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News, 25/10-1/11/02 (5) IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * 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. NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * 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 IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS http://www3.bernama.com/B2002/news.shtml?general/ge2810_12 * KL PLEASED WITH US EXPLANATION ON IRAQ - SYED HAMID 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 there. 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 added. 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. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021029/pl_nm/iraq_german y_schroeder_dc_1 * GERMANY'S FISCHER SAYS U.S. WRONG TO FOCUS ON IRAQ 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 Baghdad. "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 analysis." 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." [.....] http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/bw-exec/2002/oct/31/103109296.html * GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS U.S. 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 September. 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." NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/021028/2002102819.html * SOME 35 KURDISH PARTIES DISCUSS IRAQ'S CONSTITUTION 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 sides. http://www.msnbc.com/news/822481.asp?0dm=C17PN * ILLEGAL OIL LINES SADDAM'S POCKETS 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 would." 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 Britain. 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 Mideastweb.org, 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." [MSNBC.com contributor Borzou Daragahi is on assignment in northern Iraq.] MILITARY MATTERS (a great deal ...) http://observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,820122,00.html * ARMED FORCES CALL UP MEDICS AS BRITAIN GOES ON A WAR FOOTING 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. [.....] http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=10/29/02&Cat=2&Num=027 * TROOP CALL-UP FOR IRAQI WAR COULD EQUAL THAT OF PG WAR: NYT 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. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=10/30/02&Cat=4&Num=1 * UN VOICES "CONCERN" OVER DMZ AIRSPACE VIOLATIONS INTO IRAQ 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. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/articleshow?artid=26789936 * US-BRITISH JETS RAID NORTHERN IRAQ 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 announced. 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 statement. "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 statement. 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 resolution. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk