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[casi] News, 9-15/11/02 (3)

News, 9-15/11/02 (3)


*  Germany opens inquiry into illegal arms sales to Iraq
*  Iraqi Dissident Says Hundreds of MKO Terrorists Sent to Europe
*  German FM rules out participation in war on Iraq
*  Mahathir warns of repercussions of war on Iraq
*  Deferent and Defiant Putin
*  US allies would be pinched in possible war


*  Don Quixotes Who Have WMD Instead of Kind Hearts
*  Arabs Want Arab Inspectors in Iraq
*  Thousands of Jordanian troops control town: Tribals hold dual
nationality; over 100 held; : at least four dead; house-to-house searches
*  US concerned by Iraqi order for nerve gas antidote
*  Turkey denies Iraqi demands for Atropine
*  Israeli Forces Sweep Into Gaza City
*  Bin Laden transcript: 'As you assassinate, so will you be'
*  Erdogan Opposes Attacking Iraq


*  Prominent Jaff personalities from Halabja
*  Iraqi Kurdish leader says US military action is inevitable
*  Fears of new tragedy lead Kurds to call for help


Times of India (from AFP), 10th November

MUNICH: Police in the western German cities of Mannheim and Cologne have
opened inquiries into a German-Russian businessman suspected of
masterminding the illegal supply of weapons to Iraq, weekly news magazine
Focus says in its edition due out on Monday.

The businessman, named as Mark V., specialises in selling weapons from
former Soviet bloc countries to the Middle East and German investigators
suspect him of illegally channelling weapons to Iraq via Jordan, it said.

The United Nations slapped an embargo on sales of weapons to Iraq after
Baghdad invaded neighbouring Kuwait in 1990.

Mark V., who owns a dental equipment company in the northern city of Hamburg
and lives most of the time in South Africa, is already known to the German
secret services for having supplied arms to South Africa during the
apartheid era, when such sales were banned by the United Nations, Focus

The latest police investigation into Mark V's affairs was triggered after
they arrested Canadian businessman Arthur Andersen in Pforzheim, western
Germany, in August, the weekly said.

Andersen, a Russian who acquired Canadian citizenship, is suspected of
breaking the law on weapons sales when he supplied European weapons to
Jordan, it added.

The two men were once business partners and early this year supplied Russian
missiles worth 60 million dollars (euros) to Jordan. But they then became
rivals, Focus said.

Tehran Times, 11th November

RIYADH -- An Iraqi dissident said here Saturday that Iraq's intelligence
services have been engaged in transferring hundreds of the dissident Iranian
terrorists affiliated to the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) to European
capitals during the past few months.

Bayan Jabr, whose comments were published in Saudi Arabia's Al Watan
newspaper added, "The Iraqi 'Estekhbarat' (Intelligence) Agency procured
fake Dutch, German, British and even American passports for the MKO members
whose transfer to European destination is commissioned to a Jordanian travel
and tourism agency.

The choice of European and American destinations has been made in accordance
with the interest of those countries in getting firsthand information on
situation inside Iraq.

The Iraqi dissident added that the Iraqi authorities have full trust that
the MKO members will act as Iraq's ambassadors without embassy, and have
therefore taught each group the language of the country to which they will
be sent to, hoping they will shape up the public opinion of the European
nations, as well as the Americans, as far as possible in favor of Iraq's
President Saddam Hussein.

Meeting with the European Parliament members, and harmonizing with the MKO
members residing in Europe are among the other scheduled tasks of Saddam's
undercover agents.

Jabr added, "The first group of those terrorists have already managed to
deceive the Jordanian officials and head for six European capitals, IRNA

He said that once the project was revealed, Baghdad-Amman relations faced a
new conflict, and it even inflicted the living conditions of the Iraqis
living in Jordan.

Jabr said that he assumes the recent closure of MKO offices in Bonn,
Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg were due to revelation of information on
Iraqi's plot in that regard.


MADRID, Nov. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- German Foreign Minister Joschka Fisher
reiterated here on Monday that his country would not take part in any
military action against Iraq, while urging Baghdad to fully implement the
latest UN resolution on arms inspections.

"Our policy has not changed," said Fischer, who is accompanying German
President Johannes Rau on a three-day state visit to Spain."Germany will not
take part in any military attack on Iraq."

Fischer agreed with his Spanish counterpart Ana Palacio that the new UN
resolution, unanimously endorsed last Friday by the UN Security Council,
left little room for maneuver on Iraq's part.

The German foreign minister hoped that Iraq would "avoid military action" by
observing the resolution and allowing the UN weapons inspectors to operate

Earlier this year, Washington was at loggerheads with Germany because of
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's outspoken opposition to a possible
US-led war on Iraq.

Fischer and Palacio told reporters that during their meeting, they also
discussed bilateral ties, illegal immigration, the fight against terrorism,
the expansion of the European Union, as well as their upcoming role in the
UN as non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Rau's visit to Spain is the first by a German head of state since the
reunification of Germany in 1990.

The Star, Malaysia, 13th November

MUSCAT (AFP): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned that if
the United States invades Iraq it will create a flow of fresh terrorist

Muslims have been branded by the West as potential terrorists and penalised
and humiliated when they travelled abroad in the wake of Sept 11, 2001, Dr
Mahathir said in a front-page interview with the Times of Oman. 

³There is an imperative need for greater efforts by the international Muslim
community to see a peaceful resolution to all conflicts, including security
tensions,² he told the Muscat daily. 

³The real dilemma is nothing but a clash of civilisations, especially
between the West and Islam,² he said in the interview in Kuala Lumpur. 

The Prime Minister questioned why the West did not seek to unearth the real
causes of terrorism and eliminate them, deploring that many intellectual
voices have been ignored on the subject. 

³Forcing Western political agendas and values on other cultures is not
desirable. The arrogance of power must be eliminated. The use of force
should never be considered as a solution to avert terrorism,² Dr Mahathir

He was pessimistic for the future of the Palestinians, noting that the
United States supported Israel despite the illegal occupation of the
Palestinian territories. 

³Unless the root causes are addressed, I do not foresee any changes in the
Middle East in the immediate future.² 

Dr Mahathir called on the Muslim world to do more. 

³As the world faces mounting challenges, the international Muslim community
should come forward to help in promoting stability and enhancing the sharing
of prosperity,² he said. 

³We would like to benefit from the process of globalisation and
liberalisation. Muslim countries should initiate integration of their
economies and solve political and economic problems to spur growth. 

³We would like to trade more, open up markets and enjoy higher incomes and
increased welfare that globalisation is supposed to deliver,² Dr Mahathir

by Pavel Felgenhauer
Moscow Times, 14th November

After many months of protests, Russia approved an Anglo-American UN Security
Council resolution that will apparently soon serve as legal backing for a
U.S.-led military intervention to oust Saddam Hussein. Other long-time
critics of U.S. plans of regime change in Iraq -- France, China and Syria --
also voted yes. But of all those nations, Russia has most to lose if an
American viceroy replaces Hussein in Baghdad.

Syria is an Arab nation that has for decades been one of Hussein's worst
enemies and in 1991 sent two armored divisions to help evict the Iraqis from
Kuwait. The fall of Hussein and the disintegration of his regime would
surely be applauded in Damascus.

France and China have profited in recent years, by selling Iraqi oil on
contracts granted by Hussein. But if, as many experts predict, the fall of
Hussein and the opening of Iraq triggers a serious fall in oil prices,
France and China may benefit as their oil import bills shrink.

Russia will surely lose either way. It will no longer have Hussein's oil
export contracts, while low oil prices will wreck its budget. Of course,
Moscow cannot stop regime change in Iraq. Still, unlike the French, the
Russians did not participate seriously in the wrangling in the UN to try to
defend their vital national interests. It seems Iraq is fully off the
Kremlin radar screen, while Chechnya and the aftermath of the Moscow
hostage-taking fully absorb President Vladimir Putin's attention.

Today Russia somewhat resembles 1950s France -- a troubled country, its
great nation status shattered and sinking deeper into oblivion as it is
engaged in unwinnable colonial quagmire wars.

As Russia year after year tries to "win" in Chechnya, it's losing what
influence it had left in the Middle East after the demise of the Soviet
Union. Moreover, this week Putin performed a humiliating climb-down on
Kaliningrad, accepting the right of the EU to issue Russian citizens
so-called "simplified travel documents" -- visas in all but name.

Next week in Prague, a NATO summit will announce a new wave of alliance
expansion. All three former Soviet Baltic republics -- Estonia, Latvia and
Lithuania -- will join. The Kremlin had repeated time and again since the
early 1990s that expansion of NATO into the territory of the former Soviet
Union was totally unacceptable. Now the Prague expansion will pass with
hardly a ripple in Moscow.

Putin seems to have no time or strength left to counter the "NATO threat,"
though all in Moscow know this was nonexistent since the end of the Cold
War. The Chechen rebels have demonstrated their ability to send large,
heavily armed attack units into the center of Moscow, and next time they may
take over not a theater, but, say, the Kurchatov nuclear institute -- also
not far from the Kremlin. (There are several research nuclear reactors
working at Kurchatov. During over 50 years of intensive nuclear research,
highly radioactive nuclear waste has been buried there --an amount exceeding
the radioactivity released during the Chernobyl reactor explosion in 1986 in

It's clear that the Kremlin is facing a grave choice -- to begin
negotiations with rebels and eventually succumb, accepting Chechen
independence, or to face new mega-terrorist attacks on nuclear and other
strategically important soft points. Putin has ordered a rewriting of the
national security doctrine and the enactment of plans to prepare rapid
deployment of military units to secure vulnerable points all over Russia
where rebels could strike. But can the corrupt and run-down military
effectively defend them?

This week in Brussels at the Russia-EU summit, a visibly distressed Putin
was eager to compromise on Kaliningrad, while nervously lashing out at
journalists and disagreeing with Europe on Chechnya. Putin stressed that
rebels are planning to "kill all non-Muslims," that Christian lives are
threatened, that Russia and the West should act together to prevent "big

Putin's call for a joint crusade merely upset politically correct European
leaders, who, as a German diplomat told me, "agreed to disagree" on
Chechnya. The Russians in turn refused to sign a prepared memorandum in
Brussels. This summit that had been planned to enhance ties with Moscow
ended with both sides even more distrustful than ever: Europeans are again
uncertain -- maybe Putin is after all an Asian despot bent on violence? --
while in the Kremlin, many suspect the West is aiding the Chechens because
it wishes to disintegrate Russia.

(Pavel Felgenhauer is an independent defense analyst.)

by Carola Hoyos
Financial Times, 14th November

With inspectors going back into Iraq next week, many countries which might
be called upon to assist in any US military action are hoping the threat of
war can be averted.

If the Iraq crisis ends in war however, the level of help the US is likely
to receive, in military and financial terms, will partly depend on the role
the UN Security Council plays in authorising the action. But even with firm
UN support, many potential US allies will find it difficult to be as
generous financially and militarily as they were in the Gulf War.

That war was a relative bargain for the US, with a price tag of $60bn-$70bn,
of which its allies, such as Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait paid 80
per cent, leaving US taxpayers footing a $12bn-$14bn bill. On the military
front, 500,000 US troops were joined by 160,000 from allied nations in a
coalition that included countries as diverse as Denmark, Bangladesh, Oman
and South Korea.

With the international service men and women also came aircraft, tanks,
warships, engineering units, medical supplies, and support services.

This time, many potential allies have economic difficulties and their
military forces are stretched thin by commitments from Afghanistan to the
Balkans, mean the US is likely to have to shoulder significantly more of the

There is continued wariness in many quarters about the prospect of a war
with Iraq. Many countries see last week's resolution as the first stage in a
two-step process and will wait to see whether the Security Council gives
military action its blessing if Baghdad bungles its last chance at peace and
refuses to disarm.

If that happens, the financial burden of a war is estimated at anything from
$50bn to more than $100bn, depending on the size of the force and the length
of the conflict. The US Congressional Budget office has estimated the cost
of deploying troops to the region at $9bn-$13bn, with a war costing
$4bn-$9bn a month.

Many of the most generous supporters of the Gulf War are feeling the pinch.

The prospect of Japan being asked to bankroll another war in the Gulf would
touch sensitive nerves.

Since the September 11 attacks, Japan has sought to counter accusations of
chequebook diplomacy in 1991 by offering to play an active part in
supporting the US-led 'war on terror' both militarily and financially.
However, an Iraqi campaign would carry thorny domestic political

Foremost of these is a constitutional ban on waging an y kind of war. But
the electorate is also reluctant to pay for overseas actions at a time when
the economy is ailing.

Germany has made clear that it would not support military action in Iraq,
even if it was approved by UN mandate. Though the country contributed
generously in 1991, this time financial help seems unlikely - both because
of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's determined opposition to military
intervention, and the poor state of government finances.

Saudi Arabia's government is leaving its options open and will decide
whether to give any assistance depending on the circumstances and whether a
second UN resolution authorising force is passed by the Security Council.
But Riyadh no longer has the means to be generous, after paying an estimated
$49bn toward the cost of the 1991 war.

The direct Saudi contribution to US costs was put at $16.8bn. But the cost
of many of the facilities granted to the US, including free aviation and
other fuel as well as free food and accommodation, was carried either
directly by the government, or came in the form of payments to Saudi
suppliers and contractors.

Public opinion today, Saudis say, is a far cry from the largely passive
acquiescence to a massive US military presence in 1991.

Nevertheless, Riyadh is expected to maintain its policy of granting US
forces base rights and overflight facilities for operations which have been
cleared by the UN security council.

Even some of Washington's less reluctant allies, such as Australia and New
Zealand, are likely to struggle to offer more than modest help. Both
countries sent troops to Afghanistan, the Gulf and East Timor, though the
October 12 bombings in Bali have led to calls in some quarters for a greater
emphasis on regional security rather than on supporting action against Iraq.
However, analysts say that at least Australia would be likely to contribute
militarily, although it would probably be relatively modest.

Meanwhile, Russia is unlikely to play any significant part in military
action, for both practical and ideological reasons.

While it voted in favour of the Security Council resolution on weapons
inspections, it has stressed the importance of a diplomatic solution.

What Moscow does possess is valuable on-the-ground intelligence which has
been largely missing for the west; as well as the strong contacts cultivated
through both politicians and business leaders who have maintained links over
the years with the regime of Saddam Hussein. The likelihood of their sharing
such information is open to question.

Meanwhile, some European Union countries, including France, Spain and Italy,
as well as a number of former Warsaw Pact countries, are likely to again
offer the US important specialist services.

France led the opposition in the Security Council to an automatic "trigger"
for military action, but could be expected to respond positively to a US
request for assistance if it agreed Iraq was in significant breach of its
disarmament obligations. But like Germany, France faces significant
budgetary constraints if its deficit is not to breach the European Central
Bank ceiling of 3 per cent of GDP.

In eastern Europe, a 250-strong Czech chemical, biological and radiation
weapon protection unit served in the 1991 Gulf war and is currently with the
US-led Enduring Freedom operation in Kuwait. Poland's most important
contribution in 1991, its intelligence co operation with the US and other
Nato Allies, could again be offered this time around.

One other thing will not change from 1991: the important role of the UK.
London has offered the US a "significant" force to support military action
against Iraq.

The offer is not conditional on a second UN resolution. The UK government
considers the resolution agreed last week gives it legal authority to take
action to enforce its conditions. But ministers insist a detailed military
commitment will be made only if Saddam Hussein breaches the terms of the

Reporting by David Ibison in Tokyo, Haig Simonian in Berlin, Robert Graham
in Paris, Robin Allen in Dubai, Andrew Jack in Moscow, Robert Anderson in
Prague, John Reed in Warsaw, Virginia Marsh in Sydney and Jean Eaglesham in


by Parviz Esmaeili
Tehran Times, 9th November

In his last November speech at the UN General Assembly, the U.S. President
George W. Bush said, "Saddam poses a great threat to the American security.
He also provides assistance to terrorist groups. If it weren't for the 1991
war, he would have acquired atomic weapons by 1993. We cannot stand by idly
in the face of such threats. The U.S. will act based on its essential

Although he failed to provide evidence for his claims, his use of the phrase
"essential American right" was a justification for Washington's unilateral
policies. Following the events of September 11 and under the pretext of
fight against terrorism, the U.S. has adopted a militaristic approach that
is reminiscent of the Cold War era, or even harsher. At present, by
exaggerating Saddam's possible danger to the region the U.S. is preparing
the ground for another war.

The interesting point is that U.S. officials cite Saddam's use of weapons of
mass destruction (WMD) in the war with Iran and against its own people as
reason for their characterization of the Baghdad regime.

Is it possible to turn a blind eye to the role of the White House in the
crimes committed by Saddam? A September article in the Washington Post
divulged that the U.S. had sent some $1.5 billion worth of chemical and
nuclear weapons material to Iraq, in the course of its eight-year war with
Iran. Between 1986-1988 Russia supplied Baghdad with $9 billion worth of
materials for the development of its chemical and nuclear programs.

European countries like France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Belgium, and the
Netherlands also chipped in to help Saddam realize its objectives. During
these years, the U.S. was the main provider of the necessary ingredients for
the concoction of Saddam's chemical arsenal.

Iraq's U.S.-sanctioned invasion of Iran in 1980 coincided with Baghdad's
deletion from the American list of supporters of terrorism. The current U.S.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, during his numerous trips to Iraq,
reassured Baghdad of the unflinching U.S. support.

The Arab states of the Persian Gulf also did their part in backing Saddam
with some $40 billion in aid. Interesting enough, the Kuwaitis who were
among Saddam's staunchest supporters became the target of his aggression
within some three short years.

President Khatami in his recent visit to Spain said, "Everyone knows that we
have suffered tremendously because of Iraqi actions. But the world's
extraordinary reaction against Saddam in comparison to the free reign which
he enjoyed during his chemical attacks against Iran and his own people
smacks of a double standard." The Iranian president wondered, "If the
weapons of mass destruction are nefarious, why were they made available to
Saddam by great powers, and why weren't any objections raised when they were
being used against us?" American behavior closely resembles that of bandits
and Mafia gangsters. It first trains and provides assistance to criminals
such as Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and Saddam Hussein, and when they lose
their usefulness, it attempts to neutralize them, of course, through
internationally-sanctioned methods.

Recently, there have been some unsettling reports about the development of a
new generation of unconventional weapons by the U.S., including a test in
Alaska of a weapons system for destroying live targets through very strong
radio signals (3.5 million watts). It is also reported that the CIA is
attempting to get its hands on the materials used by the Russians in the
recent hostage-taking episode at the Moscow theater. All this hints at the
rise of an ominous trend in the world.

On the other hand, following the recent rocket attack by a U.S. spy plane in
Yemen, a senior Bush advisor said similar attacks are likely to take place
anywhere in the world. He added they might be carried out without any prior

In these circumstances, it is the obligation of all people, including those
in the U.S., to stand up to the dangerous actions of insane Don Quixotes who
are pushing the entire world toward the edge of the precipice. The Iranian
people respect the American people, but are opposed to the unilateral U.S.
policies. Cervantes' Don Quixote although eagerly sought after enemies to
wipe them out was endowed with a kind heart. But the modern-day Don Quixotes
instead of kind hearts have colossal arrays of atomic and biological
arsenals. One wonders what would really happen if they succeed in
controlling the fate of the international community?

Associated Press, 10th November

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) ‹ Arab foreign ministers demanded on Sunday that Arab arms
experts be involved in policing Iraq, predicted Saddam Hussein would accept
the U.N. Security Council resolution ordering new, tougher inspections and
urged everything be done to avoid war.

The ministers adopted the eight-point statement shortly after Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein ordered his nation's parliament to meet and
recommend how to respond to the U.N. Security Council resolution which was
adopted Friday and includes a seven-day deadline for Baghdad's acceptance.

The ministers' document was adopted at the end of a two-day meeting of the
22-member Arab League in Cairo.

The United Nations is not obliged to heed the Arab ministers' demand. It
represents only the ministers' preference on the makeup of the inspections

Arab foreign ministers, including Iraqi minister Naji Sabri, worked into the
evening on a final communique that demanded Iraq and the United Nations work
together and calls on the United States to commit to pledges it gave Syria
that the resolution would not be used to justify military action.

It also demanded that Arab experts be included on U.N. weapons inspection
teams. The document did not say how many Arab experts the league wants to
have among the inspectors, nor did it indicate which countries they should
come from.

"(Ministers) called on the permanent Security Council members who presented
Syria with assurances to commit to what they presented, that the resolution
is not used as an excuse to wage war on Iraq and does not constitute
automatic military action," the eight-point statement said.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is an
Egyptian, and would be on the advance team of inspectors headed to Iraq if
Saddam accepts the resolution. ElBaradei's agency is in charge of looking
for clandestine nuclear arms programs.

A spokesman for the U.N. inspection operation said a list of inspectors and
their country of origin was not immediately available.

The document said they also "demand the continuation of U.N.-Iraq
cooperation to solve all standing issues peacefully in preparation for the
lifting of sanctions and the end of the (U.N.) embargo as well as the
suffering of the Iraqi people."

They also put forward a united Arab position of "absolute rejection" of any
military action against Iraq, saying it represents a threat to the security
of all Arab nations.

They called on the Security Council to require Israel rid itself of weapons
of mass destruction because they "constitute a serious threat to Arab and
international peace and security."

Iraq has yet to formally accept the resolution, though Arab foreign
ministers have said they fully expect Saddam Hussein will do so. Iraqi
state-run media, which reported Saddam's order for parliament to advise on
the Iraqi response, did not say when the session would convene, making
uncertain when official acceptance would come. Under the resolution, Iraq
has until Nov. 15.

In Washington, President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice,
dismissed the prospect of Saddam seeking parliament's advice as "ludicrous."

"Saddam Hussein is an absolute dictator and tyrant, and the idea that
somehow he expects the Iraqi parliament to debate this ‹ they've never
debated anything else," Rice said Sunday on the ABC network's "This Week"
program. "I'm surprised he's even bothering to go through this ploy."

Iraq's parliament is stacked with Saddam's allies. Should parliament
recommend acceptance to the Revolutionary Command Council, led by Saddam, he
would have some cover for retreating from previous objections to any new
language in a resolution governing weapons inspections.

In brief remarks to journalists Sunday, Sabri said only that the Arab
position is firm in rejecting any U.S. use of military force. He'd said
Saturday that "no decision has been taken" by Baghdad on cooperating with
the resolution. But if Saddam fails to follow through, U.S. officials have
said a Pentagon plan calls for more than 200,000 troops to invade Iraq.

The leaks on U.S. military strategy came just days after the Security
Council vote appeared to be an effort to send Saddam a message about how
serious the United States is. Britain sent similar signals, with Defense
Secretary Geoff Hoon telling Sky News on Sunday that his country is prepared
for possible military action against Iraq should diplomatic efforts to
disarm Saddam fail.

Earlier Sunday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said he expected a
positive response from Iraq, and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud
al-Faisal also indicated Iraq would agree to the resolution given Syrian
affirmations that the U.N. plan did not endorse automatic military action.

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa said he received a letter from U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell "in which he stressed that there is nothing
in the resolution to allow it to be used as a pretext to launch a war on
Iraq and that if the U.S. administration had any intention of resorting to
military action, this resolution wouldn't have taken seven weeks."

Syria, now holding one of the rotating seats on the U.N. Security Council,
has taken on the task of selling Iraq and other Arab nations on the

Syria sided with the United States to allow the Iraq resolution to pass
unanimously on a 15 0 vote, but al-Sharaa said it will work to ensure Iraq's
concerns aren't overlooked in order to keep the diplomatic process on track.

Syria, he said, will try to persuade the U.N. Security Council to appoint
some Arab inspectors "because the decision of war will be based on what the
inspectors say," al-Sharaa said.

Beyond al-Sharaa's assurances, Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted
Sunday by Russian news agencies as saying the resolution "does not contain a
mechanism for the use of force."

The resolution also demands inspection teams "carry out their mission
professionally, objectively and in a neutral way, and to refrain from
provocative action ... to guarantee the credibility of their work."

Iraq had accused inspectors in the country during 1991-1998 of acting as

The new resolution gives inspectors unrestricted access to any site and the
right to interview Iraqi scientists outside of the country or without
official Iraqi presence, areas that could become points of dispute. Iraq
insists on respect for its sovereignty, an argument it has used in the past
to restrict access to Saddam's palaces.

Dawn, Reuters/AFP, 12th November

AMMAN, Nov 11: Thousands of Jordanian troops kept the southern town of Maan
under curfew for a second day on Monday after at least four people died in
gunbattles with security forces.

Officials and witnesses said special forces made house-to-house searches for
weapons and detained at least 100 people, mostly Islamists.

"Order and calm has been restored...the security forces have spread
throughout the city and held it under their control. They are combing the
area for possible members of the group we are looking for," Information
Minister Mohammad Adwan told Reuters.

Witnesses said several thousand regular troops backed by armour poured
overnight into Maan, about 320 kms south of the capital Amman, reinforcing
the counter-terrorism forces that stormed the town of 40,000 at the weekend.

"Before dawn the army entered the city and enforced the curfew," said one
resident contacted by mobile phone on the edge of Maan, where most telephone
lines remained down.

Sporadic gunfire could still be heard, witnesses said, but there was no
repeat of Sunday's clashes with hundreds of armed youths. Residents said
scores of people had been wounded and the death toll could exceed the
official tally of three gunmen and one policeman killed.

Adwan said the security sweep would end only when activists deemed a threat
were jailed and illegal weapons held by residents in the tribal city, where
possession of arms was a matter of traditional honour, were seized.

The fighting began after elite counter-terrorism forces launched a hunt for
about 30 Muslim militants said to be linked to the killing of a US diplomat
in Amman two weeks ago. But officials said militant leader Mohammad Chalabi,
known as Abu Sayyaf, and three of his aides were still on the run.

Abu Sayyaf, who is a sympathiser of Osama bin Laden, escaped after a
shootout with police late last month.

Officials said the crackdown in Maan was aimed at Islamists who might foment
civil unrest or launch sabotage attacks in the event of a US-led war on
neighbouring Iraq.

Maan is a traditional stronghold of Islamic militants. It has staged
pro-Iraq demonstrations and price riots in the past.

Osama bin Laden has appeal in the religiously conservative town, which has
tribal links to Saudi Arabia. Many people in Maan hold dual Saudi and
Jordanian nationality.

Many Jordanians resent US policies which they view as applying one set of
standards to Iraq and another to Israel.

Jordan, a US ally wedged between Israel and Iraq, is thought to have seized
nearly 100 Islamists in a hunt for the gunman who killed senior US aid
official Laurence Foley on October 28 in the country's first murder of a
Western diplomat.

Jordan has won a hefty rise in US military and economic assistance this year
as a reward for openly supporting US President George W. Bush's "war on

Interior Minister Qaftan al-Majali accused "armed outlaw groups" of being
behind the Maan clashes, and said people from unidentified Arab countries
were among those arrested.

Jordan has in the past accused Iraqi agents of inciting popular passions in
the impoverished south of the country. But politicians blame the town's
history of civil unrest on economic deprivation and perceived neglect by a
central government viewed as favouring other regions.-Reuters/AFP

The deadly crackdown is intended to send a stark warning to potential
dissidents as the authorities prepare to take a deeply unpopular pro-US tilt
against Iraq, analysts said on Monday.

Analysts said the intensity of the security action was a clear signal from
the authorities that they would brook no protest from a generally pro-Iraq
population as they prepare to side with the United States in any military
action against Baghdad.

Despite public statements opposing any US-led strike, King Abdullah II
clearly believes that his impoverished kingdom cannot afford the luxury of a
repeat of its 1991 Gulf War refusal to join the US-led coalition against
Iraq, when it paid dearly for being seen to side with Saddam Hussein, they

The Maan operation was "a preventative measure to limit the impact on
internal stability of a military strike against a country which is
enormously popular in Jordan," an official acknowledged.

Islamists form the main opposition group in parliament and although the
moderate Islamic Action Front (IAF) has no connection with the hardliners of
the banned Takfir wal-Hijra (Atonement and Flight) group being hunted down
in Maan, the movement could clearly see the writing on the wall.

The Star (Malaysia), 13th November

WASHINGTON (AP) - Iraq has ordered 1.25 million doses of an antidote for
nerve agents in what could be an attempt to protect its military personnel
if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein uses those weapons on the battlefield,
U.S. administration officials said Tuesday.

At least some of the doses were ordered from Turkey, and U.S. diplomats are
discussing the issue with Turkish officials.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, briefing reporters late Tuesday, said it
was not clear whether Iraq has received any deliveries of the antidote,
known as atropine.

The drug is frequently used to resuscitate heart attack victims.

"This is not something you would want to be selling to Iraq at this time,''
Powell said.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who joined Powell at the briefing, said
the United Nations, in enforcing its economic embargo against Iraq, must be
careful about permitting the export of items that have both military and
nonmilitary uses.

Atropine is not on the U.N. list of products that Iraq is barred from

Officials said Iraq submitted a contract to the United Nations for the
purchase of the atropine.

This was part of normal reporting procedures required under U.N. Security
Council sanctions against Iraq.

Iraq is not a signatory to an international chemical weapons convention.

The United States has renounced the use of weapons banned in the convention
and says it does not maintain these arms in its arsenal.

Later, Powell said the United States would never use nerve gas and the
Iraqis know it, saying it's not in the inventory and it's not needed.

"We have easier ways to deal with Iraq than introducing into the world again
the use of chemical agents,'' Powell said during a television program.

He speculated that Iraq's interest in acquiring atropine may be a ploy to
convince the United States it is prepared to use nerve gas as a means of
dissuading Washington from using force against Saddam's regime.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, "Any Iraqi orders for more
atropine than needed to meet normal humanitarian requirements would be of
concern, since that could indicate preparations to use chemical weapons by
preparing to protect their own forces from the consequences of such use.''

In Turkey, Health Ministry spokesman Ebubekir Akkaynak said his agency had
no record of an Iraqi request for atropine.

Mustafa Karpuzcu, general director of Drogsan, a Turkish company that
manufactures atropine, said the firm had no commercial ties with Iraq and
had not received any request.

The Iraq interest in the purchase of atropine was first reported in
Tuesday's editions of The New York Times.

There were differing accounts among officials as to whether the 1.25 million
doses far exceeded normal needs of the Iraqi medical community.

One official said the U.S. administration had not evaluated whether the size
of the Iraqi request suggests the atropine will be used as a battlefield

Another official said the large quantity clearly suggests an attempt to
protect military personnel if nerve agents are used against an invading

Iraq has been enhancing its defense posture in anticipation of a possible
U.S.-led invasion to disarm the country of weaponry barred by the United

Arabic News, 14th November

The Turkish health ministry secretary Safar Eidjan has denied news reports
that Iraq had asked one of the Turkish companies to provide it with large
amounts of Atropine, an immunizing agent for certain chemical gases that has
the potential of being used for military purpose.

In a press conference he held yesterday with the director general of the
medicine and pharmacy, Orhan Jakmak, and the director general of the Turkish
medical treatment services, Tahsin Adjar, Eidjan stressed that these news
are baseless.

He continued that the two said establishments did not receive a request from
the Iraqi government to buy Atropine, nor they had exported any of this

Meantime, Turkish companies producing Atropine in Istanbul stressed it did
not receive any request from Iraq to buy this material. The director general
of Dour Ghassan company which manufacture this sort of medicine said that
his company has no trade links with Iraq, while Bousel company for medicines
said it had not not produced this sort of medicine for a long period of

ABC News, 13th November

G A Z A   C I T Y, Gaza Strip, Nov. 13 ‹ Israeli forces backed by 30 tanks
and three helicopters stormed into central Gaza City early Thursday, the
deepest incursion into the city in more than two years, Palestinian security
officials and witnesses said.

Soldiers fired machine guns as they penetrated roughly more than a mile into
the city from its southern entrance, witnesses said.

The army declined immediate comment.

The army rolled into the central Talalhawa neighborhood, in an area that is
home to the headquarters of the Palestinian Preventive Security and the
studios of Palestinian state television.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but at least a dozen ambulances
rushed to the area.

The incursion marked the farthest penetration by Israeli forces into the
city since renewed fighting erupted between Palestinians and Israelis in the
fall of 2000, witnesses said.

In a pre-dawn strike a day earlier, Israeli helicopters fired four missiles
on a suspected weapons-making workshop in the city center, the second such
strike on the site in two days.

The attack demolished an automotive repair shop whose owner insisted had
nothing to do with the manufacture of weapons. Israel said the site was
believed to produce mortar shells and rockets like ones used in recent
attacks on nearby Israeli communities.{E67AE08E-C9E9-404D-8EC3

*  Bin Laden transcript: 'As you assassinate, so will you be'
National Post, Canada, 13th November

The text of an audiotape attributed to Osama bin Laden broadcast late
yesterday by Qatar's Al-Jazeera satellite television:

"To the peoples of the countries allied to the iniquitous American

"The road to salvation begins with the end of aggression. It is only justice
to give back the same.

"What has happened since the conquests of New York and Washington up until
now -- like the operations on Germans in Tunisia, the explosion of the
French tanker in Yemen, on the French in Karachi, the operations against the
[U.S.] Marines in Failaka [Kuwait], on Australians and Britons in the
explosions in Bali, as well as the recent hostage-taking in Moscow and other
operations here and there -- were nothing but the response of Muslims eager
to defend their religion and respond to the order of God and their Prophet.

"What Bush, the pharoah of the century, did by murdering our children in
Iraq and what Israel, the ally of America, did in bombing houses of the
elderly, women and children in Palestine, using American planes, was enough
for the wise among your leaders to distance themselves from this criminal

"Our people in Palestine have been massacred and subjected to the worst of
suffering for nearly a century.

"If we defend our people in Palestine, the world gets agitated and coalesces
against Muslims under the cover of the war against terrorism, unjustly and
in a false way.

"Do your governments not know that the clique in the White House is made up
of the greatest murderers of the century?

"Rumsfeld is the butcher of Vietnam who has killed more than two million

"Cheney and Powell have murdered and destroyed in Baghdad more than did
Houlagou," in reference to a 13th century Mongol who conquered the city.

"Why did your governments ally themselves with America to attack us in
Afghanistan, and I cite in particular Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada,
Germany and Australia.

"Australia was warned about its participation [in the war] in Afghanistan
and its ignoble contribution to the separation of EastTimor [from
Indonesia]. But it ignored this warning until it was awakened by the echoes
of explosions in Bali. Its government subsequently pretended, falsely, that
its citizens were not targeted.

"If you suffer to see your [people] killed and those of your allies in
Tunisia, in Karachi, in Failaka, Bali and Amman, remember our [people]
killed among the children of Palestine, in Iraq. Remember our dead in

"As you look at your dead in Moscow, also recall ours in Chechnya.

"For how long will fear, massacres, destruction, exile, orphanhood and
widowhood be our lot, while security, stability and joy remain your domain

"It is high time that equality be established to this effect.

"As you assassinate, so will you be [assassinated], and as you bomb so will
you likewise be.

"So the Muslim nation begins to attack you with its children, who are
committed before God to continue the jihad, by word and by the sword, to
establish justice and eradicate injustice, for as long as their hearts
continue to beat.

"Finally, we pray to God to aid us that His religion might triumph, and
pursue the jihad unto death, so as to merit His mercy."

Tehran Times, 14th November

TEHRAN -- Turkey's AKP's leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, opposes attacking
Iraq. "As soon I hold office I will put all my energy into finding a
peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis," Erdogan said in an interview with
Al-Qabas, a Kuwaiti Arabic language daily, according to a report from Kuwait
by the Syrian News Agency (SANA).

"Despite United States claims that Iraq posses weapons of mass destruction
(WMD), they themselves might use WMD's against Iraq," Erdogan said. He also
called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in order to
"reduce the misery and problems of the people."


by Jalal Jonroy, 2ndNovember

Perhaps it would be appropriate to refer to Halabja's past splendor as
reported, for example, at length in "To Mesopotamia and Kurdistan" by Soane
at the start of 1900's. I read pages of original publication, a costly
collector's item. Fascinating stuff about strong independent women and the
estates with large and lush gardens, when Halabja was a thriving trade
center between Western (Iran borders did not exist in practice) Kurdistan of
Senneh etc. and Baghdad (via Sulemani), Halabja with its own a thriving
Jewish community. And about the famous woman Pasha Adela Khanim - the Just
ruler, with loose ties to Ottoman, with examples of her wise, humorous and
liberal rule, a beautiful charismatic woman surrounded by strong, sometimes
conspiring, Jaff tribal chiefs. Was she the first woman ruler of modern
times in Islamic domain?

Halabja was also home of some outstanding Kurdish poets such as Ahmed Mokhta
Jaff Beg Pasha (1896-1935). He was the only son of Adela Khan. Ahmed Jaff
was notably both a Pasha and a talented Poet who also spoke English, French
and Farsi. Eventually he was assassinated by a conspiracy of some Jaff
tribal chiefs -perhaps in cohort with the British.

Ahmed Pasha didn't trust the British. He admired Gandhi and named his son
also Gandhi who passed away a few years ago in Baghdad. (Sadly, some Jaff
chiefs and tribes opportunistically sided with Iraqi Baathis regime, some
becoming shameless members of Ba'asth party. Fortunately, others played and
still play a significant role in the Kurdish struggle.)

In early 20th century, Halabja was more important both as a cultural and
trade center than Sulemani which is now the cultural capital of Iraqi
Kurdistan. Note the title of many books up to early 20th century naturally
used the country names of Kurdistan, Mesopotamia, Ottoman, Istanbul,
Anatolia, Persia and Syria but NO mention of Iraq, Iran or Turkey at all!
Now all these artificially created countries are still deeply troubled
states being recent, unnatural concoctions from the outset!

The following was sent to me by Madame Alwan Jaff Ruby from Paris whose
grandfather was Ahmed Mukhtar Jaff (1896-1935). I have seen a photo of the
Pasha at her house- He iss in the most splendid Kurdish costume, sporting a
magnificent headband with all the silk trimmings, and of course a mighty
Khenjar in his luxurious band.

Ahmed Beg, also called Ahmed Mokhtar Beg Othman Pasha Jaff, his mother Adela
Khanim the daughter of Qadir Beg Sahib Qaran, was one of the prices of Ardan
in East [Iran] Kurdistan. He was born in the town of Halabja; he went to
school at six and privately tutored in Farsi language and was also sent to
the religious school to learn Arabic. His mother was from Sanendeng (Sinnah)
in East Kurdistan, and during his visits to this town he was influenced by
science and literature that added to his connection with poetry and reading
and learned French and English at that time.

Ahmed Mokhtar Beg is one the most prominent poets of the Kurdish literature.
His poetry had a patriotic spirit, rejected British colonialism and was sad
to see the suppression of his people, therefore compiled his patriotic poems
inciting his masses to rise and struggle for freedom and independence.

Ahmed Mokhtar Beg had great admiration to Mahatma Gandhi the Indian patriot,
naming one of his sons after him, who created a lot of hatred and abhorrence
by the British, and waiting for an opportunity to hunt him down. In 1922 he
became the Governor of Halabja, and two years later was elected member to
the Iraqi Parliament, continuing to oppose the British Mandatory rule, which
made them conspire and assassinate him later. After his martyrdom, he was
buried next to his brother the famous poet Taher Beg in the Ababeli cemetery
near Halabja city

Basil Nikitin in his book, Kurds and Kurdistan, says, " Women in all peoples
represent the identity and the moral characteristics of the people".
Minoriski believes that the Kurds in this regard, are more civilized and
liberal than the rest of the Muslim people. The Jaff women belong to this

There is no doubt that women of this tribe do hard and heavy duty works,
such as loading and unloading of goods on animals, bringing water from wells
and rivers, go to the mountainous areas to milk the animals, collecting
woods, plus the other normal house work and carpet making, of which the Jaff
carpets is genuine and sought after. Mothers carry their children on their
backs tie with a wide strap made of cloth. Due to such heavy works, they
acquire special strength, and capable of horse riding, competing with men in
this; added to that, they join the men's the gathering, participating in the
general discussions with them.

The English orientalist Major Soan says " that women from the Jaff tribe
used to receive me in the absence of their husbands, conversant with me
joyfully and treat me generously bring food and laban (yoghort), and they
did not leave me by myself out of respect, till their husbands return from
work. There is no separation between the young men and women of the tribe,
intimately knowing each other, and famous for their decency and good
manners. Marriage has special arrangements, accompanied with gaiety and

Some women became leaders of the tribe, who had control of all affairs in
their hands. One of those who ruled the tribe in 1014 in the town of
Halabja, near Sulemani, was Adelah Khanim, the wife of Othman Pasha, leader
of the tribe, during his absence. I had several meetings with this noble
lady who ruled that district. Major San remained in the palace of the Pasha
as a traveling salesman, and wrote extensively about this woman, her
authority and conduct in ruling.

All this did not stop her from being a feminine that liked to buy fabrics
and perfumes, and caring for her house too. On one occasion she came to
visit our place of residence with her entourage and women helpers; we
requested to be photographed with her, which she gracefully consented. She
sent food and drinks with her servants; and always asked the right
questions. The Jaff women contributed richly to Kurdish poetry, heritage,
and culture taking big steps in this regard; and some were like stars
shining in Kurdish literature, matching their fellowmen and playing vital
part in the expansion of the heritage and art, and also in the social and
political sphere. For hundred of years, we learnt of poetry and essays in
the Kurdish language.

It is a fact that in the past women were deprived of basic rights pf
learning and freedom, although Islam put no boundaries between educating men
and women, and glorifying women that heavens is at their feet. No historians
or researchers wrote about women of this tribe, given the fact that
fragments of their poetry remained and treasured in the memory of the
Kurdish literature, despite the hardship, which they faced in their lives.
Among the famous poets Leza Khanim Jaff in the 5th hijri century, and Nerjis
Shahrazori of 713h.

by Hadi Khatib
Daily Star, Lebanon, 13th November

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will not be able to abide by a tough new UN
resolution on weapons inspections, according to Kurdish leader Jalal
Talabani, who views military action against Saddamıs regime as unfortunate
but inevitable.

The leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) told The Daily Star
Sunday in Damascus that the United States ³is determined to orchestrate a
Œregime changeı in Iraq; it is a decision signed by former US President Bill
Clinton, and the new president has asserted this.²

Talabani said UN Resolution 1441, approved unanimously last Friday, is ³too
tough² for Saddam to obey, and that Iraq must also respect the other 16
resolutions it has not complied with, ³including Resolution 688, which has
to do with the protection of human rights issues, and Kurdish rights in

Talabani added that ³any one breach of these resolutions might be a pretext
for a military action in Iraq.²

Resolution 1441 demands that inspectors be granted unrestricted access to
any suspected weapons site, along with the right to interview Iraqi
scientists outside the country and without Iraqi officials present. Iraq,
which says it no longer has any weapons of mass destruction, has insisted on
respect for its sovereignty, an argument it has used in the past to restrict
access to Saddamıs palaces.

³I believe the resolution will help delay military action, which is great
for the United States, which needs a bit more time to be war-ready, but also
because I believe inspectors will go in and suffer greatly from deception
like last time,² Talabani added, referring to earlier UN weapons inspections
in Iraq. Inspectors were withdrawn in 1998 and have not been permitted to

Talabani praised the new resolutionıs objectives but nonetheless expressed
opposition to armed interference in Iraq, saying a unified democratic
federal Iraq can be achieved peacefully.

³Disarming Iraq Š is good for the Iraqi people and for the region because
these weapons (of mass destruction) were used against Iraqis, against the
Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south and against our brothers in
Kuwait and Iran,² he said. ³But we are against war and Š an invasion and we
fear that armed conflict might destroy our infrastructure and properties.²

The PUK leader said he believes the mere threat of war could force a regime
change. He indicated that if regional and international pressure on Saddamıs
regime intensifies, the Iraqi leader might grant the freedoms that his
people seek.

Talabani suggested that the international community ask the regime in
Baghdad to resign, or at least reinstate freedom of the press and freedom to
create a mulitiparty political system which would pave the way to free

³We also believe that there is strong dissatisfaction within the Iraqi Army
and the ruling party, so if we have international support, the people can
topple the current regime, which has brought destruction, poverty and
humiliation for the Iraqis after 34 years on a murderous path that turned a
modern and rich country into the current pitiful state,² he said.

He added that if war did break out, the Iraqi opposition would actively
participate in ground operations.

³The Iraqi opposition is great in number, whereas between the Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan Democratic Party, and the Supreme Council for the Islamic
Revolution in Iraq, we have up to 150,000 combatants, excluding popular
support,² he said.

Iraqıs opposition groups are to meet in Brussels from Nov. 22-25. About 40
parties and organizations will attend in a bid to adopt three objectives.

³First, we will agree on a unified declaration regarding the Iraqi people,
army and the countryıs regional role,² Talabani said. ³Second, we will
reshape Iraqıs future politically, socially and otherwise; and finally, we
will elect a committee to coordinate the efforts between Iraqi opposition

He added that the US may not have purely humanitarian reasons for a regime
change but toppling Saddam will nevertheless help establish Kurdish
self-rule within the confines of a democratic Iraq and not an independent
Kurdish state.

³I think the US is motivated by a variety of reasons Š beginning with the
threat the regime poses to its interests in the Gulf, namely in Kuwait and
in Saudi Arabia,² Talabani said.

³With security threats comes expensive military presence,² he added.

He also said Americans feel Saddam is an obstacle to Mideast peace, and that
a dictatorship is in the way of globalization efforts based on a new,
worldwide capitalist culture that requires democratic principles.

³Of course the US also needs a friendly Iraq, which will allow it to
influence its oil (market); with that control, it can better restrain Europe
and Japan economically,² Talabani said.

³Kurds Š have the right to determine their own future, but itıs more
advantageous for us to become an entity within a united Iraq,² he repeated,
arguing that, in a globalized world, small entities cannot progress on their

³Besides, the ability to create an independent state is nonexistent and
neighboring countries will not allow it Š  The day the Kurds pronounce their
own state, Turkey will invade and occupy the territory,² he predicted.

Even if Turkey does not interfere, Talabani said a likely boycott by
neighboring Iran, Turkey and Syria ³would disconnect us from the rest of the

Kurds have been buoyed by recent Turkish elections that saw the Islamist
Justice and Development Party (AKP) win a majority in Parliament.

³The party is made up of a large number of Kurds and they will show more
understanding of Kurdish issues, Talabani said. ³We have heard no threats
since AKP won, which is a good indication of future relations.²

Some 15 million Kurds live in southeastern Turkey, with 4 million in
northern Iraq. Talabani said the AKP will be flexible in its governing to
pave The way for Turkey to join the EU.

³They will improve relations with Arab neighbors and Muslims in general.²,3604,840443,00.html

by Michael Howard in Arbil, Iraqi Kurdistan
The Guardian, 15th November

Kurdish authorities and international aid agencies are warning that an
attack on Iraq could trigger a repeat of the humanitarian crisis of 1991,
when more than 2m Kurds fled from Saddam Hussein's wrath and thousands more
lost their lives.

With an advance party of UN weapons inspectors due to return to Baghdad on
Monday, the Kurds are still waiting to hear whether their requests for gas
masks, antidotes to nerve agents, and chemical weapons suits will be met.
They also want the UN to plan for a huge emergency relief operation.

"There is not a single gas mask in Kurdistan," said a government official in
the regional capital of Arbil.

"Why is that all other American allies - like Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia -
have protection and we, who are in the frontline against this dictator and
are already victims of his weapons of mass destruction, don't? We are told
only there is significant interest in the issue and there is a significant
focus on the security of the Kurdish people. And they leave it at that."

Although the majority of Kurds support an attack on Baghdad, they are
convinced that they will be President Saddam's first target. Most believe
that the Iraqi president, as a final act of revenge, will deploy the kind of
weapons used in Halabja in 1988, where 5,000 people died where they stood.

During the crushing of the Kurdish uprising in the wake of the 1991 Gulf
war, the fear of another Halabja - and the knowledge that the international
community remained largely silent about it - played a major part in the
decision to flee to the mountains. Many Kurds say that they are planning to
do the same again.

This week, anxieties were further heightened by reports that Iraq had
ordered anti-nerve agent drugs from Turkey, which is seen as proof that
Baghdad is planning to use chemical weapons if a war broke out.

Kurdish leaders, eager to avoid a panic, are reassuring their citizens that
they will eventually be protected.

Massoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic party, one of the two
groups controlling the Kurdish self-rule area, told a gathering of students
that he would not be fleeing to the mountains and neither should they.

Barham Salih, the prime minister of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
regional government in Sulaymaniyah, said: "I hope that the world will now
be smarter and wiser and will not stay idle or complacent about the prospect
of renewed genocide against this defenceless population.

"That would be unforgiveable were it to be allowed to happen once more."

The Kurdish leadership appears to be banking on a swift US strike against
Baghdad that would obviate the need for Kurdish troops to take part in
frontline fighting and would give the Iraqi president no time to train his
deadly arsenal on Kurdish civilians.

But they are also trying to draw up contingency plans for what could be a
huge movement of people, both from within the Kurdish region to the borders
and into the self-rule area from government-controlled territory to the
south. Kurdish officials say there is about a two month supply of food and
medicine. But crucial preparations are being hampered by the reluctance of
the UN agencies on the ground in Iraq to get involved, for fear of being
seen to condone a military attack.

Rob McGilvray, emergencies adviser at Save the Children UK, expressed
concern at the lack of coordination between the UN, international NGOs, and
the Kurdish authorities.

"We could be seeing millions of desperate, frightened people coming through
this area and fleeing to the border areas," he told the Guardian in Arbil.
"This time, we have some forewarning. But it needs a coordinated response
and one that is worked out quickly."

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