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, 14-21/05/03 (1)

News, 14-21/05/03 (1)


*  Water Woes: In Iraq, Water and Oil Do Mix
*  Iraqi courts resume work
*  British hand over Iraqi port to local authorities
*  U.S. Treasury official testifies on recovery of Iraqi funds
*  "New Policy in Iraq to Authorize G.I.'s to Shoot Looters"
*  Forces Step Up Arrests In Iraq
*  US warned off barring Baathists
*  U.S. Adviser Says Iraq May Break With OPEC
*  Iraqi Women Out of the Picture
*  British, U.S. troops are accused of torture by Iraqi soldiers, civilians
*  In Reversal, Plan for Iraq Self-Rule Has Been Put Off
*  Iraqi Students and Faculty Face Task of Purging Baathists
*  British official says Iraq handover could take years


by Leah C. Wells
Counterpunch, 16th May


One of the many claims of barbarism on the part of Saddam Hussein and his
Ba'athist regime is displacing hundreds of thousands of Madan, or Marsh
Arabs, and draining the legendary swamps where millennia-old culture had
been practiced and preserved. In post war Iraq, the United States has
assumed the responsibility of restoring these marshlands. The United States
Agency for International Development (USAID) has been a vocal proponent of
bringing water to the arid landscape, addressing the humanitarian needs of
the remaining Marsh Arabs, and fixing the ecological crisis which, according
to the UNEP, has vanished about 90% of the 20,000 square kilometers of
Iraq's marshlands.

While addressing the marshland concerns attempts to smooth over
twelve-year-old political rifts between the American administrators now
governing Iraq and the displaced Madan people, it seems somewhat odd that
such a relatively isolated minority of the Iraqi population would receive
such attention and consideration so immediately after the war, especially
since the Madan are Shi'a, a population that has largely rejected the
occupying American forces and has rejoiced at the return of Islamic leaders
from exile to Iraq.

And yet, American interests are moving forward swiftly.

Bechtel, an American firm with a controversial history of water
privatization, who won the largest contract from USAID to rebuild Iraq's
infrastructure, is set to be a major player in the process with a contract
worth $680 million. Bechtel's history speaks for itself.

Blue Gold, a book exposing global control of water by private corporations,
listed Bechtel in the second tier of ten powerful companies who profit from
water privatization. According to Corpwatch, two years ago current USAID
administrator Andrew Natsios was working for Bechtel as the chairman of the
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, a massive transportation project in Boston
whose cost has inflated exponentially in the billions of dollars. While
providing political disclaimers on its website as a result of investigative
reporting centering on the close relationship between government and private
business, Bechtel certainly will benefit from its positioning as the sole
contractor for municipal water and sanitation services as well as irrigation
systems in Iraq.

Vandana Shiva also implicates Bechtel in attempting to control not only the
process of rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, but also control over the
Tigris and Euphrates rivers themselves. Bechtel has been embroiled in a
lawsuit with Bolivia for their plan to privatize the water there, which
would drastically rise the cost of clean water for the poorest people in the
country. To control the water in the Middle East, Bechtel and its fiscal
sponsors, the United States government, would have to pursue both Syria and
Turkey, either militarily or diplomatically. Syria has already felt pressure
from the United States over issues of harboring Iraqi exiles on the U.S.'s
"most wanted" list, as well as over issues of terrorism and weapons of mass

It is not stretch of the imagination that a company like Bechtel with a
history of privatization would have its sights set on water in the Middle
East, starting with their lucrative deal in Iraq. However, the United States
is not positioned to enter a new phase of global geopolitics where water, a
limited vital resource that every human needs, is the hottest commodity and
where American corporations like Bechtel have not already capitalized on the
opportunity to obtain exclusive vending rights.

Devoting attention to restoring the marshes clearly serves U.S. businesses
and corporations who have control over which areas of the marshes get
restored, and which ones get tapped for their rich oil resources. Control of
the marshlands by the U.S.-led interim government and by the American
corporations who have won reconstruction contracts is crucial in deciding
where new oil speculation will take place. If only a percentage 25%
according to experts on a Brookings Institution panel on marshland
reconstruction can be restored, then it would behoove those working on
issues of oil and water not to rehydrate areas where such oil speculation
will likely take place.

Water is vital to the production of oil as well; one barrel of water is
required to produce one barrel of oil. Bechtel and Halliburton, who received
a U.S. Army contract to rebuild the damaged oil industry which will likely
reach $600 million, are the two most strategically positioned corporations
to control both the water and oil industries in Iraq.

Yet this ruse of generous reconstruction and concern seems both an unlikely
and peculiar response after a less-than-philanthropic U.S.-led invasion of
the sovereign nation of Iraq. Supporters and opponents of the war alike
could hardly miss its transparency. Whether the reasoning was because of
oil, liberating the Iraqi people, ferreting out weapons of mass destruction
or exerting regional influence, few pretenses were made to distance the war
profiteers from the battlefield in the war's wake.

The actions of agencies like USAID, which has pledged more than a billion
dollars to facilitate rebuilding infrastructure in Iraq which the U.S.
military and policymakers had a large hand in destroying, are far from
altruistic. The problem of the Marsh Arabs was not invented overnight at the
end of the recent war, but rather has developed in plain view of the whole
world via satellite images and documented in-country reports of displacement
and abuse. Moreover, the marshlands are not Iraq's sole antiquity. Museums,
regions and sites of archaeological importance were destroyed, bombed and
looted not only during this last war, but also continuously since the first
Gulf War. Will we be paying to rebuild those as well?

According to Peter Galbraith, a professor at the Naval War College, three
weeks of ransacking post-war Baghdad left nearly every ministry in shambles,
including the Irrigation Ministry, except for the Oil Ministry that was
guarded by U.S. troops. The people of Iraq are becoming rapidly disenchanted
with a prolonged U.S. presence in their country as their former
disempowerment under Saddam is translated into present disempowerment under
the Americans.

According to those working closely with the project to rehydrate the
marshlands, in the newly "liberated" Iraq the silenced voices of the
oppressed peoples can now be heard and addressed, the stories of destruction
can be told and the much-needed healing of humans and terrain can take
place. Whether this will actually happen is another story. At the Brookings
Institution forum on the marshlands, no native Iraqis were represented, and
the larger question arising in the post-war reconstruction of Iraq is what
tangible legitimacy is given to voicing the will of the people by putting
representative Iraqis in power.

Perhaps the issue of water is left unspoken on the global level because the
transnational corporations supported by powerful Western governments
contribute largely to water pollution and privatization and do not want to
draw attention to this fact lest they be forced to clean up their acts and
sacrifice profits. Certainly higher standards and levels of accountability
would be imposed on industries relying on expendable water resources if the
true shortage of water were openly acknowledged.


Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Iraq Report Vol. 6, No. 22, 16 May 2003


Iraq's judicial system came creaking back to life under the watchful eye of
U.S. armed forces on 8 May with criminal proceedings against a small group
of defendants in Baghdad, Reuters reported the same day. Meanwhile, Clint
Williamson, senior U.S. adviser to Iraq's reemerging Justice Ministry, told
reporters that "special arrangements" will be required to try members of the
deposed Ba'ath Party leadership, the BBC reported on 8 May. Williamson said
that Iraq's 1969 criminal law will be pressed into service for now, albeit
without Saddam Hussein-era legal innovations -- such as the beheading of
prostitutes and the criminal prosecution of persons deemed to have insulted
the president -- that violate international conventions.

In a 9 May report, London's "The Times" wrote that the previous day's
"experiment in justice mainly produced chaotic scenes." Still, with Ba'ath
Party political courts a thing of the past, U.S. officials were optimistic
about the future of the country's judiciary. Colonel Marc Warren, a U.S.
adviser and lawyer, told "The Times" that the criminal division "could be
rehabilitated." (Daniel Kimmage)

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Iraq Report Vol. 6, No. 22, 16 May 2003


British authorities have handed over control of the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr
to a 12-member temporary town council, the BBC reported on 15 May. The
handover was marked by a short ceremony. Umm Qasr was the first Iraqi town
to fall to coalition forces (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 March 2003). The
port, under the control of the British, has been a crucial part of the
humanitarian-aid supply line. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Iraq Report Vol. 6, No. 22, 16 May 2003


A senior U.S. official told a hearing of the House of Representatives'
Financial Services Subcommittee on 14 May that Lebanese banks have
reportedly found and "secured" around $495 million from the deposed regime
of Saddam Hussein, Reuters reported the same day. Meanwhile, the "Los
Angeles Times" website ( reported that General
Counsel for the U.S. Treasury Department David Aufhauser also testified that
"upward of $2.3 billion" has been found in bank accounts. He did not say
where the accounts are located.

According to the "Los Angeles Times," Aufhauser told the subcommittee on 14
May that it is likely that the nearly $650 million found in sealed cottages
and over $100 million found in animal kennels and sheds around Baghdad (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 24 April 2003) were part of the $1 billion taken by Qusay
Hussein from the Iraqi Central Bank on 18 March -- the eve of U.S.-led
Operation Iraqi Freedom (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 May 2003). "Some 236 boxes
of cash, either euros or U.S. dollars, were packaged that night by
central-bank personnel, but they were very meticulous in the records they
kept. They put certificates in the boxes indicating how much money had been
placed in them," Aufhauser testified, adding, "Out of 236 boxes, we may well
have found 191, constituting $850 million, give or take, and 100 million of
euros." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

by Patrick E. Tyler
New York Times, 14th May

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 13: United States military forces in Iraq will have the
authority to shoot looters on sight under a tough new security setup that
will include hiring more police officers and banning ranking members of the
Baath Party from public service, American officials said today.

The far more muscular approach to bringing order to postwar Iraq was
described by the new American administrator, L. Paul Bremer, at a meeting of
senior staff members today, the officials said. On Wednesday, Mr. Bremer is
expected to meet with the leaders of Iraqi political groups that are seeking
to form an interim government by the end of the month. "He made it very
clear that he is now in charge," said an official who attended the meeting
today. "I think you are going to see a change in the rules of engagement
within a few days to get the situation under control."

Asked what this meant, the official replied, "They are going to start
shooting a few looters so that the word gets around" that assaults on
property, the hijacking of automobiles and violent crimes will be dealt with
using deadly force.

How Iraqis will be informed of the new rules is not clear. American
officials in Iraq have access to United States-financed radio stations,
which could broadcast the changes.

A tougher approach over all appears to be at the core of Mr. Bremer's
mandate from President Bush to save the victory in Iraq from a descent into
anarchy, a possibility feared by some Iraqi political leaders if steps are
not taken quickly to check violence and lawlessness.

But imposing measures that call for the possible killing of young,
unemployed or desperate Iraqis for looting appears to carry a certain level
of risk because of the volatile sentiments in the streets here. Gas lines
snake through neighborhoods, garbage piles up, and the increasing heat
frequently provides combustion for short tempers, which are not uncommonly
directed at the American presence here.

Mr. Bremer did not spell out to senior members of the American and British
reconstruction team whether his authority would supersede that of Lt. Gen.
David D. McKiernan, the land forces commander in the country.

But in tackling the security problem, Mr. Bremer will confront the need for
a police force, and the difficulty of building a credible one on the
wreckage of Saddam Hussein's hated security establishment.

The officials said Mr. Bremer told his staff that his urgent priority was to
rebuild a police force, especially in Baghdad, so it could become visible
and available "on the streets."

Another tough measure that the officials said Mr. Bremer was eager to make
public is a decree on de-Baathification, the process of weeding out senior
members of Mr. Hussein's political establishment to ensure that the
totalitarian principles on which the Baath Party ruled are not perpetuated.

American officials said the decree on the Baath Party will prohibit its
officials above certain ranks from serving in future governments.
Rehabilitation procedures will be created for some high-ranking officials,
but they will still be excluded from government service, the officials said.

Mr. Bremer appeared before the senior staff of the reconstruction
administration with Jay Garner, the retired lieutenant general who has been
in charge of the rebuilding mission under military command. Administration
officials say General Garner will leave his post after a few weeks.

Today, according to people who attended the closed meeting, Mr. Bremer
praised General Garner's performance with words that were greeted with
sustained applause.

Nonetheless, questions linger about the Bush administration's decision to
replace General Garner and abruptly call home one of his top assistants,
Barbara K. Bodine.

General Garner and Ms. Bodine, one of the most experienced Iraq specialists
on his staff, were unable to decide on how to create any new authority in
Baghdad, and clashed as personalities, officials said. "It was not a good
fit," one commented today.

Mr. Bremer made no public appearance today, but he is scheduled to meet with
Iraqi leaders on Wednesday, some of whom have misgivings about whether he
will change the course that General Garner had set toward quickly forming an
interim government of Iraqis and turning over substantial power to it.

The wisdom of a speedy turnover was questioned today by some officials, who
noted the acute crisis over crime and security in the capital.


by Peter Slevin and William Booth
Washington Post, 16th May

BAGHDAD, May 15 -- U.S. forces raided a village near Saddam Hussein's home
town of Tikrit before dawn today and rounded up dozens of men, including an
Iraqi general who disguised himself as a shepherd, as U.S. military
commanders intensified a security crackdown.

Soldiers in Baghdad carried out 300 patrols overnight and arrested 92
people, U.S. officials said. The effort is designed to show that troops will
be more visible throughout the troubled Iraqi capital, where carjackings,
thievery and drive-by attacks on government facilities are impeding
reconstruction plans.

And in a village near the northern city of Sinjar, 18 suspects and a large
quantity of weapons were seized in a raid aimed at militiamen of the
outlawed Baath Party, U.S. military officials reported.

L. Paul Bremer III, the senior U.S. civilian in Iraq, pledged during his
first news conference that saboteurs loyal to the former Hussein government
will be hunted, tens of thousands of common criminals released by Hussein
will be returned to prison and top Baath Party officials will be prevented
from regaining positions of power.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld called security his
"number one priority" in Iraq and said 15,000 more troops and hundreds of
military police would soon be arriving in Baghdad. [Details, Page A20]

Bremer, who arrived this week to oversee rebuilding and the creation of an
Iraqi authority that is to gradually assume responsibility for national
affairs, said: "We are determined that Baathists and Saddamism will not come
back to Iraq. . . . Iraq must remain a free and independent, stable and
representative country."

Despite widespread violence and insecurity, which have sharply limited
economic activity and cast doubt on the ability of U.S. forces to restore
order, Bremer painted a promising picture. He said President Bush sent him
to Iraq to face a "wonderful challenge."

"This is not," he declared, "a country in anarchy."

Bremer joined Army Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of ground forces
in Iraq, in accusing unidentified elements of the previous government of
working to undermine U.S. authority. Jim Lanier, who works with Bremer's
team, said later that he believes Hussein loyalists have purposely taken
action that "just keeps things in a state of confusion."

Lanier, a U.S. Agency for International Development staff member who is
overseeing the reconstruction of Iraq's balky electrical grid, identified a
section of power line between Baghdad and the southern city of Basra that
had been shot apart in the same place six times. Each time, crews have made
repairs, only to find the line destroyed again.

"That's not accidental," said Lanier, who reported gunfights at a nearby oil
refinery and word from U.S. soldiers guarding the Al Quds power plant
northwest of Baghdad that they are fired upon regularly. "I think it's far
more than just random. There are those who see it as an opportunity to make
the coalition look weak, to keep society stirred up."

In the town of Baqubah, about an hour's drive northeast of the capital, U.S.
military officers said their forces have been attacked several times with
rocket-propelled grenades, most recently on Wednesday. No soldiers were
wounded and no targets were hit by the unknown assailants, but the attacks
illustrate that the U.S. military often has no better success controlling
the streets outside Baghdad than those in the capital.

It is difficult to determine how much of the trouble facing U.S. troops and
Iraqi civilians is the work of Hussein-era security forces and paramilitary
groups such as Saddam's Fedayeen, and how much is the work of opportunistic
thieves capitalizing on the power vacuum to grab what they can. While
McKiernan said both pose significant difficulties, he described "regime
elements" as the more dangerous and said they required "most of the
coalition's resources."

Maj. Gen. Buford C. Blount III, commander of the Army's 3rd Infantry
Division, offered a different view when asked to apportion responsibility
for the current security problems.

"Okay, this is just my opinion," replied Blount, who reports to McKiernan,
"but I would say probably about 90 percent is common criminals -- the
looters, the car thefts, attempted bank robberies, et cetera, and only about
10 percent is a holdover from the previous regime."

U.S. forces are searching for high-level Baath Party leaders, including
Hussein and his two sons. The most significant figures appear on a deck of
55 cards distributed to troops. The raid on the village near Tikrit, Ad
Dawr, yielded one of those on the cards and three generals, including the
security service commander pretending to be a shepherd, the Associated Press

The predawn operation to surround the village and sweep its houses was
conducted by more than 500 soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division of the
1st Brigade, backed by howitzers, AH-64 Apache helicopters and armed boats
on the nearby Tigris River. About 260 Iraqis were detained, military
officials said, but 230 were released later in the day.

"We're going to continue to hunt them until they get so tired of running
that they give themselves up or we catch them," Army Maj. Mike Silverman
said. "And again we sent the message that we know the shadow regime is out
there and it won't be tolerated."

Meanwhile, cities outside Baghdad continue to be plagued by nighttime
assaults by thieves on factories, shops and homes, as well as by abrupt and
mysterious gunfights between Iraqis. The darkness is also broken by the
flashes of gunfire aimed at U.S. and British forces.

Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division shot and wounded a looter in the
northern city of Mosul today after reporting that they had been fired upon.

In Baqubah, roaming patrols of U.S. soldiers say they routinely come under
fire by shoot and-run snipers after the 11 p.m. curfew. The town, former
site of a large Iraqi military base, is awash in looted weapons and

"It happens practically every night. Sometimes it appears to be paramilitary
and sometimes it just looks like kids thinking it's cool to shoot at us,"
said Lt. Col. Randy Grant, of the 4th Infantry's 2nd Battalion. He said
troops have killed several Iraqis in the fighting in Baqubah.

Over the past two weeks, Grant said, U.S. forces have arrested "well over
100" thieves and militiamen in the city -- most of them from the Badr
Brigade, the military wing of the Iranian backed Supreme Council for the
Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shiite Muslim group.

Badr forces have been streaming back into Iraq, where some have attempted to
establish a presence in Baqubah and the surrounding province of Diyala on
the Iran-Iraq border.

The U.S. military raided a building in downtown Baqubah this week and
detained at least 30 militia members. They also found stolen vehicles, a
large weapons cache and a variety of looted medical supplies, including
surgical lights.

The U.S. troops left a handful of soldiers to guard the building, but on
Wednesday night, a gang of thieves scaled the walls of the compound and
stole a minivan, soldiers said.

At the Al-Rahma Hospital, the staff was mopping blood in the lobby this
afternoon after Hazim Tah, a physician, turned away a wounded man he
suspected was a militia fighter. In Baqubah, "we get two or three cases
every day," Tah said. They are shot by accident, by revelers' bullets
falling from the sky or by design.

"Most of the cases," Tah said, "appear to be Iraqis shooting Iraqis."

Bremer said U.S. troops in Baghdad had arrested 300 Iraqis in the past 48
hours. Suspected looters are now being held for 20 days before release;
previously they were freed after two days. Suspects accused of violent
crimes will be held until Iraq's broken-down court system can handle their

U.S. forces are building detention centers, working to restart the court
system and conducting joint patrols with Iraqi police. Bremer, who assumed
control of the Pentagon's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian
Assistance this week from retired Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, set one
extravagant target. Referring to roughly 100,000 felons pardoned by Hussein,
Bremer said, "It's time these people were put back in jail, and that is
where we will put them."

Though Bremer reports to Rumsfeld, he said military commanders will make all
deployment decisions, a source of frustration to some of Iraq's American
civilian administrators who want more help in assembling and securing Iraqi
ministries and key facilities.

"I do not, cannot and will not command forces," Bremer said.

At the South Baghdad Power Plant, a critical facility in a city where
electricity output is only 40 percent to 60 percent of normal by Bremer's
account, administrators have pleaded with U.S. forces not to stop guarding
the compound.

Lanier said one manager told him, "If your soldiers leave, I'm not coming to

by David Lee
The Scotsman, 17th May

WESTERN administrators have been warned they are on dangerous ground after
revealing plans to ban up to 30,000 diehard Saddam Hussein loyalists from
playing any part in a new Iraqi regime.

Senior members of the dissolved Baath Party will go through a vetting
procedure and are likely to be excluded from taking a role in rebuilding the

Two senior officials of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian
Assistance - which is running the country until an Iraqi interim authority
takes over - said they recognised the risks of such a process in a society
where up to 700,000 people were in the Baath Party.

One official said: "We have to recognise that de-Baathification will
necessarily entail some inefficiency in the running of government. We
understand that is a price we are willing to pay to be sure that we
extirpate Baathism from Iraq's society."

Last Sunday, the United States's commander of forces in Iraq, General Tommy
Franks, announced the Baath Party was dissolved and called on Iraqis to
surrender all party documents and possessions. Professionals representing
the elite of Iraq said the US measures could alienate the millions of Iraqis
who stayed under Saddam and favour those returning from exile.

"The opposition has respect. But they have been out of Iraq for decades and
they do not really know the country," said Nabil Mammo, a founder of Iraqi
Interest Watch, an independent forum which aims to restore security in

Barez Omar Ali, a Kurdish businessman, said: "Saddam gave patronage to those
who glorified him. Baathists should feel ashamed of their history, but not
summarily dismissed."

Full members in the upperranks of the Baath Party who will be subjected to
the vetting process - which involves direct interviews, testimonies and the
use of public and official records - number between 15,000 and 30,000, one
official said. Senior members suspected of criminal conduct will be
investigated and put under house arrest.

Meanwhile, Saddam's most trusted doctors have said he was in excellent
health and has the experience and brains to remain in hiding for years.

The doctors said Saddam, born in 1937, expected to live to more than 90 and
would not contemplate suicide, even if he was about to be captured.

by Peter S. Goodman
Washington Post, 17th May

BAGHDAD, May 16 -- The U.S. executive selected by the Pentagon to advise
Iraq's Ministry of Oil suggested today that the country might best be served
by exporting as much oil as it can and disregarding quotas set by the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. His comments offered the
strongest indication to date that the future Iraqi government may break
ranks with the international petroleum cartel.

"Historically, Iraq has had, let's say, an irregular participation in OPEC
quota systems," said Philip J. Carroll, who formerly headed Royal Dutch
Shell in the United States and now chairs a commission advising Iraq's oil
ministry. "They have from time to time, because of compelling national
interest, elected to opt out of the quota system and pursue their own path.
. . . They may elect to do that same thing. To me, it's a very important
national question."

In an interview held in an anteroom off a cavernous ballroom at Saddam
Hussein's former Republican Palace, Carroll also signaled that oil contracts
signed under the old regime are now potentially void or subject to

Hussein's government had an official policy of steering contracts for
drilling services, joint production and machinery to companies based in
France, Russia and China, whose governments tended to be more supportive of
Iraq in the United Nations Security Council. Though Carroll did not single
out any potentially imperiled contracts, he asserted that the old system of
preferential treatment ended with the demise of Hussein.

"There will have to be an evaluation by the ministry of those contracts and
a determination of whether they were made in the best interests of the Iraqi
people," Carroll said. "Certainly, where contracts are, shall we say,
excessively beneficial to one party, and that party is not the Iraqi people,
and there is a legal basis for not going forward, then I would expect that
the ministry would want to have another look."

Carroll stressed that his first priority is resuming enough production of
oil, gasoline and cooking fuel to relieve painful domestic shortages.
Questions about Iraqi exports and the country's participation in OPEC remain
moot for now. Sanctions continue to bar sales of the country's oil abroad,
except under a U.N.-governed program that allows exports to pay for food.
And analysts say it may be more than a year before there is enough oil
produced for export to even reach OPEC quotas.

But Carroll also echoed one of the chief goals of the Bush administration --
returning Iraq to its prewar export capacity as soon as possible to fund

Iraq's resumption of oil exports under a new government would expose OPEC to
considerable uncertainty. Iraq has the world's second-largest proven oil
reserves. Flows of Iraqi oil to the world market unconstrained by OPEC
quotas could further erode the cartel's already limited ability to set
prices and might even trigger a price war, eating into the profits of its
member countries. Such an outcome would surely delight the Bush
administration as well as buyers of gasoline in the United States, the
world's largest oil consumer. With that in mind, commentators --
particularly in Europe -- have contended that the real purpose of Bush's war
in Iraq was to put in place a government that would break OPEC. Such an
outcome would dismay the world's largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait
and Iran.

Carroll repeatedly rejected suggestions that he is an instrument of any such
policy, saying that he is merely an adviser. "In the final analysis, Iraq's
role in OPEC or in any other international organization is something that
has to be left to an Iraqi government," he said.

Already, officials within the oil ministry -- now supervised by U.S. forces
-- are actively considering pulling Iraq out of OPEC and exporting as much
crude as possible to maximize revenue once the oil fields have returned to
full capacity, according to a senior engineer at the ministry.

Asked about those talks, Carroll said: "That is a very good debate for
Iraqis to have, and I think they ought to do what they believe to be in
their national self-interest."

Iraq's oil production historically has comprised 90 percent of its economy
while bringing in nearly all of its foreign exchange. That flow of oil and
money is needed more than ever, Carroll said.

"I do believe the assertion that Iraq is going to need every bit of
financial wealth that it can lay its hands on," he said. "The sale of Iraqi
crude internationally is crucial to help all the other sectors of the Iraqi
economy. Those economic and financial resources are going to be essential if
the Iraqi economy is going to get back, if Iraq is going to be able to pay
its people and pay its pensions and rebuild."

Carroll's advisory board is today in fledgling state, counting only himself
as chairman and his assistant, Fadhil Othman, a longtime official at Iraq's
oil export agency. But as Carroll fills the board with others from the
industry, financial experts and lawyers, he plans to embark on a series of
studies to help the ministry set policy.

Among the questions the ministry will confront is whether to break up the
state oil empire and put some of its pieces into private hands. Hussein used
the state apparatus -- centrally controlled by the oil ministry -- to skim
profits for his family and funnel wealth to companies tied to his security
agencies. Carroll said his team planned to assist the ministry with a study
of potential structures. All options, from maintenance of the old system to
complete privatization, will be on the table, he said.

Carroll was careful to avoid endorsing any particular structure, but he
warned of the pitfalls of maintaining a system dominated by the ministry and
the state companies. "Highly centralized models are not always as efficient
as they should be," he said. "They are prone to corruption. They tend to be
more prone to the government seeing them as a cash cow" for funds for other

Still, Carroll also suggested that an overly aggressive privatization would
risk putting the oil companies "in the hands of a few people, so that the
nation receives little or no benefit, but all of a sudden you get instant

The one near-certainty: The future expansion of Iraq's oil industry will be
driven in part by foreign capital, Carroll said.

He confirmed a report in the Los Angeles Times that he continues to own
substantial stock in Fluor, which has already announced intentions to bid on
contracts to reconstruct Iraq's oil industry. He said he also has large
holdings in Shell.

Carroll said he had already disclosed these holdings to the Defense
Department and announced his intention to recuse himself from the
consideration of any decisions from which they could benefit.

by Carol Morello
Washington Post, 17th May

BAGHDAD -- Most of the theatrical gowns designed by Feryal Kilidar over 32
years have gone up in smoke -- burned by looters.

Her studio had been located in the government-owned House of Fashion, but
that has become the headquarters of an upstart political party called the
Higher Council to Liberate Iraq. The party platform is a work in progress,
but on this the members are clear: Under the Baath Party government, the
House of Fashion was a warren of corrupt and un-Islamic activities.

One party activist suggested that Kilidar, who is from a prominent and
wealthy family of Shiite clerics, is not really a Muslim because she does
not wear a head scarf. "What are we going to do with them?" Kilidar said
with a laugh when told what party members had said about her.

Her career a shambles and hostile newcomers squatting in her office, Kilidar
has not been back to see the charred gowns with their Sumerian motifs or the
damaged paintings on which the new occupants tried to write the name of
their party. Like most Iraqi women, she has not left her house since the
government of Saddam Hussein collapsed April 9, unleashing a crime wave that
residents say is unlike anything they have ever seen.

"We never used to stay at home," said Kilidar, who lives in a spacious,
art-filled house in a field of date palms along the Tigris River. "But I
don't want to see Baghdad in this state. And we hear about men with guns
stopping cars. I'm too afraid to go out."

Kilidar was a privileged citizen under the former government, although she
said she joined the Baath Party only three years ago. But while she enjoyed
more advantages than most, the collapse of her career, her self-imposed
confinement and the fog over her future mirror the uneasy situations facing
many Iraqi women. A chaotic city filled with soldiers, thieves and
carjackers, Baghdad often appears to be inhabited only by men. Alarmed by
the lawlessness and now without jobs, most Iraqi women refuse to step
outside their homes.

The absence of women in public view is striking in a country where women
have for decades held professional jobs and lived with a measure of
independence unusual in Arab countries, fostered by the Baath Party
philosophy of modern Arab nationalism.

Since the war, women have been missing from the markets, where men now shop
for food. Nor can women be seen in the long lines that begin forming
overnight at gas stations. Most significantly, an interim government and
scores of political parties are being formed with little to no input from

Without television news or readily available newspapers, women have no way
of knowing which parties are addressing their concerns. The only permitted
women's organization was an arm of the defunct Baath Party, so women have no
natural networks to turn to outside of friends, family and co-workers.

"I'm a bit surprised myself that Iraqi women are not on the stage," said
Tamara Daghistani, one of a handful of women working with the Iraqi National
Congress, an exile organization seeking a political role in postwar Iraq.
"Iraqi women are famous for being tough and decisive. But they went through
three long and terrible wars. Women lost children, they lost husbands, they
lost their sense of self-dependence. It takes time for them to readjust. As
soon as the country gets running and the electricity comes back, things will
fall into place and women will start shopping around for a niche."

Even among themselves, Iraqi women are not discussing power-sharing or the
potential for an Islamic government that could dictate their movements and
their dress. They say their immediate concern is not with getting a seat in
parliament, but with getting a reliable supply of electricity to their homes
and a police car patrolling their neighborhoods.

"The coming of an Islamic government is possible," said Azhar Shehily, a
political scientist and constitutional law professor at Baghdad University.
"We would harshly refuse anyone telling us what we have to wear. If that
happened, I'd be very afraid. But I think the coming government will not be
100 percent Islamic. And frankly, we have more important concerns now --
like security, and having social services, first of all electricity."

Still, some worry that women are being sidelined as never before. Thikra
Nadr, a novelist in her mid-forties who published a tale about a government
that ruined the country through deprivation and war, said she cannot
remember a time when women had less visibility or freedom.

"The long period of sanctions reduced the role of women in Iraq," she said
as a generator roared across the street from her ground-floor apartment in
the middle-class Mansour district. "But this period we're living in right
now has completely canceled the role of women in society."

Iraqi women have attended universities for decades. They were well
represented in medicine, engineering, academia and the civil service. The
Baathist government made education mandatory for girls; the number of girls
attending school at all levels tripled in the 1970s after the Baath

The only legally permitted women's organization in Iraq, however, was the
General Federation of Iraqi Women, an arm of the government that allowed no
criticism of the government. While Iraq's constitution expressly outlawed
discrimination on the basis of gender, in practice the government's edicts
restraining individual liberties and the woeful economy caused women to
backslide along with the rest of the country.

The 12 years of U.N. sanctions made the buying power of the Iraqi dinar
dwindle to the point where a typical salary for a civil servant amounted to
little more than $5 a month. Many women stopped working because they could
not afford transportation and clothes. Others worked two or three jobs. Neda
Salih Amin, a gynecologist at Yarmouk Hospital, supplemented her $150
monthly salary with private patients, seen at an outside clinic for the
equivalent of $2.50 a visit.

"I haven't bought any new clothes for myself for 20 or 25 years," said Amin,
55, as she sat in her office with a broken window and an air conditioner
that stopped working long before the war. "We lost the best years of our
lives. But I don't like to look back. The past was so miserable, I want to
look to the future."


Seattle Times, 17th May

Iraqi civilians and soldiers have accused British and U.S. troops of
torturing them for information during the war in Iraq, human-rights group
Amnesty International said yesterday.

Amnesty researcher Said Boumedouha said Amnesty has interviewed about 20
people who said they were tortured  mostly by beatings but at least one by
electric shock  after being detained as prisoners of war.

Some civilians were held as suspected Iraqi militia fighters.

"I think they are telling the truth," Boumedouha said in London. "But to
what extent (it happened) and the details of it all ... that we are still
trying to establish."

Neither the U.S. nor British governments had any comment on the report.

NO URL (sent through list)

by Patrick E. Tyler
New York Times, 17th May

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 16:  In an abrupt reversal, the United States and Britain
have indefinitely put off their plan to allow Iraqi opposition forces to
form a national assembly and an interim government by the end of the month.

Instead, top American and British diplomats leading reconstruction efforts
here told exile leaders in a meeting tonight that allied officials would
remain in charge of Iraq for an indefinite period, said Iraqis who attended
the meeting. It was conducted by L. Paul Bremer, the new civilian
administrator here.

Mr. Bremer, who was accompanied by John Sawers, a British diplomat
representing Prime Minister Tony Blair, told the Iraqi political figures
that the allies preferred to revert to the concept of creating an "interim
authority" not a provisional government so that Iraqis could assist them by
creating a constitution for Iraq, revamping the educational system and
devising a plan for future democratic elections.

"It's quite clear that you cannot transfer all powers onto some interim
body, because it will not have the strength or the resources to carry those
responsibilities out," The Associated Press quoted Mr. Sawers as saying.
"There was agreement that we should aim to have a national conference as
soon as we reasonably could do so."

One Iraqi who attended the meeting said Iraqi opposition leaders expressed
strong disappointment over the reversal.

The decision comes at a time when Washington and London have been taking new
steps to restore law and order in Iraq, cope with the devastation of
civilian institutions and halt the looting and violent crime.

These conditions have emboldened former opposition figures to move rapidly
into the political vacuum in Iraq, and former members of Saddam Hussein's
government and the Baath Party to blame the allies for fomenting collapse,
unemployment and suffering among the population.

In a step calculated to combat any resurgence of Baath Party influence here,
Mr. Bremer today issued an order banning up to 30,000 top-ranking members
"from future employment in the public sector."

"By this means, the coalition provisional authority will ensure that
representative government in Iraq is not threatened by Baathist elements
returning to power and that those in positions of authority in the future
are acceptable to the people of Iraq," Mr. Bremer said in a statement.

Today's decision to extend allied control indefinitely over the governing of
Iraq was conveyed to Iraqi political figures as the United States and
Britain worked assiduously at the United Nations to win broad international
consensus for a resolution to lift economic sanctions on Iraq, in order to
begin selling oil to finance reconstruction.

In seeking support, the allies are facing demands for a greater United
Nations role in shaping postwar Iraq, including a setting of the terms by
which an "interim authority" would make the transition to democratically
elected government.

"They want broader support because they are desperate to get the oil
pumping," said an Iraqi who attended the meeting. Mr. Sawers, who is
Britain's outgoing ambassador to Egypt, spoke of the need to complete the
"tactical" measures of re-establishing legal and social institutions before
vesting a government with sovereign control.

The Iraqi who attended the meeting added that the decision also appeared to
reflect apprehensions in the Bush administration, and more intensely in
London, that the former Iraqi opposition forces are still a disparate group
and that the Kurdish leaders as well have yet to coalesce into a ruling

The fear is that a divided or weak interim government will not be able to
withstand the intense and at times conflicting ethnic and religious
pressures that have tended to divide Iraq instead of cementing it together.

"I don't think they trust this group to function as a political leadership,"
said the Iraqi political figure who attended. "And for us it is very
difficult to participate in something that we have no control over. We don't
want to be part of the blame committee when something goes wrong."

Opposition leaders were "very respectful" to Mr. Bremer and Mr. Sawers, a
participant said, "but I think everyone was also pretty forceful about the
need to have full sovereignty for the Iraqis." A question they kept posing,
he added, was, "Do you want to run this place, or should we?"


Attending from the Pentagon was Walter Slocombe, who has been given the
assignment to examine the growing problem of how to get under control the
military forces that each of the main opposition leaders now controls in
Iraq. He is said to be working on a plan to meld them into a national
security force, a task that would require Kurdish leaders to give up control
over their armies.

The opposition leaders were also asked to meet on Tuesday with Lt. Gen. John
Abazaid, deputy to Gen. Tommy Franks, the overall American commander in the
Middle East and South Asia, to discuss how the opposition groups can
contribute to improving security.

All of the Iraqi figures were pleased with Mr. Bremer's decision on
dismantling the Baath Party. Nonetheless, Mr. Bremer reserved the right to
himself to make exceptions to the ban in cases where the knowledge and
expertise of a former Baath official might be essential to government
functions, where the person's prior membership in the party was deemed
nonthreatening and where a renunciation of Baath principles had been

by Susan Sachs
Yahoo, from The New York Times, 17th May


At Baghdad University, the nation's largest, professors gathered to vote for
a temporary president and deans of the various faculties. Armed American
soldiers stood guard at the school gates and the auditorium where the voting
took place. A State Department official who will have the final say on all
Iraqi university appointments also monitored the meeting.

The campus scene reflected the increasingly direct influence that American
civilian and military administrators are imposing, on a larger scale, on the
politics of postwar Iraq.


At Baghdad University, students hung banners calling for the banning of
Baath Party activists from administrative and teaching positions.

Inside the professors' meeting, Andrew Erdmann, a State Department official,
said that allied forces would make the final decision about who would run
the university for the rest of the school term.

They will scrutinize the Iraqis' choices to ensure that none were involved
in weapons programs or political crimes, he said. "We are not going to have
Dr. Germ put forward for university president," he added.

But some professors said the purging process could go too far, replacing
corrupt deans with incompetent ones whose only qualification was their lack
of Baath links.

"We're a scientific community here," said Riyad Khazaridji, a professor of
engineering who walked out of the elections. "You don't mix politics with
science or you end up with a bad combination."

The American overseers of Iraq have recently announced that getting rid of
senior Baath members has become their priority. L. Paul Bremer III, the
newly appointed administrator, has issued an order banning the party's
regional and local leaders from government jobs.

But last month, an American diplomat working with Mr. Bremer's predecessor,
Jay Garner, decided to reinstall a senior Baath Party leader, Muhammad
al-Rawi, as university president. Protests erupted and the appointment was

Lebanon Daily Star, 21st May

BAGHDAD: The top British civilian in Baghdad said Tuesday that occupying
forces would not hand power to an Iraqi government until elections have been
held - in one or maybe two years.

John Sawers, British Prime Minister Tony Blair's special envoy, also said
the coalition expects a new Iraqi constitution to grant the Kurds of the
north autonomy over an area larger than the three rebel-held provinces that
the West protected against Saddam Hussein.

The pre-war limits of Kurdish autonomy had been "arbitrarily fixed by
Saddam" Hussein, and their expansion to reflect the Kurds' demographic
weight would have to be addressed in a new constitution, Sawers said.

"There is widespread sympathy among Arab Iraqis for the notion that there
should be a separate Kurdish entity within Iraq as part of a unified
country," he said. "Quite what the boundaries of that would be is something
 to be discussed quite carefully. It is our view that there should be no
rigid dividing line."

Successive Iraqi governments have balked at giving the Kurds control of the
northern oil city of Kirkuk or the regional capital of Mosul.

Sawers dashed the hopes of opponents of Saddam Hussein who returned in the
expectation of quickly taking the reins, saying he hoped an interim
administration could be formed after a national conference in one or two
months, but that its role would be to draw up a new constitution, leaving
the day-to-day running of Iraq to the US-British occupation.

"I haven't talked to any Iraqi who thinks the job can be done better by some
ad-hoc committee than by the coalition itself," he said. "We can't just give
power to these self appointed individuals and we're not going to.

"They as politicians obviously want to build on their leadership roles and
attract support in the country, but it will only be possible to hand over
power to an Iraqi government when it has been genuinely elected by the Iraqi

A final UN draft resolution by London and Washington late Monday sought
endorsement of their occupation "until an internationally recognized,
representative government is established by the people of Iraq and assumes
(its) responsibilities."

Previous drafts had spoken of a 12-month period to be renewed as necessary.

The UN Security Council was to discuss the draft resolution on ending
sanctions against Iraq on Tuesday.

"The resolution has some problems," said Entifadh Qanbar, spokesman for the
Iraqi National Congress, which holds one of seven seats on a political
council holding talks with Sawers and the US overseer Paul Bremer. "It's not
up to the Americans to delay this government. This is a sovereign issue  We
are allies of the United States but we do not take orders" from them.

He said talks over the transitional administration had not been finalised
yet, "but we think for practical technical and moral reasons, Iraq should be
for the Iraqis."

Sawers said the new schedule laid out by the proposal was actually likely to
be longer than previously thought.

"My instinct is that it will take more than a year and less than two years"
to hold elections, he said. "There is no reliable census which will be
necessary to establish an electoral register."

The seven-strong leadership council of former exiles has been holding talks
with Sawers and the top US official here Paul Bremer, hoping to be able to
quickly form an interim government to run post-war Iraq.

But the British official said the coalition believes that the seven have yet
to demonstrate either their popular support or their ability to run a
country plagued by lawlessness and a shortage of basic services.

"I have sympathy with those people who say that we should not just hand over
power to self-appointed people who have come back from abroad. We want to 
leave time for new political parties to form and for new leaders to emerge.

"There is tension between what responsibility you give politicians who have
not yet demonstrated their level of support and what responsibility you give
technocrats who can re-establish effective administration."

Sawers said the job of drawing up a new constitution, to be entrusted to the
coalition's planned interim administration chosen by a national conference
in "late June or early July," should not be underestimated.

The question of the future powers and borders of a regional authority for
the Kurds of the north, as well as the return of homes and land to those
displaced by Saddam Hussein's policy of Arabization, were "immediate and
sensitive issues," he said.

Under Saddam Hussein, large numbers of Arab settlers were brought in to
undermine the community's demographic weight in the two provinces.

Large numbers of Kurds were also driven out and, with the last census dating
back to 1970, there are no reliable statistics on the population, which
includes smaller Turkmen and Christian communities.

"There are some difficult restitution issues that will have to be addressed
in the wake of Saddam's Arabization policy," said Sawers.

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]