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[casi] News, 01-08/05/03 (2)

News, 01-08/05/03 (2)


*  Two killed in new Iraq demo shooting
*  Grenade attack wounds seven U.S. soldiers
*  Gunmen seize houses in chaotic, violent Baghdad
*  U.S. forces launch raid in Tikrit
*  Iraq television building attacked


*  Reds under the ruins
*  Garner: Group of 9 will likely lead Iraq [extract]
*  Baghdad's police chief resigns
*  KDP head says Peshmerga may merge with Iraqi military
*  Bush taps antiterrorism advisor as Iraq pro-consul
*  U.S.-Backed Iraqi Exiles Return to Reinvent Nation
*  Garner: Group of 9 Will Likely Lead Iraq
*  US officer's skills pay off as key Iraq city goes to polls today
*  Baghdad slowly flickering back to life


by Chris Hughes
Daily Mirror, 1st May

IT started when a young boy hurled a sandal at a US jeep - it ended with two
Iraqis dead and 16 seriously injured.

I watched in horror as American troops opened fire on a crowd of 1,000
unarmed people here yesterday.

Many, including children, were cut down by a 20-second burst of automatic
gunfire during a demonstration against the killing of 13 protesters at the
Al-Kaahd school on Monday.

They had been whipped into a frenzy by religious leaders. The crowd were
facing down a military compound of tanks and machine-gun posts.

The youngster had apparently lobbed his shoe at the jeep - with a M2 heavy
machine gun post on the back - as it drove past in a convoy of other

A soldier operating the weapon suddenly ducked, raised it on its pivot then
pressed his thumb on the trigger.

Mirror photographer Julian Andrews and I were standing about six feet from
the vehicle when the first shots rang out, without warning.

We dived for cover under the compound wall as troops within the crowd opened
fire. The convoy accelerated away from the scene.

Iraqis in the line of fire dived for cover, hugging the dust to escape being

We could hear the bullets screaming over our heads. Explosions of sand
erupted from the ground - if the rounds failed to hit a demonstrator first.
Seconds later the shooting stopped and the screaming and wailing began.

One of the dead, a young man, lay face up, half his head missing, first
black blood, then red spilling into the dirt.

His friends screamed at us in anger, then looked at the grim sight in

A boy of 11 lay shouting in agony before being carted off in a car to a
hospital already jam packed with Iraqis hurt in Monday's incident.

Cars pulled up like taxis to take the dead and injured to hospital, as if
they had been waiting for this to happen.

A man dressed like a sheik took off his headcloth to wave and direct traffic
around the injured. The sickening scenes of death and pain were the
culmination of a day of tension in Al-Fallujah sparked by Monday's killings.

The baying crowd had marched 500 yards from the school to a local Ba'ath
party HQ. We joined them, asking questions and taking pictures, as Apache
helicopters circled above.

The crowd waved their fists at the gunships angrily and shouted: "Go home
America, go home America."

We rounded a corner and saw edgy-looking soldiers lined up along the street
in between a dozen armoured vehicles. All of them had automatic weapons
pointing in the firing position.

As the crowd - 10 deep and about 100 yards long - marched towards the US
positions, chanting "Allah is great, go home Americans", the troops reversed
into the compound.

On the roof of the two-storey fortress, ringed by a seven-foot high brick
wall, razor wire and with several tanks inside, around 20 soldiers ran to
the edge and took up positions.

A machine gun post at one of the corners swivelled round, taking aim at the
crowd which pulled to a halt.

We heard no warning to disperse and saw no guns or knives among the Iraqis
whose religious and tribal leaders kept shouting through loud hailers to
remain peaceful. In the baking heat and with the deafening noise of
helicopters the tension reached breaking point.

Julian and I ran towards the compound to get away from the crowd as dozens
of troops started taking aim at them, others peering at them through

Tribal leaders struggled to contain the mob which was reaching a frenzy.

A dozen ran through the cordon of elders, several hurling what appeared to
be rocks at troops.

Some of the stones just reached the compound walls. Many threw sandals - a
popular Iraqi insult.

A convoy of Bradley military jeeps passed by, the Iraqis hurling insults at
them, slapping the sides of the vehicles with their sandals, tribal leaders
begging them to retreat.

The main body of demonstrators jeered the passing US troops pointing their
thumbs down to mock them.

Then came the gunfire - and the death and the agony.

After the shootings the American soldiers looked at the appalling scene
through their binoculars and set up new positions, still training their guns
at us.

An angry mob battered an Arab TV crew van, pulling out recording equipment
and hurling it at the compound. Those left standing - now apparently insane
with anger - ran at the fortress battering its walls with their fists. Many
had tears pouring down their faces.

Still no shots from the Iraqis and still no sign of the man with the AK47
who the US later claimed had let off a shot at the convoy.

I counted at least four or five soldiers with binoculars staring at the
crowd for weapons but we saw no guns amongst the injured or dropped on the

A local told us the crowd would turn on foreigners so we left and went to
the hospital.

There, half an hour later, another chanting mob was carrying an open coffin
of one of the dead, chanting "Islam, Islam, Islam, death to the Americans".

We left when we were spat at by a wailing woman dressed in black robes.

US troops had been accused of a bloody massacre over the killings of the 13
Iraqis outside the school on Monday. Three of the dead were said to be boys
under 11.

At least 75 locals were injured in a 30-minute gun battle after soldiers
claimed they were shot at by protesters.

Demonstrators claimed they were trying to reclaim the school from the
Americans who had occupied it as a military HQ.

The crowd had defied a night-time curfew to carry out the protest.

Houston Chronicle, (from AP), 1st May

FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Attackers lobbed two grenades into a U.S. Army compound
today, wounding seven soldiers just hours after the Americans had fired on
Iraqi protesters in the street outside, a U.S. intelligence officer

The incident -- the latest in a series of clashes and deadly shootings
involving U.S. troops in Fallujah -- came as President Bush prepared to
address to the American public from a homeward-bound aircraft carrier,
declaring that major combat in Iraq is finished.

None of the injuries to soldiers of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in
Fallujah was life threatening, said Capt. Frank Rosenblatt.

The troops inside the walled compound -- a former police station -- opened
fire on men fleeing the area, but no one was captured or believed hit, said
Rosenblatt, whose 82nd Airborne Division is handing over control of Fallujah
to the Armored Cavalry.

The attackers' identities were unknown, Brig. Gen. Dan Hahn, chief of staff
for the Army's V Corps, said in Baghdad.

The attack, at 1 a.m. today, came after soldiers in the compound and in a
passing Army convoy opened fire Wednesday on anti-American demonstrators
massed outside. Local hospital officials said two Iraqis were killed and 18

American officers said that barrage was provoked when someone fired on the
convoy from the crowd.

Wednesday's march was to protest earlier bloodshed Monday night, when 16
demonstrators and bystanders were killed and more than 50 wounded, according
to hospital counts. In that clash, an 82nd Airborne company, whose members
said they were being shot at, fired on a protest outside a school occupied
by U.S. soldiers.

Some Fallujah residents said they had heard relatives of victims vow to
avenge Wednesday's shootings -- and many in the city have declared they want
the American troops to leave.

Resistance to American troops is especially sharp in Fallujah, a city of
200,000 people 30 miles west of Baghdad, because it benefited more than most
from Saddam Hussein's regime.

The regime built chemical and other factories that generated jobs for
Fallujah's workers and wealth for its businessmen. Many of Fallujah's young
men joined elite regime forces such as the Republican Guard and Special
Republican Guard.

U.S. military officials met Wednesday with local religious and clan leaders
on the security situation.

"We asked the commanding officers for an investigation and for compensation
for the families of the dead and injured," said Taha Bedaiwi al-Alwani, the
new, U.S.-recognized mayor of Fallujah.

Al-Alwani and other Iraqis also asked that U.S. troops be redeployed outside
the city center. A U.S. paratrooper company has already left one school
where it was staying, which was the focus of Monday's protest.

Residents told reporters they were troubled by soldiers looking at Fallujah
women, and some believed the Americans' goggles or binoculars could "see"
through curtains or clothing.

In a radio broadcast today, the commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq
urged citizens to help move the country forward by going back to work,
stopping looting and cooperating to improve postwar security.

Lt. Gen. David McKiernan made the statement through Information Radio, the
U.S.-led coalition's radio station, which is being broadcast across Iraq.

"I call for putting an end to all acts of sabotage and criminal acts
including plundering, looting and attacking coalition forces," he said in
remarks read by an announcer in Arabic. "I also expect the support and
backup of Iraqis to restore stability in their country."

The coalition-run radio has been running frequent announcements exhorting
Iraqis to accept U.S. forces, and warning any foreign fighters in Iraq to
leave or face arrest.

McKiernan also said that any checkpoints not supervised by coalition forces
are unauthorized.


by Paul Wiseman
USA TODAY, 4th May

BAGHDAD ‹ Three nervous, middle-aged Iraqis pulled up to the U.S. Army
checkpoint in a dusty red Volkswagen Passat. They climbed out of the car and
approached Staff Sgt. Dennis Snyder, who was standing behind a coil of razor
wire in blazing heat beneath a brilliant blue sky.

Members of the al-Zubeidi family say this house was confiscated from them
during Saddam Hussein's regime. Now, they're moving back in.

The three Iraqi men needed help. They said two gunmen had just occupied an
empty house in the Qadisiya neighborhood nearby, moving in with one woman
and four children and threatening to kill anyone who questioned what they
were doing.

Snyder, 25, had heard it all before. Thugs and opportunists are seizing
houses across the Iraqi capital ‹ sometimes simply moving into abandoned
homes, other times ousting families at gunpoint ‹ in another sign of the
chaos gripping Baghdad following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's
government. The sergeant promised to dispatch U.S. troops to investigate.

The specter of gunmen seizing houses is perhaps the No. 1 threat to security
and public confidence in Baghdad.

"Before, we knew our neighbors," says Am Ahimid, 50, a housewife in
Baghdad's affluent Jadiriya neighborhood, where intruders have been
occupying homes left empty by families fleeing the war to Jordan or Syria,
or by Saddam loyalists running for their lives.

"Now, we are scared to see these new neighbors. Where did they come from? We
don't know," Ahimid says.

Soon, the U.S. troops should be able to turn over some of their policing
chores to the capital's police. Hundreds of Baghdad officers returned to
their posts Sunday, when they answered a call from U.S. authorities to help
restore order to the capital.

But the officers, wearing new uniforms that bear no resemblance to those
worn during the Saddam Hussein era, expressed concern about whether they'll
get paid and whether they'll be outgunned by looters and thugs.

There is no way to quantify the extent of the property-grab problem, but it
is widespread. Residents in Baghdad's middle- and upper-class neighborhoods
say squatters or gunmen have claimed homes on their streets.

In some apartment complexes, dozens of units abandoned by families during
the war have been taken over by strangers. The land and property grabs also
will present a huge headache when the next Iraqi government tries to sort
out who owns what in the capital.

The intruders are helped by the breakdown in law and order since the
government collapsed, by the cover of darkness in streets that until
recently had no electricity and by the destruction of property records in
the looting and burning of government offices.

Snyder says some charlatans have even tried to get U.S. troops to evict
legitimate occupants from their homes, falsely accusing them of being
intruders. An investigation usually clears things up. "You could tell by the
pictures on the walls that the people already in the house were the ones who
owned it," Snyder says.

U.S. authorities say different types of people are behind the land grabs:

‹ Poor or opportunistic Baghdad residents trading up to a better life by
occupying the empty apartments and homes of the rich and powerful who fled
during the war, perhaps for good.

‹ Figures from the past suddenly reappearing to reclaim property they say
was confiscated from them years, even decades, ago by Saddam's regime.

‹ Gunmen from political groups, some allied with the United States, seizing
houses that belonged to Saddam's cronies or his government.

Out of work for months, former military police officer Khalil Ibrahim, 33,
could no longer afford the $50-a-month rent in his working class
neighborhood here. So when Saddam's personal guards fled Baghdad before the
U.S. military onslaught, leaving behind their spacious flats along the
Tigris River, Ibrahim knew what to do: He packed up his wife and his
7-year-old son and moved into a two-bedroom apartment rent-free.

For the first time, his son has a room of his own, and the family is
enjoying the riverside view once available only to Saddam's inner circle.

His new neighbors are all squatters from Baghdad's working class. Many have
hung white flags outside their apartments to claim ownership. When the
father of one of the former tenants showed up to reclaim his son's
apartment, the squatters shoved him out the door and shouted that the new
Iraq didn't need Saddam loyalists.

Nidal Abis, 40, a housewife who occupies one of the riverside flats with her
unemployed husband and five children, says she has no intention of leaving.
"If they want to kill me, I will die here," she says.

Under Saddam's regime, those who fell into disfavor were often banished from
the capital and their property confiscated by the government and sold. Now,
the old owners are starting to return to the capital ‹ from Kurdish
territory in northern Iraq, from Iran and from points beyond ‹ and they want
their property back. Trouble is, the current occupants have lived there for
years and have paid for the property.

Adel Murad, a leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), lost his
childhood home in Baghdad nearly three decades ago after his father was
assassinated by the regime. Now, he's back after being banished to northern

"There are other people in my house," Murad says. "I told them, 'Stay in my
house two to three months until you find a new house.' "

(There are widespread reports, however, of PUK gunmen trying to seize houses

The sudden reappearance of long-forgotten property owners is creating havoc.
In Baghdad's main market, Fatah al-Beldoui, 35, had the misfortune of paying
two years' rent on his shop (about $1,200) in advance at the beginning of

Then a man showed up from Iran after Saddam's regime fell, claimed the
property was rightfully his and forced al-Beldoui's landlord to flee at

Now, al-Beldoui reckons he has lost the advance payment and possibly the
right to lease the storefront where he has been selling candy, toothpaste
and other convenience items since 1992.

"I look to God for help," al-Beldoui says, rolling his eyes toward the sky.

Armed anti-Saddam groups such as the PUK are cruising the streets of the
capital and trying to force their way into the abandoned homes of former top
officials. They say they are aiding the search for fugitive leaders of the
fallen regime, but their thuggish behavior is terrifying the neighbors.

The U.S.-backed Iraqi National Congress (INC), for instance, has sent teams
of Kalashnikov-wielding men ‹ volunteers recruited from Iraq's exile
community ‹ in camouflage pants to occupy dozens of properties across

Sometimes, the U.S. Army has to kick the INC men out. Friday, a team of four
INC militants approached the house of the son of Baath Party official Latif
Nusayyif Jasim. (No. 37 on the U.S. list of the 55 most-wanted Iraqi
leaders). The militants ordered a security guard to flee or die and then
moved in.

U.S. troops were sent to the scene and ousted the intruders without
resistance. The INC men, convinced they had U.S. backing, couldn't
understand why they were under arrest. "We just wanted to take care of this
house," said one of the detained gunmen, Ali Hammed, 25, a Shiite.

Hammed had been living in exile in Iran when he heard INC leader Ahmad
Chalabi's call for volunteers, he said, and now he's here.

Army Ranger 1st Sgt. Jeff Moser of Detroit tried to explain to the gunmen
why it wasn't a great idea for armed men to be prowling through residential
areas and breaking into houses. "We want to make sure the families in this
neighborhood do not get bothered by guns," Moser said.

Some neighborhoods are fighting back on their own.

In the affluent Mansour area of west Baghdad, worshipers from the local
mosque are protecting the home abandoned by the director of Iraq's
intelligence service, Tahir Jalil Habbush (No. 14 on the most-wanted list).

The imam, Waleed al-Azawi, 34, sent a mosque guard ‹ who took along his
family ‹ to live inside the mansion, which is designed to resemble a
13th-century fortress and has gardens behind dust-colored stone walls. Imam
al-Azawi also set up a medical clinic inside an adjoining home that belonged
to Habbush's son.

Despite his service in Saddam's regime, Habbush is revered in Mansour as a
pious man and a generous benefactor: The local mosque, built two years ago
and financed entirely with Habbush's personal money, bears his name.

Local residents have put an Arabic slogan in white paint on the home's gate:
"This house is under the protection of the people who belong to the mosque."
When INC and PUK gunmen tried to break in, neighbors ‹ some armed with
handguns ‹ forced them away. The PUK gunmen threatened to use their
satellite phones to call in a U.S. airstrike.

Neighbors just laughed.

Mostly, though, Baghdad residents are relying on help from thinly stretched
U.S. military forces. Four hours after the three men in the red Passat
registered their complaint with Staff Sgt. Snyder, a team of nine U.S.
soldiers moved in on the house that had been occupied in the Qadisiya

Some troops watched the house from a distance, and when they saw the women
and children move into a side room on the first floor, they stormed the
building, surprising the two gunmen as they came downstairs.

One gunman made the mistake of trying to wrestle with Army Spc. Tony
Semeatu, a burly 25-year-old American Samoan, and was subdued with one
punch. The other gave up without a struggle. The two men's hands were tied
in nylon bonds that tighten when prisoners struggle.

The women and children were released, the two men taken into custody. They
had a Kalashnikov, ammunition, igniters for rocket launchers (harmless by
themselves) and uniforms bearing the red triangular insignia of the Iraqi
Republican Guard.

The house was returned to its owner, a prosperous lawyer.

U.S. troops say they are willing to evict armed intruders, but they are
reluctant to get involved in property disputes they're in no position to
mediate fairly.

Sgt. 1st Class Mike Shirley, 36, of Tulsa, says: "We don't want to play
police force."


by Kathleen Ridolfo
RFE/RL Iraq report, Vol. 6, No. 21, 7 May 2003

U.S. forces launched a raid in deposed Iraqi President Hussein's hometown of
Tikrit on 2 May, AP reported. One Iraqi was killed and approximately 20
detained in the raid, in which a dozen buildings were reportedly stormed.
Troops found several weapons and about $3,000 hidden in several houses,
according to AP. U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Phil Battaglia, commander of the
1st Battalion,  8th Infantry Regiment, which conducted the raid, told AP,
"Some of these guys are continuing to terrorize people out there, and that's
going to take a while to work through." The Iraqi was reportedly killed when
he tried to take a rifle away from a U.S. soldier. The Tikrit raid was the
second in as many days.


by Kathleen Ridolfo
RFE/RL Iraq report, Vol. 6, No. 21, 7 May 2003

The building that temporarily houses Iraq Television was attacked by
unidentified gunmen, who destroyed the studio and stole equipment, according
to a 5 May Al-Jazeera report. The channel was to begin six hours of daily
transmission after several weeks off the air. An unidentified man told
Al-Jazeera that television employees had requested protection for the
building, saying, "We want only an approval by the U.S. forces to arm some
young men who have expressed their readiness to volunteer for free to
protect this institution." Al-Jazeera reported that some employees and
managers had to collect equipment in order to operate Iraq Radio.


by Paul Belden
Asia Times, 1st May

BAGHDAD - He still calls himself Abu Ayad, but that's only because old
habits die hard. "It's my secret name," he explains with a smile, wiping his
professorial spectacles against the sleeve of his neat, nerdy, button-down
yellow shirt.

This secret-named, hardened political fighter is, it turns out, a shy man at

Shy - but not embarrassed. The name and the reason behind it, may seem to be
holdovers of a different era, but they were once the dead-serious
necessities of political activism in this land where even the suspicion of
such an undertaking was enough to get one arrested, tortured, killed. Such
is the fate Abu Ayad has no reason to doubt befell the two nephews he has
not seen in 25 years, and it is the fate that almost befell him, too, when
his party was outlawed in 1979 and he was forced to flee in his socks to

But now the setting sun pours mellow light into his brand-new party
headquarters - the swept-clean foyer of an otherwise blasted building on
Baghdad's riverside Sharia Abu Nuass that a month ago housed the local
Mukhabarat (intelligence service), a touch he savors - and the man calling
himself Abu Ayad leans back, crosses his legs and takes a deep, gratifying
hit off a borrowed Gauloises.

"Call me Malik," he says, exhaling smoke into a slanting beam to set off a
celebratory display of red-gold images that dance across the airborne
screen. He's not trying to hide anything. Not anymore.

Far from it. The political slogans splashed across the front exterior wall
of the building in which he sits - "Free Country, Happy People" and
"Organize for the Unity of the People of Iraq", among others - are
impossible to miss from the road out front. They're printed on posters
tacked to the wall, and scrawled directly onto the yellow-brick facade in a
cursive Arabic script that stretches as high and wide as the human arm can
swing a can of spray paint.

Spray paint colored red, of course - for this is the Baghdad party
headquarters of the Iraqi Communist Party, come home and back to life after
decades of exile and disrepair, and now determined to snatch power from
under the treads of American tanks.

A lovely thought, is it not? The potential for irony delights.

By any means necessary? By no means. "Oh no!" he says, his hand in the air.
"Enough. No more guns. We need democracy here."

So no guns, then, but flyers galore. These means he has, by the boxful, and
intends to use. Also stickers and slogans and symbols and signs. There are
stacks of these sitting on a broken-down desk, the only furniture in the
room other than a line of beat-up vinyl-seated kitchen chairs, and they're
printed and ready for national distribution. The distribution chain, he
says, is already in place; Baghdad's first postwar newspaper, the ICP's
"People's Path", is on the street as we speak.

"We already have headquarters set up in all the major cities," Malik says.
"And we are ready to move." He sees his job over the next months and
years as trying to persuade the people of Iraq that it is possible to forge
a middle path between kick-the-poor capitalism American style and
kill-the-poor statism Saddam-style.

What he represents isn't really communism any more, but more a soft,
leftward-leaning blend of principles deriving from a concern for society's
weakest and specifics deriving from various West European socialist
experiments-in-progress. The most important planks in his current platform,
he says, would include an open, democratic process; a federal union;
separation of church and state; and - most importantly, in his view - a ban
on foreign financial support for Iraqi political parties. In fact, to
enforce this ban, "there should be government funding for all parties and
candidates in Iraq", he says.

Asked to point to a specific existing model that he would use as a guide for
building a government, he mentions Sweden.

At the moment, it's a little difficult to look around this still-burning
war-torn city of tanks and Kalashnikovs and imagine it ever turning into
some kind of new Stockholm. But then, it's also a little difficult to look
around and imagine it turning into a new Kansas City or a new Des Moines. If
Jay Garner can dream big, so can Malik.

And anyway, he is nothing if not persistent, a characteristic he shares with
his party, whose most potent symbol at the moment is the number "69". This
number, woven artistically into many of the wall posters that the party is
now passing out and putting up around town - one poster features a flying
dove, another a worker's hammer - refers to the age of the party, which was
founded on March 31, 1934, by Yosif Salman Yosif (secret name "Fahad" or

Yosif, who now serves the party as an iconic figure, was publicly hanged in
1949 by the government of Nuri Pasha as-Said, then controlled by the
British. But the party lived, going on to support the revolution of 1958
when a military coup toppled the monarchy and brought to power a republic
headed by Brigadier General Abdel Karim Kassem. The 1950s had seen fierce
political warfare between the Arab Nationalist Party and the ICP, a war both
ended up losing when the Arab Socialist Ba'ath outfit seized power briefly
in 1963. Both Kassem and Salaam Adel, who was then the leader of the ICP,
were killed in the chaos. In 1979, when Saddam assumed the presidency, one
of his first steps was to outlaw the ICP, forcing its leadership - including
a then 30-year-old Malik - to flee the country, dispersing to Syria,
Sulaimaniya in Kurdish Iraq, London or Moscow.

That didn't stop the jockeying for power and influence among political Iraqi
exiles, a battle which intensified after 1991. Malik tried his best to use
the American lever to unseat Saddam, but never to the point of supporting
occupation of his country. "In 1993, I went to the US ambassador in London
and said, 'Why not brand Saddam like an international criminal? After all,
he dried the marshes, he used chemical bombs, he has proved himself an
international criminal.' But they said they didn't do that sort of thing."

Now, he thinks the Americans are making a grave mistake by not
internationalizing the situation in Iraq. "We need support from other
countries, but what kind of support? - that is the question," he says. "We
need the United Nations to help us, not just America." He takes offense at
the idea that Iraqis are somehow too ignorant to figure out how to build a
democracy on their own without an American overseer. "I have relatives who
are poor farmers, and even when I was a child, six or seven years old, I
remember that everyone would listen to the news and talk about politics all
the time. This is who we Iraqis are."

Indeed, as we are talking, a tall loud man dressed in an expensive suit
comes striding into the foyer, looking for an argument, and finding one. His
name is Majid, and he is a university professor at Saddam University, and he
wants to know about the party's position on the role of America on
rebuilding Iraq.

The debate surges and flows in Arabic, and eventually draws in another party
activist, a man named Ehsan, who finds himself defending the party's failure
to call for an immediate American withdrawal from Iraq. He's not exactly
pro-invasion: "If the world had only used United Nations Resolution 688 as
its basis for dealing with Saddam, this problem could have been solved
without so much killing," he says. "I think the American regime and English
regime want more than Iraq - they want division among the Arab states, and
they want to draw a new map." But that isn't good enough for Majid, who says
the party must prove its relevance and independence by refusing to work with
any American-imposed provisional government.

Who would have thought that a communist party in Iraq would be in a position
of losing support by being perceived as too pro-American?

After Ehsan leaves, Malik mentions that when the US Congress passed the
Iraqi Freedom Act in 1999, it explicitly listed only two (of about 70 that
were jockeying for influence then) of the Iraqi exile parties that could not
receive American funding. One was the religious al Dawa party; the other was
the Iraqi Communist Party. "I think we may want to put that on our banners
if we want to win any elections," he says with a sigh.

by Charles J. Hanley
Salon (AP), 5th May


He also announced the release of Mohammed Mohsen al-Zubaidi, an exile who
was detained April 27 by U.S. forces after he put himself in charge of
Baghdad. Al-Zubaidi was released after 48 hours on condition that he not
resume his activities.

Al-Zubaidi, unknown in Baghdad before Saddam's regime fell last month,
suddenly proclaimed himself mayor several days after the regime collapsed.

The United States had accused al-Zubaidi of writing letters to utility
plants ordering them to await his instructions before restarting operations
and firing some employees of the government electricity company.

Al-Zubaidi has made no public appearances since his release.



by Kathleen Ridolfo
RFE/RL Iraq report, Vol. 6, No. 21, 7 May 2003

The newly appointed chief of police in Baghdad, Zuhir al-Naimi has resigned,
Reuters reported on 3 May. U.S. forces spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Alan
King said that al-Naimi stepped aside to open the way for a younger man,
according to Reuters. Al-Naimi was appointed on 24 April, and was
responsible for the recovery of some $380,000 in cash and 100 kilograms of
gold in the capital city.


by Kathleen Ridolfo
RFE/RL Iraq report, Vol. 6, No. 21, 7 May 2003

Mas'ud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), told CNN Turk
in Baghdad on 6 May that Kurdish peshmerga forces would be dissolved once
the Iraqi military is reestablished. "As soon as a government is formed and
the state institutions are established, then naturally there will be a
single [Iraqi] army," Barzani said, adding, "There will be no need for the
special security forces, the militants. Our peshmergas will become part of
the Iraqi national army when an agreement is reached on the principles."

He did not elaborate on what those principles might be, but Barzani was
adamant that the Kurds do not intend to secede from Iraq.

"We have no secret agenda such as establishing an independent Kurdistan," he
said, noting also that Iraqi Kurds do not pose a threat to Turkey. Turkey
has long feared that Iraqi Kurds would attempt to form an independent
Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Such a move would trigger instability among
Turkey's Kurdish population, who have long sought their own independence.

In a related development, Barzani met with Jay Garner, head of the Office of
Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), in Baghdad on 5 May to
discuss an interim Iraqi leadership. Barzani emerged from the meeting
telling reporters, "The meeting was very successful," the KDP newspaper
"Khabat" reported the same day. "In addition to the preparations for holding
a broad conference in Baghdad, issues related to the establishment of the
provisional government and urgent steps to fulfil the security and
administrative vacuum until the formation of the government, were
discussed," according to the same report.

by Bill Vann
World Socialist Website, 3rd May

The Bush administration has selected of L. Paul Bremer, the former
"counter-terrorism ambassador" of the Reagan administration, to become the
top US official overseeing the creation of a new puppet regime in Iraq.
Media reaction to the announcement has focused almost entirely on the
internecine disputes between the State Department and the Pentagon. Most
press reports have asserted that with the ascendancy of a former career
diplomat, Secretary of State Colin Powell has scored a victory against his
powerful rivals headed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

There no doubt exist bitter divisions within the administration over
strategy and tactics in Iraq. It became increasingly clear, moreover, that
retired Lieutenant General Jay Garner, selected by Rumsfeld to head a
Pentagon-controlled Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance,
was far out of his depth in attempting to forge a US-controlled
"transitional government" in the face of massive popular opposition. Yet
Bremer's selection is significant above all for what it reveals about the
nature of the regime that Washington is seeking to create. The question must
be asked: what precisely are this man's qualifications to oversee the Bush
administration's purported goal of establishing "a government of, by and for
the Iraqi people?"

While Bremer served for 23 years as a career State Department diplomat, he
has enjoyed the closest ties to the right wing of the Republican Party for
at least two decades. In 1981, then President Ronald Reagan's Secretary of
State Alexander Haig appointed him as his special assistant in charge of the
department's "crisis management" center.

Four years later, he was named ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism,
responsible for developing and implementing US policies to combat terrorism.
It was during this period that Washington labeled the African National
Congress of South Africa and virtually every other national liberation
movement as "terrorist" organizations.

It was on Bremer's watch that the Reagan administration ordered US warplanes
to carry out a terrorist bombing of Libya killing 40 civilians, including
the adopted daughter of the country's leader Muammar Gaddafi. In an earlier
version of "preemptive strike," the administration described the bombing
raid as "self-defense against future attack."

After leaving the State Department, Bremer joined Kissinger Associates, the
consulting firm headed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, where
he was named managing director. Among the principal clients of the firm are
US multinationals seeking assistance in penetrating foreign markets.

In 1996, Bremer drafted an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal
entitled "Terrorists' friends must pay a price," in which he called for the
Clinton administration to deliver ultimatums to and then launch unprovoked
military attacks against countries throughout the Middle East.

The countries that he said should be targeted included Libya, Syria, Iran
and Sudan. Curiously, Iraq was omitted.

In 1999, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives placed Bremer in
charge of a commission on terrorism, largely as a means of goading the
Clinton administration on issues of national security. In October 2001, he
became the chairman and CEO of the Crisis Consulting Practice of Marsh Inc,
a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies that advises corporations on
threats of terrorism and other potential crises.

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Bremer became
increasingly involved as an advisor to the administration. He headed a panel
on counterterrorism formed by the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think
tank close to the Bush White House.

His principal advice consisted of ending restrictions on the CIA going back
to the 1975 Church Commission, which investigated the agency's involvement
in the assassination of foreign leaders and the overthrow of elected
governments. He also called for the lifting of rules requiring CIA agents in
the field to obtain permission from higher-ups in the agency before placing
known killers on the agency's payroll.

Earlier this year, Bremer participated with ex-CIA Director James Woolsey in
a "teach-in" organized by a group called "Americans for Victory over
Terrorism" and the UCLA student Republicans. It was at that conference that
Woolsey, a close associate of Bremer, described the ongoing "war on
terrorism" as the "fourth world war," predicting that it would last far
longer than either World War I or World War II.

"Over the decades to come," he said, "...we will make a lot of people very
nervous." Referring to various Arab leaders, he added, "We want you nervous.
We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, this
country and its allies are on the march." Woolsey, one of the most
vociferous proponents of the US war on Iraq, is reportedly been considered
for a leading role as well in the Iraqi "reconstruction" operation.
Deflating the widespread reports about Bremer's appointment representing a
victory for Powell and "moderation," the Washington Post noted: "But Bremer,
61, is described as a hard-nosed hawk who is close to the neoconservative
wing of the Pentagon. He is supported by Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, officials said, and White House aides said the
appointment affirms Bush's satisfaction with Pentagon control over Iraq
until a new government is in place."

So what are Bremer's qualifications? He is a figure whose entire career is
bound up with, on the one hand, national security, intelligence and US
military aggression; and, on the other, servicing the needs of US-based
multinational corporations.

Nothing could more clearly define the type of regime that Washington aims to
establish in Iraq. Its overriding task will be to ruthlessly suppress the
mass opposition of the Iraqi people and facilitate the looting of the
country's wealth by the US banks and big business.

General Garner, meanwhile, will reportedly stay on, reporting to Bremer. He
is supposedly in charge of repairing Iraq's infrastructure and seeing to
humanitarian needs. He has repeatedly insisted, however, that the country
faces no real problems. "There is no humanitarian crisis ... and there's not
much infrastructure problem here, other than getting the electrical grid
structure back together," he told reporters earlier this week. Garner argued
that, instead of worrying about the Iraqis, the US media should join him in
a triumphalist celebration of the war. "We ought to be beating our chests
every day," he said. "We ought to look in a mirror and get proud and stick
out our chests and suck in our bellies and say: 'Damn, we're Americans!'"
Shortly after Garner made these remarks, a coalition of eight major
international relief organizations issued a statement implicitly criticizing
apparent US indifference to a major humanitarian crisis developing in the

The statement said in part: "Already under severe strain and under-resourced
before the war began, hospitals, water plants and sewage systems have been
crippled by the conflict and looting.

"Hospitals are overwhelmed, diarrhea is endemic and the death toll is
mounting. Medical and water staff are working for free, but cannot continue
for long. Rubbish, including medical waste, is piling up. Clean water is
scarce and diseases like typhoid are being reported in southern Iraq."

Garner and the US occupation forces are deliberately covering up this crisis
in an attempt to stifle any questioning of US activities in Iraq and to
prevent any international agencies from getting in the way of the
fulfillment of US war aims.

The general began his military career as a US Army "advisor" supervising the
"strategic hamlet" program during the Vietnam War in which tens of thousands
of Vietnamese peasants were forced off their land and driven into
concentration camps surrounded by barbed-wire. In a recent interview with
the New York Times, Garner commented: "If President Bush had been president
we would have won" the Vietnam War, adding that the US could have invaded
the North.

This is the face that America is presenting to the people of Iraq. The task
of Bremer and Garner is to quickly patch together a figurehead Iraqi regime
made up of corrupt ιmigrιs, former Ba'athists and anyone else who can be
bought. The job of this regime will be to legitimize continued US military
occupation and the takeover of the country's oil industry by US
corporations. The conditions and rights of the Iraqi people will count for
nothing. Instead, those in charge are determined to mete out unrestrained
repression and violence to enforce American colonial domination.

by Douglas Jehl
Yahoo, from The New York Times, 3rd May

ARLINGTON, Va., May 3 ‹ Munther al-Fadhal believes that there is no place
for religion in a new constitution for Iraq. He favors the establishment of
relations between Iraq and Israel. He even thinks Iraq should outlaw the
death penalty.

Such an agenda might not seem surprising in Washington or in Sweden, Dr.
Fadhal's temporary home. But in Iraq, even after Saddam Hussein, and in much
of the Arab world, it is very radical indeed, challenging deeply felt views
about Islam, Israel and Arab autonomy.

And yet, this very weekend, Dr. Fadhal is beginning a trip home to Iraq to
try to put his ideas in place. As the designated senior adviser to the Iraqi
Justice Ministry, he will be one of the leaders of a 150-strong team of
exiles plucked by the Pentagon from posts in America and Europe to help
shape the new Iraq.

A look at the team, assembled in a mere two months by Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, shows how boldly the United States is trying to
import secular, democratic notions to an Iraq whose political future remains
the subject of profound division and flux. It also underscores some of the
considerable risks involved.

"Maybe in five or six years they'll understand that this guy is a good guy,"
Dr. Fadhal said the other day over lunch near the Pentagon, referring to
himself. More immediately, though, he said he expected that Iraqis who
stayed behind through Mr. Hussein's rule will view him with hostility, not
just as an import but "as an agent or a spy." As a precaution, he said, he
has arranged for six Kurdish bodyguards to meet him in Baghdad, to
supplement his American military guards.

Pentagon officials have described the team of advisers, which works from
United States government-financed offices in suburban Virginia and is called
the Iraqi Reconstruction and Redevelopment Council, as primarily
administrators whose job will be to smooth a transition to an Iraqi-led
authority by resuscitating moribund ministries and restarting basic

"It's an enormously valuable asset to have people who share our values,
understand what we're about as a country, and are in most cases citizens of
this country, but who also speak the language, share the culture and know
their way around Iraq," Mr. Wolfowitz said in a telephone interview.

He said the Iraqi advisers would not play political roles. "They are going
to give us technical advice," he said.

But some Iraqi exile leaders say the creation of the team was too narrow and
overly influenced by the views of Mr. Wolfowitz and fellow conservatives,
who have espoused a vision of bold change in Iraq.

"This is insulting," said Imam Husham al-Husainy, an Iraqi Shiite leader who
runs the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center in Detroit, which is aligned with
the Supreme Council on Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a group that is based in
Iran and has so far kept at arm's length from the American
government-building effort.

"We don't follow others," Imam Husainy said in dismissing as "yes men" the
members of the Pentagon-assembled team. "Where is the democracy if you're
just dictating our ideas? That's not democracy. Don't impose it on us."

Certainly most of the advisers espouse liberal, secular ideals that are at
odds even with those of many other Iraqi exiles as well as powerful forces
inside Iraq. The leader of the group is Emad Dhia, a 51-yeer-old engineer
and pharmaceutical executive on leave from Pfizer in Ann Arbor, Mich. Among
the other important advisers are Dr. Fadhal, a legal scholar and author of a
draft Iraqi constitution, and Khidhir Hamza, a nuclear scientist who, with
help from the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1990's, became one of
Iraq's most prominent defectors.

The seeds for the exiles' team were planted at a reception that Mr.
Wolfowitz attended in Washington last fall, Pentagon officials and the
exiles say. There, Joanne Dickow, an Iraqi American aide to Spencer Abraham,
the energy secretary and former senator from Michigan, heard Mr. Wolfowitz
talk about his hope of enlisting Arab-Americans in his campaign to rally
sentiment against the Iraqi rulers.

The aide encouraged Mr. Wolfowitz to make contact with Iraqi-Americans in
the Detroit area, home of the nation's largest Iraqi community. After a
flurry of meetings in the Detroit area between Iraqi exiles and Pentagon
officials, the plans for the group were devised at a February meeting at the
Pentagon and cemented after a rally in Detroit on Feb. 23 at which Mr.
Wolfowitz was the leading attraction. The team was assembled over the next
two months, in a round-the-world burst of telephone negotiations and
voice-mail messages left by Mr. Dhia.

By the middle of this coming week, at least two dozen exiles will be
installed in key temporary posts advising Jay Garner, the retired lieutenant
general who has been the country's day-to-day administrator, and L. Paul
Bremer, the retired State Department official who is expected to be
appointed Iraq's senior American overseer. Some American officials openly
hope that some of the Iraqis will stay on even longer to serve under the
transitional government that Iraqi political leaders themselves are trying
to assemble, under American and British supervision, with a target date now
set for late this month or early June.

The roots of the exiles' team led back to the Iraqi Forum for Democracy, an
organization that Mr. Dhia co-founded in 1998. Composed mostly of secular
professionals from across the spectrum of Iraq's Shiite, Sunni, Kurdish and
Christian populations, the group's declared mission has been "to promote
democracy and democratic values for Iraq by peaceful means."

Dr. Maha Hussein, a Detroit-area oncologist and professor at the University
of Michigan who now heads the group, helped link up Mr. Wolfowitz and Mr.
Dhia, but she emphasized that members of the organization now working for
General Garner were "working in their personal capacity," although the group
was supportive of their efforts.

Some Iraqi-American critics said they were troubled by the speed of the

"Many of us are really upset that we didn't know about this," said Raz
Rasool, who fled Iraq in 1998 and is a member of the advocacy group Women
for a Free Iraq. "They started this two months ago and we read about it just
this week."

In the interview, Mr. Wolfowitz took issue with the idea that the selection
process had in any way been improper. "What we're saying is they share our
values, so we shouldn't be dealing with them?" he said.

Still, the Pentagon has kept the Iraqi exile operation under close wraps,
although officials say their motivation is to provide security. During their
time in the Washington area, Mr. Dhia, who returned to Baghdad late last
month, and other members of the team have lived and worked in apartments and
offices paid for by the United States government, and received salaries and
pocket money paid by American taxpayers.

Before heading to Baghdad, each member of the team has been required by the
Pentagon to undergo several days of training at American military bases, to
learn how to protect themselves against possible attack. Dr. Fadhal, for
one, is stopping at Fort Hood, Tex., beginning today before heading on to
Kuwait or Baghdad probably late next week, although the timing of that trip
remains unsettled.

In Baghdad, Dr. Fadhal said, the team will live and work in compounds
guarded by American soldiers. But technically, they are working for SAIC, a
defense contractor, and their heavily guarded offices outside Washington
have been equipped with telephone numbers and e-mail addresses that betray
no hint of a Pentagon link.

Most members of the team have post-graduate degrees, many from American
universities, according to Pentagon officials and the exiles themselves. A
substantial number are naturalized citizens of the United States or European
countries. While some are well known, many others are well not.

Among the latter group, Mohammad Ali Zainy, an American citizen designated
as senior Iraqi adviser to the Ministry of Oil, held only a mid-ranking
position in that ministry before he fled Iraq in 1982. Now 64, he worked in
Colorado as an oil company executive and energy consultant before joining
the Center for Global Energy Studies in London, where he has been analyst
for several years.

If nothing else, said Julian Lee, an associate at the energy studies center,
Dr. Zainy deserved the Pentagon's nod simply for being so "willing and keen
to go back."

Dr. Hamza, also 64, on the other hand, is a nuclear physicist who became
well known in the West after he fled Iraq in 1994, first to Libya and then
to the United States. His six months of experience in 1987 as director of
Iraq's efforts to develop nuclear weapons made him valuable to the C.I.A.,
which, after rebuffing his initial attempts, ultimately helped Dr. Hamza and
his family resettle in the Washington area.

David Albright, a former United Nations weapons inspector who is president
of the Institute for Science and International Security, an advocate of the
inspections, worked closely with Dr. Hamza in the late 1990's, but describes
him as becoming sharply critical of the process.

He said Dr. Hamza believed that the inspections threatened to undermine his
goal of ousting Mr. Hussein. "If the inspections work, then the regime
change can't happen,' " Mr. Albright says Dr. Hamza told him.

Dr. Fadhal, 52, who left Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf war, was a law
professor in Baghdad who had drawn attention to himself by criticizing
Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. He fled first to Jordan and then to Sweden,
where he and his family now live.

He was among 32 Iraqi exiles who helped to prepare a State Department report
last year on the future of Iraq. In that role, he prepared a draft of an
Iraqi constitution, a task that he said he hoped to complete on behalf of a
future Iraqi transitional government, among other tasks.

"I will take care of the Ministry of Justice in Iraq, and abolish all of
Saddam's legal system," he said, "to create the new legal system toward
democracy that will accept human rights, that will fight corruption in Iraq,
and create new laws to build democracy."

A Shiite Muslim whose family is from the holy city of Najaf, Dr. Fadhal now
describes himself as a secularist who believes that Islam should play no
role in that Iraq's constitution. That would set a future Iraq apart even
from pro-Western Arab countries like Egypt, where the Constitution describes
Islam as the principal source of the country's laws.

In that regard, Dr. Fadhal's views are more secular than those of most Iraqi
opposition groups, and go beyond even the most recent stance taken by the
Bush administration. The White House said last month that it would not allow
Iraq to become a theocratic state like Iran, but could endorse what it
called an "Islamic democracy" for the country.

Ultimately, Dr. Fadhal said, he would prefer for family reasons to work
abroad for a new Iraqi government ‹ perhaps as its ambassador to Sweden or
to a United Nations organization in Geneva. He would not rule out serving as
a future Minister of Justice, but said he recognized that he and other
exiles would face high hurdles.

"I have a dream," he said, "to build in Iraq a civil society, a democracy,
like Switzerland or Sweden. But now there is chaos and risk ‹ from Islamic
fanatic groups, and from the Baath Party and from the Arab terrorists who
supported the Hussein government.

"The Iraqi people have been brainwashed," Dr. Fadhal said, "and it is our
responsibility to build a new brain."

by Charles J. Hanley
Las Vegas Sun, 4th May

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A council of up to nine Iraqis will probably lead the
country's still unformed interim government through the coming months, the
American civil administrator said Monday.

Retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner also said he expects the newly appointed L. Paul
Bremer, former head of the State Department's counterterrorism office, to
take charge of the political process within the U.S. postwar administration.

"What you may see is as many as seven, eight, nine leaders working together
to provide leadership," Garner said. He added, though, that he didn't know
how the collective leadership would function specifically.

The Iraqi leaders Garner referred to were Massoud Barzani; leader of the
Kurdistan Democratic Party; Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress;
Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan; Iyad Allawi of the Iraqi
National Accord; and Abdul Aziz al Hakim, whose elder brother heads the
Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

The five met several times late last week, and at least one meeting was
attended by White House envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. Garner said the group would
probably be expanded to include, for example, a Christian and perhaps
another Sunni leader.

Bremer is expected to arrive in Iraq by next week, Garner said.

"He will get more involved in the political process. I'm doing all of it and
don't want to do all of it. ... We really need a dedicated effort," on the
political side, Garner said.

He said the appointment of someone such as Bremer had been planned all along
and that he was intended to be here temporarily.

"I'll stay a while. There's got to be a good handoff," he said.

Garner spoke as he prepared to leave for a one-day trip to Basra, where he
will be visiting a school, a hospital and an oil refinery and will be
conferring with a local sheik.

As his Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance works with the
occupying U.S. military force to restore order in Baghdad, Garner said the
coming weeks will be crucial to such efforts.

"The month of May is a key month for getting all the public services stood
up or at least with a good prospect of being stood up and getting the law
enforcement system back," Garner said.

He said one disappointment thus far has been his operation's inability to
inaugurate an extensive television and radio broadcast system for Iraq. The
satellite TV service broadcasting so far has been available to only a few

"We haven't done a good job," Garner said. "I want TV going to the people
... with a soft demeanor, programs they want to see."

by Paul Watson
Boston Globe, from Los Angeles Times, 5th May

MOSUL, Iraq - Major General David Petraeus was fresh from battling north
through much of Iraq last week when he walked straight into the minefield of
Iraqi politics.

His soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division took control of Mosul just
days after US Army Special Forces and Marines killed at least 12 Iraqi
civilians during two days of unrest in the city center, apparently sparked
by a local power struggle.

Petraeus then turned a city on the verge of a blood bath into one preparing
for an election today, the first postwar vote of its kind in a major Iraqi
city. He did it by convincing local leaders who have never known democracy
that it's better to be on the inside talking, and compromising, than outside
shouting and throwing rocks.

The plan calls for a convention of 217 delegates, representing various
ethnic, religious, tribal, and political groups, to choose a 23-member city
council to govern Mosul until Iraq has its first free elections, Petraeus

The city council will elect a mayor from among four candidates cleared by
the US military after background checks confirm they don't have blood on
their hands from service in Saddam Hussein's regime.

''There's reaching out across the table,'' Petraeus said before one of many
meetings with contenders for power last week.

Without a break, Petraeus and his troops have gone from fighting a war to
the ''nation building'' that the US military normally loathes. Soldiers
trained to hit the enemy hard and fast from above suddenly are mediating
heated Iraqi political disputes in the looted remains of the Mosul
governor's building.

Petraeus, 50, seems to relish the challenge. The tough-as-nails soldier is
cerebral, a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point who earned a
doctorate in international relations from Princeton University.

So far, the combination has proved a charm in Mosul, a 6,000-year-old city
that has a centuries-old tradition of producing top military officers. Since
he took charge of one of Iraq's most complex, and potentially dangerous,
cities, Petraeus has mediated with local politicians, tribal leaders,
religious clerics, and even former members of Hussein's toppled regime.

He has won over skeptics, including Arab nationalists, who insisted they
would boycott what they saw as a US plot to install a puppet administration.
The followers of the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, known as
Nasserites, now say they will send delegates to today's vote.

Petraeus immediately calmed tensions in Mosul by ordering soldiers to be
more low-key than the Marines, who antagonized many in the city by flying
large US flags from their vehicles. Then he called Mosul's main political
rivals together and persuaded them to begin getting along.

''We are trying to shape something close to real democracy,'' said Ayad
Hamdany, who leads one of three main factions that were locked in a
dangerous power struggle when the 101st Airborne arrived. He refers to
Petraeus with respect as ''the American leader.''

''For history, I should mention that the American leader made a great effort
to reach our goal,'' Hamdany said. ''He was very patient and tolerated our

Petraeus has experience dealing with lethal political systems. He helped
prepare Haiti and Bosnia for elections after US-led troops restored peace.

He is in charge of one of Iraq's most difficult cities, where most
everything is disputed, even the size of the population. Mosul is officially
Iraq's third-largest city, but claims to be the second-largest, and has 2
million to 4 million people.

The majority is Arab, from the Sunni Muslim minority that dominated Iraq
under Hussein. Mosul also has large minorities of Kurds, Christian
Assyrians, and ethnic Turks, called Turkomans.

Two main Kurdish factions - the Democratic Party of Kurdistan and rival
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan - wield significant power through their Arab

The Kurds' history of infighting is seen as a long-term liability. They
fought a four-year civil war, and although they have bottled up their
animosities under US pressure, they also have been stockpiling heavy weapons
seized from the Iraqi army. If either side feels cheated, there is a risk
that they might fight again.

Lebanon Daily Star, 5th May

BAGHDAD:  Efforts to restore basic services and refashion a government in
Iraq inched forward Sunday amid warnings by international groups that the 
country was still ripe for a humanitarian disaster and a day after Poland
said a multinational force plans to deploy this month to try to stabilize
the country.

Iraq's American administrators appointed two Iraqi oil officials and a
retired American oil executive to head the Oil Ministry, a spokesman for the
rebuilding team said Sunday.

Thamer Abbas al-Ghadban, who was general director of the ministry's studies,
planning and follow-up departments, will be the ministry's chief executive
officer, according to John Kincannon, a spokesman for the Office of
Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. Ghadban's deputy will be Fadhil
Othman, a former Iraqi oil executive who has spent recent years in exile,
Kincannon said.

The head of the ministry's advisory board will be Philip J. Carroll, a
retired chief executive of Shell Oil Co. Shell Oil Co. is the US arm of
London-based Royal Dutch-Shell Group.

The United States is treading carefully as it appoints overseers for Iraq's
government operations, and nowhere is perhaps more sensitive than the oil
sector. Many Iraqis say they believe American occupiers have designs on the
country's oil.

Washington also appointed a new head of Iraq's Health Ministry on Saturday
and gave a first batch of its employees $20 each to return to work.

The US Civil Administration named Ali Shnan al-Janabi to run things.

"I ask all Health Ministry employees to come back to work Š because your
country needs you," said Steven Browning, who is the administration's
representative to the Health Ministry.

The notice naming Janabi was Public Notice No. 1 from the civil

"Healthcare is a high priority," Browning said.

A few minutes after Browning spoke, US soldiers opened a gray footlocker
filled with $120,000 in large, plastic-encased bricks of ones, fives and 10s
to pay healthcare workers, most of whom have received no salaries for


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