kurdistani national
federation and the Kurdistani democratic party, extended invitations to all
Iraqi Kurdistani parties to meet in Kuwisinjaq town, expecting all parties,
including the Islamic parties to respond to the invitation, and
simultaneously ruled out that the Turkman's front which did not attend
recent meetings of the Kurdish parties to take part.

Worthy mentioning that the proposed federation by the Kurds provoked strong
Turkish reactions where Turkey threatened to attack the Kurdish areas in
Iraq. A Kurdish delegation chaired by Nigervan Barazani held last Thursday
talks with officials at the Turkish foreign ministry and with western
ambassadors on Saturday in order to contain the tension between the two

by Borzou Daragahi
MSNBC, 1st November

ZAKHO, Iraq, Nov. 1 -  Locals have a name for the smoothly paved road that
leads to this town near the Turkish frontier: The petroleum highway. It's
where thousands of truckers make their living hauling crude oil from
Baghdad-controlled wells, in stark violation of U.N. sanctions on Iraq.

Tanker after tanker rolls by, bellowing diesel as they climb up the
mountainous path.

"I know we're just filling Saddam Hussein's pockets," said Haji Saleh, a
truck driver and Kurd, the ethnic group once subjected to chemical
bombardment by Saddam in the city of Halabja. "But I have to make a living
somehow. I have no choice. If I didn't drive this truck, someone else

The United States accuses Saddam of accruing weapons of mass destruction and
hindering U.N. weapons inspection efforts. President Bush, whose
administration is amassing a political and military front with the avowed
aim of ousting the Iraqi leader, says the international community has
already tried everything short of war to rein in the Iraq leader.

But despite Washington's strong sway over the Kurds and Turks who traffic
the Iraqi oil, little has been done to stanch the flagrant flow of crude via
the Zakho border. Nothing has been done to cut off a pipeline that pumps
Iraqi oil into Syria. Nothing has been done to stop an estimated 75,000 to
110,000 barrels a day flowing into Jordan. Nor has anything substantial been
done to stop a regular passenger train to Syria filled with oil.

Certainly, the United States is aware of the oil smuggling. In September,
Washington complained that Syria was receiving 25,000 barrels a day of
smuggled oil via rail, a claim denied by Damascus.

"Iraqi oil smuggling has been a concern to U.S. and British officials for
some years, partly because smuggling oil earns the Iraqi regime money, and
money is the ultimate dual-use good," said Colin Rowat, an economist and
expert on the Iraqi sanctions program at the University of Birmingham in

Dual-use goods is the term used by the United Nations for items that Saddam
could utilize for developing banned weapons and they are prohibited under
U.N. sanctions.

Iraq came under tough sanctions following its attempted annexation of Kuwait
in 1990. A gathering storm of criticism that the sanctions starved Iraq's
people rather than hurt Saddam led to U.N. resolution 986, or the
"oil-for-food" program, under which Iraq may annually export about $12
billion worth of oil to through a pipeline to Turkey or through the Persian
Gulf. All expenditures of the oil money must be approved by the United
Nations, which typically allows the money to be used for basic food needs
and rebuilding Iraq's civilian infrastructure.

Still, oil is plentiful in this part of the world, and the allure of quick
cash may be too hard to resist. Everyone benefits financially from the
illegal oil trade.

Under the oil-for-food program, the two Kurdish political parties who -
along with the largest U.N. humanitarian operation in history - run northern
Iraq receive 13 percent of Iraq's oil income.

Still the Iraqi Kurds, landlocked and surrounded by countries vocally
hostile to their 11-year experiment in self-government, have made an
industry out of smuggling goods in and out of the region. There's little
other work and little else for the government to tax.

Officials of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which governs this section of
the border, did not release details about the number of trucks that cross
the frontier or how much money is earned. In an informal count, eight trucks
drove toward the border in five minutes, each carrying between 3,000 and
6,000 gallons worth of raw petroleum. Estimates of the number of trucks run
to about 1,500 a day. "It all depends on Turkey," said Hamid Ali, a Kurdish
border official. "They control how many trucks get through."

Truckers said they pay the KDP $30 in tolls to cross the border. But
officials from the rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which says it
receives little of the money, claimed the KDP gets $300 per truck.

Throughout the 1990s, Turkey, now reeling under its worst economic recession
in modern history, allowed an estimated 5,000 tons of diesel fuel trucked
across its border each day, generating income for the poor, mountainous
Western parts of the country. The Ankara government shut down the Zakho
border to all trade shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States,
but reopened it in January.

The West also has a financial incentive to allow the smuggling. "It seems to
me that cracking down on the smuggling will tend to raise the price of
crude, and therefore there are obviously people who are going to be not too
interested in checking the provenance of oil," said Ami Isserof, director of, an Israeli- and Arab- run news and commentary website.

The West has also pretended to ignore some smuggling of oil to compensate
Iraq's pro American neighbors for the loss of trade caused by sanctions.
Otherwise, the Western powers might have to pony up more foreign aid for
countries like Turkey and Jordan, and even Syria, which backed the United
States in its 1991 war against Iraq.

"Security Council members saw some smuggling as a cheap way of keeping the
rest of the sanctions intact by reducing the losses to Iraq's neighbors;
cheap because it meant that the United Nations didn't need to find the
money," said analyst Rowat.

Perhaps the Baghdad government benefits most from the trade. First and
foremost, it accrues untraceable cash: the U.S. General Accounting Office
estimated in a May 2002 report that Iraq has banked $4.3 billion from oil
smuggling since 1997.

Iraq smuggles 75,000 to 110,000 barrels of oil per day through Jordan,
180,000 to 250,000 per day through Syria, and 40,000 to 80,000 barrels per
day through Turkey, according to the report.

Secondly, the oil smuggling keeps energy-starved countries like Jordan,
Syria and Turkey from meandering too far into the U.S. camp, giving them a
stake in the status quo. Baghdad recently slashed prices to boost sales.
"Iraq hopes that higher exports will tip the war debate in its favor, as it
is buying friends with oil sales," according to the Energy Intelligence
Briefing, a oil industry newsletter.

Iraq also uses the business it gets from the food-for-oil program to win
friends, awarding lucrative contracts to firms in key countries such as
Russia, France and China, U.N. Security Council members now among the most
hesitant to support the U.S. intervention in Iraq.

Perhaps the biggest losers in the oil smuggling trade are the Kurds, who
bore the full brunt of the Baghdad regime's brutality until they gained
limited independence from the rest of Iraq under the terms of the
U.S.-British imposed 'no-fly' zone over northern Iraq. The Kurdish
experiment in self-rule was set back years by a 1994 to 1998 civil war
between the two main political groups, largely over dividing the spoils of
the border.

A group of truckers gathered at a roadside restaurant discussed their
dilemma with candor. Yes, they realized Saddam could use the cash to buy
weapons of mass destruction. Yes, they knew they could very well first ones
who suffer from such weaponry. But they said they have no choice. They know
no other way to make a living.

Pressed to disclose how much money he earns hauling the crude, Haji Saleh
did some figuring on a napkin. After food, fuel tolls, $100 bribes to Iraqi
officials and custom duties, on this trip he realizes he's made nothing.

"It all went to Turkey and Iraq," Saleh said. "I've been on the road for
eight days, and I swear to God I've just broken even. This job just barely
fills our stomach. That's it. The profit all goes to Turkey. We just come
and go."

[ contributor Borzou Daragahi is on assignment in northern Iraq.]

MILITARY MATTERS (a great deal ...),6903,820122,00.html

by Kamal Ahmed, political editor
The Observer, 27th October

The Ministry of Defence is to call up hundreds of armed forces' medical
staff in the first significant sign that Britain is putting itself on a
final war footing for conflict with Iraq.

The MoD will lay an order in the House of Commons in the next fortnight
which will say that air evacuation staff, field hospital unit staff,
individual consultants and nurses should be ready to 'enter into conflict'
within two months.

Defence sources said that, although the order will be made as part of the
broader 'war against terrorism', the actual reason for the call-up of
reservists was the possibility of an attack on Saddam Hussein.

'The reason for this is clear,' said one government source. 'If we do not
move now, we will not be ready for the winter period should there be a need
to act. When you are preparing for conflict you can process about 200 people
a day from the reserves, so we have to start that now. This is about Iraq
and everybody is aware of that.'

Before the Gulf War 12 years ago, about 1,500 reserve personnel were called
up for a final military operation that involved 45,000 troops. They were
mostly medical staff who usually work in the NHS but are part-time members
of the Army, Royal Air Force or Royal Navy.

The present call-up will be about two-thirds of the size. Although they will
only make up a small proportion of the actual number of troops to be
committed by Britain - believed to be in the region of 25,000 - they are
essential members of the force because of their medical expertise.

Four Royal Navy minesweepers are already on their way to the Gulf to join
the increasing US presence in the area. Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary,
is believed to have indicated to the Pentagon that British troops will be
ready for action by the new year.

Yesterday the Kuwaiti government announced that it was sealing off a vast
area of the country so that US military manoeuvres can be expanded.

The country's military spokesman said that the move was a 'precautionary
measure' aimed at providing security for American personnel. Earlier this
month, Muslim extremists launched two attacks on US military personnel,
killing one Marine and wounding another.

The area sealed off is the equivalent to one quarter of the whole country,
which shares a border with Iraq.

American forces have been arriving in Kuwait for months. With the military
build-up continuing, British officials yesterday said they are hopeful that
a new 'two-stage' United Nations resolution on Iraq will be signed in the
next seven days, despite continuing tensions between the United States,
Russia and France.


Tehran Times, 28th October

WASHINGTON -- If Washington orders an attack against Iraq, the Pentagon
expects to mobilize about as many reservists as it did during the Persian
Gulf War in 1991, the New York Times reported Monday.

During the Persian Gulf War some 265,000 members of the National Guard and
reserves were summoned to active duty, the daily reported as quoted by AFP.

Officials had long maintained that a future military engagement in Iraq
likely would call for fewer troops than in the first Persian Gulf War.

But military experts now say that large numbers of guard and reserve troops
would be needed to protect military bases overseas and at home -- above and
beyond forces assigned to combat roles, the Times reported.

The troops, especially those in the National Guard, would also be expected
to play an important role in protecting an array of potential terrorist
targets in the United States, including power plants, transportation hubs,
medical centers and factories.

Tehran Times, 30th October

BAGHDAD -- The United Nations on Tuesday voiced "concern" over Baghdad's
claim that U.S. and British warplanes had been overflying the demilitarized
zone (DMZ) with Kuwait to penetrate Iraq's airspace.

"This was my biggest concern since I took command last year in UNIKOM", the
United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observers Mission that monitors the DMZ, force
commander Major General Miguel Moreno told reporters.

"We sent two letters to (UN Headquarters in) New York requesting devices,
equipment, a radar or whatever is necessary to identify the flights
violating UNIKOM skies ... we are waiting for this new material to come," he
added. He said the situation on the Iraq-Kuwait border was "very calm and
quiet, there is nothing to comment on regarding the situation."

Moreno, an Argentinian, was speaking after a farewell visit to Iraqi Foreign
Minister Naji Sabri, as his assignment as UNIKOM commander ends next month,
AFP reported.

Sabri on October 19 sent a new letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to
protest the violation of Iraq's skies by U.S. and British warplanes based in
Kuwait transiting through the DMZ airspace.

UNIKOM monitors a DMZ set up along the Kuwait-Iraq border after the 1991
Persian Gulf War, in which a U.S.-led coalition evicted Iraqi occupation
troops from Kuwait. It reports to the UN Security Council any violation by
either side.

The DMZ extends 10 kilometers (six miles) into Iraq and five kilometers
(three miles) into Kuwait. It arches for about 300 kilometers (185 miles)
round the north of Kuwait from the Persian Gulf to the frontier between
Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

A trench, a sand wall and an electric fence extend along Kuwait's
200-kilometer-long (125 mile-long) land border with Iraq.

The two countries also share a 40-kilometer-long (25-mile-long) sea border.

Times of India (from AFP), 31st October

WASHINGTON: US and British warplanes on Wednesday attacked Iraqi
anti-aircraft guns after coming under fire in northern Iraq, the US military

The strikes with precision guided missiles were in "self-defence", said the
United States European Command in a statement.

"Iraqi forces threatened Operation Northern Watch (ONW) coalition aircraft
on Wednesday. Iraqi forces fired anti-aircraft weapons while ONW aircraft
conducted routine enforcement of the Northern No-Fly Zone," said the

"Coalition aircraft responded in self-defence to the Iraqi attacks by
dropping precision guided munitions on elements of the Iraqi integrated air
defense system. All coalition aircraft departed the area safely," added the

US and British planes have been patrolling zones where Iraqi military
aircraft are banned over northern and southern Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War.

Military strikes on ground gun and radar installations have been stepped up
in recent weeks as the United States has increased pressure on Iraq over its
weapons programme.

According to US Defense Department spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Lapan
there have been 40 air raids in southern Iraq and 13 in the north since the
start of the year. The planes come from a US base in Turkey.

Iraq does not recognise the zones, which are not backed by a United Nations

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