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Inferior News, 28/5-4/6/03 (2) HUMANITARIAN PROBLEMS * CARE warns of Iraqi chlorine shortage, risk of waterborne diseases * Ominous Increase in Cholera Cases in Iraq's Basra * Behind the victory, a power struggle that drains life from a weary people * At Death's Door * Oxfam's Iraq crisis update 30th May SOCIAL PROBLEMS * People's anger, demonstrations in Baghdad, al-Anbar people prepare for martyrdom operations * Iraqis revolt in northern Iraqi town after weapons search * Baghdad daily conducts public opinion poll * Real estate is explosive issue in Iraq * Clash of cultures fuels low-level war of increasing animosity * Iraqis protest against new British ruler in Basra * Iraqi bandits attempt to ambush MP's convoy HUMANITARIAN PROBLEMS NO URL * CARE WARNS OF IRAQI CHLORINE SHORTAGE, RISK OF WATERBORNE DISEASES Statement from CARE charity, 27th May ATLANTA (May 27) - A shortage of chlorine in Iraq will cause a serious problem with waterborne diseases in the next four to six weeks if not dealt with immediately, according to the international humanitarian agency CARE. Sewage treatment plants are degrading by the day, and need repairs and increased capacity to avoid a public health crisis, says Nick Southern, an Assessment and Program Design Officer with CARE, who has been assessing water and sanitation needs in and around Baghdad for the past three weeks. "Chlorine alone won't clean dirty water. The 'black water' must first go through a filtering process and this is not being done," says Southern. "Basically in all the towns I've visited there's this dirty water backing up in the treatment plants and running into the streets and rivers." Sewage continues to flood the streets of Baghdad in areas that were unaffected by such problems under the former government, as well as in areas where infrastructure was neglected. The collapse of basic services like water and sewage is contributing to a climate of social unrest. "It's all very dysfunctional. Adding to this is intensely hot weather. Combining the two creates a recipe for cholera and typhoid," says Southern. Typical of the problems is the city of Karbala, home to one of Iraq's favorite mosques. Now people are free to visit Karbala to worship, for the first time in years, swelling the city's population from 400,000 to a million and a half on Fridays. "On a good day the sewage treatment plant limps along with water spurting out of pipes in every direction," says Southern. "Some parts are held together with rubber bands. It cannot handle the extra waste produced by an additional million or so people." CARE, which operates a fleet of mobile repair units for water treatment systems, will soon be sending a team to Karbala to make necessary repairs. Nick Southern returned Monday to his base of Nairobi, Kenya, and is available for interviews. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=571&ncid=571&e=2&u=/nm/20030 529/hl_nm/cholera_iraq_dc_1 * OMINOUS INCREASE IN CHOLERA CASES IN IRAQ'S BASRA Yahoo, 29th May BASRA (Reuters) - The number of confirmed cases of cholera in the Iraqi city of Basra is already higher than in the whole of last year, and many more cases are probably undetected, the United Nations said on Wednesday. World Health Organisation (WHO) spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told a news conference that 64 cases of the potentially fatal water-borne disease had been confirmed in Basra and the surrounding region, compared to 39 in the whole of 2002. The actual number of cases this year is likely to be far higher, as the surveillance system that monitored the spread of the disease collapsed during the war to topple Saddam Hussein and the weeks of chaos and looting that followed. "We can say that for each case we have discovered, there are at least 15 more that we don't know about," Chaib said. So far this year no deaths from cholera have been reported in southern Iraq, but with the health care system still in crisis the outbreak could well cause loss of life unless it is brought under control. Basra suffered several outbreaks of cholera in recent years, but previously had a good surveillance system to allow the spread of the disease to be monitored and brought under control. Now, that system has fallen apart. The WHO says the outbreak of cholera could come from several sources. Illegal tapping has contaminated the water supply in the Basra area, and many people outside the city center rely on untreated river water. The WHO estimates that only a third of the population can afford bottled drinking water. Cholera can be fatal if patients do not get adequate treatment, as the disease can cause severe dehydration due to fluid loss. NO URL * BEHIND THE VICTORY, A POWER STRUGGLE THAT DRAINS LIFE FROM A WEARY PEOPLE by Rory McCarthy in Khalis Guardian, 29th May When Tony Blair visits Iraq today, he will be told about the achievements of the British armed forces, the swift and widely welcomed defeat of Saddam Hussein's tyrannical regime and how reconstruction, though difficult, is beginning apace. It will only be half the story. He will not, for example, hear about Dr Hussain Ridha and the plight of Khalis, a small, provincial capital about 50 miles north of Baghdad. But if Khalis is anything like the hundreds of other small towns and villages across the country, then postwar Iraq is al ready in a far deeper crisis than its military occupiers will ever admit. Khalis is an unremarkable town of around 40,000 people, set in fertile plains to the east of the Tigris river. Two days ago a newborn baby died in Dr Ridha's hands because the hospital where he works has run out of oxygen. Doctors are now seeing 200 new patients daily, all suffering from severe diarrhoea. It is twice the average for this time of year. In addition, each day they see at least seven new typhoid patients. Yesterday Dr Ridha was on his last bottle of Flagyl, or metronidazole, one of the main antibiotics he uses for bacterial stomach illnesses. One of his patients is Ayham Mortadha, a boy just three months old who is suffering from diarrhoea and marasmus, a sign of severe malnutrition that will leave him permanently affected. Yesterday Ayham lay on a dirty hospital bed next to his mother, Nuha, 18. His face was grey, his small eyes were sunk back in his skull and he was too weak even to cry. "This is simply the result of poor nutrition, bad hygiene and dirty water," Dr Ridha said. "There is nothing I can do for him other than give him fluids. We have to accept he will grow up stunted and there will be some damage to his brain." His young mother explained that the family has had to rely on river water for drinking and cooking since the war. "There was no other water available. It was dirty but I had no choice," she said. The taps in their home ran dry and mineral water in the market is too expensive at around 1,500 dinars (£1) a bottle. Outside the ward, the hospital's corridors are overcrowded with the sick and desperate. There are 55 beds and many times more patients. Dr Ridha's paediatrics ward has 26 beds and yesterday had 44 young patients, mostly severely dehydrated and undernourished infants. Remaining stocks of medicine will run out within a week and diesel supplies to run the two overworked generators that keep the hospital operating are already perilously low. Unlike thousands of government employees in Basra and Baghdad, the doctors of Khalis have not been paid for the past three months. "We prepared ourselves before the war with three months of supplies for us to work only under normal circumstances, not with the number of patients we have now. The supplies run out at the beginning of June," said Mohammad Ahmed, the hospital director. There is no gas to cook in the kitchen and staff must burn scraps of wood instead. Where they used to serve patients four meals with meat each week, now they serve barely two. It should be no surprise that more and more people are falling sick every day. With only one hour of power a day there is not enough electricity to keep the town's water treatment plant pumping. One of the main sewage plants in the town was inexplicably bombed during the war and then picked to the bone by looters. It has been repaired but has no generator to allow it to run. The network of cast-iron pipes that supplies people's homes is cracked and leaking. When the power cuts out, the negative pressure sucks in all the sewage pooled around the pipes and delivers it directly into the people's homes. The aid agency Care, one of the few organisations which worked in Iraq for several years before the war, is trying to stop Khalis descending into chaos. Care has delivered medicine and equipment to the hospital and rebuilt the bombed sewage plant. It has repaired the water treatment plant, which finally operates properly for the first time in years. But the plant still shuts down several times each day because the back-up generators, which take over when the power is out, are already on the verge of breakdown. None of the plant's 30 staff has been paid and so few bother coming to work. The vital chlorine stocks that disinfect the water will last only another three weeks. At the heart of the problem, aid workers say, is that the highly centralised system of the former regime has been replaced by a power vacuum, run ad hoc by the US-led authority in Baghdad. "There was a system before. It didn't work very well, but it worked," said Majeed Waleed, Care's programme manager for Iraq. "We welcome the change. But what the authorities are doing now is dismantling it and starting from zero. This is the biggest risk. It has become so politicised that the basic structure to run the country is not yet there. This is now the emergency." When the US military swept into Iraq they expected after a brief battle to find a government decapitated but otherwise largely intact. Instead the structure has fallen apart, its collapse sped by the US-led de-Ba'athification programme, which excludes up to 30,000 senior government officials from any role in the state. Many of the problems are the chronic result of 13 years of UN sanctions and Saddam's corruption and mismanagement. Yet under the Geneva conventions, Britain and America, as the occupying powers of Iraq, are obliged to provide basic services such as health, clean water, power and security. Too few troops on the ground means poor security. Poor security means electricians have only been able to repair half of Iraq's damaged electricity pylons, so power supplies across the country are intermittent at best. As the crisis in Khalis demonstrates, limited power means little clean water and enormous and mounting pressure on the already fragile health system. Senior aid officials have warned that as pre-war health and sanitation supplies run out and the summer heat rises, the crisis will deepen before it improves. "Power is not a luxury. It is the key," said Ramiro Lopes da Silva, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq. "If we are not able to get back these services before the summer sets in when you have no power there will be not enough hands to handle the situation." In Khalis, Dr Ridha is sanguine given the pathetic state of his hospital. He remembers the years before the sanctions came in 1990, when malnutrition cases were so rare that students flocked to study them and when diarrhoea was as easily treated as in Britain today. "There is so much we need: medicines, clean water, more space in the hospital, salaries," he said. "It shouldn't be as bad as this." It is not the message Mr Blair is expecting to hear. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/nightline/World/iraq030528_casualties.html * AT DEATH'S DOOR by David Wright ABC News, 28th May B A G H D A D, Iraq, May 28‹ The Pentagon keeps a precise count of U.S. casualties in the war in Iraq. But the question of how many Iraqis lost their lives remains as mysterious as the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein or the location of all those weapons of mass destruction. Marla Ruzicka, 26, from the San Francisco Bay Area, has been in Baghdad since the day Saddam's statue fell in the city center. She has been doing a headcount of the Iraqi injured and the dead. She's found more than she expected. She has formed her own nonprofit organization, called the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, or CIVIC. She has organized 150 surveyors to fan out across Iraq. So far, they say they have documented 620 civilian deaths in Baghdad, 256 in Najaf, 425 in Karbala and as many as 1,100 in Nasiriyah. It is only a preliminary count. "Somewhere between 5,000 to 10,000 people died in this conflict," Ruzicka said. Ruzicka's survey teams conduct their search door to door. On Saturday, she visited the village of Rashidiya, a small farm town on the banks of the Tigris River. On April 5, U.S. warplanes strafed the village, killing nearly 100 people. All of them were civilians. In one house, 17-month-old Haider al Hamadi was the only member of his family to escape unscathed. He lost his mother, his three sisters and two brothers. His father survived, but lost three fingers. In another home, 42 people in one extended family were killed. Many were visiting from Baghdad in an effort to keep their children safe from the blitz. "Each number represents a case, a need, represents a father, a mother, a loss of life," she said. Ruzicka does not represent the U.S. government. She's not affiliated with any big relief agency. She is a lone peace activist who has taken it upon herself to help the civilian victims of war. It is a difficult process, in part because there continue to be casualties almost every day. But there is still no official tally of how many Iraqi lives were lost ‹ military or civilian. Iraq's military kept all records secret. And the civilian documents are unreliable. Each hospital keeps a handwritten book of the dead. There is no master list. And the hospital records are in disarray after the flood of casualties during the war, and the looters who came after. Cemeteries are poorly marked. Many burials were not documented at all. And it is difficult to tell the military from the civilian dead because of the tactics Saddam's forces employed during the war: dressing in civilian clothes, staging in civilian neighborhoods, putting civilian lives at risk. "It takes time, that's why we cant give you a number today or tomorrow," said Ruzicka. "Our goal beyond getting assistance to the innocent families that are harmed is to get a proper accounting of war." It is painstaking work, meeting one on one with people whose lives have been ruined. Ruzicka's task started in Amman, Jordan, two months ago. She attended the funeral of the man believed to be the first civilian casualty in this war ‹ a Jordanian taxi driver killed the first night of bombing. While the U.S. ambassador sent a letter, she was the only American to personally offer condolences to the grieving family. Now, every day, she meets with new victims, in sessions that often seem like group therapy. "Yes, a number is important," she said, "but it's not as important as making sure that we recognize that each number is a life. Ultimately, we can get them long-term medical care. We can get their homes rebuilt and possibly ‹ it's a hard possibility ‹ but what we're working or is some economic assistance." The U.S. military says it does everything it can to ensure that innocent civilians don't get caught in the crossfire. But mistakes happen; war is messy. Ruzicka's ultimate goal is to win compensation for these people, which is no easy task. The only real precedent for compensating civilian casualties comes from Afghanistan, and Ruzicka helped to make it happen by successfully lobbying the U.S. Congress to help innocent victims of that war. In Afghanistan, Ruzicka's survey confirmed 824 civilian deaths ‹ although she believes at least double that number died in the U.S. campaign to oust the Taliban and al Qaeda. She convinced Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to insert language in an appropriations bill, allocating $3.75 million to help the Afghan victims. "Marla Ruzicka is somebody out there saying, 'Wait, everybody. Here's what's really happening. You better know about this,' " said Leahy. "We have whistle-blowers in industry. Maybe sometimes we need whistle-blowers in foreign policy." But in Iraq, one person, however determined, is bound to have trouble getting the attention of the U.S. military, which has its hands full. Just wading through the bureaucracy can take days. Ruzicka is also chronically short on money. She now has $50 left in her bank account, so she is applying for a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Until that comes through, she relies on the help of her friends. But while other aid agencies are still getting organized in Iraq, still tentatively working out the difficult security situation, Ruzicka is already out there, trying as much as one person can to help. Marla Ruzicka can be reached at email@example.com. Her Web site is: www.iraqvictimsfund.org. NO URL * OXFAM'S IRAQ CRISIS UPDATE 30TH MAY 1. Oxfam's relief programme Iraq Water and Sanitation Oxfam now has teams in Baghdad, Basra and Nasiriyah, with a western and central Iraq team making assessment visits to Iraq from Jordan. We have a formal working agreement with the United Nations' Children's agency, UNICEF, to provide clean water and sanitation systems to people in Iraq. Oxfam are undertaking large-scale emergency infrastructure work that will benefit many areas, urban and rural, in southern Iraq. Pumping stations are being rehabilitated and our partners UNICEF are bringing in large supplies of chlorine gas, vital for water treatment. The system relies on sweet water being pumped south from Nasiriyah to Basra where it is treated. Many areas further south rely on this water as much of the local water is saline. Health The health and water/sanitation situation remains chronic, with a high risk of outbreak of disease. There are now 51 cases of cholera in Basra and a monitoring system has been set up in Nasiriyah. The shortage of available gas cylinders means people are not able to boil their water to kill the bacteria in it. While diarrhoeal diseases are reported to be fewer than a week ago in Nasiriyah, patients are not coming to clinics because there are few drugs and they cannot afford to pay. General health surveillance is poor and lab testing facilities are in need of equipment. Oxfam is preparing for a possible cholera outbreak. Our staff have visited primary health care centres and found some looted of all their equipment. It's now leishmaniasis season and the incidence rate is up. This sandfly-borne disease mainly affects children under five years old. Oxfam will be assisting with a leishmaniasis prevention and control programme in the area. Public Health Promotion Oxfam public health promoters in southern Iraq are working closely with other aid agencies and local health professionals to encourage integration and cooperation between doctors, clinics and hospitals. In general, standards of medical care are poor. Prior to the conflict all health activities were organised from Baghdad. There is a feeling that the south may be forgotten and a need for Oxfam to influence at a ministerial level and lobby for improved health systems and to promote community health in collaboration with other NGOs. Food availability There is food available for purchase in the region, but at higher prices than ever before. Meanwhile, most people are no longer receiving salaries. There is a high dependency on World Food Programme rations, and the next distribution is due in June. Oxfam is identifying vulnerable groups of people, especially those who missed out on food distribution system. Assessment in western Iraq On 24th May the first cross border assessment visit by the Oxfam Central Iraq team took place in Rutbah with ICRC. Since then the team has also visited Hillah and Karbala (central Iraq). The team has set up a new office in Ruweished as a base for staff working cross border. Medical Supplies Oxfam has been helping supply Architects for People in Need's (APN) clinics and others in Baghdad throughout the war, providing funds and medical supplies with the All Our Children NGO consortium. The latest shipment from Jordan contained syringes, needles, surgical gloves, examination tables and other crucial pieces of medical equipment. Much more is needed for APN's seven clinics, where power comes from old and unreliable generators. There is a desperate need for kerosene-fuelled fridges to keep drugs and samples cold. Supplies run short all the time. APN have requested a secondment from Oxfam of a Water Engineer to help build and repair clean water systems for the clinics. The doctors are now seeing fewer war injuries than there were a few weeks ago - but there's typhoid, skin diseases, burns. There is certainly cholera, but no lab facilities to check the extent of the outbreak. Jordan In Jordan, Oxfam is working alongside the UN in refugee camps. Oxfam has provided water and sanitation systems and public health promotion. The Ruweished refugee camp now has about 800 refugees, all of Palestinian origin. There is an additional emergency camp at Al Ramada for people who have not been allowed across the Jordanian border - around 1500 of them Iranian Kurds who were already refugees in Iraq in a camp called Al Tash, about 20 km from Baghdad. These people are 'stuck' in no man's land. UNHCR is looking at potential sites inside Iraq and there is a strong possibility that they will be asked to move away from Jordan. For them to be moved on from here, the international community must be sure their safety can be guaranteed. 2. Next Steps for Oxfam Oxfam's work will cover areas of need in Iraq including water and plumbing systems (large and small), food and nutrition, and public health promotion. We are currently developing plans to encourage community mobilisation towards improved living conditions in southern Iraq We will expand our joint assessments with UNICEF into additional southern governorates Discussions are underway with the Jordanian Hashemite Charitable Organisation concerning requests for assistance they have received from western Iraq Our southern Iraq team is working on a proposal to continue and expand our water and sanitation response for the period 1st July to 31st October We will be expanding our Quick Impact Projects (QUIPS) to include grants of much higher value We continue to keep our plans flexible to best meet the changing needs of the Iraqi people 3. Current Humanitarian Situation Security The complete lack of basic services is of critical concern, but without improved security it is difficult to see how essentials such as electricity supply and normal health care can be restored. Numerous security incidents happen daily in the capital. These include looting, banditry, ambushes, car-jacking, physical attacks and killings. Schools have reopened but most parents are concerned about their children's safety. NGOs have become a target for attack as they clearly have money as well as valuable equipment and vehicles. Many humanitarian aid agencies have been frustrated by not being able to get into Iraq until their safety can be guaranteed, accusing Coalition Forces of not doing enough to ensure the safety of staff and goods. Just this week we have heard that the coalition military will be instructed to deal with all looting very seriously. Insecurity is by far the biggest issue in Baghdad. Systems have broken down with women and girls being abducted at gunpoint and reports of rape. Intermittent shooting day and night has become commonplace and coalition forces report being shot at every time they try to use the underpasses. Small arms are freely available in local markets and people are scared. Unlike two months ago, people in Baghdad no longer go out after dark. Many are scared to leave their houses at all for fear of looters. Those that do work have to leave early to get home before the gunfire and thieving starts. The widely advertised joint patrols of Iraqi police and US forces have been spotted only once and most people in the poorer Shia areas have never seen a coalition soldier. The Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Aid (ORHA, military run department) reports that 18 police stations have reopened in Baghdad but currently there are no night patrols. The UN security agency UNSECORD reports that there is "something like urban guerrilla warfare" underway in Baghdad with around five armed attacks on coalition forces per day. Areas of the city like the poor Shiite district of al-Sadr (formerly Saddam City) remain no-go areas for the coalition. Here there are vast amounts of weapons available - just $2-$5 for a Kalashnikov. Basra and Nassiriya continue to be unstable with looting in the town both day and night. In Basra there is often much shooting in the evening just after dark and around the area of the three hotels housing UN and NGO staff. The UN has just tightened its security restrictions on travel in the south of Iraq. Now the road from Basra will require four vehicle convoys with a minimum of two persons per vehicle. With limited vehicles and staff this new requirement essentially makes the UN powerless to undertake any field work in southern Iraq, and will have a devastating effect on their visibility. Food Iraqi agriculture is on the brink of collapse, with fears that many of its 24.5 million people will go hungry this summer, according to a report being studied by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation. A special UN assessment reveals a catastrophe in the making, with crops and poultry being especially hard hit. A number of post-war problems need to be solved urgently in order to ensure that 60 percent of Iraqis get the heavily-subsidised food rations that they have depended on for so long. Nutrition rates in Baghdad show that 7.7 per cent of children under fives are suffering from acute malnutrition, compared with last year's figure of 4 per cent. WFP is undertaking assessments to Karabala and Hillah along with some food distribution. Population Movement The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is preparing for the return of up to 500,000 Iraqi refugees, mainly from Iran and Jordan. UNCHR has recently held discussions with Shi'a leaders in An Najaf in southern Iraq to send messages to tribal leaders to ease pressure on Iranian refugees living in the area. SOCIAL PROBLEMS http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/030529/2003052902.html * PEOPLE'S ANGER, DEMONSTRATIONS IN BAGHDAD, AL-ANBAR PEOPLE PREPARE FOR MARTYRDOM OPERATIONS Arabic News, 29th May Tension still overwhelms conditions in the Iraqi al-Anbar province following the killing of four American soldiers as their helicopters was downed in Albu Assaf quarters in the governorate. Eye witnesses said the American forces hurried to transport the ruins of the plane before journalists arrived to the site. In Hait city of al- Anbar province, the citizens clashed with the Iraqi police and many of them were injured as a result. The Iraqi police guided the American forces to the houses of citizens presumed to have machine guns and weapons. News reports said that citizens in the city blew up the police center and the center of the local governor, using more than 20 mortars in revenge of certain police members who collaborated with the American soldiers and provided them with information about the citizens of the city. The Iraqis also took the streets in massive demonstrations in which they vowed to revenge the Americans who broke into their houses in an offensive way during the breaking in operations and frightened women and children, according to citizens of the city. The reports added that the American forces were obliged to withdraw from the city and several explosions were heard in it, noting that the citizens chanted national slogans and their morale were very high. The news reports also said that conditions in that city have not calmed yet and that the American forces started to be reassemble again on the outskirts of the city in order to withstand developments that might take place in the city. One of Hait's chieftain yesterday early morning addressed a warning to the American forces to leave the city, otherwise they will face problems. [.....] NO URL * IRAQIS REVOLT IN NORTHERN IRAQI TOWN AFTER WEAPONS SEARCH RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 24, 30 May 2003 Iraqis in the northern town of Hit rioted on 28 May after local police and U.S. troops conducted house-to-house searches in an effort to collect banned weapons, Reuters reported on 29 May. Angry residents took to the streets, attacking local police and setting police stations on fire, according to ITAR-TASS on 29 May. The town's population of some 150,000 are mostly Sunni Muslims. Local residents objected to the weapons searches and complained about the behavior of U.S. forces during the searches. "The Iraqi police were very rough with our women," Amr Aziz told Reuters, adding, "They forced their way into houses without knocking, sometimes when women were sleeping. This is a very conservative town." Another resident, Adnan Mizdar, said that U.S. soldiers fired at civilians during clashes between residents and troops, injuring a 10-year-old boy and two other people. A man by the name of Abd al-Qasim told the news agency: "We are not Saddam's men.... Saddam is gone, but we want the occupation to end. The Americans must know [that] they can never come back to town." There was no immediate comment from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) on the incidents. KR NO URL * BAGHDAD DAILY CONDUCTS PUBLIC OPINION POLL RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT Vol. 6, No. 24, 30 May 2003 The Iraqi National Congress newspaper "Al-Mu'tamar" conducted an informal poll on the streets of Baghdad regarding the current situation in Iraq, the paper reported on 22 May. The daily claimed that some 620 citizens representing diverse backgrounds and age groups were asked their opinions regarding the deposed President Hussein and his regime, and the role of U.S. forces and opposition groups in the rebuilding of Iraq. According to "Al Mu'tamar," 62 percent of respondents said they opposed the war prior to its outbreak but 77 percent said they favored it after liberation. Asked if coalition forces carried out hostile acts against Iraqis, 77 percent responded "no," while 23 percent said "yes." Eighty-five percent of respondents said that they believed coalition forces "procrastinated and were indifferent to their concerns and problems and failed to maintain order, punish thieves, and protect public property," while 15 percent disagreed. Asked whether coalition forces should leave Iraq, 65 percent said "no." Asked about the cruelty of the Hussein regime, 90 percent of respondents said that the regime was cruel and condemned its actions against the Iraqi people, while 10 percent "held a different opinion," according to the daily. Asked about Saddam Hussein, 53 percent said he should be tried in a court of law, 27 percent called for his execution, 13 percent called for his rehabilitation "on condition of dismissing him from power, and 7 percent declined to give an answer. Regarding the role of opposition forces, parties, and organizations, 53 percent of respondents said that they do not trust the opposition, while 43 percent said they did trust them, and 4 percent declined to answer. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/5979022.htm * REAL ESTATE IS EXPLOSIVE ISSUE IN IRAQ by Michael Currie Schaffer The State (Knight Ridder Newspapers), 1st June DOMIZ, Iraq - First it was Kurdish. Then Arab. Then, thanks to the war, it was Kurdish again. Then, thanks to American intervention, it was Arab once more. Finally, with American troops keeping the peace, the population of the northern Iraqi town of Domiz is mixed. And, many residents say, so are Domiz's prospects. "We feel safe," said Nashwan Hamid Khalil, the town's Arab interim mayor, whose eloquent protests helped convince U.S. authorities to evict the armed Kurds who'd seized Arab houses. "We feel that there is law." "We are selling our house," countered Ahmed Ali Mahmud, 52, one of a growing number of longtime Arab residents who returned to Domiz, only to sell their homes and move away for good. "We are afraid that if the Americans leave this area, the Kurds will drive us out." Less than a month after American troops intervened to undo their erstwhile Kurdish allies' land grab, this 800-household community appears to be doing yet another demographic somersault. In less than a week, Khalil said, 66 Arab families sold their homes to Kurds. Another 184 Kurdish families moved into vacant houses and adjacent buildings that housed Iraqi Army personnel before the war. American officials in Domiz say the plan was to create a mixed community. "We've got a mandate to show that Kurds and Arabs can live together," said Lt. Straus Scantlin, 31, a civil affairs team leader with the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky. Under a deal that secured the cooperation of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, a leading Kurdish faction whose members had been the squatters, houses in the village now may be sold only to Kurds. "It's very democratic," Scantlin said of the sales process. "The people who want to stay have stayed. The people who want to leave have left." But many Arab residents said the political environment in northern Iraq has frightened their neighbors into moving. "People are selling at very cheap prices just to leave this place," said Tadhi Hila Daher, 55, an Arab widow who lives with her daughter-in-law and six grandchildren. Daher said she thought Kurds in surrounding communities would return when U.S. troops departed. "If it were not for the Americans, they would kill us all," she said. The politics of real estate may be the most explosive issue in northern Iraq. The area was the epicenter of Saddam Hussein's policy of "Arabization," under which tens of thousands of Kurds were forced off their land to make way for members of Iraq's Arab majority. This spring, as Kurdish forces moved south alongside American troops during the war, entire Arabized villages fled because they knew the original Kurdish residents would return. In most cases, American troops didn't intervene. U.S. officials said competing land claims would be sorted out once a legal system and a political process were in place. Domiz was different. A bedroom community built for civil servants and lower-level military families by Saddam's government during the 1980s, its Arab residents had proof that they had paid for their houses. Homeless and destitute in the nearby city of Mosul after the war, the Arabs protested outside the American military headquarters. Khalil tracked down the descendants of families who had owned the land under the Ottoman Empire to prove that Saddam's government had compensated Kurdish landowners when it built the town. "They had the paperwork," said Capt. Teresa Raymond, 32, the judge advocate general officer for the 101st Airborne's 2nd Brigade. "They had an immediate complaint." On May 6, American troops acted on that complaint, descending in helicopters and loudspeaker-equipped Humvees to disarm the Kurdish squatters and order them out by sundown. It was an emotional day, as Kurds accused the Arabs of being senior members of Saddam's Baath Party and accused their erstwhile American allies of betrayal. "This land belongs to Kurds and we paid for it with our blood," said Nooruddin Mohil Salim, 30, a Kurdish militiaman who like many residents brandished KDP chits that purportedly entitled him to a house. "Now the Americans are telling us to leave." After the original Arab residents returned in a bus caravan several days later, American officials stressed that Domiz was not a precedent. "It's not for us to decide if it's Kurdish or Arab land," said Col. Joe Anderson, the brigade commander in charge of U.S. forces in Mosul. Anderson said he wanted Mosul's recently selected city government to deal with such issues. Amid reports that armed Kurds had attacked Arabs in surrounding villages after the Kurds were evicted from Domiz, American authorities shuttled by helicopter to the nearby headquarters of Mustafa Mohammed, the local KDP leader. The KDP initially had asked Americans and members of Mosul's interim administration to require that 500 of the homes be returned to Kurds. Under a compromise, sales of houses in Domiz, long restricted under Saddam's regime, were opened up, but only Kurds were allowed to buy. For many longtime Domiz residents, the Arabs' U.S.-assisted return has proved to be bittersweet. Ayad Hamid Mohammed, 42, returned to find his house emptied of all his furniture. Electrical sockets had been pried from walls, and even the kitchen sink was missing. But Mohammed said he was back for good. "We don't care about the furniture," he said. "We can buy it back. The most important thing is we have our house back." Several doors from Mohammed, a neighbor's house was empty, with "for sale" scrawled in chalk on its gate in Arabic. On the street, several residents of the nearby Kurdish city of Duhok walked around with wads of cash and a handful of real estate questions. At the former grocery store where Jasim Farja, 35, a onetime taxi driver, had set himself up as the embattled village's real estate agent, business was brisk. Farja, whose Domiz house was destroyed during the war, said he'd sold 20 houses in two days for prices ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, not enough to buy a house elsewhere. "They're good houses," said Said Abdullah, 34, whose only worry about buying one was ensuring that the title was legal. "It's just that many of them don't have windows and doors now." http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1054416322574&p=1012571727172 * CLASH OF CULTURES FUELS LOW-LEVEL WAR OF INCREASING ANIMOSITY by Charles Clover Financial Times, 2nd June It was 10:30 in the evening, a week ago today, when a truck full of wedding guests met a patrol of US soldiers in the town of Samarra, to the north of Baghdad. When it was over, the floor of the truck was awash with blood, four of the 15 wedding guests were dead, nine injured, and Samarra, like many towns across the Sunni Arab heartland of central Iraq, was caught in a bloody cycle of violence and revenge. "For us, the war is still going on," says a US soldier named Josh on Saturday, pointing at black marks littering the ground of their compound where mortars and rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) have struck over the past week, injuring at least five soldiers. Meanwhile, the families of those wounded in Monday's attack gather daily in the town's hospital to comfort relatives, saying that the killings have caused a sea change in their attitude to the soldiers' presence. "We want them out! Murderers!" says Fatima Abid, mother of one of the wounded. "You should have heard the screams and seen the blood everywhere." Members of the wedding party say they were celebrating on Monday night by driving around town in a convoy of trucks and cars. As is the custom in many Arab countries, some of the men had brought guns and were shooting in the air. Just as they entered a square in the centre of town, a US patrol was standing guard at a police station opposite. When a passenger in one of the trucks shot in the air, said witnesses, the soldiers evidently thought they were under attack. "First they shot out the tyres of the truck, then they shot everyone in the truck. Everyone was hit," said 12-year-old Mohammed Ahmed. All agreed that everyone in the truck had been under 18 and unarmed, and that the celebratory shot had come from a different car. US soldiers stationed in the town declined to speak about the incident, and the chief of public affairs for the 4th infantry division, based in Tikrit, refused to allow soldiers to give interviews. But local tribal leaders said they had been told by an American commander that shots had been aimed at US troops from the truck. The incident has touched off a spiral of violence and counter-violence in the town, whose population is largely rural and tribal, where violence must be answered with violence. Sheikh Ahmed Ali Yaseen, head of the Albu Abass tribe, one of the largest in Samarra, says: "We have our tribal and Islamic laws which say that if someone kills one of our family, we must kill one of them. The only way to settle this is to pay a diya [blood money] and the Americans have told us they will not do this. Our people have been refused their rights under our law, and so they are angry." Dr Jamal Gaylani, head of surgery at the hospital, adds: "The problems between the town and the soldiers started the day of the accident. Now we hear the sound of bombs and weapons daily." On Tuesday night, five mortar rounds landed in a US compound in the city, injuring five soldiers. Every night since, they have taken mortar and RPG fire. "Luckily, they can't aim for shit," says one soldier. Their nerves on edge, soldiers at a checkpoint on Wednesday night shot and killed a 12 year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl when their father's car failed to stop after it had been flagged down, and was driving after a newly imposed curfew. The parents are still critical. Dr Gaylani said the brakes on the car were malfunctioning, and the family was from another town and had not heard about the curfew. The pattern of violence in Samarra is strikingly similar to other towns across what some analysts refer to as Iraq's "Sunni triangle": the central heartland of Iraq which is mainly Sunni Arab, sandwiched between the Kurdish north and Shia south. Last week in the town of Hit, townspeople went on a rampage and burned a police station when soldiers searched homes of residents following a missile attack on US forces there. In Falluja, where up to 18 civilians were killed last month by US troops in two separate incidents, there are almost daily attacks on US soldiers. Last Monday, two died and nine were injured when their checkpoint came under attack. Two attackers were killed and six taken prisoner, according to the US military. Part of the problem with the central region in general is the vendetta culture, say local tribal leaders. But Sheikh Yaseen also said the main reason that violence is concentrated in the centre of the country is that their region benefited disproportionately from the previous regime of Saddam Hussein, which relied on the Sunni Arab minority as its main pillar of support. "The people attacking the US soldiers are former Ba'athists who want to stir up trouble," he says. "Many of our sheikhs were taking money and cars from Saddam, and they miss him and want him back." http://www.jordantimes.com/Mon/news/news4.htm * IRAQIS PROTEST AGAINST NEW BRITISH RULER IN BASRA Jordan Times, 2nd June BASRA (AFP) ‹ Five-thousand people took to the streets of Iraq's southern capital here on Sunday to protest against the installation of a British officer to rule the region, an AFP correspondent reported. British and Iraqi soldiers were deployed around the government house where a ceremony was to take place later in the day to mark the handover. "No to British rule over Basra," read one banner. "We can rule ourselves," said another. Shiite Muslim dignitary Sheikh Ahmed Malki, one of the organisers of the demonstration, told AFP: "We demand an Iraqi governor, elected by the people while they are imposing a British governor on us." Basra, which has a population of some 1.5 million people, "wants to have a civilian Iraqi governor like other regions," he added. The organisers released a statement "rejecting a British governor and any administrative council imposed by the occupying forces." They called on "all Iraqi political forces to quickly hold under UN sponsorship a conference" on Iraq's future. British forces announced May 24 they would replace an Iraqi city council hailed as a model of postwar cooperation with a committee of technocrats chaired by a British military commander. The decision sparked an angry reaction from the 30-member council, which is headed by a local tribal chief and was working to reestablish civic order in the southern city with British and US blessing. The so-called Basra interim governorate committee will be chaired by the commander of the British Seventh Brigade, the "Desert Rats," a British forces spokesman said. It will be made up of heads of public departments and utilities and will eventually be handed over to the US-led occupation administration based in Baghdad. "It will be a non-political body with authority to make decisions on technical matters, water, electricity supply, etc," the spokesman said. Alongside the technocrats, a separate civic forum will supervise the transition to an elected Iraqi city council. It too will have representatives of the British military, as well as the occupation administration and local politicians. "It will be concerned with political development with a view to achieving the end state of democratic local government," the British spokesman said. Supporters of the current council leader, Sheikh Muzahem Al Tamimi, expressed anger at the British shakeup, saying the 50-year-old English-speaking businessman, who had been touted as a future governor, had been called in by military commanders and told he was being dumped. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=411971 * IRAQI BANDITS ATTEMPT TO AMBUSH MP'S CONVOY by Arifa Akbar The Independent, 2nd June Ann Clwyd, the Prime Minister's special representative on human rights in Iraq, escaped unscathed when her convoy was threatened by bandits yesterday. The Labour MP told her office at Westminster that shots were fired but that no one had been hurt in the incident, which occurred near Kirkuk, in Northern Iraq. Ms Clwyd, who was with a convoy of eight cars and military escorts, insisted she was "none the worse" for the experience but sounded shaken as she spoke of the incident. "We were going along the road to the south of Kirkuk and people were coming in our direction. They were making gestures holding their hands together as though they were tied. They were trying to warn us there had been shots fired at cars coming in our direction. "Shots were certainly fired at people coming towards us. We stopped short of that. We were given a warning. Then the Peshmerga, the Kurdish fighters, and the Americans went after them," she said. The MP for Cynon Valley, South Wales, said the bandits eluded capture by running into the hills. Despite the confrontation, Ms Clwyd sounded a positive note over her visit to the country. "There is such normality you can't believe there has been a war," she said. Ms Clwyd, who supported Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq, had been a veteran campaigner against the brutality of the Iraqi regime, which she compared to the Khmer Rouge and the Nazis. She was the first MP to highlight the plight of Kurdish refugees fleeing bombardments by Saddam Hussein's regime in 1991. Her special appointment in Iraq combines her role to report on human rights' violations during Saddam's Baath party rule and to ascertain the extent of Iraq's post-war problems. The ambush came a day after her tour of the largest mass graves uncovered in Iraq, outside the city of Hillah, on Sunday. She visited the site with British forensic science experts who are teaching Iraqis how to preserve evidence and gather clues on those who disappeared under the old regime. She spoke of the significance of preserving such findings for use in war crimes trials, and the harm that ordinary Iraqis searching for missing family members could unwittingly do. "It's understandable that people want to come and find out whether the bodies of their relatives are here, but they also should be told that they might be destroying evidence," she said. Ms Clwyd is a founder of Indict, which sought to bring criminal charges against the former Iraqi leader under international laws. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk