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[casi] News, 1-8/11/02 (4)

News, 1-8/11/02 (4)


*  Austria's Haider in Iraq Visit Flap
*  U.S. Lures Iraqi Weapons Experts
*  Iraq war could tip world into recession
*  Spymaster sees Iraq war fuelling extremism
*  [South African] Maritzburg Group Gives Money for Water in Iraq


*  [Turkish] Bases may be off-limits if US goes it alone in Iraq
*  Winner of Turkey election opposes U.S. strike against Iraq
*  U.S. can use Kuwaiti bases for Iraq war
*  Kuwaitis Return to Desert Roots, Oblivious of War Threat
 *  War ‹ America's first resort      
*  Kuwait shuts al-Jazeera TV office
*  Target Iran as soon as Iraq war ends: Sharon
*  Iraqi- Iranian higher committee on trade, economic cooperation starts
*  Small group of Kuwaitis opposes U.S. plan for Iraq
*  Iran to Fight al-Qaeda in Northern Iraq: Kurdish Leader
*  Iraqis Struggling [to] Escape [to] Jordan
*  Al-Qabas: Saddam Hussein revives 1991's offer from the Americans

November 03, 2002

Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 3rd November

VIENNA, Austria- Joerg Haider, Austria's far-right populist, came under fire
Sunday for meeting with high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's government
in Iraq.

Haider, former leader of the Freedom Party and governor of the southern
province of Carinthia, met Sunday with Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri
and was set to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz before wrapping up
a two-day visit to Baghdad on Monday.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel described the visit as "a serious
mistake" and rejected Haider's claims that the visit would improve economic
ties between the two countries.

"It (the visit) damages Austria," Schuessel said in an interview on state
television. "And that is bad."

The United Nations imposed sanctions against Iraq after the end of the Gulf

Schuessel stressed that Haider - who has no role in the government but whose
party forms a coalition with Schuessel's People's Party - planned the trip
without the government's approval.

A leader of the opposition Social Democrats, Doris Bures, also criticized
the visit, saying: "Haider is shaking bloodstained hands in Iraq."

In Baghdad, Haider and Sabri attended a trade fair where several companies
from Carinthia were represented.

"I am very often here because I have some friends, like my good friend the
Minister of Foreign Affairs, and we try to make our contribution so that a
new war can be avoided," Haider said.

In an interview published Sunday in a weekly news magazine, Profil, Haider
described U.S. policy toward Iraq as "brutal imperialism and colonialism."

It was his third visit to Baghdad this year. During a meeting with Saddam in
February, Haider proclaimed Austria's "solidarity" with the Iraqis -
comments which brought him ridicule at home and abroad.,1283,56160,00.html

by Noah Shachtman
Wired, 4th November

The U.S. government wants to fight Saddam Hussein -- with green cards.

Under a bill proposed by Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware), 500 Iraqi scientists
and engineers -- and their immediate families -- could be given permanent
residency in the United States if they supply information on Iraqi weapons
of mass destruction.

Supporters, including former arms inspectors, said the bill could help "take
the heart out of" Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological research programs.
Skeptics see the Iraqi Scientists Liberation Act of 2002
(< bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_bil
ls&docid=f:s3079is.txt.pdf>) as well-meaning, but ineffectual, posturing.

The federal government already has the power to give out visas and grant
asylum. But the bureaucratic process for determining who qualifies for such
protection can drag on and on.

Khidir Homza, one of Hussein's chief nuclear scientists, left Iraq in August
1994. But "it took a full year for (U.S. officials) to take me in," he said.

Iraqi nuclear engineer Muayad Naji fled to Jordan in 1993. But, Homza said,
Naji was denied a visa by the American embassy there, and was killed by
Iraqi agents in Amman.

The Biden bill would, in theory, make it clearer who qualifies for
protection, said Dr. Henry Kelly, president of the Federation of American
Scientists <> . Only those Iraqis who have worked on
weapons programs since 1998 -- when international inspectors were last
allowed in the country -- will be given residency in the United States.

More than any weapons system, Hussein's arsenal relies on its scientists'
know-how, said David Kay, the United Nations' chief nuclear weapons
inspector in Iraq in 1991 and 1992.

"If I had the ability to offer (Iraqi scientists) asylum and the ability to
extract them, we could have taken the heart out of Iraq's (weapons of mass
destruction) program then," said Kay.

An accurate picture of Hussein's current military capabilities requires
honest assessments from local scientists. But such straight talk will be
almost impossible to get while the scientists are in Iraq, and under the
ever-watchful eyes of Hussein's minders.

"Without defectors, any (weapons) inspections process will fail," Homza
said. But, he noted, there hasn't been "a single defector since 1995."

It's unclear whether Biden's bill would do much to change that situation.

"I wouldn't say it's completely ineffective, but (the bill) is not going to
produce a stream of defectors," Kay said.

"I'm not sure how we can credibly bring this program to the attention of
Iraq scientists, who, as I understand, would have to get themselves and
their families out of Iraq in order to take advantage of it," wrote Clark
Murdock, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and
<> International Studies, in an e-mail. "That's a tall

The U.S. government has taken in scientists from hostile countries before.
But such relocations have come, for the most part, after hostilities have
ended and borders have opened up. At the end of Word War II, Operation Paper
Clip brought Wernher von Braun and other German rocketry experts to the
United States to make sure they didn't fall into Russian hands. The Soviet
Scientist Immigration Act of 1992 granted residency to 950 scientists from
the former Soviet Union -- to keep them from going to places like Iraq.

But this new bill appears to be the first time blanket acceptance has been
offered before a shot has been fired between the United States and another

The bill recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. There's no word on
when the Senate will take up the measure.

Times of India, 5th November

LONDON (Reuters): War in Iraq could tip the world back into recession, a
leading British think tank warned on Monday.

Oxford Economic Forecasting said a US-led war against Iraq could have a
severe impact on the fragile global economy, shaving 0.7 of a per centage
point off both UK and global growth, even if the conflict was short-lived.

"A more protracted war could push the world back into recession, reducing
global growth to only one per cent in 2003, and keeping 2004 below trend as
well. UK growth would fall to only 0.8 per cent in 2003," the OEF said in a
press release.

OEF said even if the war were contained, higher oil prices and weaker
business and consumer confidence would bring world growth down to around 2.0
per cent in 2003 compared with its central forecast of 2.7 per cent.

In that scenario, the British economy would expand by 1.9 per cent instead
of 2.6 per cent.

Times of India, 7th November

WASHINGTON: A Bush administration intelligence review has concluded that
four nations - Iraq, North Korea, Russia and France -probably possessed
hidden samples of the smallpox virus, US officials have said.

Media reports quoting anonymous officials on Monday said that the al-Qaeda
was believed to have sought samples of smallpox for weaponisation. But they
said that there was no reason to believe the terror network was successful
in obtaining the pathogen.

The report first appeared in the Washington Post in Tuesday, which said that
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) now assessed that four nations - Iraq,
North Korea, Russia and, to the surprise of some specialists, France - had
undeclared samples of the smallpox virus.

According to the officials, the US was concerned that Iraq and North Korea
could use the smallpox samples to develop potent biological weapons.

Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, but fears that it could again be
on the loose are reported to have driven the Bush administration to consider
mass vaccinations.

The decision is complicated by the fact that the vaccine itself is
considered dangerous. If widely administered, reports say, an estimated 300
people could be killed.

The Post said that Vice-President Dick Cheney favoured rapid, universal
inoculation, while health and human services secretary Tommy Thompson
prefers a voluntary programme that would wait two years for an improved

US officials said that the intelligence review concluded that contrary to
diplomatic assurances, Russia maintained covert stocks of smallpox. The
review is also said to have determined that France's smallpox samples are
for defence research.

The administration is highly concerned that at least four countries have the
smallpox virus in violation of international rules. State department
spokesman Richard Boucher expressed the concern on Tuesday during his noon

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, however, said that the administration
did not think it likely that the al-Qaeda had smallpox reserves. The
administration was uncertain about Iraq, he said.

Boucher noted that the World Health Organisation resolutions specified that
the smallpox virus stocks should be restricted to either the Centres for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta or in the Russian city of Vector.

Smallpox has plagued mankind for centuries, and is believed to have killed
more people than all wars and epidemics combined. Death typically is caused
by massive haemorrhaging.

by Emma Thomasson, 7th November

PULLACH, Germany (Reuters) - The head of Germany's foreign intelligence
service says a war against Iraq could prompt more instability in the Middle
East and be exploited by the al Qaeda guerrilla network to win support.

The spy chief, August Hanning, also said German intelligence believed al
Qaeda had regrouped and was planning new attacks.

A war in Iraq would raise fears its "territorial integrity could be put into
question, that Iraq could break up with possibly destabilising effects for
the region," Hanning told a conference on Islam organised by the Federal
Intelligence Service (BND) on Thursday.

"I see at the moment in the states of the Middle East, when you look at
election results, a growing anti-American atmosphere, anti-Western
atmosphere which makes things difficult, also with regard to a post-war
government in Iraq." Jordan's Prince Hassan, a member of the Hashemite
family that once ruled Iraq, told the conference in the Bavarian town of
Pullach he feared the United States had broader plans for the region than
just its avowed aim of "regime change" in Iraq.

"I think there are baseline assumptions firstly that the government of the
United States in contemplating military action is actually advocating a
domino effect of regime change, not just in Iraq but in the region as a
whole," Hassan said.

"The answer to Islamic manifestations in our part of the world where there
is no structured state not only in security and military action.
The answer also has to be in the promise of political emancipation," he

Hanning said much would depend on how a war was conducted and what sort of
new state was established.

The BND chief said al Qaeda was already playing on the threat of war.

"They use the problem of Iraq and the Palestine problem to win new
supporters," he said. "The pressure and possible war against the regime of
Saddam Hussein is, in broad circles of the Arab population, not understood
as a fight against terrorism but as a war against an Arab neighbour." "Al
Qaeda cannot only be solved with military solutions," he said. "One must
also think about the roots.

Terrorism also has political causes and that is why I think it is very
important that these are dealt with." German relations with Washington
nosedived in the summer as Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder voiced vocal
opposition to any U.S. plan to attack Iraq. The stance proved popular in
Germany and helped Schroeder win a second term in September elections.

Hanning held out little hope attacks by extremists could be thwarted by
closer surveillance and control of their finances, estimating that the
September 11 attacks, blamed by Washington on al Qaeda, probably cost just
$1 million (630,000 pounds) to $2 million.

"I am not very optimistic in terms of prevention but it is very important
for investigations which can then be used preventatively," he said.

Hanning repeated warnings made earlier this week that the BND believed al
Qaeda was preparing new attacks, with Germany and France added to their
target list because of support for the U.S.-led war against terrorism.

by Fred Kockott
Business Day (Johannesburg), 8th November

Imitiaz Sooliman, national co-ordinator of the Maritzburg-based Gift of the
Givers, this week delivered 60000 in cash to Care International in Baghdad
for health and water projects in Iraq. He said he would return early next
year to reassess the humanitarian situation in Iraq.

During his visit to Iraq, Sooliman was told by a UN information officer
based in Baghdad, Ali Hamati, that besides the danger of the US waging war
against Iraq, radical shortfalls in Iraqi oil sales over recent months had
created a "very dangerous" humanitarian situation for Iraq.

In a subsequent meeting with Care International, Sooliman commended the work
of the international aid agency in dealing with the relief needs of people
in Iraq, before handing over his cash donation of $60000 in support of
Care's health and water projects.

Sooliman was highly critical of the UN food-for-oil programme in terms of
which the proceeds from the sale of oil are held by the UN and then used to
procure essential goods for Iraq. Apart from crippling the Iraqi economy,
Sooliman said fundamental pitfalls in the programme had resulted in a lack
of essential medicines and an appalling state of hospitals and water

This was resulting in a dramatic increase in mortality rates among children,
and a high incidence of poverty-related and waterborne diseases, said

"The UN is creating the impression they are helping the people of Iraq, but
according to their own statistics, disaster is looming."

According to the UN Office of the Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq in
terms of the current phase X11 of the oilfor-food programme, ending on
November 25, Iraq needed to export $7bn worth of oil to meet its
humanitarian budget of more than $5bn. As at the end of October however,
Iraq had only exported about 160-million barrels of oil generating 3,87bn in

With 72 % of this allocated to humanitarian needs, it means the Iraqi
government is facing a shortfall of 2b n for the purchase of food,
medicines, medical supplies and electricity, as well as budgeted expenditure
on water and sanitation projects, agriculture, and housing.

Coupled with a revenue shortfall from earlier phases of the programme which
resulted in more than 1500 approved humanitarian supply contracts worth
3,08bn being put on hold, the situation was "very grave" said Hamati.

Hamati said recent shortfalls in the sale of Iraqi oil were not only due to
the latest political developments namely the talk of the US waging war with
Iraq but also retroactive pricing of oil in terms of which buyers only learn
of the costs of purchase after delivery, in some cases more than 30 days.

This "illogical business sense", said Hamati, arose as a result of the
failure of Iraqi authorities and the UN sanctions committee to reach
consensus on the pricing of Iraqi oil. Hamati said the decision by Iraq to
halt the supply of oil for 30 days earlier this year in protest against US
support for Israel also contributed to growing market uncertainty.

Describing the logistics of the oil-forfood programme, Hamati said the UN
allocated 25% of the proceeds from the sale of oil to a compensation fund
set up to pay war reparations arising from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in
1991. A further 2,2% is allocated to the administration of the oil-for-food
programme and 0,2% to the operations of the UN arms inspection committee.
The balance of 72% is used to fund UN approved contracts in the fields of
food, health, agriculture, electricity, water, telecommunications,
transport, housing and technology.

While the UN bills the programme as the biggest one in its history to
address basic human needs in a single country, Sooliman, other observers and
several international traders in Iraq, describe it as an international scam,
orchestrated by the US to cripple Iraq, and thereby gain control of its oil
fields the largest in the world next to Saudi Arabia.

Leaving Iraq, Sooliman said his discussions further convinced him the US was
going to war with Iraq irrespective of UN deliberations. His wife, Zohra,
who also went to Iraq, said she was concerned everything that was so normal,
lively and busy in Baghdad could be destroyed.


by Peter Fray
Sydney Morning Herald, 2nd November

Ankara: A former Turkish ambassador to the United Nations has warned that
his country would place key military bases out of bounds to United States
strike planes if President George Bush insisted on attacking Iraq without a
new UN resolution.

Turkey, the only Muslim member of NATO, has several key strategic bases
which the US military command, under General Tommy Franks, is negotiating to
use for air strikes and on ground support against neighbouring Iraq.

The former ambassador, Inal Batu, now a senior member of the Republican
People's Party (CHP), which is expected to play a key role in a coalition
government after tomorrow's election, said Turkey could not stop the US
using the Incirlik base, from which US and British aircraft patrol the
no-fly zone in northern Iraq, but it could withhold approval for other key
bases, near Diyarbakir, close to the Iraqi border.

"We insist they must have a resolution from the UN before any military
action." he said. Asked how Turkey would respond to a unilateral US attack,
he said: "I do not think we'll be able to co-operate with them if they do so
... other Turkish bases will be out of touch for them."

Mr Batu is a likely candidate for foreign minister in a coalition government
between the CHP and the Islamist Justice and Development Party, which is
expected to top tomorrow's poll.

General Franks and General Joseph Ralston, supreme allied commander in
Europe, recently held talks with the Turkish military, including the chief
of staff, General Hilmi Ozkok, about Turkey's role in any Iraqi conflict.

Turkish MPs and the military are understood to want huge debt relief from
the US and new military equipment in return for co-operating in a war
against Iraq. They also want the US to pressure the European Union,
especially Germany, to drop its opposition to Turkey joining the EU.

Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the caretaker Prime Minister, Bulent
Ecevit, and politicians from other parties have recently warned that
military action against Iraq would destabilise the region and called for a
peaceful solution to the issue.

Mr Ecevit called on the US to abandon the planned attack and warned that
"the US cannot carry out this operation without us".

But Western diplomats believe Turkey will eventually join the US-led assault
against Saddam Hussein, if only to stop Kurds in southern Turkey and
northern Iraq from forming a Kurdish homeland, based on the oil-rich Iraqi
city of Kirkuk.

by Zeynep Alemdar
News & Observer, from Associated Press, 3rd November

ANKARA, Turkey: The leader of winning party in Turkey's elections said
Monday he is opposed to a U.S. military strike against neighboring Iraq,
unless approved by the United Nations.

"We do not want war, blood, tears and dead in our region," said Recep Tayyip
Erdogan, the leader of the Justice and Development Party, which has Islamic

During a victory celebration at the party's headquarters, he said Turkey was
"obliged by the United Nations' decisions."

Erdogan expressed hope that no U.S. strike against Iraq would take place if
proof that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction emerged. "Our wish is
that it ends with peace," he said.

Turkey's cooperation is crucial to any operation against Iraq. About 1,700
U.S. military forces are stationed in Turkey. Most are at Incirlik Air Base,
where U.S. and British planes patrolling Iraq's northern "no-fly" zone are
based. Incirlik was also a staging point for attacks on Iraq during the Gulf

Erdogan's statement was similar to other Turkish leaders' opposition to a
strike against Iraq. Turkey fears a war would destabilize the region and
harm Turkey's frail economy.

Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, the head of Turkey's military, is traveling to the United
States this week for talks with U.S. officials about possible military
action against Iraq.

Gen. Tommy Franks, the head of any future Iraq operation, visited Turkey
last month.

Erdogan said there was no consensus about Iraq "like the one the world had
before the Afghanistan war. ... Even the American nation is not clear on
it."  .

by Ashraf Fouad, 4th November

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait says the United States, whose forces freed it from
Iraqi occupation 11 years ago, could use its military facilities in a war
against Iraq if it were sanctioned by the United Nations..

But the Gulf State's foreign minister, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, said
his country's armed forces would not take part in any military operation
against its neighbour.

"If a (U.N. Security Council) resolution is issued, the bases will be used,
but not the Kuwaiti military," he said on Monday.

"This is not in the hands of the Security Council. We support the
resolutions but will not be forced to participate with our army," the
sheikh, who has been running the day-to-day affairs of Kuwait for several
years, told reporters.

Saudi Arabia, a key regional ally of the United States, said on Sunday it
would not allow American forces to use its bases for any attack against
Iraq, even if a strike had U.N. sanction.

Sheikh Sabah said U.S. forces deployed in Kuwait would be able to use the
facilities under a joint defence pact with Washington which governs the
presence of U.S. troops in the oil-rich state since the end of the 1991 Gulf

"They are in our bases, so how can they not use them," Sheikh Sabah said of
the pact. The United States and Saudi Arabia do not have a similar formal

Kuwait signed defence pacts with all five permanent members of the U.N.
Security Council  - Russia, the United States, Britain, France and China --
after the Gulf War.

Sheikh Sabah said Kuwait supported a tough U.S.- and British-sponsored draft
resolution on disarming Iraq.

The United States has been pouring military hardware into the region,
particularly Kuwait, in recent months in apparent preparation for a possible
war on Iraq, but officials insist it is for an intensified training

Tehran Times, 4th November

SUBIYA, Kuwait -- Ahmad Salem al-Azmi and more than 20 members of his tribe
abandon the luxuries of their palatial homes on weekends to head back to
their roots -- huge tents pitched in the heart of the Kuwaiti desert.

But unlike most Kuwaitis whose camps are equipped with televisions,
satellite dishes and all the comforts of home, the male members of the
extended Azmi family live more traditionally, with only one thing in mind --
their falcons.

The birds, their most prized possession, are the focus of the men's
gatherings. Every year, they patiently sit out the hot summer months in
anticipation of winter, when they can take the falcons out hunting, AFP

"We are people who believe in God," said Ahmad, gently stroking his falcon,

"We're in Kuwait, we're in the safest place in the world. We don't feel
fear, we're in God's hands," he says when asked if he is worried by the
possibility of an attack by Baghdad in the event of a U.S.-led strike on

He is not even bothered by the occasional sound of gunfire from Kuwaiti or
U.S. troops conducting war games in the northern desert.

It is the birds who rule in this camp, all 25 of them, each worth tens of
thousands of dollars, pampered by their owners who give them prime care and
attention. The sensors used to track the birds in case they go astray cost
some four thousand dollars.

The Azmi camp is set up in late October, at the start of winter in this
oil-rich emirate. The desert, uninhabitable in the sweltering summer, is now
packed with campsite after campsite, though many in the northern and western
areas will have to move to somewhere else.

As of Saturday, one quarter of Kuwait, the entire northwestern part, will be
off limits to the public, a measure the Defense Ministry says is a
precaution to ensure no one interrupts Kuwaiti-U.S. military exercises.

Ahmad, whose camp is outside the prohibited zone, said he would be forced to
move if a war broke out. But it is only a passing thought and nothing for
him to fret about yet.

"We follow the rules, and constantly monitor the rules, and we stay out of
the restricted areas," he says, casually.

The falcons are spectacular to observe, swooping down on their prey with
utmost grace and ease. And once the sun sets, it is time for the men to
gather round on the floor, to eat and talk away the evening as a fire burns
at the heart of the camp.

An endless supply of tea and dates is the norm, while the falcons look on,
perched on their stools, contented but still alert after the day's hunt,
which their proud owners followed avidly.

The still of the desert night and the sound of silence is what the campers
thrive on, blithe and oblivious to any looming danger of war.

"Camping is a way to have a picnic in Kuwait.

There are some who go for a day, but the more traditional way is to stay out
for a week," said Abu Ibrahim, whose family camp is also in the northern
Kuwaiti desert.

"We are Arabs, our ancestors are nomadic so we like to get attached to this
past and live in a nomadic state for some time during the year," he added.

"Although we know that our camps are close to the border with Iraq, we
always feel that the threat is remote.

We're confident there is someone looking after the border," he said in a
reference to the 10,000 or so U.S. troops stationed here.

by Fahed Fanek
Jordan Times, 4th November

THOSE WHO say that they don't hate America, only its foreign policy, have to
think again. America no longer has a foreign policy; it has a defence policy
or, to be more precise, a military and war policy.

Time was when America saw war as a last resort. Now, war has become the
first resort. The diplomats of the State Department have to make way for the
hawkish warmongers of the Pentagon.

In 1990, when Iraq was occupying Kuwait and America was in the process of
massing its troops in Saudi Arabia, President George Bush senior made Iraq
offer after offer to leave Kuwait peacefully. Now, under George W. Bush, the
US is trying its best to close all avenues that might avert war.

Even Iraq's offer to allow UN weapons inspectors back unconditionally was
viewed in the White House as a provocation, because such a step would spoil
the plans of trigger-happy hawks.

Also, the agreement Iraq concluded in Vienna with UNMOVIC Director Hans Blix
(which would not have been possible in such a short time had Baghdad not
given in to all the inspectors' demands) was met with scepticism and
derision in Washington. The Americans didn't want an agreement that would
make them appear like the obstinate party they are ‹ not to mention forcing
them to put off their plans for war.

These indications, together with rhetoric calculated to provoke Iraq, prove
that under the present administration, the US is against diplomatic
solutions. Far from using its influence as the world's superpower to further
peace, today's America is determined to go to war. Moreover, the Americans
are determined to launch what they call preemptive wars based on perceived
(and unproved) potential threats.

It might be true that the US is indeed threatened by international
terrorism, but to say that Iraq poses a threat to America is nonsense.

Iraq is not the only issue here. The US is preparing itself to settle scores
with Saudi Arabia as a next step, since the Americans see the Saudis as the
main source of Islamist terrorists targeting the West. Saudi Arabia has long
been recognised as a staunch US ally, both militarily and economically. That
is why Washington's sudden hostility to Riyadh is so surprising. Yet the
hostility is genuine.

It all began with the now-infamous July 10 background briefing to the
Defence Policy Board by a Rand Corp. "analyst" named Laurent Murawiec. It
was a lecture full of accusations directed not only at Saudi Arabia, but
also at the entire Arab world. Murawiec concluded that Saudi Arabia must be
invaded and its oilfields occupied.

Murawiec said that the Arab world has been in crisis for the last 200 years,
that it allowed the industrial revolution to pass it by, and that it is
about to let the digital revolution pass it by. The Arabs, he said, lack the
necessary qualities to integrate in the modern world. He said that Arabs
have lost their self-respect and so took refuge in violence and hatred of
the West and modernity. Since they gained independence, Murawiec said, the
Arabs have only produced wars; they failed to develop. Now, he said,
tensions between them and the modern world have reached a climax, and they
have started exporting their problems to the outside world (witness Sept.

Murawiec alleged that in the Arab world, there is no public space for
debating ideas, interests and policies. The tribal group in power blocks all
avenues of change and represses all advocates of change. Plot, riot, murder,
coup are the only available means to bring about political change. In the
Arab world, violence is not a continuation of politics by other means ‹
violence is politics, politics is violence. This culture of violence is the
prime enabler of terrorism. Terror as an accepted, legitimate means of
carrying out politics has been incubated for 30 years, he said.

Murawiec then targeted Saudi Arabia. He said that once, there was a
partnership between the US and Saudi Arabia, but partnerships, like
alliances, are embodied in practices, ideas, policies, institutions and
people ‹ which persist after the alliance has died. He described the Saudis
as an unstable group and said Wahhabism loathes modernity, capitalism, human
rights, religious freedom, democracy, republics and open societies.

As long as enmity had no or little consequences outside the kingdom,
Murawiec said, the bargain between the House of Saud and the US held. In
1973, however, Saudi Arabia unleashed the "Oil Shock". In 1978, Iran's
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini challenged the Saudis' Islamic credentials,
provoking a radicalisation and worldwide spread of Wahhabism in response. In
1979-1989, the anti-Soviet jihad gave life and strength to the Wahhabi
putsch within Sunni Islam. The Taleban was the result.

Murawiec's conclusion: There is an "Arabia", but it need not be "Saudi".
America, he said, must issue an ultimatum to the House of Saud. They must
stop any funding and support for any fundamentalist school, mosque or group
anywhere in the world; stop all anti-US, anti Israeli, anti-Western
predication, writings, etc., within Arabia; dismantle all the kingdom's
"Islamic charities"; prosecute or isolate those involved in the terror
chain. Or else, the Rand "expert" said, the US will occupy their oilfields.

When these assertions were leaked to the press, US spokespeople hurriedly
denied that they represented official policy. Nevertheless, it seems that
the US is acting according to Murawiec's recommendations.

It would be wise to expect the US to target other Arab countries after
finishing with Iraq, including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon ‹ in
addition to Iran. Talk of redrawing the map of the Middle East, it seems, is

Times of India, 5th November

KUWAIT (Reuters): Kuwait closed down the local office of Arabic satellite
television channel al-Jazeera on Sunday for alleged lack of objectivity in
its coverage of the Gulf Arab state, a government minister said.

"We regret we had to take a decision like this...," Information Minister
Sheikh Ahmad al Fahd al-Sabah told reporters. "The closure decision was not
due to a single news item."

"We see a lack of objectivity in the professionalism of presenting the news.
We tell them to cover the event as you see it, but do not deal with it in
order to serve other issues," the minister said.

He said Jazeera had been given several warnings, without giving details.

Jazeera's office in Kuwait confirmed it was officially notified of the
Kuwaiti decision on Sunday.

Qatar-based Jazeera is one of the most popular TV channels in the Arab
world. It gained notoriety during the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan by
broadcasting videotaped messages from Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda
officials, Washington's main suspects in the September 11 attacks on the
United States.

Sources said Kuwait had been angered by Jazeera's reporting of Kuwait
sealing off of about a third of the country on Saturday for U.S.-led
military exercises close to the border with Iraq. Many Kuwaitis say
Jazeera's reports are biased towards Iraq.

"There is a kind of aggression against Kuwait in the way the news (from
Kuwait) is presented...We cannot accept an attack on the state," Sheikh
Ahmad said.

Qatar and Kuwait have close ties and are members of the Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC)  - a loose political, economic and military pro-Western
alliance which also includes Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman and

Qatar says Jazeera is a thorn in its side but refuses to curb the channel,
citing freedom of expression and its independence from the state although it
was started with funds from gas rich Doha.

"Jazeera harmed Qatar's ties with Saudi, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan,
Bahrain...We can not all be wrong and Jazeera right," said an official in a
neighbouring Gulf Arab state.

GCC main power Saudi Arabia complained about Jazeera earlier this year.
Diplomats said it also withdrew its ambassador from Doha in protest and has
threatened to boycott the GCC's annual summit in Qatar next month or send a
low level team.

A GCC meeting in Muscat last month which agreed on a recommendation to cut
Gulf Arab ties with the channel. The recommendation still requires approval
by GCC foreign ministers.


LONDON, Nov 5 (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has called on the
international community to target Iran as soon as any war with Iraq is over,
The Times reported Tuesday.

In an interview with the British daily, Sharon also issued what The Times
described as his clearest warning yet that Israel would strike back if
attacked by Iraqi chemical and biological weapons.

On Iran, Sharon insisted that Tehran -- one of the "axis of evil" powers
identified by US President George W. Bush -- should be put under pressure
"the day after" action against Baghdad ends because of its role as a "centre
of world terror".

And the Israeli prime minister said that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
could have an ongoing role as a "symbol", but could not have a role
overseeing financial or security functions. That was a departure from
previous statements that Arafat is "irrelevant", The Times said.

Arabic News, 6th November

Works of the Iraqi- Iranian joint committee for trade and economic
cooperation started in Baghdad yesterday.

The chairman of the Iraqi side to the meeting Muhammad Mahdi Saleh said at
the beginning of the talks that Iraq seeks to develop bilateral cooperation
relations with Iran in all fields. He indicated that the visit of the
Iranian delegation to Baghdad will "be an important step to building
fruitful cooperation between the two neighboring states."

Saleh said that both Iran and Iraq enjoy vast and tremendous potentials that
would give a push forward to the march of c-operation in the trade,
economic, agriculture, health, services, transport and telecommunications
sector between the two countries. For his part, the Iranian trade minister
Muhammad Shareyat Madari described the visit of the Iranian delegation to
Iraq as an important step to fostering trade and economic relations between
the two countries in the service of bilateral interests.

The meetings of the committee which had started its works in Baghdad several
days ago at the level of technical committees, will discuss means of
expanding and increasing bilateral cooperation relations on the trade,
industrial, agricultural, tourism, health and transport fields.

This is he first time this committee meets at the ministerial level since
the normalization of relations between the two countries.

by Ellen Hale
Yahoo, perhaps from USA Today, 7th November

KUWAIT CITY -- An entire room is devoted to the atrocities of Iraqi dictator
Saddam Hussein at a new memorial here. Called the "In Order Not to Forget"
Museum, its exhibits range from Saddam's lethal gassing of Kurds in northern
Iraq in 1988 to the murder of Kuwaitis and looting of their country during
the Gulf War.

Most Kuwaitis don't need a reminder of Saddam's seven-month occupation of
their country a decade ago and the U.S.-led effort to liberate their nation.

But there is a generation too young to remember much of the 1991 war. Raised
in an era of growing Islamic fundamentalism, these youth are part of a
small, but growing opposition to U.S. plans to unseat Saddam. There is
concern that a new war already is being waged here. This conflict is not
against Iraq, but between the forces of fundamentalism and modernism.

"On the surface, Kuwait is very much more open than other Arab countries.
But Islamic groups here have become very strong, very effective and very
organized," says Ahmad al Baghdadi, a professor at Kuwait University.

It's a small movement, but a potentially dangerous one. Last month, two
young Kuwaitis killed a U.S. Marine and injured another while U.S. troops
trained on Failaka Island, near Kuwait City. "So many of my students support
the attacks, I would not be surprised to see more of them -- not just on
Marines but on Americans who live here," al-Baghdadi says.

The growing anti-Americanism of youth here reflects a trend seen throughout
the Arab world. But, it is particularly troubling in small, oil-rich Kuwait,
which plays host to about 10,000 U.S. troops and is likely to play a key
role in any U.S. attack on Iraq.

It should not be forgotten that the bulk of Kuwaitis still support U.S.
policy toward Iraq. "We want you to kick his Arab ass out of there," demands
Ahmed al-Bedah, 30, sitting in a Starbucks at Souk Sharq shopping mall. Like
many young Kuwaiti men during the occupation, al-Bedah was rounded up and
imprisoned by Saddam's forces, which, he says, tortured him and forced him
to drink his own urine.

But the attack on the U.S. Marines has raised troubling concerns for U.S.
interests here. Marines killed the two attackers, both of whom were
well-educated men in their 20s from middle-class families. Officials later
said they belonged to a terrorist cell that also planned attacks on other
American interests here, including a school and entertainment park. And in a
rare public display of anti-Americanism here, friends and fellow students of
the two young Kuwaitis protested in the streets outside their funeral.

Meanwhile, U.S. equipment and hardware continues to build up here in
anticipation of war with Iraq.

Kuwait has balanced a traditional support for the ruling monarchy alongside
flashes of democracy and free choice.

‹ Women still cannot vote, but teenage girls in midriff-baring tops and
tight jeans shop at multilevel malls next to abaya-shrouded women.

‹ Every night, in hundreds of open houses called "diwaniyas," Kuwaiti men
openly criticize the government.

‹ Local newspapers are virtually uncensored.

‹ In frequently raucous debates, the popularly elected national assembly
determines the outcome of critical policies like women's suffrage.

But amid the trappings of democracy, a small group of Islamists thrive. Many
blame the government for allowing fundamentalists to grow in influence.

Decades ago, the ruling al-Sabah family started supporting fundamentalists
to deflect rising criticism of the monarchy by liberals. The government
provides Islamists with facilities and funding for "social committees" --
like the Social Reform Society, an Islamist front that moderates claim
"brainwash" their young. Criticizing Islam (or the emir) means a fine of
10,000 dinars ($33,000) or jail. Meanwhile, Islamists have gained one-third
of the seats in the 50-seat parliament; they prevented legalizing the vote
for women.

"Only the Islamists have comprehensive programs to engage the young here --
and not only in the mosques. Sports activities, education, philanthropy.
They'll even send to you to Afghanistan," says Ali Mousa al-Mousa, a former
minister of planning. "They get them at young age, and indoctrinate them."

What makes them so susceptible in a country where the poor drive a Crown
Victoria instead of a Mercedes, the government helps pay for college
education abroad and every Kuwaiti gets a 70,000 dinar loan ($232,000) to
buy a home?

Humiliation plays a big role, says al-Baghdadi, who served two weeks in jail
for making a critical comment about the prophet Mohammed in an academic
presentation. "Everything useful in our lives -- mobile phones, cars --
comes from the West," he says. "The fuqaha (experts on Islamic law),
religious leaders, say we are weak because we follow the West. So, the
alternative? Islam."

Yet there is no question the Kuwaiti government will support any strike
against Iraq, say top U.S. and Kuwaiti officials here. The official Kuwaiti
government line that action against Saddam must be sanctioned by the United
Nations is meant only to appease fellow Arab countries, both U.S. and
Kuwaiti experts say. Even Islamic leaders in parliament defer to popular
sentiment about removing Saddam.

"Kuwaitis will not have peace of mind until this man is gone," says Sami
al-Nesf, a consultant to the government. "People want American troops here
to protect them from Saddam and they want them to remove him. We were
shocked, just shocked, by the shooting of the Marine."

Palestine Chronicle, 7th November

DAMASCUS (PC) - A Kurdish leader said in an interview yesterday that Iran
intends to drive alleged al-Qaeda members out of northern Iraq. The US
remains skeptic about the allegations, and Iraq seems to be completely out
of the picture.

In an interview in Damascus, in which parts of it were published by the New
York Times, Jalal Talabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan,
claimed that there are about 150 fighters from Afghanistan operating in
northern Iraq, close to the Iranian border. Joining them he said, are
hundreds of Kurdish fighters.

"They are America's enemies and the Kurdish people's enemies and the enemies
of the people of the Middle East," Talabani was quoted while on a visit to
Syria. He is reportedly touring various Middle East countries to assure them
that his group is not interested in establishing an independent Kurdish
state in northern Iraq. Thanks to the United States' military and the
"no-fly-zone" the central government in Baghdad lost control over much of
its north, leaving the state open for civil wars, foreign invasions and

Talabani seemed unsure about the real identities of the Afghani fighters. "I
cannot say if they are Taliban or al-Qaeda, but they are people from
Afghanistan, and they are well trained there," he claimed.

The United States is reportedly skeptical about such reports, although it
constantly tries to manufacture ties between Iraq's government and al-Qaeda,
enough to justify an expected war on the sanctions-hit Arab country. But for
the US, accepting such premises means direct military involvement in
northern Iraq, close to the Iranian border and the pouring of more money in
the endless "war on terror," a war that has proven costly, financially as
well as politically.

So for now, Talabani is resorting to Iran for help, and Iran has in fact
pledged to help him, he said. "We are planning to do it with the support of
our brothers in Iran to clear the area of the terrorist group," he
exclaimed, adding, the Iranians "promised to help us in this plan."

It remains unclear what kind of military help Talabani requires, and to what
extend would Iran go to fight the alleged terrorist group. One thing is
clear however, with the frequent Turkish invasions of northern Iraq, Iran's
support of rebel groups, and warring Kurdish parties, Baghdad seems to be
completely out of the picture in its own territories.

The Associated Press, 8th November

AMMAN, Jordan (AP)‹ White police vans with bars on the windows cruise almost
daily through Amman's industrial zone, where factories churn out everything
from detergent to candy.

The first Iraqi worker to spot a police patrol rings a makeshift alarm, and
others scatter to avoid getting caught working without valid residency

"Everyone here is so afraid," said a 35-year-old secretary, who refused to
be identified because she is here illegally herself. "If they get caught,
they will be sent back to Baghdad for sure."

Fearing war with the United States, more Iraqis are trying to flee to
neighboring Jordan. But the reception in Jordan, never warm, has become
markedly less friendly, according to displaced Iraqis, aid workers and U.N.

Border controls are being tightened and residency permits shortened, they
say; raids and identity checks in factories and Iraqi neighborhoods are
being stepped up; and people here illegally ‹ especially military-aged men ‹
are being deported, they say.

Government officials say they are simply enforcing rules to crack down on
illegal workers in Jordan, where the unofficial jobless rate reaches 25

Yet the focus is clearly on Iraqis, observers say.

"In the current situation, the government is obviously on its toes," said
Sten Bronee, the U.N. refugee agency representative in Jordan.

"There are indications that people are not being allowed into Jordan like
they used to be. Increasing numbers of Iraqis are being detained pending

Although Iraq recently canceled the departure tax that prevented many from
leaving, it is not allowing men of military age to go, said Jamal Hattar,
director of the Caritas aid group in Jordan.

In addition, young men caught in Jordan illegally are reportedly being sent
directly back to Iraq now instead of being given the option to go somewhere
else where a visa is not required, such as Yemen, he said.

"Being a next-door neighbor, it's a very sensitive issue to accept asylum
seekers here," Hattar said. "This would imply that you are working against

Jordan, a key U.S. ally in the region, strives also to stay on good terms
with Iraq, which provides it with free or discounted oil and buys more of
its exports than any other single country.

Moreover, Jordan is afraid of being overwhelmed by a new tide of Iraqis, on
top of the estimated 350,000 who have arrived since the 1990-91 Gulf War and
stayed, most of them illegally.

More than half the desert kingdom's 5.2 million people already are or were
refugees ‹ Palestinians displaced by the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars.

"It's quite delicate here, the balance, the ethnic social fabric," said Saif
Ibrahim, an economist at the Center for Strategic Studies at the University
of Jordan. "They don't want to create a humanitarian catastrophe, but they
don't want to be trapped politically with the issue of Iraqi refugees."

If a new conflict breaks out, King Abdullah II insists Jordan will allow in
only refugees en route to a third country. His newly launched "Jordan First"
national advertising campaign is seen partly as an attempt to head off
public demands to do more if the situation worsens.

A former government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
Jordan had to preserve its own interests as a small country that has seen
repeated waves of refugees from the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and

"Nobody ever goes home," he added.

Yet despite the new difficulties, the flow doesn't seem to be stopping.

"There are a lot leaving (Iraq) now because of the threat of war," said Dr.
Angie Schupp, an American who helps run a clinic for Iraqi refugees in
Amman. "They don't want to be there if America strikes."

Arabic News, 8th November

The Kuwaiti daily al-Qabas yesterday said, according to well-informed Iraqi
sources that the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is seeking to revive an
offer the US administration proposed to him in 1991, but his efforts are
blocked by the unwillingness of the Bush administration to reconcile with
his regime..

Al-Qabas added that the US had then asked Iraq in the second half of 1991
and through the late Moroccan King al-Hassan II to send a special envoy to
Morocco to discuss American preconditions to settle the Iraqi issue and that
the envoy to be one member of Saddam Hussein family and then Hassan Abdul
Miguid, Saddam's cousin was delegated and met with a high ranking official
at the CIA. The CIA official informed the Iraqi envoy that Washington wants
to close the file of the past but with conditions the first of which were to
dismantle the mass destruction weapons, founding a monitoring system to
Iraqi armament, establishing normal relations with Israel and accepting the
settlement of the Palestinian refugees. Saddam Hussein had refused these
American conditions.

Al-Qabas said that Saddam Hussein and after the escalation of the American
tone to topple his regime especially following the events of September 11,
once again he summoned Hassan al-Miguid and asked him to re-propose what
took place in Rabat's meeting and decided after that to return back to the
American offer.

One of Saddam's aides conveyed the idea to an Arab state which has a good
term with the US. However this Arab state informed the Iraqi official that
the US had made steps that it can no longer positively reconcile with the
Iraqi regime.

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