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Re: [casi] E-mailing Iraqis?

Dear all

This foretaste of the next news mailing may be relevant to Colin's query
about emails



RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 28, 27 June 2003
[Uruklink comes back amid controversy as to whether it has or hasn't been
sufficiently purged]

"Wired News" reported on 20 June that Iraq's Uruklink website was expected
to return to the Internet within a week. Uruklink hosted all government
Internet sites during the regime of deposed President Saddam Hussein. The
site will now be "scrubbed clean" of all references to the fallen dictator,
according to Iraq's State Company for Internet Services (SCIS). However,
Ala'a Hassan Harif, lead system administrator and research-and-development
manager for SCIS, told "Wired News" that the Internet service provider (ISP)
has faced problems in trying to purge Hussein loyalists from the
government-controlled provider.

Harif said that the general manager of SCIS, Shakir Abdullah, has removed
from his office a once-prominently displayed photograph of himself and
Hussein. "In Iraq, you can't be a general manager for 16 years continuously
unless the regime is completely sure of you and you are serving the regime,"
Harif said, adding, "Your attitude, action, beliefs, and thoughts must be
absolutely compatible with the regime." Abdullah declined to be interviewed,
and according to "Wired News," the issue goes much deeper. Harif and other
engineers said that Abdullah was appointed to head SCIS after Osama Khalid,
the founder, was "mysteriously fired" by the Iraqi minister of transport and
communications. Harif said that soon after, Saddam Hussein ordered two
officers from the Ministry of Defense to monitor SCIS. When asked about
rumors that the Iraqi government spied on SCIS customers, Harif reportedly
declined to answer. "It is not very safe here today to say all the
information," he noted, adding, "We still have people who support the old

The two defense officers were hired on as employees of SCIS when the
Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) abolished the Defense Ministry in May.
Harif said that the men remain on the SCIS payroll. CPA and the U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAID) did not respond to requests for
comment on SCIS's management, "Wired News" reported. Harif said that he has
voiced his concerns with CPA officials, but was rebuffed. He added that the
CPA recently promoted Abdullah to the position of consultant to the Ministry
of Transport and Communications, which oversees SCIS. "Wired News" reported
that Harif might have a personal axe to grind with Abdullah, who stripped
him of his title at the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and appointed
Harif's colleague to the position.

SCIS had restored Internet connectivity and e-mail service to its 20,000
registered users by the end of May, Harif said. He said that the delay in
bringing the Uruklink website back online was related to security concerns.
The site's content was revamped weeks ago, but reportedly held up due to
security concerns. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

> From: "Colin Rowat" <>
> Date: Tue, 01 Jul 2003 05:17:46 -0400
> To: casi <>
> Subject: [casi] E-mailing Iraqis?
> Have list members had any difficulty communicating with Iraqis in Iraq
> by e-mail?  More specifically, does anyone have insight into who, if
> anyone, is monitoring or controlling e-mails into and from Iraq?
> Thank you,
> Colin Rowat
> work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of
> Birmingham
> | Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | | (+44/0) 121 414
> 3754 | (+44/0) 121 414 7377 (fax) |
> personal | (+44/0) 7768 056 984 (mobile) | (+44/0) 7092 378 517 (fax)
> |
> (707) 221 3672 (US fax) |
> _______________________________________________
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