The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] News, 22-29/11/02 (5)

News, 22-29/11/02 (5)


*  U.S. Gets Positive Responses on Iraq
*  Goff tells America where NZ stands on Iraq war
*  India not yet prepared to ditch Iraq
*  [German] Chancellor backpedals on Iraq stance
*  German Government in Disarray Over Iraq
*  Belgrade anger at report of link to Baghdad
*  Ukraine Probe's Focus Shifts to China
*  U.S. seeks to train interpreters in Hungary for possible war in Iraqi
*  Canadian official quits after calling Bush a 'moron'
*  Russian plan to topple Saddam Hussein to prevent US occupation of Iraq
*  'SA Will Not Cower From Iraq Relations'
*  Germany refuses US request over Iraq


*  Turkish soldiers, Kurds clash in north Iraq
*  Turks, Fearing Flow of Refugees, Plan Move Into Iraq
*  If Iraq operation takes place (2)
*  Profile: Jalal Talabani
*  Iraqi Kurds fear for their future even after Saddam


Associated Press, 22nd November

WASHINGTON: The worldwide response to U.S. requests for help in the event of
war with Iraq is cautiously positive, Bush administration officials said

A key Arab country, Saudi Arabia, has assured the United States it would
provide logistical support, two U.S. officials said.

It is essentially a "wink-and-a-nod" reply, said the officials, speaking on
condition of anonymity, and help is contingent on limited use of Saudi


President Jacques Chirac of France said Wednesday in Prague that the United
States cannot determine on its own whether to wage war against Iraq.

The U.N. Security Council "is the only body established to put in motion
action of a military nature, to take the responsibility, to commit the
international community," Chirac said.


by John Armstrong
New Zealand Herald, 23rd November

New Zealand has told the US it will contribute humanitarian, medical or
logistic support to an invasion of Iraq if military action is taken under
United Nations mandate.

It is unlikely that it will commit combat troops.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff spelled out New Zealand's position during a
40-minute meeting yesterday with US charge d'affairs Phil Wall,
second-in-charge at the American Embassy in Wellington.

The meeting was held at Mr Wall's request as Washington sounds out about 50
countries on possible contributions to an American-led force.

After the meeting, Mr Goff said Mr Wall had outlined contingency plans for
action if Iraq did not comply with the requirements of the UN Security

"The US position is that the UN resolution offers Iraq a final opportunity
to disarm peacefully and verifiably through unconditional and complete
co-operation with UN weapons inspectors," he said.

"However, its view is that only the credible threat of force and serious
consequences are likely to elicit Iraqi co-operation and compliance with the

"For this reason and as a contingency against Iraqi refusal to comply, the
United States is seeking possible contributions for military or humanitarian
assistance if force is used against Iraq."

Mr Goff told Mr Wall that New Zealand would consider calls for assistance if
action against Iraq was UN-mandated and within international law.

"However, I reiterated that these conditions needed to be met, and that New
Zealand's strong view was that force should be used only as a last resort.

"I noted that military action against Iraq entailed serious consequences
including potential loss of innocent lives, the potential destabilising of
the Middle East and the undermining of the existing broad and united
coalition against terrorism."

UN-approved multilateral action would reduce some of those risks, Mr Goff

Because it had a substantial proportion of its combat forces in East Timor,
and had also committed Army, Air Force and Navy forces to Afghanistan in the
war against terrorism, it was unlikely New Zealand could make a further
commitment of combat forces.

If the UN did approve action against Iraq, New Zealand would consider
humanitarian, medical or logistic support.

National's foreign affairs spokesman, Wayne Mapp, said the Government had
already made a major commitment to the Gulf in the form of a frigate and an
Air Force Orion.

He was confident they would be involved in any action against Iraq.

"It takes the public as fools for us to believe New Zealand is not engaged."

by Sudha Ramachandran
Asia Times, 23rd November

BANGALORE - As the crisis over Iraq enters a new phase with the return of
the weapons inspectors to that country, India has sent out a clear anti-war
signal, distancing itself from the United States' position.

In a statement of support to Baghdad, India's Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee said this week that he hoped there would be no war in Iraq. "All
issues should be sorted out through discussions under the auspices of the
United Nations," he said.

Without naming the US, Vajpayee, in an obvious reference to Washington's
pursuit of regime change in Baghdad, said that other countries should
understand that "the people of all nations have a right to rule themselves
and choose their own leader ... No one should try to enforce their will on
others. If Iraq has such weapons that pose a threat to humanity, then it
should relinquish these weapons on its own."

India has consistently expressed its opposition to the unilateral use of
force against Iraq and it has consistently called for a diplomatic solution
to the crisis within the UN framework.

In an interview with the Arab media late in August, Vajpayee was asked what
he thought of President George W Bush's axis of evil definition and whether
India would support US military action against Iraq to effect a regime
change. He responded, "India is vitally interested in the peace and
prosperity of the Gulf region and has, therefore, supported all efforts to
defuse the crisis relating to Iraq. In that respect, India supports the
resumption of diplomatic efforts under the auspices of the United Nations."

India has kept a low profile on the Iraq crisis in recent weeks, refraining
from commenting on the various proposals that were being considered by the
Security Council. When asked about Delhi's position on the various
proposals, officials of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs refrained
from commenting; the reason for the silence being that India had no part to
play in hammering out the resolution since the matter concerned the Security
Council alone.

>From a position of merely supporting the UN role in defusing the crisis,
India has now shifted to opposing US goals and proposed strategy in Iraq.

India's disagreement with the Bush administration's approach on Iraq does
not come as a surprise. Delhi has consistently expressed its opposition to
international interference in the internal affairs of a country. It has also
supported the pursuit of a diplomatic approach to ensure Iraq's full
compliance with UN resolutions with respect to inspection of its suspected
chemical and biological weapons facilities. It has opposed the use of force
against Iraq to ensure compliance. In 1998, for instance, when the US and
Britain launched air strikes on Iraq, India called for an immediate halt to
the military operations.

What comes somewhat as a surprise is the expression of the disagreement with
the US at a time when Delhi's relations with Washington, after decades of
frostiness, are warming up. India's military and economic ties with the US
have blossomed.

And in the past couple of years, noticeably from 2001, the Indian government
has been more than enthusiastic in endorsing US positions on global
strategic issues, on the controversial national missile defense, for

It has been argued that India's gains from a rapidly expanding relationship
with the US far outweigh what it gets from its long-standing ties with Iraq.
In 1990-91, India's policy towards Iraq and the Gulf War was determined to a
major extent by its concern for the safety of the huge Indian population
working in Iraq and Kuwait. Analysts point out that now India is less
constrained by that concern as the number of Indians in Iraq has dwindled to
a couple of hundreds, small enough for a quick evacuation.

India's foreign policy establishment is said to be divided on the issue of
Iraq. Some believe that with Bush set on ousting President Saddam Hussein
through military strikes and in determining the nature of a post-Saddam
dispensation, it would be in India's interest to just go along with the US
now and gain a share in the spoils (reconstruction projects) as it has in

However, others believe that India does not stand to gain from an Iraqi
invasion. The political upheaval and economic uncertainty it will engender
across the Middle East will severely affect India. It could mean the return
to India of millions of Indians working in the Middle East who are currently
remitting around US$6 billion annually. Furthermore, the impact on the
Indian economy will be severe given the fact that Arab oil accounts for
almost two-thirds of India's crude imports.

Indian officials are worried that Washington's current preoccupation with
Iraq has distracted its attention away from the military operations against
al-Qaeda. An American invasion of Iraq would lead to a more serious dilution
of the operations, Delhi fears. India has an enormous interest in seeing
al-Qaeda rooted out.

M H Ansari, a former Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told the weekly news
magazine Outlook that "India should be happy with the status quo where
there's no strategic hostility to New Delhi in the Arab world and there's
$10 billion trade with the Gulf countries."

While India's support will not influence US decisions on Iraq, New Delhi's
position on the evolving situation is of some significance. India not
joining an anti-Iraq coalition in the event of an attack on that country
will underscore the fact that democracies do not go to war easily. For long,
the US, while willing to overlook India's trade ties with Iraq, has been
peeved with its reluctance to vote with Washington in the UN on key global

As for Iraq, outside of the Arab world and Islamic countries, it has few
supporters. India's support is therefore important. For the Iraqis, India's
call for lifting of sanctions on Baghdad "in tandem" with its compliance
with UN resolutions is refreshingly different from the standard Western

Last week, Iraq's ambassador to New Delhi, Salah Al-Mukhtar, said that India
should join the UN inspection teams operating in his country.

Mohammed Sayeed Al-Sahaf, a special envoy of the Iraqi president, is
currently in the Indian capital and is expected to meet the Vajpayee to hand
over a message from Saddam.

At a time when Iraqi representatives do not count for much in world
capitals, it is significant that Saddam's special envoy will be meeting with
the Indian premier and foreign minister. The kind of attention that he
receives in Delhi will be closely watched by Washington.

by Nicholas Kralev
Washington Times, 23rd November

PRAGUE ‹ German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who won re-election by vowing
not to take part in any U.S. attack on Iraq, softened his opposition
yesterday by saying that Germany's NATO bases would be available for a
military campaign against Saddam Hussein.

"Of course we do not intend to limit our friends' freedom of movement," Mr.
Schroeder said when asked directly if his government would let the United
States use bases and airspace if a war with Iraq breaks out.

At the same time, Mr. Schroeder reiterated his objection to sending German
troops to Iraq. "There will be no military participation by Germany," he

Mr. Schroeder's remarks came at the end of a two-day NATO summit in Prague,
in which all 19 members of the alliance endorsed a recently passed U.N.
resolution demanding that Iraq disarm or face "serious consequences."

On German radio, Hans-Ulrich Klose, chairman of the Bundestag's foreign
affairs committee, said that German troops and its six armored carriers,
which serve as labs on wheels and are part of the U.S.-led global
anti-terrorism campaign, may have to offer "emergency help if soldiers or
Kuwaiti civilians face danger."

"If push comes to shove, we could not refuse that," Mr. Klose said.

German opposition leaders yesterday were quick to accuse the chancellor, who
won re election in September largely on opposing a war against Saddam, of
breaking his promise.

"Now he has to decide whom to cheat ‹ his voters or our allies," said Edmund
Stoiber, the defeated challenger from the Christian Democratic Union.

On Thursday, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer hinted at a possible
change of heart by Mr. Schroeder's Cabinet, saying it would have to consider
giving U.S. aircraft overflight rights and access to military bases.

In his comments yesterday, the chancellor refrained from repeating his
previous statements that a war in Iraq would be a "mistake" and would bring
even more chaos to the Middle East by sparking renewed terrorism activity.

A statement issued after the NATO summit said:

"We deplore Iraq's failure to comply fully with its obligations. NATO allies
stand united in their commitment to take effective action to assist and
support the efforts of the U.N. to ensure full and immediate compliance by

The communique gave a boost to President Bush, who has been trying to round
up support for disarming the Iraqi leader in a "coalition of the willing."

Mr. Bush chatted with Mr. Schroeder, in front of photographers, at an
official dinner before the summit's opening on Wednesday night in what Mr.
Bush called a "cordial" encounter.

The Wednesday talk was the first time they had met since the German election
campaign, which the White House sharply criticized as riddled with
anti-American sentiment.

"I made clear to Bush that there was never any question of calling his
personal integrity into question," Mr. Schroeder told reporters on Wednesday
night. "In politics, as in private life, there are often differences of
opinion. You thrash them out in a friendly way. That is what happened."

Mr. Bush said Germany is "an important friend of the United States" and
"we've got a relationship to maintain.",3367,1432_A_683385_1_A,00.html

Deutsche Welle, 25th November
There's more trouble brewing for the Social Democratic-Green coalition -
this time over the involvement of German troops and equipment in a possible
Iraq conflict.

With internecine squabbling fast becoming the German government's trademark,
the coalition partners have duely launched their next potentially damaging

This time it's over the use of German troops stationed in Kuwait in a
possible United States led war on Iraq. There are currently 52 soldiers and
six fox reconnaissance armoured vehicles based in Kuwait. These can be used
to detect chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Over the weekend, it emerged that several leading members of the Social
Democratic Party (SPD) and the Greens are at odds with the SPD's Peter
Struck, Germany's defense minister, over the force's possible mission.

Hans Ulrich Klose, an SPD expert on foreign affairs, said that the fox
vehicles should be put at the disposal of the United States in the event of
a war on Iraq.

Struck, however, rejected the idea. "I do not share Klose's view, " he said,
citing constitutional problems and the German government's mandate on
fighting terrorism which does not extend to committing German troops to a
war against Iraq. Stuck also remained adament that he would not send more
troops to Kuwait.

As if to highlight the SPD's internal disarray, Stuck's own parliamentary
state secretary, Hans Georg Wagner, contradicted his minister, saying that
the German troops and tanks would "naturally" be deployed in the event of an

While the Greens concede the possible use of the troops in Kuwait, they
remain firmly opposed to any other involvement in a possible war. Winfried
Nachtwei, the Greens' parliamentary group's spokesman on defense policy,
warned of Germany being dragged into a conflict against its will.

"We must ensure that we don't find ourselves sliding toward a war in Iraq,"
he said, arguing that the deployment of other weapons such as missiles would
constitute an unpermissible contribution to a war effort.

He was referring to newspaper reports over the weekend that the U.S. had
asked the Berlin government for anti-aircraft missiles in the case of a war.
Defense minister Peter Struck denied that was the case. "The report is
false," he said.

The report, quoting senior government officials, said Washington had asked
Germany to prepare to provide an unspecified number of Patriot missiles. The
officials allegedly hinted that the request would be difficult to turn down
if it was intended to defend Israel or Turkey.

Meanwhile, Angelika Beer, the Greens' expert on defense matters, questioned
the legitimacy of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's stance on allowing
Washington to use German airspace or U.S bases here in the event of a war.

"If there is no clear international law mandating a war, then there can be
no decree granting airspace, because this would effectively constitute
involvement in a war violating international law, something the chancellor
has ruled out," she said.

Political pundits attribute Schröder's victory in September's general
election to his hardline anti-war stance. However the conservative
opposition says Schröder will be forced to choose between breaking that
promise, thereby deceiving the electorate, or risk further damaging
U.S-German relations.

by Eric Jansson in Belgrade and Jimmy Burns in London
Financial Times, 26th November

Yugoslavia yesterday reacted angrily to a US-based think-tank report
alleging it had failed to clamp down on illegal arms sales to Iraq, as the
UK government used an international conference on organised crime in the
Balkans to denounce the alleged links between Belgrade and Baghdad.

"International rule of law means no breach of United Nations sanctions -
such as selling weapons to Saddam Hussein," said Denis MacShane, UK Foreign
Office minister with special responsibility for Europe.

The conference - one of the biggest diplomatic gatherings on the Balkans
since the Dayton peace conference in 1995 - was aimed at giving fresh
impetus to a co-ordinated European strategy against the illicit arms trade
as well as drugs trafficking, and people and cigarette smuggling.

But it has been overshadowed by the leak of a report alleging deep trading
links between Belgrade's political and military leaders and Saddam Hussein's
regime, in violation of the UN arms embargo.

The report, from the private international affairs watchdog International
Crisis Group, is based in part on documents from the US government,
according to its authors. These include two "non-papers" - complaints
quietly delivered from the US embassy in Belgrade to Yugoslav authorities,
one as early as July 2001 and another just a month ago.

The US embassy in Belgrade would not confirm the existence of the
non-papers, but Washington's suspicion of illegal Yugoslav arms dealing is
at its highest level since pro democracy parties forced Slobodan Milosevic,
the former Yugoslav president, from office in October 2000.

A team of US government investigators arrived in Belgrade this month to
search state records, including military archives, under the escort of Zoran
Zivkovic, the Yugoslav federal interior minister. But crucially, the ICG
report calls into question the willingness of Mr Zivkovic and other
officials to co-operate.

The report notes that Mr Zivkovic and other ministers sit on the executive
board of Jugoimport-SDPR, the Yugoslav state's arms trader.

The company came under further suspicion in October when Croatian
authorities seized a Yugoslav freighter, the Boka Star, allegedly bound for
Iraq via Syria, carrying a Jugoimport owned cargo: 208 tons of
nitrocellulose propellant and nitroglycerin, the base ingredients of solid
propellant rocket fuel.

Mr Zivkovic is joined on the board of directors by Velimir Radojevic, the
federal defence minister, and the chairman of the board is Dusan Mihajlovic,
the Serbian interior minister.

Yugoslav authorities reacted angrily to the charge that their efforts to
rein in rogue arms traders have been slack. The foreign ministry released a
statement promising that the government would punish traders violating the
UN embargo and claimed that action was being taken. But the foreign ministry
yesterday refused to comment on the ICG report.

The report's allegation that Vojislav Kostunica, the Yugoslav president,
knew about arms shipments to Iraq but initially did nothing to halt them,
was greeted with outrage from the president's advisers. Predrag Simic, Mr
Kostunica's foreign affairs adviser, call the claim "complete nonsense".

But Yugoslav authorities now face a litany of specific allegations, as
detailed in the report, rather than the more abstract charge of arms

Yesterday's conference in London committed EU member states and those
joining the EU to establishing greater security and judicial co-operation.
Greece, which takes over the EU presidency next year, pledged to make the
fight against organised crime in south eastern Europe a high priority.

However, several delegations complained about bureaucratic hurdles. For the
UK, Mr MacShane stressed the need for greater banking transparency and in a
further critical reference to the Balkans, said: "The world will not take
our efforts seriously in south eastern Europe while war criminals like
Karadzic, Mladic and Bobetko are not sent to The Hague."

by Tim Vickery
Moscow Times, from The Associated Press, 27th November

 KIEV -- Investigators probing an alleged Ukrainian arms deal with Iraq are
now focusing on China's possible role in the transaction, the U.S.
ambassador to Ukraine said Tuesday.

A team of 13 U.S. and British experts spent a week in Ukraine last month
investigating whether the country had sent any Kolchuha radar systems to
Baghdad in violation of UN sanctions. In a report made public in Kiev on
Monday, the experts said there is a "credible possibility" that Ukraine had
sent such radar systems to Iraq through an intermediary.

Ukrainian officials have confirmed that four of the Ukrainian-made radar
stations are in China, but inspectors could not verify they had not been
transferred to Iraq because Ukraine refused to provide documentation, the
report said.

U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual said Tuesday that China was a "special
concern" because Ukrainian officials had told the inspectors that a standard
clause preventing third-party transfers in a sales contract with China was
modified "at China's request."

Ukraine has said the contract included privileged information. It later
provided a copy of a clause it claimed was in the contract, but the text
reflected little modification, raising suspicions of China's intentions to
transfer the Kolchuha system to Iraq.

China on Tuesday flatly denied any involvement in the transaction.

"There is no such question of China transferring radar systems to Iraq,"
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said in Beijing. "The Chinese
government has strictly implemented the relevant sanctions by the United
Nations on Iraq."

Pascual said the United States had not pressed China directly about the
deal, but did provide the UN Security Council's Iraq sanctions committee
with a copy of the report.

"That will be a forum in which the Chinese have an opportunity to comment on
these issues," Pascual said.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry downplayed China's possible role.

"Don't make an elephant out of a fly," said spokesman Serhiy Borodenkov. "We
are totally open."

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma visited China earlier this month to drum
up support for his request that UN inspectors verify that his government did
not transfer radar systems to Iraq.

U.S. authorities say they have verified the authenticity of a recording in
which Kuchma is allegedly heard approving a $100 million sale of the
sophisticated radar system to Iraq. However, Kuchma has denied the

The inspectors' report also mentions that an Iraqi trade delegation visited
eastern Ukraine where the Kolchuhas are made in June this year. Ukrainian
officials denied that any Iraqi military representatives took part, but
documents contradicted that, the report said.

Ukraine also sold at least one Kolchuha system to Russia, according to the
report -- raising questions about Moscow's possible role in transferring the
sensitive technology to Iraq. Pascual could not confirm any details of the
Russian transaction, citing Ukrainian objections that the details are

Western officials fear the radar system could enable the Iraqis to target
U.S. and British warplanes enforcing the no-fly zones in the north and south
of the country.

Boston Herald, from Associated Press, 27th November

BUDAPEST, Hungary - The United States asked Hungary for permission to train
interpreters and other auxiliary personnel at a Hungarian military base in
preparation for a possible war in Iraq, the government said Wednesday.

Spokesman J. Zoltan Gal said the training would take place at a military
base currently used by the U.S. military in the village of Taszar, 100 miles
south of Budapest.

"The Hungarian government is studying the request and the possibility of
securing the necessary conditions," Gal said in a statement, adding that
parliament would have the final say on the U.S. request.

Gal and other Hungarian officials would not comment on an ABC-TV report that
the Pentagon planned to begin training - possibly in Hungary or another
European country - up to 5,000 Iraqi opposition members who would be
recruited by the State Department to act as interpreters and fill other

A Hungarian national security expert told The Associated Press that it would
be "politically unfeasible" for Hungary to accept the U.S. request if it
involved the training of Iraqi dissidents.

"The Hungarian public's perception would be that such an event would raise
the possibility of Hungary becoming a target for a terrorist attack," said
Sebestyen Gorka of the Hungarian Policy Institute, a nongovernmental
research institute.

Taszar has been used by the U.S. military since December 1995, when it
transformed the Hungarian army and air force base into a logistics post for
the NATO-led peacekeeping operation in Bosnia.

Hungary would not provide combat troops for any action against Iraq, but if
a peaceful solution was impossible, the country is ready to participate
"within the range of its possibilities," Gal said.

In 1999, Hungary, along with Poland and the Czech Republic, became the first
former communist countries to join NATO.

Irish Examiner, 27th November

An aide to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has quit following an
outcry over reports she privately called US President George Bush a "moron".

Francoise Ducros, who was Chretien's director of communications, used the
expression during a conversation at last week's Nato summit in Prague.

The Canadian premier was forced to make light of the remark. Bush "is a
friend of mine. He's not a moron at all," he told reporters at the summit.

Ducros has said she does not remember making the comment and never used the
word in her official capacity. She offered to resign last week, but Chretien
defended her and initially refused to accept her resignation.

Her remark, reportedly made in a news briefing room, touched off a debate in
Canada about the state of US-Canadian relations and was cited as a gauge of
the strength of anti American sentiment in the country.

The controversy continued as members of opposition political parties raised
concern that Ducros's comment was being used by Baghdad as an example of
opposition to Bush's talk of military action in Iraq.

"It is Saddam Hussein's official media outlet which is now using the words
of the spokesperson of the prime minister and of the government to insult
this country," Jason Kenney of the Canadian Alliance party told parliament.

"By allowing her words to stand, by not accepting her resignation and by not
apologising for these offensive remarks, the government and the prime
minister have indicated that this constitutes tolerable conduct on the part
of their spokesperson."

Arabic News, 27th November

The Paris- based al-Watan al-Arabi magazine said, according to well-informed
sources, that the military and intelligence leadership in Moscow had
prepared a plan to topple the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by a military
coupe or an assassination operation in order to protect the Russian
interests in Iraq and the region and to block plans of an American
occupation of Iraq.

In its recent issue, the magazine said that the higher Russian leadership
decided to pursue a new strategy that stems from the fact that Washington
will topple Saddam Hussein, but the Russian interest require a plan that
achieves this objective without leading to Russia losing of its historical
influence and economic interests in Iraq.

A well- informed source stressed that the said plan was held in top secrecy
and full seriousness and on the ground that the plan of the military coup
has no relation to the military coup plans previously prepared by the CIA; A
plan which is based on an experience of years of military and intelligence
cooperation between Baghdad and Moscow and tons of the archive of the
Russian intelligence.

The magazine said that the scenario of the successful Russian coup will be
carried out at the hands of persons which are very close to the Iraqi
President and are able to have access to him, adding that the Russian
national security council took a decision to topple Saddam Hussein in order
to protect and ensure the Russian interests in Iraq and the region.

Cape Argus (Cape Town), 28th November

If President Thabo Mbeki can play a role in preventing an imminent war
between Iraq and the United States, then he will be advised to visit
President Saddam Hussein.

So says Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad, in response to the
criticism that has dogged his department since his return from an Iraqi
trade fair in Baghdad.

"We are adjudged guilty by association (with Iraq). What most fail to
realise is that we have relations with all countries in the world.

"And if the same principle (of guilty by association) is applied fairly, we
will then have no relations with anyone. It's nonsense," said Pahad.

The row about Pahad, and by extension South Africa, "hobnobbing" with Iraq
followed reports that he had personally delivered a letter from Mbeki to
Saddam and that the latter then verbally invited Mbeki to Baghdad.

Democratic Alliance deputy leader Joe Seremane said a visit to Saddam by
Mbeki would "damage US-SA relations". He also felt it would jeopardise the
benefits achieved from the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.


by Hugh Williamson in Berlin and Peter Spiegel in Washington
Financial Times, 28th November

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder yesterday refused to provide the US with
the support it has requested from allies for an attack on Iraq, in a move
that could further fuel tensions between Berlin and Washington.

Mr Schröder defiantly rejected recent US demands for military and other
assistance that could draw Germany into a war with Iraq.

"I want to make it as clear as glass that we are opposed to military
intervention," he said.

However, in an attempt to avoid further undermining fragile US-German
relations, the chancellor said the US could use its military bases in
Germany for assaults on Iraq. He also promised military support to Israel, a
key US ally.

The US defence department said Mr Schröder's decision was not critical, with
one official saying the lack of German co-operation would not greatly impede
a war effort, if an attack on Iraq became necessary.

Mr Schröder said Washington had requested earlier this month that Germany,
in the event of an Iraq war, provide defence against chemical, biological
and nuclear attack, missile defence systems, military police, and financial
and material help for possible post-conflict reconstruction work.

The chancellor suggested that these requests could not be met because of
Germany's stance against an Iraq war.

But Mr Schröder repeated that Germany would comply with international
agreements which oblige it to allow the US and Nato overflight rights in the
event of war. US and Nato troops would also be able to use American military
facilities in Germany and to move freely throughout the country.

Mr Schröder said Berlin was ready to meet a two-year-old request from Israel
for defensive anti-aircraft missile systems. Peter Struck, defence minister,
said Germany could supply two of the Patriot missile systems requested.
Germany currently has six available.

Berlin would also respond positively to another Israeli request, presented
this week, to supply specialist Fuchs armoured carriers used in detecting
nuclear, poison-gas and germ warfare, the chancellor said.

While based on Berlin's historical responsibilities towards the state of
Israel, these commitments are also an indirect way of pleasing Washington,
analysts said. The US wish list included a request for unspecified missile
defence systems to be located in the Middle East, and for the use of the
Fuchs armoured carriers.

Six of the carriers, along with 52 German troops, are already stationed in
Kuwait as part of the anti-terrorist Enduring Freedom alliance. The
chancellor yesterday ruled out the deployment of these carriers in an Iraq

Mr Schröder stressed that Berlin's priority remained Iraqi compliance with
the United Nations resolution on weapons of mass destruction. Additional
reporting by Yvonne Esterhazy in Washington.


CNN, 23rd November

TUNCELI, Turkey (Reuters) -- Turkish soldiers have pursued Kurdish
separatists across the border into northern Iraq, but the death toll from
three days of clashes was not yet clear, a military official said on

Members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) told the Mezopotamya News
Agency they had killed seven Turkish soldiers and four intelligence agents,
but the official denied the army had suffered any losses.

He said "a great number of PKK were killed" after the army used ground
forces and helicopters to track PKK fighters in a rugged mountain area
bordering Turkey's Sirnak province.

The Turkish army regularly enters northern Iraq, where it keeps a military
base, to fight PKK guerrillas who have waged an armed struggle for an ethnic
homeland in southeast Turkey since 1984. More than 30,000 people, mainly
Kurds, have been killed.

Fighting has dropped off sharply since the 1999 capture and sentencing of
PKK commander Abdullah Ocalan, who ordered his followers to withdraw from
Turkey into northern Iraq.

Europe-based Mezopotamya, closely linked to the PKK, carried a statement
from the separatists saying Turkish soldiers began attacking rebel camps
across the border on Wednesday and that fighting continued.
d lines=&pagewanted=print&position=top

by Dexter Filkins
New York Times, 23rd November

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Nov. 22: Turkish officials are preparing to send troops
up to 60 miles into northern Iraq on what they say is a mission to prevent
an influx of refugees in the event that a war there sets off a mass movement
toward Turkey's borders.

The plan, which is being circulated among top government officials, is
giving rise to fears that it could be used as a cover for the Turkish
military to snuff out any attempt by Iraqi Kurds to set up their own state
if President Saddam Hussein falls from power.

Turkey has been battling its own Kurdish insurgency for years, and Turkish
leaders are concerned that a war in Iraq could lead to an independent
Kurdish state on their own borders.

Turkish officials say they are fearful that an Iraqi attack on the Kurds in
Iraq, possibly with biological or chemical weapons, could cause a panic
similar to the one that followed the Persian Gulf war in 1991, when more
than a million Kurds poured into Turkey and Iran in flight from the
attacking Iraqi Army.

"In case of a massive influx, it would be necessary to take measures to keep
them away from our border," said Gokhan Aydiner, regional governor in
southeastern Iraq. "We have our own experience from 1991 in mind. We
naturally do not want it to be repeated."

The Turkish plan is a measure of the anxiety that is sweeping the region as
the threat of an American-led war with Iraq looms. While many leaders in the
area say they would be happy to see Mr. Hussein ousted, they fear a war's
unintended effects.

In Turkey, for instance, officials have indicated that they would support an
American-led attack, but they are determined to avoid a repeat of 1991. That
crisis began weeks after the gulf war had ended, when Iraq's Kurds,
emboldened by Mr. Hussein's defeat, rose up against him.

Iraqi forces loyal to Mr. Hussein responded with ferocity, and thousands of
Kurds headed for the borders. American troops and international aid agencies
rushed in to help deal with the crisis, but at one point more than 1,000
people a day were dying on the borders from exposure and disease.

Turkish officials insist that the influx of refugees helped fuel the
long-running Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

This is a delicate time for Turkey, which is seeking membership in the
European Union. One factor inhibiting Turkey's admission has been its often
brutal treatment, and sometimes torture, of suspected members of Kurdish
guerrilla groups.

The plan for sealing the borders, dated Oct. 22 and signed by Bulent Ecevit,
who was then prime minister, envisions the establishment of 18 camps — 12 of
them in Iraq — designed to hold about 275,000 refugees. The camps in Iraq
would be filled first, and foreigners trying to enter Turkey before the
first 12 camps were filled would be turned back. The camps in Turkey would
be opened only after the ones in Iraq were filled.

The plan calls on the army to ensure "the maintenance of security in the
region," and it makes it clear that the government does want any refugees to
stay for long.

"The main principle will be to send foreigners settled in the camps either
back to their region of origin or to third countries," the document says.

Human rights workers in Turkey have sharply criticized the Turkish
preparations to go into Iraq, with some saying that the real goal would be
to forestall any attempt by Iraq's Kurds to set up their own government
there. The rights groups fear the Turkish Army would make it impossible for
them to work in northern Iraq, and thus would effectively deny the Kurdish
people the very benefits the Turkish government says it wants to deliver.

"The Turkish Army would do its best to eliminate the possibility of a
Kurdish entity in northern Iraq, through military means," said Selahattin
Demitas, of the Turkish Human Rights Association. "The only law that will be
applied in that area would be the law of war."

Others say the Turkish plan, if carried out, would violate longstanding
norms of international law governing the treatment of refugees. Generally
speaking, countries are obliged to grant entrance to people fleeing
persecution from other countries. Officials at the United Nations, which
would ordinarily play a large role in any relief effort, say the Turkish
government has refused so far to divulge the plan's details.

"We couldn't get as much cooperation as we expected," said Metin Corabatir,
spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ankara.
"We have not seen the report."

Turkish leaders already regard their country as an embattled front line
against illegal immigrants from Asia. In the first 10 months of this year,
more than 13,000 people were detained trying to cross into Turkey from Iraq.
Most were Iraqi, but the police arrested Bangladeshis and Indians as well.

Another refugee crisis would complicate Turkey's tangled relationship with
the Kurds. Several parts of the country near the Iraqi border are under
emergency rule. Although the government offers political support for Kurdish
groups battling Mr. Hussein in Iraq, hundreds of Turkish troops are
operating in northern Iraq to root out remnants of Kurdish guerrillas there.

A Turkish move into northern Iraq would be an unusual response to a refugee
crisis, but not an unprecedented one. During the American-led campaign in
Afghanistan last year, Iranian officials set up a refugee camp in western
Afghanistan to forestall an influx of Afghans into their country.

by Gunduz Aktan
Hoover's (Financial Times), 24th November, from Turkish Daily News,

Ankara: Suitable conditions for a solution to problems besetting Turkomans
would emerge, if a military operation on Iraq takes place and if a
democratic regime replaces the existing one as a result.

The "Declaration" that Iraq presented to the United Nations in 1932 to be
recognized as an independent state granted the same status to Turkomans and
Kurds. In areas where one of these two groups constituted the majority,
Kurdish and Turkoman language, that is Turkish, were accepted as the
"official language." Opting for the armed struggle option, Kurds extended
the scope of their rights and the boundaries of the region they controlled.
They attacked Turkomans in Kirkuk in 1959, killing some and displacing many
others. In 1970, Saddam Hussein himself accepted geographical and political
autonomy to Kurds. On the other hand, a decision of the Revolutionary
Command Council issued in the same year relegated Turkomans' rights to
cultural rights level. Their language was no longer an official language.
They were allowed to publish a newspaper and a journal. The Turkoman
language was to be taught only in primary schools. On the other hand, the
provisional Constitution of 1970 accepted that the "Iraqi nation comprised
of Arabs and Kurds."

However, Article 10 of the Declaration foresees that violations of rights of
Turkomans, like those of other groups, are to be taken up by the Council of
the League of Nations, which would then be assigned to take "proper and
effective measures." Under today's U.N. terminology, this could be
interpreted as allowing a wide range of measures including even the armed
option. What is more, violation of the founding agreement Declaration is
such a serious act that it could even endanger the statehood of Iraq.

In the light of what was said above, in the event of a regime change in
Iraq, Turkoman rights should be upgraded to the level enjoyed by Kurds.
Getting Turkomans, a scattered community, contrary to Kurds, organized
around a "Community Assembly", granting official status to their language
and compensation for the oppression they were subjected to in the past could
be considered as suitable measures. In addition, a new Iraqi constitution
could describe the term "Iraqi nation" as including, alongside with Kurds,
Arabs and Turkomans.

Another issue to be resolved in this regard is the oil problem. According to
Article 14 of the June 1926 Turco-British agreement, on the basis of which
we abandoned Mosul, 10 percent of oil revenues of the company, which was
still called "Turkish Petroleum Company" then, and of revenues of oil
exporting corporations and subsidiaries were to be delivered to Turkey for
the next 25 years. Iraq kept this commitment for 13 years, that was until
World War II. Then it stopped payments to Turkey. Payments that were
supposed to be made by Iraq for the next 12 years were recorded in Turkish
national budgets as state claims until 1986. Upon Saddam Hussein's request,
the unpaid payments were taken out of the next budgets. But Turkey did not
give up on its claim.

Today, the privilege contract of the Turkish Petroleum Company, dated March
4, 1925, should be reviewed to calculate Iraq's oil debts to Turkey. Taking
into consideration the increases in production that took place after
nationalization of Iraqi oil reserves in 1972, construction of oil pipelines
and the increasing export revenues and subsidiaries, one would see that the
amount of unpaid debts must have risen to a level that cannot be ignored. If
Iraqi oil reserves are to be privatized once again, Turkey ought to be
granted new benefits in return for its rights. These benefits could include
privileges to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) to explore oil in new
regions of Iraq and partnership in oil pipelines.

What needs to be kept in mind is that there is an agreement stipulating that
a part of Iraq's oil revenues should be delivered to Turkey in return for
Turkey's abandoning Mosul. That is, Iraq's sovereignty on Mosul could turn
controversial if the debt is not paid.

In sum, Turkey's Iraq policy must be based on the following principles: That
Iraq's territorial integrity must be protected, that Turkomans have the
self-determination right if Iraqi territorial integrity is not protected,
that Kurds too must be disarmed and democratized in a disarmed and
democratized Iraq, that Turkomans' rights should be upgraded to the level
enjoyed by Kurds and that Iraq's oil debts should be paid in cooperation
with Iraq.

BBC, 26th November

Jalal Talabani, widely referred to by Kurds as Mam (uncle) Jalal, is one of
the longest serving figures in contemporary Iraqi Kurdish politics.

A Baghdad University law graduate, he is considered to be a shrewd
politician with an ability to switch alliances and influence friends and
foes alike.

Mr Talabani is the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of
the two main parties controlling the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The party has
traditionally drawn its support from among the urban population and radical
elements in Kurdish society.

Based in Sulaymaniyah, it controls the south-eastern part of Iraqi Kurdistan
- with the rival Kurdistan Democratic Party, KDP, to the west and the
central government to the south.

The PUK commands a militia force of more than 20,000 men, which could play a
role in the event of US military action against Iraq. Mr Talabani has been
seeking US support for federal status for Kurds in any settlement of a
post-Saddam Iraq.

Born in 1933, Jalal Talabani began his political career in the early 1950s
as a founder member and leader of the KDP's Kurdistan Students Union. He
rapidly moved up within the party ranks to become a senior member of the

In 1961, he joined the Kurdish revolt against the government of Abd-al-Karim
Qasim. After the coup that ousted Qasim he led the Kurdish delegation to
talks with President Abd-al Salam Arif's government in 1963.

Subsequent differences with KDP leader Mustafa Barzani began to emerge and
in 1975 he joined a KDP splinter group, the KDP-Political Bureau, led by his
future father-in-law and the party ideologue Ibrahim Ahmad.

In 1966, the group formed an alliance with the central government and took
part in a military campaign against the KDP. The group was dissolved when
the KDP and the government signed a peace agreement in March 1970.

Jalal Talabani and a number of others founded the PUK in 1975. A year later
he began an armed campaign against the central government.

The PUK suffered a severe setback when the Iraqi Government used chemical
weapons against the Kurds in 1988, and Mr Talabani was forced to leave
northern Iraq and seek refuge in Iran.

The Talabani-Barzani or PUK-KDP rivalry has been a dominant factor in Iraqi
Kurdish politics for the last three decades.

A new era in Mr Talabani's political life began in the aftermath of the 1991
Gulf War and the Kurdish uprising in the north against the Iraqi Government.

The declaration by the Western alliance of a no-fly zone and a safe haven
for Kurds marked the beginning of a short-lived honeymoon with the KDP.

Elections were held in Iraqi Kurdistan and a PUK-KDP joint administration
was established in 1992.

The underlying tension between the two parties led to armed confrontation,
dubbed the fratricide war, in 1994. After concerted efforts by the US and,
to a lesser extent Britain, and numerous meetings between the two parties'
delegations, Mr Talabani and KDP leader Massoud Barzani signed a peace
agreement in Washington in 1998.

The accord was further cemented on 4 October 2002 when the regional
parliament reconvened in a session attended by both parties' MPs. In that
session, Mr Talabani proposed that the parliament should pass a law
prohibiting and criminalising inter-Kurdish fighting.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and
translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the
internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The Scotsman, 28th November

THEIR great enemy Saddam Hussein might be on the ropes, but Kurdish leaders
in northern Iraq are still alarmed.

Reports have suggested that in the event of war, Turkey plans to send troops
up to 70 miles into the north of the country to forestall a flood of
refugees entering its borders.

Western diplomats have shrugged off the threats but Iraqi Kurds, slowly
recovering from 30 years of battles with Baghdad, do not take them lightly.

The fate of the Kurdish region of Iraq, where millions of Kurds now run
their own villages and schools, remains a dangerously open question as the
US considers the options for an Iraq after Saddam Hussein.

"The outcome could be anything," said Faik Nerweyi, the Amman representative
of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. "Saddam is a hanging sword over our
neck," he said. "But if he is removed, what will come after him?"

Worst-case scenarios for a post-war Iraq draw a picture of blood-baths in
Baghdad and both the Shia Muslims in the south and the Kurds in the north
seizing control of their areas to split Iraq into three. The looming
possibility that the US may force out Saddam, the man they blame for a
string of atrocities including the use of chemical weapons to wipe out a
Kurdish town, have left the feeling that something good is coming, said Mr

"But we have to be cautious. There are a dozen butterflies moving in our
stomachs," he said.

The danger, he said, is that if post-war Iraq begins to fall apart, Turkey
and even Iran could intervene in an "uncontrolled game".

Washington has tried to play down fears of a disintegrating Iraq by
insisting that Iraq's "territorial integrity" is at the top of its
priorities list.

Reports suggest an American military government could hold the country
together in the early days after any US move on Baghdad.

The Kurds would likely play a key role in a "transitional authority" on the
path to a democratic, federal state.

The Kurds are waging a sustained diplomatic campaign to prove to Ankara and
Washington that they want to remain in a federal Iraq.

"Every day we are sending goodwill messages. We are telling them that the
Kurdish federal part of Iraq would not be a threat to Turkey in any way. We
will keep ourselves within the borders of Iraq," said Mr Nerweyi.

After a Kurdish parliament convened this summer, Turkish politicians
repeatedly threatened that if there was a declaration of independence, its
army would intervene.

This week reports emerged of a different Turkish contingency plan - to send
troops up to 70 miles into northern Iraq in a bid to stop any flood of war
refugees before they can cross the Turkish border.

Turkish officials describe it as a humanitarian operation. But critics,
including human rights groups, suspect the true goal is to ensure Turkey's
control of Iraqi Kurdish areas.

Another crisis in a post-Saddam Iraq could centre on the city of Kirkuk, at
the heart of Iraq's richest oil region, long claimed by the Kurds and
briefly occupied by them in the wake of the 1991 Persian Gulf war before
Saddam Hussein's troops staged a bloody re-conquest.

The Kurds claim that Saddam has "arabised" a city that is rightly their own
by settling Iraqi families there.

There are 400,000 Kurds waiting to return to the area who were driven from
their homes, said Mr Nerweyi.

"Giving Kirkuk back would be to give people what they own," he added.

The Kurds have repeatedly told the Americans, said Mr Nerweyi, that their
goal is to be part of a federal, democratic Iraq.

But, he said, if Turkey were to elect to intervene, the Kurds were quite
determined that they would fight.

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]